Saturday, December 3, 2022

What to Learn From A Cultural Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Jain

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 2 December 2022 It's Your Personal Equation With A Divine Power ( If At All It Does Exist) That Matters And Not How You Let Your Life Get Regulated By Religious Edicts And Antediluvian Rules And Regulations ----- Once I was dining with a Turkish ' Muslim ' professor ' at a restaurant in Bologna, Italy. Being erudite and sensitive, he asked me whether I had certain dietary idiosyncrasies. I said, " no, please order whatever you want." " May I order pork frankfurters, " he asked me politely. Shocked for a millisecond, I said, " why not. " Being a hardcore vegetarian, I ordered some continental veg cuisine. But I kept thinking that this man called himself a Muslim but he was relishing seasoned pork sausages. I was quite young at that time. So, it was rather anomalous ( dietary) behaviour to me, though having travelled across the world, pork has never been abhorrent to me. In fact, we've no right to call or judge any food or anyone's food as abhorrent. That's cultural as well as religious relativism. He could read my mind. He himself broached the subject that he was a cultural Muslim (not a religious one) who still didn't leave Islam. " But, I'm NOT a Quranic Muslim," he said. That statement stayed with me. I realized that one can be a cultural Hindu or Muslim without following the obscure diktats of any damn religion. That professor told me that all scriptures were joke books and one could remain a Muslim or Christian without believing in the preposterous contents of Quran or Bible. Here's the key to being religious in the correct sense of the word. If a Muslim or Christian doesn't believe in the fundamental beliefs like resurrection, Adam and Eve, circumcision, hell and heaven, Last Day of Judgement etc, yet he remains in the fold of Islam and Christianity and until he calls himself an atheist, ex-Muslim or ex-Christian, others have no right to excommunicate or brand him. Just think over it: Religious behaviour and following certain 'divine' orders are part of conditioning. Christians love gorging on pork but till the 8th century, pork was religiously prohibited in Christianity just like it's prohibited in Islam as both the religions, sorry tributaries, branched out of Judaism which abhors pork. In short, all these habits, particularly, dietary ones, belong to this world and have nothing to do with a follower's commune with his higher self, which you naively call god or Allah. I've a Jain friend who loves garlic and onion and occasionally eats chicken, mutton, even beef (!). But he calls himself a Jain who's into all sorts of philanthropic activities and sponsors the education of underprivileged children of all faiths. He does it all without any fanfare and fuss. In short, he's not a hypocrite. I consider him to be a far greater Jain than those who make a song and dance of their bizarre culinary habits of not eating garlic, onion and all roots, but are into all shady and shrouded activities. It's your personal equation with a divine power ( if at all it does exist) that matters and not how you let your life get regulated by religious edicts and antediluvian rules and regulations. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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