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A muslim leap of faith: Offering interfaith prayers for Newtown

Posted by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 9:52 PM
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3 moms liked this

A Muslim Leap of Faith: Offering Interfaith Prayers For Newtown

Posted: 12/20/2012 2:14 pm

Muslims have been a part of the interfaith prayers for a very long time, but this time, in Newton, Conn., they took an incredible leap of faith.

Jason Graves, a young lad, recited the verses from Quran, and Imam Muadh Bhavnagarwala of the Al Hedaya Islamic Center added, "We ask God to grant those lost a special place in paradise and we ask their families to be granted the strength to endure the unendurable."

Praying for "a special place in paradise" for those who are not Muslims is an incredible leap of faith. The language this man chose is not the common language of Muslims, Christians and others who traditionally seek mercy and grace for their own lot, and exclude people of other faiths from their blessings, not because they don't want to, but because it is not in practice, so is the tragedy.

Incidentally, another note was floating on the facebook, asking one to pray for a special place in paradise (Jannat al Firdaus) for a senior Imam of Mecca who died today, and it is a part of the Muslim culture.

Imam Bhavnagarwala has set a new benchmark by saying those words and has rekindled the interfaith light, the inclusive light that was ignited by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) 14,00 years ago. Indeed, the first verse of Quran calls God as "God of the Universe" (rabbil Aalameen) and not God of Muslims.

Would Mahatma Gandhi go to heaven? Even though each member of the faith will thoughtfully acknowledge that he would, but the ones who live in cocoons, would say, not until he calls on Jesus as his savior, or recites the Shahadah (Muslim pledge).

However, God differs with the Cocooners, Quran 2:62: 

"VERILY, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians -- all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds -- shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve."

The man continues, "It is in such times of almost unbearable loss that we seek comfort with our Creator and that artificial divisions of faith fall away to reveal a nation of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, son and daughters, all united in a desire to bring healing and renewed hope."

Very few clergy would appreciate the phrase "artificial divisions," and yet, he boldly delivered it. 
The Quran, Islam's revealed text, tells us that God's mercy and compassion are without limit and always available for those who ask. God says: "When my servants question you about Me, tell them that I am near. I answer the prayer of every person who calls on Me" (2:186) .

No Muslim has jumped on the man for seeking a special place in the paradise for non-Muslims, and I profusely thank God for lifting the spirit of Muslims, and opening their hearts and minds toward fellow beings.

"We believe that prayer is the most powerful force known to man and today's prayer vigil was an effort to provide strength and support to all in Newtown." Said Abdul-Majid Karim Hasan, another imam of the Newtown Islamic Center, told The Middletown Press.

Here is another inclusive prayer that I have cherished.

Allahum maghfirli wali walidaiyya wali ustadhi wali jam'il mu'minina, wal mu'minat wal muslimina wal muslimat -- "O Allah! Forgive me and my parents, and my teachers, and all the believers, the Muslim men and women."

Allahum maghfir lihayyina, wa mayyitinaa, wa shaahidina, wa ghaa-'ibina, wa sagheerina, wa kabeerina, wa dhakarrina wa untha -- "O Allah! Forgive our living and our dead, those who are with us and those who are absent, our young and our old, our men and our women."

Even though it is an inclusive prayer, it can be beefed up in the tradition of Quran, by adding "mankind" in the supplication, as it started out with the God of Universe in the first verse, and also ends addressing humanity in the last chapter. "I seek refuge in the sustainer of mankind (114:1).

On Dec. 15, we held interfaith prayers at FunAsia, in Richardson, Texas to honor the ones affected by the shooting in Newtown. In my segment of Pluralism Prayers, I challenged the gathering represented by people of most faiths to step beyond their boundaries, and embrace all humanity by verbalizing and including every one.

One of the bridge building activities is chorusing the religious greetings of different faiths, after all, the essence of greetings is to acknowledge the stranger, call on him or her and hope to acquaint. When we greet, we are wishing peace to each other, and to know each other, then whatever we produce from such meetings, or acts, would be a product soaked and drenched in peace.

They listened and many of them repeated the religious greetings of the major religions as a representation of all traditions.

Vigorous nods of approval were expressed to the sentiment in the following pluralism prayers. Even though it is difficult for the conservatives, most of them made the effort.

We are one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. As Americans collectively, we are represented by every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, culture and religion. We see God as one, none and many; male, female or genderless; existent and non-existent, being and non-being, nameless and with innumerable names. Indeed, we must preserve the pluralistic heritage of America and develop the courage to embrace all as fellow humans.

It was good to hear many Amens to the following supplication:

Dear causer of the Universe, in your name we want to create a cohesive and peaceful America with care, kindness and dignity to every one of the 312 million of us, as well as 7 billion of us in the world.

Dear God, guide us to talk, act and believe that we are all one family of humanity.

Dear God, as we undertake the mission of building cohesive societies, where no one has to live in apprehension or fear of the other, we are painfully aware of the ignorance, fear, mistrust and ill-will that divides us, help us open our hearts and minds towards receiving each other.

Dear God, guide us to become conflict mitigaters and good will nurturers.

Dear God, Protect our men and women in uniforms committed to our safety and well being.

Dear God, help us think, speak and act peace every moment of the day.

Dear God, guide us to value and practice the principles of liberty and justice for all of your creation, just as you treat us.

Dear God, give us your infinite wisdom and give us the courage to do the right thing, every moment of the day.

Help us learn to respect the otherness of other in each one of us, and help us accept the uniqueness you gave to each one of us.

May this trend catch on, and may we treat all of us, every one of us, as fellow beings, and fellow dwellers of the paradise without any discrimination. AMEN!

 

Follow Mike Ghouse on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MikeGhouse

by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 9:52 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Aivlys_
by Member on Dec. 20, 2012 at 9:53 PM
1 mom liked this
That's awesome!
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Sekirei
by Sevrsaxhtharxxa on Dec. 20, 2012 at 9:55 PM

 very cool

muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on Dec. 20, 2012 at 9:56 PM
1 mom liked this

I disagree with them calling this a leap of faith, since it is what our religion teaches:

Quran 2:62: 

"VERILY, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians -- all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds -- shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve."


muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on Dec. 20, 2012 at 10:00 PM

 "When my servants question you about Me, tell them that I am near. I answer the prayer of every person who calls on Me" (2:186) .

edelweiss23
by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 10:02 PM
I think the sentiment is very poignant!
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Ms.KitKat
by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 10:11 PM
1 mom liked this

 AMEN!!!

TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Dec. 20, 2012 at 10:16 PM

 

Quoting muslimahpj:

I disagree with them calling this a leap of faith, since it is what our religion teaches:

Quran 2:62: 

"VERILY, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians -- all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds -- shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve."


  Just curious, but is it a common practice for Muslims to pray for non believers also in the same way? This passage suggests only believers are prayed for?

muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on Dec. 20, 2012 at 10:21 PM


Quoting TruthSeeker.:

 

Quoting muslimahpj:

I disagree with them calling this a leap of faith, since it is what our religion teaches:

Quran 2:62: 

"VERILY, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians -- all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds -- shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve."


  Just curious, but is it a common practice for Muslims to pray for non believers also in the same way? This passage suggests only believers are prayed for?

This is also a quote from the Qur'an. We can pray for them until death, if I am remembering correctly, because once they die without belief in the One God, there is nothing we can do. It is up to God in the end who He will forgive and who He wont forgive.  I will have to look up the ruling on it for you, to be sure though. 

The Quran, Islam's revealed text, tells us that God's mercy and compassion are without limit and always available for those who ask. God says: "When my servants question you about Me, tell them that I am near. I answer the prayer of every person who calls on Me" (2:186) .

muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on Dec. 20, 2012 at 10:24 PM


Quoting TruthSeeker.:

 

Quoting muslimahpj:

I disagree with them calling this a leap of faith, since it is what our religion teaches:

Quran 2:62: 

"VERILY, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians -- all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds -- shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve."


  Just curious, but is it a common practice for Muslims to pray for non believers also in the same way? This passage suggests only believers are prayed for?

This is from one school of thought on the matter:

Is it permissable to attend a funeral of a Christian, 
> especially one who may not have recieved proper Dawa?

As it is permissible for a Muslim to inter his non-Muslim
relatives [or past friends] in the Maliki school, we would
say that it is permissible to attend the funeral services
of a non-Muslim.

Obviously though, one should not take an *active* part in any
of the services that directly conflict with our din (such as crossing
one's heart and declaring that Jesus is the son of the Holy Father).

References:
[QF: volume 1: page 84: line(s) 11: {book 3, chapter 3, issue two}]
'... and there is nothing wrong that a Muslim bury his non-Muslim
relative..."]

> I want to pray for this person, but don't know how. I'm not sure 
> that she had heard the truth of Islam properly explained or not. I can 
> only hope that she is excused on the Ghazalian clause (i.e. one who 
> does not properly understand Islam due to all the misrepresentations 
> in the media etc.)

For Christians, you may pray with the prayer of `Isa himself (which he will
make on Judgement Day for the Christians) as mentioned in the Qur'an,
chapter 5, verse 118:

"If you punish them; indeed, they are your servants; but if you forgive
them, then indeed You are the Mighty, the Wise"

As for where they will end up in the next world, the case is left to Allah;
but, the opinion we are narrating is that if they did not openly reject Islam
after learning about it, there is a good chance they will end up in Paradise
(there are qualifications of course).

References:
Guiding Helper Explanatory Notes, footnote 80, and associated
Entries on the Notes of Sources

muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on Dec. 20, 2012 at 10:24 PM

Another school of thought:

Is it permissible to make du'a for non-Muslims who have passed away?

Walaikum assalam,

There is a useful summary of the discussions of the fuqaha on this point in two entries of al-Mawsu`a al-Fiqhiyya (Kuwait):

“Seeking forgiveness for a non-Muslim. The fuqaha are agreed that seeking forgiveness for a non-Muslim is interdicted… However, if one seeks forgiveness for a non-Muslim hoping that they become Muslim and thus be forgiven, the Hanafi scholars have permitted it…

Praying for mercy for a non-Muslim. Nawawi stated in his al-Adhkar that… it is permitted to pray for guidance for non-Muslims, good health and well-being (`afiya), and the like of it, because of the hadith of Anas (Allah be pleased with him) that, “The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) asked for water and a Jew gave him some, so the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said to him, ‘May Allah make you beautiful,’ so the man did not see grey hair till he died.” As for after their death, it is impermissible (haram) to make dua for forgiveness and the like for a non-Muslim, for Allah Most High said, “It is not for the Prophet and those who believe to pray for the forgiveness of idolators even though they may be near of kin after it has become clear that they are people of hell-fire.” [Qur’an, 9: 113] There are hadiths that indicate this, and there is scholarly consensus (ijma`) on this matter.” [al-Mawsu`a al-Fiqhiyya, Kuwait]

And Allah knows best.

Faraz Rabbani.

http://www.sunnipath.com/resources/Q...a00000694.aspx

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