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Books and Documents

Spiritual Meditations

The Essence of Spirituality:  Service of Others
Swami Chidanand Saraswati

The essence of spirituality is service.  As one goes deeper and deeper on a spiritual path and as one gets closer and closer to Realization and Enlightenment, one realizes that the Divine resides in all. One begins to see God’s presence in every person, every animal, and every plant.....

Greeting the Month of Ramadan, In Which Qur’an Was Sent Down
Harun Yahya

The Holy Qur’an — which falsehood cannot approach from either in front or behind, which leads people from the darkness to the light, to the path of our Almighty and Omniscient, and much-praised Lord, a blessing, glad tidings and a mercy for all Muslims, an advice and a reminder for those who fear with a trembling heart — was sent down in the month of Ramadan.…..

 

Rumi says further: “There is only one sort of goodness in the world, and that is loving others as one loves himself; in other words, we should regard other people as we regard ourselves. What remains is illusion and nullity.”  To shed light on this obscure area, Sheikh Mahmud Shabistari (1267-1320), in his mystical poem Gulshan-i-Raz (the mystic rose garden), explains the nature of “Self” as follows:

Who am I? Make me well aware of “self”

What does it mean, within yourself, “travel”?

Then you inquired about, what is it “self’?

Make me aware of “Self”. Who is this “Self’?.....

 

Beyond Names and Forms: Learning from Each Other in the Spiritual Search
Rev. M.M. Abraham

The pressure to understand the total spiritual heritage of all humanity as the common heritage of all people everywhere will increase in the years ahead of us. Whatever comes of the search for dialogue between spiritual traditions, the search for spiritual growth and maturity will continue to inspire us to find life and meaning beyond names and forms. The verses from this prayer of Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali in some ways echo the longing of every human heart.....

 

While religion today has become an issue relegated to the private realm of our daily lives, Islām has always challenged the status quo with its multi-faceted nature. As a religion, it is unique and comprehensive in the way it helps regulate all aspects of human life. But what truly distinguishes Islām from other faiths such as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, is that it does not advocate monasticism….

 

All you need to do is to say just a few words of praise to or about at least ten people you meet, talk about or think about today. If at least one of them is someone you love to hate, it’s even better! If you find this exercise difficult, the least you can do is to consciously refrain from complaining about any person, thing or situation you come across today......

 

Even Smile Is a Voluntary Charity
Aishah Schwartz

How many times have you passed someone walking through a mall, in a hallway at school, on the bus, a train, or in the office where you work, and noticed that no one was smiling? This is often the case among Muslims, which is a contributing factor to the misconception that to be Muslim means being serious all the time; never laughing or having fun. Ironically, this is quite contrary to the Sunnah (the Prophet’s tradition), as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), was well-known for his congenial nature and smile....

The Environment and Intelligence
Hiranmay Karlekar

What is needed is a change in the priorities and values of the society around us, and a vision that transcends the immediate and can take a wider view of things. It will take a huge amount of time and effort to bring about the social consensus essential for such a transformation. Steps to prevent further loss of forests and animal lives would be a good starting point.....

 
Teachers Who Transform
Hasan Zillur Rahim

Teachers Who Transform
Hasan Zillur Rahim

American Muslims have excelled in many fields – engineering, biology, physics, law – to name a few, but by and large, teaching is not one of them. There are relatively few Muslim teachers in America from mainstream public schools, colleges and universities who have been recognized for their brilliance nationwide in the art of teaching. Yet it is teachers who form the backbone of society……

 

The Truth Must Triumph Over Hatred
Tarek Fatah

Conventional wisdom dictated that education and exposure to the West would tame the hatred many in Pakistan have for others, but that was not to be.....

When a Mosque Closes Its Doors
Anwar Iqbal

“Lock your doors and windows. Close your eyes. Recue the light. And wait patiently as now you do not have an option,” said the old man sitting outside the closed doors of a mosque. “Put out the light. Let darkness prevail. This is the darkness that comes before death. So wait patiently for the end.” I went to him, gave a Rs100 note and said: “Baba Jee, it is evening. The day is ending. Soon the night will begin. Be gentle to the people. Do not scare them. Give them hope.” He pocketed the money and said: “I can lie once for a Rs100 but only once.”….

 

Please Don’t Try To Be Extraordinary
Marguerite Theophil

It reminds me of a teaching story about how God plays a joke on every new-born, whispering, ‘You are the special one!’ But the joke quickly wears thin when, as adult, the once new-born starts running up against several billion others on this planet who all assume that they are ‘the special one’.  Striving to be extraordinary naturally involves competition and comparison, winning and losing. But when one doesn’t win there is that awful term applied – loser – if not by others, then by oneself.....

 

Reflections on Peace in Plural Societies
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

It is a psychological reality that one generally takes the critique or admonishment of people whom one considers one’s own in a positive way, and, accordingly, reforms oneself. On the other hand, one generally takes the criticism of people one does not know or whom one considers as the ‘other’ as an insult to one’s honour, and so it does not have a positive impact. With regard to the issue of communal harmony, it is very necessary to keep this bit of practical wisdom in mind......

 

Imagine how sad, the someone, who had gifted you the earth to look after as a custodian would feel on seeing his gift being treated in such a shoddy manner! Imagine what he might think of you! You’d definitely not expect him to be pleased, would you?....

 

Mercy Bears Richer Fruits than Strict Justice: We Need More Sami Yusufs, Not Boko Harams
Aijaz Zaka Syed

And that wasn’t the first time he had done so. He had always been the epitome of mercy and kindness to all. I am sure the noblest of prophets would have forgiven these slights, inadvertent or otherwise, too. After all, he came as a mercy to all mankind. And as his followers, that is what we should do. We cannot counter hatred with more hatred but love. As Lincoln argued, mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.…..

 

Does God Punish Sinners With Disasters?
Mustafa Akyol

Those conservatives in question were maybe right in their outrage at certain misdeeds in Turkey, but I believe they were wrong to interpret the Soma disaster as a divine punishment for those sins. And since the broader issue of whether God really punishes sinners by earthly disasters is relevant for the whole Muslim world, let me elaborate a bit on why……

 

“Soon, the thought came to my mind, that if a little animal could be made so happy with my kindness, how much more happiness I could offer to my fellow human beings. So, the next day, I baked some cookies and took them over to the old lady who lived upstairs. How delighted she was, and how delighted I was to see her so pleased! “And that was how my new life began. I did whatever I could to make people happy.....

 
Fragments of a Faith
Brandino Machiavelli

…. apparent fragmentation into blinkered or scleroticised cults not only promotes internal hate and strife but keeps Islam from gaining its deserved place as a spiritual leader in the modern, globalised world. These sects, some as ancient as Islam itself, others which have developed over the centuries and until recent times, seem to have acquired, in the face of declining European colonialism and the onslaught of American post-colonialism a new impetus….

 

Man and Humanity In Search Of Peace Not Wars
Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja

Human nature longs for peace and harmony not violence and conflict. Nobody can invent peace; it needs to be discovered out of the planned efforts to make it happen. None of the contemporary leaders can enjoin a vision of peace or contribute positively toward sustainable future-making. Egoistic global leaders are in disarray and intellectual decline to think of peace….

 
Piety and Cheating
Khalid Zaheer

Piety and Cheating
Khalid Zaheer

One of the reasons for why the so-called believers cheat and lie with impunity is that they believe that the rituals they perform (prayers, fasts, Haj, almsgiving, etc) would far outweigh the sins that they have committed. They could not be more wrong in this misconception....

But there’s something I can do, I’ve just discovered! From today onwards, I’m going to stop asking Ruppu Ma to do things for me. That will certainly make her happy! Later today, when Mummy-Pappa have left, I’m going to tell her, ‘Ruppu Ma, I always ask you to do this and that for me—to tell me a tale, to feed me, to change my clothes, to give me a bath, to take me out to play. I’m going to stop all that from now on. Instead, I’m going to ask you to ask me to do things for you.....

 

Repentance Provides Relief to the Heart
Harun Yahya

One of the wise aspects of believers’ repentance is that they seek shelter in Allah and strive not to repeat their mistakes immediately by feeling a sharp regret: In other words, they perform a genuine and sincere repentance. To repent is to remain true to their intention and word and follow the true course until the time of their death that most pleases Allah….

 

Faith, In an Age of ‘Illiberalism’
Debotri Dhar

One thinks of Fatwas, extra-judicial rulings of khap Panchayats, religious riots across South Asian countries; India's own worst riots were in 1984, 1992-93 and 2002. But to deduce that only certain parts of the world are mired in religion would be facetious. After all, the affirmation of Christian values in the American public sphere is hard to miss, as is the Islamophobia following the 9/11 terrorist attacks…

 

Thank God that God didn’t make us with screens on our heads that depicted all the negative thoughts that swirl about in our minds, day in and day out! I’d probably not be living to write these lines if He did!.....

 
Jesus’ Ordeal on The Cross
Father Dominic Emmanuel

Jesus’ Ordeal on The Cross
Father Dominic Emmanuel

On Holy Thursday, before His death on Good Friday, Jesus, during the last supper with his disciples, gets up to wash the feet of his disciples. Peter who was eventually made the leader among the apostles, objects to the Lord and Master, stooping to wash disciples’ feet. Jesus gently reminded him of its purpose saying, “If I the Lord and Master have done this to you, so must you do to one another”. Jesus’ act symbolised supreme humility and service....

 


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