The first week of February was World Interfaith Harmony week. On Wednesday, as part of interfaith services at Boston University, I participated in a celebration of interfaith harmony, and it was one of the most spiritually uplifting experiences I have had. The theme was justice, and representatives across different faiths said a few words and prayers (Specifically Baha’i, Sikh, Hindu, Christian and Muslim participants). My friend Sakina and I said a few words about justice in Islam, and recited Surah Al-Fatiha, asking God to guide us to the right path. The event, organized by Cause-J (Christian Activists United for Social and Economic Justice) began with a beautiful hymn from the Sikh faith, and ended on signing a quilt with messages of peace.
Interfaith harmony, though, is not just about a week of celebration. It is about looking beyond your differences, and realizing that we are connected by something bigger than us, and if not that, than just the bonds of humanity. Standing on a pulpit, with people of all races, backgrounds and faiths in BU’s Marsh Chapel reminded me of the Prophet’s words that
“You are all equal. Nobody has superiority over other except by piety and good action”
As a Pakistani, I feel that while there is a lot of positive action towards interfaith harmony, perhaps what we need with even more urgency today is dialogue. A lot of times we feel so comfortable in our own religious or non-religious shells that we don’t even ask questions that would dispel our misunderstandings. Perhaps online forums like blogs and other social media can help fill this vacuum. I have been talking to friends of mine across different faiths, attempting to clear my understandings and learn more about religions. A lot of these conversations have been over email, Facebook or Twitter, asking questions we normally would have felt to hesitant to ask. Sometimes I feel that you need that free space, to create an open-minded dialogue. I would love for everyone to start asking questions, and aim to clear their own misunderstandings about faiths. There are so many things that would surprise you, and you’ll end up learning so much about yourself in the process. I’d love too hear your ideas on what’s the best way to create a mass interfaith dialogue going in Pakistan? Would a blog be a good idea for a free space to ask questions, respecting each other? Get those creative juices flowing!