The Institute of Oriental Philosophy

Dr. Shihab Ghanem gave a lecture on "Al Fatihah―The Opening Chapter of the Quran"
On June 6, 2015, the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP) organized a lecture titled, “Al Fatihah―The Opening Chapter of the Quran” by Dr. Shihab M. A. Ghanem and Dr. Waddhah Ghanem held at the Central Tower of Soka University.

In his speech, Dr. Shihab Ghanem presented some similarities between Nichiren Buddhism and Islam. He mentioned that, as Buddhism also suggests, Islam proposes the idea of the eternity of life, the equality of all life, and emphasizes the importance of harmony and coexistence with other religions. He went on to explain that in Islam Jihad does not refer to war or combat but rather to an inner struggle with oneself.

Following his speech, Dr. Waddhah Ghanem gave a summary of Al Fatifah, which is the opening chapter of the Quran. He explained that Al Fatifah has multiple names such as “The Mother of the Quran,” “The Seven Oft-repeated Ones,” “The Complete One,” “The One that Suffices,” and “The Curing One,” indicating that it is the most essential part of the Quran. He also mentioned that Al Fatifah praises and appreciates Allah as the source of absolute and infinite mercy and recognizes Allah as king, master, or sovereign on the Day of Judgement. He added that we human beings have desires and can easily be swayed by the negative forces within us, but that Allah guides us to the correct path.    

In a question and answer session, Dr. Waddhah Ghanem commented that mankind was created as a collective and that we cannot live on our own, which is why Islam teaches us to contribute to society. Therefore, whatever is good for society is considered good for individuals.

To the question of the meaning of prayer in Islam, Dr. Shihab Ghanem replied that through prayer, we can directly communicate with Allah and cleanse ourselves. He stressed that we must always remember that God sees us even if we do not see him. Dr. Waddhah said that God created a spirit and gave it to man. In this sense, we all have God’s spirit, and all human beings are therefore equal.

Dr. Shihab M. A. Ghanem is a poet, translator and scholar from Dubai, UAE. To date, he has published over 50 books, including 14 collected poems in Arabic, a collected poem in English and 20 collected poems translated from English to Arabic and Arabic to English. Dr. Ghanem also directed and worked on the Arabic edition of SGI President Ikeda’s book, Fighting for Peace (Dubai, 2014). He carries out research on Al Fatihah togetherwith his son, Dr. Waddhah S. Ghanem.

Organizer: The Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP)
Lecturer: Dr. Shihab M. A. Ghanem and Dr. Waddhah S. Ghanem
Venue: Soka University, Central Tower
Date: June 6, 2015

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