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Islam at the Crossroads

Dr. Lameh Fananapazir was born in Iran and spent his youth in Africa. He is a graduate of Edinburgh Medical School. He trained in Cardiology and further specialized in Electrophysiology at Duke Medical Center.

He worked for 15 years as a research scientist at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland studying causes of sudden death in athletes and those with inherited heart conditions. He has published more than 500 scientific papers and has given many presentations at national and international conferences.

He spent two and a half years as Director of Health Services at the Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa, Israel. He currently resides in Cumberland, Maryland where for 11 years he was in practice as a cardiologist and electrophysiologist. Dr. Fananapazir is a Bahá’í who has had a lifelong interest in the study of religion and its impact on the world. He is the author of “Islam at the Crossroads”; which was published in 2015 and examines current issues facing Islam and their potential solutions. He has also recently authored ‘A Companion to the Study of Epistle to the Son of the Wolf.

Session One

The crisis in Islam today and the solution offered by the teachings of Bahá u lláh.

Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. —Jeremiah

It is undeniable that Islam is today in a condition of deep crisis. Political upheavals that dominate popular discussion of the subject are no more than surface expressions of a problem of historic dimensions: the inability of Islamic scholars and institutions to reconcile the teachings and perspectives of their Faith with the realities of modernity. Democratic and constitutional government, pluralistic societies, the authority of the sciences, such principles as gender equality and religious freedom, a rapidly integrating world all these familiar features of contemporary civilization pose insurmountable challenges to anyone who attempts to accommodate them to religious guidance laid down fourteen centuries ago for an earlier, much simpler stage in humanity’s social evolution. One sees in contemporary Islam a society desperately searching for and failing always to find, a formula that will make it possible to retain traditional Muslim faith in God while embracing the inescapable requirements of a world beyond the imagination of ages past.

At the same time, millions of Muslims view with feelings of outrage and helplessness the caricature of the Faith they love that aggressive fundamentalism is determined to impose upon it.

Equally significant has been the awakening of European populations to the implications of the presence in their midst of a vast number of Muslim immigrants some now into the third generation who often appear essentially irreconcilable with certain foundational norms of Western culture. Perhaps not surprisingly, this has inspired widespread desire to understand the religious roots of such phenomena, awakening an unprecedented interest in Islamic belief and practice.

Islam at the Crossroads presents extracts drawn primarily from the texts of the Qur án and the Bible to explain the interrelationship between Islam and its sister Abrahamic religions, Judaism and Christianity, as well as the Bahá í Faith, the most recent link in the chain of religions capable of responding to the process of transformation in which the entire world is today caught up. The format illustrates the progressive pattern and integral coherence of the divine Revelations as constituents of one common faith and demonstrates the principle that God, Who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us, and, specifically, to followers of Islam, through Bahá u lláh.

Globalization and modernity, far from being alien to the Faith taught in the Qur án, are thus rather a fulfillment of it, both spiritually and practically. Clearly, Muslims have as much right to this common heritage of humankind as do the people of any other religious background.

Within the Bahá í community, much emphasis is placed on the importance of Western Bahá ís undertaking a serious study of Islam, using for the purpose sources that are authoritative and unbiased. This book examines the criteria offered by the teachings of Bahá u lláh for the validity of the Mission of the Prophet Muhammad, and some of the reasons why Islam and its fortunes are directly dependent on submission to God s Will and following His Straight Path in this day and age.

Session Two

Excessive reliance on religious leaders for guidance, Investigation rather than imitation, Criteria by which we can recognize the truth, Essentials of Faith and non-permanent aspects of religion

Session Three

Objections to earlier prophets, including Prophet Muhammad, Objections to Bahá’u’lláh – accusations of causing mischief and warring against Alláh

Session Four

Exclusivity and finality in Judaism (the Torah), in Christianity and Islám

Session Five

‘Islám: the promise of the Torah and the New Testament Apparent contradictions.

Session Six

Bahá’u’lláh, the promise of Islám: fulfilled eschatology

Session Seven

Bahá’u’lláh, the promise of Islám: fulfilled eschatology continued

Session Eight

New social teachings of Bahá’u’lláh

Session Nine

New social teachings of Bahá’u’lláh continued