Writers' Articles

Colors of an Illuminated World

Dialogue... An expanding word given to us by a shrinking world... Or the magical key which in recent years has opened the doors to the worlds of members of different religions...


As every plane taking off, every ticket bought and every telephone call shortens distances, more and more people know better what a kippa is, what a head cover means, what a cross signifies, and they become more familiar with the rich worlds of belief lying behind church bells, minarets and synagogue ceremonies. Members of different religions learned a little better how to listen to and understand one another and how to open their living spaces to each other...

While, on the one hand, people are trying to gather the fruit of this dialogue, on the other hand, some ripe fruit bequeathed by historical heritage was left to rot. Ancient-rooted dialogue among members of different religions has been abandoned to indifference. The appeal of the "unknown" spread its own veil over all the special qualities of the "known" which is actually unknown. Muslims in the world no longer notice each other or deem others' problems as their own. However, borders were being lifted, communications channels were opening up wide, and planes were descending and ascending. There was every opportunity for people to meet, draw closer, and, getting to know one another, to establish common worlds. The world was shrinking, and actually believers were drawing closer to one another...

The Sirah Conference held in London last Saturday also brought members of this shrinking world together. Speakers from England and various places in the world came together to explain Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his universal message. Coming from different educational channels and various ethnic and cultural traditions, the papers presented united in a common whole that superseded all differences. With a dynamic and impressive command of words, Imam Suhaib Webb, introduced to Islam at the age of twenty and a former Hip Hop DJ, spoke on what the Prophet's prescription has given to today's world. Memorizing the Koran at age nine and combining his education at Al-Azhar with work done in the area of Islamic sciences at Sorbonne University, Sheik Zachariah Siddiqi dwelt upon the companions' model of communicating to one another the knowledge and information they took over from the Prophet.

 While among the audience perhaps an Iranian youth was finding meaning in the presentations with verses from Sheik Sadi or Hafiz, an Indian young man was listening in the illumination of the light put forth by Imam Suhreverdi, a scholar raised in his own homeland. Words took the shape of the cup they were pouring into, and different yeasts were being mixed together.


Like many other speakers, Bara el-Ghanouchi climbed the tree of knowledge by first passing through the deep-rooted educational tradition of instruction from his father. He emphasized again in a world where everyone is seeking peace the call of Muhammad, the "prophet of peace." In the speech of Ramadan el-Buti, who is accepted as an innovative and influential scholar in the Islamic world and who is still dean of the Damascus University Theological Faculty, he illuminated the Prophet's message in the mirror reflection of literary, historical and sociological Islamic branches of knowledge.

While all the colors who met at Kensington Hall in the world's largest multi-cultural capital felt the profundity of Prophet Muhammad's words at times, they became caught up in watching the transparency of the vision of his auspicious heritage at other times. With the presentation of photography artist Peter Sander's "Chosen One," they were carried to the illuminated city of Medina.

While all differences in the hall flowed towards the same canal, the hall shrunk and the world grew in depth... The official ceremonies were completed in the minds of the friends and heirs of Prophet Muhammad, who were raised with the 1400 year Islamic tradition. Samarqand, Buhara, Africa, Pakistan, Anatolia, Malaysia and India became a single continent and their hearts remembered Prophet Muhammad.



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