02 Sep President Eidul Adha Message – Obliteration of Racism
For every religion We have appointed rites which they perform. So, [O Muhammad], let the disbelievers not contend with you over the matter but invite them to your Lord. Indeed, you are upon straight guidance.
Qur’an, Surah Al-Haj, Verse 67:
Eid Mubarak to all of you. Kullu Am Wa An-tum Bi-Khair.
My dear brothers and sisters, Allah Al wadood The Loving One. Through His love, He has bestowed on us infinite blessings. And one of His blessings is the Hajj. Performing Hajj is the rite Allah SWT has bestowed on us Muslims. Let me start with a beautiful illustration of Hajj given by
Malcom-x: “There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and the non-white. […] I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass and slept in the same bed (or on the same rug)-while praying to the same God with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of the blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the actions and in the deeds of the ‘white’ Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana. We are truly all the same – brothers. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” [Malcolm X on his Hajj experience]
Over 2 million Muslims from every corner of the globe have performed the Hajj. The Hajj is the 5th pillar of Islam and reenacts the rituals of the prophet Abraham (pubh) and his family. The Hajj has many dimensions, one of which is that the Hajj completely obliterates racism and terror.
The Hajj, through its requirements to shed all outward symbols of distinction, to don the simplest of garbs, to perform together the same ritual at the same time and same place, forces us men and women to come together and realize that we are all equal in the eyes of God, The Most Glorious (Al-Majid). For those performing the Hajj, cutting down of trees and killing of animals, let alone hurting fellow men and women, are strictly prohibited. The Hajj instills in us a deep consciousness 1) that peace is our natural state, 2) that we are but one among a vast multitude, 3) that we are no superior than our fellow man and woman, and 4) that only God The One (Al-Wahid) stands above us all.
Last month, we watched with disbelief as white supremacists took to the streets and chanted anti-Muslim, anti-semitic and racist propaganda. We watched in horror as one of them rammed his car into the crowd of counter-protesters killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens. We felt a deep sense of anxiety as many among our leaders failed to condemn such acts of terror, antithetical to the very nature of who we are as a nation. To believe, to feel and to state that one is superior to another, because of skin color or origin, is nothing short than satanic. In the Holy Qur’an, God Almighty recounts the arrogance of Satan, the first racist. Satan felt he was better than Adam because of his origin and for that God The Wise (Al-Hakim) humiliated and disgraced him.
Racism and Terrorism are the two evils of society which has no place in our universe. Racism if left to fester always leads to violence. At the core of racism is the belief that another person is inferior; at the core of terrorism is the belief that that person’s life does not matter. Racism and terrorism are two manifestations of the same disease of the soul. We saw this sad reality play in Charlottesville and in Paris and in Barcelona. The perpetrators are young men recruited and radicalized online, far in ideology from what their nation and what their religion stand for and ready to inflict indiscriminate harm on others. We at MAPS join the American Muslim community, our interfaith partners and all men and women of conscience in condemning all forms of racism and terror.
As we gather here today to celebrate Eidul Adha we pour our hearts in supplication and ask God, The Powerful (Al-Muqtadir) to obliterate racism and terror from the surface of the Earth. So what should be our actions?
At MAPS we endeavor to deepen our spiritual connection to Allah SWT. The connection which will guide us on the path of inclusiveness, humility and justice. We have many Islamic classes teaching our kids the essence of islam and the practice of our beloved prophet. We have qualified teachers on our staff, we bring in nationally recognized speakers and scholars on a monthly basis to help us strengthen this connection of Iman. Today we will have Ibrahim Rasool former Ambassador to United States from South Africa a renouned scholar among us. We welcome him and his family on behalf of MAPS. We, of course, place great emphasis on kids’ Islamic education and have some 800 kids enrolled in various classes throughout the year. As this is the generation that is going to lead us. This is the generation that is going to stand up for justice, diversity and equality for all.
Many of our programs and events are aimed to strengthen the bonds among us – from 300 people camping on Whidbey Island last month to our weekly Friday night events. However, we have especial consideration to connect to those in our community who are less fortunate. Before Eidul Fitr, we distributed sadaqah and zakat to over 800 families. On any given week we make several checks to pay for rent, school fees, utility bills, emergency aids, etc. This is only possible through your generous donations.
As I have explained in my past addresses, we have expanded our investment in all four pillars of our vision – Faith, Outbound good, In bound good and Model Citizen. Through our Outbound Good services through MAPS-MCRC. We offer services to enable us to connect with everybody, to better connect with our neighbors and the issues in our city and to demonstrate Islam and Muslims in their true light. We now have a free and subsidized health clinic, we host blood banks and dental vans, we feed the homeless and distribute bus cards to the needy and we have programs that engage the elderly. These are programs that are open to all. MAPS-NOW repairs trails and beautify our parks. MAPS-TAG hosts public technical meet-ups. MAPS-IOC maintains a very strong connection with the various other interfaith groups. MAPS – MCOC many cultures one community brings people together to understand each other and understand richness in each culture so we become a society which is rich in diversity and understanding.
There is no time to describe all that is happening at MAPS in such a short period of time. I ask all of you to maintain your Connection to this masjid and help establish a community which enriches diversity, embraces all men and women irrespective of the country, color and religion.
I want to close by thanking our Sk. Joban for sharing his knowledge through his classes and halaqas and helping us build the community; Br. Abdulselam for his unwavering effort in managing operations; our cleaning staff, our volunteers, our teachers, our city, police and officials who help us think about safety of our community and all of you for putting your trust in us and praying for us.
Let me leave with you with 3 things:
ONE – Let us all try to commit to standing up against racism and injustice when it happens against any human being not just muslims. Our larger community always comes forward for us, now is our time to stand up by following the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet.
TWO – Prioritize helping, supporting and establishing our centers and programs here in United States. Participate in other wider community initiatives that will help create an unshakeable foundation for our next generation right here. One that is established on the corner stones of justice and equality for all THREE – Provide your constructive feedback to us. Let us know what we are doing right and where we need to improve. And do continue to support MAPS with your ideas, with your time by volunteering and with your financial support so we can always improve and grow, will shape our community for generations to come.
Our community in Houston has suffered a natural disaster of historic proportions Hurricane Harvey, which will likely be most expensive natural disaster in US history. While we celebrate our Eid with our near and dear ones let us make duas for the victims of Harvey and help them by contributing towards the rehabilitation effort.
And finally, I would like to welcome all the new people who have come to MAPS for the first time. We welcome you with open arms and heart irrespective of who you are and where you came from, you are one of us. Please take time after the prayers to explore your masjid and programs. Become a part of our community and help us in creating the programs and experiences which Our belief in Allah, living our lives according to His will, helping the needy, and learning from the examples of our beloved Prophet (pbuh) will serve as a common ground for us to Lead the Way in this journey.
Jazakumu Allah Khairan