Friday, October 2, 2009

Pluralism is not Khichdi


Khalid, thanks for your notes, I am pleased to learn and exchange the following information; Pluralism is not Khichdi (Khichdi is like stew, melting pot or gumbo)

“Does pluralism means accepting and validating that every path of worship is acceptable to God?”

The commonly accepted idea is that each path is valid to the believer. If my belief works for me, others’ belief must work for them.

Nafis Bhai, intellectual honesty requires us to acknowledge the source of key phrases, the phrase “otherness of other” was borrowed from Rabbi Gordis on a treatise on how to conduct a dialogue put together by Yogi Sikand.

Khalid, what you and I have is faith, Alhamdu Lillah a very strong one in God and the Prophet. The Hindus, Christians, Jews… and others have equally strong faith in their system.

I believe Saleem Bhai had alluded to that earlier on in his comments that neither we nor they have any facts to back up, it is the belief. Are we willing to accept this? If we say others are wrong, are we acknowledging their right to tell us the same? Do they not have that right?

There is no confusion here.

Islam is about peace and peace is a result of conflictlessness, based and Justice. Arrogance is the mother of all evil and that is one of the reasons Islam’s wisdom incorporates the system of Salat, Fasting, Zakat and Hajj to bring humility to one and place every one par. (Someone had commented earlier that I do not write details – if some one wants, I can elaborate on it). Indeed, every faith has an element to bring humility to one; the main one being Prayer.

Yes, Pluralism means respecting the otherness of other, without having to believe in it or follow it.

About ~1.5 billion of the 6.5 billion believe in Islam, some 2 Billion believe in Christ as God or God’s son or part of the trinity and nearly a Billion Hindus believe in Oneness of God manifested in Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. Neither the greater number makes it right nor do any other criteria make it right. It is simply the belief. As I have mentioned earlier – if your missing son is raised by a Jew, Christian or a Hindu as a staunch one… what has changed in the equation when he grows up and argues with staunchly raised Muslim kid by you? Not the fact, but belief; the only differentiator.

“Does pluralism means reconciling to the idea that those who pray to material idols or icons are not indulging in Shirk but are actually invoking attributes of God?”

Khalid, shirk applies to Muslims alone. Those who believe in one God, and then add a co-God, a deputy or an associate, then that Muslim will be committing Shirk. I seriously doubt if there are (m)any Muslims out there who commit Shirk – even those who justify the waseela at a Wali Allah’s Mazar may not be indulging in Shirk – they know it is God who gives.

For a common Hindu, it is not shirk, that is his way of life. He believes in different manifestations of the same God. I have not researched if Prophet (pbuh) had banned Pork eating for every one Muslim or otherwise in Madinah during his time, however I do know that he was fine with others praying God as they knew, he even asked them to pray it in Masjid-e-Nabwi.

Accepting the otherness of other is Pluralism. To you is your Deen as my Deen is to me. It is a very powerful statement and sadly a few Muslims want to reduce it a singular application. It is for all times and all situations. Qur’aan is not confusing, it is straight forward book of guidance.

“Does pluralism forbid us to take a stand that our religion is the right path and that we ought to convince others to also join us otherwise it will lead them into a big loss in the Hereafter?”

Pluralism is not a religion, not a system, not a dogma and not a commandment. It is simply an attitude. As such it cannot forbid any one to do anything or nothing. It is all about Free will as Qur’aan has so vividly said – There is no compulsion in the matters of faith. God and the prophet (pbuh) want us to understand the wisdom of free will. Not a soul can be made to do believe things against his will.

Instead of inviting people to be good beings, politically oriented Muslims and Christians gloat in having bigger numbers; it is a political thing and not a spiritual one. God has assured in Qur’aan, whether you are a Jew, Christian or otherwise, only he decides who will or who will not earn his grace. Good deeds is the key, and you cannot do good deeds to yourselves, it is what you do with others, and how your treat others. The Prophet (pbuh) says treat the other as though he is your brother. Our fasting and prayers are acts of selfishness, to help us bring peace. What we do to others is good deeds.

Arrogance is not Islam, being powerful is not Islam, having humility and treating other humans with dignity is Islam. Mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill is Islam. Isn’t it also called a religion of peace?

Khalid I am with you on this “It should be noted that countless Ulema, among whom we can count the likes of Maulana Azad, Maulana Madani etc were proponents of pluralism and showed leadership in creating a pluralistic framework for India's freedom struggle. They, however, did not sacrifice their Aqeeda or any aspect of Islam and held firm to the idea of Tawheed as not only superior but rather the only right path for salvation, all the while having excellent relations with the leaders of other religions.”

Khalid, Maulana Azad is one of my mentors and a while back we crated a yahoogroups and many of us posted some beautiful sayings of the Maulana. Yes, I read him and learn a lot from his. All my learning has come from reading, learning and thinking about these great souls. I thank them for the knowledge. "The people who continue to impart wisdom to me are; Dale Carnegie, Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Karen Armstrong, Jiddu Krishnamurthy, H.H. Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr., H.H. Aga Khan, Reverend Moon, Allama Iqbal and Rabbi Gordis. Let me clarify this, the simple reason for these particular names is my exposure to their work. I am open to learning from every possible source."

Khalid, you are judgmental and it is your prerogative. “Rather than vouching for Mike's inferiority complex ridden conception of pluralism.”. If you want to add and enhance knowledge I welcome it but if your inclination is to ridicule, that is your choice.

I aspire to follow as many models of peace of Prophet (pbuh) as I am capable of, one of them was keep on doing as many right things as you can and pray for those who pelt stones at you. I rather spend my time in exchanging knowledge and answering questions that I am capable of rather than responding to quote in above paragraph, I’d leave it to you. I understand no one criticizes a dead man. Thank God I am alive at this moment and Insha Allah till the time you read.

Mike Ghouse

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.


In xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Khalid Azam wrote:

No one is opposing pluralism. The discussion and contention is on the definition of pluralism? Are we allowed to define what pluralism means or is it already a foregone conclusion as defined by Mike Ghouse? Does pluralism mean a syncretic tradition where beliefs of all religions need to be selectively borrowed or reconciled to create a tasty Khichdi or Haleem? Does pluralism means accepting and validating that every path of worship is acceptable to God? Does pluralism means reconciling to the idea that those who pray to material idols or icons are not indulging in Shirk but are actually invoking attributes of God? Does pluralism forbid us to take a stand that our religion is the right path and that we ought to convince others to also join us otherwise it will lead them into a big loss in the Hereafter?

I don't believe anyone is questioning whether people should have the rights and religious freedoms to practice their own religion in a society of diverse religious tradition. The question is whether we are required to sacrifice our Aqeeda and say that all traditions are right and lead to salvation OR whether we can still claim in a pluralistic setting that our religion is the right path and therefore have the freedom to spread it?

The Quran is full of arguments and dialogues about the evils of Shirk and idol worhsip and Prophets of Allah have made these arguments regardless of whether they lived in a majority of believers or were a minuscule minority living among hostile disbelievers. The primary mission of all the Prophets has been the propagation of Tawheed or Oneness of God. This necessarily involves comparing and distinguishing Tawheed from Shirk and polytheism. Can this mission of the Prophets be accommodated in a pluralistic setting? Certainly not according to the "pluralistic" ideas of Mike Ghouse who wants to make any such comparison and propagation taboo and a no-no according to his idea of pluralism.

It should be noted that countless Ulema, among whom we can count the likes of Maulana Azad, Maulana Madani etc were proponents of pluralism and showed leadership in creating a pluralistic framework for India's freedom struggle. They, however, did not sacrifice their Aqeeda or any aspect of Islam and held firm to the idea of Tawheed as not only superior but rather the only right path for salvation, all the while having excellent relations with the leaders of other religions.

Rather than vouching for Mike's inferiority complex ridden conception of pluralism, we are all better served by acquainting ourselves with the biographies of these great Muslim scholars and standing behind their beliefs on pluralism. As a matter of fact, Mike would also benefit from reading their biographies.



Dear all
In my humble opinion Muslims living in a pluralistic coutry like USA and India and opposing pluralism tend to get into isolationism. That does more harm to them than good. Muslims should do their best to make peace with all its peace loving non- Muslim citizens and respect "otherness of others" ( the phrase righly put forward by bro Mike) as the religion of Islam tecahes peace.

But of course that is not at the cost of Islam itself. There is no reason why one should sacrifice Islamic legacy to please non-believers. Why should we try to change perception of Islam at the cost of Islam? as righly echoed by bro Abdussalam :

Can we all agree and converge on the foregoing to conclude our debate.??

Nafisul Hasan


  1. Any stand that our religion is the right path and that we ought to convince others to also join us, could only have any authenticity if and when we have been able to cultivate ourselves into Muslims and have created a just polity governed by Islamic concept of life i.e., "consultative resolution of all mutual and social problems". Unfortunately, we abandoned that Islam and invented our Golden Calf - the prevalent Islam of Brothers Khalid and Mike. We buried the Islam taught by Rasul Allah in the Battle of Jamal and abandoned the Ummah to the subjugation of Malukiyat, Clergy and its
    Allies. Ummah has been wandering in the barrenness of its poverty and ignorance. Your Madnis, Maulana Azads and waliUllahs, were a "cut of the same brands", who emphsized 'worship' and personality cults and misled the Ummah (let me address it as "Awam Ul Naas") from reading The Guidance, understanding/interpreting it as they understood and then applying it on their individual lives and "consultatively, evolve a polity governed by their spirit of Aisaar, Ehsan and Insaf."
    Mind you, this we have never undertaken and are no where near getting to do it any where in our times. Of course, the simmerings are around and every where, in different forms.

    When ever, we get to evolve such a polity, we will not have to enjoin others; they will, of their own free will, strive to do the same, for sure. That is the strength and dynamic message of ISLAM, the Way of Life perfected and taught by Rasul Allah (saw).

    Like I insist, ISLAM is a gradual evolution of The Way of Life for Mankind (Beni Adam) and all religions are its primordial designs, taught to the Mankind of thier respective times. As Mankind marched on, the need to incorporate and sophisticate it, was crucial and inevitable.

    Unfortunately, after Rasul Allah (saw), the gradual process of evolving and developing an Islamic polity and training of the members of the Ummah was disrupted and finally abandoned, nay, buried at the "Battle of Jumal".

    Let me say it without fear of contradiction that the western society has taken a lead in the evolving of the polity that serves their 'Awam Ul Naas' better but more justly and fairly than any other society on the Earth. Certainly Muslim communities are blindfold, deprived and ignorant, with no rights, no hopes and no options. It enlightened 'Ones' are talking of Pluralism and not Tauhid and not investing their efforts to help resurrect the impoverished Muslim Ummah. This is the tyrreny of their misfortunes; their sons who succeeded to break the shackles, are returning to the 'left-behind' ideological pastures!

    Worry not as Beni Adam will deliver, maybe, many a millenniums later but sure it will. And all of us, share that Oddyssey and will regale in its sublime destiny. Best regards: Sher Suleman

  2. Pehley tou Bro. Khalid ka Islam dhond ke layien! Like the Ummah of Moses, we also invented the 'Golden Calf', he knows as Islam where Arabic language has special sanctity, our 'Salat' has to be offered in that language, our 'Khutbas' of Friday congregations and 'Eiddains' invented in the times of 'Malukiyat' that haunted Muslim Ummah for all the 14 centuries of its wanderings and where-in, the concept of worship has been so perpetuated that Rasul Allah (pbuh), Allah (swt) have also been become 'Golden Calves' and The Guidance that was to shape our individual lives and help us evolve a polity driven by spirit of Aisaar, Ehsan and Insaf, set aside for all times. The present-day disgrace of the Muslim Ummah is the consequence.
    This indulgence with concepts of sanctification and worship has so blindfolded human intelligence that we cannot dare interpret Qur'anic Guidance in its "time-related percepectives" as Clergy - The Insatiable Fiends and powerful tool of Malukiyat, will not brook any member of the Ummah to take the liberty of his own interpretation and sharing it with fellow-members of the Ummah and persecute such persons under a stupid yet inhuman concept of blasphemy!!
    To me, all sanctity is for human beings. Nothing should be exalted over them nor sanctified; as Allah (swt) made submit to Beni Adam "All that is between the Heavens and the Earth". The Clergy and their invented Golden Calf - the present day practised ISLAM, like all Golden Calves of earlier prophetic Islams we know as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianty etc have deprived humanity of their rights, particularly their right to develop their humanity.

    May we re-tread our path, revert to the Islam Rasul Allah (saw) taught and remove the murkiness that centuries of obscurantism has blinded our vision and understanding. Our journey is tedious and hazardous but be sure, that's what Mankind will do and deliver. That's the Way of Life Beni Adam will re-invent, evolve, and adopt. This is the calling of our destiny and this is what is inherent in our Creation - we will unravel His Miracle of Creation; we will express HIM.
    Sher Suleman



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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


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 ( 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.


Thank you.


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.