Category Archives: islam

Virtuous followers of all religions should be respected

Tariq Jahan calls for peace after the  murder of his son

Tariq Jahan calls for peace after the murder of his son

In my previous post I concluded that we should respect virtuous people of all faiths. Unfortunate circumstances have shown us such a person, Tariq Jahan. He and other shop keepers in Birmingham went out to defend their shops from the mindless thugs who are looting and causing trouble in some of England’s cities. On seeing opposition one of the looters deliberately drove his car at speed into the crowd, killing three men. One of the men killed was Haroon Jahan, Tariq’s son

Shortly after this, Tariq spoke publicly on television. He said:

Today, we stand here to call to all the youth to remain calm, for our communities to stay united.

I have lost my son – if you want to lose yours step forward, otherwise calm down and go home.

Later he added

As we stand here today, this is not a race issue. The families have received messages of sympathy and support from all parts of the communities – from all faiths, all colours and backgrounds.

I applaud and respect him for calling for peace and unity at a difficult time. My heart goes out to him and his family

Low resolution image captured from video on BBC site, considered fair usage for copyright purposes.

Should we respect all religions?

Medieval Crusader sees it as a God-given right to kill unbelievers in the Holy Land

Medieval Crusader

This post looks at how we can reconcile extremist destructive religions with the instruction to respect all people who believe in God. Interestingly a fellow Saivite has just published a post looking at the issues at the other end of the spectrum, In “Devas on the head of a pin?” he asks how can we give enough credit to the beliefs of other religions where the teachings appear to be different but the truth behind must be the same.

I have been prompted to think about this by an interesting comment by Kodanda,  where he talks about sattvic and non-sattvic religions. He asserted that the Hindu proclamation “Ekam sat, viprah bahudhaa vadanti” or “There is one truth (God), but sages describe it differently” could only be applied to sattvic religions. Religions that promote violence, conversion by force, threats, bribes or deceit, that subjugate unbelievers should not be included in this. It is certainly possible that the sages who first wrote this had only come across Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism and not the exclusive religions who would like to see an end to all other beliefs.

At first I was worried that this would contradict the teachings of my sampradaya (Hindu schdenominationool) as Gurudeva says:

How Do Saivites Regard Other Faiths?

Religious beliefs are manifold and different. Saivites, understanding the strength of this diversity, wholeheartedly respect and encourage all who believe in God. They honor the fact that Truth is one, paths are many. Aum.

His Nandinatha Sutras also say:

Siva’s devotees properly respect and address virtuous persons of all religious traditions. They may support and participate in interfaith gatherings from time to time with leaders and members of all religions. Aum.

Siva’s devotees do not speak disrespectfully about other Hindu lineages, their beliefs, Gods, sacred sites, scriptures, or holy men and women. Nor do they disparage other religions. They refuse to listen to such talk. Aum. Continue reading

Has “multiculturalism failed”? What this means for Hindus.

Islamic protesters call for those who insult Islam to be killed

Is this what multiculturalism means?

Last week the Prime Minister, David Cameron said that “multiculturalism has failed“.  This raises a number of questions:

  • What does he mean by this?
  • Is he right?
  • What does this mean for Hindus?
  • Does David Cameron expect Hindus, Jews, Catholics, Greek Orthodox, and Buddhists all to abandon their individual cultures and beliefs?

Understanding this is important, because similar statements have been made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Australia’s ex-prime minister John Howard,  and Spanish ex-premier Jose Maria Aznar.  First of all, I will look at this question: “what is multiculturalism?”.

Continue reading

Hinduism, a model for inter-religious respect

Islamic "Christmas is Evil" poster

Islamic group launched "Christmas is Evil" poster campaign

Just before Christmas an Islamic group in the UK launched a poster campaign. Mr Rumaysah, a spokesman for the group, told the Mail that he was unconcerned about offending Christians. He said: “Christmas is a lie and as Muslims it is our duty to attack it”.

This sort of attitude is seen in fundamentalists followers of all exclusive religions, not just Islam. Showing equal disregard for other faiths, the Christian fundamentalist Pat Robertson said “Siva [is] the God of Destruction, and his consort, the Goddess of death [Kali] — that black, ugly statue there with all those fierce eyes”. [This is wrong in almost every way, Saivite Hindus Immanent love and transcendent reality]. He also said that Islam is “…motivated by demonic power. It is Satanic and it’s time we recognize what we’re dealing with”. Not all Christians and Muslims are extreme like this; I have written previously about Muslims and Christians who acted with friendship towards Hindus. The attitude that it is acceptable to insult other faiths is one of the dangers of exclusive religions though, the religions that teach that they have the only right way.

Celebration of Lord Krishna's birthday as Srijayanthi in an Iyengar's house in South India

Celebration of Lord Krishna's birthday

This contrasts with those who follow inclusive religions: Hindus, Sikhs, Taoists, Buddhists, and many more.  I am a Saivite Hindu and attend a temple in the UK where most of the other attendees are Vishnavas. I see Shiva as the ultimate God, whereas Vishnavas see Vishnu or one of his avatars as the ultimate God. Vishnavas believe that Shiva is a created demigod, and I believe that Vishnu is just one of the five actions of Shiva, which are creation, preservation, destruction, veiling and revealing. Many Vishnavas see Krishna as the ultimate God, but as a Saivite I don’t believe in full avatars. To people following exclusive religions these might seem like unsurmountable differences, but I and many other Saivites worship next to Vishnavas regularly. Continue reading

Sufis from a Hindu Perspective

I have found that there are contradictory views of Sufism within the Hindu community. David Frawley, in “How I Became a Hindu“, writes:

“While one can sympathize with the Sufis and more easily dialogue with them than the orthodox [Muslims], to think that Sufis don’t represent the vested interests of Islam is quite naive.”

He also points out that historically some Sufis historically have supported or even been involved in suppression and killing of Hindus, and with the destruction of Hindu temples.

On the other hand there are certainly Sufis who have had a positive non-exclusionist attitude. Rumi expressed this in this poem:

Love’s nationality is separate from all other religions,
The lover’s religion and nationality is the Beloved (God).

The lover’s cause is separate from all other causes
Love is the astrolabe of God’s mysteries

Continue reading