Saturday, July 4, 2009

Islamic Reflection for 4th of July 2009

First on justice:

Oh you who believe, maintain just witness for Allah, and do not allow your enmity toward any group of people prevent you from acting equitably. That is the closest thing to piety. Take care of your duty to Allah for He is well aware of your actions. (5:8)

Oh you who believe, maintain justice and bear truthful witness for Allah's sake, though your witness be against yourself, your parents or your near of not follow your vain desires so that you do not establish equity. If you deviate from what is right, Allah is aware of your actions. (4:135)

Say: my Lord has commanded the establishment of justice, so maintain it in every place of worship, and call upon Him, being sincere in all of your life transactions. As He brought you forth (into creation) so He will return you. (7:29)

Allah, His angels, and those possessed of knowledge bear witness that there is no God but He, maintaining steadfastly what is just. There is no God but He, the Mighty, the Wise. (3:18)

Then peace:

O you who believe! If you must fight in Allah's way, make investigation, and do not say to anyone who offers you peace: You are not a believer. Do you seek goods of this world's life! But with Allah there are abundant rewards; you too were such before, then Allah conferred a benefit on you; therefore make investigation; surely Allah is aware of what you do. (4:94)

Allah guides all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety, and leads them out of darkness, by His will, into the light, guiding them to a path that is straight. (5:16)

When those who believe in Our communications come to you, say: Peace be on you, your Lord has ordained mercy on Himself, (so) that if any one of you does evil in ignorance, then turns after that and acts aright, then He is Forgiving, Merciful. (6:54)

If they incline to peace, then you incline to it, and trust in Allah; surely He is the Hearing, the Knowing. (8:61)

Allah invites to the abode of peace and guides whom He pleases to the right path. (10:25)

And finally a supplication from Imam Zayn ul-Abideen

Oh my Lord,

leave us not without Your defense,

strip us not of Your protection,

and protect us from places of destruction,

for we are under Your watchful eye.

I ask You by those who You have singled out,

your angels and the righteous among your created beings,

to assign us a protector through whom

you will deliver us from destruction,

turn aside from us affliction,

and hide from us the occurrence of great calamities.

Send down upon us a portion of Your tranquility,

and embrace us with the lights of love for You.

Provide haven for us in Your strength,

and gather us under the wings of Your protection, through the grace of Your mercy and compassion,

Oh Most Merciful of those who grant mercy.

(This reflection was offered by The Coalition for Peace with Justice)

Just a few notes:

The supplication is from one of the greatest sages of Islam, the great-grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, Imam Ali ibn Husayn Zayn ul-Abideen.

The Prayer Vigil for Middle East Peace is held in some NC - USA congregations on the 4th of every month. This monthly service is a part of a national movement initiated by Churches for Middle East Peace committed to the principles of a just peace and to solidarity with Christians, Muslims and Jews. In July, the day for Prayer Vigil falls (interestingly) on an American national holiday. Nothing could be more fitting than to note the Holy Writ of the Qur'ran and our Muslim friends' prayer for peace on this particular day.

This reflection just "happened" to be scheduled at this time when there is US celebration for independence - yet sadly the phrase "bombs bursting in air" from the US national song which is often sung on such celebrations doesn't evoke joy to so many and worries more of us year by year. Those words connote drones and other weapons of steel and chemicals delivered by members of one family to other members of our ONE family in other places. How can this be?

In my town - as we have done now for several years - a few of us will hold lanterns as the sky gets dark and as people hurry to the large annual FIREWORKS display at the college. There near the courthouse corner we will hold two long signs in red, white and blue which say "PEACE WORKS". I plan to pass out the supplication above and make a special prayer for the protection and healing of Pakistan and for wise strength for both it's well-known and quiet leaders and writers at this time. (Connie)

A few notes from The Coalition for Peace with Justice (who wish particularly to direct the supplication above toward peace with justice in Israel-Palestine):

Islam is literally translated as "surrender" or "submission". A Muslim, ideally, is one who surrenders him/herself to the will of God, known in the Quran, Islamic literature and even pre-Islamic literature as "Allah". The word "islam" is connected to the word "salam" which means peace. When Muslims greet each other they say: "As-salamu alaykum (Peace be upon you)".

The original intent of Islam, as it issued forth from the Prophet Muhammad, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, was to provide a spiritual lifestyle and practices to connect the earthly nature of men and women to the higher, divine nature within them. Islam views mankind as moving forward to its pinnacle of spiritual evolution toward the ultimate individual and social attributes of justice and peace. Both of these attributes are regarded as Divine Attributes.

The belief of Islam is that all other prophetically inspired spiritual disciplines such as Judaism, Christianity, and others came forth for the same purpose: to lead mankind from the darkness of the lower qualities of the ego-self to the higher attributes of the soul, and ultimately to the light of the Divine Presence which resides in every heart.

If you - the READER - have any notes to add in this spirit of peace today, please do so in the Comments section below. If you have any difficulty posting your comment, please send your Comment to me Connie - - with the same title of this post in the Subject Heading: Islamic Reflection of 4th of July. Perhaps several of you would suggest visual items which could be posted in keeping with this reflection?


Akhtar Wasim Dar said...

This is a perfect blogpost on the occasion of America’s national day. Islam is not very well understood in America, and this post is an endeavor to clear the mist and the mistrust. In Koran Allah tell Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) “ I have made the whole earth a mosque for you”. This means this world and the people and the life on this planet is very sacred for a Muslim, as each form of life is performing its duty and function assigned by the creator and as such each and everyone is important and significant in its place. Islam places so much emphasis on sanctity of human life that according to Koran killing an innocent person means killing the whole humanity.

Khurram Ali Shafique said...

Happy Independence Day, and on a note of warm regards, I repeat excerpt from what the first Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan (one of the founding fathers) said while addressing the University of California, Berkley, on May 16, 1950:

"You have been great exponents and the jealous guardians of freedom. Words from your Declaration of Independence and your constitution have inspired men in far-off lands. You have shown to the world what human effort can do for human welfare. You have no colonies and I believe no territorial ambitions. Has not your history therefore equipped you more than most nations to be among the leading architects of the enlightened internationalism of the future? We Asiatics in general and Pakistan in particular are waiting to see what your answer will be.

"We do not know what you will say but should you decide that construction is the best way to defy destruction, you will find the people of Pakistan amongst your staunchest friends.

"I have spoken to you with great candor and from the depth of my heart for we are a simple and frank people as you are; we hold our freedom dear as you do and we love peace, if possible, even more than you do."

Connie L. Nash said...

These two fitting comments reduce me - a humbled American - for a few moments anyway - to wordlessness. (Which a few who read this may know doesn't happen often to me. Yes, you may smile :)

I am sure that many who read these two statements of peace - Akhtar Sahib and Khurram Sahib - will be struck to the inner core and so
moved - as am I - by this description of the heart of Islam. American readers will be challenged by these warm words from Pakistan's first prime minister - words of trust still waiting for fulfillment.

ReeBz said...

Connie,its simply Amazing! yes it made me smile and happy.All the holy references and their explanation by your aim and your actions towards "peace" is more than enough.

I must say,You are the part of a nation who is enjoying glory,success and glamor,still you have place in your heart for those who are suffering from their fate's misery ,not only you feel it but you are trying your best to eradicate such evils.Allah will reward you for it :)
and yes,
Happy Independence Day :)
May your country prosper even more and may you see the fruit of your efforts regarding the "establishment of peace" soon..(amin)

Marzieh said...

Happy Independance Day, Connie.

I like the way your articles always advocate peace and unity, with words as well as the whole mood of your writing :)

Connie L. Nash said...

Marzieh & ReeBz:
What a nice surprise to find your comments here! You both give me higher ideals for my nation and my little blogposts than I sometimes have myself.

And how I pray each day for your own dear lands! I do so want - with the deepest part of my heart - passionately - all the best of peace, unity, harmony for your countries as well! And already I am seeing - learning so many lessons from the beauty of your cultures and daily lives - as interpreted so adeptly through you.

I love having this bridge of joy, literature, truth, play and more between us.