Shaykh Mahmood Dhalla represented Al-Mahdi Institute in the ‘Madrasa – Beit Midrash Learning Programme For Abrahamic Faith Leaders’, which took place at the Central United Synagogue in Birmingham under the initiative of Rabbi Lior Kaminetsky. The programme has now successfully been published as a practical model booklet.
It was aimed at Abrahamic faith leaders within the West Midlands and focussed on strengthening one’s own faith tradition while allowing a better understanding of the faith of others as well. The goal was not to convert or change others, but to provide frank discussions, to listen, to share and learn about some of the similarities and differences in theological, cultural and terminological matters among the three Abrahamic religions, namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The programme consisted of four group learning sessions, and covered topics including the notion of the messiah and the past, present and future of Jerusalem. Before each session, every participant had the opportunity to submit their summary about the topic, supported by textual sources of their choice. While being respectful and considerate, participants were not afraid to raise challenging questions and rethink perceptions with the hope of having a better understanding of themselves and of each other, and to make society a better place.
“To hear the voices of people of faith – friends who are Jewish, Christian and Muslim – in matters of great importance to all of us: the nature of God, the meaning of the Messianic promise, the story of Abraham, for example, is one way to begin to stand in the shoes of another.”
Revd. Canon Martin Stephenson
“The Madrasa – Beit Midrash provided an atmosphere which was conducive, non-judgmental and safe for discussing subjects which are regarded controversial within our Abrahamic Faiths. The program was indeed useful and an eye opener. I loved every bit of the programme.”
Shaykh Nuru Mohammed
“The Madrasa-Beit Midrash Programme was a unique opportunity to look at areas which might have been controversial in a spirit of openness to the teaching of other faiths. I learnt a lot about Muslim and Christian traditions, which led me to a deeper understanding of these teachings and what they meant to people of these faiths. I greatly appreciated the willingness of all the participants to listen to each other, especially when it was clear that our views differed and am grateful for the opportunity to develop friendship and understanding.”
Rabbi Dr. Margaret Jacobi