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Faiths of the World Unite! Dr. Pasha Issues Call for Joint Celebration of World Day of Fasting 2010/Ramadan 1431

DR.PASHA | August 19, 2010 | Section: Articles | 1669 reads


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Islam Is about Finding Common Ground

Given the overarching Cooperation Principle mandated by God, Islam then becomes another name for the process of ceaselessly searching for Common Ground and shared culture.

Islam teaches people to constantly inquire and ask: What is it in our culture, experience and background that may have something in common with what someone else may have in their own culture, experience and background?

The Qur’an, of course, takes the existence of such commonalities and shared experiences among cultures and peoples and societies for granted. After all, the creator knows, right?

God then requires people to make these shared nodes of culture and history the basis for future cooperation and joint enterprise to create a richer human experience overall.

“Come, let us link hands and build on what we share,” says the Qur’an.

Hear the Qur’an outline this most revolutionary idea in its own words – and do so no less than 1400 years ago:

Ta’alau ilaa kalimatin sawaa-in bainanaa wa bainakum.

Paraphrase:

“Come, let us work together on the basis of our shared beliefs and behaviours.”

That is my paraphrase. More literally, it would translate something like: “Come to an equal ‘word’ between us and you.”

But the word “Kalimah” in Arabic could be deceptively broad. It could mean a word; it could mean an expression; it could mean more. Jesus Christ is referred to in the Qur’an as Kalimah – God’s Word.

Those familiar with the Christian appellation of Jesus as “Word” should marvel at this.

But the point is this:

First, the Qur’an invites those we may consider to be its rivals – the competition as it were – to come work with it.

Second, the Qur’an offers a basis for such potential cooperation: shared belief, behaviour, culture and experience.

So, let us not forget these two divine words: ‘Udwaan (Aggression – NO!) and Ta’awun (Co-operation – YES!).

An Entire Theory of National and International Cooperation

There is an entire political and sociological – not to say cultural and psychological – theory of group, national, institutional and international cooperation and joint enterprise here.

Again, what is most amazing is the loudness, the firmness, the authority and the clarity of these calls.

This phenomenon defies imagination and boggles the mind. In the absence of a more convincing explanation, it only serves to make the God-explanation stronger than ever and makes it unassailable by default: that it is God, and not a human source, that is behind it.

That means this book, Qur’an, with aayat after aayat of this kind, could have come only from one source: God Almighty.

These things then are among the most basic teachings of the Qur’an. I don’t know who else does or does not have them, but this is what the Qur’an teaches: Cooperation (Ta’awun) on a common platform of shared beliefs, views, goals and approaches.

And all this 1400 years ago? Not the most likely thing in human terms, wouldn’t you say?

We can understand this being a plank or an article or chapter in one of the major declarations or charters of a world body in the middle of the 20th Century like the United Nations.

But coming out of the mouth of an illiterate man in a cave in Arabia in early 7th Century? Simply does not make sense.

And that is what a miracle is: something that simply does not make sense in human terms.

Shared Culture of Fasting

So, based on this analysis, what do many cultures and religions of the world have in common? Qur’an says fasting – the shared culture of fasting, Siyaam as the Qur’an calls it.

Do Jews, Christians, Hindus and others have any kind of background or experience in fasting? Sure they do, says the Qur’an.

Is that assertion of the Qur’an independently verifiable in terms of historical records and data? Sure it is.

And the Qur’an makes a point of noting that shared background and experience of fasting among the earlier nations, societies and peoples of the world.

“O those who believe,” says the Qur’an addressing the followers of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. “Fasting is required of you, as it was required of those who were before you.”

In the language of the Qur’an:

Kutiba ‘alaikumus siyaamu kamaa kutiba ‘alal-ladheena min qablikum!

Make a special note of these words: “as it was required of those who were before you.” Give some serious thought to the clarity; the authority; the simplicity; and the historic authenticity of these words.

And then ask yourself: How did an illiterate man sitting in a cave nearly a millennium and a half ago ever manage to get any sense of this historical verity or truth in its full and sweeping spectrum?

And unless you rule out the existence and involvement of God totally and from the beginning – ab initio – what makes more sense:

  1. God is behind it?

  2. A least likely human being all of a sudden hit the biggest cultural, historical and so-called religious jackpot in the world?

Which one of these two explanations, would you say makes more sense to you personally? I mean purely in human terms, as a matter of common sense and simple logic and probability.

 

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