In 2005 we had a major interfaith round table conference; it was a five-day conference with 50 participants representing different religious traditions. The event was organized by Maryann Thompson-Frenk of Memnosyne Foundation in Dallas, Texas
The capstone program was done at the Botanical Gardens in Dallas, and the challenge was each one was to say a “2/3” minute prayer. The native Americans got the exception to take Five minutes. I was representing Islam and scrambled. The group wanted to see how prayers were performed in each faith, and just reciting Fatiha did not do justice.
I decided to go with ONE Rakat Namaz. You guessed it right; I faced extreme opposition. My late wife said she would not join me, but finally, she did.
So I did the ONE Rakat – it was in Arabic and English. My niyya, the intent was to show how Muslims pray to Non-Muslims, and I asked God to forgive me if I am wrong for taking this step.
I must say that this was one of the most profound prayers I have prayed. I was deeply connected to the creator in those 2/3 minutes. I wish I could pray like that again. I cherish that connection.
Then in 2009, I was in the parliament of world religions in Melbourne, Australia. I gave several presentations on understanding the essence of the Quran. Then I was in a Jewish conclave. The Chief Rabbi Rosenberg of Israel invited me to be the only non-jew among Jews, and then I was the only non-Sikh among the Sikhs conclave. I thank God every day; I have no barrier between other humans and me.
Here comes this Muslim woman Scholar from Riyadh; she explained how Muslims perform their prayers and asked for a volunteer to do ONE Rakaat demonstration prayer. Guess who volunteered?
Islam is all about common sense and creating “peaceful” societies. To regularly restore harmony to an individual and cohesiveness with what surrounds one. If it is not common sense, then it is not Islam.
The first picture is me praying One Rakat; 2nd picture is with the Saudi Muslim woman scholar, she runs a prominent Islamic Institution in Riyadh. I don’t remember her name.