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Books and Documents

Islam and Pluralism

Transition to local languages has not been easy for other religions too. A certain holiness does attach itself to some languages. Vedic Sanskrit, for instance, is sacred for Hindus, Hebrew for Jews. Christianity’s struggle to retain the Bible in Latin and Greek was intense and bloody, with a powerful Church putting up a stiff resistance. Eventually, the Bible did speak to the people in their language. The Ulema in India refuse to accept as Quran an Urdu or English translation of the holy book....

However, they must think about whether a person who is a non-Muslim but has adopted the above qualities as best as s/he can, is more eligible for the colour of God, or is a Muslim who has made no such efforts to adopt this colour more so?...

 

Senior Ottoman historian Mehmet Ipsirli said: “The love of Islam and Prophet Muhammad was placed at the centre of the Ottoman existence as a comprehensive system, and not as a sentiment that changed from one sultan to the next in a sporadic fashion.”...

 

With Mahatma Gandhi sensing in the Khilafat Movement an opportunity to bring more Muslims into the national mainstream for the freedom struggle, Jamiat luminaries such as Mahmood Hasan and Maulana Kifayatullah led the way......

Messenger of God said: “On the day of resurrection I shall stand as the defender of anyone whose covenants are broken by others, whose rights are usurped; who has burdens imposed upon him which are beyond his physical capacities, and from whom things are taken without his consent."...

While condemning these Kafirs the Quran urged Muslims to see nuances between them and other non-Muslims that are not hostile. “God does not forbid you to deal kindly and justly with anyone who has not fought you for your faith or driven you out of your homes,” a verse notes....

However, Islamic divine scripture and recorded annals depict exceedingly contrary to what the anti-Islamic forces propagate against Islam. Islam is the religion, in fact, second to none in terms of tolerance, forbearance and religious pluralism....

The cleric however failed to mention the fact that Muslims also continued to live peacefully with the Jews and other tribes of Medina who had not broken any accords much later after the revelation of this verse – with non-Muslims playing important roles in governance. This is historical Islam...

Therefore, we can say that God blessed Prophet Moses and spoke to him; God blessed Jesus a.s. and gave him clear miracles; God blessed prophet David a.s. and gave him Zabur; God blessed Prophet Mohammad pbuh and granted him Ascension. This way He made all the prophets distinct from one another….

Indian Muslim orthodoxy's response to demands of modernity: Can Muslims co-exist with other religious communities in plural societies?
Sultan Shahin, Foundidng Editor, New Age Islam
Indian Muslim orthodoxy's response to demands of modernity: Can Muslims co-exist with other religious communities in plural societies?
Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

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.

This makes it all the more tragic that many of the events that unite the three religions are eclipsed by divisive - or even downright racist - rhetoric pushed out by the Far Right. First amongst these events is Ashura...

 

When Jews and Christians watch video of the Muslim Hajj from August 9 to August 14, plus the 3-day celebration of Eid al-Adha, very few of them will see the connection between Makkah’s Hajj and Jerusalem’s three pilgrimage festivals, especially the eight day holiday of Sukkot/Shemine Ahtsreret...

 

Pluralism, worship of One God, belief in all the Prophets, good conduct, lawful means of subsistence, avoidance of satanic footsteps, occurrence of Resurrection and human embryology are the messages directly spoken to all mankind. The Quran addresses all human kind in both ways, directly and indirectly….

But if we study the whole Qur’an, we will find that, while it does not sugar coat the bad deeds of anyone, including Muslims, (God Almighty does not need to be politically correct) it often praises Jews and Christians- anyone who meets the criteria of good deeds as set forth by the Almighty....

The Qur'an says in the Sura of the Cattle (Al-An`am) 6:34, "There is no changing to the Words of God"; and again in Jonah (Yunus) 10:64, "There is no change to the Words of God."

The only possible conclusion from our study of the Qur'an is that copies of THE TRUE TORAH AND THE TRUE GOSPEL were present in Mecca and Medina at the time of Muhammad. ... I am firmly convinced that the books which were available in Mecca during the lifetime of Muhammad were identical to THE TORAH AND THE GOSPEL WHICH WE READ TODAY....

Islam carries, like a treasure-laden ship, within its deep hold are every sort of store and provision. Its sails are the sciences of jurisprudence and spirituality, like two wings of a bird, both of which it needs to carry its precious cargo of humankind across the vast expanse of the ocean of this life. At the helm of this vessel is the Leader and Master of mankind, Sayyidina Muhammad ÿ...

 
Ramadan for Non-Muslims: Eid-ul-Fitr Mubarak
Ramadan for Non-Muslims: Eid-ul-Fitr Mubarak
Dr. Mike Ghouse, New Age Islam

Whether you are an Atheist, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Native American, Pagan, Shinto, Sikh, Wicca, and Zoroastrian or from any other tradition, you may feel a sense of connection with the spirit of Ramadan….

... what is so special about this “most Islamic” of customs, and one of the five pillars of the faith, is the fact that its practice is both universal and cross-cultural....

 

Islam is often viewed as an inherently violent and intolerant world religion. This misconception is fuelled in part by the miscreant deeds of some Muslims, particularly toward those of other faith beliefs....

Islam fought against polytheism practiced in Arabia and wiped it out very rapidly. The very reasonable conclusion that one derives from Islamic history is that monotheism is far superior to polytheism. ... the Prophet himself removed idols from the Ka’aba signalling the final triumph of Islam over polytheism?...

Islam declares all human beings equal in terms of human values, yet every person is rewarded in accordance with his service that he offers. This concept, if utilized in daily life, can greatly benefit the societies and develop pluralism. There will be thus no room for prejudice, oppression or persecution....

Nizamuddin Aulia, who is considered to be among the first secular theorists, advocated love for people of all faiths. He also directed his protégée to compose poetry in the language of the commoners and started celebrating Holi at his monastery. Khusrau was not only an enthusiastic Holi player but also composed verse for the occasion....

 

But the Sri Lanka terror attacks by a terrorist organization of Sri Lanka with the active support of the ISIS has destroyed the euphoria among the Muslims by killing more than 300 innocent Christians and other non-Muslims. Some of them are Indians. The attacks smack of the modus operandi of the Al Qaida who tried to win the sympathy of the Muslims by conducting terror attacks on emotional issues close to the hearts of the Muslims....

A proper approach to the interpretation of Quranic texts, involving a correct contextual understanding of its meanings and the study of Islamic history, will reveal that tolerance and acceptance of Christians and other non-Muslim minorities were the norm.....

 

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...

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