Sikhs visit historic Qur’an Sharif manuscript

Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh OBE KSG, continues working for more faith solidarity and better interfaith relations

Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh OBE KSG, continues working for more faith solidarity and better interfaith relations

On Friday 23rd October Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh, accompanied by an internationlly renowned photographer, academics and civil society represetatives visited Birmingham University where a Qur’an Sharif manuscript was showcased. Thanks to modern scientific methods, it is regarded as one of the oldest in the world. The visit was befitting as Bhai Sahib Ji had only a few days earlier presented a message of faith solidarity at the Parliament of World’s Religions event via a video message to thousands of delegates.

The Qur’an Sharif manuscript, believed to be one of the earliest copies of the Islamic holy book, has unprecedented significance to Muslim heritage and the study of Islam. It is believed that the parchment on which the text is written is from the period AD 568 and 645 (this is understood to be 95% accurate). That said, this would place the writing close to the time of the Prophet Muhammad who is generally thought to have lived between AD 570 and 632.

Having such a document conserved and available here in the heart of Birmingham, where super-

Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, Chief Imam, All India Imam Organization shared powerful messages at the Parliament of World’s Religions in Salt Lake City

Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, Chief Imam, All India Imam Organization shared powerful messages at the Parliament of World’s Religions in Salt Lake City

diversity is considerd the norm, is a matter of pride for the people of the city and faith people per se. Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh said, “It was an honour to see such a precious antiquated scripture. We should remember that all sacred text are precious. The sanctity of places of worship and the text of each faith are the responsibility of all faiths. We should respect and preserve the rich heritage of all faith traditions in the World. We have a duty of care for looking after each other – we cannot love God if we cannot love his creation.”

Amrick Singh, Nishkam Centre Director, recalled how privileged he felt to have seen the sacred Qur’an Sharif. He also recalled meeting with Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, Chief Imam, All India Imam Organization at the Parliament of World’s Religions (PWR) in Salt Lake City earlier this month who echoed his respect for interfaith work that Bhai Sahib Ji and GNNSJ were doing. The All India Imam Organization represents the voice of over half a million Imams of India who happen to be the religious and spiritual guide of two hundred million Indian Muslims. Amrick recalled how the Imam applauded and appreciated the interfaith leadership that was provided by Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh.  The Imam was passionate that people of faith should create greater faith solidarity especially when one faith was being singled out and persecuted; he referred to the situation in Punjab and prayed to Allah for a peaceful resolution.“The Sikh’s tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji clearly and emphatically stated that ‘saach keho sun laeho sabhay, jin praem keeo tin hee prabh paaeyo’ – ‘I speak the truth, listen everyone: Only the one who is absorbed in True Love shall attain the Lord’. Human beings must preserve the sanctity and sacredness of ALL religious texts. When we look around the world we see the desecreation of sacred shrines and scriptures across India, the Middle East and generally all over the World. This must stop. This cannot be in the name of faith or religion – these are barbaric acts of violence.”

Faith leaders show solidarity at Parliament of World's Religions

Faith leaders show solidarity at Parliament of World’s Religions

Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh reiterated, “We are all part of the Lord’s infinite plan, creation and design it is important that we understand each other. We all have multiple identities as individuals.  We are mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, sons and daughters, we belong to certain professions and our passports are reminders that we have certain national identities.  Our absolute identity however, is that of a human being.  We must remember that we are here on earth as mere travellers, this is not our permanent domicile.  Remembering this will encourage us to change the way in which we engage with the world and think about life in general.  Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the Sikh’s Eternal Guru) reminds us that the temple of Mecca is within your soul, if you try to realize it.

“Finally there is an increasing recognition that faith constitutes a vital part of our vibrant communities and that there is no singular secularism in our global world. The family of faiths, who are the backbone of civil society, must seriously reflect on their own traditions and collaborate with others to jointly harness spirituality and empower the mortal individual to achieve success in attaining a greater understanding of ‘the other’.

“Sikh tradition informs us that the foundation of any faith is daya, which can be translated as
IMG-20151023-WA0015compassion.  Our very existence on the planet is supported by daya, the bedrock of faith. Daya is not simply an obligation but an inherent quality of being. It is a powerful force that unfolds when we see the universal light of God in all creation. As humans, we walk upon the same earth, breathe the same air; share the same basic hopes and joys, whilst enduring the same suffering and pain. This acknowledgement demands a responsibility to share.

“We are facing a crisis of selfishness and spiritual poverty in the collective human psyche. Our secular efforts to achieve anything will remain impoverished unless and until we harness the spiritual power that remains latent within us. Together, the spiritual and the secular are the beacons that will ensure that we can serve the Creator and creation, making this a better world for all.

“Whilst I could not be present at the PWR event, I know that during the proceedings, many Sikhs at the event were conscious of the deteriorating state of relations in Punjab. I am pleased that in a show of faith solidarity, at the concluding day of the Parliament, the faith leaders like Swami Chidanand, Imam Ilyasi, Dharma Master, Bhai Sahib Satpal Singh and others come together to offer prayers for the current situation in Punjab. All leaders prayed for peace and harmony in Punjab – this is what we must all do”.

 

END

Notes to Editors:

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