A tribute to Jesus on this Christmas;
What does it mean to be religious?
This column is dedicated to Rev. Petra Weldes of the Center for Spiritual Living in Dallas. Some of my conversation with her inspired me to write this tribute to Jesus and what it means to be religious. http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2009/12/tribute-to-jesus.html
When Jesus calls on us to follow him, Krishna suggests us to surrender to him, Allah asks us to submit to his will, and every spiritual master shares similar wisdom in one form or the other, what could they mean?
By the way Jesus did not call on Christians exclusively to follow him, he called on the whole humanity to follow him, neither Allah in Qur’aan addresses Muslims, he addresses the whole universe from the very first verse.
The bottom line: Every effort was made to pull one up from one’s selfish interests that are a source of conflicts with other’s selfish interests, to the larger interests of the society which paves the way for peace and long term security of every one. The idea applies to the nations as well, what is good for one has got to be good for others and vice-versa for a sustainable balance in the society. No nation or we as individuals can have advantages at the cost of others; such benefits are temporary and deleterious to lasting peace.
Whether you are a painter, artist, poet, tailor, sculptor, mechanic, teacher, chef, engineer, janitor, doctor or a builder, you want your output to be good, pleasant, durable, sustainable and co-exist in harmony with its surroundings. God is no different, like a mother, he, she or it wants his creation to co-exist in harmony with what surrounds; life and environment.
Through the great teachers, the creator has communicated that wisdom to everyone of the seven billion of us; for example in one version, Krishna says whenever the balance in a society is lost (adharma), some wise man or woman will emerge from among them and restore that elusive balance to the society (bring righteousness - dharma). In the Qur’aan, God says, he sent a messenger to every tribe, nation and people to create harmony and peace among themselves.
You can see that act played out by Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Bahaullah, Nanak, Buddha, Mahavir, Confucius, Zarathushtra, Gandhi and the shamans in every native, and earth based traditions. Even among Atheists there will be one who will work on creating peace within and with others. They all have done what a representative of Goodness (or God) ought to do; cultivate a culture of harmony and co-existence, isn’t that religious? No one of God's creation is left out of his grace and mercy, if we can learn to respect the (God) given wisdom of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
Indeed, you do have a peace maker amongst you; on your board, at your school, city council, business, church or a social club. That one person brings the relief, just as one can bring the grief. Let's do our individual share of good, that's all it take to bring peace on earth.
It is from this perspective; I share the thought that, to be religious is to be a mitigater of conflicts and a nurturer of goodwill. Each one of us has to ask ourselves every moment of the day, is my act, my thought and my words mitigate or aggravate a conflict? Do I see the wisdom in the teachings of the great masters? Am I religious? (One does not have to believe in God to be religious, an Atheist can be religious in the sense, he or she wants to create harmony by mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill).
In the name of the creator, whatever name we choose to call or in the interests of co-existence, and in the name of our great teacher Jesus, let’s commit to be the mitigaters of conflict and nurturers of goodwill, on his on his birthday to honor him.
Let’s believe in his message of loving even our enemies is good for us as individuals and the society. Together, let us all see the beauty and wisdom of his teachings without any reserve. Let’s us all receive his message of goodness today and become religious.
Merry Christmas, May God tempt you to be religious and to be like Jesus.
Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer speaker and an activist of pluralism, interfaith, co-existence, peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His three websites and 22 Blogs are listed on http://www.mikeghouse.net/
Feel free to write your comments: http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2009/12/tribute-to-jesus.html#comments
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.