On the 8th March 2014 the Al-Mahdi Institute organised an interfaith seminar titled ‘Maria in the Bible and Maryam in the Quran’ which took place in Pristina, Kosovo. The seminar was to explore the pivotal role of Mary through highlighting the shared values which emanate from this great lady across the various faith groups. The Al-Mahdi Institute recognise Mary as both a uniting point and role model for the believers who when reflected upon becomes a doorway of light within a society in need of uplifting. Such a great personality encourages an attitude of goodness, hope and love and moves us towards unity and reform.
The participants of the Seminar included the following, Mr Riaz Walji (lecturer at Al Mahdi Institute, Birmingham, United Kingdom) Mr. Imam Arber Berisha, Dr. Pastor. Femi Cakolli (Doctor of Albanian language and litereture and Pastor of a Protestant Church), Fahredin Shehu (Poet, orientalist, science based researcher), Ikballe Berisha Huduti (representative of Al Mahdi Institute, Kosovo)Prof. Mexhid Yvejsi (orientalist, scholar of contemporary religious sciences)
Mr Riaz Walji
Focussed on the quranic verse ‘Bow with those who Bow’ suggesting that the Quraan does not discriminate between religions. Rather Marium fully submitted to God, Prostrated to God and Bowed with those who bowed to Him. With this in mind he emphasised that we should see all worshippers of God as those who bow reguardless to their religious theology and rituals. Click here for video.
Mr. Imam Arber Berisha
Shed light of Maryam’s lofty position in the Quran with focus on the significance and elevated state of her being a mother, the mother of the blessed Jesus (p.b.u.h) He highlights the symbol of Maryam as one of peace and love and as the ideal women to be emulated and inspired by.
Dr. Pastor . Femi Cakolli
Started with an introduction on Mary and explored why she remains so popular today through the exploration of different Holy texts.
The primary goal in this presentation has been to contribute to the expansion of knowledge about the Sabians through the Quranic and Biblical texts.
Ikballe Berisha Huduti
Contributed with exceptional piece of poetry and an artistic video covering Marys personality.
As a result of this interfaith event a great majority of the participants were eager to co-operate with the al-Mahdi Institute through demonstrating their support of the Institutes representatives Ikabelle Berisha Huduti and Mr Riaz Walji.
The overall event proved a great success where there was a joining of hands in sharing the common values found across the different faiths. Some participants conveyed their initial apprehensions of attending the event where they thought there may have been a clash due to the various beliefs however were pleasantly surprised and reassured with the presentations. Some of the encouraging comments received in response to this event include,
‘We cordially wish the Al Mahdi Institute to be rewarded and enriched from God’,
‘We were really satisfied, especially by the lecture of Mr. Riaz Walji who shined our minds’’
The Al-Mahdi Institute intends to continue in its pursuit of breaking down the barriers which prevent unity amongst the believers and to bring together harmony between faith groups as the Personality of Mary teaches.