Prof. Karel Werner of SOAS, Religious studies Department, University of London, reviewed the history of Mysticism contrasting paths of doctrinal belief and ecstatic mystical union. His statement that ‘belief in doctrine was childish’ caused some discussion. He compared also the experience of interfaith dialogue and relationships today with the communities of mystics who have appeared throughout history. He added that the backlash against those who transcended their belief to enter an ecstatic, mystical oneness has also been a common historical theme.
This is one of our regular interfaith meetings where people can get together and learn about different Saints and their works. Starting with interfaith prayers from Christian, Hindu and Muslim, all the prayers had beautiful sounds. Particularly, Dr Krishna from the Hindu religion said prayers from the Qur’an which sounded so spiritual and enchanted. Report by Tomoko Harris (UPF Bristol).
An evening with Islamic scholar Dr. Naznin Hirji
With a series of monthly interfaith events, the UPF’s Interfaith Committee has been exploring spirituality from many different traditions. Our February event featured author and Islamic scholar Dr. Naznin Hirji, who talked about how to create the right conditions to experience “the sacred,” a subject at the heart of her doctorate.
“According to the polishing of one’s heart can see the hidden meaning of things,” she said, quoting the 13th Century Persian poet Rumi as saying. The sacred could be found in “the silence that speaks” and “a thread that extends from the heart to the lips.”
The latest ‘Sharing for Peace’ meeting was held in the Pollokshield Community Centre, Glasgow, and focussed on the difference between a prophet and a reformer. After an introduction and presentation of the UPF 5 peace principles by Mr Jeff Allard, the Youth president of the Ahmadiyya mosque Ahmed Owusu, a cheerful and confident speaker, expounded on the principle that all prophets are reformers but not all reformers are prophets.