WASHINGTON DC: Men and women from the Muslim and Vaishnava faiths met in Washtington D.C. for the state’s first Vaishnava-Muslim interfaith dialogue. The topic chosen for the dialogue was ‘The Name of God.’ “Reverence for God’s name is an important aspect of both traditions, and we thought it was something around which we could share commonalities, understand differences, and learn from each other,” one attendee said.
One Muslim spoke about how Muslims emphasize remembrance of God, and chant what they call the 99 Beautiful Names of God. These are divided into two broad categories: one comprises God’s majestic aspects and includes names meaning The Creator, The Provider, The Source of All, and The King. The other addresses God’s beauty, and includes names meaning The Generous One, The Loving One, and The Patient One. Some of the Vaishnavas in the group commented on how the two categories of God’s names in the Islamic tradition corresponded to their tradition’s glorification of both God’s Aishvarya nature, or opulence, and his Madhurya nature, or beauty and sweetness.
A Hindu speaker also presented The Name of God from the Vaishnava perspective. He related that while Vaishnavas have many different names for God—the Bhagavad-gita contains more than forty, and the Vishnu Sahashranama lists no less than one thousand—they hold the name “Krishna” especially dear. Still, they have great respect for all names of God.
Read more: Communal Harmony