By Adil James, MMNS
Bloomfield–April 12–Bursting at the seams, the Bloomfield Muslim Unity Center held a huge Mawlid celebration on Sunday to commemorate the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s). Reciters recited naat, and people spoke in praise of the Holy Messenger Muhammad (s), as thousands filled the gymnasium. The mosque ran out of chairs and people were sharing seats, standing, sitting on the floor.
Even the parking lot of the BMUC was filled almost to capacity–visitors needed to drive for minutes like visitors at Walmart, seeking parking.
Several prominent imams and others were in attendance, including BMUCâ€™s own Imam Musa, and Shaykh Tawfiq of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects (AICP), originally from Lebanon.
Shaykh Tawfiq spoke at length in Arabic, and the translation of his speech was that Allah has no form or shape and belongs to no place. Prophetâ€™s (s) birth, he said, was a beacon of light in the desert. Because he was born, the desert became a garden leading to Paradise; his birth gave the world the brilliance of Islam; he saved the world from the dungeons of ignorance; those who obeyed him went from sin to obedience.
His manners were what Qur`an ordered–he showed courage but not vengeance, he ordered others wisely. His greatness is unparalleled.
Prophet (s) did not spend time in markets. He respected those who were dependent on him. He is the most God-fearing person. He used to visit the sick. Those who accompanied him loved him. Those who followed him went to Paradise.
Shaykh Tawfiq emphasized that seeking knowledge is an obligation on every Muslim–he argued that one cannot know how to be pious without studying religion. He said that the only way to know that Allah is not bound by time, and that He does not physically sit on a throne as a human would–is by study.
Shaykh Tawfiq said that we must learn from someone who is trustworthy, who in turn learned from someone who is trustworthy, who in turned learned from someone who is trustworthy, in a chain that continues all the way and unbroken to Prophet (s).
Each person has to seek some knowledge, he argued. We must be eager to acquire that knowledge, and the consequences of ignorance are very severe.
He emphasized that we must teach the moderate teachings of Islam, and said that by our knowledge we could hope to live and die as Muslims.
This event was wonderful and what was so hard to capture about it was the spirit of mutual love, mutual care, and camaraderie, where many different men offered their chairs to others as they came in, even if they would then have no place to sit, where men stood to show love for Prophet (s) and for one another. Perhaps it was the barakah from the praises and love of Prophet (s) that could be felt at this blessed gathering.