Quran’s message on Pluralism
- May 27, 2023
- 10am-12pm Pacific Time
- Berkeley, California, USA
- (510) 655-2830
Iftekhar Hai of United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance (Umaia.net), will lead this discussion, the first in a short series, to explore how to achieve peace between nations and across religious and racial lines. Iftekhar is reminded of IKE’s (President Eisenhower) warning to Americans, “He called it the military-industrial complex, a formidable union of defense contractors and the armed forces looking for expansion.”
What can people of faith do to promote peoples seeing each other as being of equal value? In the spirit of International Day of Living Together in Peace (which occurs on May 16th), how can people live in a united and peaceful way by listening to, respecting, and appreciating others?
Iftekhar will have a report on his experience of working with the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco, William Levada, Bishop Swing the founder of United Religions Initiative URI.org. URI is the largest interfaith organization in the world with nearly 1,000 chapters all over the world. Iftekhar Hai has been associated with URI from the very beginning.
Iftekhar Hai is one of the founding directors of San Francisco Interfaith Council and has worked with them for nearly 30 years. He visited the Vatican to promote peace between Islam & Christianity in March 2006. The Hindu American Foundation conferred on him the Mahatma Gandhi Award on Pluralism in 2014. The United Religions Initiative and San Francisco Interfaith Council awarded him for his 25 years of peace building. He is a writer who not only eliminates negative stereotyping, but also differentiates between moderate and extremist interpretation of Islam. Most of the San Francisco bay area newspapers have printed his articles. For three years his columns have appeared in Faith pages of San Mateo Times. He compares the global and inter-religious message of Islam to other religions and spiritual traditions. He also talks about a list of grievances of the Muslim world because of U.S. foreign policies. Lately he has been one of the most sought after speakers on peace and reconciliation among religions. Earnestly he talks about the challenges facing the American Muslims in the 21st century in the face of terrorism, globalization and interconnectedness. He is a humanist and focuses on humanity, living as one family with its wonderful diversity, on one piece of real estate – THE EARTH.
Other participants include:
Marilyn Jackson, PhD, WISR and Ecumenical Peace Institute. Dr. Jackson has a Lutheran background and wrote her dissertation at WISR, relating Creation Spirituality to Lutheranism ~ viewed from the perspective of Education for Social Change. She has also authored two chapters on the Danish Folk High School movement, started by N.F.S. Grundtvig, who, like Gandhi, was inspired by the Enlightenment and strove to enlighten the common people.
Vijayendra Kadalabal (Vijay), MSc, MA, will be joining us from Bangalore, India, representing Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR). Vijay is a youth organizer who currently leads a youth movement in India which nurtures more than 15000+ grassroots youth to become constitutionally aware and human rights defenders. He is a Chevening Scholar (2018-19), Caux Scholar Asia Plateau (2016-17) and has multiple master’s degree in Financial Economics, Social Work, and International Development.
Susan M. Strouse (M.Div, D.Min) is a Lutheran pastor and the author of The INTRAfaith Conversation: How Do Christians Talk Among Ourselves about INTERfaith Matters. Her area of interest is interfaith theology, particularly working with congregations and clergy to explore the meaning of being a Christian in our religiously diverse world. She was a presenter at the North American Interfaith Network Conference in 2015 at and the Parliament of the World Religions in 2015, 2018, and 2021. She will lead a workshop at the Parliament in August 2023.
Cosponsors so far include The Ecumenical Peace Institute (EPI) and The Oscar Romero and Simone Weil Catholic Worker House. Let us know if your organization would like to cosponsor to get the word out.
Please call 510/655-2830 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or for help with technical difficulties.
The American Muslims realizes that there is more than one path to salvation. We are all born by chance of birth into whatever faith we are born in. Generally everyone follows the faith of their parents. However, this does not mean that a person does not have the right to change their religion. Freedom of religion is fundamental to understanding and supporting Pluralism and Diversity. The Quran also protects religious freedom in 2:256.
On Pluralism and Diversity of human race no further proof is required than the following verse in the Quran 5:48. If this verse is preached from the pulpit then this message can be used to educate the common people too. Conservative religionists do not give importance to such diversity and pluralism. This is what we American Muslims are trying to change it.
QURAN RECOGNISES DIVERSITY & PLURALISM
To you WE have given the scriptures, just as WE have given the scriptures to people before you (Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc). We have protected your scriptures (Quran) in its entirety. So judge among people from what knowledge has come to you (from Quran) and follow not their vain desires (that Muslims are the only righteous and chosen people to lead) diverging far away from the TRUTH .
To each among you (referring to diverse groups – not excluding anybody) We have prescribed the Law (teachings of the indigenous, native people and Buddhist scholars, Gitas, Vedas, Torah, Gospels and The Quran) and an Open Way (given a conscience with reference to the spiritualists people).
If God had willed, all humanity would have been of one single community (this means diversity is part of God’s creation). God’s plan is to test you in what each one has received (in form of Holy Scriptures or Conscience). So strive, as in a race in all virtues.
The goal of all the people is to God. God (alone) will tell you the truth in matters of which you dispute.” 5:48
Every People have received Apostle/Prophets
The following verse in the Quran is repeated 3 times. These are very important verses that further the teachings of Diversity and Pluralism in the Quran.
The Quran says, “To every people was sent an Apostle to teach them in their own language in their own country – making things clear” 10:47, 14:4 & 16:36. This means that numerous Prophets have been coming from the beginning of times to guide people for living a righteous life. Our Prophet has said there are 124,000 Prophets (numerous) that have been send from time to time to different people all over the world. Each Prophet preached the same message of believing in God and doing righteous acts. This would mean that Confucius, Buddha, Ram, Krishna could also be Prophets for Buddhists and Hindus too. Their Holy Scriptures is also just as important as the Abrahamic Scriptures, namely, The Torah, The Gospels and The Quran.
Pluralism is further strengthened where there is Equality of all The Prophets, and this is exactly what the Quran says in 4 different verses. Conservative religionists create problems when they put Prophet Mohammed ahead and over and above all other Prophets. Muslims are never to grade Prophets at all. We have to consider all of them Equal. By this teaching, equality is also transferred to their respective followers, be they Jews, Christians, Hindus or Buddhists, etc. This kind of thinking further consolidates the teachings of Pluralism and Diversity that is so much needed in 21st century. The below quotation speaks openly about Equality of All the Prophets.
EQUALITY OF ALL PROPHETS
The Quran iterates equality of all the prophets in front of God, although each prophet was gifted in different ways, carrying messages at different times, in different conditions and to different people: “We believe in the revelation given to us, and the revelation given to Abraham, Ismael, Issac, Jacob and the tribes, and the revelations given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to all the Prophets from their Lord. We make no difference between one and another of them. We bow to God in Islam.” 2:136, 2:85, 3:84, 4:152.
Salvation for Anyone and Everyone who is Righteous
I especially want to convey to you that God will reward anyone believer from any religious tradition according to the following verse in the Quran which is repeated 3 times in different places.
“Those who believe (in the Quran), those who follow the Jewish Scriptures, the Christians (who follow the teachings of the Gospels) and the Sabians (followers of John the Baptist or Zoroastrians), any (Hindu, Buddhist, spiritualists, etc. (anyone living in any part of the world) who believe in God, the Last Day and work righteousness, shall have their reward from their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” 2:62, 5:69, 2:112 (repeated numerous times all over the Quran)
Pluralism and Diversity is the core message in the Quran. It acknowledges Equality of All Believers and further guarantees “rewards” for any who believe in God, the Day of Judgment and who does righteousness. This is in complete compliance with the Golden Rule Poster.
Iftekhar Hai, President
UMA Interfaith Alliance