What “Interfaith” Means to Me

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

In the beginning, there was only an atom of energy, and that burst of energy spread out to create the infinite universe as we know it. That was the Big Bang. Many religions believe that this was God created, and that God is light and energy with a personality. All things in the universe, wherever you may be, all follow the same law and order. There is a system and a great beauty within it.

We all look up to the same stars, no matter who or where we are. We wonder what our purpose is or if our life has meaning. We realize that all of us are going to die someday. We wonder whether we will be forgotten, and what is our legacy. This universe is huge. We are not even a speck in this universe. We are one of trillions of galaxies. We wonder if God notices us. Everyone asks this, no matter what faith group they belong. Perhaps there are trillions of planets that support life like us. What do they believe… Do they wonder the same thing, and do they look back at us?

Allah created us in stages. We wonder if there were other types of humans before us, or civilizations. We wonder if there is such a thing as evolution, and how this applies to our faith. All life began in the ocean and we were created from dust.

There have been billions of people on this earth, including those who lived in very ancient civilizations. They longed to know God as well, and if there was an afterlife. Not to have an afterlife made life seem futile. Even within the art and rituals of ancient people, it shows that we always yearned to know God. We wondered how the universe worked.

Religions grew and have always been there. They controlled the behavior and morals of society. Religion was the glue that held society together. As for those societies which did not hold the morality that religion had taught them… God had sent a prophet to remind them and to renew their dedication to God, sometimes in new ways, which changed the course of civilization.

All the religions teach us morality, and how to treat each other with compassion, and to not hurt one another, and to recognize and care for those who have less than us. We should take care of each other and live morally. We should care about the earth and creation, and not try to destroy each other out of ego. We should have compassion for all living things. We should be grateful and be aware of the signs around us.

We all yearn and want to be close to God… Allah said that He created tribes and nations so that we can learn from them.

Every person has his own individual path to God, and each of us must find our way back to God. God sends many tests in life so that we will search and find him. We wonder why there is so much evil in the world. But man has chosen this, because this is the consequence and our disobedience to God. Man is responsible for the evil in this earth, not God, because we have free will and we have strayed so far. Many suffer from wars and famines, and persecution because of these evils.

We do not know why illness exists or why some of us die early or suffer more. This is for everyone. They say that this is a test from God, and that our souls will be purified. God tests those whom he loves. We are all responsible for taking care of ourselves, both physically and mentally. We are taught to always be grateful.

Some even say that before we were born, we chose our lives as a test to get closer to God. We do not fulfill our test and at times we sink very low. We should be punished for failing our test. But Allah is merciful beyond all mercy, and if we repent, even at the end of life, He forgives us. We see the consequences of all the abuse and sins that we have done. Sin has a domino effect. Generation after generation may suffer because of our sins. It does not matter what religion we are. We all go through this. No one is exempt from this.

Different religions are like different languages to relate to God. We all yearn and want to be close to God. I have read books on Islam and Sufism, and I am influenced by both. Allah said that He created tribes and nations so that we can learn from them.

I belong to the local Interfaith Council. I deeply believe in interfaith unity. I believe all our religions have something in common despite our differences. We all strive for the common good, and for some small way to contribute to this earth. We share a brotherhood, that we are all human beings. When we feel that we are better than others due to our faith, major conflicts come in. This has created wars and persecution. Let God be the judge. Let us feel and tolerate, practice compassion and empathy. We should try to learn what we don’t know about the other.

Every person has his own individual path to God, and each of us must find our way back to God.

I choose to be Muslim. I believe in one God. I believe that God loves all of us, regardless of our faith. I have been Muslim for 36 years and it is ingrained in me. I love others and have friends of all faiths and backgrounds, as well as my fellow Muslim friends. I have respect for other beliefs and other people’s worship, although different than mine.

I feel that we should join each other’s forces and work for the common good, and work together to fight the evils in the world, and alleviate the sufferings of others. We should do the good works that Allah wants all of us to do. All of us should be grateful of the life that He has given us. No matter what culture, all of us care for our families and friends, and have the same emotions, and go through the same issues and routines in life. We all share the same concerns, no matter what background we are from. I have learned this from different cultures. We are all equal on this earth, and we should try to make it a better place together.


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About Stephenie Bushra Khan
Stephenie Bushra Khan is a converted Muslim, a poet, and local artist in Temecula, California. She is originally from Winchendon, Massachusetts. You can read more about the author here.
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  • SparklingMoon,

    I deeply believe in interfaith unity. I believe all our religions have something in common despite our differences.
    —————————————————————————————————————————————
    The revelation of the Quran does not present a God Who relates to a particular tribe or nation or country but a universal God Almighty who is Creator of all mankind and loves them equally on the condition of their righteousness and also forgives them who repents. The verses of the Quran says about the followers of other faiths: [Quran 2:62] Surely, the Believers, and the Jews, and the Christians and the Sabians — whichever party from among these truly believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds — shall have their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve”

    God Almighty commences the Holy Quran with the following verse (1:3) that all perfect and holy attributes belong exclusively to God Almighty, Who is the Lord of all the worlds. The Arabic word ”Alam” comprises all different peoples, all different ages and all the different countries. The commencement of the Holy Quran with this verse was designed to counter the views of such people as attempted to monopolise God’s unlimited providence for their own nation and imagined that the other nations did not belong to God or that having created these other people,God discarded them as being of no consequence, or else perhaps they were shelved to oblivion by Him, or (God forbid) they were not even created by Him. Thus, it is for the refutation of such erroneous views, that God commences the Holy Quran with the verse: ”All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds. (Ruhanikhazain)