Shaykh Arif Abdulhussain, the director of Al-Mahdi Institute gave a talk on Thursday 12 December 2013 to members of the Parish of St. Marry, Selly Oak on “How the success of religion lies in promoting human growth and well-being on the bases of shared human values”.
The talk revolved around three areas;
– Nature of Revelation
– Expression of the appreciation of Revelation
– How Faith allows and promotes tolerance, acceptance and appreciation of the other.
Shaykh Arif ended his talk by sharing the initiatives the Al-Mahdi Institute has taken through their Outreach work to use faith as means to arrive at a greater level of shared human goodness. The talk was received by the audience with overwhelming support to the institute in this work. The participants offered their help to the institute in whatever way they could to sustain these initiatives.
Please read the summary of the talk below:
The Success of Religions
In order for any religion to endure the test of time and play a meaningful role in human life, it has to, of necessity, be in line with existential properties which reveal to us the nature of God and His communication with us. What is meant by existential properties is a continuous evolutionary motion to self-realisation through a process of liberation in a united modal of being as observed at every level of existence and in the fullest sense within human beings. With this in mind, salient features of existence such as unity, evolutionary growth, individuality, multiplicity and the notions they yield to the mind of relativity and plurality have to be born in mind before we can arrive at an understanding of any religion. This implies –
1- The creational work of God and His spoken word are fully consistent and that the creational work, here the human understanding in a broader sense, is primary and hence a key in understanding the word of God.
2- As with every aspect of existence in terms of their individuality, relativity of growth, multiplicity and harmonious co-existence in a mutually reciprocal system of self-realisation where each aspect is complementary in the growth process of another, the revelation enjoys these very properties and needs to be appreciated through them otherwise it would not endure nor direct to a purposeful life.
3- The one distinction God makes within the Quran between good and evil, salvation and damnation at a human level is through Godliness and ungodliness to the extent that mention of the prophets is altogether removed from the issue of salvation.
4- In light of the above, the attainment of the human purpose requires the fullest realisation of the human soul through a simple, sincere and a direct connection of an individual through wholesome submission to God. This purges the individual of the restrictions of the ego and allows for godliness to become self-realised. Through this process the individual accepts the relativity and plurality of the same Truth and contrary to making religion a point of disunity allows different expressions of the same Truth to mutually compliment in the process of human growth. This brings with it tolerance of the inadequacies of others and hope for their betterment, acceptance of the equal truth of the others and appreciation of the good of others to the level of adopting it as a way of life.