Humanity is the most honorable member of all creation, a fact underscored by the divine revelation Surely We created man of the best stature (Tin 95:04). Flesh and bones are not the only components of our formation; we are adorned with many inner qualities and virtues that make us stand out of all other creation. Our universe is the most suitable habitat, for it provides the ground for humanity to be the best mirror of the Divine Names and Attributes. The earth and heavens collaborate under God’s command to ensure our flourishing; like the fertile soil in which a sapling grows to become a giant oak, or a seed breaks out of its shell to turn into a most beautiful rose of the most glorious red color and having the most pleasing fragrance. The lead article in this issue presents believers’ perception of this habitat, drawing our attention to answers for the eternal questions: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? What makes something noteworthy depends upon our perception of it. Likewise, this world and all existence acquire their real value through a believer’s eyes when looking from the true angle of faith, without which this world is nothing but a jail in which everyone is a prisoner on death row, hopelessly waiting for their penalty to be carried out sooner or later . . . doomed to an infinite disappearance.
Interfaith dialogue activities all around the world continue at a fast pace, and more such meetings are being held all the time. Not a single day goes by without the blessing of the hope-inspiring news of peace-promotion events in some city or country, thanks to countless people of faith who look for common values and purposes under God’s will. They would like to cooperate against war, terror, poverty, and all kinds of discrimination in order to unite forces to glorify God’s Name and uphold human values and rights, peace, education, and the family structure. Prophet Abraham plays a key role in these interfaith dialogue activities, for he is considered the patriarch of all divinely revealed religions. “Paragon of Unity: Discovering the Essence of the Abrahamic Messages” explores his example through many of his outstanding virtues, like investigating faith, the willingness to worship the Divine alone, regard for nature, faithfulness to promises, hospitality, compassion, and devotion to One God. This article strives to promote peace according to the words of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him: “Those who believe in one God are but brothers and sisters.”
At times, one really feels like “that’s it, we have come to the end; we have failed”; . . . when one feels totally exhausted, without any energy to convey messages of human virtue, lofty values, compassion, and tolerance. September 2004 has left so many of us speechless in the face of the horror we have seen on the news about the seizure of a school and taking students as hostages in southern Russia (North Ossetia), and its violent ending. More than 300 people were killed including children, teachers, parents, and other innocent people. Despite certain names and photos being announced on TV screens and newspaper headlines, nobody knows for sure who is behind such atrocities. No religion should be held accountable for them, as no divinely revealed belief system promotes murdering innocents or causing any kind of harm to them. Terror has no place for faith, and thus a true believer cannot be a terrorist. Praying for the souls of the innocent casualties of all terrorist attacks, we invite all people to engage in sound thinking, thereby saving ourselves from the shock of any violence, and to concentrate our efforts on mutual understanding.