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Islam My Interaction With Some Muslim Friends

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by passingby, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. passingby

    passingby
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    Being born in a Sikh/punjabi environment and being acquainted with Baba Farid, Baba Shah Hussien, Baba Bulleh Shah and other sufis I had this idea in my mind that in the Pakistani Punjab the islam would be much similar to these teaching of sufism which are somewhat similar to Sikhism (from a liberal kind of view). Concepts like role of Guru/Murshid, and remembrance of the Divine seem to be hardly different to ones found in sikhism.
    But recently I have had the chance to befriend some muslim friends from Pakistani Punjabi (about 3-4 of them) and I have made these observations:

    1. These friends have very little knowledge of Sikhism. They have no idea about who Guru Nanak was or what latter Gurus preached or lived by.
    2. They have not heard of words like Gurbani, Keertan, langar etc
    3. They have no awareness of new age global spiritual movements or the new age teachers like J. Krishnamurti, or even modern ones like Echart Tolle or Thich Nhat Hanh. The modern day explosion of knowledge and understanding of general spirituality has not touched them. Zen, Tibetan or Vietnamese buddhism is unheard of. The nature of human mind which Gurbani talks about or which all the modern day spiritual teachers talks of, do not figure prominently in their talks about religion.
    4. Their idea of religion is that of a Governor God whose laws have been delivered by the prophet. The idea of an omnipresent God who can be experienced here in this life is not mentioned by them.
    6. Benefits of meditation of various kind and their role in mental health, control of mind and development of some spiritual consciousness (I do not mean attainment of God or anything, just the simple things) are not mentioned by them.

    I consider myself as a very open minded person and I did not expect myself to be shocked like this but I am, honestly speaking.
    For me religion is about walking the path of developing a higher mind which ultimately 'experiences' whatever is being promised by the chosen religion. In my case it is about 'realisation' of the Omnipresent Creator, the Akal Purakh Waheguru. Whereas their is of living according to laws and rules and regulation and being rewarded for it in heavenly after life.
    At least in two instances two separate people have cited superiority of Islam because of the fact that Islam provides right of divorce to a woman and the fact that marriage is a contract (the word contract was specifically used).
    I feel that they believe and expect religion to be mainly a set of rules and regulations to live by. The spiritual practices, sadhna, cultivation of love for God and His Creation does not figure anywhere prominently.
    In past few days these differences seem to disturb me a lot more than usual. I have lost my comfort level with them, at least in the area of religious talks.

    Has anyone else experienced this in his/her circle of friends?

    Note- All that I have said is based upon my personal interaction with just a few muslim friends. They may or may not represent the majority. I should also mention here that these people are my friends and they are good people. These thought expressed here are just about the differences in ideas about religion and spirituality.
     
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  3. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Passingby ji from what little I know the following comments,

    In many ways as you mentioned the concept of marriage contract, it appears perhaps with little knowledge that I have that Islam is a rather straight forward quantitative religion.

    You do so much good, there is reward. You do bad there is appropriate punishment. Spirituality is tackled more in terms of where you are going to land on a net-net basis. Being good will receive good after death and bad will get bad.

    The overall rules, descriptions are pretty tight and well described leaving little room for mis-interpretation. Hence in a global sense it may appear less as a cozy/cozy and let us discuss life, God, spirituality as Sikhism does and some other religions do.

    Just some thoughts and no offense intended and I stand corrected.

    Thanks.
     
  4. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    The subject was raised in a previous thread that Islam and Christianity had many many more converts than sikhism, this post merely confirms what I have always thought.

    Spartans, What is your Profession? - YouTube

    I am sure there are spiritually inclined muslims and christians, but its a numbers game, the majority merely pay lip service to something they do not understand, we have the blood of men and women that fought and died so that we have this connection to waheguru, we know the sacrifices made so that can enjoy this connection, I think it makes for a greater desire to embrace everything that encapsulates sikhism

    Please do not be hard on your friends, maybe in time they will graduate to asking 'why?' rather than 'how?', religion gives them what they need at this time, and that is fine, and should not be judged, your spirit begs to be satisfied with knowledge and information, be happy that you have such a spirit! some are not so lucky to be born with the fire that drives you to ask why, and some have no access to the answers that will eventually quench that fire and turn it into peace, love and understanding.
     
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  5. passingby

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    I am not being hard, I just got uncomfortably disturbed because I felt that there is a communicative gap, a huge one, and they are not 'getting' what I am saying when it comes to thoughts on spiritual living. That is why I shared my mental pain here at the forum.
    I never argue on religion because as Baba Atar Singh Mastuana ji used to say, "only that person should lecture who does not have a desire to lecture". I don't want to agitate myself in an argument especially since I myself have not walked the path yet. It would a kind of hypocrisy.

    Since past one year and especially in recent months I have listened to akhand patth recitation on laptop which I find to be very convenient way of connecting with Gurbani. I am overwhelmed at the repetitive descriptions of the spiritual mental states of a Gurmukh. It seems Gurbani makes it abundantly clear that Hari/Ram/AkalPurakh can be experienced in this very life and that a complete quantum jump, a completely out-of-the-ordinary transformation of our mind and body is very possible with Guru's Grace.
    These view of mine came into sharp contrast when I interacted with my muslim friends.
     
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  6. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    passingbyji,

    Mind you, let us not be blinkered into thinking that this is a muslim issue, it is not, I have the same problem speaking to fellow sikhs :singhsippingcoffee:
     
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  7. Ishna

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    Passingby ji

    Please do slow down and play a while here at SPN (don't pass by just yet) - I'm enjoying your participation.

    You might like to read the following resources about Sikhism and Sufism:
    Posted by our very own Aman Singh Ji
    Sufi and Sikh at SikhNet

    Not many people seem to know about Sikhi here in Australia, but I'm more suprised that Pakistanis wouldn't know about it! Then again, if you're not interested, why learn? I'm surrounded by Christians but I admit I don't know much about them or their religion.

    Uh-oh... I have no idea about Krishnamurti... Echart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh... I've seen their books at the library I used to work at but never opened them... Haven't learned much about Buddhism... Maybe they believe they're found the truth for them, so why look for anything else?

    Yep, I agree with your observation

    You could try asking them about prayer, as prayer features incredibly strongly in Islam as I'm sure you're aware. They may meditate but not recognise it as meditation. I'm sure they have their spiritual practices / sadhana such as the 5 daily prayers.

    I don't want to speak for Muslims, all I can speak of is my own experiences of religion. I think following the rules can be a spiritual activity in and of itself. It's very satisfying knowing what the rule is and following it. It's very demotivating knowing what the rule is and disobeying it.

    From my observations as a lurker in a Muslim discussion forum, I've seen the ladies there take great pride in doing things to please Allah, for the sake of Allah. I don't see this as a particularly negative thing. They have a spiritual connection to the rules they follow. Quite remarkable.

    I think what you might be experiencing is contact with people who aren't particularly interested in religion. Like my colleague at work. She's Christian, she sings in a choir, but try to have a spiritual conversation with her and she closes up like a clam. Like the evolution discussion I retold recently -- she wouldn't discuss the idea that whales may have evolved into the water from the land, she quite simply said God created them like that. It is disappointing that a dialogue can't even occur.

    At the same time, we are so infatuated with Sikhi, it is hard to believe anyone can possibly get the same amount of joy from any other religion, but they do, so for them that is real.
     
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  8. passingby

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    Ishna ji you are right. I think I felt like this cos I met something contradictory to my expectations. Its a stupid over-reaction. Another proof of pettiness of mind.
     
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  9. passingby

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    Another realization for me. I need to inform myself more of Islam, first hand. All I have read uptil now is a biography of the Prophet last summer. I need to expose myself more to the modern day interpretations and thoughts.
     
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  10. Lee

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    Harry ji,

    This is quite true for all faiths I think.

    There is one absolute truth and many ways to realise it, I think the problem comes in individual interpretations of holy scriputre and religious dogma.

    Guru Granth Sahib informs us of what we need to know, but I think that perhaps it may take a life time to understand what Guru ji is telling us.

    Ulitmatly we can only walk the path and by Gods grace see where it leads us.
     
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  11. Harry Haller

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    Leeji

    maybe it is supposed to take a lifetime, as once we have understood, we have no place on earth anymore
     
  12. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Harry Haller veer ji, it is the other way around.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  13. Harry Haller

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    Ambersariaji,

    Allow me to explain myself, we are all humans, and every now and then I spot a post here from some enlightened soul who appears to have found the bliss in being gurmukh, and with some , I cannot help but notice signs of addiction to this bliss, ie, in an ascetic like fashion, all other worldy stimuli seems pointless, they desire only the presence of waheguru, and everything else is unimportant, I feel therefore that it must be very hard to balance this bliss with living, which is why I made my post,

    However, the feelings you speak of above compliment living rather than compete against it, they make much sense. You actually wrote an excellent post which I printed and stuck up on my wall, however, lately I have required clarification on a few points, so I will repost it with my questions in a new thread, I look forward to your reply

    sat sri akal
     
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  14. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Harry Haller veer ji great idea about a new thread.

    I believe I am getting closer in my own mind to the understanding part. However ther are two parts needed and there is the challenge,

    1. Understanding
    2. Living in consonance with the understanding
      • This I find unachievable for myself in what time I have left. One can keep improving and keep getting better and through this one will get bliss, contentment, peace, etc.
    Always great to discourse with you.

    Have a wonderful day.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
  15. Searching

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    Passingby ji
    There is a basic difference among Abrahamic and Indic religions in the school of thought in the way we regard our scriptures.
    For Muslims the Quran is a rule book sent by Allah and it is to be followed word by word. Weather they do it or not is another issue.
    Sufism focuses a great deal on the love of God and one's relation with Him. Sufis sing and dance and write poetry keeping the Lord in mind. For some other sects like Wahhabis music is haram.

    For us Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji is a guide but not a rule book.

    Like you I too have met some Pakistani Muslims on the internet and most of them have similar views and little knowledge about other faiths.
     
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  16. lionsingh

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    I think what the Gurus tried to show us is that there is just a truth, a God that is above our quarrels.

    The Gurus showed us a way to meditate on a name so we could get closer. They taught us most and foremost that God is truth and that there could be many ways to him/her.

    They showed us to not be scared and to stand up for our beliefs.

    There are 30 million of us Sikhi in the world and we pride ourselves on being noble warriors. ...We can fight in many ways not just the sword.

    Whatever....there is a fairness and honesty instilled in us all...we believe in truth ...whatever form that will take...we have 10 brave wise teachers who whatever fear they might have had..they believed in the love that our gracious God had.

    A video of some Sikhs who were noble .....


    sikh WW - YouTube
     
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    #15 lionsingh, Aug 28, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
  17. lionsingh

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    I would like to get to know Sufism more....thank you for bringing it up
     
  18. Ambarsaria

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    lionsingh ji perhaps some info in the following section,

    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sufism/

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  19. lionsingh

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    Guru Gobind in his wisdom knew the status of the turban..It was reserved for the Rajputs and mungal nobility. He needed to awaken a people ...so not did he just make all equal with the name Singh ...to be a warrior...he bestowed upon them the turban...the mark of nobility.

    No Sikh could hide and at that time wearing a turban was punishable by death. He made all men the same caste and all kings. Of course,the powers did not accept it..It was an affront to society and class privilege. :singhbhangra:

    Sikhs have always stood up and never hide. We are a proud people...but we are not herons

    “Seeing the swans swimming, the herons wanted to do it too. But the poor herons drowned and died, and floated with their heads down and their feet up.”

    We wont do that. We cant. We are Lions and will stand up proud.

    “If I had known that he was only a wretched heron from birth, I would not have touched him.”

    and to ask you for forgiveness for my rudeness I will just quote as I do not have the wise words ..you to understand me “With his stubborn mind, he begs, and grabs, and annoys those who give.”


    :redturban:

    As I was advised by a dear Guru

    “O mind, do not be anxious remain fearless.”

    which I strive to do

    “My conversation is with the Lord s Name, and my counseling is with the Lord s Name, the Lord s Name always takes care of me.”


    we have a lot we agree to..if you would look and see.

    “Through their stubborn mindedness, and by wearing their disguises"

    :mundabhangra:

    I apologise as i have learnt

    “The fools take pride in themselves, and are ruined in birth and death.”

    Forgive me for my sins

    “Let all bow in reverence, to that humble being whose heart is pure within.”:happysingh:
     
  20. pervez

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    I find may Sikh brothers point to two issues about concept of god being unique to Sikh religion one of god being one and indivisible which is an different from the hindu concept of one god but different forms. The other issue is about Omnipresence of God.

    The concept of creator, sustainer, lord, destroyer, merciful, etc is present in Islam just as in Hinduism. Similarly Christianity makes claim of one god indivisible but in trinity.

    The concept of god his attributes/names his indivisibility as expounded in the concept of Tawheed/Tauheed forms the core of Islam. One of the most Important Chapters of Quran called Sura Ikhlas conveys this. Name of translator and chapter and verse in brackets
    [SIZE=-1][Shakir 112:1] Say: He, Allah, is One.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1][Shakir 112:2] Allah is He on Whom all depend.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1][Shakir 112:3] He begets not, nor is He begotten.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1][Shakir 112:4] And none is like Him.[/SIZE]

    The short commentary on first verse

    [SIZE=-1][Pooya/Ali Commentary 112:1] [/SIZE] [SIZE=-1]Ahad, one in person and being, is applied to Allah alone, and signifies the one; the sole; He who has ever been one and sole; or the indivisible; or He who has no second to share in His divinity, nor in His essence, nor in His attributes. Refer to the commentary of Fatihah: 1 to 4 and Hashr: 22 to 24. [/SIZE]
    Aqa Mahdi Puya says:
    The spirit of the absolute unity of Allah is the foundation of the structure of the religion of Allah, Islam. This surah, which explains the unity (tawhid) of Allah, was revealed to give an idea of Godhead the Holy Prophet preached.
    It begins with huwa (He) which refers to the known, known to all, but not identifying any one. Refer to the commentary of Fatihah: 1 and Baqarah: 255. In the Aryan creeds atma and brahma isone, therefore "I" (first person singular) is used by them to refer to the conception of the absolute.
    Ahad signifies the unity of His essence. He is free from compositeness. According to Imam Ali bin Husayn Zaynal Abidin samad refers to the supreme being that continues, or continues for ever, or is everlasting, or is the creator of everything of whom nothing is independent, or is dependent on no person or thing but all persons or things are dependent on Him, therefore the eternally besought by all. He cannot be described or defined as one void of any excellence, or any excellence void of Him, He is infinite.

    God as far his Omnipotence is concerned.

    in the sermons Ali-ibn-Abu Talib (as) son-in-law of Prophet Mohammed(PUBH)

    Eyes do not see him with a direct witnessing. But hearts perceive him through the realities of authentic belief. He is known through the evidence that points to Him. He is decribed by Indications he cannot be compared to human beings. And he cannot be perceived by the senses. He is near to all things without physically touching them. He is distant from them without being separate.

    He speaks, but without the need for reflection. He is manifest but not physically. He has made himself evident but without allowing direct vison. He is separated but not through distance. He is close but without sacrificing His exaltedness. He wills but without aspiration. He molds without the assistance of limbs. He attains, but not through deceit. He is subtle, but cannot be said to be concealed. He is Great but cannot be said to be arrogant.

    He is grand in His Grandeur. He cannot be described as having sizeable magnitude. He is majestical in His splendor. He cannot be described as massive. He hears, but cannot be said to use the organ of hearing. He sees, but cannot be attributed with the sense of sight. He is merciful but cannot be said to have weakness of heart. He was before all things.. So nothing can be said to be before Him. And He is after all things… So “after” is not said of anything after Him.

    He is within all things. Without being merged with them… And also without being separated from them. He exists but without the need to come into existence. He acts without compulsion. He determines, but without the need for movement. Places do not contain Him. He is not contained within time. Attributes do not define Him with due respect. The need for slumber never affects Him. His existence precedes time itself. His being precedes nonexistence.

    His eternalness precedes all beginnings. He was Lord before there was anything to be lord of. And He was God before there was anything to be god of. He was knowing, before there was anything to be known. He was hearing , before there was anything to be heard. Faces surrender before His grandeur. Hearts tremble exceedingly out of fear of Him. Souls strive desperately to attain His full satisfaction.


    I hope this provides some information about how oneness of god and his omnipotence as viewed in Islam.

    Muslims approach Islam in many ways (at the same time) among them is through Fiqh ie jurispendence ie through laws of dos and donts. Another approach is through spirituality. some not all sufis tend to ignore the Fiqh and focus on sprituality ie in experiencing god. The process is called Irfan the person is called Arif literally one who knows/or experiences god. On the other hand there are those on the extreme end who stick to rules and say that is enough. The life of prophet and his followers show that they stuck a good balance between both neglecting neither. Some(not all) Sufis of the time of Nanak were on the extreme spiritual side disregarding rule as of not much consequence. Now a days due to Saudi influence even those who dont say are influenced are more towards the rule based approach. The Sufis of Nanak's time were opposing the rule based ones often in power usually forming the approved people of the rulers. Thus they emphasized the wrongs of that approach.

    Google Tauhid, 99 (Known) names of Allah for further information.


     

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