Charter for Compassion Unveiled | Affirming from a Muslim's Perspective

Ethical Alchemy

Religion isn’t about believing things.
It’s about what you do.
It’s ethical alchemy.
It’s about behaving in a way that changes you,
that gives you intimations of holiness and sacredness.

~ Karen Armstrong


12th November 2009 will be marked in history as a red letter day for this generation and generations to come, for today the Charter for Compassion was unveiled. Charter for Compassion is a document based on the core shared value of every world religion and moral code, the “Golden Rule”, the basis of universal justice and respect.

In February 2008, Karen Armstrong, considered as one of the most provocative, original thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world, won the prestigious TED prize, awarded annually to three exceptional individuals who each receive $100,000, and more importantly, the granting of “One Wish to Change the World”.

At her TED Prize Wish Karen Armstrong said, “I wish that you would help with the creation, launch and propagation of a Charter for Compassion, crafted by a group of leading inspirational thinkers from the three Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and based on the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect.”

This morning at 10am, Karen Armstrong unveiled the powerful text of the Charter for Compassion -- the culmination of her 2008 TED Prize wish. Read about the History of How this Charter was born.

Also I posted an article in Global Voices Online "A Quest to Unite Religious Communities: The Charter for Compassion" summarizing some of the conversations from the blogsphere about the Charter.

The Charter seeks to change the conversation so that compassion becomes a key word in public and private discourse, making it clear that any ideology that breeds hatred or contempt - be it religious or secular - has failed the test of our time. Bringing together voices from all cultures and religions, the Charter seeks to remind the world we already share the core principles of compassion. Charter for Compassion has the potential to become one of the revolutionary document of our generation.

Full Text of 'Charter for Compassion'

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings - even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

- from Charter for Compassion Official Site

Affirmation and a Muslim Perspective

[>] Watch Imam Faisal Rauf giving a heart warming talk, Lose your ego, find your compassion on TED on Charter of Compassion that speaks about the central place of the attribute of Compassion from a Muslim perspective.

As I was reading the brilliantly crafted texts of the Charter it reminded me few teachings of the Quran and Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace that reaffirm the message of the charter.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
In the Name of the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

A. Common Ground

Quran calls to three Abrahamic faiths in an unequivocal open invitation to come to common ground, which is a spirit embodied in the charter.

Say: "O People of Scripture! come to common terms as between us and you.." - Quran, 3.64

For, every community, faces a direction of its own, of which He is the focal point. Vie with one another in doing good works. Wherever you may be, God will gather you all unto Himself: for, verily, God has power over all things. - 2:148

Reflection of the second section of the Charter is wonderfully captured in the Quranic message that reads:

Say: "O People of Scripture! exceed not in your religion the bounds (of what is proper), trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the vain desires of people who went wrong in times gone by, who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the balanced Way. - Quran 5.77

B. Compassion at the Heart of it All

Your Lord has ordained Compassion (Rahma) upon Himself.
- The Quran 6:54

When God decreed the Creation He pledged Himself by inscribing: "My mercy prevails over my wrath." - Hadith Qudsi

Most Merciful shows mercy to those who have mercy on others. Show mercy to those on earth, and the One in the heaven will show mercy to you. - Prophet Mohammad

C. The Golden Rule in Islam

No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself. - Hadith

Do you love your creator? Love your fellow-beings first.
~ Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace

D. The deepest Sunnah

Muslims believe Quran as words of God speaking to humanity and in many places it address directly to Prophet Muhammad and at the same time by extension to all of humanity. The emulation of the Prophet is called Sunnah and the deepest Sunnah is to merge one's purpose with the purpose of the Prophetic model itself (and by extension Prophet himself), whom Quran affirms as 'sent to be mercy to all creations, all worlds.'

And we have not sent you but as a mercy for all the worlds.
- The Quran 21:107

E. Justice and Equity

O you who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of any one lead you into the sin of deviating from justice Be just ('adl): this is the closest to being God-conscious. - The Quran 5:8

O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye serve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that ye do. - The Quran 4:13

The most honoured of you in the sight of God is (one who is) the most righteous of you. - The Quran 19:13

F. The inviolable sanctity of every single human being

Verily we have honored the Children of Adam - The Quran 17:70 not take any human being's life, (the life) which God has sanctified.. - 6:151

And whoever saves a single life it is as though he had saved the lives of all mankind - 5:32

G. Cultivating an Informed Empathy for All, A positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity

O people! Behold, we have created you from a male and a female and have made you into nations and tribes to that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware. - The Quran 49:13

Unto every one of you have We appointed a [different] law and way of life. And if God had so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community: but [He willed it otherwise] in order to test you by means of what He has vouchsafed unto you ... - 5:48

And had thy Sustainer so willed, He could surely have made all humanity one single community: but [he willed it otherwise, and so] they continue to hold diverse point of views. - 11:118

Unto every community have We appointed [different] ways of worship, which they ought to observe. Hence, do not let those draw you into disputes on this score.. - 22:67

Your Affirmation, Action and Connecting

You may support and affirm the Charter by adding your name to the growing list of affirmers.

Act | Share the Message | Across the world more than 170 events are planned to celebrated the launch of the Charter and you can host your own too | Participate Online | Connect on Facebook | Follow on Tweeter

:: Further

. Golden Rule in Various Religions / Faith Traditions
. Human Rights in Quran
. Human Rights according to Quran
. Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights
. So that you may know one another

# Articles of Karen Armstrong on Charter of Compassion via Guardian UK
. Charter for Compassion: At one with our ignorance
. Heed the Call of Compassion

# Listen to Social Media Conversations, what people are talking about the Charter



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Technology of the Heart: Charter for Compassion Unveiled | Affirming from a Muslim's Perspective
Charter for Compassion Unveiled | Affirming from a Muslim's Perspective
Technology of the Heart
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