www.WorldMuslimCongress.com

Islam and Pluralism
Mike Ghouse, February 26, 2008

AA,

Together, you and I have to learn and unveil Pluralism in Islam in the following article listed below.

Pluralism is not a religion, not an ism, not a competing ideology, not the idea of negating any faith, rather it is an attitude of accepting that God creating the universe and every soul, and every one's space is to to respected.

Prophet Muhammad signed the Madinah pact with Jews, Christians and others. He did not agree with how others worshipped God, but as a head of the Government, he initiated and signed the treaty with them all that they are free to worship their faith, indeed, he offered the Christians to do their prayers in his own mosque. He got up and kissed the Torah during a Jewish procession. It is this attitude of the Prophet that is called Pluralism.

The following article is drenched with Islam, however, if you substitute the world Islam with the words like Atheist, Aztec, Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Falun Dafa, Hindu, Hopi, Jain, Jewish, Oloriya, Sikh, Shinto, Tao, Wicca or Zoroastrians, it will still holds good with a few exceptions.

I am pleased to include comments from Dr. Javed Jamil, Marylou Ghyst, Hasni Essa, Shamim Siddiqi, Rashid Samnakay and would continue to include other comments The latest comments are at the bottom.

To be a Muslim is to be a peace maker; one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for co-existence and world peace - God wants his creation to be in peace and harmony, and that is the chief purpose of Islam; peace. www.WorldMuslimCongress.com

Let me repeat the above for  what I believe is the mother of all sentences, in the sense, applicable to all religions.

To be religious (substitute the name of your faith) is to be a peace maker; one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for co-existence and world peace - God wants his creation to be in peace and harmony, and that is the chief purpose of religion, all religions. www.foundationforpluralism.com


Islam and Pluralism
Mike Ghouse, February 26, 2008

By the way, I would want you to express your understanding of the Pluralism, together we can learn more.

The attacks on Islam after 9/11 propelled me to study the veracity of the statements ascribed to Islam by the media.

The traditional translations of Qur'aan did not offer much hope, and it was a taboo to question those translations. Thank God for the internet, the net waves got flooded with information in addition to the availability of multiple translations of Qur'aan in the market. Every translation added a new dimension, and reflected translator's background; they were obviously influenced by who they keep the company with.

The need to understand Islam, as it was intended, became a priority to me. I was driven by one of my favorite passages from the Bhagvad Gita – finding the truth is one's own responsibility. The human fears, anger, ill-will, malice and the negative emotions are some times based on false propaganda, and liberation comes from it is finding the truth, as truth relieves one from anxiety and brings clarity and possible solutions, be what that truth may be.

Qur'aan is for all seasons and all ages, it is what you understand. The political criminals twist the constitution to support their agendas, just as the religious politicians twist their holy books to support their own agenda which is generally destructive. Where as the 99% of the population does the right thing by understanding the purpose of religion and live and let live.

Qur’aan, Al-Inshiqaq, Surah 84:7 "And as for him whose record shall be placed in his right hand," (whose behavior in life characterizes him as "righteous"), and Qur’aan, Al-Inshiqaq, Surah 84:10 “But as for him whose record shall be given to him behind his back; (where it is stated that the record of the unrighteous "shall be placed in his left hand". In reality, however; the present formulation alludes to the sinner's horror at his record, and his wish that he had never been shown it (69:25-26): in other words, his not wanting to see it is symbolized by its appearance "behind his back".)

Islam consistently encourages individuals to do good to others. It emphasizes one’s individual responsibility towards the peace and security of the society at large. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) described a good deed as an act which benefits others, such as planting a seed, knowing well that, when it grows to be a full fledged tree it will serve generations of wayfarers with fruit and the shade. The world is a better place today because of a good legacy bequeathed to humanity by people of all faiths that came before us. We owe it to coming generations to leave the world a little better than we found it, to usher an era of justice and peace.

“There are the people who have never cared for their neighbors; they thought they would never return to God. Their Lord watches all that people do.”

It was a defining moment for me when I decided to delve myself into understanding Islam. Imam Feisal Abdur Raouf of New York had made a statement to the effect that Islam means peace; and a Muslim is one who brings peace. Over the years, I have pondered over who is a Muslim or a religious person of any faith for that matter? The following statement was the result "To be a Muslim (or to be religious) is to be a peace maker; one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; life and matter. Indeed that is the purpose religion." Each one of us is a carrier of the peace flag.

The above became my lens through which I was looking at the word of God, for me, as a Muslim, God’s word is Qur'aan. God is for every human being and no one owns him or has any exclusive rights with him (equally her or it). We are his creation and belong to him as he belongs to us all.

Islam is an all embracing idea and justice is its core value. When there is justice, it puts people at ease; they are released from the fear that some one is going to take advantage of them or the fear that they will have to pay for their actions if they are unjust to others. The middle path as the Prophet called is the key for peaceful living. Qur'aan -55:9 weigh, therefore, [your deeds] with equity, and cut not the measure short!

When there is justice, one's focus turns to living the life. No one would be lying to others; no one would be cheating, abusing or usurping what belongs to others and most certainly, no one would be taking advantage of the weak. The description of the day of the judgment is simply the pinnacle of learning about individual responsibility – you would stand on your own, neither your parents, nor the kids, nor your wealth or even the Prophet is going to do anything for you, your only defense is the good you have done to others. God is just and will serve justice to every human being. By the way, Qur’aan has assured God’s blessing and grace to every human who is Just; Muslim or not.

When the universe evolved, or simply when God created the universe, it was a two part system; Matter and Life.

Matter had a defined space and role to play. In this model, the creator God did not give freedom to the matter, it was put on a trajectory and was to do exactly what it was meant to do, and it has been doing this for millions of years, precisely and on time. The Earth takes ~365 days to revolve around the Sun; the light determines the plants, ice, water content and life. Qur'aan -55:6 "[before Him] prostrate themselves the stars and the trees." Each one is simply playing its determined role; each item respects the space of other and co-exists in harmony. This is the model of peaceful co-existence.

When it came to life, God placed the brains and took away the defined role (like the role of earth revolving around the sun) and gave freedom to humans to use their intelligence and create their own abode of harmonious co-existence between billions of them. On the way, God gave manuals (for Muslims, it is Qur'aan) to each species or each community and nation to follow that model of peaceful co-existence.

Qur’aan, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah Knows and is Aware."

For the followers of the Qur'aan (manual) Islam is a complete way of life. However, others have their own manuals to follow to achieve peaceful co-existence. God offers the clarity to each one of the followers of different manuals, each nation and tribe has its own equilibrium and manual and we have to know one another.

As Muslims we have never had the chance to dig in more and find the truth for ourselves. We (followers of all faiths) are conditioned by the politics of religion to negate other manuals of God. However, God's words (Qur'aan) are beautiful and respectful toward those who follow a different manual.

109:1 SAY: "O you who deny the truth!
109:2 "I do not worship that which you worship,
109:3 and neither do you worship that which I worship!
109:4 "And I will not worship ~hat which you have [ever] worshipped,
109:5 and neither will you [ever] worship that which I worship.
109:6 unto you, your moral law, and unto me, mine!"

It is a reminder for us to think about it from our manual's point of view and learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

Our goal is to duplicate the perfect model of Matter that God has created. We have to make our own pathways without conflict and create that heaven on the earth.

Insha Allah, as a Muslim, I am committed to continue to study and understand the concept of Pluralism and co-existence God has presented to the followers of Islam. My reference is some of the many verses in Qur'aan that direct us to create that model of bliss between all of his creation. I welcome Muslims and others to do research on this aspect, as no one owns Islam or Qur'aan; it belongs to all, just as other faiths offer salvation, Mukti, Moksha or Nirvana.

The concept of Tauhid is certainly understood in a few dimensions, one of them is a "one-single-physical God" despite the pronounced belief that God is not a being. Qur'aan - 112:4 "and there is nothing that could be compared with Him. Still it arms the politically oriented ones to imagine that are other God(s). We need to understand the depth of this concept.

Tauhid to me, at this stage of understanding is "unison" without "conflict". – One source of creation, one originator, one universe, one people that leads to a model for conflict elimination and creating a blissful state of existence. Where fear, envy, jealousy, arrogance, ego, ill will, hate, malice and anger is overcome with the positive energy of co-existence.

God want us to succeed for human co-existence and duplicate the model of the matter. It is accepting and respecting the God given uniqueness of each one of us that reduces conflicts and brings solutions to harmonious co-existence.

I believe this was the intent of Akbar, the great Moghul King. To some of my friends and the critiques it failed in political terms, however, his legacy of harmonious co-existence will continue to inspire generations yet to come. India has been such a model with a few exceptions.

References:
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Quraan/Not-like-Jews-and-Christians.asp
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Quraan/Quraan-Neocons-and-Islamophobia.asp
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Quraan/Not-like-Jews-and-Christians.asp


From Javed Jamil

Dear Br Mike

AA,

Your ardent support for pluralism is justifiable in intent but unjustified in essence. To talk of the acceptance of a plural society is one thing and to talk of unification of all religions into one and promotion of such an approach is other. The former has nothing bad in it. Every person has the right to conscience and practices his faith within the parameters of the system in which he is or has to live. This automatically leads to a plural society. All nations on the earth are plural in nature; there is no single country where all the people belong to the same religion. Even countries like Saudi Arabia and Vatican City have plural societies. As far as pluralism is concerned, literally it means deification of a plural society, which means that one does not just accept a plural society but prefers it over every single ideology. This type of pluralism is neither desirable nor possible because if one accepts this type of ideology it would require every member of society to believe in this ideology; those who do not believe in it will be either condemned or will at least get lesser respect than those believing in pluralism. This will again lead to dominance of one ideology over the other, as pluralism in itself is a specific ideology.

As far as Islam is concerned, it is in itself a synthesis of the best of all previous religions; and who can give the best except one who knows all. God has produced the best; and by declaring Muhammad as the Last Ambassador and Qur'aan as the Last Book, He has made it known to the mankind that nothing can be better than the Best. Mankind or any single man or a group of men cannot add anything to Islam that will make it better; it will only distort, degrade and destroy the best. It is another matter that there is always a room for better understanding and better application of what has been chosen for us. Qur'aan accepts a plural society but does not promote pluralism of religion, ideology or system. The Desire of God is that the whole Mankind should submit to one ideology, one Religion and One System. That is in fact the essence and aim of Wahdat (Unity).

Brother Mike, I know you have a golden heart which shines for everybody. Love all people and respect all systems; promote the right of all people to live respectfully irrespective of their beliefs, but please for God's sake, understand the difference between Pluralism and acceptability of a plural society. If you advocate pluralism, it would mean that you do not regard Islam as the Best and Final; if you advocate for the acceptance of a plural society it is already there in Islam.

Emperor Akbar's Deen-e Ilahi was certainly not an improvement on Islam; it only diluted its supremacy. If his intention was to bring non-Muslims closer to Islam through Deen-e Ilahi, it might be a Good endeavor in the eyes of God; if he thought he could give a better Deen than that of God, God's wrath will await him in the Hereafter. Only God knows the best about his intentions; we can only hope that Akbar proves to be good to God.


I hope we all try to follow Muhammad and the Deen he preached and not Akbar and his Deen-e Ilahi. There is nothing wrong however in thinking positively about Akbar's intentions.

Dr Javed Jamil
Executive Chairman
International Centre for Applied Islamics


From Shamim Siddiqi

Mohtram Javed Bhai,   ASA

Living in a pluralistic society is different from behaving pluralistically. The problem with my beloved Br Ghouse is that for all practical purposes, he is gradually symbolizing himself as an epic center of tolerance for all whether it is right or wrong. In the radiance of such cultural events that he holds, the Islamic color, the "Sibghatullah" is practically lost or diminished to obscurity.

I personally pinpointed this feature of his predominating socio-cultural-political activities many a times in the past but he seems a bit adamant to his way of life and style of thinking. In this process, I fear that gradually he is likely to "lose" his original color, with which he was born and came to this age,

May Allah help him to see the light you have tried your best to show and give him the vision that the only Khair lies in inviting the humanity, this pluralistic society, to the fold of their Creator and Sustainer, the Deen of Islam.

Shamim Siddiqi        


From Mike Ghouse

Hasni,

Thanks for sharing this piece on Akbar.

In the beginning of February, NPR Radio had some author was discussing about the history of India, particularly the Mughal period. The book is out, unfortunately I do not remember the name, and it was a British Author. I went on air with him and we talked about Akbar, he agreed the things you have said, and further acknowledge that Akbar was the first king in the history of mankind, who promoted pluralism.

Last Sunday, most of my family and friends saw Jodha Akbar, I did not get the chance to see it, but I am planning to see it this week some time.

Insha Allah, I will do some research on the Akbar and Din-e-Ilahi and write my comments. There is always a room to understand things in its perspective.

A few points I noted in the quick read;

Akbar indeed understood the purpose of religion which was to bring peace to an individual and harmonious co-existence in the society.  A religious person is a peace maker; one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; life and matter. Indeed that is the purpose religion.

Marrying for political convenience was the norm of the society for nearly two thousand years. Two of the Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) marriages were social and political in nature to forge alliances between the communities to come together and remove the conflicts. It was for the greater good of the community. Akbar wanted to fall the religious barriers and establish the idea that religion was not the barrier. In fact, some 400 years later Allama Iqbal wrote "mazhab nahin sikhata aapas may byr rakhna" - religions do not teach us to keep barriers between us.

Akbar's pluralistic credentials were based on several elements including marrying to Jodha, he had Bhagvad Gita and many of the Vedas translated from Sanskrit into Persian and Arabic. I believe besides the faiths you have listed - Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, he also had Jews included in the discussion. 

As Muslims, we still have to learn about Tauhid, the oneness of God on the one hand we recite Sura Ikhlas

112:1 SAY: "He is the One God:

112:2 "God the Eternal, the Uncaused Cause of All Being.

112:3 "He begets not, and neither is He begotten;

112:4 "and there is nothing that could be compared with Him

God is genderless, imageless and formless; he (it or she) is all pervasive energy. When he says that he is closer to us than our jugular veins, meaning he is our reflex when we want it to be, he is our thought... and that we cannot bottle him into any thing.

The Jews express the above Sura more accurately than us; they do not even write the word God, they write G_d to indicate he cannot be limited to a word. The Bahai's have gone little closer on grasping the concept of Tauhid. And Insha Allah, I will write my understanding of it as I understood from all the religions including Islam.

Tauhid is a conflict-free world of oneness, when we learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of his creation, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. That is Tauhid, oneness, and that is indeed Pluralism. Akbar was the first real king who explored this, but some how he was misunderstood, or the religious right wanted to maintain the barriers, thus Tauhid was shot by them as it happens with every society in every time zone.

"The notion that God had created a Divine Light that is passed down in an individual from generation to generation; this individual is known as the Imam."  The idea has its own reasoning and logic which has made it survive for nearly 1400 years. I am sure there is material developed to understand it.

Personally, I have subscribed to the idea that every individual has an opportunity to be in tune with the creator and that can be achieved by any of the multiple prescriptions, meaning religious paths. As a Muslim, I tread one of the few paths, that I am familiar with and it works for me, as Hinduism would work for a Hindu, Judaism for a Jew and the above idea works for the Shia, as they have learned it in that fashion. All are legitimate paths; no one has to be wrong, for me to be right.

Many of the poets (not all though) and the scholars who served the kings at that time did a lot of chamchagiri, sycophancy. They were never satisfied with the titles and accolades they heaped on the kings to remain in their favors.  I am surprised Abul Fazal did not call Akbar God of all Gods. Some of the political theories of the employee servants of the kings made everything subservient to the king.

I admire Akbar for the efforts he made in removing conflicts and nurturing good will. That is the purpose of religion, any religion. Islam is peace, and peace comes through justice in addition to removing conflicts and nurturing good will.

Jazak Allah Khair

Mike Ghouse


Marylou - – Islam and Pluralism

I'm wondering if Dr. Jamil would be kind enough to give the source of his definition of "pluralism" as he stated it below.  Thank you, Marylou

As far as pluralism is concerned, literally it means "deification of a plural society" ...

Mike Ghouse : Marylou, thanks for sharing this. I did not catch it in my reading. Pluralism is yet to be understood, many jump to the conclusion that it is another religion or another ism, it is not. Pluralism is simply an attitude of accepting and respecting what God has chosen to create and endow each one of his creation. 


Rashid Samnakay – Islam and Pluralism

The generic concept of Muslim is a mental picture of a person belonging to a unicameral (in theological sense) Religion named Islam. Generally it is not appreciated that like all other religious in the world, it too has many denominations and sub-sets. This applies equally to non-Muslims and Muslims, except in the later case a common denominator exists. It being, there is none other than God  and  Muhammad is God’s prophet.

This thankfully is the common article of faith of all its denominations.

On the bases of the above commonality, again in general, it can be said therefore that,  the person belongs to a religion which has its own Deity called Allah and closely followed by a super-human named Muhammad. Please note ‘in general’, for in particular it is argued that the deity is not just a deity to be worshipped but universal creator and the person named Muhammad is the last of the series of prophets.

It can be argued that there are TWO main reasons for the insularity of Muslim community from the rest of humanity at large and hence the call for pluralism, viz;

1-Arabic Language,

The deity ‘Allah’, is exclusive to Muslims. This is vehemently argued evening Muslim learned circles that when writing or talking in English language, or any other language for that matter, only  ‘Allah’ should be used for that is what is given in the Arabic Quran.

History tells us that Muhammad ibn Abdullah, was an Arab, belonging to the Quresh tribe and his mother-tongue was Arabic, hence the ‘divine inspirations’ he received were logically in Arabic, hence the compilation of those divine inspirations—the Rasool’s Risaalah -- has been compiled in Arabic.

2-Personality Cult,- In the second part of the Article of faith of Muslims, is the person of Muhammad and his prophet hood. It establishes the fact that though Allah is the only deity but like the Christ for Christians for example, the religion of Islam revolves round this person and is that as propagated only by Muhammad. This is an  attachment to the creed. Hence his personality, at the exclusion of all other prophets who had brought the same message forms the extension of faith. Yet in the elaboration of the Article of the faith, all previous prophets must be believed to be Allah’s messengers.

The first case, can simply be negated by arguing that the previous messengers, going far back to Abraham , Noah and even Adam, must have spoken different mother- tongues  for they were born in various parts of the world separated by vast distances and therefore spoke many languages. No language therefore is holy.

In the second case it can be argued that when Qur'aan itself says that it does not differentiate” between any of God’s messengers, then it is a negation of the very first part of the Article of faith there is none other than God to share in the declaration of the unity of God, a person particularly, picked from the string of messengers who were all equal. This argument in no stretch of imagination diminishes the position of Muhammad as a messenger, indeed even as an exceptional person, for having brought a paradigm-change in a rustic environment that perhaps was not encountered by the other messengers. Along with all other messengers he simply reminded ‘humanity as a whole’ that there is only one universal authority to be obeyed.  Not as an animal “instinct” but as an intellectual analyses and then conviction. The last part of intellectual analyses is absent in all religions, for religions are based on their individual dogmas of Churches and strictly enforced by its clergy; another classification of humanity and therefore division.

Akbar perhaps was aware of this dichotomy and therefore wanted to steer away from it by devising his deen-e-elahi. It could be argued also that as the monarch ruling over people of diverse religions it was a political imperative for him to unite them under one banner to make his life easier. But apart from that, if we were to give him a benefit of doubt and accept that he was sincere in his effort in uniting humanity, then it can be said that his only short coming was, in choosing words like deen and elahi which have Arabic context hence he alienated the non- Arabic speaking people. In hindsight one may suggest that he should have chosen some thing like raah-e-khudaee, as Persian was then the language of the court and the upper-class.

Finally if Muslim scholars were to explain to the ‘others’ that Islam is only an Arabic word meaning Universal CODE for human society to co-exist peacefully, if interpreted without the religious blinkers and positive approach. Nothing is easier to follow as the crux of it is, believe with conviction and commit to doing righteous acts underscores the simple law of nature that every action has equal and opposite reaction. In this respect then pluralism—another ism after all-- should automatically co-exist with all the churches of the world. To quote Mother Teresa “arms extended to help are better than those raised in prayers” highlights the interaction of mankind in doing the right thing and the nebulous place of ‘religion’in society, which the ‘Code’ Islam is not one. Have any body got an English acceptable word for it?

Rashid

Mike Ghouse – there are innumerable examples where the Prophet extolled the virtues of a man who was drunk, but knocked on neighbors door and shared whatever he had to eat with them. And he also defined what a good deed was.  


Dr. Javed Jamil - Islam and pluralism

Dear Marylou

I said : “As far as pluralism is concerned, literally it means deification of a plural society, which means that one does not just accept a plural society but prefers it over every single ideology. This type of pluralism is neither desirable nor possible because if one accepts this type of ideology it would require every member of society to believe in this ideology; those who do not believe in it will be either condemned or will at least get lesser respect than those believing in pluralism. This will again lead to dominance of one ideology over the other, as pluralism in itself is a specific ideology. “

I clearly meant that pluralism “does not just accept a plural society but prefers it over every single ideology.” When I wrote that letter, I had just said what I believed and understood from the term “pluralism”. When you questioned my definition, I searched the Net for the definition, and I found myself very much near the mark. Wikepedia definition of pluralism says that pluralism is “The belief that such a condition is (not just acceptable but) desirable or socially beneficial.” It further defines it as “The belief that no single explanatory system or view of reality can account for all the phenomena of life.” (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/pluralism)

Another site gives this definition: “Religious pluralism is a set of worldviews that stands on the premise that one religion is not the sole exclusive source of values, truths, and supreme deity. It therefore must recognize that at least “some” truth must exist in other belief systems. This is one example of “they can’t all be right.” http://www.allaboutreligion.org/pluralism-definition-faq.htm

 Some faiths have tried to mould “pluralism” to fit into their own belief. One Christian explanation is as follows: “Religious pluralism is obvious within the Christian church today, as revealed dramatically by the foregoing transcript. Some would say this is great, revealing a new message of tolerance for the world. However, Jesus Christ didn't mince words when He declared, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Religious tolerance is fine, but it can't change the true meaning of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. http://www.allaboutreligion.org/religious-pluralism-3.htm

According to another definition, a pluralist is “a philosopher who believes that no single explanation can account for all the phenomena of nature” (http://www.wordreference.com/definition/pluralist)

It is clear that pluralism is not just the respect for all religions and the respect of their rights to exist, but is a specific philosophy which binds a person to the belief that no single religion represents the best. A pluralist Muslim will therefore have to admit that he does not believe Islam to be the final and the best. So if I am a believing Muslim, I cannot be a pluralist; but I can still believe in tolerance for all the religions and a plural society. A Plural society is always there but a pluralist society is hardly the answer.

Dr Javed Jamil

# # #

Mike Ghouse: Dr Jamil - I have not done a good job of explaining pluralism. It is not a religion, it is not an ism, and it is not a competing ideology or a system. It is simply an attitude of accepting that God is the creator of every life and that every one's space was created with God's will and it must be respected as it amounts to respecting the creator of such diversity.  It does not require one to negate the other faith; it does not require one to give up one's belief. 


If we do not agree, we do not have to tear down the other or submit to the other. The Sura Kafirun sums it up very well. To you is your faith and to me is mine". God created incredible diversity on the universe and each one is different, yet they co-exist in harmony. That is the model of harmony and peace religion intends to impart to us.


Islam is final and the best faith to you, me and those who believe in it, because we are following it. However, the Christians believe that Jesus is the only way, it is indeed the only way to them, as that is what they know. To Hindus it is their way; to Jews it is their way. Somewhere God also says, if he wanted he could have created all of us with the same purpose, as he did with the matter.


Prophet Muhammad signed the Madinah pact with Jews, Christians and others. He did not agree with how others worshipped God, but he signed the treaty with them all that they are free to worship their faith, indeed, he offered the Christians to do their prayers in his own mosque. He got up and kissed the Torah during a Jewish procession. It is this attitude of the Prophet that is called Pluralism.


I am a Muslim and I am a pluralist, Islam is a religion, pluralism is an attitude. At this time, no one is an authority on the subject, and am pleased to let you know that there are a few, about six who are working on the subject. Diane Eck at Harvard University, Aga Khan's Pluralism Center, Eboo Patel, A Turkish group and I with the Foundation for Pluralism.  Google it, there aren't many, and I invite the whole world to develop an attitude of Prophet Muhammad towards others.


Marylou:

Mike,
Your definition of Pluralism is very, very special to my heart.  I didn't know that Muhammad offered to do Christian prayers in his own mosque or that he kissed the Torah during a Jewish procession.  I have made a copy of the below and I will share it with others.  Thanks immensely!
Marylou

# # #

From Mike Ghouse (Founder of Foundation for Pluralism)  - I have not done a good job of explaining pluralism. It is not a religion, it is not an ism, and it is not a competing ideology or a system. It is simply an attitude of accepting that God is the creator of every life and that every one's space was created with God's will and it must be respected as it amounts to respecting the creator of such diversity.  It does not require one to negate the other faith; it does not require one to give up one's belief. 

If we do not agree, we do not have to tear down the other or submit to the other. The Sura Kafirun sums it up very well. To you is your faith and to me is mine". God created incredible diversity on the universe and each one is different, yet they co-exist in harmony. That is the model of harmony and peace religion intends to impart to us.

Islam is final and the best faith to you, me and those who believe in it, because we are following it. However, the Christians believe that Jesus is the only way, it is indeed the only way to them, as that is what they know. To Hindus it is their way; to Jews it is their way. Somewhere God also says, if he wanted he could have created all of us with the same purpose, as he did with the matter.

Prophet Muhammad signed the Madinah pact with Jews, Christians and others. He did not agree with how others worshipped God, but he signed the treaty with them all that they are free to worship their faith, indeed, he offered the Christians to do their prayers in his own mosque. He got up and kissed the Torah during a Jewish procession. It is this attitude of the Prophet that is called Pluralism.

I am a Muslim and I am a pluralist, Islam is a religion, pluralism is an attitude. At this time, no one is an authority on the subject, and am pleased to let you know that there are a few, about six who are working on the subject. Diane Eck at Harvard University, Aga Khan's Pluralism Center, Eboo Patel, A Turkish group and I with the Foundation for Pluralism.  Google it, there aren't many, and I invite the whole world to develop an attitude of Prophet Muhammad towards others.

# # #

From Mike Ghouse:

Marylou,

Thanks for sharing this. 

Muhammad or Jesus, Moses or Krishna, Buddha or Zarthustra, Nanak or Bahaulla...... they were all pluralist indeed. None of their messages were to exclude others, theirs was a public forum, not private clubs. The majority in each groups believes in pluralism and we need to help them articulate what it is. However, a few political gain seekers, in the name of conservatism want to own the religion, and ban others from being a part of it by making it an exclusive club. I believe their attitudes stem from insecurities, and those of us, who are at ease with every one, the way God has created them, have a responsibility to put them at ease. One step at a time.

I am glad we are partners in peace.

Mike

 

 

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