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Interfaith Dialogue
 IslamiCity Forum - Islamic Discussion Forum : Religion - Islam : Interfaith Dialogue
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Taiji_Tao
 
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Quote Taiji_Tao Replybullet Posted: 04 September 2011 at 4:22pm
2nd quote:

Section 23:
To talk little is natural.
High winds do not last all morning.
Heavy rain does not last all day.
Why is this?  Heaven and earth!
If Heaven and earth cannot make things eternal,
How is it possible for man?
He who follows Tao (God)
Is at one with Tao (God).
He who is virtuous
Experiences (God's) Virtue.
He who loses the Way (God's Way)
Feels lost.
When you are at one with the Tao (God),
The Tao (God) welcomes you.
When you are at one with (God's) Virtue, The Virtue is always there.
When you are at one with loss,
The loss is experienced willingly.
He who does not trust enough
Will not be trusted.

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Taiji_Tao
 
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Quote Taiji_Tao Replybullet Posted: 04 September 2011 at 4:27pm
I would like to post two more quotes for mutual understanding.

Section 53:
If I have even just a little sense,
I will walk on the main road (Way of God) and my only fear will be of straying from it.
Keeping to the main road is easy,
But people love to be sidetracked.
When the court is arrayed in splendor,
The fields are full of weeds,
And the granaries are bare.
Some wear gorgeous clothes,
Carry sharp swords,
And indulge themselves with food and drink;
They have more possessions than they can use.
They are robber barons.
This is certainly not the Way of Tao (God).
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Taiji_Tao
 
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Quote Taiji_Tao Replybullet Posted: 04 September 2011 at 4:34pm
Thank you for your patience.

Section 54:
What is firmly established cannot be uprooted.
What is firmly grasped cannot slip away.
It will be honored from generation to generation.
Cultivate (God's) Virtue in your self,
And (God's) Virtue will be real.
Cultivate it in the family,
And (Gods) Virtue will abound.
Cultivate it in the village,
And (Gods) Virtue will grow.
Cultivate it in the nation,
And (Gods) Virtue will be abundant.
Cultivate it in the universe,
And (Gods) Virtue will be everywhere.
Therefore look at the body as body;
Look at the family as family;
Look at the village as village;
Look at the nation as nation;
Look at the universe as universe.
How do I know the universe is like this?
By looking!

Peace and Blessings to all and again thank you for the time and patience of the moderator.

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ping_an
 
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Quote ping_an Replybullet Posted: 11 September 2011 at 12:37am
I just wanted to add some insight into "Islamispeace's" question on the translation of "Shang Di"

I am by no means an expert on Taoism or Islam, but both "speak" to me in different ways, though I sway more towards Taoism. Inshallah this will shed some light and I hope that I will be forgiven for any mistakes or inaccuracies in my account. Allahu Allem!

Shang Di is indeed mostly "translated" as "The Emperor in Heaven" or somewhere along those lines. In Taoism, God is considered more of a "force." Think about it this way: If you did not have a "Name" for God, like if the words Allah and God did not exist, how would you describe "him" ?

As pointed out earlier, in Taoism, God is formless. I believe Islam may agree to that. But regardless, what do you imagine when you hear the word God or Allah? (I am sorry if this is offensive, as I think some people will consider that Haram, to give God an image?) But I am just using this as an example to make my point and not to cause offence.
Coming from a Culturally Christian background (I am not actually Christian,) as kids or even adults, when they hear the word "God," they may think of someone sitting on a throne.. maybe with a long beard, something like that right?

By doing so, they have personified God. Another example, God is genderless, but many texts will say "He," when referring to God, even when you speak many people will do this. Taoism does not say it is neither right or wrong. Because the barrier here is language itself.. we try to refer to "Him" soomehow, without always saying Allah/God.

Also pointed out earlier (I don't know the exact quote by Taji) but it's something like "You can describe the Tao, but it is not the true Tao." It is trying to say that you can use all your words to try and describe what God is, but you will never be able to describe God entirely, because God is so great, greater than our language will ever be. But still you must try.

So, in Chinese culture, many people will refer to God as "Shang di," and it is when that person has personified the Tao. Others will say "Tian," meaning sky or in this case, Heavens. The "Heaven" in this case, is not limited to Paradise, or what is considered Heaven in the English language. It is referring more to the "Cosmic Energy" (God,) the "Force" which is behind the universe and all creation.

As for iAsk's original topic of this thread, I am confident that Taoism indeed mentions a heaven and a hell, though it's definition may vary from Christian or Islamic definitions of them. However, there are several schools of thought in Taoism and unfortunately I do not feel as confident in answering in that department. For example, one school says that it is very possible for your soul to redeem itself and leave Hell, but how I am not sure. As you see, this is contrary to what Islam says on the subject.

But in my personal experience, I have found there to be more similarities than not and indeed Taoism and Taoists will welcome anyone to be Taoists, without giving up their religion. As it is the majority view Taoism is not a religion per se, there is no conversion. The only requirement is that you believe in The One, which created the universe and everything in it, whether you call it God or Allah or Shang Di. I say that it is the only "Requirement," but of course you are recommended/Highly Encouraged try your best to follow how Dao De Ching (and other txts) says to lead a good life as a good person. Prayer and Cultivation is also a major part, but I do not wish to get toooo far off topic!

Again Allahu Aalem, I hope I did not mislead anyone and be forgiven for any mistake. I hope we all benefit from our discussion!
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islamispeace
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Quote islamispeace Replybullet Posted: 11 September 2011 at 11:25am
Thanks to both Taiji_Tao and ping_an for the explanations. 

Ping_an, I agree with much of what you have written.  However, concerning God and whether He is "formless", in Islamic thought, God does have a "form" and He does sit on a throne.  That does not mean He is confined to one space or that He has physical limitations.  One of the things Muslims look forward to in Paradise is actually being given the honor of "seeing" God.  However, here in this earthly life, God has not revealed Himself because His glory would consume us.  For example, in the Quran, the story is mentioned of when Moses (pbuh) requested that he be will look upon God:

"And when Moses came [to Mount Sinai] at the time set by Us, and his Sustainer spoke unto him, he said: "O my Sustainer! Show [Thyself] unto me, so that I might behold Thee!"

Said [God]: "Never canst thou see Me. However, behold this mountain: if it remains firm in its place, then - only then - wilt thou see Me."

And as soon as his Sustainer revealed His glory to the mountain, He caused it to crumble to dust; and Moses fell down in a swoon. And when he came to himself, he said: "Limitless art Thou in Thy glory! Unto Thee do I turn in repentance; and I shall [always] be the first to believe in Thee!" (7:143)         

So, in our current earthly existence, we cannot possibly look upon our Lord, but in Paradise, it will be a different story:

"Some faces will on that Day be bright with happiness, (23) looking up to their Sustainer; (24) and some faces will on that Day be overcast with despair, (25) knowing that a crushing calamity is about to befall them." (75:22-25)

Of course, what you said about trying to form an "image" of God is certainly true.  We should not do that simply because we don't know what He "looks" like nor has He given us permission to do that.  The idolaters are more concerned with "images".  A true believer shuns such ideas. 
Say: "Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. (Surat al-Anaam: 162)

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honeto
 
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Quote honeto Replybullet Posted: 12 September 2011 at 2:58pm
Salam,
I find this topic very interesting and everyone's input very informative. Taiji, I am very glad to have you here at the forum, as you bring to our knowledge things that are not just new but interesting to a Muslim like myself.
In essence and in truth all guidance came from Allah, it was people who made it what it became at the end. Allah kept sending the same guidance complete and pure finally in the form of the Quran.
May Allah guide and help us all, in gaining knowledge and thus making better judgement.
Hasan

Edited by honeto - 12 September 2011 at 3:18pm
39:64 Proclaim: Is it some one other than God that you order me to worship, O you ignorant ones?"
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Taiji_Tao
 
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Quote Taiji_Tao Replybullet Posted: 12 September 2011 at 3:37pm
Salam Honeto,

  You are most welcome.  It is a most interesting and fascinating discussion, Taoism has a recorded history of over 6,000 years and as some may know, China and the Middle East in particular Persia and Arabia were very close partners with all forms of trade, not just economic.  Even Muhammad (pbuh) said that Muslims must seek truth and knowledge even if they have to go as far as China.  Muhammad (pbuh) himself made many trips to China early in his career with the caravan. 

  Again, it is a discussion that I most enjoy having. 


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786SalamKhan
 
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Quote 786SalamKhan Replybullet Posted: 30 December 2012 at 5:47am
Asalamualaikum,

Taiji_Tao your points interest me but what about Chapter 4 of the Tao Te Ching when it says "It is older than God..." and another statement when it says "The Tao gives birth to One, One gives birth to Two, Two gives birth to Three. Three gives birth to all things..."
How are they compatible with Islam when it says God came after the Tao and also the Tao Te Ching denies Oneness of the Tao?

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