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Islam Is A Faith Like Any Other Religion

Tahir Mahmood

17 Jul 2007, 0017 hrs IST,

 

Believing in the existence of One Supreme and Omnipresent God, one tends to respect the spirituality of all religious faiths as the common heritage of mankind. If there is a God, it has to be One: there cannot be one God for Muslims and another for followers of other religions. If He is merciful and compassionate as the Qur'an says, He cannot reserve Heaven for one chosen community and commit all others to Hell.

In accordance with the Qur'anic exhortation that God sent His messengers to all parts of the globe only some of whom the Holy Book names, include among them Moses and Christ, Buddha and Mahavir, Ram and Krishna, and give them equal respect. The Holy Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita are, like the Torah and the Bible, covered by the Qur'anic concept of suhif-il-oula or earlier scriptures.

Believing in the symbolic and metaphorical nature of teachings of the Qur'an and all other holy books, i do not always take them literally and hardly adhere to any rites and rituals. I have a firm faith in the divinity of the Holy Qur'an, but find no sense in reading it ritually without understanding its meaning and message. Prophet Muhammad was a great social reformer whose revolutionary teachings were much ahead of his time. His authentic saying 'verily i am a human being so obey me in religious matters but not necessarily in worldly affairs' is the guiding principle of my life.

Whatever Prophet Muhammad did in his personal life is not Sunnat to be blindly followed by all for all times to come.

There is nothing wrong in adopting innocuous local customs. Everything Arab is not necessarily Islamic, too. No religion can claim to have a monopoly on truth. If religion has to be retained in society it has to be as a cementing force, not a dividing element. If religions create rift between people we would be happy without any.

Followers of various religions claim the existence of rudiments, or even complete formulations, of human rights in their scriptures and other holy books. Cons-picuous violations of human rights should not take place in the name of religion. Religions are not ends in themselves but means to achieve justice, fairplay and humane solutions to all our societal and individual problems. Rigid rules of religion should be ignored where this ensures a more humane behaviour.

The following is a translation of my Urdu poem: "What comes out of the core of my heart do i state/ Humanity is suffering, and a cure may i suggest i may not be keeping fast on a hot summer day/ To the hungry but a piece of bread i must give away/ Obligatory religious tax i might be failing to pay/ But a crying child i should make smile on my way/ ...A helping hand to cross the road i offer to the blind/ Rather than offering to a shrine a devotional cover/ Offering a garment to the poorly clad do i prefer/ Flowers for worship i don't pick every morning/ But those thorns on the road i keep on removing/ Ram's name i do not keep on ritually uttering/ But a promise made to anyone i must be fulfilling/ These values of humanism as my religion i cherish/ Everyone else's religion too these values be, i wish".

The writer is member, Law Commission of India .

 

http://timesofindia .indiatimes. com/Opinion/ Islam_Is_ A_Faith_Like_ Any_Other_ Religion/ articleshow/ 2208595.cms

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