Sukhbir Singh came to present the words of Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh on the Charter of Forgiveness. This Charter adds to the Charter of Compassion that Karen Armstrong and others have initiated. The work on the Charter began four or five years ago and it is not yet finished.
Forgiving is an activity necessary for healing and reconciliation and the overcoming of legacies and memories of injustice, conflicts and wars of the past. This allows people to be liberated from being imprisoned in the past and allows the grace of the Divine to restore peace and harmony among individuals and communities.
I agree with Marina Cantacuzino that forgiveness is not the exclusive property of Christianity. He quoted several faiths scriptures on forgiveness and reconciliation.
‘The best deed of a great man is to forgive and forget.’ Islam (Shiite). Nahjul Balagha, Saying 201
‘Where there is forgiveness, there is God Himself.’ Sikhism. Adi Granth, Shalok, Kabir, p. 1372
‘The superior man tends to forgive wrongs and deals leniently with crimes.’ Confucianism. I Ching 40: Release
‘Who takes vengeance or bears a grudge acts like one who, having cut one hand while handling a knife, avenges himself by stabbing the other hand.’ Judaism. Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim 9.4
Interfaith Harmony week is so important. Sadly so often in the past religious exclusivism and contempt for the other has been a contributory factor in the genocidal killings that scar human history. It is time for people of faith to make deep apology to members of other faiths whom they have hurt and offended as Pope John Paul II did at the Western Wall in Jerusalem It is also vital that as people of faith we work together for a more just and peaceful world.
A talk prepared for UPF meeting on Monday 6 February 2012 at House of Lords.
Bismillah Hir Rahma Nir Rahim (I begin with name of God the Most Kind the Most Merciful). I greet you with the greetings of Islam (Assalamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakathu (May God’s blessing and peace be with us all.) .
I am honoured to be asked to speak to you on the important issue of “Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Islam”. From the outset I must say I am very grateful to Dr Rev’d Marcus Braybrooke for guiding me on many issues of Interfaith. I have only praise for Universal Peace Federation (UPF) for its good work over the years.Part of our being human is that we make mistakes, no body is perfect. Sometime we make mistakes without deliberation and intention. But sometime we deliberately sin and do wrong to others. It is said “to err is human and to forgive is divine”. Both parts of this statement are very true. As human beings we are responsible, but we do also make mistakes and we are constantly in need of forgiveness.