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Topic initiated on Tuesday, May 31, 2011  -  4:10 PM Reply with quote
Religious traditions are complementary

Dear All,
I'm Samiya, a Muslim from Pakistan. Reading an interesting book these days, and would like to share something from it. What is your opinion? Are religious traditions complementary?

pg 28, 29 and 30
... In order to understand properly the full meaning of virtues we need to understand the universally revealed laws. It is the revealed laws which show us the proper application of those virtues which arise spontaneously and naturally in the heart. Morality and virtue spring from the heart, but the way of conduct and behavior must have its foundation in sound knowledge. The use of the intellect involves making choices and examining alternatives, and it is here that one finds that the prophetically revealed way is the optimum path and the most efficient means to achieving this objective.
We need to allow ourselves to be guided by the indications and proofs of the perfection of this prophetically revealed way in order to arrive at that which is already within us: the knowledge of right and wrong, and the morality inherent in our being.
The laws of the various revealed religious traditions have never contradicted one another. The laws and the message have always been the same. Rather, it was their emphasis and comprehensiveness which varied according to the extent of humanity's spiritual development and the state of its outer social form. When the ancient and slow-evolving Hindu spiritual teachings became increasingly ritualistic and socially oriented, Buddha arose with a teaching that strongly emphasized the development and awareness of the self and its psychology.
In a later age, the Prophet Jesus appeared at a time when the message of Moses had degenerated into a body of laws and regulations, crudely administered and abused by an elite group of religious custodians and through which the latter wielded great power over the masses. The emphasis on the teachings of Jesus was on the inner purification of the self and the renewal of the spirit of the law, in order to redress the imbalance which had occured due to the crude application of the letter of the law.
However, the basic meaning and intent behind the law remained, and remain, universal and for all time. There was never any disagreement about the essence of the revelations brought by the prophets. All that differed were the rituals and practices of outer behavior - whether, for example, the orientation for prayer would be Jerusalem, or Mecca, or elsewhere, or whether the day of rest should be Saturday, Sunday or Friday. But there was never any disagreement that there should be a direction for prayer, or that one day out of the week would be set aside for rest and renewal.
True religious traditions are totally complementary to one another, in the sense that each succeeding religion added to and improved upon the previous one, until finally the basic code of conduct was completed and perfected for all humanity and for all time. It could be said that humanity had to evolve sufficiently in order to adhere to the perfected and fully integrated body of revealed laws, by which we can conduct ourselves in life and arrive at a healthy inner and outer state, both individually and collectively. Without access to this divine code of conduct, we would be unable to progress successfully along the path of development and fulfillment. It is only through proper conduct that the moral values which are inherently pulsating within our heart will be able to manifest and bear fruit, in behavioral patterns which will in every circumstance offer us a safe and successful passage through this life.
The Journey of the Self
An Islamic View to Understanding the Self and its Unified Nature
by Shaikh Fadhlalla Haeri

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