an unprecedented manner, Muslim organizations in the west are coming out of their shells and helping
people in the devastated Philippines. The other news about embracing humanity is the action of ISNA – Islamic society of North America, who just made the new by standing up for the rights of gay and lesbians. This is good and a welcome news.
With the exception of Katrina and Tsunami, most Muslim organizations based in the west focused on disasters where Muslims were hurt. This is for the first time,
Muslims in the west have really gone out to do good for others who are not Muslims. Let me be clear, I am talking about Muslim organizations in the west and not elsewhere, the Muslims in Muslims majority nations have always done their share of work for the humanity.
past, the Muslims living in the west did not serve people who were not Muslims, and this is a mighty change and must be collectively appreciated and encouraged. Thanks to the almighty for this renewed guidance.
Allah (through Quran) and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) have repeatedly asserted and encouraged Muslims to serve humanity first as the most important duty. Indeed, the Prophet went on to say that those who do not take care of their neighbors are not in my community and went on to elevate the status of those who do.
The Prophet was asked once who would enter the paradise between an individual who is praying to God all the times, and the one who is drunk, and does not pray, but when the evening comes, he knocks on the neighbors (7 layers from your physical neighbor to all the way around the world) to find out if they are hungry, and shares whatever he has available to share. The answer is obvious. Such is the value placed on serving others. Hitherto, for many a Muslims in the west, neighbor meant Muslim – whatever is happening to change their hearts to understand neighbor means any human is a good thing and I applaud this new change.
In the recent past, Muslims in the west were utterly
disgustingly selfish and would not serve or help out non-Muslims in need. I was told by those Muslims that they
will not volunteer at Unity Day, or the Holocaust and Genocides commemoration events because it was not about Islam, how short sighted
and how un-Islamic they were? I am glad to see Muslims are finally listening to God and the Prophet. Praise the lord!
This is how good societies are built – standing up for each other without reservation and I am optimistic about the future of Muslims in America and elsewhere. You might consider reading this basic article I wrote in 2007 – Are Muslims a Part of American Story?
it is a tragic event, there is hope and joy that Muslim organizations
are out there. In the last few days – I have been receiving information
from the following:
1. Muslim Aid Australia was the first one to get out http://www.muslimaid.org.au/NewsDetailed.aspx?BannerId=88
Humanity First was out there immediately
3. Philippines Typhoon Relief by Helping Hands – Muslims for Humanity https://www.hhrd.org/donate.aspx?proid=212
4. Islamic Relief USA is there now http://www.irusa.org/emergencies/philippines-humanitarian-aid/
Insha Allah, my article – Where is God in Philippines will appear in
Huffington post this week – it explores our responsibilities and the role of God in our lives.
In Muslim majority nations things are turning around after nearly 50 years- In Pakistan, Muslims stood outside the Churches in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad to protect the Christians, however they are still prejudiced towards fellow Muslims who are Shia and Ahmadiyya and stood by and did nothing when they were harassed and killed in day light. Now a Hindu temple land is being given away to a developer, and I pray they would stand up against it. In Egypt, the Muslims formed a circle around the Coptic Churches to protect the worshipers from the harassment.
In Malaysia, the government nearly pushed the law to ban Sikhs and Christians from using the world Allah – the Malaysian Muslims did not have the balls to stand up, but the Muslims from around the world did, thank God it is out now. In India when the Gujarat Earthquake took place, I recall Muslims donating whatever they had towards the relief, one of my aunts pulled her only gold bangles and donated for relief effort. There is hope and I hope we all move towards building cohesive societies where no one fears the other. Indeed Prophet Muhammad has established that in Medina – setting up the Pluralistic charter to govern the City State, we just need to follow his teachings.
Finally ISNA comes around.
Islamic Society of North America has come around and endorsed the
human rights of Gays and Lesbians – Among Muslims, Representative Keith
Ellison and myself have boldly stood up for their rights for a very long
time, and we have received ton of hate mails and calls from fellow
Muslims, since they cannot mess with Ellison, they let it out on me, thank God I can take it all with grace.
has blessed this nation America, more than other nations – it has one
thing in abundance; the God given freedom. Keith Ellison would have had a
fatwa on his head in any one of the 56 Muslim majority nations, but
thank God, America is the land of the free and the brave. As followers
of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), we are as bold as he was, who preached
monotheism against all odds and harassment.
Thanks to ISNA for
taking this bold step, we will move ahead. Allah is not our enemy, even
though a few Muslims make him out to be. Allah loves us all. Quran is
an eternal book and not what it is made out to be by a handful of
ISNA has long ways to go, but go they will. Currently it reflect the wishes of Donors and not the Muslim public sentiment. There is a dire need for integration, intra-faith dialogue and political involvement. I am always willing to volunteer before I talk. I sent in proposals for workshops in their annual convenation – What does it take to be a Mayor? What does it take for Muslims to come together? What does it take for us to be fully participating and contributing members of the society? Someday they might listen and I pray for that.
is another bold frontier to be crossed – that is to get rid of our
prejudices against fellow Muslims and let each one be who they want to
be; Muslims as they believe. Thanks to Allah for blessing me to treat
all Muslims equally with no prejudices – be it Ahmadiyya, Sunni, Shia,
Ismaili, Bohra, WD Muhammad and other groups. Alhamdu Lillah we have conducted the first such conference at the Boniuk Center at Rice University, and two more are planned in 2014.
Islam needed a home
after 1400 years of stagnation and choking done by the monarchs,
mullahs, kings and dictators, finally it is free and at home, here in
Make no mistake about it, American Muslims are about living
their faith and letting others live theirs, they are
not about imposing or pushing Islam on any one. An overwhelming majority of Muslims in America do not want the Sharia Law (as practiced elsewhere) in America. Islam is not about ruling, Islam is not about
governance, indeed, is is a faith to free one from the clutches of greed,
control, anger, power and oppression and suppression of others. To be
just and truthful, merciful and humble. I am hopeful that in a few years, the major Muslim organizations of America will declare that Islam is about Justice and our laws, the American laws serve Justice and we have no desire for Public Sharia or any other laws to govern our lives in public square.
Mike Ghouse is
committed to nurturing the pluralistic values embedded in Islam. More at www.MikeGhouse.net