What is Pluralism?
Pluralism says that every belief out there in the world is equally legitimate and has truth to it and we should blindly embrace it – no matter if an individual’s belief is in the divinity of a cow, or a monkey or any pagan god. To define pluralism in Rodney King’s simplistic phrase:
Can’t we all just get along?
Global Center for Pluralism: Yet another money-making ‘Charity’
The Global Center for Pluralism is yet another ‘self-sustaining’ (which translates into ‘money-making’) charity established by the Aga Khan with himself as the Chairman, his daughter Zahra Aga Khan, his Ismāʿīli followers Azim Nanji and Khalil Shariff (CEO of Aga Khan Foundation Canada) in the Board of Directors. Dr. Marwan Muasher from Jordan who recently joined the Board of Directors is a Greek Orthodox Christian. There is not even a single Muslim in the entire Board of Directors of the Global Center of Pluralism established by the Aga Khan.
(Ismāʿīlis might argue that the Ismāʿīlis on the board represent Muslims, but the fact is that the entire Muslim world, including the Shi’a and the Sunnis, agree that Ismāʿīlis do not follow or represent ʾIslām.)
The Fund Management and Projected Expenditures and Revenues of the Global Center for Pluralism (GCP) can be seen on page 18 and page 20 of the GCP Corporate Plan 2016 here:
Compatibility Between Pluralism and Quran
In ancient of days when people were ignorant, they believed in anything they chose to and everything was acceptable to them. One day they could be worshiping cow or next day in the mosque or next day you could be in the temple or next day you could be on the top of the mountain worshiping the Sun god. Accepting this in today’s day and age is exactly what Hazar Imam is promoting.
This shows Karim Aga Khan’s ignorance of Islam. This can be further verified from Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III saying:
“I have found my answer in the simple prayer that God in His Infinite mercy will forgive the sins of all Muslims, the slayer and the slain, and that all may be reconciled in Heaven in a final total absolution. And I further pray that all who truly and sincerely believe in God, be they Christian, Jew, Buddhist or Brahmin, who strive to do good and avoid evil, who are gentle and kind, will be joined in Heaven and be granted final pardon and peace. I could wish that all other creeds would have this same charity toward Muslims.”
– Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III, Memoirs of the Aga Khan
On the contrary, Allah (swt) clearly declares in Quran:
“Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam. The People of Book drew apart since they committed excesses against one another after this knowledge had come to them. And whoever ignores the signs of Allah and becomes a concealer, Allah is swift in reckoning him.
So if they argue with you, say, “I have submitted myself to Allah, and [so have] those who follow me.” And ask the People of the Book as well as those who follow no heavenly Scripture: “Have you also submitted yourselves?” And if they submit, they are rightly guided; but if they turn away – then your duty is merely to deliver the message. Allah is The All Seeing of his servants.
Give those concealers who ignore the signs of Allah, who kill the prophets without right and kill those who enjoin justice from among the people, give them tidings of a grievous chastisement.
They are those whose deeds will go to waste in this world and in the Hereafter, and for them there will be no helpers.“
[Holy Quran, Aale Imran (Family of Imran), Chapter 3:19-22]
In the above verses Allah declares that the only deen acceptable is Islam that is submission to one and only one Allah. The definite article “The” in the above verse means “the one and the only way… the one and only truth, the one and only life “. This means that there is no other way. Just like “The Planet Earth”. There is not smorgasbord or buffet of Gods out there that you can pick and choose. Islam is the only way to salvation. These verses have very clearly hit at the root of the atheistic approach which endeavours to bracket Islam and disbelief (kufr) on the same footing in the name of tolerance preached by Islam, thereby claiming that every faith of the world – Judaism, Christianity, even paganism – can each become the source of salvation, on condition that its followers perform good deeds and observe good morals. This, in reality is a veiled attempt to demolish a principle of Islam and to prove that Islam is nothing of substance. It is something limpid and imaginary which could be moulded to fit into whatever religion one chooses, even if it is kufr or disbelief.
The verses of the Holy Qur’an, those appearing here and a large number of others, have very explicitly stressed that the light and darkness cannot be the same. Similarly, it is grossly absurd and impossible that Allah would like disobedience to and rebellion against Him just as He likes obedience and submission. Whoever denies even one basic principle of Islam, he is, without any shadow of doubt, a rebel to Allah and the enemy of His Messengers, no matter how impressing he may appear in his other deeds and formal morality. Salvation in the Hereafter depends, first of all, on obedience to Allah and His Messenger. Whoever remains deprived of it, not one of his deeds is credible. The Holy Qur’an says for such people:
‘We shall not assign weight to their deeds on the Day of Judgement.’
[Holy Quran, Chapter 18, Verse 105]
The transcendentalists, the Newagers, the Scientologists, the Hindus, the Muslims, the Jews, the Buddhists, the Moonies, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, the Humanists and Ismailis, no matter whatever brand name they want to put on their chest, but they will not go to heaven without following Islam.
Karim Aga Khan has no idea that truth is not established by appeasing and bending down in front of all the pagan gods in the world. Or bringing all the beliefs of the world in to harmony, or by tolerating for each other’s beliefs. Truth is not democratic or manufactured by respecting each others pagan beliefs.
Karim Aga Khan should be told that True and Living God is not democratic. He is a Monarch. He is King of Kings. Allah did not give his revelation by democratic process. He was the absolute and only authority when He revealed Quran and commanded Prophet (pbuh)to bring His messages to the world. Allah did not get prophets opinions before He inspired them with His revelations. He did not appease prophets. In fact, the prophets had no choice but to deliver His message to us.
For Karim Aga Khan to promote pluralism shows that his own beliefs are either atheistic, or communist because that is exactly what most of the promoters of pluralism are. Instead of Karim Aga Khan trying to be a the good guy with all the cultists faith of the world, he should bow down in front of Allah and be a good believer and slave of Allah (swt).
Aga Khan pledged to contribute over $30 million to foster pluralism in Canada, but has banned the entrance to his own Ismāʿīli Community Centers & Prayer Halls for non-Ismāʿīlis throughout the World, including Canada.
Allah (swt) says in the Quran:
“If Allah had so willed He would have made you a single people but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which you dispute.”
[The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 5, Verse 48]
Every sect of Islam has the special Friday congregational prayers, the Ismāʿīlis keep their prayer hall doors closed on Friday afternoons. During the Fatimid Period of Ismaili History, the Fatimid Imams and Caliphs used to lead the Friday afternoon prayers and deliver the Jum’ah Khutbahs. Karim Aga Khan himself visited Sunni Masjids in India, East Africa, Syria, Pakistan and prayed behind the Sunni Imams. In other words Karim Aga Khan is cognisant of the fact that his Ismaili Prayer Halls are closed in the afternoons for the Friday Salaats. Aga Khan should understand that practicing pluralism within the Islamic brotherhood would be to offer prayers in a mode that corresponds with the rest of the ummah instead of his self invented, shirk-infested dua.
The Quran commands Muslims to observe the Friday prayer:
O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu’ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew.
[The Holy Qur’an, Al-Jumu’ah (The Congregation, Friday), Chapter 62: Verse 9]
The ‘wannabe’ champion of pluralism even took his own followers to court over publishing his own speeches. Such is the pluralism exhibited by Aga Khan himself. [Read full story here when Aga Khan took two of his own followers to court]
How Aga Khan Should Promote Pluralism
To properly promote pluralism, Karim Aga Khan should take the following two steps:
1. Open the doors of the Ismāʿīli Prayer Hall and Community Center to all faiths and stop hiding the Ismāʿīli rituals of chhanta, niyaaz, dasond, mehmani, nandi and thar-sufra;
2. To replace the Ismāʿīli Holy Dua formulated and authorized in 1956 with the Islamic Salat which over a billion Muslims around the world observe in their Masjids.
This is likely to achieve a lot of ground as far as pluralism is concerned, especially with Christians, when they discover that the Ismāʿīli Jamatkhana has completely adopted the Christian ritual of sprinkling Holy Water – the only difference is that each Ismāʿīli pays separate mehmani for the chhanta on Chandraat, and that the ‘Holy Water’ in the Ismaili Jamatkhanas is as (un)holy as the one which is used in the Church.