SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 – THE Muslim Story and A strategy for Coping – Part Two

Nov 5, 2001

MUSLIMS: A PEOPLE WITH A MISSION

The very first thing the Muslims must know is that they are a people with a mission.

And, even though at the present we are talking mostly about North America, this mission really transcends geography – as well as time.

That means, no matter where the Muslims are geographically, and no matter at what particular point they are in history, this was, is and always will be their mission.

The essence of that mission is this: To treat the people around them in the most wonderful, helpful, courteous, caring and respectful manner and, in the process, show a better way of life.

A cleaner, healthier and more wholesome way of life altogether. A way of life whose foundations are peace within oneself; peace with God; and peace with God’s creation all around.

And – as a result – a way of life that creates peace on earth.

And justice.

And fairness.

And compassion.

And, above all else, truth – what the Qur’an calls Haqq.

For one and for all.

For friend as well as for foe.

For Muslims as well as for non-Muslims.

Muslims cannot escape this mission, regardless of where they are.

Or at what point in history they are.

And Muslims must carry out this mission through both practice and precept.

Through personal example as well as through teaching and explanation. But no matter how they do it, it must be done in a manner that is user-friendly.

For, that is the way of Islam: user-friendliness. Islam is the ultimate user-friendly system of thought, belief and behaviour in the world.

As a result, the way of life advocated by Islam is based on genuine love, respect and concern: not only for self but also for others.

And on endless patience and perseverance.

And it embodies a spirit of great gentleness, and kindness, and tact

And great sensitivity.

Always taking the high road.

Always saying the good word.

Always using the nobler style and approach.

As the Qur’an requires people to do. All people in general, and Muslims in particular.

And as the Rasool, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, showed them how.

One way to do this is to bring to as many people as possible knowledge and understanding.

For, knowledge is a key requirement of human life on earth.

For, knowledge is a fundamental human need, on the fulfilment of which the satisfactory fulfilment of all other needs depends.

Knowledge is the light that illumines the path of life that people must travel. It is the power that enables them to do it.

Knowledge is also the compass that determines their direction and guides their steps.

As a result, without knowledge people are blind, powerless and lost.

Muslims, therefore, have a mission — a universal and eternal mission – to bring to people the simple, direct and accurate knowledge of two things:

a) What Islam is, and how it is directly, immediately and in a compelling manner related to what people are and do in their daily lives?

b) Who and what the Muslims are, both here and globally?

There are numerous ways to do this.

The exact method and means of doing this would change from place to place, situation to situation and from time to time. But what would remain unaltered across time and space is the basic nature and importance of this mission This is an enormous burden that Muslims carry on their shoulders. This, in a sense, is the debt Muslims owe to all others in this world – right here in North America and all over the world.

This the mission of Islam and Muslims on earth.

AN OPEN HOUSE FOR YOUR MOSQUE

One way for Muslims in North America to accomplish this mission is to throw open the doors of their mosques to non-Muslims on a regular basis.

Muslims need to remind themselves constantly that non-Muslims are their neighbours. And neighbours in Islam have rights.

Unbeknownst to many modern-day Muslims – and non-Muslims – “neighbourliness” is a fundamental concept in Islam. In fact, it is one of Islam’s most powerful and revolutionary contributions to human culture and civilization.

The first lesson for Muslims to learn in this regard is the fact that their neighbours, regardless of their religion or race, share with them their creator.

Whether they believe in it or not, all human beings are the creation of the same one true God. Regardless of whether the colour of their wool is black or white, they are all sheep owned by the same master. They are all part of God’s flock.

Additionally, humans also have a common origin. Looked at from what is generally referred to as a religious viewpoint, they are all children of Adam and his spouse, bound together by ties of blood.

Even from the point of view of secular science, humans, to the extent science is able to determine with any degree of confidence or certainty at this time in history, share a common origin.

Muslims must also learn that neighbours, Muslim as well as non-Muslim, are those who happen to share with them this particular spot on God’s earth in this particular portion of God’s time.

Together, they are companions on this common journey called life – Muslims and non-Muslims, all neighbours together, sharing common space and time.

A journey whose common origin is God.

A journey whose common destination is God.

For, it is to God, as the Qur’an points out that all humans belong, and it is to him that they all shall return.

Not just that. Human beings are also very special creation of God, even the seemingly least and worst among them. In fact, more special and extraordinary than words can describe or most human minds can comprehend.

God almighty made humans exalted and special: wa la qad karramna bani aadama: “And indeed we gave the children of Adam a position of great dignity and honour,” says the Qur’an.

All humans – without exception of colour or creed.

And then there is the fact, recorded in the Qur’an, of God creating Adam with his own two hands – how much honour and dignity does that confer on the human race?

And then, when God finished shaping Adam’s form from tinkling, smelly clay, he also breathed in him his spirit.

Humans, all humans irrespective of religion, race or gender, are heirs to that incomprehensible divine legacy.

Based on all this, how much more exalted or special can an individual human being possibly become?

And where is the room at this most basic human level for distinction between Muslim and non-Muslim, male and female?

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