By Ghulam Ghuas, New Age Islam
Islam encourages peaceful coexistence among all religions. All the oriental faiths have the same prescription. But the misinterpretations and unempirical observations of religions lead to the exasperation of conflicts and wars. We repeatedly see some so-called leaders of religions incite fanaticism, extremism, aggression, hate and xenophobia – even legitimise violent and bloody conflicts. The misuse of religions is often stimulated to actualise power-political dreams. We can witness barbaric acts often made in the name of religion in human history consecutively from past to contemporary.
We have made great achievements in science yet paradoxically failed in the protections of weak nations. Arms and ammunition are manufactured that are not only capable of destroying the weak nations but even the entire humanity. Thus we are unable to resolve the war within and outside Islam. As a result, religious intolerance has caused immense injury and merciless killing of human beings. Particularly, Iraq, Afghan, Syria, Palestine and Pakistan etc are such top listed names where evils of terrorism, religious extremism, and genocide of Shiites, Ahmadis, and religious minorities as well as destruction of Islamic cultural heritage are at its peak.
This debate needs to be dealt with carefully defeating the destructive elements of religions. Moreover, the peace-building elements among religions should be fostered. In other words, religious representatives ought to perform their moral authority in the peacemaking. The rest of people, in return, must take cognizance of the religious factors to cooperate with religious leaders in interpreting peace.
The diversity of religions across the world demands tolerance and respect to the other from everyone. A close study of the holy Quran and Hadith fulfils that demand.
The holy Quran says “And had Allah so willed, He would surely have made you one single community; instead, (He gave each of you a Law and a way of life) in order to test you by what He gave you. Vie, they one with another in good work. Unto Allah is the return of all of you; and He will then make you understand the truth concerning the matters on which you disagreed.” (5:48)
Many wonder how we could develop tolerance and peace when there were so many differences among religions in matters of faith. This was the concern already resolved in the life of the prophet pbuh.
Allah Almighty says “To those who do not believe the way you do, (o, prophet pbuh) tell them, “O disbelievers, I do not worship those whom you worship, Nor are you worshippers of Him Whom I worship, Nor am I a worshipper of those whom you have worshipped, Nor are you worshippers of Him Whom I worship. For you is your religion and for me is mine.”(1-6: 109). It was and is surely the most secular thought, the world had ever seen.
As far as the Muslim world is concerned, they should remember the following verses.
“There is no compulsion and coercion in regard to religion”. (2:256). Muslims believe in all of the prophets and are strictly prohibited from showing any point of disrespect to any prophet or religion which he taught to his followers. This verse commands Muslims not to use coercion in the religion. That is to say that Muslims are not allowed to establish forcibly their religion on the earth. The very principle was highlighted in the practice of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh. This great verse guarantees freedom of worship to all religious communities. It is in tune with the Quranic spirit where God says that He has made people into nations and tribes so that they can know and deal with each other in an equal temper of kindness and generosity.
Therefore, the mainstream Muslims accept other religions as the faith of the fellowmen no matter how incorrect they may seem to them from the Islamic point of view.
We are also well acquainted with the incident when a delegation of a different faith came to the prophet’s mosque in Madina. Before meeting the prophet pbuh they wished to offer their own prayers in that mosque while the Muslim prayer time was running out. The prophet said that they should pray first and Muslim prayers could wait. Similarly on other occasion the prophet showed respect to the funeral procession of a non-Muslim and rose on his feet telling his companions (sahabas) that in matters of etiquette faith does not make a difference.
There are several verses in the Bhagvad Gita where Krishna instructs Arjun to fight the enemies even though they were his relatives. Fight for Dharma is thus promoted and such fight is what is termed in the Qur'an as Jihad, but today it is totally misunderstood or misinterpreted. The fundamental values do not vary in religions. Those who believe in God cannot desire injustice as the Creator orders them to be kind to others.
Islam makes it obligatory for every Muslim to respect other religions. Muslims too, feel that Islam should be understood and respected by the others. It is the basic purpose of human creation that itself has been amply clarified by God in the holy Quran (verse 11.7). He says that he created the heaven and the earth so that he might try the human beings as to which one of these is best in conduct. God’s purpose is to promote a mutual human competition for doing good works so that human beings can make this world a ground for peace and tranquillity.
When Poverty, starvation, unjust treatment, discrimination and corruption are displayed towards a particular group in a locality, they become fertile grounds for the rise of extremist religious tendencies. At such times, Knowledge of other religions and values are important aspects and need to be torched by all. The true spirits of all religions call for equality and justice. So they can fight together against all kinds of oppression, whether economic, social or political.
Today the majority judge others by notions and not by knowledge. Frequently our understandings are beyond the truth and reality. Many even are not aware of the fundamental principles of their own religions. As a result, misunderstandings lead us to misdeeds. So, interfaith dialogue makes us understand ourselves as well as others.
Thus today the need to resolve the pressing issues of global concern is paramount. It is imperative that interfaith cooperation is developed to promote the principle of peace. It is very important for all religious people to recognise each other as partners, not adversaries in faith.
Therefore let us focus on the interfaith aspects of all faiths. Allah almighty exhorts the mankind to invite each other to join hands, shoulder to shoulder in pursuit of “Kalimatain sawaaim baeenana” i.e. truth and commonality. Every being is God’s creature. His or her faith is a matter that lies in between the creator and the individual. Let us also build bridges and know all about each other through meaningful dialogues and fruitful interactions. Hence we will be able to oppose all shapes of inhumanity and work for peace, justice and brotherhood.
All sensible people ought to avoid clashes. They should call for a dialogue establishing inter-cultural and inter-religious peace-building instead. They can also promote shared values between Muslims and non-Muslims; such as the facts that everyone wants to be happy that all of us are interconnected members of all communities. Peace among nations cannot exist unless there is peace among religions. Similarly peace among religions can not last long unless there is authentic interfaith dialogue.
Muslim Readers @ New Age Islam Forum
It is now
becoming increasingly apparent that any questions raised by Mohammed Rafiq
Lodhia will be objected to, and worst of all, termed as “Hounding” the
Well, given this
to be the operating rules of the forum, I have no other alternative, but to, address the respected readers separately.
Saheb stated as follows:
I believe in the
authoritativeness of the holy Quran.
MRL – Let’s hope that Ghaus Saheb will give
more guidance using the Qur’anic verses and will depend less on the Hadiths.
I must elaborate it for
some lay readers.
MRL – That’s good to know. How can Ghaus
Saheb elaborate on the two great Imams as follows:
Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari – Link to Wikipedia
also believed it impermissible to violently oppose a leader
even if he were openly disobedient to the commands of the sacred law.
MRL – Does this mean, we should let the
corrupt and evil ruler continue to commit crimes? Doesn’t this belief simply
allows, a leader to literally disobey the commandments of Holy Qur’an? I am
sure, Imam al-Ash'ari was
referring “the sacred law,” to the Qur’anic commandments, and not meant it
to be the “Authoritativeness
Imam Abu Mansur
al-Maturidi – Link to the Article
put forward the Rational necessity of the narratives being as the source of the
knowledge, Maturidi mentioned the necessity of the acceptance of the narrative
brought by the Messenger from Allah. Because the narratives brought by the
Messenger from Allah are true narratives (al-khabar al-sâdıq) and due to they have miracles approving their
truthfulness, denial of their narratives is impossible. Consequently the
truthfulness of the narratives they brought have been verified by Reason.
Indeed, Maturidi mentioned that any narratives, its truthfulness and falsehood
can be determined by Reason. Whoever
denies such narrative, he denies it due to his pride and his obstinacy and his
desire to make hardship. It is obvious that His intention from his explanations
related to the narrative of the Messenger is the revelation/Qur’an. He deems
the Qur’an as a rational miracle.
Because when the Qur’an was conveyed to the people by the Messenger, he
challenged the men of eloquence of the that time, and the wisemen and the
poets, and none became successful in presenting its reminiscent. In this sense the Qur’an is a rational miracle and contained the true
knowledge. Accordingly, to him, “any narrative is contrary to the
rational proofs and the Qur’an must be rejected.
MRL – If Qur’an is a rational miracle and
consists of the true knowledge, then why did the followers of Imam Maturidi wholeheartedly
believe that it is the “Science of Hadiths,” that consists of true
regards Reason an essential criterion in verifying the knowledge produced by
the other two sources and he establishes the foundation of his view as such:
Three things necessitate the Reason and the reasoning. First is that it is
necessery to reason in obtaining knowledge through the senses and the
narrative. There is a need for reasoning because the senses are insufficient in
noticing the things that are far from the senses or the invisible objects due
to minimality of their size. On the
other hand, reasoning is needed for determining the narrative whether it is of
the type of the one which bears the probability of being mistaken or not, and
for distinguishing the miracles of the messengers from the magics of the magicians.
Maturidi asserted that in order to extract the truth, in every matter, the
reasoning and the thinking are necessary, in other words reasoning is necessary
for distinguishing the miracles from non-miraculous behaviours. Allah,
substantiated with this reasoning, the other things and the Qur’an which is
determined with extraordinary proofs that It is from the side of Allah, and He
ordered in many verses the use of Reason
and to resort to rational substantiation.
Second is that Maturidi asserted that reasoning
and thinking are needed in finding out the truth in every field about the
beauties and the ugliness of the objects, and about the goodness and badness of
the actions of the people – even if the perception of the senses and
the annunciation of the narratives is to be in question- and reaching the final
knowledge in these matters is possible only with Reason. Thirdly is that knowing Allah and His
commands is a matter of acquisiton and intention which can only be known with
MRL – If reasoning and thinking are need in
finding out the truth in every field, then why are the modern day Muslims
applying their Almighty Allah given “Common Sense”?
should not be false to announce Maturidi as one of the pioneers of “Theological
Intellectuality” and his work as a “Classics of theological philosophy.”
Therefore Maturidi, accepting “the Reason and the Religion as two important
source of knowledge”, gave a great importance to Reason and deduction
(istidlâl) in solving the problems of Kalam, and he says about reasoning: “The
human being is spearheaded in governing the creatures, and has been
distinguished to resist to the hardships in this aim, and to research the
intellectually useful things for them, to prefer the good and the beautiful things
and to shun what is contrast to them. The means for knowing these matters is
using the Reason by the examination of the objects and the events. There is no
other method at all. Furthermore, in case of rising
of the extraordinary circumstances and the suspicions, the refuge is only the
thinking and the deduction.
MRL – In case of rising of the
extraordinary circumstances, the one which the Muslims are passing through with
the chaos and mayhem created by ISIS, then why this particular forum not
interested in encouraging the positive thinking? What’s the point of
suppressing the tough questions by excusing it as hounding a commentator?
readers there is nothing much I would like to add, except to state that I have
to address my concerns through all of you. There is no need to pressure Ghulam
Ghaus Saheb. I simply do not wish to read his comment. For Ghaus Saheb, I am
only “Rafiq Lodhia,” as he somehow forgets to insert “Mohammed” as
my first name.