Mubarika Kalim Ahmed, President Lajna Imaillah Calgary NW, Canada
Lajna Imaillah Calgary was able to organise its first virtual interfaith seminar on “The Life of Krishnaas”. All praise belongs to Allah, Who covered our shortcomings and blessed our humble efforts, making this programme a success. An estimated 480 people from across the continent participated via Zoom. In addition to the general public, Alberta’s minister of community & social services and a city councillor also participated in the programme as special guests.
The event was held on 29 October 2020 from 6pm to 7:15pm. The local Lajna branch had invited presenters from two renowned organisations – International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement and Sant Nirankari Mission.
Several days ahead of the programme, the information about the event was shared through the official twitter handle @LajnaCalgary which triggered discussions about the topic, creating interest and anticipation for the event.
A day before the event, a local popular ethnic radio station aired an interview of the organisers which gave an opportunity to share the peaceful teachings of Islam, alhamdolillah.
During all this time repeated requests for prayers were sent to Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa for the success of the event.
On the day of the event, the proceedings started with the recitation of the Holy Quran proclaiming that “there is no people to whom a Warner has not been sent.” (Surah Fatir, Ch.35: V.25)
After this, a brief introduction of the Jamaat was presented, which highlighted the golden principle of interfaith harmony presented by the Promised Messiahas in his landmark treatise, A Gift for the Queen:
“God has informed me that of the religions which have spread and are firmly established in the world through Prophets, holding sway over a part of the world and achieving survival and long life, none was false in its origin. Nor was any of those Prophets false because it is the eternal practice of God that a false prophet who lies against God – who is not from God but dares to forge things from himself – never prospers.”
The first speaker was Ms Rashi Singh of the Hare Krishna Movement who joined via video link from New York, USA. She is an active member of the Bhakti community, with services in writing and festival organisation. In her speech, she admired the organisers for holding this interfaith seminar and built her presentation around the loving incidents from the childhood of Shri Krishna.
The next speaker was Ms Preet Sahi of the Sant Nirankari Mission. She joined from Florida USA where she is serving as the chapter-head for Fort Lauderdale. She is also the Chief Correspondent of TV Asia for South Florida region. She applauded this initiative and based her presentation on a dialogue between Krishan and Arjun highlighting the human values being of paramount importance.
The special guest of the event was Hon Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Community & Social Services, Alberta. In her brief address, she highlighted the importance of interfaith harmony in a multicultural society and commended the efforts of Ahmadi Muslim Women in this regard.
Next a brief documentary on “Introduction to the Holy Quran” was shown to the seminar participants which was specially prepared by the Lajna media team for this event. Presenting the Islamic perspective, Adila Munir Sahiba shared the Jamaat’s understanding of the status of Hazrat Krishnaas. She highlighted the similarities between Islamic and Hindu scriptures regarding the unity of God.
She presented the saying of the Promised Messiahas, “Raja Krishna, according to what has been revealed to me, was such a truly great man that it is hard to find his like among the Rishis and Avatars of the Hindus. He was an Avatar of his time upon whom the Holy Spirit would descend from God. He was from God, victorious and prosperous. He cleansed the land of the Aryas from sin and was in fact the Prophet of his age whose teaching was later corrupted in numerous ways. He was full of love for God, a friend of virtue and an enemy of evil. It was God’s promise that, in the Latter Days, He would send someone, in his image.” (Lecture Sialkot, pp. 39-40)
Councilor Jyoti Gondek, in her remarks, expressed her pleasant surprise to listen to so many different perspectives in an atmosphere of peace and harmony. She said, “The organisers of this event have blown me away by bringing together ideas and concepts that might a while ago have seemed so different and today it seems so logical that they all fit together.”
In her concluding remarks, Amatus Salam Malik Sahiba, National President of Lajna Imaillah, Canada read from the statement of Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa condemning the recent horrific attacks on innocent citizens in Nice, France. She also appreciated the organisers of the event and thanked the volunteers.
In her message to the organisers, after the programme, guest speaker Ms Preet Sahi wrote that she absolutely loved the comparison of scriptures between Hinduism and Islam and requested a copy of the Islamic presentation. She wrote, “This is the first time ever that I was able to learn from such a comparison of scriptures between Hinduism and Islam. Thank you so much for an incredible amount of spiritual learning last night. Hats off to your organisation for what you do. I loved how you brought different faiths together and created a platform for oneness for everyone.”
Rashi Singh, in her email, thanked the organisers for inviting her to speak and said, “It was an honour to be there with you. I thought the event was lovely and very well organised.”
May Allah accept these humble efforts, produce far reaching results and reward all the volunteers the best for their selfless efforts. Amin