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Books and Documents

Interfaith Dialogue

Islamic and Jewish Views of Prophet Jesus
Rabbi Allen S. Maller, New Age Islam
Islamic and Jewish Views of Prophet Jesus
Rabbi Allen S. Maller, New Age Islam

It doesn’t make sense that God sends Messengers like Abraham. Moses, and David to tell people to believe in only one God, and then suddenly sends to Jesus a radically different message (the Trinity) which contradicts the monotheistic teachings God's previous Messengers.  Those early sects of Christianity that believed Jesus was a human Prophet and nothing more were following the original teachings of Jesus, because their concept of Monotheism was the same as that taught by all the Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, called by Christians the Old Testament....

Much like folk Islam that used the geography of the region to evoke spirituality, folk Christianity too, represented by this shrine, found an actual geographical legitimisation, as a counter to Christianity or Islam being foreign to this land. A statue of Mary was raised on a small mound here and a shrine was constructed around it....

 

The gentle piano music starts as the doorbell chimes. A white-haired Christian pastor greets his friend, a Muslim imam, and the two converse and laugh over a cup of tea, wincing about their creaky knees as they prepare to part ways. Later, it spurs the same idea in each for a gift: kneepads sent via Amazon Prime. (It is a commercial, after all.) The piano notes accelerate as the men open their deliveries with smiles, and then each uses the item to kneel in prayer: one at a church, the other at a mosque. The final chords fade.....

 

Being at places of worship of different faiths helped me to reflect on my own devotion to God or the lack of it.  As I laid out my prayer mat to complete my night Namaz, I was filled with immense gratitude to the people at the Gurudwara, the Bhajan singers at the ashram, the gentle Buddhist monks at the Vihar and my kind Christian friends for teaching me the values of service, devotion and generosity. I am hopeful these values will help me become strong in my connection to Almighty Allah!...

.... Islam and Christianity hold many similarities. Of them, and one that is particularly important here is the return of an awaited saviour who will rid the world of turmoil, and will reinstall peace across the world. For the Christians, this will come in the form of Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and for the Muslims, this it will come in the form of The Mahdi, who according to narrations will be a descendent of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)....

 
Muslims and Chiristians: Brothers in Faith
Aijaz Zaka Syed
Muslims and Chiristians: Brothers in Faith
Aijaz Zaka Syed

This was not an isolated example.   The Prophet offered the same protection to the Christians of Najran in Yemen. When a 60-member delegation of Najran Christians – 45 of them scholars and priests – arrived in Medina in 631AD to meet the Prophet, he not only hosted them and asked Muslims to pitch their tents, he invited them to pray inside Masjid Nabawi – the Prophet’s mosque, one of the three holiest mosques in the world….

Islam and Judaism
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for New Age Islam
Islam and Judaism
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for New Age Islam

Like Christianity, Islam and Judaism are what are called ‘Semitic religions’. But despite this, due to some reasons there is a widespread negative feeling among Muslims about Jewish people. This kind of negative thinking is not Islamic thinking, however. It is due to some political reasons. Islam is a positive ideology. Islam believes in positive thinking. The most important teaching in Islam is to live with positive feelings even in negative situations....

For every bridge burnt by the flames of violence and aggression, we’ll build ten more, and be stronger for it. We are peaceful people: if you don’t want to take it from me, visit one of these projects for yourself. I leave you with the words of Prophet Mohammed, the ones with which he greeted even those who wanted him dead, the ones he taught me to embrace the world with: Peace be upon you….

 
Egypt’s Cruelty to Christians
Mona Eltahawy
Egypt’s Cruelty to Christians
Mona Eltahawy

In the United States, Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently called a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes a “stain on our nation’s very soul.” I agree — and the same must be said about anti-Christian hate crimes in Egypt. But a bomb in a church is worse than a stain....

 
All Creatures Are One Family
Waris Mazhari
All Creatures Are One Family
Waris Mazhari

The actual problem lies with the concept of ‘otherness’. Every social, including religious, group has its own concept of the ‘other’, and this ‘other’ can number one or more other groups. Again, common to all social groups are notions of external and internal ‘others’. The hadith “All creatures are [like] a family of God, and He loves the most those who are kindest to His family”, cited earlier is against any demeaning concept of otherness.

Awkwardly I followed the rest of the class as they chanted a strange “Ooomaammm” mantra. At the end of the class, I went up to the trainer and asked if this concoction of sounds meant anything. She laughed and said, “We used to say Om, which is the correct way of practicing the mantra. It is a spiritually relaxing sound I love to end the class with but too many students complained. They said it sounded too Hindu. Many of them left the class. I had to break the sound up to satisfy the students.”...

 

From Turkey to Iran, the Buddhist thought had been woven into poetry. Take Rumi or Adam Sanai in the 12th century, Buddha’s presence is inescapable. “Someone who keeps aloof from suffering is not a lover,” says Sanai in a translation by Coleman Barks. Buddha would be smiling with joy, not the half smile of Firaq....

“It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme. And although in what I put to you I shall say many things which may be familiar to many, yet I myself feel whenever I re-read them, a new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian teacher.”...

 

One can have as many “partners” as one wish and at the State’s expense and no questions asked! Because legislating against the practice would violate some form of freedoms, yet the politically and some might say racially motivated clamour behind the moral disgust is deafening. As far as imposing burden on the taxpayer is concerned, on daily basis it is reported in the media as to how the welfare system is cheated by all sorts of people and in millions of dollars! Muslims ‘single mothers’ of polygamous marriage are not the only experts in this field....

The Nawabs of Oudh gave several grants to the temples of Ayodhya and provided them protection in other ways. The Diwan of Nawab Safdarjung built several temples in Ayodhya and arranged for the repair of other temples. Nawab Safdarjung gave land for the construction of a temple at Hanumangarhi. Asafadullah’s Diwan gave further help for the construction of a temple......

 

As the monk in the above-mentioned story would say, if a distinctive ‘religious’ dress helps one to stay on the right path each time one may be tempted to stray, it is useful or skilful means. But if turns into a fetish, made into an end in itself and simply a marker of identity to distinguish oneself from others, then it has completely lost its purpose....

 

The study of terrorists’ history suggests there is a relationship between these two forms of radical discourse. Distant authorities talking in a deniably cryptic way contribute to the rationalization for violence. This shift toward violence can have an effect at just about every level — from the lone-wolf killer, to couples, to hidden cells..... radicalization of an entire nation is possible, too — typically after reckless innuendo from political leaders becomes acceptable and then routine....

 
In US, Jewish-Muslim Solidarity
Meenakshi Chakraverti
In US, Jewish-Muslim Solidarity
Meenakshi Chakraverti

“All Jews should register as Muslims because we know the horrors of religious registration all too well.” ....“Targeting all Muslims is a horror movie that we Jews are all too familiar with. It can easily lead to heightened discrimination, persecution and scapegoating. In the United States, there is no place — no place, whatsoever — for this kind of divisive, hateful rhetoric.”....

 
Islamic Culture and India
Muhammad Shafeeque

In the ranks of Hindus and later Sikhs, the spiritual Bhakti movement in India was a blessing for the Sufi saints. The Bhakti phenomenon took inspiration from the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. The Sufi saints placed those texts on a firmer ground of acceptance. The Bhakti movement gained momentum in the 11th and 12th centuries with the rise of Sufi culture in the country. Hindu scholars were explicitly influenced by aspects of Sufism, like its concentration on 'one god', which resulted in the emergence of many religious reformers in the country....

 

But he concluded that it wasn’t Muslim anti-Semitism leading the trend; rather, it was the far larger populations of Christians. As he noted, the number of Spanish citizens who express unfavourable views of Jews is almost 50 per cent; Muslims make up less than 3 per cent of Spain’s population and aren’t growing fast. So “a European anti-Semite remains far more likely to be Christian than Muslim.” The larger problem, he concluded, is “the tendency of wily politicians to play Jews and Muslims against each other for purposes of their own.”...

In my work as the director of an interfaith-youth movement, I have had the privilege of visiting numerous mosques in Seattle and forming close friendships and professional relationships with many Muslims. Through these contacts, I have come to see Islam as a religion that espouses peace, compassion and tolerance. I have been humbled to see the work done by mosques…

 

“In most scriptures, the prophecies about the end of the age are well-written. If you’ve studied different scriptures, you would have found many common teachings in the prophecy”. For example, Prophets in many religions taught people that the law of the truth will be powerless and wickedness will increase at the end of the age. It also includes the corruption of the religious world. When this will happen, heaven will send a person to save the righteous, for example: Maitreya in Buddhism, Kalkin in Hinduism and Jesus in Christianity”. …

If the question is: How do you have a healthy religiously diverse democracy. I think the answer is that we have to recognize that people can disagree on some fundamental or ultimate concerns, and work together on others. An interfaith leader creates the spaces, curates the conversations and forms the activities for these kinds of relationships to emerge...

 

Traditions bring people together and strengthen us as a society. When Christian, Jewish, Sikh and agnostic friends marked Eid festivities at home with me earlier this year, it didn’t mean they were confused, but that they wanted to acknowledge its importance to me, as well as dive into some Eid grub. Sharing in the Shabbat rituals with Jewish friends or wishing Hindu friends a happy Diwali won’t make me lose a sense of who I am, but enriches my own sense of faith....

Learning from Saifuddin
Roshan Shah, New Age Islam

After we had lost so much, God blessed us with so much! Everything we receive is from God, and for that we should be grateful. In my joyful gratitude to God I thought that we should share something with people in our village who are economically poorer than us—a meal once in a while....

 


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