Muslim Sunrise Exploring Neighborly Relations in Our Global Village

Editorial by Mubasher Ahmad, Editor in Chief

Loving your Neighbor’ is a central virtue common among all faith traditions of the world. But the question: ‘Who is my neighbor?’ has many diverse answers. Usually a neighbor is seen as the one who lives next door; but these days being a member of the global human family, he or she could be living anywhere in the world, and still considered a neighbor. With the passage of time, as the social environment in various parts of the world is constantly changing, the concept of loving your neighbor is re-adjusted frequently. People living in small villages think of a neighbor differently than those who live in continually expanding cities with high-rise apartment buildings. And those among us who are globally connected through up to date technology, their ‘neighbors’ are not merely people living close-by. In addition, it is not only individuals or religious congregations that are called neighbors; countries with adjoining borders also come under the definition of neighbors. Hence, the vitally important question – ‘Who is our neighbor in modern society?’ is dealt with in this issue of the Muslim Sunrise.

Keeping in view the changing concepts of ‘neighbor’, we are also presenting articles and discussions concerning the difficult proposition of how to love our neighbor – what are the main hurdles in the way, and how to overcome them! The perspectives of four major world religions – Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam — are presented on the theme of ‘Love your Neighbor’. Vedanta teaches that the same Divine consciousness is in everyone; therefore, the concept that humans are ‘separate’ from each other should not exist. The Jewish experience of suffering brings them close together. The Torah teaches the Jews to love even those who are foreigners, for they were once foreigners in Egypt. Christianity is based on the concept of love, and ‘Love thy neighbor’ is fundamental. Islam places great emphasis on proper treatment towards one’s neighbors. The article on the Islamic perspective explores verses of the Holy Qur’an that clearly state what is expected of all Muslims in their conduct towards their neighbors, and analyzes the impact of this behavior on both local and global levels.

Opinion is also expressed on the important question: Can neighboring Muslim countries live in peace? We envision that Muslim countries of the Middle East will continue to be a tinderbox if they persist along the paths being followed today. These countries are populated by nomadic tribes, sections that have turned to extremism, and a few very rich and powerful families that have benefitted from the discovery of oil. Contrary to the teachings of Islam, some of these autocratic and corrupt governments suppress their people and facilitate terrorist organizations. Countries in the midst of extreme violence and upheaval are, by and large, the ones who also sponsor hatred towards the West.

Naturally, in our definition of ‘neighbor’, we also include neighbors who are the followers of different religious groups living in physical proximity. The importance of interfaith dialogue cannot be underestimated when seeking to establish love and understanding between the followers of diverse religious traditions. In this issue of the Muslim Sunrise, therefore, the need for interfaith dialogue is also discussed, and that leads to the question: How to enjoy unity in diversity?

Please, read and enjoy. As always, your opinion and critique are welcome!

Enjoy the volume online: Muslim Sunrise – fall – 2016

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Categories: Islam, Uncategorized

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