Tuesday, July 31, 2012

TEXAS FAITH: Has religion lost its bite?

Has faith been boiled down into tenets that mostly make us feel good about ourselves? Or, to put it another way, has modern religion lost its ability to make us feel uncomfortable about parts of our lives?

Texas Faith is a weekly column at Dallas Morning News managed by Editors William McKenzie and Wayne Slater, the material is contributed by several panelists, for all responses please visit http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/2012/07/texas-faith-has-religion-lost-its-bite.html/

Has modern religion lost its bite?

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas

Indeed, the modern religion is reduced to a ritual to be performed as a social obligation to get it over with, rather than what it ought to do to you personally. It is particularly dumped on children as a duty to be fulfilled. The story is similar in most religions, given the space limitations; I will keep it to the Islamic month of Ramadan.

As a part of developing the model for Pluralism in Islam, I am visiting every denominational mosque since Ramadan began ten days ago for the whole month ending on August 18th or 19th depending on the moon sighting. It is everything you wanted to know about Ramadan and more; its politics, spirituality and traditions at RamdanDaily.com. One will appreciate the uniqueness of each of its traditions.

Dr. Allama Iqbal, a great philosopher and a poet wrote a poem in Urdu language, and one of the most famous lines goes as follows;Tera dil to hay sanam aashna, tujhay kia milay ga namaz main. ” Broadly translated, you heart is elsewhere, and so what do you get out of praying or fasting?

What do the Salat (ritual prayers) and fasting do to you, and what is the cumulative effect on you? If it does not bring Taqwa, the spirituality and humility in you, then you have merely performed the ritual without being affected by it.|

Taqwa has many dimensions, one of them is humility, the essence of which is feeling, talking and acting equal with your employee, spouse, family and other members of the society, Muslim or not. How do we measure up?

Arrogance is the mother of all conflicts, whereas humility is the solution to most of them. When you bow, kneel or prostrate at your place of worship, it is an acknowledgement of the invisible superior being, and equality of fellow beings.

Has your religion lost its bite? Look at the ritual practices in your own, most people get it right, a few don’t.

To a few, religion is a powerful tool to manipulate others, or pushing their beliefs onto others. To some it is a social need to keep their status as a church going “honest” family, and some feel sanctimonious when performing the rituals in a Church, Temple, Synagogue, Gurudwara or a Mosque. When they step out of the sanctuary, the arrogance creeps right back in, and the religion loses its bite instantly.


My Professor Dr. Ramachandra, shared a story about the senselessness of rituals. He said, a great Hindu Sadhu (saint) goes to the Ganges to take the holy dip in the river to wash his sins off. As he walked on the edge of the river, thousands of devotees recognized him and decided, that is was time for them to learn from him by observing his rituals.

So the Sadhu places his traditional water bucket on the sand, and goes into the river, looks back at the brass bucket and realizes that it could be stolen, the smart man walks back and buries the bucket in the sand. As he was walking into the river, he realizes that he may not find the spot in the large swatch of sand, so he comes back, and plucks a branch from a tree and plants it on the top of the buried bucket and merrily goes back into the river. When he returns from his bath, he was shocked to see thousands of tree branches buried in the sand instead the one. Many a rituals are formed thru imitations without meaning it.


Please mark your calendar for Tuesday 9/11/2012, it's a big event in Dallas- details at www.UnitydayUSA.com


No American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. There are solutions, here is a trailer of the movie in making: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMXsTo4VYh8&feature=youtu.be

Mike Ghouse is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairs, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. The blog www.TheGhousediary.comis updated daily.

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Voice of Moderate Muslims

Voice of Moderate Muslims
Voice of Moderate Muslims

Moderate Islam Speaker

Moderate Islam Speaker
Moderate Islam Speaker

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 (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.

URL- http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2013/08/planned-muslim-response-to-quran_18.html

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.