It is time for us to begin addressing the unity within the Muslim community and with the communities of the world for building cohesive societies, where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.
To have the power to effect a positive change in a given society one must be just. It is not justice when one gains at the wrongful expense of the others. Many a Muslims have lost the gut in their voice because they have failed to stand up for others.
Three things are required to earn the grace of God: belief in God, belief in the Messengers and accountability of our actions towards creating peaceful societies. Anyone who submits to these ideals is broadly defined as a Muslim – someone who subscribes to the idea of oneness of humanity, to talk, act and feel like one family who lives cohesively with the given differences for the good of the family. Every Muslim that I know of, and that is a lot of Muslims in every denomination is driven by the Shahada- the pledge; That God is one and Prophet Muhammad is his last messenger.
RAMADAN COHESIONLet's start cleaning our hearts from prejudice and judgment against our own and everyone else. If the self appointed guardians of Islam cannot unite us to do good for humanity, let them not divide us either. Let there be no politics in religion. Let us fulfill a major task God assigns to humanity, the best among you is the one who knows each other and cares for the other.
RAMADAN THIS YEAR
Muslims always talk about unity but may not mean it, there is no significant action to support it. I am in Dallas and ask at least two individuals (men and women) from each denomination to go as a group in visiting a Mosque a day. Since most of you cannot make it every day, I would urge us to gather together a total of eight times on the weekends and we visit the following Mosques – Ahmadiyya, Bohra, Ismaili, Shia, Sufi, Sunni, Warith Deen Muhammad. If you are not in Dallas, please make an effort to visit every possible denomination. Please make an effort to bring people of other faiths to join, just to be a part of the Ramadan friendship circle.
We will learn about our experiences and share with each other and others. We will also learn about respecting the otherness of other and accepting the God given uniqueness that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had prophesized. I will be happy to be the scribe and get them published. Alhamdu Lillah, I was blessed to have done that last year and add to that the Suhoor at Imam Bukhari’s house in Jerusalem and the prayers at Al-Aqsa. Except the Ismaili congregation I have visited most diversity humanly possible. Insha Allah we will complete the circle this year.
Islam is large enough to absorb all the strands. Indeed, we can see the wisdom in the Prophet's predictions that we will divide ourselves into 73 tribes. He understood the human fitra (nature) and prepared us to accept it instead of making arrogant claim to be the best, the best among us is the one who is pious and who serves humanity.
Each one of the strands is serving the humanity. As a Sunni, I can value the work of Shia Muslims in carrying their tradition faithfully, and I appreciate the work Ahmadiyya Muslims are serving the humanity, feeding the hungry and being neighborly. As a Sunni, I admire the selfless work done by the Ismaili Muslim Community to uplift humanity. As a Sunni, I love the bridge building work being done by the Warith Deen Muhammad Muslims. And as a Muslim, I salute the major funding of education in India by Bohra Muslim Azim Premji. The list is endless.
There is indeed a net gain for Islam collectively, and we must appreciate them all. Islam is universal; it absorbs all of us in its embrace.
If Muslims can stand up for everyone on a principled basis, then our voices will carry the moral weight necessary to bring a positive change for the entire humanity including us. Prophet Muhammad has given us a model to emulate: The Amin, the just, the truthful and the trustworthy to build just societies for humanity.
LINK TO THIS NOTE - http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/2011/07/ramadan-cohesion-2011.html
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Mike Ghouse is committed to nourish the pluralistic values enshrined in Islam. His work is indexed at www.MikeGhouse.net