Sunday, February 3, 2013

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and I

As a kid I learned things about him and did not relate with him at all, he was too divine and remote for me. All that changed when I read the book "Muhammad" by Karen Armstrong. She narrates his life from a non-religious point of view, as a civic leader of the society, a dimension that I appreciated it very much. Karen Armstrong's book is one of the five reasons I chose to become a Muslim after a lapse of nearly three decades. He was a man that I can relate with, making decisions that create trust, mutual respect and a sense of fairness among his people at that time. That was indeed the role of every prophet and peacemaker of the time. Mike Ghouse

How I Connect With Prophet Muhammad
Published by Huffington Post
On 01/25/2013 9:48 pm
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/how-i-connect-with-prophet-muhammad_b_2547782.html

 
 


How do I relate with the prophet? I don't wear clothes like him, eat like him or live like him. But when it comes to respecting fellow beings, nurturing goodwill, mitigating conflicts, forgiving others and building cohesive societies, I can relate.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was born on 12th day of Rabi' al-Awwal, the third month of the Islamic calendar, and the year was 571 A.D. The birth celebrations will continue through this week, and if you wish to greet a Muslim, you can say, Milaad (birth) Greetings, Happy Maulood-an-Nabi, Maulood-an-Nabi Mubarak, happy Eid Milaad and Milaad's blessings to you.

First thing first, he took the larger view of the society and became a model of what it takes to be an exemplary citizen. The first requirement of any civil society is to trust each other in living their daily life safely and without fear of the other. He earned the trust of the society for being truthful, honest in his dealings, trustworthy and just. The Jews, Christians, pagans and others called him Amin, the trust worthy. That was indeed the first foundational Sunnah (prophet's example).

Wherever he saw conflicts between people, he found a way to mitigate and nurture goodwill amongst them. Indeed, he was committed to building a cohesive society, where no one feared the other, and he continuously built upon creating balance and harmony in the society. Blessed are the peacemakers, said Jesus! Indeed, Prophet Muhammad is my mentor.

Muslims celebrate his birthday in a variety of ways, including cooking the simplest food as an expression of humility. They sing the likes of Christmas carols, called Milaad, Nasheed, even Milaad Carols and other names. I have found it peaceful to think about his work and reflect on how I could relate with him, the ultimate peacemaker.

Do I forgive often? Do I stand up for the rights of others? Am I a blessing to fellow humans? Do others feel secure and safe around me? Today, I have concluded my day with a short prayer and a commitment and get on the road. God willing, I will follow him to the best of my ability.


As a kid I learned things about him and did not relate with him at all, he was too divine and remote for me. All that changed when I read the book "Muhammad" by Karen Armstrong. She narrates his life from a non-religious point of view, as a civic leader of the society, a dimension that I appreciated it very much. Karen Armstrong's book is one of the five reasons I chose to become a Muslim after a lapse of nearly three decades. He was a man that I can relate with, making decisions that create trust, mutual respect and a sense of fairness among his people at that time. That was indeed the role of every prophet and peacemaker of the time.

When someone hurts me, I think of the prophet, he advised against score keeping and piling revenge and aggravating each other, and I love the freedom it gives me, freedom from brooding and obsession to get even with the other.

When someone dialogues with me, prophet's words jump at me, to respect the otherness of other, without having to agree but respectfully differ and move on. Indeed, it is a big lesson in conducting civil dialogue.

When I am frustrated, I think of prophet's narration, God told him to do his work, and not worry if people don't get his message, give them the room to make up their own minds, and let me guide them, and you respect everyone's free will.

Every day, I think about the Prophet, how he would have found a solution to a given conflict, and all I see is the application of the principles of fairness and justice to every human, with goodness and inclusiveness.

My spiritual mentors are Muhammad (pbuh) and Jesus (pbuh), and my civic mentors are Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Barack Obama.

When I think of getting even with someone who maligns me, I think of the advice of Prophet Muhammad and Jesus: The best thing we can do is to forgive the other; it brings relief and frees us from being possessed.

When I see injustice done to others, the prophets words ring again, the least you can do is to speak out against injustice. Injustice to one is injustice to the whole humanity.

When I see inequality in our society, our immortal declaration of independence kicks in for me, that all men are created equal. I think of prophet's last sermon, where he said no man is superior to the other and that all are equal.

Whenever I think of the liberation of women, I think of the prophet, he was perhaps the first women's libber; and he officially liberated women from the shackles of the bondages. He was a radical of his time, as Jesus was, and said women are free to marry or divorce, own their own business and property, separate from their husbands, and he introduced the idea of consent and free will in marriage. Let's not judge America by the Newtown, Aurora and Oak Creek murderers, and let's not judge Muslims by the misogynistic men among them either.

Whenever I feel judgmental toward others, the prophet's voice pulls me back, only God knows everything about the other, not me, then let me not judge anyone without the full knowledge.

When I think of standing up for others, I think of Gandhi and MLK, if we don't stand up for others, why should anyone stand up for us.

Whenever the idea of being better than others crosses my mind, I think of the prophet, who said, I am a human like you, and don't make a God out of me or paint my pictures and put me on the pedestal. He even said to his daughter, you earn your paradise through your good deeds, the good you do to the fellow beings and not because you are the Prophet's daughter.

Whenever arrogance attempts to creep in me, I hear the words of the prophet, "Treat all prophets the same, no human is above the other" -- instead of saying I am the greatest prophet and listen to me. Feeling and practicing equality is the way for creating peaceful societies.

I will be writing a full chapter on the prophet in my upcoming book, as to how I relate with him in my daily life, and I have learned to give a 20 minutes motivations talk on "Prophet the Peacemaker" and that is rejoicing.


Further reading:
Milaad Mubarak!


 Follow Mike Ghouse on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MikeGhouse 
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place and standing up for others as an activist. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him. 

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About Me

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Mike has a dream, a dream that one day in our life time; we all will wake up to a cohesive world, where no human lives in tension, apprehension or fear of the other. Indeed, that was the dream of all the spiritual masters of the world, and that is what the creator wants; all pieces of his creation to function coherently.   

Nothing in the universe will happen by itself, all of us have to do our share of the work to restore the harmony within our self, with our bodies and with people around us. Don’t you think God knows this? Yet through every religion, we are told to ask for it.

Our founding fathers believed, “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” And that dream was refreshed by Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Mike is available to speak to your groups, conduct workshops on building cohesive work places and living a meaningful life, and move towards living in harmony, one person at a time.

Thanks to Sean Hannity, Fox News, Syndicated Radio shows, Dallas Morning News, Huffington Post, and a variety of News Papers here and abroad for giving him a strong National and local presence. Mike has appeared in over 100 shows on Fox News and over 50 times on nationally syndicated radio shows.

He has  written nearly 3000 articles, and bulk of them are published in Dallas Morning News, Huffington Post, New Age Islam, Op-ed News , Arab Daily News, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, and several other News papers and periodicals around the world. Of the 2800, 1000+ were on Islam, 1000+ on Pluralism and the rest were on politics, India, Pakistan, Israel-Palestine, Motivational and other topics.

Currently Mike is working on  making a film based on a compelling true story of building a cohesive America, and writing a book on human rights - "Standing up for others"- standing up from Atheists to Zoroastrians and every one in between.  

Please watch the 10 Minutes trailer of the documentary in  making https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMXsTo4VYh8

God has blessed him with an aptitude for mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill in everything he does,  that is think, talk and act, and he has been a life time volunteer, and it is a joy to maintain a healthy balance between earning a living and serving the public. 

 
He has spoken at international forums including the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, in Melbourne, Australia, Middle East Peace Initiative, in Jerusalem, the International Leadership conference, in Hawaii, and in Washington, Many Universities including SMU, Rice and others, World's Philanthropy organization's annual conference in Washington and elsewhere.

He is a member of the Texas Faith panel at Dallas Morning News and writes on issues facing the nation every week and offers pluralistic solutions. He writes regularly at Huffington post, Op-ed News, Arab Daily News and several other papers worldwide.  

Mike was a commissioner at City of Carrollton,  and president of many a organizations including North Texas Cricket Association, Indian Creek Home owners Association,  and Dallas Fashions for Charity etc. A founding member of the board at Memnosyne Foundation, and board of director at Dallas Peace Center, Dallas Home Builders Association and several other organizations.

God has made him an instrument in establishing several annual public events to bring Americans of different religions, ethnicities and races together on common grounds of building a safe, secure and a cohesive America, among them are Unity Day USA, Holocaust and Genocides, Thanksgiving Celebrations. We have and plan to hold workshops and conferences on issues like religion, racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, LGBT, gender pluralism and other issues. 

Concerned by the political, civil, religious, racial, sexual orientation and economic divisiveness, Mike has initiated and formed the America Together Foundation (ATF), a non-profit entity committed to building a cohesive America, where no American has to live with anxiety, apprehension, or fear of the other. The focus of the foundation is that ‘one must be free to live his or her life to the fullest’.

He firmly believes in our immortal declaration of independence.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

He believes in Conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturance that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) chose in dealing with issues of the day, and he has successfully employed that ideal in dealing with Pastor Robert Jeffress of Dallas who denigrated Quran, which led to a Quran conference in creating goodwill among non-Muslim clergy. The conference details are at www.QuraanConference.com 

When Pastor Terry Jones announced burning 3000 copies of Quran, Mike was out there in Florida and gathered up the civil, political and religious leaders to peacefully offer prayer as an alternative instead of burning Qurans to avenge the 9/11 Victims. A message was sent to the world that freedom of speech is an important American value and respecting what is sacred to others is an important value as well. A movie is being considered that will change the perceptions about Muslims and change within Muslims in dealing with the conflicts. Full story is at:http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2014/04/reestablishing-right-muslim-attitudes.html 

Mike was further involved with the conflicts at the Ground Zero Mosque, Peter King Hearings and other conflicts, and had offered pluralistic solutions. There is a blog for each one of these conflicts.

As much work as he has done with interfaith communities, he has a strong presence in the intra-faith dialogue as well. Having  moderated two major intra-faith conferences at Rice University and in Dallas, and  two Sharia conferences were held to allay the Sharia Phobia.  He has prayed in all mosques, and wrote a blog on Ramadan sharing the practices in each tradition. There is a blog for it – www.RamadanExclusive.com 

Mike started the Radio for Desi community in Dallas in 1996 with three hours on Saturdays,   and passed it on to others, and now we have three 24/7 Radio Stations in Dallas. It was always loaded with interfaith programs. Mike ran a program called wisdom of religion, all religions for two years – where 520 Hours of Radio talk was done – 100 hours + for Islam, Hinduism and Christianity each, and 50 hours each for Baha’i, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Atheism, interfaith and other traditions.  The idea was to education and to learn about others, as God has willed in Quran 49:13 and other verses.  Similarly 26 workshops were also conducted.

Mike is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon. He is also producing a feature film “Sacred" to be released and a documentary "Americans together" to be released in the next few years.

All about him is listed in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com - Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.  

About Mike

1. Google Profile - over 10 Million views – https://plus.google.com/108969690090944956820/about

2. Personal Curriculum vitae: http://www.mikeghouse.net/MikeGhouse-CV-03.12.14.pdf

3. Comprehensive Profile - http://mikeghouse.net/Profile.asp

4. Muslim Speaker  http://mikeghouse.net/MuslimSpeaker.MikeGhouse.asp

5. Pluralism Speaker  http://www.mikeghouse.net/InterfaithSpeaker_MikeGhouse.asp

6. Motivational Speaker: http://www.mikeghouse.net/Motivational.speeches.Speaker.MikeGhouse.asp

7. Speaker on Israel - http://israel-palestine-dialogue.blogspot.com/2014/12/speaker-on-israel-mike-ghouse.html

8. Speaker on India - http://MikeGhouseforindia.blogspot.com

9. Disclosures – Almost everything about me is at: http://mikeghouse.net/Discolosure.asp

10. Michami Dukadam - Starting life all over again - 
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2013/11/michami-dukadam-starting-life-over-with.html


Human Rights | Standing up for Humanity

Standing up for Jews, Hindus, Christians, Atheists, Sikhs, Gays and Lesbians,
Coming up for Jains, Zoroastrians, Native Americans, Pagans and Muslims

Other write ups

Dallas Morning News - Defending Islam 
http://www.dallasnews.com/news/columnists/steve-blow/20100919-In-defense-of-Islam-pursuing-9397.ece

Times of India 
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/From-Muslims-in-America-a-novel-protest-against-quran-burning/articleshow/21982162.cms

Saudi Gazette about Mike
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2015/07/united-voices-for-america-saudi-gazette.html

Washington Post
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/09/09/commentary-pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-burning-qurans/#comment-353607

Dallas Observer on my Radio Show - front page big piece
http://mikeghouse.net/Aboutus/Dallas-Observer-on-MikeGhouse.htm

Dallas Morning News - Wisdom of Religion Radio Show
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Articles/Religious-tolerance-in-action-DallasNews-December2004.asp

9/11 and My personal story ( over 2 Million Reads)
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/09/911-my-personal-journey-from-2001.html

My Name is Mike Ghouse
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2010/01/my-name-is-mike-ghouse.html

Holocaust and the Muslim guy
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/holocaust-and-the-muslim-_b_4629509.html#es_share_ended

Indian American Pluralist
http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2012/12/mike-ghouse-indian-american-pluralist.html

 
Significant achievements:

Unity Day USA - a major annual event that brings Americans together for 13 years
www.UnitydayUSA.com

Holocaust and Genocides - annual event to reflect on Holocaust and Genocides for the last 12 years www.HolocaustandGenocides.com

 Thanksgiving Celebrations - annual event of cultural expression for the last 18 years www.ThanksgivingCelebrations.org

Quran Burning Situation in Florida and a film in the making
A new paradigm in changing perceptions about Muslims, a movie is being made on the actual story - http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2014/04/reestablishing-right-muslim-attitudes.html

Quran Conference - A completely new successful system created to clarify the challenged verses http://quraanconference.com/

Sharia Conference - A seminal Article on Sharia and conferences
https://www.ShariaLaws.com

Quran Today - A successful Blog demystifying myths about Quranic verses
http://www.QuraanToday.com

Ramadan Cohesion - Never before in the history of Muslims, a Muslim has visited all the mosques of all different denominations to build understanding between different traditions. http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/

Ground Zero Mosque involvement from day 1 
http://Groundzeromosque.blogspot.com

Involvement with Peter King Hearings 
http://peterkinghearings.blogspot.com/

Israel Palestine Blog - to see both sides of the issue and a commitment to find solutions
www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.com

Blasphemy Laws - Tackling the laws that have creeped into Islam, and are unislamic http://blasphemylaws.blogspot.com

More about him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net 

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