In the UK: Promoting interfaith cooperation
The (in)famous Mughal Emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar was said to be a strong supporter of interfaith cooperation. He would invite Christians, Jains, Hindus, and India's best philosophers and thinkers to debate with Muslim theologians in order to find solutions to the perennial issues of what is truth. What does it mean to be divine? And how do we know it's there? These interfaith contacts were also used by Akbar to manage his multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multicultural empire, as well as to portray himself as an enlightened king who would treat Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and others as equals.
Peace Builder has been engaged in promoting cooperation and raising mutual understanding and awareness amongst people from different faiths based on the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). This has been achieved by publishing books with the appreciations of world prominent non-Muslims for Muhammad (SAW). Brief descriptions are as below:
“Muhammad (saw):1001 Universal Appreciations and Interfaith Understanding and Peace” (In the eyes of Non-Muslims)
With my personal webpage www.1001appreciations.org/
Seriously and thoughtfully entertaining the religious claims of those who follow another spiritual path is not something the majority of Christians of past centuries have been particularly inclined to do. For most of recorded human history, religious affiliation has been bound tightly to political belonging; belief in the official religion was tantamount to a civic duty and conversion away from it an act of treason. Why would one take an interest in what could only be construed as erroneous beliefs, especially if, as was frequently the case between Muslims and Christians, they were those of the enemy camp? By the standards of the modern era, in which religious freedom is a much cherished good and increasingly acknowledged as a human right, and diversity something to be celebrated and explored, this paradigm seems narrow-minded and parochial, not to say ungenerous. It is worth recalling that the opprobrium heaped by Christians and Muslims upon one another dates, by and large, from this epoch, now so strange and distant for most westerners.
This is the context in which it is best to appreciate this book. It is clearly a labour of love: love of the truth, love of Islam and love of the man who brought the Qur’an to the Arab nation, Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. It is a response to the vilification, slander and abuse which has been heaped upon this remarkable man over the course of history and sets out to make accessible to the reader another picture of him, a portrait of a great hero and spiritual leader who galvanized a new spiritual and imperial project and transformed for good the world we share. Dr. Mohammed Lais has worked tirelessly to gather the testimony of an impressive array of witnesses, Muslim and non-Muslim, who have registered their admiration and esteem for Muhammad and for his extraordinary achievements. The book presents ample evidence that Christians have learned that their beliefs do not oblige them to think of Muhammad as an impostor, a false prophet, that there is no inevitable incompatibility between committed, orthodox Christian faith and admiration for the person and qualities of Muhammad. And so it is that, in these pages, Orientalists, men of letters, Christian ministers, politicians, Jews, atheists, scholars and great figures from history, all rub shoulders, their words fondly recorded for posterity. The pages of this volume testify to a generosity of spirit which is truly a sign of hope in these tumultuous times.
Rev. Dr Damian Howard SJ Heythrop College, University of London
Role model – who are your role models?
My role model is the talented footballer Mohamed Salah; mine is the intelligent Ronaldo; with me it is the famous Beckham; but for me the all-time legend Pelé. Skilled Andy Murray is the best to me in the Tennis world; but my favourite player is the accomplished Serena Williams; with me it’s the world-renowned cricket star Sachin Tandulkar, for me the world record-breaker Bryan Lara; but mine is the expert Imran Khan. My role model is the music-king Michael Jackson, but mine is the boxer Amir Khan. I am proud of my role model the great politician Abraham Lincoln, but mine is the well-known Teacher Albert Einstein; Allama Iqbal is mine; but I believe MK Gandhi is the best role model and mine is the dedicated Mother Teresa.
BUT, while having respect for all the above, my role model is not a film or sports star, even though he directed and captained numerous teams to win from the east to the west. With no education he became a beloved teacher, leader, preacher, statesperson, the wisest person on the earth and the most influential, truthful, kind-hearted and welcoming to all – regardless of whether they were Muslims or non-Muslims and whether they were friends or foes. He was extremely generous to the helpless and the poor, guardian to the orphan, humbled, well-mannered and also the greatest emancipator of woman and slaves. A pioneer in interfaith advocacy, intelligent in thought and judgement and very justified law-giving, he was not only a successful statesman, but the most loving neighbour, relative, husband, father, uncle and grand-dad. The most articulate in speaking, dedicated and zealous in meeting goals, easy to approach, brave to face and endure danger and pain, who made others smile in difficulties. He was courteous in showing respect to all whether poor or rich, young or old. His charming behaviour, splendid qualities of having patience in danger and his simplicities worked like a weapon to win others’ minds. He became known as the living Qur’an and the mouth-piece of God as He guided the mankind through the Qur’an and him. Whatever he said towards the mankind was nothing from his own but ordained by God. This is a brief description of my role model, Prophet Muhammad (SAW)! (Continued)