Interfaith · Religion

New Book Sheds Light on Prophet Muhammad’s Interfaith Views

No other leader in world history has been more scrutinized and ridiculed than Prophet Muhammad. Since the founding of Islam in 632 AD, Christians and Jews have described the Prophet of Allah as a blasphemer, bigot, terrorist, and pedophile, among other slurs. However, according to a new book The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the…… Continue reading New Book Sheds Light on Prophet Muhammad’s Interfaith Views

Religion

Pope Francis challenges students to “live, not just exist”

Here are a few messages which Pope Francis relayed to students from Rome’s universities: “You must live, not just exist… Please don’t look at life from the sidelines, accept challenges… You must not be spectators but protagonists… Don’t be mediocre, bored or like everyone else… You can’t live without facing challenges… Don’t stand on the…… Continue reading Pope Francis challenges students to “live, not just exist”

Interfaith · Religion

Guiding Jewish/Muslim Relations Through the Life of Maimonides, the 12th Century Jewish Scholar

Maimonides did not think it was healthy for the soul to have “unbounded desires” which “is never stated with pursuing passions.” Referencing Jewish Holy Scripture (Koheles 5:9) he argued in The Guide that a person who has a covetous soul “will not be sated with all the wealth of the world.” Maimonides’ thought mirrors Rumi,…… Continue reading Guiding Jewish/Muslim Relations Through the Life of Maimonides, the 12th Century Jewish Scholar

Religion

Overcoming Historical Amnesia: Muslim Contributions to Civilization

Published on Huffington Post (October 22nd, 2013) In his recent article, Sam Harris, a popular critic of Islam, referred to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani education activist, as “the best thing to come out of the Muslim world in 1,000 years.” Hidden in this comment is the idea that Malala’s fellow Muslims are backward and that her…… Continue reading Overcoming Historical Amnesia: Muslim Contributions to Civilization

Religion

Opening up Islamic spaces

Excerpt from Mustafa Akyol’s article The Vatican, Christianity and Islam in Hurriyet Daily News (14/9/2013) In today’s super-dynamic and super-creative world, behind which we are already lagging, there is a risk for us, Muslims, if we go toward the other direction: The strict boundaries that supposedly protect our faith could turn into an obstacle to…… Continue reading Opening up Islamic spaces

Work

Huffington Post picture on Rumi-Emerson article

The Huffington Post – Religion made this sweet little picture after the publication of my Rumi-Emerson comparison, which is based on the themes of religious tolerance, love, and “oneness.” Sheila Musaji of The American Muslim also republished the piece. You can read that here. Related articles Rumi and Emerson: A bridge between the West and the…… Continue reading Huffington Post picture on Rumi-Emerson article

Interfaith

Powerful Passage on Interfaith Dialogue From Participant in PhD Thesis

My PhD thesis, which explores the experiences of younger Pakistani men in Dublin, Ireland and Boston, USA, has several overarching themes which travel across both countries. One question I ask late in my interviews is “What do you think of interfaith dialogue?” In both cities, I have found that young Pakistani men are overwhelmingly proponents…… Continue reading Powerful Passage on Interfaith Dialogue From Participant in PhD Thesis

Interfaith

“The Golden Rule” is Central to the Teachings of Many Religions

If I missed a “golden rule” from another major religion, please leave it in the comment section so I can add it to the list. The picture above is Norman Rockwell’s “The Golden Rule,” which I also discussed in a post on a Pakistani Muslim friend of mine in Boston. Christianity: “All things whatsoever ye…… Continue reading “The Golden Rule” is Central to the Teachings of Many Religions

Film-work

Short Documentary: “Finding Pluralism in Akbar the Great”

Akbar the Great is an extraordinary figure in history. Who is he? What did he stand for and what can we learn from his legacy? These are some of the questions which are touched upon in this short documentary. It is inspired by some research I conducted for an article in the Huffington Post Religion. Related articles…… Continue reading Short Documentary: “Finding Pluralism in Akbar the Great”

Commentary

Being Accused of Writing Like a “Devout Muslim” is an Honor

Outreach

Pluralist working towards making interfaith cooperation a norm in U.S.

A great interview with Interfaith Youth Core founder Eboo Patel is up on Real Clear Religion. Patel, who wrote a nice review of Akbar Ahmed’s documentary Journey into America, which I directed, is one of the most important leaders in the U.S. today for his impressive work in promoting pluralism and interfaith dialogue. RealClearReligion: What is…… Continue reading Pluralist working towards making interfaith cooperation a norm in U.S.

Religion

Be a good Christian, forget Hollywood scandals and help the homeless

I like Pope Francis more and more with each passing day! On May 18, the Pope raised the issue of the “moral crisis” plaguing the hearts and minds of Christians around the world. To explain the crisis, Pope Francis used the state of homelessness as an example. He stated to a huge international audience in St. Peter’s Square:…… Continue reading Be a good Christian, forget Hollywood scandals and help the homeless

Quoted

10 Great Non-Muslim Quotes on Islam

“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. It was the rigid simplicity,…… Continue reading 10 Great Non-Muslim Quotes on Islam

Outreach

Pope John Paul II Always Kept the Door Open for Muslims

Writing in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope (1994), Pope John Paul II calls Islam one of the great monotheistic religions and requests that Christians respect the beliefs of Muslims based on the following passage in the Declaration of Nostra Aetate: “The Church also has a high regard for the Muslims, who worship one…… Continue reading Pope John Paul II Always Kept the Door Open for Muslims

Religion

An Anecdote to Negative Stereotypes of Islam

Go on a journey into the heart of Islam’s mystical side – Sufism. Explore the roots of Sufi music, art, poetry, etc. Sufi music is particularly thrilling and attracted me to study more about Islam. I highly recommend this short piece from Channel 4. The presenter takes the audience to Sufi shrines of the Virgin…… Continue reading An Anecdote to Negative Stereotypes of Islam

Commentary

Can we reason with religious extremists?

Here’s another interesting response to yesterday’s post. I’m interested in hearing how people would answer the question in the title. I don’t believe extremism, like ignorance, can be reasoned with. It comes from such a deep place inside someone, a place of fear. I think even Jesus recognized some people were not able to be…… Continue reading Can we reason with religious extremists?

Religion

Huffington Post user warns of the coming rapture

About three weeks ago I wrote a poem for the Huffington Post Religion called “Allah or God, It Doesn’t Matter to Me.” While the poem did not receive a ton of attention, a few Huffington Post users left their thoughts, of which one stood out more than the others. Alongside posting several biblical passages which…… Continue reading Huffington Post user warns of the coming rapture

Religion

Pope Francis refers to Revelation 3:16, calls out “lukewarm Christians without courage”

“So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.” – Revelation 3:16 Here’s a look at Pope Francis’ meaningful words about how many of today’s Christians are too “wrapped up in [their] petty things, [their] jealousies, envy, careerism, in going ahead selfishly.” According to the…… Continue reading Pope Francis refers to Revelation 3:16, calls out “lukewarm Christians without courage”

Religion

The Function of Prayer

Note: I took this picture during Mawlid in Dublin, 2013 Prayer, both obligatory and spontaneous, is an immense spiritual treasure to be tapped. It inspires peace, purity and tranquility, and instills a continuous awareness of and feeling of closeness to God. It amazingly reduces the hustle and bustle of life to tame proportions…. [P]rayers tend…… Continue reading The Function of Prayer

Outreach · Religion

My challenge to the media: Burn the Quran Day or One Film 9/11?

I pose a challenge to media outlets around the world: Will they continue to focus on sensational stories which only exacerbate tension and hatred between groups, or will they instead provide coverage to events and initiatives which work to build bridges across the divide? I use Pastor Terry Jones’ “Burn the Quran Day” and my…… Continue reading My challenge to the media: Burn the Quran Day or One Film 9/11?

Commentary

Seeing our humanity and fragile existence through the Boston bombings

Note: My fellow Needhamite Dr. Abdul Cader Asmal Ph.D. wrote a powerful response in Wicked Local Needham to the Boston marathon bombings. Dr. Asmal previously served as president of the Islamic Center of Boston and the Islamic Council of New England. He is a retired physician and is also a current member of Needham Clergy Association…… Continue reading Seeing our humanity and fragile existence through the Boston bombings

Politics

Politicizing the Marathon bombings in a Boston church

I felt very discouraged at Mass this morning. The priest virtually incited hatred of Islam. In paraphrasing he said something like “The Boston Marathon bombings was part of the global jihad of Islamic supremacists on Christians.” He followed these loaded statements by talking about evil, the devil and how Islam has basically “always been this…… Continue reading Politicizing the Marathon bombings in a Boston church

Sociology

Americans Should Turn Their Minds to Jesus, Not Darwin, on Easter

Easter Sunday is an appropriate time for Americans to reflect upon the direction of their societies. Should America become a place that embodies the teachings of Jesus or Darwin? Akbar Ahmed weighs in: “A debilitating tension between Darwin and Jesus lies at the heart of American identity. It is not so much about how society…… Continue reading Americans Should Turn Their Minds to Jesus, Not Darwin, on Easter

Pictures

Anwar Al Madina Mosque in Dublin, Ireland

Outreach · Pictures

Pictures of Mawlid Celebration in Dublin (2013)

As I first mentioned in this post, I recently had the privilege of participating in Mawlid E Nabi, also referred to as simply Mawlid, to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). The event was set up by the Irish Sufi Foundation and the Sufi community at Anwar Al Madina mosque in Dublin’s…… Continue reading Pictures of Mawlid Celebration in Dublin (2013)

Outreach · Pictures

Pictures of Mawlid with Dublin’s Sufi Community

In the first weekend of March 2013, I had the pleasure of participating in Mawlid E Nabi, also referred to as simply Mawlid, to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). The event was set up by the Irish Sufi Foundation and the Sufi community at Anwar Al Madina mosque in Dublin’s…… Continue reading Pictures of Mawlid with Dublin’s Sufi Community

Commentary

Is materialism destroying us?

This morning I picked up Jacob Needleman’s The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders in the hope of finding some useful material on my dissertation on pluralism and the founding fathers. But early in my reading, I was distracted by Needleman’s discussion of materialism and its impact on our health as Americans, and…… Continue reading Is materialism destroying us?

Work

New article in Huffington Post on Islam and American identity

Here is my latest article on what America’s Founding Fathers would say about Islam.  The article is driven by my new interfaith initiative One Film 9/11. You can read more about the initiative here and join us on Facebook.  Hope you enjoy the article and blog.

Personal

Personal: My challenge as a Catholic American

It has been challenging for me – a young Catholic working in interfaith dialogue – to watch the escalation of conflict between Muslim communities the world over and the United States. Observing this escalation as an American citizen has been equally difficult because religious tolerance is at the heart of my definition of American identity.…… Continue reading Personal: My challenge as a Catholic American

Poems

Poems: Keeping your head

Via Daily Zen Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear. What does it mean that success is a dangerous as failure? Whether you go up the ladder or down it, your position is shaky. When you stand with your two feet on the ground, you will always keep your balance.…… Continue reading Poems: Keeping your head

Quoted

Quoted: Inspiring quotes on finding your purpose

‘Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life… Therein he cannot be re­placed, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it’. – Viktor Frankl ‘There’s no next time. It’s now or never’. – Celestine Chua ‘My life is my message’. – Gandhi…… Continue reading Quoted: Inspiring quotes on finding your purpose

Travels

Man walks from California to Florida in search of God

This is an incredible story. Like Forrest Gump in real-time. Except this man walked! How does someone who has a really comfortable life give it all up and decide to live homeless and walk across the U.S. without a dime? Check out this amazing story about one young man’s search for God!

Uncategorized

Commentary: Relativity and religious hostility

This ‘study’ conducted by the Liberty Institute claims that there is rising hostility towards Christians in today’s United States. But last time I checked, Christian Americans were not seeing their churches burned to the ground. Last time I checked, non-Christian Americans were not going into churches and shooting people at random. Last time I checked, non-Christian…… Continue reading Commentary: Relativity and religious hostility

Quoted

Quoted: Solara An Ra

The great spiritual teachers who have graced your planet have spoken of beingness – the state of being fully immersed in the present, and in the world. Take note – fully in the present and IN THE WORLD. Many of you seek elsewhere for your salvation and peace of mind – seeking through meditation to…… Continue reading Quoted: Solara An Ra

Personal

Personal: Avoid!

IGNORANCE ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’ – Socrates PRETENTIOUSNESS ‘The intelligent people are the ones so intelligent that they don’t even need or want to look “intelligent” anymore’ – Criss Jami GREED ‘Don’t gain the world and lose your soul, for wisdom is better than silver or gold’. CERTITUDE ‘Only the madman is…… Continue reading Personal: Avoid!

Film-work

Ramadan khutba on knowledge (ilm) by Professor Akbar Ahmed

Filmed this at the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids, Iowa in September 2008.

Film-work

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.

Fieldwork

An iftar tradition continues

In a little while I am heading to the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland for the breaking of the fast (iftar). This marks my second straight summer with this largely South Asian community during the holy month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, I see people demonstrating incredible self-control over their desires and temptations, which helps…… Continue reading An iftar tradition continues

Sociology

Recommended reading: ‘Islam Under Siege’

Akbar Ahmed’s Islam Under Siege is an attempt to make sense of a rapidly transforming and dangerous world where ‘Westerners’ and ‘Muslims’ (as if the to are not inclusive!) are often pitted against each other as mortal enemies.  In his analysis, Ahmed explains what is going wrong in the Muslim world; why it is going…… Continue reading Recommended reading: ‘Islam Under Siege’

Poems

Poem: Akbar

*Dedicated to Professor Akbar Ahmed He serves esoteric and philosophic truths, across the traditions, in pursuit of those truths, so that the darkness can be lifted, and the light can shine through. © Craig Considine

Poems

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

Sociology

James Baldwin at the Crossroads of his Identity Crisis

One can only face in others what one can face in oneself.  On this confrontation depends the measure of our wisdom and compassion.  This energy is all that one finds in the rubble of vanished civilizations, and the only hope for ours. – James Baldwin, ‘NOBODY KNOWS MY NAME’

Poems

Do you make flowers or thorns?

Someone who doesn’t make flowers makes thorns. If you’re not building rooms where wisdom can be openly spoken, you’re building a prison. SHAMS OF TABRIZ I found this on page XI of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation by Eboo Patel.

Journal

Rome Was Not Built Overnight

Something, though I can’t put my finger precisely on it, has come over my being within just a few days.  My hours, as of late, have been one’s dedicated to my studies and thoughts regarding morality, and more particularly, the life I have been striving to maintain for quite some time now.  Hardly any of…… Continue reading Rome Was Not Built Overnight

Fieldwork · Religion

Thick and thin religion

Kavirah (2010) argues that the growing religiosity in many parts of the world is quite different from our traditional understanding of religion (in his writing, he refers to rising Hindu identity and nationalism).  He argues that we need to distinguish between ‘thick and thin religion’.  Thick religion encompasses traditional rituals, practices, and beliefs, whereas thin…… Continue reading Thick and thin religion

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

Religion

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

Poems · Religion

The Source of Rumi’s Inspiration

Rumi’s inspiration progresses from the inner to the outer, from spiritual impulse to verbal expression.  Thus, the more we are able to penetrate the outer form of his words, the closer we may come to catching a glimpse of the Source from which they came.  This requires a considerable mental leap.  Rumi is aware of…… Continue reading The Source of Rumi’s Inspiration

Poems

Personal: Prayer in my home

When I was growing up in Needham, Massachusetts, I remember seeing a picture on the wall near the front door of my home.  The small squared frame had ‘Considine’ written at the very top in a nice and neat cursive. Below ‘Considine’ was the date – 1985 – which represents the year that we moved into the…… Continue reading Personal: Prayer in my home