What is the effect of claiming one’s faith is superior?
In reference to my speech http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2009/04/mike-ghouse-honored-by-rcc.html I have received a number of encouraging words, as well as some good critiquing, and am pleased to address the questions for the sake of clarity.
Dr. Javed Jamil writes below “As Muslims, we cannot support Atheism, Polytheism, etc, but we respect the right of the people to believe whatever they like.”
Javed that has been my point; to respect the right of people to believe whatever they like. I do not encourage any one to become a polytheist or an Atheist, Christian or a Muslim, however, I respect their right to believe what they believe, and certainly work with them for peaceful co-existence of one and all. My inspiration comes from Sura Kafirun that expresses that thought exceptionally well (http://quraan-today.blogspot.com/2008/07/sura-kafirun-un-believers.html ) –
Prophet Muhammad was an ultimate peace maker and I have written 10 different peace models he has offered the world to follow. Remember the offer was for every one, as he was the Rahmatul Aalameen, mercy to mankind. His message was universal and one of the models was signing the treaties with the warring tribes, to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill and above all to co-exist in peace. It comes with accepting them reluctantly or willingly for the sake of peaceful co-existence. There is no compulsion in the matters of faith, you can always offer Islam for people to look at, and you have got to give the same right to others, but you cannot claim it is superior as it would turn them off, if you want to convert any one to your way of thinking, your belief or if you want to sell your product to any one, you don’t kick the beehive.
Ovais writes “this is a total misconception if you think by saying and accepting that Islam is the only right way would send out a message of arrogance, then you are absolutely wrong, I think this is more of a diplomatic way of making non-Muslim comfortable with you so that you can spend time with them.”
Larry James, the President of Council of Churches, the recipient of similar recognition spoke after me and said, “it is a tough one not to claim that my religion is the only way” It will be a major change in thinking by the Church of or clergy.
Indeed, it is a tough one to crack, but the right one though. If we can make a march towards ridding the arrogance of superior claims, life would be lot easier and paves the way for peace and security. Millions of Native Indians, Jews, Hindus, Christians, Muslims and others have been killed by the Zealots who believed that their way was the only way. Neither Christianity nor Islam is about oppression, force or compulsion, neither are any other faiths. Yet people who believe that their way is the only way, do the massacres, almost every conflict in the world has root in arrogance. You and I would not be able to practice our faith if the Majority decides that their way is the only way, that is not peace, and that is not Islam.
Ovais, the later part of the comment sounds like a personal issue to me, I do not need any diplomacy either, I have ticked off the right wingers in Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Christianity, not intentionally though. We are fighting the turf - if we let them have their way, no one will have any freedom. But the 98% of the people are moderates and beleive in live and let live and that is thier understanding of their respective religion.
The source of conflict is arrogance – including the idea that my faith is superior. It is not the religion that has created problems it is indeed the arrogance of people, it is time we start shedding it. My faith's goodness is not because others are deficient, my faith is good because following it brings peace to me and what surrounds me. Other faiths offer the same peace to its followers; we need to respect their beliefs. Then conflicts fade and solutions emerge – that is Peace, isn’t that what Islam is about?
The other question raised by a few is about oneness of God.
Oneness of God means a state of conflictlessness, including the numeric one God. God (or the causer of the existence) has intentionally created diversity, when we learn to accept and respect that, conflicts fade and solutions emerge; we will be one world.
A friend shared the following “Linguistically Tawhid means: "To make something one, or to assert the oneness of something." [Lisaan ul-'Arab (3/450) of Ibn Mandhoor and also al-Hujjah fee Bayaanil-Mahajjah (1/305) of Abul-Qaasim al-Asbahaanee] However, what we are concerned with here is the Sharee'ah or technical meaning of Tawheed, which is: "To single out Almighty God alone for worship." [Ad-Dururus-Sunniyyah (1/48) of Shaykh 'Abdur- Rahmaan ibn Hasan] “
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PEACE?
You, me and every one of us is responsible for peace. If we are not in peace within ourselves, most certainly others are in the same boat. If we can clean ourselves from hate, malice, ill-will and anger, we can reasonably expect others to make the same effort. So, let peace begin with me. No individual or nation can be at peace, when others around it are not. So peace is every one's responsibility.
Prophet Muhammad was an ultimate peace maker (as were other spiritual masters); indeed, the name of the religion that I follow is “Peace” – aka Islam. Prophet Muhammad wanted to establish peace for humanity and offered various models for us to follow and communicated God’s wisdom through Qur’aan.
I do not consider this recognition as my achievement; it is your acheivement, it is a small step towards achieving the dream of 98% of the moderate population, be it Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews or any one; to open people’s hearts and minds towards fellow beings by mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill. That is what peace is all about, that is what every Religion including mine contributes to.
A few comments:
Re: Mike Ghouse is recognized as a communicator of the year 2008
While I congratulate you on your achievement, I will give a suggestion. To have respect for other religions and faiths is one thing and to honour them is different. If you respect an ideology, it means that you respect the right of an ideology to exist and the right of people to follow it. If you "honour" an ideology, it means you agree with the basic principles of that ideology. Muslims must respect other faiths and must accept a plural society, which is the position of Quran, but they must in no way dilute the basic principles of Islam, most notably monotheism and Prophethood of Muhammad. Even without diluting them, you can be a part of the Inter-fath exercises. Recently, I was invited to attend an International conference on "Religious intolerance" at Bangalore, which was organised by International Council of Churches, Geneva. Most of the invitees were Christian priests. In fact I happened to be the only Muslim invitee. I presented a paper, "Building an all-religion alliance against evils". My paper was the talk of the whole conference. I advocated the all-religion alliance against commercialisation of human susceptibilities. I also argued that Westernism and Christianity are two different things. Muslims and Christians both should realise this. The best way of diffusing tensions between communities is to unite the religions for a common agenda. Mere handshakes, hugs and common lunches and dinners would not suffice. (I will like to share the paper with the Forum and will soon post it.)
AsMuslims, we cannot support Atheism, Polytheism, etc, but we respect the right of the people to believe whatever they like.
Dr Javed Jamil
A richly deserved honor, Mike. Your brief acceptance speech is a great piece and sums up a sublime understanding of Allah (swt), God or what ever other name Mankind invented for the Gracious and Merciful Spread of Energy that envelopes and causes The Universe and the Life there-in. Viva Mike and keep up your Crusade of Humanity.
Please accept my heartiest congratulations for winning the recognition as communicator of the year.Indeed, it should be proud moment for those who believe in your sincere and boundless efforts to bring people of all faiths together, and bring peace and pruralism among people of different faiths, without prejudice towards none.
Communicator : What is communicator and what it means to be a communicator.
Communicator is a person who communicates, esp. one skilled
at conveying information,ideas, or policy to the public.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a great communicator, and used his communicating skill to convince and convert non-believers into Islam.
President Ronald Reagan was a communicator who used his communicating skill to
sell his republican ideology.
President Barack Obama is communicator extraordinaire who uses his skill to win
friends and influence people by his charm and rhetoric.
I personally believe, brother Mike Ghouse is a great communicator in his own rights
as muslim, who does his best by using his skill to build bridge between people of
different faiths and create brotherhood, without prejudice towards none.
Islam for pluralism
Congratulations on the Award. On behalf of Community Builders Chicago, I would like to extend our felicitations to you, on this recognition for your community service and wish you continued success in the future.
Community Builders Chicago
Dear Mike Bhai,
Here is the issue "And further I am humbled to say that my religion is not superior to others, that claim would be a sheer arrogance. " this is a total misconception if you think by saying and accepting that Islam is the only right way would send out a message of arrogance, then you are absolutely wrong, I think this is more of a diplomatic way of making non-muslim comfortable with you so that you can spend time with them.
I am not jugding you in any way, your religion is your way to Allah, whatever I say will not affect your path to Janat, but it hurts me when religion is being compromised to gain acceptance of others, I hope I am wrong, but this is what I see in your emails that you are trying to make everyone happy by saying that they are all ok. I strongly believe in peace, it is the only way, but again Islam shouldn't be compromised. I would suggest you read Surat Kafirun, you would hopefully understand the message of Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him.
Again I am all for peace, Islam stands for peace, and if I have misunderstood your message I appologize but if you still say that all religion are right, then I think this is a misunderstanding, because now this would make you superior to Porphet Mohammed peace be upon him because according to him Islam is the only correct path.
Thanks for reading the message.
Mike, thanks for continuing the good witness of your award with the blog entry and pictures.
I much appreciate having your statement, which admirably set the tone for our ceremony.
I haven't had a chance to download my pictures, but I would like to request a "big file" version of the three awardees.
Rev. Bill Matthews
Please accept our heartiest congratulations on being honored as Secular Communicator of the Year. I know you have done a tremendous amount of quality work to promote this concept. Overdue but I am glad it happened.
Also, thanks for joining us at the Swaminarayan temple for pooja for Sapna. We appreciate it.
Keep it up.........
Mazel tov Mike! Congratulations! With more advance notice I might even have tried to attend, even though it is still Passover (and even though I've never heard of the organization). You're in pretty nice company. I know of Larry James and I've met him through one of his projects.
Dear Mr Ghouse
You have stated a simpe fact which needs no further arguments to support it.
regards and bw
Mike - I'm celebrating with you! This is indeed a remarkable achievement but very much deserved. Your devotion to peace and justice inspires me everyday and keeps me moving along the path. All the best for a year full of successful campaigns. Your friend,
You deserve it and it is overdue. I don't know anyone who propagates such classic approach of religious harmony and tolerance in our disturbed world.
this article is against the basic believe of islam, if we should honor every tradition, then we should honor those who used to kill their daughter just because they are girls???,
to those who drink dirty food??? to those who are killing humanity just for their worldly beneafits ????, to those who live naked or semi naked???.
Does it make any sense? after reading some part from the article from link, i found mike ghause state as followed
"I am humbled to say that my religion is not superior to others", that proves, mike ghause is
extremely misguided person and he may be working for kuffar to misguided muslims.
islam is not only superior to other religions but islam is the only true religion in the world until the last day world. All other religion are false, taking people to nowhere but distruction The Religion Communicators council is trying to misguid muslims, beware.
Congratulations Mike! I am so happy for you and so proud to have interacted with you. i could not agree more with your stand on God and religion, especially the concept of not having any "Superior" or "Chosen" religion has always been part of my faith.
May God bless you!
Respected Janab Mike Ghouse saheb AADAAB
No doubt, You are great, Your mission is great and I can say that you are a jewel
of humanity and a torch of world peace.
I appreciate your efforts. I am always with you. You can take my services for more success of your mission.
Tanveer Jafri. India