By Mike Ghouse
While entering the prayer hall for Eid at the Louisville convention centre, two police officers were at the entrance, I walked up to them and appreciated their presence in safeguarding the well being of the congregants, and said my tradition calls for appreciating all those who put their lives at risk for the sake of others.... He was moved by it, who does not want to be appreciated? How often do we thank those who care for our safety?
I showed him the piece on my iPad, always ready to share and speak, and emailed him to his cell phone while talking, he loved that picture with police, fire and army men saluting… and then he turned around and emailed to his friends in appreciation. When I came out of the hall, both the men had smiles on their faces... among some thousand, they spotted me… they had shared it with many more...
I sent the email to Mayor Greg Fischer with whom I met in Eid al Fitr (Ramadan) and police and fire chiefs ... it took me an hour to get their emails...tracking down the right people. To me my eid would be complete if I contributed towards building relationships, while a few rascals among us are hung up with people of other faiths, we must continue to do the goodwill work and build relationships.
I had the emails of Police Chiefs and Fire Marshals in Dallas area as they participated in our annual Unity Day USA event, but did not have the ones for in Louisville, Kentucky, where I spend the Eid with my wife. Unlike in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran or Saudi Arabia where people do not associate with police, we do it here, they are a part of our (American) community, and their #1 goal is the safety of the public and many have died in doing their job in keeping us humanly safe.
It reinforced the role of Muslims to me; to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill, fulfilling the first and foremost of the Sunnah; to be Amin among fellow beings. Remember, it was not MUSLIMS whom the prophet earned that title from, and that is the first Sunnah we need to follow before any other Sunnah. It is the foundation upon which Islam stands.
May be I should go around and deliver Jumma Khutba tour to talk about being the Amin, I know Muslims are craving to hear about connecting with the society and creating a better environment for all of us, it is time we pay more attention to the first Sunnah.
I have a full article on the topic pending with Huffington post and there is a quote from Muhammad Yunus and Dr. Tariq Cheema in it as well. I will continue to ask every one of the Muslim leaders as well as all the Muslims in my groups to please take a minute to write a sentence to be quoted for publication in Major mainstream papers as well as Muslim publications. My friend Dr. Pervaz Rahman in Dallas is well connected with the people of all faiths without barriers, and he said, he shared it with his friends and hope we get to share the feedback as well, and I know Dr. Basheer Ahmed and several of my friends on Facebook and other groups share this.... an overwhelming majority of Muslims are Pluralists like the Prophet, peace be upon him, who respected every one and set some extraordinary citizenship models to follow. Every Muslim can recite those examples.
Salam us per ke jis nay be kason ki dastagiri ki
Peace be upon him, who helped the helpless
A Muslim should evoke peace and safety in every one around us. No one should feel unsafe if we sit next to someone in the plane, bus or the train or in a movie theatre or a dining room even with our beards (last of the Sunnah to follow) or our cultural clothing or full Hijab. They should feel safe enough to rather sit with us in public places, and I hope a day will come when a single woman, a senior or a woman with children would rather sit near a Muslim to have that sense of safety by being with an Amin, the trust worthy and the truthful. And for that we have to work, in our daily lives. Our Imams need to focus on making us Amins first before we don the externalities on us to show that we are Muslims.
All we have to do is follow the Sunnah in the order in which prophet delivered to us, should not go to the 2nd Sunnah until we have passed the first one, where Christians, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs and others believe that Muslims speak truth and nothing but truth, they have no barriers for others, they will stand up for every one for the sake of justice… then we go to the 2nd Sunnah…Islam ought to be taught in that fashion.
The first thing to go out of our minds is religious barriers. We should shed arrogance in us that God shines his lights on us exclusively, no, God shines his light on all of his creation, the best among us are those who respect his creation by knowing each other, and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of them.
All of us are God’s creation (Rabbul Aalameen's Mukhlookh), and the Model Amins like Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Rama, Mahavira, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Nanak, Bahaullah, and several others who dawned on in every community to restore Dharma. We have to restore the meaning of Amin and every one of us must be an Amin. Ameen!
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Mike Ghouse is committed to being an Amin, and offers daily pluralistic solutions at www.TheGhousediary.com