Showing posts with label religions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religions. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Crisis of Muslim Identity

Who is a Muslim ?

Allah says in the Holy Quran: “I have created jinns and men only so that they worship Me.” (Az-Zariyat, 51: 57)

And to be more explicit, Allah (swt) says: “O believers! Fear Allah as He should be feared. And die only in complete submission (to Him).” (Al-Imran, 3:103)

Allah (swt) wants to make it clear that he who dies without knowing his creator dies spiritually blind, and the Holy Quran also tells us: “He who is blind on earth will also be blind in the hereafter.” (Bani Isra’il, 17: 73)

This verse is a serious challenge for all who call themselves Muslims. But what is the situation today? The majority of Muslims are like passengers aboard a boat that took on water and has lost its oars and is tossed about by big waves. Are we then in perdition? Without a doubt [we, Muslims will be lost if the situation continues like this], and moreover, the Holy Quran says: “By time! Indeed, man is in lost, except those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.” (Surah Al-Asr, Chapter 103: 1-4)

The Holy Prophet (sa) once said to Abu Darda (ra), “O Abu Darda, consider yourself to be dead at all times. No one knows when he will die nor does he have any sign of his death. So act like you’re going to die in a moment and be ready to meet it (death).” [In other words, be ready to meet your Lord after death].

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Spirituality, Peace and Social Harmony

To coincide with the visit of Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius to India, the Peace Park Special School at Mathra (an initiative of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, Kerala) organized an Inter-Faith Conference on 'Spirituality, Peace and Social Harmony' on Thursday, January 19, 2017. 

Along with the Seminar, the School also initiated the idea of establishing a 'Spiritual Library' where the religious literature and spiritual traditions of various communities  could be assembled for the benefit of its readers and for the purpose of facilitating critical reflections on the original texts, so far as they are available today. At the end of the Seminar, Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba)of Mauritius recieved on behalf of the School Spiritual Library the many books gifted by different individuals and organizations. 

At around 3.00 pm, Amir Jamaat Mukarram Jamaluddin Raother Saheb, who is also the Manager of the Peace Park Special School, made welcome remarks to the gathering. President of the Karavalur Panchayat, Mr. V. Rajan, inaugurated the Seminar. Elected representatives of the village, social workers, leaders of different community organizations and members of different religious denominational groups attended the meeting. Those who spoke on the occasion include the following: Arjunan Pillai, Sasidharan, R. Vijayan Pillai, G. Suresh Kumar, K.A. Nebu and Tamimul Ansari. Fazil Jamal Saheb performed the Vote of Thanks at the end of the function, in addition to introducing the chief guest Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) to the local community of people who were present on the occasion, besides our Jamaat members. (Inset: News item on the event, Malayala Manorama Newspaper, January 21, 2017, Kollam Edition (Kerala), p.2). 

The highlight of the event was the Inter-Faith Message of the Khalifatullah (atba). In his sermon, Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) focused on the vast, common ground of shared values and humanistic teachings across all major religions and cultural systems, even as he explained the philosophical roots of the Islamic way within the larger Divine scheme of Guidance across time, nations, languages and communities. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

What it means to be a 'Muslim' ?

What Is Islam?

Like I explained last Friday, the word ‘ISLAM’ comes from the Arabic root “silm” which means ‘peace’. But as far as people in the different countries who have accepted Islam wholeheartedly are concerned, as they are not well versed in the Arabic language, they may not fully comprehend the exact extent and the exact denotation of Islam. So I have been thinking that today in my sermon I shall continue on my explanation on what is Islam?

My dear brothers and sisters, Islam is what makes the heart pump and which reinvigorates both the body and soul of the human race, and every creature which is found in the heavens and earth. The beautiful panorama of the heavens and the earth which we see around us carries in its bosom the testimony that it is the creation of a Great Creator. 

The Universe' Set Pattern

The existence of order and design in the universe which modern science, through intense researches, has come to teach us leads us to believing in the existence of a Supreme power and a Supreme Intelligence who is responsible for this complex but orderly design, such a Supreme Being Who brought it into existence and supplied with it all that is needed for its life and growth. New researches have also enabled the discoveries of new galaxies which are sisters to our galaxy, such discoveries which enrich all the more the knowledge of science in respect to the grandeur of Allah and His vast power. Thus, we find that even modern science through its innumerable researches have come to prove the words of Allah, as established in the Holy Scriptures – especially the last Law, the Holy Quran – as true.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Faith, Freedom and Public Order

"ISLAMIC STATE" spreads Terror

In the context of the besiegement by the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) of some Muslim states by proclaiming a caliphate which has not been mandated neither by Allah, nor the truly pious people, both the Islamic and non-Islamic worlds now see themselves facing a real danger. 

After Al-Qaeda and other terrorist cells, the ISIS is doing havoc in Iraq and Syria and is trying by force and terror to make people succumb to their command. According to them, the first objective of the Ummah must be the seizure of secular power so as to be able to reign in supremacy. And so, without referring themselves specifically to the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), these people spread terror in both Muslim and non-Muslim camps. 

The world is facing a real crisis. That is why in this century, the Caliph of Allah, the Reviver of Faith of this century has been raised by Allah to thwart the purpose of any other false caliphate which is just like a flame blazing and burning further the fragile state of Islam.

We are in a state of emergency. 

Muslims must refer themselves first of all to the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of our beloved prophet (pbuh). What these so-called Muslims and defenders of the Ummah are doing has nothing to do with the practice of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). The latter (pbuh) had established the Quran first; long before he even gained political power. The teachings (of the Quran) were observed/ put into practice even if the political powers of the time opposed them. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) remains verily our only source of light. His ascension to political supremacy was primarily free of all injustice and coercion.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Islam on Slavery and Prisoners of War

Prophets and other messengers of God come to liberate humans from their chains. Divine teachings, in their pristine essence, are designed to emancipate them from their slavish bondages.

Compared to all other religions of the past, Islam provides far more evolved teachings that are mindful of the predicament of slaves. Its teachings are designed to abolish and root out this abominable practice through radical transformation of the social order, even as it provides teachings for fair treatment of all, including in times of war to the Prisoners of War. Islam permits defensive war against the enemies of the State when it is faced with aggression by other nations and peoples. In the course of such inter-State conflicts, Muslims can capture and retain prisoners of War till the end of hostilities and thereafter, release them as a grace or for ransom.

In the history of the world, rise and fall of nations is a reality. Likewise, profound teachings get blurred in the distance of time. People forget the true traditions and invent new customs of religions, and thereby alter and reshape original teachings. Hence, though Prophets in the past never took slaves, their followers have abused that legacy of freedom and fairness.  Hence, slavery had been perpetrated also by the so called men of religion. Despite Islam’s clearest exposition on the dignity and equality and equal rights of all human beings, like Jews and Christians and the Hindus among them in society, even Muslims cannot fully absolve themselves from the stigma of practicing slavery. 

In a religious and international context, where the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) practices slavery against its enemies in the name of Islam, and also many other world nations permitting working/labour/social/political conditions amounting to modern forms slavery that infringes upon elementary considerations of humanity, the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius warns the world community on the need for returning to the just teachings of Islam that seek to abolish slavery and ensure fair treatment of all, including even to prisoners of war in times of hostilities.  

Reproduced below are extracts from the Friday Sermon of 05 February 2016 ~(25 Rabi’ul Aakhir 1437 Hijri):

Monday, February 16, 2015

'Divine Revelations are not the Inspirations of Mind'

A very serious misconception which is prevailing in my time, in this era with a divine manifestation, and which has undermined the foundations of all religions, so that the very essence of religion is being completely revolutionized as a result of which, in place of the divine light of revelation, it is the ideas and conceptions of the human mind which are being substituted and put forward as the truth and thus it is that entirely erroneous definition of revelation which has found general acceptance. Independence of thoughts and the length of time which had elapsed since the appearance of the seal of prophets Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) had led the greater portion of the world to believe that revelation was mere inspiration of the mind. This was due, to the belief and conception that God could not speak in words as He was not a materiel Being and was not dependent upon material means like men.

I explain from my personal experience that revelation is conveyed in words and the mode of conveying is as certain and free from doubt as the talking of one man to another. If revelation was not to be conveyed in words, it could not be entirely free from doubt and could not lead to perfect certainty. For, perceiving every inspiration as divine revelation, every man can fancy himself inspired and thus deceive himself and mislead mankind, as has actually happened in several instances since this erroneous conception of revelation has found currency. 

Revelation is intended to remove doubts and misconceptions, and if it is not conveyed in words, it opens, still wider the doors of doubt and uncertainty for there is then no means of distinguishing between revelation and the fancies of a man’s own mind. Revelation is conveyed in words possessing extraordinary glory and majesty, and also a dialogue is possible between God and man in the same manner as between two men, so that a recipient of revelation attains to that degree of certainty which dispenses with any further proof or argument.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Divine Elects Lit Up the Path of Guidance

The Universality of Divine Providence

Wa ‘immin ‘ummatin ‘illaa khalaa fiihaa naziir.
“There is no nation but has had its Warner.” (Surah al Fatir; 35: 25)

All nations received revelation. There is an important question which relates to the person of God and man and that which subsists between man and man; in other words; which nations have been the recipients of revelation and on what principles were they selected by God to receive His revelation? Without the solution of this question, the reform which the Promised Messiah had attempted in relation to other questions relating to the being of God, would not have been complete. With regard to this question he pointed out that, as God is the Lord of the whole universe, his guidance could not be confined to any particular nation. As he is the Lord of all mankind and has equipped all of them with thinking minds, he could not deprive any nation of His guidance. As I have recited in the beginning of my sermon: “There is no nation but has had its Warner”. (Fatir; 35: 25)

God has sent His messengers among all nations and in all ages, and as the sun lights up the whole world, the light of revelations has ever lit up the darkest corners of the earth. If today we cannot discover the light of revelation among a particular people, it does not mean that no prophets have appeared among them, but the truth is that these peoples have allowed their national traditions and faith to die out.

In pursuance of this doctrine this testified to the truth of Krishna, Ram and Buddha, the prophets of India, and all the other prophets, messengers and reformers of Almighty God, and the rejection of their claims is, in a sense, amounting to a denial of the universal providence of God. 

Why accept some and reject some? Why not accept all as of divine source? This is a doctrine which was not to be found among the teachings of any sect or religion, and, as a matter of fact, the majority of people believe that revelation had been confined to the founders of their respective religions, and even those who believed that revelation had been vouchsafed to people of other religions did so, more as a sort of personal tribute to the founders of those religions on account of the services rendered by them to the cause of humanity than as a result of the acceptance of the doctrine of the universal providence of God.

The Enduring Light of Muhammad

But the Promised Messiah demonstrated from the Quran that not only were those men the righteous servants of God whose services to humanity are recorded in history, but that the attributes and the words of God alike bore witness to the fact that every nation, whether its traditions have been preserved or not, has had its prophet, and that to receive guidance through prophets was the right of humanity which God would never ignore. The extent to which this doctrine has opened to all nations the doors of the Love of God, has placed the internal relation of mankind on a basis of concord and amity, and has secured the founders and righteous men of all religions against insult and abuse.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Miracles and the Light of Faith

In continuation to last Friday’s sermon, the condition of the world itself demands the advent of a prophet. For, where can be find today the light and the faith of which we read in connection with the prophets? Who can show the signs and miracles which men were wont to witness at the hands of the prophets and their companions? We find a great deal written in the books of each religion, but where can be find the practical proof of it? Where is the gift of prophecy which the companions of Moses possessed? Where are the signs which the disciples of Jesus were wont to show? The books of every religion talk of a living God, but is that living God living today also? Does He still maintain with His servants the relation which Jehovah was wont to maintain with the followers of Moses or the Heavenly Father with the disciples of Jesus, or Allah with the Muslims?

If not, what reason can be assigned for this change? And, has this change occurred in God, or in man? We find that, in order to avoid having to face this question and to admit that this change has occurred, the contents of the revealed books of different religions are sought to be explained away, and meanings are assigned to passages which the words are incapable of bearing.

It may be permissible to us to say that God spoke to His servants in this or that manner, or spoke to His servants in this or that way, or that His relations with His servants were of this or that kind, but it is not open to us to assert that God has never talked to man in a manner which should exclude all possibility of doubt or misgiving nor is it open to us to say that God never showed any miracles to demonstrate conclusively the truth of a particular religion or of a particular prophet. We may be permitted to assert that the relationship which existed between God and His servants in the past was of a nature different from that ordinarily understood or accepted, but after a perusal of the scriptures of different religions we cannot honestly assert that God has never dealt with His servants in manner from which the world could judge that a Living God exists who displays his Might and Mercy for those He loves.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Obama on Freedom of Religion

President of the United States Barack Hussein Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast, a decades-old Washington tradition, on February 06, 2014. "To harm anyone in the name of faith is to diminish our own relationship with God", says the President.

As instances of persecution and other violation of basic freedoms scar the lives of millions of people in different parts of the world, the President reminds that to respect human rights, particularly religious freedom, leaders everywhere must do more. Among the cases of egregious violation of religious freedoms, the President remembers the plight of, among others, the Ahmadi Muslims of Pakistan.

Read the Extracts from the Speech:

So each time we gather, it’s a chance to set aside the rush of our daily lives; to pause with humility before an Almighty God; to seek His grace; and, mindful of our own imperfections, to remember the admonition from the Book of Romans, which is especially fitting for those of us in Washington: “Do not claim to be wiser than you are.”

So here we put aside labels of party and ideology, and recall what we are first: all children of a loving God; brothers and sisters called to make His work our own. But in this work, as Lincoln said, our concern should not be whether God is on our side, but whether we are on God’s side

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Persecution of Ahmadis in Indonesia

The on-going campaign in Indonesia, to ban and persecute the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community underscores the challenges facing the nation in protecting human rights, forging a secular identity and strengthening the spirit of democracy and rule of law. It is worth recalling that freedom of belief is a fundamental human right, guaranteed by the Indonesian Constitution, and no citizen can be denied this right on the grounds of his or her beliefs. Any thinking citizen would agree that as a religious order, the Ahmadiyya has every right to preach and propagate all of its doctrines and beliefs. It is immaterial for a secular state whether the beliefs or ritual practices may or may not conform to the beliefs and practices of the other denominations in Islam.

The religio-political campaign obviously seeks to discredit the teachings of the Ahmadiyya community and to call attention to the "danger" faced from this intrinsically peaceful sect of Islam. Instead of displaying sectarian intolerance and moral bankruptcy, the orthodox leadership would do well to engage the Ahmadiyya Muslims in a theological, civilized, intellectual debate and thereby show a modicum of respect for the faith, intellect and convictions of ordinary Muslim citizens and others.

The sectarian politics of religious mobilization and its current manifestations will have divisive implications for the country's plural future. Clearly, banning the movement to prevent its spiritual appeal or declaring it a non-Muslim minority to stop its growth is not the business of a secular government. Leaders of the country and conscientious citizens would do well to reflect over the politically disastrous and socially divisive legacy of Pakistan's experiment with the criminalization of the Ahmadiyya sect. Social scientists and political analysts have, in recent times, traced the growth of Muslim extremism and cultural intolerance in Pakistan and elsewhere, to the divisive politics of anti-Ahmadiyya rhetoric.

At one level, what is at stake is the very notion of human rights and rule of law in a secular democracy. Extremists and right-wing Muslim orthodoxy should not be allowed to dictate the future of Indonesian identity. At another level, perhaps even more importantly, what is at stake for devout Muslims is the very meaning of being a Muslim in our times. After all, the Holy Qur’an explicitly states: "Let there be no compulsion in matters of faith." Islam's plural character and legacy of religious tolerance needs to be defended, ironically enough, against an "orthodoxy" that claims to represent it!

In an article published on The Hindu, one of India’s leading newspapers, on June 15, 2013, Pallavi Iyer has thrown searching light on the persecution of Ahmadis and other minority religious denominations and the growing signs of cultural intolerance in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country.  

Read the Article:

Over the last few years, Jakarta has laid down legal infrastructure that discriminates against religious minorities, allowing Islamists to take the law into their own hands

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Prophethood: A Divine Favour

Islam, as taught by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa), validates the universality of spiritual experience and recognizes the fact that all communities in the past were recipients of Divine favour through the raising of spiritually awakened souls among them. Reflecting upon the profound impact of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) on the history of spirituality, the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius, in his Friday Sermon of 21 September 2012, spoke about the extraordinary spiritual revolution brought about by the arrival of Islam in a world of pagan rituals and animistic practices. The Khalifatullah describes the raising of prophets as a special Divine blessing for the human kind, for such spiritually-aware souls provide a living, practical example for the common folks to emulate in their own individual, spiritual lives.  

Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon:

“Certainly Allah has conferred a favour upon the believers by raising among them a Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His revelations and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error.” (3: 165).

The expression, by “by raising among them a Messenger from among themselves”, is intended to awaken in the hearts of Muslims a desire to follow the example of the Holy Prophet (sa) who was like them and one of them. The prophet was not only a man like them but was actually one of them. If he could rise to such spiritual heights, why could they not?

Friday, August 31, 2012

ISLAM and the Universality of Spirituality

Those who study and reflect upon the belief systems of religions and cultures are immediately struck by the common humanity and shared spirituality so unmistakably apparent in all of them. A profound faith in the Unity of God, a strong orientation to be good and do good to the wider society in which you dabble in, individual accountability for our every day actions- these are characteristic traits that are distinctly present in almost all religions. As a spiritual order, Islam validates this universality of spiritual experience and seeks to consolidate and build upon the profound legacy of religions that emerged before it on the horizon of humanity. The Holy Qur'an recognizes the diversity of clans, tribes, languages, religions, cultures and nations as a blessing for humankind.

In his Friday Sermon of August 31, 2012 Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius shared some light upon this important theme which places the experience of Islam firmly in its wider historical and spiritual context.

Read the Extracts from the Speech:

“Surely those who believe and the Jews and the Christians and the Sabians – whosoever truly believe in God and the Last Day and do good deeds, shall have their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve.” (2: 63)