IAIS Malaysia

Past Events

Round Table Discussion on Spiritual Heritage of Mankind

Day/Date/Time: Tuesday, 17 December 2013, 10:30am

Venue: International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia

 Spiritual Heritage

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On 17 December 2013, IAIS Malaysia in conjunction with the Association of Voices for Peace, Conscience and Reason (PCORE) organized a Round Table Discussion on “Spiritual Heritage of Mankind”. The main discussants were Datin Halimah Mohd Said (PCORE, who delivered the Welcome Remarks), Prof Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Dr Chandra Muzaffar, Rev. Dr. Herman Shastri, Mother Mangalam, Mr Johnny Ng (from Soka Gakkai) and Ms Omna Sreeni-Ong, followed by open discussions. A common theme running throughout the discussion was the distinction between religion and spirituality. The essence of spirituality is the relationship between man and the divine, giving rise to the notion of transcendence and the sacred. More often than not, spirituality is expressed through particular religions, albeit differently, though spirituality itself can’t exist outside religious experience. Various verses of the Qur’an clearly censured outward ritual devoid of inner meaning. There are also hadiths pointing to the same direction, e.g. that the destruction of the Ka’bah is less tragic than the death of a single child. The emphasis of spirituality should be on the transformation of society, such as the alleviation of poverty and elimination of inequality. There is in fact no separation between the spiritual and the secular, a separation that only came quite recently, as a legacy of the European Enlightenment of the 18th century. Interfaith dialogues should be distinguished from the quest for spiritual affinities in all religions towards social transformation because interfaith dialogues take as a starting point the existence of different religions, whereas the commonality project stresses the same spiritual core underneath the said religions. Towards this end, there must also be a healthy tradition of self-criticism from within religion. In the Christian context, this goes by the name of ecumenical movement. A good example is the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) himself, whose harsh criticisms were often against his own people.

Contact Information

International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia
Jalan Elmu, Off Jalan Universiti 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Contact: Ms. Nurul Uyun
Tel: +603-7956 9188  Fax: +603-7956 2188 / +603-7956 2966  Email: reply@iais.org.my

Quotable Quotes

Today the real test of power is not capacity to make war, but capacity to prevent it - Anne O'Hare McCormick

Humour Without Malice

A man who was an adherent of the Magian religion died and left behind a huge debt. Some of his creditors said to his son, "Sell the house and pay off your father's debt." The son said, "If I sell the house and pay off his debt, will he enter paradise?" They said, "No". He said, "Then leave him wherever he is and leave me in the house."


In the name of God, I put my trust in God. O God, I seek refuge in Thee lest I stray or be led astray or cause injustice or suffer injustice or do wrong or have wrong done to me!- Hadith: Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2, Number 67b.

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