Hearts & Forms

The Noble Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him said anything begun without the name of God is devoid of blessing, and so I begin in the Name of God, Most Merciful, Most Beneficent. I send salutations of peace and blessings upon the honorable Prophet Muhammad and upon the people of his house and his companions and all the great sages and people of God.  One of the truths of our expansive universe is the truth of opposites. Day and night exist in each other’s absence. Man and woman fill the voids of one another. Sky and Earth exist in unison. North and south give us direction. Darkness and light guide us and so on and so forth. The law of the opposites allows us to fully appreciate our universe of duality. It is in this law of diversity that the secret of beauty lives. We live by the laws of duality in our every day lives and through it we are thrown into the state of witnessing that God is One, beyond all other things, surpassing all in law and nature; He is One when everything else has a partner. In this diversity of creation exists the secret that the Creator is but One. Adam and Eve were created to remind one another that there is One who has no partner. That they are two whose sole purpose is to identify the fact that God is the source, the One. It is in perfect unity and harmony that diversity is able to serve its purpose and remind us of God. Diversity is nothing but an identifier of the universal truth that God is One.
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We are often forgetful of the signs of God, of the blessings that surround them, and insulate them. In this heedless insulation, people lose sight of faith and belief in God and they deny the signs of God, even signs as stark and overcoming like duality and diversity. This can happen when we forget that unity, and not uniformity, is the key to success. Uniformity is the belief that all must be alike in order for something to function properly when indeed this is the furthest thing from the truth. It is sheer human oppression when people are forced into being something they are not. It saddens the youth of the Muslim community to watch how the indigenous Muslims, converts and youth communities are treated. They are expected to conform to  cultural interpretations and practice of Islam when there is so much work to be done in the various sciences of jurisprudence and general ijtihaad. This marginalization affects a huge percentage of the Muslim American community and disenchants with the whole collective and makes them doubt whether they want to belong to the Muslim community at large. God warned the Muslims against this and instructed them to instead come to know one another.  Allah says in the Quran “O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female; And We have made you nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable among you, in the sight of God, is he who is the most righteous among you. Surely, God is All-Knowing,  All-Aware.” (49:12)
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This verse is always astonishing in how it deals with the concept of diversity so beautifully and so wholly. It takes all the ignorance that could exist and fester between the hearts of people and puts it to a stop. It says point blank that we were created with differences on purpose, that we were never meant to all be the same. We come from different nations from different prats of the world and in our differences and diversity is the wisdom of God. We know that God only gives good to the believers and so this should drive us to understand that in this wisdom is the secret that in embracing our differences, we can grow in honor and rank in the sight of God. And what better sight is there than gaining rank in the sight of God? Truly success is in understanding this secret. Our differences make us strong. They give us an approach that no one person can have on their own. The move away from uniformity can only lead to strength and allow us to gain in perspective and wisdom. A step away from uniformity is a step towards unity and God loves the hearts to be united. Prayer is the perfect example of the strength of unity. When people join to pray in times of hardship like war or drought, God, in His Divine mercy grants the people that which they had all prayed for on their own simply because their hearts joined to ask for it.
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The Muslims community in America is so blessed to boast such an incredible range of origins. In this  is our strength! Our array of countries of origin at our various mosques is the key to our success.  If we cannot see it as such and allow our diversity to separate our places of worship based on country of origin our mother tongue then we will never harness the God given potential that we have been given. We will be weakened to a meager simplistic community built on barriers. The fact that on any given mosque board there could be people presenting four or five different points of view, the group can go on to agree which is the best and often it is found that the majority carry the same opinion and in numbers is strength in knowledge and experience. There can be no loss.
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The blessed Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, surrounded himself with people from all walks of life. Two of his closest companions were an African, Bilal Ibn Rabah who made the  call to prayer 5 times a day in the Prophet’s illuminated city and Salman Al Farsi, a Persian who the Prophet took battle strategy from in the battle of the ditch. He regarded them highly and took their counsel. Even in his own beautiful household, two of the mothers of the believers were non arabs. He was married to Safiyah Bint Huyay Al Akhtab who was a Jewess and Maria Al- Qubtiyya who was a Coptic Egyptian. The prophet was a noble man and a man of deep intellect. He surrounded himself with a diverse array of people because he knew the secret of diversity. He knew that diversity can lead to great strength. When this truth is understood it leads us into the bosom of understanding God’s Lordship and Oneness, for when people come together in search of God’s pleasure, unity and strength will surely be attained.
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In the verse mentioned earlier it states that the most honorable people are the most righteous, not the most culturally or ethnically pure, and not the most rigid and uniform. Righteousness is not based on nationality or lineage, uniformity or conformity. Righteousness is in our actions, in the way we treat our neighbors, in the way we raise our children and the way we interact with our communities. When we recognize God’s Lordship and Oneness, we come to know that only in our intended differences can we gain the good graces of God. God created our differences; He created diversity upon the Earth and in this is a sign for us. “Then which of the signs of your Lord will you deny?”(27:15)  Will this be a sign of God we deny? By embracing diversity and coming into true knowledge of these secrets of strength, we can reach the highest of peaks in this world and the next.
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