Thursday, 11 August 2011 13:37
It is a tradition of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement to express greetings and salutations on special religious occasions of both the Islamic and Christian faiths to strengthen our commitment to dialogue as path to peace.
We are in solidarity with the Muslim Ummah of the Philippnes and in other parts of the world who renew their commitment through fasting in this holy month of Ramadhan. As the holy Qur’an says:
‘O Believers! Fasting is prescribed for you- as it was prescribed to those before you- so that you may attain God consciousness and learn self-restraint.’ (Qur’an 2:183)
Fasting in the holy month of Ramadhan has many benefits in both the physical and spiritual realms for those who fast. Fasting cleanses the whole being from impurities so that thoughts and actions will contribute to a healthy community and environment, and together live in peace with the rest of creation. But above all, those who fast, “Attain Allah/God consciousness,” as the holy Qur’an says.
Fasting is as essential as ever in today’s chaotic and materialistic world, because as Mother Teresa aptly said, “The biggest problem facing the world today is not people dying in the streets of Calcutta, and not inflation, but spiritual deprivation. . .this feeling of emptiness associated with feeling separate from God, and from all our sisters and brothers on planet Earth.” (Mother Teresa, 1979 Nobel Peace laureate)
It is hoped and prayed that fasting in this month will bring peace and harmony, and would cultivate an attitude of caring and loving amongst us. It is our prayer and hope that the end-result of fasting in the holy month of Ramadhan, as most ulama have opined citing verses from the holy Qur’an and hadiths of the holy prophet Muhammad (saw), will be the internalization and realization, and the actualization of the two basic teachings, the love of God and the love of neighbor.
When people live these two basic teachings, we believe we can have genuine dialogue because only those with sincere and pure hearts will have the pure intention that is manifested in their words and actions. For Muslim it will be to truly imbibe the archetypal personality of the holy prophet Muhammad (saw) as a “mercy to all creation” because in them, just like the holy prophet, is “the best or noble character,” the Qur’an says.
We are called to different dimensions of dialogue, not just maturity to listen to people’s views and opinions, but also to the spiritual level of dialogue that leads to life-in-dialogue, which is the dialogue not with words only but with actions that are full of care and love—the language of the heart. Only this special “language” can be the sustainable solution for the many forms of violence in Mindanao and around the world.
From the bottom of our hearts, we from the Silsilah Dialogue Movement humbly invite all to take advantage of the blessings of the holy month of Ramadhan so that these blessings would redound to the changing of our personality to one that reflects the image of rahman (caring) and rahim (loving) while we live on earth, promoting the culture of dialogue, path to peace, and prepare ourselves for the life to come.
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