Pakistan has a rich history of religious diversity that imbues it with a strong presence of mysticism. For centuries, the mystical and spiritual aspects of religious have served as a pillar of multi-ethnic, multi-religious peaceful society, where propagation of religious and ethnic diversity, inter faith harmony prevailed.
Different religious present schools of thought and the underlying concepts vary even within one religion. Islam Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions have a diversity of beliefs yet their core concept is the same: the human aspect. This aspect becomes the basis of establishing a social life where human values such as respect for each other’s traditions and desire for peace are strong.
The major religion in Pakistan is Islam 95.51 percent, Christianity 2082 percent, Hinduism 1.88 percent, Sikhism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and the Baha’i Faith. All these religions have proposed in harmony. This harmony was apparent in the celebration of festivals, shared cultural practices, and peaceful coexistence. The message of love and brotherhood was outstanding and was expressed by all religions and cultures.
This galaxy of faiths has given birth to a spiritual heritage that teaches the concepts of peaceful coexistence and mutual respect of fellow human beings and their respective religious philosophies. Whether it’s the gathering of the faithful bowing in prayer in the courtyard of a mosque or the gathering of lamps that lit up houses at Diwali; the joy of Christmas or the brotherhood of Baisakhi, all were celebrated with shared emotions. This sharing brought people together uniting them in the common brotherhood and amity of mankind.
Inter-religion harmony and mutual appreciation are connected as the core of every religious tradition as respect for others, humility and embracing the basic unity and diversity of all religions. This tradition of respect develops a mutual understanding among followers of different faiths.
The foundation lay down by our ancestors for unity and peaceful coexistence should be built upon. The South Asian region that was dominated by Sufism and other spiritual movements for centuries should be celebrated.
The history of social and communal harmony, religious tolerance and love of humanity is much older and more widespread then the history of hatred and conflict, and so it should be presented with elaboration and focus.
By focusing on spiritual ideologies practices of all religions, the book aims to explore the attraction and the impact of spiritual heritage on Pakistan’s culture. The work intends to respond creatively to the profound social changes and scientific technologies making the world into a global village while its people are puzzled with dual and often divided identities.
We hope that the joint venture of Heinrich Boll Stiftung and SARRC partnership will highlight the centuries old interfaith harmony on the region.