Thursday, August 4, 2011

British Actress Inspired by Prophet Muhammad’s Life

Thanks to Hasni Essa for sharing this article with a great introduction, I read it and I really liked it. I can relate with Myriam Francois-Cerrah. The following note is written with the intention of a long term sustainable cohesive societies and I hope some of my Muslim and Christian friends get it and I know most of them do.

My story is similar in the sense I came to Islam for similar reasons that she did. As a Pluralist who respects all of God's creation and honors every which way one adores the creator, I found Quraan (Beware, there are two bad translations that the right wingers go by, rather than 23 good ones – details at ) to be a book of guidance in living with justice and fairness to every human being, where no one is afraid of the other, it was about creating peaceful societies and that is really what Islam is all about. Myriam has summed it up very well in her story and I am deeply inspired by Prophet Muhammad’s guidance and I urge individuals to find it on their own.

Religions indeed came into being to fix the dysfunctional societies, a majority of the people gets it and a few don't. Those who don't get it wear the same religious label but act entirely opposite of what their religion guides them. Neither Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews nor others act their religion out, they act their greed out.

Rarely do I read conversion stories as I do not see the need for it, each religion is beautiful and serves the purpose of bringing tranquility and balance to the individual. The missionizing operations in Islam and Christianity are more interested in religionizing and branding the individuals rather than bringing tranquility and peace to them. Quraan was clear when it said, whether you are a Jew, Christian or other, you need not worry about God's grace, he will shower you with this blessings if you are good to his creation; people and the environment. Indeed, Prophet Muhammad fortified it by saying that if you marry a Jewish or a Christian woman, you don't need to convert. Those are powerful statements from a Pluralism point of view. Prophet Muhammad and Jesus (and all the messengers) offered models of living that will serve the individuals and the humanity, their models were so good that people would want to emulate them and that was the right approach, it was about free will.

However, if one is not satisfied with the given set of beliefs be it Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu or the other, she or he must explore and find what works and go for it. It is a shame that a few states in my India place restrictions on one's choices. No one should dictate what one eats, drinks, breathes, wears or believes.

I get a lot of calls from people asking me about Islam, and I always tell them to take time to learn their own beautiful faith and not jump, despite that about nine have converted in the last year. At least 3 are Mormon girls and one an Atheist, Hindu and others. I want to share an interesting sentence I heard a few weeks ago in my sermon on Pluralism – he asked if there is a way for him to follow Islam without being associated with Muslims? Most likely the few Muslims he met may have invited him to become a Muslim brand based on belief rather than what the belief will do to him; bring tranquility and peace. Miryam has alluded to it, “I did not immediately identify with the Muslim community. I found many things odd and many attitudes perplexing. The attention given to the outward over the inward continues to trouble me deeply.” Indeed, a few visible Muslims have subdued the significance of the inward attainment and reduced the religion to external manifestations.

Let religion be a solution to your peaceful existence and not a brand.

Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies and is available to speak on the topic of Pluralism, Islam, India and Just societies. Details at

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British Actress Inspired by Prophet's (peace be upon him) Life
Myriam Francois-Cerrah Embraces Islam


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