Over 30 Unitarians from congregations all over the Midlands gathered to share lunch, and to hear our Guest Speaker, Dr. Taj Hargey, speak to us about rational Islam. Dr. Hargey is Director of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford and Imam of the Oxford Islamic congregation.
Dr. Hargey explained the basic tenets of Qur’anic Islam, as opposed to the cultural Islam practised by many Muslims. He pointed out the strong links between the People of the Book – Muslims, Jews and Christians. The basic tenets of Qur’anic Islam are a belief in one single God, and the necessity for Muslims to do good deeds in the world “We made the mess; we have to fix it.” He explained that Islam stresses the worth of the individual in the eyes of God, which is not measured by class, race or gender, and that it was deeds that matter – leading a life of faith, integrity and morality. Islam is a peaceful, progressive and pluralistic faith, and there needs to be dialogue between Muslims and Christians and other people of faith. Dr. Hargey concluded by outlining three small steps that all can take:
- familiarise yourself with each others’ faiths by reading their sacred scriptures.
- develop genuine individual friendships with people of other faiths – proper friendships, not just acquaintances
- make every effort to respect the holy days of all faiths.
Dr. Hargey’s talk was followed by our usual enjoyable shared lunch, and he then answered some more questions from the floor.