The month of Ramadan, in which millions of Muslims are fasting throughout the world, reminds us of our need to reach out to the divine with compassion and love in our hearts. We want to love God and be loved by Him. But by creating a relationship in love, we are also able to love others whatever their religion or culture.
This is the lesson the sages and the poets from every religious faith teach us. Whether they are of the Abrahamic religions or non-Abrahamic ones, male or female, live in the West or the East, they constantly return to the theme of love.
Let me give some examples of poetic expressions that we can all share and appreciate -- all the more valuable because it is coming from other traditions. I will give the name of the writer, the title of the poem and then a sample verse.
Jay Patel said on 12 Friday 2011 am31 11:55 am:
Kadene, We are created out of Divine love and love is essential to human nature. God simply asks us to be and to express who we are which in essence is love. God does not need anything from us or anything including our love. However, when any human being acts out of a lack of love, compassion, mercy, and kindness it has karmic repercussions within ourselves and for society in general. The dire consequences are not arbitrary or vengence. Divine love isn't merely like selfish human passions and inversely divine anger isn't like human anger. God is not forcing you at gunpoint, he is simply asking you to be true to yourself. Which is to be loving, kind, compassionate, merciful, and benevolent. Read some of the love poetry written by mystics. That level of love can never be compelled. Love compelled shows itself in expressions. Read Rumi or any other mystical poet and its clear there was no compulsion, they were consumed by the infinitude of love itself and to them God revealed HIS love. Love is the meeting point between man and God bc man's essence is Love and so is God's.
Professor Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington DC, and is the author of the new book of poems "Suspended Somewhere Between" (2011).