CAUTION: If you have low tolerance for another point of view, please do not read this. If you do read, please be independent and a critical thinker.
Pluralism and Interfaith continues to be mis-understood, it is time for us to refresh our minds and unload some of the ideas we have carried forward against the idea of Interfaith and Pluralism.
1. Interfaith is about exploring common issues from each religious point of view.
2. Pluralism is about exploring co-existence among theists and atheist.
Pluralism is an attitude of accepting the otherness of other without having to believe the other. One has to be secure in his or her faith to listen without interrupting thoughts and let the other person speak out his or her belief; if I were to believe my faith is the only way, my intellect requires me to understand that the other person is also claiming the same while the arrogance in me denies that right to the other. It is your word vs. my word.
God is not going to step in and take sides nor has God signed a deal with me or him to claim exclusive ownership of God and goodness. This is not going to be acceptable to the Neocons Muslims, Christians, Jews or Hindus, their mind set is; the other has to be wrong for me to be right. However, the majorities from the same groups are secure in their faith and acknowledge the right of other individuals to believe in their faith, without losing an ounce of their own faith. The Neocons simply cannot do that, they are too insecure.
As beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, faith is in the heart of the believer. Islam understood that human sentiment and said that there is no compulsion in faith, you cannot make one believe against his or her will. Islam also has delivered a wise chapter on civil conduct.
There is a myth out there among 1/100th of 1% of Muslims, who propagate with vengeance or out of ignorance that Interfaith is mumbo jumbo like Akbar’s deen-e-Elahi. That does not fit the trait of a Muslim – to deliberately spread falsity about interfaith.
Prophet Muhammad was a pluralist, his goal was not to wipe out any of God’s creation, it rather was to forge peace and co-existence. Look at his very first model where he forged cooperation by mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill among the conflicting tribes to place the Aswad Stone in its place. There are several models for us to emulate including the one where he acknowledges the otherness of the other and brought together the Jews, Christians and others that lived under his leadership, he created the Madinah Pact giving all believers their rights to practice their faith freely. If prophet did not believe in the otherness of other, he would not have initiated that pact.
Prophet Muhammad invited people of other faiths to discuss the faith issues in his own mosque. Today, shamelessly a few Muslims who rule the Mosques around would not let an interfaith dialogue take place in the mosques.Islam is about creating a just world and a world of co-existence through the Madinah Pacts and not bent on converting others to become Muslims.
What else the Neocon Muslims need to know?
Islam is about creating a just world and a world of co-existence through the Madinah Pacts and not bent on converting others to become Muslims.
I am please to share Dr. Javed Jamil’s piece “Interfaith, Pluralism and Islam” with a few observations:
Dr. Jamil - “They are trying to change/reinterpret/adjust Islamic principles in accordance with the demands of Interfaith. I am trying to adjust Interfaith according to the demands of Islam”
Mike – It may be true in a few places, but that is not the whole truth. In all the groups that we participate here in the United States interfaith is “you are who you are and we are who we are” how can we mitigate the conflicts without compromising the integrity of the faith. This is what interfaith is all about.
Dr. Jamil, “It can be seen that most of these interfaith dialogues are being funded by governments and agencies that seek to dilute, diminish or readjust the role of religions in accordance”
Mike – Where on the earth is government funding this? Not in the United States. Shall we take it that if Muslims fund such a dialogue; they are dishonest in their intentions?
Dr. Jamil – “They want to marginalize religion, weaken the institution of religion and to minimize its role in influencing the world system.”
Mike – Not the interfaith groups Dr. Jamil, it may be the Christian Missionaries and the Dawah Missions who are bent on denigrating each other.
Dr. Jamil – “The ultimate aim of the Qur’aan is nothing but the unity of the whole mankind under the umbrella of Islam.”
Mike – “Which definition of Islam suits us? One is about submission to the almighty and the other is compelling or enticing every one to believe like we do. If it is the former, every one does submit to the almighty his/her own way – but if it is political, they have to do our way. The submission loses the value, and doing our way gains it.
Our Mission is to work for a World of co-existence. What is good for Muslims has got to be good for the others and vice versa for world peace and harmony. To be a Muslim is to be a peacemaker, one who seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; that is indeed the purpose of religion, any religion. Mission statement
Interfaith, Pluralism and Islam
By: DR JAVED JAMIL
I have spoken on several Interfaith platforms. Recently I spoke in two conferences at New Delhi organized by Interfaith Coalition for Peace and one at Bangalore organized by International Council of Churches, Geneva. In the first I was one of few Muslims in the all-religion gathering and in the latter I was the only Muslim. I spoke without in any way compromising my stand on the established principles of Islam, and yet I could present the most talked about and most admired papers in both. But I feel anguished when I see many Muslims saying things that neither required to be said nor would be acceptable to religious scholars of any religion. If some ideological stand is not acceptable to the scholars of the religions, Interfaith is simply not going to serve any purpose. The difference in the approach of these Muslims and that of mine is simple: They are trying to change/reinterpret/adjust Islamic principles in accordance with the demands of Interfaith. I am trying to adjust Interfaith according to the demands of Islam.
It can be seen that most of these Interfaith dialogues are being funded by governments and agencies that seek to dilute, diminish or readjust the role of religions in accordance with their plans, which are directly or indirectly related to the demands of the forces of globalization. These forces want to keep religious scholars busy in fighting or trying to arrive at a common point on the issues that are fundamental to the religion. They want to marginalize religion, weaken the institution of religion and to minimize its role in influencing the world system. Invariably, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists come to these meetings, discuss a few points related to the concept of â€œPluralismâ€, exchange some pleasantries, shake hands and hug and then disperse without arriving at any common agenda about the world. They have been made to believe that religion is the root cause of all the problems in the world; and the infighting between different faiths is responsible for the bloodshed. And poor religious scholars, unable to understand what is boiling in the international area, fall prey to their designs. When I told the Bishops and priests at Bangalore that Westernism and Christianity are two different things, and both Muslims and Christians have often failed to realize this, and when West attacks Islamic countries, Muslims often tend to attack Christians, they all were hugely excited. When I said that Westernism was as much an enemy of Christianity as that of Islam, and Westernism is an ideology comprising economic fundamentalism, commercialization of human susceptibilities, misuse of science and Technology and domination of Western powers, there was a long round of clapping. When I ended my talk asserting that the time has now come when we should stop keeping on debating the theological issues and must instead focus on the evil of the current worl forming a common agenda, and together we must challenge the forces of evil, chaos and materialism, people there rose in standing ovation. I was in truth overwhelmed by the kind of response I got from Christian priests. I requested them that though the responsibility to challenge the forces should be shared by all the religions, Christians and Muslims should take the lead because together they form about half of the world and have influence over even on other parts as well.
An interfaith Muslim activist bases his arguments on a seemingly beautiful slogan of â€œpluralismâ€. He contends that God wants pluralism in the world, and this is why He has given birth to human beings in different religions and faiths. This line of argument is becoming popular with several Muslim writers recently. Had it been the desire of God to see all humans turn to Islam, they argue, He would not have given birth to most humans as non-Muslims. In favour of this argument, they present the verse of the Qurâ€™an: â€œIf God had so willed He would have made you a single people, but His plan is to test you in what He has given you; so strive as in a race in all virtues.â€
I want to point out that though the Qurâ€™an accepts religious plurality yet pluralism is neither the foundation of the Book of Allah nor its ultimate aim. It is at best a permitted position. The ultimate aim of the Qurâ€™an is nothing but the unity of the whole mankind under the umbrella of Islam. Till it is achieved, plurality is tolerable. Even otherwise, this is true for every ideology that it can tolerate but will never promote other ideologies. Even the advocates of pluralism will want the whole society to adopt the ideals of pluralism and would not love the presence of those who do not believe in the ideology of pluralism.
Will versus Desire of God
Qurâ€™an tells us that Godâ€™s Will and Desire are two different things. In Qurâ€™an God has clearly spelled his preferences, which represent His Desire. See the following:
And spend of your substance in the cause of God, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for God loveth those who do good. (2: 195/A)
And swell not thy cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for God loveth not any arrogant boaster. (31: 18/A)
They perform (their) vows, and they fear a Day whose evil flies far and wide. And they feed, for the love of God, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive,- (saying), We feed you for the sake of God alone: no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks. (76: 7-9/A)
By no means shall ye attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which ye love; and whatever ye give, of a truth God knoweth it well. (3: 92/A)
Serve God, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess... (4: 36/A)
It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards east or west; but it is righteousness-to believe in God and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing. (2: 177/A)
For in Gods sight are (all) His servants,- (namely), those who say: Our Lord! we have indeed believed: forgive us, then, our sins, and save us from the agony of the Fire;â€- Those who show patience, firmness and self-control; who are true (in word and deed); who worship devoutly; who spend (in the way of God.; and who pray for forgiveness in the early hours of the morning. (3: 15-17/A)
And there is the type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of God. And God is full of kindness to (His) devotees. (2: 207/A)
God loveth not that evil should be noised abroad in public speech, except where injustice hath been done; for God is He who heareth and knoweth all things. (4: 148/A)
Say: the things that my Lord hath indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds, whether open or secret; sins and trespasses against truth or reason. (7: 33/A)
God loveth not one given to perfidy and crime... (4: 105-107/A)
Those who spend their substance in the cause of God, and follow not up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury,-for them their reward is with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. Kind words and the covering of faults are better than charity followed by injury. God is free of all wants, (2: 262/A)
And obey not (the behests) of the Unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and heed not their annoyances, but put thy Trust in God. For enough is God as a Disposer of affairs. (33: 48/A)
God loveth not that evil should be noised abroad in public speech, except where injustice hath been done; for God is He who heareth and knoweth all things. (4: 148/A)
And obey God and His Messenger; and fall into no disputes...(8: 46/A)
For God loveth not any vainglorious boaster,- such persons as are covetous and commend covetousness to men. (57: 23-24/A)
Behold, Luqman said to his son by way of instruction: â€œO my son! join not in worship (others) with God; for false worship is indeed the highest wrongdoing.â€ (31: 13/A)
O my son!â€, (said Luqman), If there be (but) the weight of a mustard-seed and it were (hidden) in a rock, or (anywhere) in the heavens or on earth, God will bring it forth: for God understands the finest mysteries, (and) is well-acquainted (with them). O my son! establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong: and bear with patient constancy whatever betide thee; for this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of) affairs. And swell not thy cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for God loveth not any arrogant boaster. And be moderate in thy pace, and lower thy voice; for the harshest of sounds without doubt is the braying of the ass.â€ (31: 16-19/A)
Thus God has made clear His desires: that all must follow His Book and His Messenger and must do good deeds and avoid wrong deeds. But still, most of the human beings are engaged in severe forms of wrongdoing. Does this mean that God wants people to be bad? Does He want them to fight one another, be untruthful, dishonest and arrogant? No. If people have fallen to evils this is not because God desires them to be bad but because God has let them do things of their own liking, as part of His plan. His plan was to establish a system in which humans are not physically forced to act in a particular way but they choose by their own will to act rightfully or wrongfully. They are free to establish a system of Lawful and Forbidden for them; they can do this either in accordance with the commands of God or according to their own selfish interests. If they were not free, they would not have been tested. If there were no Devil to mislead them, men and women with real mettle would not have emerged on the scene. When an interviewer or examiner interviews or examines a candidate for a big post, he tests him with the most difficult questions, often through confusing inquiries. The World is like a College, established and run by a Management. The Management creates a system to run the college, which every student has to go through. Students prepare for the examination. If Management had wanted, they would have passed all the students giving them the same marks. But the students pass and fail receiving different grades according to their capabilities and preparation. Managementâ€™s desire is to see all students passing with excellence, but their plan is to give students a free hand and then test their mettle through a system of tests.
The creation of a system in the world and letting human beings act out of free will represents Godâ€™s Will. Godâ€™s Guidance through Messengers and Scriptures represents Godâ€™s Desire. Plural society (different faiths, different deities, etc) is the product of Godâ€™s Will and not Godâ€™s Desire, which seeks the submission of the whole mankind and all the national and international systems to Him. Plural society is what God has allowed; One System and One People are what God wants mankind to achieve. Muslims must learn to bear with Plurality, but must not stop endeavouring to unite the whole mankind under the umbrella of Godâ€™s Final System
Dr Javed Jamil isExecutive Chairman, International Centre for Applied Islamics &
Chief Editor, â€œIslam, Muslims & the World
SUCCESSFUL NAATIA MUSHAERA ON 2.21.14
45 PICTURES AT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157641382648224/
August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916
Mirza A Beg
PLANNED MUSLIMS RESPONSE TO QUR'AN BURNING BY PASTOR JONES ON 9/11/13 IN MULBERRY, FLORIDA
We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.
Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”
God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.
We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration (www.UnitydayUSA.com) held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.
Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.
As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.
We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.
We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.
We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.
Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.
Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.
We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.
The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.