Akbar the Great a Pioneer in Interfaith Dialogue

Akbar the Great, ruler of the Mughal Empire during the late 16th and early 17th century, was a true pioneer of interfaith dialogue. Akbar’s desire to build interfaith bridges is clear in a letter he wrote in 1582 to King Philip II of Spain” “As most men are fettered by bonds of tradition, and by imitating…… Continue reading Akbar the Great a Pioneer in Interfaith Dialogue


Celebrating Saint Patrick

Today is the feast of Saint Patrick. It is a day to give thanks to God for the gift of Christianity and for the example of so many women and men who have been lights in the darkness for us, who have brought the faith to the ends of the earth, and who continue to…… Continue reading Celebrating Saint Patrick

Film-work · Religion

Video of giving alms to the homeless in Dublin during Lent

One of the three penitential principles of Lent is almsgiving, or making voluntary contributions to those in need. In my celebration of this solemn observance, I recently walked around Dublin and carefully gave away money to those who need it more than I do.


Does the next Pope tackle these issues?

Source: Truthdig First, the church has to address the abuse scandal that has been devouring the institution from the inside. Step one is to release every document, no matter how embarrassing or costly, relating to child abuse and the protection of criminal priests. The Vatican has to throw open its doors and establish an independent,…… Continue reading Does the next Pope tackle these issues?


This video will renew your faith in humanity


Personal: A note on compassion

The ancient sages at Delphi always stated to their visitors: ‘know thyself’.  No doubt these are wise words, but should we take it further, we could also ‘love thyself’ explicitly so that we can love others. If you don’t love yourself, you won’t have that deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish…… Continue reading Personal: A note on compassion


Film-work: How do you feel when watching “Nothingness”?

What are your feelings when watching this? Are you happy or sad? Motivated or depressed? Something totally different? I’d appreciate your feedback in the comments section.  Thank you. Related articles Film-work: “Nothingness” (short film based in Ireland) (


Gandhi’s Views on the Prophet Muhammad

Published in ‘Young India’ (1924):  ‘I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind… I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life.…… Continue reading Gandhi’s Views on the Prophet Muhammad


Poem: Divine light

The light: that spark, that thought in your head, the wisdom from without and in turn within. Give thanks for without it we’d be empty and stricken by blaze. I dream before I even dream and I think before I even think, I’m ahead even when I’m behind and I have little idea of how it happens. But it does,…… Continue reading Poem: Divine light


Poem: Out of plight

After Reynold A. Nicholson * Jesus passed by three men. Their bodies were lean and their faces pale. He asked them, ‘What has brought you to this plight?’ They answered, ‘Fear of the Fire’. * Jesus said, ‘You fear a thing created, and it behoves God that he should save those who fear’. * Jesus left them…… Continue reading Poem: Out of plight


Poem: How do you think?

After Emerson What is the hardest task in the world? To think. I would put myself in the attitude to look in the eye an abstract truth, and I cannot. I blench and withdraw on this side and on that. I seem to know what he meant who said, No man can see God face…… Continue reading Poem: How do you think?


Poem: The sentiment of love

After Emerson Every soul is a celestial Venus to every other soul. The heart has its sabbaths and jubilees in which the world appears as a hymeneal feast, and all natural sounds and the circles of the seasons are erotic odes and dances. Love is omnipresent in nature as motive and reward. Love is our…… Continue reading Poem: The sentiment of love

Personal · Religion

Benjamin Franklin’s Case for Pluralism

We can gain a sense of young Benjamin Franklin’s thoughts on religion in A Witch Trial at Mount Holly, which raised the concern of his Puritan parents that he held ‘erroneous’ religious opinions.  Franklin was not himself an emphatically religious man; while he believed in God, he did not subscribe to one particular creed.  What we do…… Continue reading Benjamin Franklin’s Case for Pluralism


Fieldwork: The beautiful call to prayer

As part of Journey into America – September 2008 at the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  I was lucky enough to film right up there.


Video: The state of nothingness


Vital passage: Misunderstanding and understanding Islam

… [T]here is so much misunderstanding of Islam.  The debate on Islam that is in full cry in the West since September 11 is too often little more than a parading of deep-rooted prejudices.  For example, the critics of Islam ask: ‘If there is such an emphasis on compassion and tolerance in Islam, why is…… Continue reading Vital passage: Misunderstanding and understanding Islam


A Poem of Ibn Arabi’s

Ibn ʿArabī (Arabic: ابن عربي‎) (Murcia July 28, 1165 – Damascus November 10, 1240) was an Arab Andalusian Sufi mystic and philosopher.  He is sometimes referred to as “the Son of Plato” (Ibn Aflatun) for his devotion to Plato. My heart has grown capable of taking on all forms It is a pasture for gazelles A table for the Torah A convent for Christians…… Continue reading A Poem of Ibn Arabi’s

Creative writing

Quoted: Whitman, Tagore, and Rumi

I just picked up Eboo Patel’s Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation at New England Mobile Book Fair in Newton, Massachusetts.  To be honest, I wasn’t searching for it; I pretty much stumbled across it randomly in the extremely small ‘Islam’ section (it’s small…… Continue reading Quoted: Whitman, Tagore, and Rumi


Religion: Atheistic humanism in The Cube and the Cathedral

Have you heard about the ‘European problem’?  To your likely surprise, the problem has nothing to do with debt, sovereignty, Brussels, or the devaluing euro. As George Weigel posits in The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America and Politics Without God, the ‘European problem’ is atheistic humanism or, as he often calls it in more academic…… Continue reading Religion: Atheistic humanism in The Cube and the Cathedral

Poems · Religion

Prophet Muhammad on the Importance of Mothers

After Sheikh Muzaffer A companion once asked the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH)): Who is the most important person for the soul in Islam?’ The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) replied: ‘The mother’. The companion pressed the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) for more information. ‘Who is the next most important person?’ Once more, the Prophet Muhammad…… Continue reading Prophet Muhammad on the Importance of Mothers


Call to wander

Abraham makes the leap and thus secures his reputation for all time. The text is so matter-of-fact it almost masks the significance: ‘Abram went forth as the Lord had commanded him’.  He does so silently, joining the covenant with his feet, not his words.  The wandering man does what he does best, he walks.  Only…… Continue reading Call to wander

Creative writing

Carry these in your hands

One of the most famous Sufi thinkers ever is Rabia, who wrote in the 8th-century.  She was born in modern-day Basra, Iraq. According to folklore, Rabia was an orphan and ultimately sold into slavery; she almost had nothing except, of course, her thoughts. Legend has it that Rabia was once seen praying with a halo…… Continue reading Carry these in your hands


This is Why People Love Sufism

Sufis are very inclusive and open-minded.  They believe that God is everywhere.  They quote Qur’anic passages like, ‘Wherever you turn, there is the face of God’ (2: 115).  If God is everywhere, then God can be seen in all religions too.  A Sufi would not only be comfortable praying at a church or synagogue or…… Continue reading This is Why People Love Sufism


Nafs and the stages of ‘self’

The Arabic word nafs is variously translated as ‘soul’, ‘self’, or ‘ego’.  The nafs has seven levels or stages of development that correspond more or less to the seven stages of the Sufi Path.  The Path, which leads to a transformation of consciousness, can therefore be described as the refinement and purification of the soul.  The seven…… Continue reading Nafs and the stages of ‘self’


The day I met a genius: a somber reflection

Have you ever met or had a conversation with someone and thought to yourself: ‘this person is a genius’? This happened to me during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan in 2011 at the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland (ICB), Massachusetts. One evening, while the largely South Asian community broke the fast, I found…… Continue reading The day I met a genius: a somber reflection


Attending event with Ahmadiyya community in Dublin

Last week  I was invited by Imran Ahmed, member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, Ireland and Dublin City Interfaith Forum, to the 6th Interfaith Peace Conference on April 28th in Lucan, County Dublin. The conference, titled ‘Purpose of Religion, will be attended by people and speakers from major religions to strive towards peace in Ireland.…… Continue reading Attending event with Ahmadiyya community in Dublin