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Children of one God

God doesn?t reside in a temple, mosque or chapel. He lives in the heart of each one of us.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 15:54 IST

It wasan unusual Friday sermon in one of the South Delhi mosques. The Imam was narrating a unique experience, in obvious deviation from the regular theme. He had gone to Chandigarh for some personal work and was deeply disappointed to find a lock on the door of his friend's house. It was dawn and a bit chilly out in the open.

As he stood wondering what to do, he heard a woman's voice calling out to him from the first floor of the house. He was a little reluctant but then decided to go up. It transpired that the lady had seen him visiting her neighbours on earlier occasions and knew him by face. Since the neighbours were away she wanted to extend some hospitality.

While the Imam chatted with the husband, the lady quickly prepared tea, heated water for ablution and laid out a clean sheet for the Imam's prayer. Much to the Imam's surprise, the lady had laid out the sheet in her own puja room. Opening up the family prayer room was much more than an act of magnanimity. It was obliterating the barrier separating man from man. It was an acknowledgement as well as a reminder that we are children ofthe same God. The gesture was overwhelming for the Imam. He had never experienced anything like this before.

"There is a lesson for all of us in this," said the Imam, and I could see heads nodding in agreement and perhaps in appreciation, of the generosity shown. It was a positive message that went down well with the devout.

Human relationships are a vital facet of spirituality. Tolerance and consideration have been the spiritual strength of the Sufis who understood and practiced the essence of the Prophet's tradition. A story is often told of how the Prophet allowed a Christian delegation to pray in his mosque. Some of his traditions are recited with great fervour but are often absent in practice. We have to realise that accommodation is the panacea to all conflicts.

First Published: Feb 15, 2006 15:15 IST