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Islam and Pluralism (28 Sep 2015 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Human Beings Are Equal, Have the Same Rights, the Human Race Is One, and We Are All Brothers – Global Call for Improving Inter-Faith Relations and Combating Religious Supremacism and Bigotry



By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam

(Co-author (Jointly with AshfaqueUllah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009.)

September 28, 2015.

This article is inspired by a deeply though latently God-conscious contact of mine, unaware of his divine heritage. The object of this article is to expound the brotherhood of humanity which is the essence of all religions as much as the Qur’anic message and the dream vision of the intellectual of this era. The article is not the brainchild of the author as he is just an ordinary person and not founder or proponent of any social or religious doctrine. As a Muslim, he is backing his arguments on the Qur’an which as it claims is meant for all humanity, gives equal recognition to all Prophets and puts all humanity on a level playing field.

To begin with we must see the role and uniqueness of humans in divine scheme as spelled out in the Qur’an – albeit in bits and pieces. 

At the concluding stage of his creative process, man (humankind) is graced with a touch of divine breath (15:29, 32:9, and 38:72). This invests him with a divine heritage, regardless of the religion in which he is born. He is also described as the noblest of creatures (95:4) – God’s deputy (Khalifah) on earth'(2:30, 6:165, 27:62, 35:39), who is granted cognitive ability (use of reason) (96:4), the power to learn new things (96:5), coherent speech (55:3/4) and is favoured above much of the Creation (17:70). Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth is made subservient to him and God has lavished His bounties on him (both) seen and unseen…” (31:20) [See also 14:32, 16:12, 45:13, and 67:15]. None of these qualities is religion specific. That means the religion of a person does not make him superior to fellow humans belonging to another religion in any way. In other words, the Qur’an does not espouse any religion based superiority.

The next important point to bear in mind is that the Qur’an does not represent the religious views of the Prophet Muhammad. In the words of Bishop Kenneth Cragg, it is “the culminatory truth from all that past, enfolding God’s education of humanity through the prophets” [1]. It reminds the Prophet to lead by following the example of the Prophet Abraham, whom it regards as the model of pure monotheism, and a Friend of God (3:95, 4:125) and acknowledges the truth of other faiths (5:48):

“And who can be better in faith (din) than the one who surrenders (Assalama) his whole being to God (divine imperatives), and does good deeds, and follows the way of Abraham, the pure in faith (Hanif), and God took Abraham as a friend” (4:125).

“Say (O Messenger): ‘God speaks the truth.’ Therefore follow the creed of Abraham, who was pure in faith and never of those who associate partners with God” (3:95)

“We have revealed to you this divine Writ (Kitab) setting forth the truth, confirming (whatever) remains of the divine writ (sent earlier), and determining what is true in it. Therefore, judge between them by what God has revealed, and do not follow their whims after what has come to you of truth. For each of you We have made a (different) code (Shir’ah), and an open way (of action) (Minhaj). If God so pleased, He would have made you (all) into one community. Therefore vie (with each other) in goodness (so that) He may test you by what He has given you. (Remember, you) all will (eventually) return to God, and He will tell you in what you differed” (5:48).

The underlined phrase above clearly indicates God’s divine plan to test all human beings on the Day of Judgment regardless of colour, race and nationality and doctrinal differences by ‘what He gave them’ implying how humans used the faculties and bounties God lavished on them – their deeds in one word. Accordingly, the Qur’an repeatedly declares that He will judge all people regardless of religion based on their deeds:

“Those who believe, and those who are Jews, and Christians and Sabians - and (in fact) any who believe in God and the Last Day, and do good deeds - shall have their reward with their Lord. There will be no fear upon them, nor shall they grieve” (2:62).

“Those who believe, and those who are Jews, and Sabians and Christians - (in fact) any who believe in God and the Last Day, and do good deeds - there will be no fear upon them, nor shall they grieve” (5:69).

“Those who believe, and those who are Jews, and Sabians and Christians and Magians, and those who associate (others with God) - God will judge between them on the Day of Judgment. Indeed, God is Witness to all things” (22:17). [See also 4:124, 64:9, 65:11]

In other words, the Qur’an treats people of all religions on an equal footing with regard to their accountability to God. Thus, at a very early stage of the revelation it declares:

“On that day, humans will be sorted out and shown their deeds:  whoever does an iota of good will see it; and whoever doe an iota of evil will see it” (99:5-8).

“Indeed man is ungrateful to his Lord and he bears witness to that (by his ingratitude) for he is intense in his love for wealth (that he wants to horde up)” (100:6-8).

“Indeed man is bound to be a loser - except those who believe and do good deeds and enjoin truth and enjoin patience” (103:2-3). 

“Woe to all slanderers and fault-finders, (And woe to) those who amass wealth and multiply it thinking his wealth would make him last. But he will be given over to an agonizing punishment (at the Resurrection)” (104:1-4).  

“Do you see the one who gives a lie to the din (moral laws)? It is he who rebuffs the orphan and has no urge (lit., ‘does not urge each other’) to feed the poor. So, woe to those prayerful - those who are heedless of their prayer, those who aim to be seen (in public) but hold back from helping (others)” (107:1-7)

It is clear from these verses that the Qur’an pits humans face to face against God and repeatedly reminds him that He will judge them based on their deeds and not on religion.

Some Muslim scholars, however, advocate that the non-Muslims (in its present day sense), who do not believe in the Prophet Muhammad, will not qualify for God’s mercy. They interpret the generic word Islam (submitting/ orienting oneself to God) in the verse 3:85 (underlined below), in its popular restrictive sense as the religion of the followers of the Prophet Muhammad. This is misleading as the preceding verses (3:83-84), demonstrate the generic character of the word Islam appearing in 3:85. 

“Do they seek any (religion) other than the din (religion) of God, to whom all in the heavens and on earth have submitted, willingly or unwillingly, and to whom they will all be returned (3:83)? Say: ‘We believe in God, and in what has been revealed to us, and in what has been revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes, and to Jesus and Moses and (other) prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them; and surely to Him do we all submit (84). If anyone seeks other than Islam (self-surrender to God) as a din (religion), it will not be accepted of him, and in the hereafter he will be among the losers” (3:85).

The foregoing argument also holds for the identically worded verses 9:33 and 61:9, some scholars quote to claim exclusivity of Islamic faith:

“He is the One who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam - submission to God), that he may distinguish it from all religions, however the pagans detested this” (9:33/61:9). [48:28 is identically worded except for the underlined remarks.]

To leave no doubts about the universality of its message, the Qur’an warns those who take a restrictive view of their faith that their desires will not prevail and that whoever does evil will be requited accordingly.

“Neither your desires, nor the desires of the People of the Book (can prevail): whoever does evil will be requited accordingly, and he will not find any protector or helper besides God” (4:123).

Others citetheverse9:113 that was specific to the context of the revelation that forbade the Prophet and his followers to seek forgiveness for the dead among the pagans (Mushrikin), “after it has become clear to them that they (died as polytheists and therefore) are condemned to the Blazing Flame” (9:113).

The express mention of the Prophet in this verse lends it an existential dimension and puts to question the eternal validity of its pronouncement. Besides, the Mushrikin of the Qur’an were its immediate pagan audience and cannot be conflated with the polytheists of this era as expounded in the article referenced below [2]. No doubt, the Qur’an barred the father of the Prophet Abraham, the son of the Prophet Noah and the wife of the Prophet Lot from divine forgiveness but these were the next of kin of the Prophets and thus direct recipient of the divine message. The present day atheists and polytheists cannot be paralleled with them as they had no remote connection with any prophet. Besides, many of them could have been foremost in good deeds and Taqwa and having no means of guidance, can earn divine forgiveness and blessing (4:98/99).Besides, all Muslims including the offspring of a non-Muslim are commanded to pray for the forgiveness of their deceased parents. This militates against the notion of excluding the non-Muslims from the prayers. Finally, there could be a grave problem in taking the referenced verse of Surah Tawbah on its face value.

The same Surah has verses that forbid the Prophet to pray over any of them (hypocrites) who had died, nor to stand by his grave (9:84).As the Prophet may still have prayed for all his followers, including the hypocrites, the revelation warns him that even if he sought forgiveness for them seventy times, God will never forgive them (9:80). This obviously indicates the existential dimension of these verses (9:80, 84, 113). If we give eternal validity to one of these verses (9:113), we must do the same to the other two verses and exempt the 'likely hypocrites among the Muslims of this era from our prayers.  But we never do it. We claim that all hypocrite Muslims of the Prophet’s era gave up hypocrisy and became devout Muslims – without any basis whatsoever.

Finally, let us address the biggest doctrinal challenge against bringing religions on a level playing field.

The Qur’an singles out Shirk (associating partners with God) as the most abominable crime (Zulmun Azim, 31:13) and unpardonable sin (4:48, 4:116) that bars entry into paradise (5:72). But these verses were addressed to the Qur’an’s immediate audience and it is debatable if they remain binding for those of the polytheists and unbelievers who fell outside the revelation corridor (the Prophet’s time and space). Moreover, God may pardon those who had no means of guidance or were otherwise helpless on earth (4:97-99):

It is conceivable that Allah will not judge the pagans of other parts of the world of the Prophet’s era in the same fashion as the pagan Arabs to whom the Qur’an was introduced as a miracle – a divine speech that cast a spell on them and filled them with awe and admiration and spiritually overwhelmed them into submission. The Qur’an did not interact with people outside of Arabia and in fact there is hardly any chance of any single non-Arab witnessing the majestic unfolding of the Qur’anic revelation that caused it audience to run away from it in dread like frightened donkeys fleeing a lion (74:49-51). So it will untenable to suggest that all the non-Arab polytheists and atheists of the Prophet’s era or even of a later era will be condemned to hell for denying the Qur’an which they were not even aware of.

It is true that the Qur’an barred the fathers of the Prophet Abraham, the son of the Prophet Noah and the wife of the Prophet Lot from any prospect of divine forgiveness as they persistently denied God, but we must not forget that they were the next of kin of the Prophets of God and therefore the common pagans and atheists who never came in contact with any prophet cannot be paralleled with them. The Qur’an cites the example of the followers of Jesus who took him and his mother as deities besides God (5:116). Jesus pleaded for them that if God punished them, they were His servants, but if He forgave them, He was mighty and Wise (5:118). 

From all the above illustrations it is clear that the divine judgment for all humanity, according to the Qur’an will be deed specific and not religion specific. That means no religion will be accorded any preference before God as He is the fountain-head of all religions which He evolved over time, each specific to an era and culminated his scheme of guiding humanity in the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad which merely acknowledges all past scriptures, recaptures what was lost of them over time and preserves the eternal message of God, Thus, the Muslims may argue that this amounts to Islam commanding a higher position over other scriptures. But the Qur’an corrects such misconception and asks humanity to believe in all the prophets and previously revealed scriptures, and to make no distinction between any of the Prophets (4:152), 3

“As for those who believe in God and His messengers, and do not make a distinction between any of them – it is they who will be given their rewards, for God is Most Forgiving and Merciful” (4:152).

Thus, the Qur’an does not rank the Prophet or His scriptures. In fact such rankings would have militated against the Qur’anic pluralism and based on common divine code to all humanity:

“O People! We have created you as male and female, and made you into races and communities* for you to get to know each other. The noblest among you near God are those of you who are the most heedful (Atqakum). Indeed God is All-Knowing and Informed” (49:13).

Hence, as expounded in a recently authenticated exegetic work, the Qur’an espouses “a universal brotherhood of humanity that will allow people of diverse faith, culture, colour and language to live together, to know each other and assist each other, to make life easy and peaceful for all human beings” [2]. To put it in the wake of rising claims of religious supremacy among the sibling religions, it is time to recognize and declare that “Human beings are equal, have the same Rights, the human race is one, we are all brothers.” At the same time, by a UN resolution all hatred inspiring theological materials, must be regarded as era specific or human machination and must not be used to promote religious supremacism, rivalry, hatred or bigotry.

1.       Kenneth Cragg, The Event of the Qur’an, One world Publication, England 1994, The Sense of History, p. 177]

2.       The Hindus are not ‘the Mushrikin’ mentioned in the Qur’an

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamDialogue_1.aspx?ArticleID=5655

3.       Essential Message of Islam, posted on this website, Chap. 9.7.

 

Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. KhaledAbou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-pluralism/muhammad-yunus,-new-age-islam/human-beings-are-equal,-have-the-same-rights,-the-human-race-is-one,-and-we-are-all-brothers-–-global-call-for-improving-inter-faith-relations-and-combating-religious-supremacism-and-bigotry/d/104737





TOTAL COMMENTS:-   18


  • Dear Secular Logic,

    I would like to make one thing crystal clear before I begin. I don’t believe in any organized religion . I have no faith in God. I’m an Ex-Muslim Atheist , and I’ve been quite critical about Islam.  What you mentioned so far is factual . But underneath your logic there is victimization. We can always debate on theological disputes – you might dislike certain excerpts of Quran; which is perfectly fine. But when the dislike turns into hatred towards any group of people belonging to any community then the real problem arises . Historically Muslims have done terrible things to Non-Muslims but the real victims of Muslim bigotry were Muslims themselves. The last 1400 years is the testimony of Muslims killing fellow Muslims for power and kingdom.  

    We cannot go back and undo what occurred in 1100’s and 1500’s. However , the manufactured hatred by the Sangh Parivar cannot be justified. It maybe a reaction due to the historic injustice. But if we take the same logic then every Dalit has the right to discriminate upper caste Brahmin. I would never endorse discrimination either from a Dalit or  an upper caste.

    This statement was really in bad taste, “..... Can you name one initiative by the muslim community that can be called a goodwill building measure? Even a symbolic gesture will do. No, you are gathering behind that mad preacher and the rabid MIM”

    Muslim community doesn’t require initiative for goodwill building. This is already being done through politically motivated iftar parties. This solution doesn’t look pragmatic. It might work in Hindi cinema  or some daily dose of soap operas. Muslim community badly need a platform where they can introspect and involve in critical thinking without any fear and danger from other fanatics within their community. But India’s track record had been abysmal.India is the only country where triple Tallaq exist. We fail to provide security to Taslima Nasreen. We ban books pulping them and vandalize art works. Do we really have the moral high ground.   I think you are criticizing the wrong people. Muhammed Yunus and Sultan Shahin are part of the solution . They are not Saudi billionairs and owners of oil fields. They are doing the best with the limited resourced available, also facing the impending dangers from the Mullas.“Ideology koo $$$endhan kii zaroorat hai bhai.”

    It’s rather unfortunate that out of frustration you compared MIM with NAI. On the contrary if yo go through the articles in NAI , especially from Pavez Hoodbhoy you will be surpised to see that the attempt is to silence the Mad preachers and bring a counter narrative.   


    By Ikram Ahmed - 7/6/2017 3:43:29 AM



  • Mr Yunus,    I sncicerly apologies if it has hurt you sentiments, but I advise only Secular logic not mentioning your name I made generic statement as this site is not peer-to- peer talking website I have to post under your article, because debat was going under your article.
    Another thing that as you have written " You may call this exception but Muslims may not accept it"
    1) Similarly Hindus may not have their agreements on many topic.

    2) With frustration to read(or may be not) you have written "why should you people waste your valuable time writing long comments" Answer to this is that people try to but sometimes not possible also.

    3) Not everyone is going to write articles like you. Mostly article is something from within, while comments comes out only as reactions, not everyone has same intellect to write.
    Lastly 
    4) Gross Matter of world exist as long as My and Your consciousness exist, matter will still than exist in different form, but it is question is that Gross matter is truth with it uncousiouss exisistance or we Individual are truth with limited time of consciousness.
    5) Matter will take it property back living us in thin air, the only thing is planet we left out for our generation to come is liveable that is most concern from all aspect a) environmental b) a good socialy healthy society c) A society which is not at constant war with each other.

    By Aayina - 10/9/2015 8:27:59 AM



  • Dear Secular Logic,

    Much of what you wrote is indeed correct, but there are issues in India which only aggravate the problems of the Muslim community and there is a general feeling of hatred among the religiously fanatics on both sides of the camp. Most of my Muslim relatives in India who are well educated are prospering and living in harmony with Hindus, working for companies owned by Hindus (in Bangalore for example. Community/ nationality/ Race/ religion wise segregation in housing is also found in many countries, though it is virtually impossible for a Muslim to get a flat in any posh locality in many of Indian cities. I have almost agreed with all your points and there can be counter-points as well, notably the occasional communal riots and forced eviction of the affected Muslims from their abodes which are lost to them for ever, You may call this exception but the Muslims may not agree. 

    Anyway, I am not to enter into any debate about Hidu-Muslim relations except to say that my work is directed towards the Muslim community - in fact to share my work with them through short articles and commentaries on this forum. I will leave the Hindu-Muslim issue for the Indians to resolve.
    The Muslims are now in the grip of their mullas - Zaki Naiks of India who are preaching a theology that is rooted in the Medieval era and my work / articles are tailored to get them out of their theological roots. 

    Have a good day

    By muhammad yunus - 10/2/2015 1:08:48 AM



  • Dear Sultan Shahin Sahab,

    Your following remark to yuginderji is music to my ears though it will ring hollow or the braying of an ass to many others. So let me assure others that Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, whose credentials are given below, says more or else the same thing in his introductory remarks:

    "I wish we lived in a world in which this book would become a standard reference source for students of religion who are interested in an accurate introduction to the religion of Islam.  The best thing I can say about this book is that it is the product of a labor of love that lasted for more than a decade.  The authors do not offer a personalized view of their own religiosity; they explain in a very straightforward and accessible fashion what mainstream Muslims believe in and especially, what the Qur’an itself teaches."

    This is the introduction of Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl appearing in his endorsement note:

    "This book is endorsed and introduced by one of the most distinguished Islamic scholars, Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl ,who is the Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law, where he teaches International Human Rights, Islamic Jurisprudence, National Security Law, Law and Terrorism, Islam and Human Rights, Political Asylum and Political Crimes and Legal Systems. He was awarded the University of Oslo Human Rights Award, the Leo and Lisl Eitinger Prize in 2007, and was named a Carnegie Scholar in Islamic Law in 2005. He was appointed by President George W. Bush as the only Muslim on the Commission for International Religious Freedom, and also previously served on the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch.  Dr. Abou El Fadl has written 14 books (five forthcoming) and over 50 articles on Islamic law and Islam.  His books have been translated into numerous languages including Arabic, Persian, French, Norwegian, Dutch, Ethiopian, Russian, and Japanese.  In 2007, his book, “The Great Theft” was named as one of the year’s Top 100 Books by Canada’s Globe and Mail. His book, “The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of the Books” is a landmark in contemporary Islamic literature."  
    By muhammad yunus - 10/1/2015 9:44:54 PM



  • Mr Yunus, my suggestion to revert to pre islamic faith was only what the logical thread of your argument led me to. I do not seriously think that is possible now. We could not protect our own people from forced conversions. We could not prevent conversions prompted by political opportunism. And our injustice laden caste system must also have contributed to the conversions. Nothing can undo this history. Don't be offended, and this is again a frivolous observation, but this whole conversion business reminds me of the zombie movies. Until you get bitten by the zombie, you are running away in terror of it, but once you get bitten, you become one of the zombie army yourself. There is no un-zombifying anybody. I appreciate your desire for Hindu Muslim harmony. But how do you suggest Hindus can help? Hindus are living in peace with everybody else, and even with the Muslims, they have a framework for peaceful living. You have your Sharia based personal law, freedom to practice your religion, build mosques, teach your children in madrassas if you want to or regular school if you want to and access to all opportunities that any common Indian has. Poverty can seriously restrict this access, but that is the state across all communities. What more can we do? Yes, there are certain boundaries. Hindus do not like mixed living for various reasons. Your lifestyles are very different - all those burqas, multiple wives, beef eating, large families, five times a day calls from mosque loudspeakers - Hindus dont like it. So only in housing, I do see discrimination. I must point out that reverse discrimination occurs in Muslim dominated areas too. It is a compromise arrangement, but we will have to accept it. Those who take advantage of the available opportunities prosper, and those who make an effort to integrate with the larger community are welcomed. How else would so many Muslims have risen to prominent places in the Indian society? How else would so many businesses have prospered, how else would your proportion in India's demography keep rising? Why are you advising us to work for harmony? Shouldn't you be advising the Muslim community instead? Muslim community is stuck in a quagmire of its own making. The solutions we offer are dismissed by Muslims as being anti Islamic. Your co-religionists bomb us, terrorise us, riot at the drop of a hat, ill treat their women, produce plentiful offspring they cannot afford to feed and educate, adopt radical ideas of faith that give them some imaginary superiority over other faiths, resent living in the land of the Kafir and pray for victory over the Kafir..... Can you name one initiative by the muslim community that can be called a goodwill building measure? Even a symbolic gesture will do. No, you are gathering behind that mad preacher and the rabid MIM. You cannot demand love. You have to make yourself lovable. All your scholarship on what Islam is and what Islam is not is wasted on us. Because frankly, we are not bothered by what anyone believes. We are, however, affected by the Islam we are seeing and experiencing. If that pristine version of Islam you talk about ever existed, we have not had the good fortune of seeing it. Frankly, I see no way out.
    By secularlogic - 10/1/2015 12:42:43 PM



  • Aaina, 
    I am sure you are addressing me because you share the frustration of these dialogues getting nowhere. I have also observed that these interfaith dialogues usually end with one particular religion claiming to be the greatest and also the misunderstood, and other faith participants, out of decency and wanting to keep things civil, do not openly speak what is in their minds, because they have a sense of what should be said publicly and what shouldn't. Interfaith dialogue, to my mind is useless. The positions of all religions are by now clear and intractable, and admitting any flaws in one's religion has become a matter of religious ego. I have found that only the Hindu community accepts that there are aspects of their religion that can be modified with changing times. And that is what will stand it in good stead. However, one must not allow frustration to end dialogue. After all, we have to live together. It will be best if we air our views on a proper forum rather than allowing things to remain unsaid. That kind of silence is not healthy, it is a festering silence. Its okay if things get muddy from time to time. So long as they dont get bloody. 

    By secularlogic - 10/1/2015 12:11:28 PM



  • Dear Aayna,

    In my last comment to Secular Logic I said: "If you hold the spark of God in your soul - so do I - so I also subscribe to the Advaita Philosophy - so let us join hands and do whatever little we can to bring the Hindus and Muslims closer together and give concrete shape to the slogan I heard as a child:
    hindu, muslim, sikh, isaaee = sab apas may bhai bhai.

    But you still say to Secular Logic:

    "
    So Mr/Mrs secular logic do not rub your hands in mud it will be more muddy only."

    Now tell me please what can I say that should help an inter-faith debate. I am really at a loss at your above remark. I thought we were engaged in good intellectual debate but if does not please you, why should you people waste your valuable time by writing long comments - I really fail to understand.

    Can you think of a common slogan something like a mission statement that can bring the two one-time friendly and now rival community together.

    By muhammad yunus - 10/1/2015 7:48:56 AM



  • To Mr/Mrs Secular logic
    This is advice to you Secular logic
    people of other faiths other than Muslim faith  topic like Interfaith dialogue/debates/articles initiated by Muslims should not reply or participate they are always meant to prove that Islam is superior. This was started in sub-continent by Mirza Gulam Ahmed Qudani, most recent one is Zakir Naik with his all money muscle he is started doing in India and now all over the world.
    Muslim never understand what is Inter-faith, they always rush at this platform to establish their superiority. When I was kid I was listening to Zakir Naik, I was thinking while debate was going with lots of crowd sitting on the ground with the hope that he is trying to bring some sort of Mitual understanding, but on the contrary it was more about establishing Islam or Quran supremacy,
    So Mr/Mrs secular logic do not rub your hands in mud it will be more muddy only.
    If you really want to understand what is Inter-faith from than you should talk to Sikh(with Hindu ansestary) or Bahahi( From Muslim ansestary), Bhahahi has lotus temple in India.
    I have written two faiths emerged from different ancestors Just to show their are many people in the world tried to bring harmony but this so called pure believers always take over.
    This game of inter-relegious harmony was played by Jinha also and at last that Parsi father paid price but Jinha daughter put boll in Jinha's court by denying his faith.
    So always be aware of this inter-faith platforms.
    By Aayina - 10/1/2015 5:44:00 AM



  • Dear Secular Logic,
    Let me make two clarifications please:
    1. I never categorically said that "(you were) determined to not like it."
    My statement was very generic which you may read again. But here we are getting into semantics that will take us nowhere. But let me assure you I never meant to say what you wrote or thought I wrote - perhaps I failed to express myself more accurately. 
    2. If you hold the spark of God in your soul - so do I - so I also subscribe to the Advaita Philosophy - so let us join hands and do whatever little we can to bring the Hindus and Muslims closer together and give concrete shape to the slogan I heard as a child:
    hindu, muslim, sikh, isaaee = sab apas may bhai bhai.

    This one slogan if established can potentially avert a nuclear holocaust in the subcontinent to which it is steadily inching forward and save the Middle East from a civilizational collapse."

     Let us aim at doing something that is possible. To convert all Muslims to their pre-Islamic faith is as impossible as to convert all Christians to the Jewish faith or all Hispanics to native South Americans. But it is possible to give a concrete shape to what the Indian film industry is paving the way for - to bring the Hindus and the Muslims closer together. The ball is in the court of those who call the shots - the top intellectuals of India like the creed of Secular Logic.

    By muhammad yunus - 10/1/2015 4:16:47 AM



  • Dear Secular Logic

    What the Muslims do or believe is one thing. It varies with time and space. The same is true of Islamic theology. It varies with time and place. The same is true with the believers of other faiths and their theologies. What the Qur'an says is independent of time and space as it is preserved word for word in the breasts of the memorizors since Muhammad first recited them. Islam must be conflate with the Qur'an or else there will be utter confusion in faith. The Qur'an does not prescribe any punishment for apostasy [1] and espouses "a universal brotherhood of humanity that will allow people of diverse faith, culture, color and language to live together, to know each other and to assist each other to make life easy and peaceful for all human beings.[2]

    1,2. Essential Message of Islam, Chap. 9.7, 9.8 posted in entirety under book section at NAI.  

    Kindly refer the book unless you want me to post the whole chapters for you. 

    The book is approved by al-Azhar al-Sharif and authenticated by an eminent international academician, scholars and jurist of Islam, Prof. Khaled Abou El Fadl, Prof and Chair of Islamic Law, UCLA, USA. 

    Now reverting to your comment which I am indeed impressed to read, when I said only one who has in-depth knowledge of teh Qur'an, I never meant that an atheist is not the right person. As you know by now, the Qur'an like a bee flits from theme to theme from past to present to the future, from existential events to universal laws, does not maintain any chronology and uses a highly cryptic language - God or Muhammad (if he were the author) know best. It is like a vast garden that can fill the seeker of beauty with thrill and joy and those who want to sprad mischief with enough material to cause anarchy. But for one verse (3:7), you would not be debating wiht me and I would have been debating with others and trying to convince them that "For each of us holds within us a spark of Godliness. Advaita philosophy. That's my truth"

    Well in fact, as a scholar of the Qur'an I assert that yur statement is fully consistent with the Qur'anic discourse, that I have attempted to capture as below in one of my articles referenced below: 

    "..from the Qur’anic perspective, every human being, regardless of religion or even if he claims to be an atheist, is a repository of taqwa that remains embedded in the deeper recesses of his subconscious self, and thus remains a shadow taproot of his moral values, his ‘nafsul lawwama’ or  the self reproaching instinct/ conscience (75:2). But the divine creative scheme also vests humans with a counteracting instinct – the ‘nafsul ammara’, the base or animal instinct that prompts him to commit evil (12:53). Thus all human beings, regardless of religion can attain the height of the muttaqi or fall into the depth of moral depravity or evil as propounded in the verse 91:8, quoted in the beginning of the discourse. The Qur’an puts it succinctly in its cryptic vocabulary:

    “Indeed We have created human being in the finest frame of taqwa (ahsani taqwim) (95:4), but then We debased him to the lowest of the low (95:5) - except those who believe and do good deeds: theirs is a reward unending” (95:6). 

    The Qur’anic broader notion of taqwa and its association with the deeper impulses of all humanity demolishes any distinction of people on religious ground. A Muslim person (regardless of gender) most visibly given to religious symbolism or devoted to religious rituals, may lag behind or even fail in taqwa and disqualify for divine rewards, while a non-Muslim person, probably even an atheist, who has no lesser share of divine inspiration in his/her subconscious soul, may excel in taqwa and earn divine reward despite his lacking in religious symbolism and visible or regimented devotion – though God knows best who all will earn divine reward."  

    The Qur’an’s broader notion of taqwa – an irrefutable testimony to its universalism

    -         This is to dispel the myth of Islamic exclusiveness propagated by the foursome of its ignorant detractors - the mullas, the orthodoxy, the propagandist scholarship and the Islamopath intellectuals.

    -         http://newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/muhammad-yunus,-new-age-islam/the-quran-s-broader-notion-of-taqwa-–-an-irrefutable-testimony-to-its-universalism/d/7889


    Anyway, thank you for reading my articles for I can assure you barely few Muslims read it as I see very few comments from Muslim readers. 

    By muhammad yunus - 10/1/2015 3:47:59 AM



  • "People have complete option to convert back to their pre-Islamic faith. But they will need the original scripture of their pre-Islamic faith to avoid following a historically modified religion."

    Not really. Apostasy in Islam is punished with death. The freedom does not exist. In fact, Islam is very cleverly designed. Once you accept Islam, you are automatically forced to accept everything in the Quran, never question, never change and never leave. No second thoughts allowed for the people who convert. You don't need to have any access to unmodified version of the pre-Islamic faith. Your pre islamic faith has moved on, and moved for the better. You benefit from that. 

    " If the model of old faith espouses customs and practices that are far from appealing to the intellect or progressive than what Islam offers, they may stick to Islam." 

    Oh they may stick to whichever religion appeals to them. We will judge people by what appeals to them. One cannot choose where one is born, but one can choose what religious values one lives by, and what kind of values one defends, sometimes even through lies, obfuscation, outright denial and cherry picking.

    "In any case, the truth that not one single Muslim can deny is that your the judgment is NOT religion specific - as per the Qur'an.  

    It will be most stupid to think that God will judge a seventh or 10th or 20 century non-Arab who never witnessed the Qur'anic revelation against the detailed paradigms of the Qur'an. Therefore the Qur'an sets out the common criteria for divine approval - your deeds and your restraint against all base temptation, indulgences and mental defilements (taqwa), These are broad notions which can be found in all scriptures and that is why the Qur'an is not scripture-specific and defines 'islam' as an umbrella code that espouses self-surrender to God and the doing of good and righteous deeds."

    This is your version of the truth. My version is that there is no God to judge us. We must judge ourselves. Constant introspection, correction, atonement, regret, movement towards universal humaneness - it must all happen in our own mind without fear of any external authority in the form of God. For each of us holds within us a spark of Godliness. Advaita philosophy. That's my truth. 

    "The truth is only a Muslim who has in-depth knowledge of the Qur'an can critique this essay - not a person whose knowledge of Qur'an is based on flat reading of a translated Qur'an or seeking its worst meanings or conflating it with the deeds and claims of the terrorists of Islam."

    As an atheist who believes that God was created out of Man's need to have such a figure in his life, I believe I am in a better position to  judge religious ideologies and history more critically than those who have "submitted" to  this God or that. 
    My reading of the Quran has been supplemented by the ample literature available on the subject, among which I count your articles, Mr Naseer Ahmads, Mr Sultan Shahins, as being especially useful for my understanding. Mr Hats off, Rational, Mr Khalid provided counter views that were also useful. Of course, this is not scholarship, but enough to understand the main issues and controversies. If at the end of this process I gain some unfavourable impressions about this faith, I cannot help it. To say I am determined to not like it and hence I see the problems with your article is not fair.

    You say that the prophet Mohammad was sent to people who had not had the benefit of a prophet before. You/Mr Shahin say that the Hindu deities were among the many preceding prophets that the Quran alludes to, hence Hindus are people of the Book. Then you say Hindus cannot be the polytheists mentioned in the Quran for some doleful treatment, because the polytheists of the  Quran are geography, society and time specific, and limited to a corridor. 

    Put all this together and what do you get. As people whose ancestors lived in India, and as people not of the Arabic race, your religious ancestry is probably Hindu. Since you were already people of the book blessed with earlier prophet visits, the Quranic  revelation was not meant for your ancestors and the conversion of your ancestor was wrong. If "polytheists not present in Prophets time and place " are not the Mushrikeen mentioned in the Quran, then neither are you an addressee of the Quran. Either the whole thing has validity across the globe, or none of it has. 

    By secularlogic - 10/1/2015 1:36:17 AM



  • Dear Yoginder Sikand!

    It is not yet available for free download on the Internet. But you can access the book in its entirety in the Book Section of NAI. NAI is planning to post an electronic version of the whole book on its website.

    By muhammad yunus - 9/30/2015 3:36:32 AM



  • Dear Secular Logic

    People have complete option to convert back to their pre-Islamic faith. But they will need the original scripture of their pre-Islamic faith to avoid following a historically modified religion. If the model of old faith espouses customs and practices that are far from appealing to the intellect or progressive than what Islam offers, they may stick to Islam. 

    In any case, the truth that not one single Muslim can deny is that your the judgment is NOT religion specific - as per the Qur'an.  

    It will be most stupid to think that God will judge a seventh or 10th or 20 century non-Arab who never witnessed the Qur'anic revelation against the detailed paradigms of the Qur'an. Therefore the Qur'an sets out the common criteria for divine approval - your deeds and your restraint against all base temptation, indulgences and mental defilements (taqwa), These are broad notions which can be found in all scriptures and that is why the Qur'an is not scripture-specific and defines 'islam' as an umbrella code that espouses self-surrender to God and the doing of good and righteous deeds.

    The truth is only a Muslim who has in-depth knowledge of the Qur'an can critique this essay - not a person whose knowledge of Qur'an is based on flat reading of a translated Qur'an or seeking its worst meanings or conflating it with the deeds and claims of the terrorists of Islam. 

    By muhammad yunus - 9/30/2015 3:30:10 AM



  • Yogiji,  we have published the entire book and it is available in our Books Documents section. It is at the moment in the form of different chapters easily traceable in that section. But I intend to group them together in one section with a link on the home page.
    If I had the resources of the Saudi Kingdom,  I would make sure it is available in every Muslim home. But it seems God is testing us by providing massive resources to people whom we consider wrong in their attitude to Islam.

    By Sultan Shahin - 9/30/2015 3:10:16 AM



  • Yunus Sahib,  Is your joint publication ‘Essential Message of Islam’ available for free download on the Internet? If so, can you please give us the url? Thanks!
    By yoginder sikand - 9/29/2015 11:47:47 PM



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