April 2019
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H.N. Hosseinian: Expanding Our Horizons

It is our responsibility to understand the facts of our religion, and our mission to convey those facts to others. But in different times and locations, and in order to live in our time, we should understand the existing realities of our time, and differentiate between the essence of religion, which is stable, permanent, absolute and eternal, and the interpretations that we have of religion.

Today we are witnessing how some groups are being accused and thereby marginalized, the rise of xenophobia, waging war that leads to more suffering of innocent people, and remain unconcerned about the future of the world. The war in Afghanistan and increased suppression of the defenseless people of Palestine are examples of the level of crises that confront our Islamic world.

In the midst of these events, what is our responsibility as Muslims? Can we endure this injustice to our faith or should we resort to our logic? No other religion or school of thought does as much as Islam to invite humanity to uphold peace, live in coexistence, and dialogue for decisive and logical struggle against discrimination, inequality, exclusion, and coercion.

Our common message to all Divine religions is: Let us uphold what we hold common in our belief to not worship anyone but God, not to accept partners for him, and not to allow anyone from among us to take the other as his ruler, except for God.

An aware and wisdom-seeking Muslim believes in himself and his belief, and therefore can fear not the other. Tolerance is a sign of open-mindedness, and the intellectual and behavioral world of Muslims is indeed open and vast. Those who are tolerant believe in themselves and their role in the world, and they are known for their foresight. Intellectuality is compatible with foresight and open-mindedness, and tradition is jeopardized through narrow-mindedness.

The kind of tradition that assumes it has no role in this world is susceptible to violence, and the kind of intellectuality that lacks sensibility and a non-violent mindset fails. Let us try to expand our intellect and personal capacities as much as the vast horizons of Islam. Let us try to portray the rational and tolerance-based image of religion while basing ourselves on the principles of freedom in thought and dialogue in logic and behavior. Although we have suffered many unrighteous behaviors, we maintain that: “we must be loyal, patient and joyous, because in our faith, to be offended is to be a disbeliever.”

[Source: Islamic Perspectives on Peace. Tarrytown, NY: Universal Peace Federation, 2006]