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Interfaith Dialogue ( 12 Dec 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Respecting Muslim Caliphs (Khalifa), Imams and Deciders



By Mike Ghouse

Dec 12, 2012

The most persecuted communities among Muslims today are the Ahmadiya Muslims followed by Shia Muslims by Sunni Muslims. We know it is not Islamic to be unjust, oppressive and harassive towards others, Muslims or otherwise, but yet it is going on in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and even in India. As a Muslim, it is my duty to speak up, and if all of us do our share of speaking up, at least we have fulfilled the responsibility to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil.

 Did Jews persecute Jesus? I think not, it was the leadership, who was out of touch with his message and insecurity of losing control of the society, that led the insecure powerful men to be done with Jesus, it was all God’s design to create a legacy of Jesus Christ.

 I'm not sure if Sunni Muslims should be held responsible for the harassment and persecution of Ahmadiya Muslims, or if it was the dictatorial regime Zia-Bhutto combine that may have influenced many to think in their terms. If it was Zia-Bhutto combine, it should have withered with them-gone, why did this germ spread within, and went beyond Pakistani borders?

Research is warranted to understand ourselves. However, the majoritarian behaviour is similar in all religious, political and cultural groups. The mainstream Christians did not accept Mormonism as their equals in America, but Romney worked out as a catalyst in propelling the dramatic change, the belligerence towards Mormonism from the right wing Christians has receded. The Dalits (Hindu caste system; Dalits are on the lowest rung) were harassed and humiliated in India , but thanks to Jagjivan Ram, his mere ascendancy to become India’s defence minister decades ago, mitigated the events to occasional. I am sure; there are more examples around the world to look up to with such catalytic changes.

May be an Ahmadiya Muslim Presidential Candidate in the United States may become a catalyst to change that equation among the Muslims; indeed, it would be a tipping point. When we, the first generation immigrants die off, the hurdles would be cleared for the youth to bring about a positive change among Muslims, not only here in the United States, but in the nations where their human rights are violated.

 There is a strange phenomenon of hate that works; the self proclaimed religious pretenders are driven by greed and insecurity, and religion means nothing to them.

The right wing Christian Americans, had to have someone to hate....they switched from Chinese, to Russians to Arabs to Muslims, whatever happened to the teachings of Jesus? The same goes with the right wing Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and others. The right wing Sunni Muslims also need someone to hate, and they have gone from idol worshipers to Jews to Ahmadiya and Shia Muslims now. Do they need to reject Ahmadiya Muslims to satisfy their base instincts? Whatever happened to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad? He said the greater Jihad (battle within one self about the righteousness or its violation) is to conquer the base instincts.

 In the tradition of Prophet Muhammad, I respect the otherness of other, without agreeing with the other. Prophet Muhammad has set many examples, and one of them is changing his name on the document of Suleh-Hudaibiya from Muhammad Ur Rasool Allah to Muhammad bin Abdullah to make peace, please remember a few Sahaba (associates) were not happy with that decision, but the Prophet had to do for the sake of peace. So let Ahmadiya Muslims believe in what they believe, they are fellow Muslim in that they believe Prophet Muhammad as the last messenger, and our common guidance is Quran, Allah is the master of the day of Judgment and we are individually accountable for our actions.

 I accept Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmed as a great Islamic scholar and Hazrat Mansoor Ahmed as Khalifa of Islam among his contemporary Khalifas (Leaders/Deciders) like HH Aga Khan, Syed Burhanuddin, Imam Khamenei, Warith Deen Muhammad and others representing each tribe. We have a dire need for someone to make sense for us all. These contemporary Khalifas are effectively directing their communities, with enmity towards none. Of course, we Sunnis do not have one voice to guide us, and that is fine too, as long as we do unto others as we want others to do for us.

 However, it is difficult for me and most Sunni Muslims to believe that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmed is the promised Messiah, but that should not mean for us to deny them their belief. The last Ayah of Sura Kafirun in the most utopian sense means, your belief works for you, as mine works for me, as a corollary, "as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, faith is in the heart of the believer.

We differ with the Wahhabi, who have gone to the extremity of destroying Prophets’ house and his belongings and much more, the Deobandis and Barelvis do not pray in each other’s mosques… we have to learn to accept the differences with grace. It makes sense for the Sunnis to keep our faith intact by accepting that Rasool, Nabi and Nabuwwat, ends with Prophet Muhammad. He was the last message giver in every sense of the word.

I do hope, my fellow Muslims, be it Ahmadiya, Bohra, Ismaili, Shia, Sunni, WD Muhammad or Wahabi can learn to respect the other Muslims, without having to agree, and without the temptation to demand the others to behave like us, or bullying them to give up their beliefs by the virtue of majoritarian arrogance, we should be Khaksaars and not dictators.

Jazak Allah Khair

Mike Ghouse

Muslims together can build cohesive societies, where every one of Allah creation lives safely and in harmony with each other.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place and standing up for others as an activist. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He 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, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site indexes everything you want to know about him.