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Islam and Pluralism

Many Indonesians who want to repel the forces of increasing Sharia calls for a Sharia compliant state have been invoking Pancasila or the Five Principles, the Indonesian state philosophy...

Is Allah, the God of Muslims, a different deity from the one worshiped by Jews and Christians? Is he even perhaps a strange “moon god,” a relic from Arab paganism, as some anti-Islamic polemicists have argued? What about Allah’s apostle, Muhammad? Was he a militant prophet who imposed his new religion by the sword....

Moreover, Jesus, or Isa Peace be upon him, is a Prophet of the highest order in Islam. Moreover his birth is mentioned in various places in the Qur’an extremely cordially - some accounts are not found even in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke...


The story offers not just a wholesome but a holistic perspective of the Muslim faith’s approach to the icons of other religions ....

So, pity the likes of Zakir Naik while you go out and build bridges of love with Christians. ...Here’s my admission of Kufr: Merry Christmas, ya’ll...

“Homosexuality is a major sin in Islam,” he said. “To walk around and to tell everybody your sins and to ask them to accept these sins is not okay. We will not accept someone coming in and saying that this sinful act (homosexuality) has to be a part of the mosque, it doesn’t work like that.” But a rising trend is welcoming LGBTQ members in Muslim communities....

The Quran is teaching balance and equity — to enjoy the bounties and share them with others. Do good and seek to benefit others. Those others are not necessarily always Muslims, for the Quran teaches that respect is owed to every human being regardless of religion. Dignity and freedom are guaranteed to each person regardless of origin or whether they are a part of a majority or a minority....

The most innocent of comments on this topic would be to say that what is intended by a “European Islam” is to create a kind of Islam that would not “act up” and would remain a docile part of the social fabric of Europe....

When looking at the history of Muslims at al-Tabari and Ibn Kathir and the "History of Baghdad" of Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, and the process of transformations and developments of the Islamic state we can also find bright patterns of coexistence of Muslims with other religions, depending on the political circumstances, the policy of each caliph and the path of each stage....

It is said that Shah Abdul Latif had spent around three years in the company of the wandering ascetics. His travels with the Yogis left a deep impression on him and the theme of Yogis as perfect practitioners of spiritual life feature prominently in his Risalo, a large collection of Sindhi lyrical poetry considered to be the greatest classic of Sindhi literature.

 

While the evolution of this comprehensive and coherent theology of peace and pluralism will remain a continuing process, the already available essential elements of this theology should be brought to the Muslim masses. Since support for such a venture cannot be expected from clerics, of any hue,  popular acceptance of this theology should be gained through the use of media as well as genuine grassroots movements.

Essentially, Jihadism is a Muslim problem and Muslims must tackle it. But the societies in non-Muslim majority countries can help kick-start the debate.  It must be understood that a madrasa graduate who has been brainwashed into believing, as most are, that "life begins in the grave," is a ticking time bomb that should be defused with the same urgency as other bombs are. A secular government should not allow anyone to spread the poison of intolerance and xenophobia either in mosques or in madrasas. A study of what is taught in Indian madrasas, and the content of sermons delivered in mosques, is urgently required. If found intolerant, supremacist, exclusivist and xenophobic, the ulema, madrasas and imams should be confronted with them and asked to change.

Also, the least the government of India can do to ameliorate the plight of Muslim women today is to promulgate a law similar to Pakistan's  Muslim Family Laws Ordinance of 1961, with just one difference, fixing the age of marriage of girls at 18, instead of 14, as in the Ordinance. This should have been done along with reforms in Hindu personal laws in the 1950s, or at least immediately after reforms in Muslim laws in Pakistan. But better half a century late than never. Male chauvinist Indian Muslim ulema will still howl in protest. But they will not have much to say as these reforms have been acceptable to their counterparts in Pakistan and Bangladesh for over half a century. ...  Muslims have to start reclaiming the Islam that the Prophet had brought and rethinking how it can be lived and practised in the vastly changed circumstances of the 21st century.

So if the friendship with Jews and Christians was indeed forbidden, how does that jive with marrying them? You cannot make friends with them but you may marry them? The truth is that the ‘friendship’ was never meant to be forbidden. Additionally, the allowance of food in the same verse as marriage is a call for social interaction between people of faith and implies inviting each other for, and sharing meals....

The Qur’an has a clear view of the prior Abrahamic Scriptures: The Scriptures, as set down to Moses and Jesus and other prophets, are sacred and to be respected. Muslims are commanded to “believe” in all Scriptures. The Qur’an is considered a continuation of the revelations from the same God....

 

Here, thanks to God given freedom, humans can continue to be atheists (I recall a famous statement, “Thank God, I am an atheist.”) or theists. Lord is conceived by/addresses every believer in his own way and Personal God is not the Absolute. It is God understood in trans-theistic context as Absolute and One that we find religions from Buddhism to Islam in agreement. So-called non-believers have problems mostly not with the Absolute but with theism presented with anthropomorphist tinge. Theologies as human attempt at formulating divine science can’t but differ...

 

In the nineteenth century there was nearly universal consensus that Jews in the Islamic Middle Ages—taking al-Andalus , or Muslim Spain , as the model—lived in a “Golden Age” of Jewish-Muslim harmony, an interfaith utopia of tolerance and convivencia. It was thought that Jews mingled freely and comfortably with Muslims, immersed in Arabic-Islamic culture, including the language, poetry, philosophy, science, medicine, and the study of Scripture—a society, furthermore, in which Jews could and many did ascend to the pinnacles of political power in Muslim government...

 

Christians and Jews believe the hill is Jerusalem. Muslims believe the valley is Mecca.I believe they are both right and God willing, someday everyone may see these two cities and their sanctuaries as a pair of spiritual lungs; that are central to our religious inspiration by, and connection to, the One God of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac....

 

The Old Testament too has been a target of same type of criticism: “The God of the Old Testament is harsh and full of vengeance, and the God of New Testament is loving and kind.” Once again, reading the scripture, it becomes clear that the God of these scriptures indeed has the same attributes, for He is the same God....

 

The similarity of Quran verses 3:190–191, quoted above, and Deuteronomy 6:4–9 is striking: Both command the followers to remember God in all phases: sitting, standing, and lying. In addition to submitting to Him, the constant remembrance throughout the day is meant to encourage one to do good deeds and eschew bad deeds as ordained by God....

The idea that God's message is universal, but its manifestations plural, provides the basic underpinning to the manner in which the Quran relates itself and the faith that it preaches with the religious traditions that preceded it in the Middle East, namely Judaism and Christianity. Far from denying the validity of these predecessor traditions, the Quran repeatedly affirms their essential truth, acknowledging that their message comes from one and the same God, and that it (the Quran) is only the latest of God's revelations to affirm and confirm the revelations that preceded it....

Muhammad (ﷺ) was married to Safiyya – a Jewish lady. On one occasion she came to Muhammad (ﷺ) in tears after being taunted for being Jewish by Arab women. After consoling her he said, “If they discriminate you again, tell them that your husband is Muhammad, your father was the prophet Aaron and your uncle was prophet Musa. So what is there in that to be scornful towards you”. It is well documented that Muhammad (ﷺ) had Jewish wives, friends and many subjects. And it is the treatment of these Jewish subjects in lands under his control that laid the blueprint of tolerance and protection that Muslim rulers have shown Jews throughout the centuries....

 
Islamic Concept of Tolerance—an Essential Prerequisite for Peaceful Coexistence
Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
Islamic Concept of Tolerance—an Essential Prerequisite for Peaceful Coexistence
Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam

Tolerance in Islam, rightly understood, is patience toward a practice or opinion one disapproves of. This understanding may come as a surprise to many people who interpret tolerance simply as a synonym for the words ‘acceptance’ or ‘agreement’. Islamic tolerance entails disagreement yet a firm moral commitment to the decent treatment of the person with whom one disagrees. So tolerance in Islam can be understood as a patient forbearance against something which is disliked or disapproved of.... 

For here is the possibility of turning every moment of our life into an act of worship through a change in our intentions. For example, when a believer goes to his place of work with the intention of fulfilling his religious responsibility to provide for his family and earn Halal living, he may be engaged in the same physical activity as the next person but his outlook is very different. And so is his reward! Through this small effort we could really be living for a higher purpose, and at a higher level....

 

Etymologically, Millat means a pathway in Arabic. Millat Ibrahim denotes the faith tradition of Prophet Abraham (or Ibrahim in Arabic) as mentioned in the Qur'an. The Qur'an refers to the faith of Ibrahim as “Millat u Ibrahim”. It also tells about Hazrat Ibrahim’s experiences in the quest for the truth and how he first considered a star, moon and sun as his gods but rejected them as mere creatures and how he finally believed in their Creator (Qur'an 6:76-79). The Qur’an has used the term Millat in fifteen different contexts. 10 of them (2:120, 2:130, 2:135, 3:95, 4:125, 6:161, 12:37, 12:38, 16:123, 22:78) refer, directly or indirectly, to Prophet Abraham. It also tells us that it is Abraham who coined the term "Muslim" and Allah named all his followers Muslims. (Qur'an 22:78)....

While speaking about Islam, we are aware that it is capable of rational interpretation. In spite of several interpretations of religious texts at present, we believe there is room for re-interpretation in the light of new knowledge in disciplines of sociology, politics and history through which we could review traditional understanding of sacred texts, in order to promote the spirit of tolerance and respect for pluralism and human rights.

 

Online jihadist propaganda attracts more clicks in Britain than in any other European country and the main internet companies are failing to curb it, according to Policy Exchange, a think tank. The report, "The New Netwar," said that the Islamic State is still producing, at a conservative estimate, about 100 items of new content each week, including execution videos and bomb-making instructions, reaching an audience of, at minimum, tens of thousands, including large numbers of users in the UK....

 
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