THE SILSILAH PRAYER: IN THE SPIRIT OF RAMADHAN | August 15, 2012
In the spirit of Ramadhan we wish to share in this Oasis News the experience of prayer that has been always part of the spirit of Silsilah. In 1984, the Silsilah Dialogue Movement started its experience of dialogue, inviting Muslim and Christian friends for time of spontaneous prayer helping them to reflect together on some quotations on the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Bible. This inspired them to move together on the path to dialogue towards harmony, solidarity and peace. In the spirit of Ramadhan we wish to share in this Oasis News the experience of prayer that has been always part of the spirit of Silsilah. In 1984, the Silsilah Dialogue Movement started its experience of dialogue, inviting Muslim and Christian friends for time of spontaneous prayer helping them to reflect together on some quotations on the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Bible. This inspired them to move together on the path to dialogue towards harmony, solidarity and peace. The experience has been always approved and encouraged by many Muslim and Christian leaders who understand the Silsilah Prayer as a “link of people who believe in the love of God and the Love of neighbor and together express solidarity”. Normally, in this prayer one of the Muslim participants recites the “Al-Fatiha” and one of the Christian participants recites the “Our Father”. These are two basic prayers that introduce moments of reflection, supported by the quotations of the Holy Bible and the Holy Qur’an.
In the year 2000 when the President of the Philippines Joseph Estrada proclaimed the “Total War” in Mindanao, we in Silsilah understood that the move was an additional problem to divide the Muslims and Christians. Thus, we decided to launch an interfaith initiative called “HARMONY CHAIN INITIATIVE”, from Mindanao to the world. We started to promote the Harmony Prayer which was before only among us and become bigger challenge to reach to the rest of the world. This is an interfaith initiative for meditation and prayer for dialogue and peace and a spiritual chain of people of different cultures and religions. The initiative is inspiring people across the globe. peace and a spiritual chain of people of different cultures and religions. The initiative is inspiring people across the globe. Many use the Harmony Prayer and the popular prayer song that presents the same message accompanied by the music of Nonong Buencamino. This song has now become popular in many parts of the world. The Harmony Prayer has been translated in many languages (see them in the websites www.silsilahdialogue.com or www.harmonylink.info). Today as we continue to practice the initiative, among the Silsilah family we freely invite the working staff to join at the beginning of the day’s work to this spontaneous prayer. It is an experience that helps the staff to start the day with the proper Silsilah spirit. We also know that in other places in the Philippines and in other countries friends, scholars and groups are praying inspired by the Harmony Chain Initiative. We are also happy to know that 138 Muslim respected scholars of the world have sent an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders of the world, inviting Muslims and Christians to join together for peace indicating the way of “love”. The love of God and the love of neighbor inspired by the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Bible and we are delighted because this open letter is very close to the spirit of Silsilah and for sure will inspire everyone to choose the way of “Love” sustain by prayer. This is the spirit of Ramadhan and the Christians spirit that we have to promote always in spite of continuous misunderstanding, conflicts and divisions. In some occasions people ask to us if it’s possible that the Muslims and Christians pray together and our answer is YES! It is possible! The spontaneous prayer that the Muslims called Dwa’h is in fact being practiced and is normally used even in official meeting in the Philippines and other parts of the world. Although for the official prayer we have to follow the guidelines according to our own religion. Prayer can sustain people in their spiritual life and encourage us to work for the common good. The message that we wish to share to the readers is that prayer and meditation is important for the Muslims and Christians and people of other living faiths. Confident that in the spirit of prayer we can find the strength and determination to re-discover the love of God and move together with our neighbors and to be ready to call each other brothers and sisters.