Chairman: Julian Bond
Sheikh Saeed Bahmanpour, author, playright and script writer of the film (Virgin Mary)
There are instructions in religions to remember God. Why do we do that?
He is gracious to us so we have to remember Him. Why?
يا ايها الذين آمنوا اذكروا الله ذكرا كثيرا
Remembering God will salvage us from our cells. The world restricts us
God is limitless. He gives us hope and wide horizons which we do not get if we do not remember Him
وسبحوه بكرة واصيلا. هو الذي يصلي عليكم وملائكته ليخرجكم من الظلمات الى النور
God invocation is necessary and duty. Otherwise they will deprive themselves of His blessings.
When we rembmer Him we go beyond those hopeless moments. The light comes towards the darkness of the self.
When we go beyond our limiatations, we see ourselves as one uniqe creation
That rememberance of God will humble us before other creations. We see everyone as creation of God. The self has been enlightened
It has great impact on the way we deal
If we behave without mercy with others then we have to review our faith.
In Islam Jesus is given high status. He was helpful to others.
Help of others is much more respected and rewarded than just worshipping
والله لقضاء حاجة مؤمن خير من شهر من الصوم والعبادة
If you are helpful to people it is sign of true faithful.. Helpfulness must be given to all people.
Prophet Yousuf saved by his knowledge and wisdom and gave it to people.
In Sura Al TAhrim
There was a critique of Prophet’s tactics towards non-Muslims.
لا ينهاكم الله عن الذين لم يقاتلوكم في الدين ولم يخرجوكم من دياركم ان تبروهم وتقسطوا اليهم
God loves those who are just and helpful.
In war it is different
I want to compare two verses
Bless those who cruse you
If someone slpa you on your face turn the other to him
خذ العفو وامر بالعرف واعرض عن الجاهلين
Adopt forgiveness as a policy. Do not say anything but goo
واذا خاطبهم الجاهلون قالوا سلام
واما ينزغنك من الشيطان نزغ فاستعذ بالله
If devil pushes you for revenge, stop and remember God
ولا تستوي الحسنة ولا السيئة ادفع بالتي هي احسن
An instruction was written to Malik AlAshtar who was Governor of Egypt. It is a treatise of governace. It is important document of how ruler should treat the citizens.
It gives guidance on how to treat the people with compassion.
Reverand Rana Khan; Interfaith, Justice and peace activist
We are going to emphasise on love and respect
In Christianity love is central to the faith.
Without love Christianity and Christian dogma cannot stand.
If love is absent Christianity is absent. It is essential for its survival.
In Christian scriptures, the words used for love not just contains the meaning of Hubb which is common in Arabic and Hebrew
We listened earlier about God and what happens when God’s invocation is absent.
In the scripture God is love. He expresses his knowledge and even anger in love and mercy.
Once Jesus was asked: What is the greatests commandment?
He said: the Lord is one, love your neighbour as yourself.
Presenting the two commandments in conjunction was not familiar. His listerners were surprised.
By briging the two commndments together, the essence of God and prophets was present.
But who is your neighbour? My understanding of God is the absolute truth. Love your God, love your neighbour. 2000 years ago it was tribal society.
Whos is the neighbour
A Samaritan was visiting the city of Jericho, He was businessman. He was in Jewish city. He was someone who needed his help.
From this story, the lesson was that: the people who helped the injured man knew God. The other man, the Samaritan may not have known God but he did in accordance with what God wanted. Love requires action, not just knowledge. Love is an emotion but must be practiced.
Love your neighbour, neigbours are everyone who need your help.
Those who are different are your neighbours.
If I speak of mortals and angels but have not love then I am
In the Bible Love is patience, not arrogance, or rude. It is not irritable, It rejoices in truth. It believes in all things. Love never ends. Love endures forever.
Love one another, your neighbours, those who hate you, this is obligatory. This is something which cannot be avoided. In past 2000 yrs it has been part of the Christian mission. Manifestation of love is practices. Christians were persecutd. They did not have money or political power. But small communities with love managed to survive. There are in Indian subcontinent, where love is essetntial. We need this.
What is relations with inter faith activities?
Love is a power which enables you to get into relationships. It is great power which helps us celebrate differences and tolerance. When you are in bigger love you are able to tolerate. Understanding is deeply rooted in love. When you understand, even when you don’t have knowledge, you can live with others. Love Is power that enables us to understand differences and help to
In conclusion love which is one of the greatest need of all times, it is highly required to be maniftested by religious communities. People are seen to speak each other. It is easy to speak for myself and my rights. But it is important for me to speak for Muslims and those of differnet backgroudns. We must speak about rights of others. When we speak for others, as a Christian, we face problems on social media, because we are accused of speaking for Muslims. Those who are responsible to lead communities. It is important to enable ourselves to speak for others of different ethnicities. At this time when segregation is promoted we need to adopt love and speak for others as well. Love of God will be seen all over the world. Non religious people will be influenced. Jesus said: when you practice love then you are my followers. Our love for one another will help us to live happily.
Chair: Julian Bond
WE are all human beings. Love is a part of our humanity. But we rarely see it in our daily lives. The famous poet Ghalib, from India said:
It was rare for me to have a glass of wine while in company of my friend
This is not common that someone behaves in friendly manner. It has become abnormal for someone to behave in good manner. The normality has been animosity.
In this climate to be here at Abrar House, is something must be appreciated by us all.
I was looking at how Love is explained in the dictionary. I picke up three meanings; have affection for something, whole hearted for something and
In Islam, love in religion has very fundamental importance. There is famous saying reported in collection of Ahadith. Prophet Mohammad said; You will not enter paradise until you believe, and you won’t believe until you love one another.
Loving one another becomes the great source of achieving salvation and heaven.
Generally in Islamic teachings Muslims are directed by Quran to be closer to God Almighty; that is the ultimate destination for all of us. Going to hajj, fast, etc
Interestingly in Quran we see that Allah has clearly identified those who are loved by Him and those who are not loved by Him.
God says: Allah loves the doers of good
ان الله يحب المحسنين
He says: ان الله يحب التوابين ويحب المتطهرين
Allah loves those who do repentance
ان الله يحب المقسطين
Those who exercise justice and fairness,
Those who are God-fearing
Allah also repeatedly mentioned
والله يحب الصابرين
Allah loves those who exercise passion and tolerance.
وفي سورة التوبة الآية 108
والله يحب المطهرين
Tafseer of those verses will enhance our lives
Those who are not loved by Allah
في سورة البقرة الآية 190: ان الله لا يحب المعتدين
Allah does not love those who go beyond limits
ان الله لا يحب الخائنين
الله لا يحب المفسدين
الله لا يحب الفرحين
ان الله لا يحب المسرفين
ان الله لا يحب الظالمين
انه لا يحب المستكبرين
These Quranic verses show whom Allah loves and whom Allah does not love
God has outlined those immoral and unspiritual activities.
Now it is up to us in this world. If we believe in day of judgement, when we will be accountable, we need to be human beings with virtues, moral and spritiual values. If we don’t care we do wrong things
Finally all religions teach love. All faiths are based on love and kindness. This is unfortunate that worst violence and crimes are committed in the name of religion. It must be condemned. Faith community must stress that violence is not religious.
Father Ishaq Toosa
To live in peace is our aim. This is great time that we live in peace and love with everyone. Violence is not from God but from devil.
Apostle John: Let us love each another. God is love.
WE love because He first loved us. If one says: I love God but he hates his brother, he is liar.
He has given us this command; that whoever loves God must love his brother.
One speaker mentioned Imam Ali’s saying that people are either brother in religion or similar in creation.
WE are all from one father and one mother. WE are really brothers even if we speak different languages. Before Noah, there have been differneces of languages and races. The important issue is not to hate others.
If we can expand the saying: Love for your brother what you love for yourself
The love of God cannot be measured. We cannot fathom His love. He loves everybody. He shines the sun on everyone. Everybody must know where this goodness comes from and thank God
What does God want from us?
He wants us to reflect His love to others.
It is a love of mother to her baby, man to his wife, father to his children. WE are one family
There are many differences.
The politics: when politicians want to exploit the situation they create differences among the people. Extremists are supported by politicians.
If we want to stop extremism, we have to start from the family. We have to teach the generations how to love each other.
Starting form our society in the East. Religious scholars have more influence. They must speak in the language of love to the believers in order to educate them on love and service and how to deal with other people in love and peace. Our society is being destroyed by political forces. Syria and Iraq are being destroyed and this will extend to other countreis. We have to work from the church and the mosque.
Much has been said about love.
It is easy to love each other if we go out of being Muslim or Christian
كلام السادة من الكنيسة ومن الاسلام جميل
قال رسول الله: من قاتل بعصبية مات ميتة جاهلية
من خرج من امتي ولا يفي بعهد فليس مني ولست منه
قضية العنف من خلال ه1ه الاحاديث الشريفة انما تثيرها الرايات العمياء
النقطة الثانية: المسيحيون والمسلمون في الشرق والغرب مدعوون لامرين: الاول المعهد الدينية المسيحية والاسلامية والمساجد والكنائس يمارسوا نقدا ذاتيا: كما تعرض له الارمن خلال الخلافة العثمانية، وما تعرض له المسلمون واليهود في الاندليس
النقطة الثانية: مجال العمل الخيري بين الطفين يعلم الحب
Trinity is supreme model of inclusion.
Reading from John
I still have many things to say to ou, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spriti of truth comes he will guid you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
The spirit arrived at Penticost. Jesus does not
The new Christian community lived the post-jesus era with questions; divinity and humanity.
The Church declared that he was both man and God.
Understanding God with different identity and faces is not easy.
It is speech about the birth of Christianity following the raising of Jesus.
Lady wisdom said story of the creation of heaven and earth.
God as a family and God as one.
I found trinity necessary. God shows us the sort of relationship and how He empowers us in the world.
The trinity gives Christians a model of inclusive love. Each is focussed on the task related to the creation.
God is dynamic, taking the initiative. Some theologians explained trinity in their own way.
When we experience God it is as inclusive God who is dynamic.
It has not been always been the case.
There is no longer male or female. It took a long time. It inspired inclusive God.
Within my life time the Church accepted women in leadership
The recognition of other faiths,
Inclusiveness encourages us to accept others.
The Church has been conservative and resistant to change.
There is need for constant search for justice.
I visited a farm near Bethlehem. Dawood, the Christian owner of a land wants to keep it while Israelis want to take it. He invites Israeli soldiers to eat with him.
The role of religion
Sheikh Ali AlKhatib
Allah sent our father, Adam and the final is Mohammad. Their aims is mentioned by Quran
ولقد بعثنا في كل امة رسولا ان اعبدوا الله
The aim of religion is to spread peace in the world.
We spoke about love of God. He ordered us to love each other.
Second to spread knowledge. We cannot accept God and His messengers until we achieve knowledge
هو الذي بعث في الاميين رسولا منهم يتلو عليهم آياته
Also to respect each other.
Religion is not against women.
There is distinction between Muslims and believers
Our duty is call others to accept religious instructions.
يرفع الله الذين آمنوا منكم والذين اوتوا العلم درجات
Our role is to guide people to the right path.
Prophets suffered in their message. Abraham was condemned to burning.
The religion will be united at the end. We believe that Jesus will appear again and will work with Imam Mahdi and spread peace.
We have to live with peace an hope.
Religious imperative of inclusivity
How does religious perspective deal with inclusivity?
I am an Anglican working in South London, supporting university chaplains and young people.
Difference is at heart of Christian understanding. They are important. You do not have to fear them.
I the Church we have different ways of doing with them.
Challenge of holding international protest communion is difficult to achieve.
What is biblical basis for dealing with difference?
I am influenced by people;
Rowan Williams. Humanity (Book) ,collection of essays that came in 2007 to build bridges between Muslims and Christians.
In Christian culture, in Wisdom you have created them all. Diversity of creation.
It is found in creation stories in genesis. God saw everything that he had made. It is one thing to celebrate diversity of creation, it is another thing to talk about diversity of humans.
How do we religious perspective to all this?
Michael ibugrave wrote a book on this.
Universal connection: Affinity to each other; every human being is equally recognised. In the image of God he is present. The idea of image is created in the Christian culture. Every single being is created in the image of God. There is sense of gender equality. Equality of esteem before God.
These are affinity teachings. It is rich resource.
Sometimes differences can be celebrated.
Movement to abolish slavery means movement towards change.
This sense of connection while different is important.
In South London there is Church-Mosque programme. We got funding so we will continue it for one year.
2- Freedom and equality before God within Church
Spiritual reality being called through baptism.
There are strands of race, gender and ethnicity
Never before has there been such awareness to emphasise these different approaches and emphasis on diversity.
Within Anglican church
Decision-making is now more balanced in the Western hemisphere
Churches are incredibly diverse so are mosques. White and black, indian people going to church.
We are reading the New Testament with new spectacles.
3- Penticos (time when holy spirit came). Mission at its best is communication in the service of truth.
Inclusion; equality of humans
Two powerful verses: يا ايها الناس انا خلقناكم من ذكر وانثى وجعلناكم شعوبا وقبائل لتعارفوا
IT includes origin of man (humanity) the second is the purpose
Acceptance and adherence are important.
Second thing is the purpose of this humanity: لتعارفوا
The aim is to know each other. Belonging to one human family
This connects to previous verse.
Man’s evolution into nations and tribes is meant to foster links and love
Tribal prejudice is condemned.
Prophet said; man is believer or sinner
كلكم لآدم وآدم خلق من تراب
منها خلقناكم وفيهانعيدكم ومنها نخرجكم تارة اخرى
The second principle is dignity of humans
ولقد كرمنا بني آدم وحملناهم في البر والبحر وفضلناهم على كثير ممن خلقنا تفضيلا
Honour is intrinsic right of every person. Whether they are sinners or virtuous.
If we can provide humans equality and honour then
Absence of them leads to havoc. Events happened in Iraq, Pakistan, France, Brussels
This selective offering of quality to people
To alter this I propose
1- Re-writing of British history where Islam is included.
2- Included in the heritage
3- Included in the culture of Europe
4- Included in the social space of the peole
5- Included in political discourse of the country
6- Included in the vision of this country
7- Common humanity of the people
God does not love extremists
Inclusive God and creation reflecting God is inclusive
Message of religion is to spread peace
Feast of penticos is about diversity, languages,
Great to do this every year in three languages
Next year’s New Narrative