Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Funeral Prayers


I was completely taken back when I wished prayers for a friend’s mother today. He was from a different faith, and deleted my message on Facebook with an apology. I understood it; we all have to deal with our friends who may have difficulty in seeing goodness coming from others.

As a society we need to grow up, and not get bogged down with petty details. Pope Francis said it well, “The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules.”

If you translate the Funeral prayers from Sanskrit, Arabic, Hebrew, Pali, Latin and other languages into English – it simply means well. You wish peace for the deceased and express that you care for those who are alive.

Over the years, I have recited Jewish, Hindu, Jain, Zoroastrian, Christian, Sikh and Muslim prayers on different occasions when my respective friends could not make it, and I would recite prayers from every religious tradition. If I am alone on the Himalayas or in the Jungles of Amazon, and a person gets sick around me and wanted someone to pray, I will honor that person with his beliefs – I will recite and chant the prayers that comforts that individual. I may not bow to an idol or bow in front of the cross, but I will recite the prayers. Have you ever translated a prayer and understood what it means?

Upon my Mother’s death, Bible, Bhagvad Gita and Quran were recited. Of course my mother had Zoroastrian and Jain friends, not sure if they did something. There were no Jews and Sikhs in my town then.  Upon my late wife’s death, everyone from Baha’i to Zoroastrians and everyone in between prayed and attended the funeral prayers at the mosque to pay their tributes.

I am not alone, there are many like me who would do that, wouldn’t you? I expect at least 2/3rds of the population to do that and respect those who won’t.

I perform interfaith weddings and my sermons are customized to suit the religious traditions of the bride and the groom.

Over the years, at the Unity Day events, we have experimented different combinations for people to be in other’s shoes, and almost everyone felt good about it.

A full article and sample prayers with English translations will be uploaded in a few weeks at this site – and

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at He believes in Standing up for others and has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site indexes all his work through many links.

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