FOR INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PEACE, & INTERFAITH DIALOGUE-cum-HARMONY
The world of today with its different and various arenas of tensions, conflicts, disputes, battles, and wars needs Peace and Security more than ever before. But peace and security are the natural and logical fruit of the continuous process of mutual dialogue and harmony based on sharing broader, deeper, and higher levels of information, knowledge, understanding, creativity, imagination, wisdom, and sublime reason. The basic purpose of the trio of Higher Religion, Mysticism, and Art as reflected in poetry, music, singing, painting, calligraphy, engraving, sculpture, and sublime architecture is to bring home the lost paradise of peaceful coexistence with the heavenly climate of the above process. All religions in general and Islam in particular aim primarily at creating this kind of heaven of Peace and Security.
Islam as a religion misunderstood and misinterpreted as a blind and irrational submission to the despotic Will of God needs reinterpretation according to its original semantic and prophetic vision as the Din of peace and peace propagation (i.e. al-Islam). That Islam is not this kind of irrational submission is evident from a deep semantic probe into the term: al-Islam, its root term: Silm, and the latter’s numerous derivatives. Let us examine the following terms: Silm, Salam, Salamat, Islam, Taslim, Istilam, Istislam, Tasalum, Musalama, and Sullam. The terms: silm, salam, and salamat denote and connote various modes of peace and security. Islam means to propagate peace as well as one’s surrender to the dictate of the Rule of Cosmic Reason for the ultimate cause of Peace and Security. Taslim means to give peace and security, to deliver something in safe and sound condition, to believe in some proposition to one’s feeling of inner peace and contentment, and to greet fellow human beings with the wish of peace and security for them. Tasalum being a concept of dualistic relationship means the simultaneous and mutual entry into the peace of two persons or groups/parties. Musalama being a concept of reciprocal relationship means the reciprocal and bilateral entry into the peace of two persons or two groups/parties. Istilam means to receive something in safe and sound condition. Istislam means to regard something as safe and sound/peaceful, to seek peace and security, and to surrender one’s will, the exercise of power or force as a gesture of peace. Sullam means ladder whereby one reaches the target place safely and soundly.
Consistent enough with these pacifist concepts, the Quran introduces God as al-Salam and al-Momin, that is, Peace and Peace Giver. Who invites humans to the Home of Peace, guides them to the Ways and Means of Peace, ordains al-Salam-o-Alaikum as the eternal and continuous wish of peace and safety by humans for fellow humans, promises the home comes to the heaven of Love, Beauty, Goodness, Sublimity, Truth, Understanding, Wisdom and Everlasting Bliss with the greetings of Peace, Peace, and introduces Ka’aba in Mecca as the International House of God and the ultimate resort of Man, symbolical of peace and love with its motto: “Whosoever enters it is safe, secure and in peace”. In this pacifist schema, all religious communities are declared as People of the Book with compulsory faith in their Holy Books and preservation of their worship places figuring conspicuously so much so that a verse of the Holy Quran proclaims: “Had it not been for God’s law of pushing some humans into their limits by means of others, cloisters, synagogues, churches, oratories, temples, and mosques would surely have been pulled down”. All these People of the Book are invited to interfaith dialogue and harmony on the basis of universally accepted commonalities: “Say: O People of the Book come up to the level of Terms common between us and you…”. In this contextual background of such pacifist concepts of Islam, violence, extremism, and terrorism in the world of Islam appear nothing to be but an open and blatant deviation from, and sabotage plus subversion of, Islam as the Din of Peace and Peace Propagation, especially its following concepts of universal brotherhood:
1. Humanity is a single community (Surrah 2:213)
2. This Community of yours is but one community, and I am your Lord, so worship me (Surrah 21:92)
3. We have raised you as an international community (Surrah 2:137)
4. You are the best international community raised for the welfare of the human race ( Surrah 13:109)
5. Your creation and resurrection is like the creation and resurrection of a single breathing self ( Surrah 31:27)
6. All those who adhere to the ideology of peace are brothers ( Surrah 49:10)
7. That which is beneficial to the human race endures in the earth; all else passes away like a scum (Surrah 13:17)
It is worth noting that the ancient Holy Scriptures like Bible, Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, Ramayan, Gita, Dhammapadha, Gospel of Buddha, Zend-Avesta, and Analects of Confucius all contain gems of wisdom related to the creation of an earthly paradise of peace, security, and harmony on the basis of the universally accepted verities of Truth, Love, Beauty, Sublimity, Justice, and Wisdom.
The world of today is in dire need of a reinterpretation of the phenomenon of Religion according to the original semantic and prophetic vision of its source in consonance with the trio of assimilation, accommodation, adjustment, and the principles of tolerance, acceptance, openness, interfaith dialogue-cum-harmony, understanding, wisdom, universal reason, truth, justice, goodness, love, beauty, creativity, imagination, rationality, balance, equilibrium, and symmetry. It is in the darkness of the violation of these values that the viruses of violence, extremism, and terrorism germinate, grow and flourish, and it is in the uprooting of this root cause of this sinister growth that lies the peace, calm, and tranquility of human race.
The Chief Objectives of QUL:
In order to bring each and every home in our global village the importance of human life, prosperity, and happiness, it is the moral, social and intellectual responsibility of common folk in general and custodians of knowledge, human cultures and civilizations, in particular, to do their best to spread trans regional awareness in the direction of creating a global climate of compassionate dialogue and understanding. The QUL being aware of this responsibility comes forward to play its role in meeting this dire need for creating such a climate at home and abroad through its movement towards the following objectives:
1. Understanding: Knowledge known in Arabic as ‘ilm’ is no doubt is very important aspect of human life, but being alone and divorced from its necessary stabilizer known as ‘hilm’, it has so far failed as a source of Concord; instead, it has been breeding and still breeds the germs of discord, and, hence, a potent cause of arrogance that leads to all violence and extremism. In other words, ‘ilm’ without ‘hilm’ is dangerous. It is in view of this shortcoming of knowledge that Aldous Huxley says: “Understanding is superior to knowledge”. One of the main objectives of the QUL movement would be to spread a climate of understanding both at home and abroad. It would be through the wings of understanding that the Doves of QUL shall carry the message of peace and security from land to land and continent to continent.
2. Interfaith Dialogue: A famous thinker Martin Buber has defined Man as a dialogical animal—a concept very much similar to that of the oriental definition of man as ‘haiwan-e-natiq’ literally meaning: speaking animal. It is through dialogue that gulf between man and man can be bridged and mutual understanding is reached. The absence of dialogue leading to a deadlock accounts for the presence of barrier between individual and individual and between nation and nation. All the Holy Scriptures of Ancient Religions, in general, emphasize the importance of inter-human dialogue and the Holy Quran in particular initiates dialogue between People of the Book—a recurrent theme in the Quran. The QUL movement would create also a climate of interfaith dialogue at all levels to bring each and every home in our global home the fresh breeze of understanding.
3. Inter feeling Harmony: Here one wise quote may suffice to attune our souls and minds to the semantics underlying the phonetics of harmony: “Relationships should be understood in terms of music, which is an arrangement of notes to be played with certain intervals. The intervals represent the “distance” between the notes at certain points in time rather than “closeness” and that distance creates harmony. So no matter how close you are in a relationship at one point, you might at another point create a certain distance to keep the relationship harmonious”. Hence, it is this happy blend of closeness and distance insuring international privacy and openness that leads to a harmony of the relationship. The QUL movement would respect this paradoxical inter-human relationship with closeness in distance and distance in closeness to achieve inter feeling harmony.
4. International Relations: All harmony at home depends on harmony in international relations and vice versa. Long ago, the Persian Sage Sa’di said: “Children of Adam are organs of a single organism since in their origin they belong to a single essence”. That is why, as Imam Ali says, “an administration may coexist with Atheism, but cannot coexist with injustice and cruelty”. The concept of international relations leading to a harmonious coexistence of nations logically and naturally follows from the Quranic and Scriptural concept of humanity as a single community by virtue of inner bonds of hearts, souls, and minds, achieved through giving each and every individual or nation his or it’s due right to existence and basic amenities of life. Life whether individual or collective should be the focus and locus of all cultural and civilizational struggle.
5. Observance of Human Rights: Without observance of human rights in its true sense it is impossible to achieve the objectives of inter-human understanding, interfaith dialogue, inter feeling harmony, and international relations, and vice versa. It is in the dark clouds of the violation of human rights that all germs of violence, extremism, and terrorism germinate, grow and flourish. All the ominous milieu of fear, insecurity, grief, anxiety, misery, tensions, conflicts, disputes, battles, and wars is born out of the unwise negligence of human rights. To use Quranic language, it is the ship of masakeen that has to be saved, the evil of possible injustice to parents that has to be nipped in the bud, and the wall of yateems that has to be saved from falling. Without taking these measures, the edifice of any culture and civilization rests on insecure ground.
Statement of Chief Functions:
The Foundation with its team of scholars and visionaries highly qualified and specialized in interdisciplinary, holistic, and comparative studies and research in human cultures, civilizations, religions, and all other disciplines has chalked out a program of functions to play its role as a launching pad for the promotion of understanding based on interfaith dialogue and knowledge sharing leading to a global climate of peace, security, tolerance, acceptance, openness, and harmony. Broadly categorized, these functions are:
1. To establish a continuous and consistent liaison with heads of religious communities both at home and abroad, missions, organizations, and institutions for the sake of bridging the gulf n between these communities, removing the gap in communication amongst them, and lifting off the artificial barriers of ignorance, bias and prejudice all for the promotion of emphatic understanding so necessary for global peace, security, and harmony.
2. To organize meetings, workshops, seminars, symposia, conferences, book fairs, and sublime art exhibitions at both national and international levels in order to generate and flout ideas and concepts that open EYES to the common grounds for understanding, interfaith dialogue, and harmony and mobilize HANDS for creating foci and centers of peace propagation.
3. To make arrangements for bringing forth the QUL publications together with its monthly magazine/journal both in Urdu and English with their special focus and emphasis on promoting interfaith dialogue, understanding, and harmony.
4. To make arrangements for establishing in each and every country of our global village Centers of Excellence with rich libraries for comparative studies and research in world cultures, civilizations, and religions along with their ancient scriptural languages;
5. To suggest wise and pertinent ways and means of psycho-therapeutic approach to treat the ills of violence, extremism, and terrorism through uprooting their root cause and through educating the international community in the Philosophy of Human Dignity, Territorial Integrity, and Human Rights;
6. To raise a team of medical doctors and nurses, hakeems, spiritual healers, and specialists in other various methods of treatment, i.e., natural therapy, acupuncture, and pyramid therapy, etc. for providing speedy free treatment to poor patients;
7. To raise funds urgently and emergently needed for the following purposes :
a) Groups of genuine ‘fakirs’, ‘masakeen’ (handicapped toiling persons), ‘yateems’ (orphans) and needy deserving students and scholars;
b) To make arrangements for helping wedding pairs and financially assisting a grief-stricken family of the bereaved individual from the moment of his / her death to his /her funeral and burial and during its days of mourning, grief and anguish;
c) To provide rescue help to the victims of adverse circumstances and misfortunes standing in genuine, urgent and emergent need for speedy timely assistance;
d) To make arrangements for the preservation, photo-copying and publication of all valuable international heritage of old manuscripts with gems of wisdom found all over the world and now mercilessly exposed to mishandling, mismanipulation and tear and wear of time, and also for drawing the attention of the international community to the reservation of the wonders of human creativity, art, imagination, and architectural skill and genius.
8. To dispel once for all the wrong impression and misunderstanding that Islam is a socio-political force aimed at promoting violence, extremism, and assault on lands other nations in the name of spreading the so-called cult of Tauwheed—all this by reintroducing and reinterpreting Islam as the religion of peace, peace propagation, security insurance, interfaith dialogue, international harmony, and cooperation according to its vision enshrined in the best Sufi traditions of Indo-Pak subcontinent.
9. To project Pakistan as a country rich in geo-natural diversity, folklore culture, and civilization with a host of pluralistic and diversified approaches to the issues and problems of Life and Existence;
10. The QUL Foundation shall function as a non-profit organization with its movement towards the realization of its objectives through these functions according to the spirit of the golden principle of Unity amidst Diversity and Diversity amidst Unity as very beautifully expressed in our Sufi traditions and with its motto: Seek Knowledge from the Cradle to the Grave poetically elaborated in the English poem: Seek Knowledge composed by Prof. Dr. Muhammad Jamil Qalander, the Founder Chairman of the Foundation:
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Jamil Qalander
Founder Chairman QALANDER UNIVERSE LUMINOUS WELFARE FOUNDATION FOR INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PEACE & INTERFAITH DIALOGUE-cum-HARMONY