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Muslim is a no-problem member of society: Wahiduddin Khan

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By Manzar Imam


New Delhi: Peace is the summum bonum and rule of Islam and war an exception. There are controversies and unwanted situations between different groups in society. In such circumstances, no constructive action can take place without peace, said Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, founder, Centre for Peace & Spirituality.


He was speaking at an interfaith dialogue programme at the India Islamic Cultural Centre on 11 February.


Titled “Options of Constructive Collaboration: Muslims and Christians in Conversation, the dialogue was held with mutual collaboration of Interfaith Coalition for Peace (ICP) and Islamic Studies Association.


In his 30-minute speech on Islam and peace, the eminent Islamic scholar elaborated on Islam’s idea of war and peace and said that Islam advocated “peace at any cost”. It was precisely for this reason that Prophet Muhammad entered an agreement with the people of Makkah despite many undesirable provisions put forth by them. In Islamic history this peace treaty is known as Hudaibiyyah Treaty.


He called Tawheed and Salam two basic principles of Islam. Tawheed meant Oneness of God in every aspect whereas Islam stood for basic formula of living. He termed the latter the social culture of Islam. He said that Muslims were not the representatives of Islam, they were its followers.


Every enemy was a potential friend and that by doing good deed a potential friend could be turned into an actual friend, said the prolific writer. He referred to a verse of the Quran in support of Islam’s idea of returning evil with good. He said that Islamic wars were fought in defence and that declaring war was the prerogative of the State.


Before Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Father Leo Lefebure, who teaches Catholic theology at Georgetown University, USA talked about the difficult relationships that Christianity had with other communities.


He said that Christianity had a tragic and violent affiliation with all religions. It often vilified and even criminalized Jews and Muslims. These actions, said Leo, were profoundly contradictory to the teachings of Christianity.


While shedding light on the history of Islam and Christianity’s bloody past, the Father said that despite name calling and military campaigns the two communities have had amicable relations. In answer to a question on Christian Missions’ role in interfaith harmony, he came in defence of Catholic Christianity and said that Pope John Paul II had visited a mosque in an Arab country and asked people to stop misuse of religion to promote hatred.


After the Al-Qaeda attack on World Trade Center, the hatred against Islam and Muslims was on rise. But Catholic Christians were trying to bridge the gap between Muslims and Christians, said the famous American scholar.


He emphasized on forgiveness in order to re-build relations. He said that people usually looked for others’ fault and magnified them, whereas they forgot their own. He was referring to a verse in the Gospel of Mathew. We must acknowledge the good values of others, he added.


Earlier in his inaugural address, Dr. Syed Zafar Mahmood, president of ICP and the brain behind the programme spoke about some common problems faced by Muslims and Christians in India. He said that


Muslims and Christians shared many things and that there was need for common grounds to be found and common approaches to be reached in order to address those common problems.


He talked about low representation of Muslims and Christians in government and suggested that Muslim youths appeared in competitive exams. Father Packiam Samuel coordinated the programme.


[Delhi-based journalist Manzar Imam is Special Correspondent of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be reached at manzarkhalil@gmail.com]
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