Same Day, Different Planet
by Sheila Musaji
Narrated An-Nu’man bin Bashir: “The Prophet said, “The example of the person abiding by Allah’s order and restrictions in comparison to those who violate them is like the example of those persons who drew lots for their seats in a boat. Some of them got seats in the upper part, and the others in the lower. When the latter needed water, they had to go up to bring water (and that troubled the others), so they said, ‘Let us make a hole in our share of the ship (and get water) saving those who are above us from troubling them. So, if the people in the upper part left the others do what they had suggested, all the people of the ship would be destroyed, but if they prevented them, both parties would be safe.”” Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 44, Number 673
What does this have to do with our time and place? What does this have to do with Muslims in America and the West? What does this have to do with America? What does this have to do with humanity?
On Christmas day, Muslims and Jews worked together on “Mitzvah Day” in Detroit to aid the needy.
On Christmas day, members of Utah’s Jewish and Muslim communities spent the day delivering food to senior citizens and care packages to refugee families.
On Christmas day, in Richmond, VA, Muslims and Christians worked together to feed the homeless.
On Christmas day, 17,000 Muslims came to Metro Toronto’s Convention Centre for the “Reviving the Islamic Spirit” conference which Imam Johari Abdul Malik opened with the statement: ”... “Maybe it’s time to save the ship to say that I am going to take an oath to be non-violent, and that I refuse as a Muslim to kill another Muslim and also as a Muslim to defend the rights of others.” He added that he thought Islam should not be practised as it was 10 centuries ago.” Clips from various lectures can be seen here.
On Christmas day, Fizza Razvi, an American Muslim published an article My View: Remember Jesus as reason for Christmas in the Wisconsin Rapids newspaper.
This week ”... hundreds of senior Nigerian faith leaders gathered in a crowded hotel conference room to launch Faiths United for Health - a cooperative effort between Muslim and Christian communities in Nigeria to combat malaria, a disease that kills over a quarter of a million people each year in that country alone. At the launch, the Sultan of Sokoto, the most powerful Islamic leader in Nigeria, and the Archbishop of Abuja, his counterpart among Christians, stood together as leaders of the project and partners in the ambitious and lifesaving work that the campaign will undertake.”
This week, Temple Shalom opened in Fayetteville, AK after Fadil Bayyari, a contractor in Fayetteville, Arkansas who immigrated from Tulkarem in the West Bank heard about the difficulties the local Jewish community was having in building a Synagogue, and stepped in and offered to help the Jewish community by offering his contracting services free of charge, thus saving them about $250,000 in expenses and allowing the project to go forward.
This week in Jerusalem, “The scene was stunning. At the Druze shrine of Nebi Shueib, against the backdrop of a gleaming snow-capped Mount Hermon, the green mountains and blue sea of the Galilee, kaffiyed Muslim imams and ulema, moustachioed Druze sheikhs, black-hatted rabbis and Christian clergy in various colourful garb, mingled together in animated discussion. This meeting, which took place earlier this week, was the third for the Council of Religious Leaders in Israel, an organisation established two years ago at a founding gathering hosted by the Chief of Rabbis of Israel at the headquarters of the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem. At that meeting, more than a hundred participants—including leaders from six different faiths and more than a dozen different denominations—signed a pledge for interfaith cooperation and mutual respect based upon a recognition of a common humanity flowing from the Faith in One Creator of All. The second meeting had been hosted in Kafr Kara by the Muslim community and focused on the role of religious leadership in combating violence in society. It was similarly attended by the highest official religious leadership and local political authorities.”
And,— on Christmas day, a criminal Nigerian Muslim man attempted to blow up an airliner in Detroit. U.S. Muslims hailed the heroism of the passengers who foiled his attempt. — this week, five Somali American youth were arrested for attempting to join an extremist group in Pakistan.
Whether or not we as a community will be able to overwhelm this criminal element in our midst remains to be seen, but the other Christmas day and Christmas week stories are the stories that need to be multiplied a thousand fold. The majority of Muslims must be visible and active in making this world a better place. We must find ways to stop those who are drilling holes in the bottom of the boat which we all share.