Eid Mubarak, Eid-al-Adha2012 - the festival of sacrifices
While entering the prayer hall for Eid at the Louisville convention center, two police officers were at the entrance, I walked up to them and appreciated their presence in safeguarding the well being of the congregants, and said my tradition calls for appreciating all those who put their lives at risk for the sake of others.... He was moved by it, who does not want to be appreciated? How often do we thank those who care for our safety?
I showed him the piece on my iPad, always ready to share and speak, and emailed him to his cell phone while talking, he loved that picture with police, fire and army men saluting… and then he turned around and emailed to his friends in appreciation. When I came out of the hall, both the men had smiles on their faces... among some thousand they spotted me… they had shared it with many more...
I sent the email to Mayor Greg Fischer with whom I met in Eid al fitr (Ramadan) and police and fire chiefs ... it took me an hour to get their emails...tracking down the right people. To me my eid would be complete if I contributed towards building relationships, while a few rascals among us are hung up with people of other faiths, we must continue to do the goodwill work and build relationships.
I had the emails of Police Chiefs and Fire Marshals in Dallas area as they participated in our annual Unity Day USA event, but did not have the ones for in Louisville, Kentucky, where I spend the Eid with my wife. Unlike in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran or Saudi Arabia where people do not associate with police, we do it here, they are a part of our (American) community, and their #1 goal is the safety of the public and many have died in doing their job in keeping us humanly safe.
It reinforced the role of Muslims to me; to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill, fulfilling the first and foremost of the Sunnahs (sayings and practices of Prophet Muhammad -pbuh). His first model was to be Amin (truthful and trustworthywith whom one felt safe) among fellow beings. Remember, it was not MUSLIMS whom the prophet earned that title from,they were Pagans, Jews, Christians and others...and that is the first Sunnah we need to follow before any other Sunnah. It is the foundation upon which Islam stands.
Peace be upon him, who helped the helpless
A Muslim should evoke peace and safety in every one around us. No one should feel unsafe if we sit next to someone in the plane, bus or the train or in a movie theater or a dining room even with our beards (last of the Sunnah to follow) or our cultural clothing or full Hijab. They should feel safe enough to rather sit with us in public places, and I hope a day will come when a single woman, a senior or a woman with children would rather sit near a Muslim to have that sense of safety by being with an Amin, the trust worthy and the truthful. And for that we have to work, in our daily lives. Our Imams need to focus on making us Amins first before we don the externalities on us to show that we are Muslims.