Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
I have found Senator Bernie Sanders to be the most generous, fair and inclusive politician. In our age of heightened religious divisions and Islamophobia in the country, in the era of President Trump, despite his Jewish faith, he chose a Muslim to be campaign manager for his presidential bid. In 2019 we read: Bernie Sanders Hires First-Ever Muslim Presidential Campaign Manager. The same year we also had the privilege to read: Bernie Sanders can’t be bought – his campaign is making me strangely hopeful and Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris defend Ilhan Omar amid controversy over Israel comments. I like what I see.
When I was training to be physician in Wilson Hospital in 1990, in Johnson City, NY, I had done a month of rotation with a Rheumatologist in our town, Dr. Thomas Oven, who is still practicing and happens to be a Catholic. In his office I read a framed prayer by Saint Francis of Issisi:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
I like what I read.
For the last twenty three years I have been practicing as a Sleep Disorder and Lungs specialist in a Catholic Hospital in Binghamton NY, Our Lady of Lourdes. Here I have found respect, honor, livelihood and recognition that has shaped my life. I like what I have experienced.
Joel Osteen has no less than a thousand, half hour wonderful presentations, about positive thinking, hope, optimism and success. Most of these are available in YouTube and a few will be linked in this post. Some of these are repetitions but almost every sermon has some new materials and metaphors. For additional details: Videos: Let Joel Osteen Breathe Hope, Optimism and Success in Your Life. I do not pay him a dime for I find numerous charities more deserving of my contributions. Nevertheless, I like what I hear in Sirius XM radio and YouTube.
Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a Persian poet from the 13th century is the best selling poet in USA these days. He wrote 3,000 love songs to his mentor Shams of Tabriz, the prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, and God. His monumental Mathnawi has been called the Quran in the Persian language. According to William C. Chittick, Professor of Asian and Asian American Studies at Stony Brook University, as he highlights love in both the Mathnawi and the Quran, “This is not because it bears any outward resemblance to the Divine Word, but rather because Rumi was able to capture in a non-technical, everyday language, understandable to any Persian speaker, what he himself calls, ‘the roots of the roots of the roots of the religion’ – which is an apt description of the Quran itself, the foundation of every thing Islamic.” A beautiful one line summary by Rumi of the love in the Quran, an epitome of love, compassion and justice.
Some of my favorite quotes from Rumi are:
“Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words.”
“Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love.”
“Reason is powerless in the expression of love.”
“You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.”
“Be empty of worrying. Think of who created thought.”
“Love is the bridge between you and everything.”
The holy Quran has taught me: “He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise.” (Al Quran 59:24) The details of the Creator God, I have learnt more from the Christian and Jewish scientists, philosophers, writers and teachers than the Muslim ones. For example: A Slight Twist Makes David Attenborough a Great Teacher for God of the Abrahamic Faiths.
I am a Jew, a Catholic, a Christian and a Muslim; I am Zia H Shah. How can I be otherwise, for I have drank from every and all wells?