Ramadan Mubarak


Since 2010, as a part of education to learn about different traditions and practices of Muslims, I have visited almost every Mosque of all denominations in Dallas Fort Worth Area, for Iftaar. Among them are Shia, Sunni, Ahmadiyya, Bohra, WD Muhammad, and several sub-denominations. Nearly 40 Mosques in all including Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem.

You will find pictures of each mosque with some information and how Muslims practice their version of the religion in their place of worship.

To learn about Ramadan, please visit www.RamadanExclusive.com

Thank you
Mike Ghouse

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ramadan's Universalism for Hindus, Christians, Jews and others

This article tracks the general purpose of religion and how each religion can appeal to people of different faiths.  Religions and festivities came into being to bring people together and not divide them. Here we explore Ramadan, two of the major festivals of Muslims.

 Interfaith Science of Ramadan:  The essence may be traceable in your faith

Whether you are an Atheist, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Native American, Pagan, Shinto, Sikh, Wicca, and Zoroastrian or from any other tradition, you may feel a sense of connection with the spirit of Ramadan.

 God is a word for the cause that creates, sustains and recycles this universe, and belongs to all that exists and is not the exclusive dominion of anyone.  No matter how and what name you call upon him – he (she or it) cannot be a different causer for each one of us.  

The physical aspect of human journey from the sperm and an egg stage through the death is programmed precisely. The formula is same for all of humanity;    and there is no such thing as a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or other gene.

Regardless of what is being said about origins in terms of evolution, creation or the big bang, the undeniable fact is our existence, and we have to figure out how to live with each other.

When the universe came into being, two main products of the process were Matter and Life.

While the matter is programmed to be in self-balance and functions precisely for which it is designed, like the Sun, Jupiter, Earth or the Moon playing its part, the (human) life on the other hand was not programmed; we were given complete freedom, guidance and intelligence to create our own balance for survival.

A balanced society is where every one of us functions cohesively in small parcels of this big World Wide Web.  It is sustained by respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us. If we mess with the web, we mess with ourselves ultimately.  If we mess with the environmental balance we will pay for it, just as we bear the loss of health if we mess with what we eat, drink and smoke. There is a consequence for imbalance.

Birth of Religion

We lose the balance if we don’t trust and lie to each other, rob the other, and not keep the promises we make to fellow beings.   This is when religion appears; it is the love of the creator for his creation, just as a mother loves her children –someone among us will rise and restore that balance.  Didn’t Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and other masters restore the righteousness and balance in the society?  I hope you can relate with this thought in your own scriptures and legends.

An identical spiritual wisdom emerges in different parts of the world simultaneously; the greatest example would be how a mother figures out what to do with her crying baby in the jungles of Amazon or the high society in London. 

Indeed, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and as a corollary I would say, faith is in the heart of the believer, and every religion is dear to its believer.  

Religion is about love for fellow beings, a majority of us in every religion get that right but for a few, who keep messing up the cohesiveness of the society. Those few are not an identifiable group, but the infraction in each one of us when we become biased towards the others.  Religion is never the problem; it is the individuals who don’t get their religion right are the problem.

Ramadan and you.

From the moment we are born to the last rites of our life, and every moment in between is laden with rituals, even though some of us may deny it. Whether we go to the gym, eat, sleep, wear clothes, drive or talk on the phone, we follow rituals.
Rituals signify the milestones of our daily life. Every significant moment of the day is a ritual. It is an unwritten way of measuring our progression, a memory pattern to bring discipline to our actions.
Discipline is necessary to do things on time, manage personal relationships, drive to a destination or keep within budget. The result of disciplined behavior is worthwhile for most people. When we are joyous, whether we are a theist or not, we have to express that sentiment, otherwise a sense of incompleteness lingers in our hearts.
The spiritual masters have captured the human gravity towards rituals and have molded it with the art and science of self-discipline in their respective religions. The noble purpose of each one of them was to bring a balance in our lives and a balance with our environment.
Every faith is composed of a set of unique rituals to bring discipline and peace to human life. Fasting is one of the five key rituals that Muslims around the world observe.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is generally observed with a ritual precision; it is an annual training or a refresher. It requires one to abstain from food, drink, intimacy, ill-will, ill-talk, ill-actions and other temptations from dawn to dusk, every day for a month. One has to rise above his or her baser desires. Islam gifts this month to its followers to inculcate discipline to bring moderation to their daily lives. Twenty five hundred years ago, Buddha, the enlightened one taught that human suffering is caused by unrestrained desire to possess and had recommended a middle path, and the same recommendation was made by Prophet Muhammad fourteen hundred years ago.

Although Ramadan is popularly known in the west for its culinary delicacies and fancy iftars (ceremonial breaking of fast at sun down), the spirit and intent of Ramadan lies in a human transformation in a month-long inner spiritual journey of finding oneself in tune with spirituality.

Hindus can see that transformation in nine days of fasting during Navaratri, the Jains in 8-10 days of fasting during Paryushana, Christians during 40 days of lent, Jews for 7 days around Yom Kippur….likewise you find fasting is a way of life in most traditions.

God has no need for the hunger or thirst of someone who hurts others, violates their dignity or usurps their rights, said Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The fasting of the stomach must be matched by the fasting of the limbs. The eyes, ears, tongue, hands and feet all have their respective fasts to undergo. The tongue's temptations, for example -- lies, backbiting, slander, vulgarity and senseless argumentation -- must be challenged and curbed to maintain the integrity of the fast.
Consciousness of behavior and vigilance over action are the most profound dimensions of fasting: the fasting of the heart focuses on the attachment to the divine. That is when Ramadan really becomes a source of peace and solace, just as Christmas or Dussera goes beyond the rituals to bring forth kindness, charity and caring.

True fasting is self-purification; and from this comes a rich inner life that bring about values such as justice, generosity, patience, kindness, forgiveness, mercy and empathy -- values that are indispensable for the success of the community.
Knowing about hunger is different from knowing hunger. Empathy is not an intellectual equation; it is a human experience. Our hardness of heart often springs from our distance from the human condition of others. The poor, sick, disenfranchised, oppressed -- we rarely walk a mile in their shoes, not even a few steps. "Rest assured," cautioned one teacher, "if you do not taste what it feels like to be hungry, you will not care for those who are."

Ramadan will come and go with such stealth that we cannot but be reminded of our mortality. What is it that we value and why? Habits, customs, even obsessive behavior like smoking can be curtailed with relative ease in the face of a higher calling.
For fasting to be truly universal, its benefits must extend beyond the fraternal ties of Muslims and must extend to forging a common humanity with others. Fasting is meant to impart a sense of what it means to be truly human, and its universality is reflected by its observance in Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian and other faiths. More about Ramadan at www.Ramadanexclusive.com
Let the spirit of Ramadan develop an understanding and respect for each one of God’s creation – that is all of us. Ramadan Mubarak!


Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.   Info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings atTheGhouseDiary.com 

Friday, July 3, 2015

July 4th is one of the best Muslim Holidays to celebrate

July 4th, Muslims and America | World Muslim Congress
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2015/07/july-4th-is-one-of-best-muslim-holidays.html

As you read through the article below, you will find every reason to claim July 4th as a Muslim Holiday also. It has given us life, liberty and paved the way in pursuit of our happiness.

I am planning to move to Washington, D.C.,  to work on the things that I have been working for over 20 years as a volunteer; i.e., doing my share of work in  building a cohesive America, where no American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.


Holiday Reading: Weekly bulletin # 27 – July 2, 2015


July 4th, Tipu Sultan, Muslims and America - A great opportunity for Muslims to become a part of the American Story.  

We have to be proud of our combined heritage, our journey began from the birth of our nation on July 4, 1776.   Two of the three first nations that recognized the sovereignty of America were Muslims; Morocco and Mysore (India), read on. ....  We have come a long way in being 'equals' that our founding fathers had envisaged in our immortal declaration of independence.

....Now, no one will dare denigrate African Americans, Jews and the GLBT communities.  However, Muslims are an easy target to heap negative statements without any consequence. Time has come to put an end to the loose talk and hold them accountable. However, we need to do our share of the work  in becoming fully participating members of the society to earn a dignified space in ....   I hope you find this article meaningful and share it with your friends.   



Bad Islamic books in the market need to be shelved. 

Over a period of time, the books written by Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Kathir, Hasan Banna, Qutub, Maududi and their likes have been unfortunately equated with Quran. While Quran is the eternal guidance, their work was a product of 'their times', and whatever they wrote was a reaction to the tough situations they were dealing with, and certainly lacked the universalism of God and the Prophet that Quran preaches, both were referred to as God of the Universe and Mercy to the Universe.   

LINK - http://thearabdailynews.com/2015/06/29/bad-islamic-books-need-shelved/ 



Ghouse speaks about Fox News - 
How do we change the world around us? 

Today, we are at cross roads of leaving behind 100 lousy years of post-colonial trauma, and setting up the next 100 years.  This is the time for us to shape our destiny…

One of the major flaws in our thinking is our misplaced focus on Akhira. We need to invest our time in fixing this flawed thinking and change the future of Muslim Ummah. Two major things have happened thru the power engagement; He has stopped attacking Quran in the last two years and had agreed to (but has failed a few times) to use the phrase “Radicals among Muslims” instead of “Radical Muslims.” It was a huge concession! 



A discussion about Pluralism in Islam from Quran and the Prophet

One of the character building activities of Muslims is to be non-judgmental, indeed we utter the phrase " God alone is the master of the Day of Judgment" at least 17 times a day, but yet we jump to conclusions without taking the time know.  

Pluralism is not a religion, it is simply an attitude of live and let live, it is not a mixture of things either. You are who you are, and I am who I am, when we learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of us, conflicts fade and solutions emerge.   Discussion includes two verses from Quran and two practices of the Prophet to make the point.


RAMADAN ARTICLES:


Successfully changing perceptions about Muslims, and changing ourselves, a movie will be made subject to funding. 

It is a successful story of changing perceptions about Muslims and mending our own behavior to align with what can be called an Islamic behavior. It’s a big report – A new paradigm for the Muslim world - What is Sacred, Flag, Holy Books, Mother, Freedom of Speech?
Sacred Film is about a successful real life event set in Mulberry, Florida coupled with a compelling romantic story built around the Quran burning incident. 

The film skillfully manages conflicting issues of freedom of speech v what is sacred; safety of Americans v violent reactions; and radicalism v. pluralism. It is an embodiment of conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturence based on teachings of Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad. It is a model for building cohesive societies.  Indeed, the concept is encouraged by major institutions.

Through “Sacred”, the world will witness positive changes taking shape; it encourages what Muslims ought to be – the Amins, and how they will be perceived by the society at large. 

Sacred is an exemplary story of ordinary Muslim Americans working with fellow Americans of different faiths in forging a new paradigm; a cohesive America where no American has to live in tension, apprehension or fear of the other.

 Sharia-ism, a drama 

Please watch this docu-dram to understand the difference between Allah's Sharia, and man Made Sharia.  There are three good paragraphs about the difference between Allah's Sharia and man made Sharia  in the article "Bad Islamic books" above. Allah's Sharia is always right, but the one we made is as human as we are.  This is a 32 Minutes documentary  produced by Hasan Mahmud in cooperation with several Muslim organizations including World Muslim Congress.  

Genesis : http://sharialaws.blogspot.com/2013/02/genesis-of-sharia-law.html

Rohini Salian, India's new Hero  


A great country ensures her population enjoys a sense of security, where each person feels safe. Every now and then a few short-sighted men take short cuts to justice cutting themselves short, besides others in the process.  When things go astray, out of control, Lord Krishna had predicted, and to me it sounds like the law of nature, that someone from among us will appear and restore Dharma. These are men and women who see a big picture and not a selfish "me, me and me only.”  Here comes Rohini Salian, the woman we need to salute.
LINK - http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2015/07/rohini-salian-we-salute-you-you-are.html


What is a cohesive America look like?


Here is a 10 Minutes video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMXsTo4VYh8
If you like and want to donate to carry the work - please visit: http://americatogetherfoundation.com/donate/



My responsibility would be to conduct dialogue and encourage understanding within the Muslim community, and with other religious communities.  Our goal is to earn a dignified social, religious, political and cultural space in the society-at-large through active engagement. 

In dealing with most situations, we will adopt the ideals of the prophet; conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturence in our endeavors in building a cohesive America, where every American enjoys his or her life in the pursuit of his or her happiness.

Please tell us in three bullets with or without short explanations, the three most important priorities that American Muslims should undertake now.  Send an email toMuslimVision2020@gmail.com 


When you are in DC, please feel free to call on me. 

Thank you,

Mike Ghouse

Google Profile - 9.7 Million Views | Personal Profile 15 Million Views
Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist, TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.netand writings at TheGhouseDiary.com  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ramadan Mubarak, a short note

May this Ramadan be a blessing to the entire universe, Amen! God is not anyone's property, he belongs to all and no matter what name and how you call upon him, it is the same creator. There is no such thing as a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or other God. God is a fancy word for the cause that created this universe.  Since 2010, God has blessed me to visit a mosque a day for Iftaar (breaking the fast), and thank God, I have visited every Mosque of every denominations in Dallas including the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem - that is over 40 different Mosques. 


The purpose of visiting different Mosque was to learn about each others' varied traditions - to respect the otherness of others as God has guided,  and to get rid of the Takabbur (arrogance) in us- Humility builds bridges and arrogance kills it. We have to remember, that other traditions are dear to others, as our traditions are dear to us. Ramadan is also a month to knock out the ignorance about others, take time to visit Synagogues, Churches, Temples, Gurdwaras and other places of worship, God is all over and in every thing.  You can read some of the articles about Ramadan - the spirit, rituals, politics and traditions of Ramadan on the left panel at  www.RamadanExclusive.com

Please feel free to leave your comments



Thank you,
mike ghouse   
(214) 325-1916

Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist,  TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links atMikeGhouse.net and writings at TheGhouseDiary.com 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A response befitting a Muslim - Saudi Gazette

Phoenix Bikers controversy over drawing Prophet Muhammad's cartoons

A GAME is being played all the way from Melbourne, Australia, to sunny Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States and it is called ‘Muslim Baiting.’ How it works is simple. A public announcement is made under the guise of free speech that a revered figure or scripture for Muslims is going to be attacked and ridiculed.  The game is to goad Muslims into a senseless cycle of reactionary violence.

In the past it seems to have succeeded judging from the reactions of Muslims from London to Lahore where flags, property and other objects were destroyed in retaliation against slurs against Islam. But what did such meaningless reactions accomplish? A new determination by some quacks to push Muslim buttons towards more stupid and inconsequential outcomes.

In the Phoenix goad and bait, biker gangs armed with assault rifles announced their intention to hold a ‘draw Muhammad cartoon contest’ outside a mosque. Displaying slogans and placards with words intended to inflame such as “Stop Islam” and “Support Your Local White Boy” the heavily armed bikers wanted to create a mayhem on the back of Muslim reaction. Violent responses in the past against religious slurs had perhaps encouraged them to goad a new group into a battle. Fortunately, the pro and anti Islam groups were well separated by the Phoenix police and no incident except for the expelling of a lot of hot air was reported.

Perhaps Muslim leaders in America are beginning to understand their role in spreading the right message when it comes to Islam baiting and it is reaching the right ears. Mike Ghouse, the President of the America Together Foundation is one such figure that should be credited with ensuring that Muslims should be responsible and not responsive when faced with slurs against their faith.

In a statement widely circulated before the Phoenix event, Mike implored those sympathetic to Islam to be ‘understanding’ rather than revolting. He said, “Let the Bikers draw cartoons of the Prophet (pbuh), look to this as an opportunity to follow the practice of the Prophet (pbuh), he was a mercy to mankind and it is time for Muslims to demonstrate that. What did he do when he was harassed on his way to Taif? He prayed in the tradition of Jesus, forgive them God, for they know not. God's will was to show a way to build better societies by mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will and not by aggravating it. Thus he turned the other check as Jesus had taught and prayed for the wellbeing of all.”

Speaking on the eve of the Biker event, Mike stated that “This Friday, I urge Muslims around American Mosques to open up their hearts an minds of understanding, instead of sulking, retrieving to a corner, getting angry or harboring ill-will, I ask them to pray for the welfare of Biker Americans in their Friday sermons across the land and hopefully across the globe. Let them make an effort to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. Let’s do our part right and seek God’s help in repairing our relationships.”

“Criticism can fade away or rain on us depending on how we respond to it. Lack of conviction in one's faith breeds intolerance towards criticism, whereas firmness in faith can lead us to learn from criticism, explore the infinite wisdom and realize the strength of our faith (Imaan); a worthy feeling to have, instead of living in doubt and shooing criticism away.

“We need to handle criticism of Qur’an, Islam and the Prophet (pbuh) with grace, and respond to it gracefully. At least it increases the chances of mitigating the conflict and restoring harmony. The other way around is fighting back, which guarantees further aggravation of the conflict and isolation. Let freedom of speech remain the corner stone of Islam.

“I urge fellow Muslims to be open to all the criticism with confidence, let the doors of communications be open. Islam stands on its own; it does not need our defense. M. Ghouse.”

Islam has indeed stood the test of time against many who marauded against it and spilled blood. But it has not been vanquished. Mike’s message should be taken with great consideration for a greater understanding by people not familiar with this religion of peace.
 

— The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena

Friday, May 29, 2015

Bikers draw Muhammad Cartoons in Arizona

PRESS RELEASE

 Contact:
Mike Ghouse, President
America Together Foundation
Dallas, TX | Washington DC
(214) 325-1916

MikeGhouse@aol.com

www.AmericansTogether.org

Let the Bikers draw Muhammad Cartoons in Arizona


Mike Ghouse of America Together Foundation, has released the following statements.

Let this be clear to my fellow Americans, w
e all have a collective responsibility to communicate and understand different values and learn to respect the otherness of others. ( An appeal to add to Friday Sermons is also made at the bottom).  

Let the Bikers draw cartoons of the Prophet, look to this as an opportunity to follow the practice of the prophet, he was a mercy to mankind and it is time for Muslims to demonstrate that.  What did he do when he was harassed on his way to Taif? He prayed in the tradition of Jesus, "forgive them God, for they know not".  God's will was to show a way to build better societies by mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill and not aggravating it.  Thus he turned the other check as Jesus had and prayed for the well being of all.


This Friday, I urge Muslims around American Mosques to open up their hearts an minds of understanding, instead of sulking, retrieving to a corner, getting angry or harboring ill-will, I ask them to pray for the well being of Biker Americans in their Friday Sermons across the land and hopefully across the globe. Let them make an effort to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.  Let’s do our part right and seek God’s help in repairing our relationships.


I request the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix to welcome the guests with abundant supply of bottled water, leave it on the tables outside. If I can make it, I would like to be there and meet with our biker brothers and sisters.  I am one of them in free spirit, and one of you in practicing Prophet’s kindness.  More details at:  www.AmericansTogether.org

The free speech is an enduring value and the hallmark of civilizations, and we simply cannot compromise on it, however much a few may abuse it.  Indeed, Free speech is one strong element that will bind Americans together. 

Criticism can fade away or rain on us depending on how we respond to it. Lack of conviction in one's faith breeds intolerance towards criticism, whereas firmness in faith can lead us to learn from criticism, explore the infinite wisdom and realize the strength of our faith (Imaan); a worthy feeling to have, instead of living in doubt and shooing criticism away.

We need to handle criticism of Quran, Islam and the Prophet with grace, and respond to it gracefully. At least it increases the chances of mitigating the conflict and restoring harmony. The other way around is fighting back, which guarantees further aggravation of the conflict and isolation. Let freedom of speech remain the corner stone of Islam.

I urge fellow Muslims to be open to all the criticism with confidence, let the doors of communications be open.  Islam stands on its own; it does not need our defense, and it is silly to protect God or the Prophet, they are not weaklings or our property to protect, they belong to the whole universe, don't they?

APPEAL FOR FRIDAY SERMONS:


I hope and pray that we will let the world know that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to mankind, through our acts.   God willing,  over a period of time, we will replace the wrong perceptions accumulated about us in the last 30 years,  and go back to good times of respecting each other. Ask your Imam to pray for the well being, safety and security of every American whether we agree with him or not. Prophet Muhammad was all about mitigating conflicts and nurturing good will, and let's consciously do that, so once again the world can believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to mankind.  



As Muslims we seriously appreciate the gains we have had, that far outweigh the tensions given by a few who know not.
# # #

 References:




  • Criticism of Islam, Prophet and Quran
    http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2012/11/criticism-of-islam-prophet-muhammad.html
    Thank you


    mike
    Mike Ghouse, Speaker
    Motivation | Pluralism | Human Rights | Religion.
    (214) 325-1916 text/talk

    ............................................................................................................................... 

    Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on PluralismIslam,IndiaIsrael-PalestinePolitics and other issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature film " Sacred" to be released on 9/11 and a documentary "Americans together" for a July 4 release.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News with Sean Hannity and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com - Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.