By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS
As most of us know, ALLAH, The Almighty, has already blessed us Muslims to be the people at the highest level of the highest level of creation â€“ the human being family. With the revelation of His last scripture to us, He has elevated the believers and those who practice said scripture above all other human beings the world over. This is a given.
The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America put the world on a different course toward true balance. Most people never thought it possible that a person of African descent could be elected to this high office. Personally, I thought it was possible in the distant future, but certainly not in my lifetime, especially since I experienced very overt racism from the majority population of this country. So like Michelle Obama I too am proud of my country. I am particularly proud of the majority Caucasian race of this country because it is they who came out in great numbers to support Obama when they had plenty of other choices.
So how do we as Muslims contribute to and capitalize on this new movement of change? As I said earlier, ALLAH has already given us the greatest tool to work with. It is time now to show the world the superiority of scripturally-guided moral living. Those of us who are American citizens, or choosing to live in America, must promote and live American ideals and values.
We especially need to join with other like-minded Americans, including Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and others, and make joint statements against things like substance abuse, vulgar movies and music, gay marriage, and other evils that are not only anti-religion, they are anti-civilized society.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Constitution of these United States. Even I, a person whose ancestors were slaves and not considered â€œmenâ€ when the words of the preamble were written, â€œWe hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,â€ can embrace the beautiful meaning of the words.
The slaveâ€™s life could be taken at will, liberty was denied him, and he could not pursue happiness (which would have, at a minimum, meant being free). Yet the words written in the 1700â€™s, though maybe not intended to, did include me as a man, and they ring true today. Therefore I can celebrate the words of Thomas Jefferson and others because Almighty ALLAH already included me in that exclusive human family. Maybe Thomas Jefferson didnâ€™t know it, and maybe my ancestors didnâ€™t know it, but nevertheless, it is true. And thatâ€™s what we go onâ€¦truth.
Islam has an undeserved negative reputation in this country. People look upon us negatively because of 9/11 and the subsequent violent irrational actions of a few Muslims. (I say â€œfewâ€ because with over 1Â½ billion Muslims in the world, if that violence, and the people that practice it, was the norm, the world would be blown up.)
It is OK to remember and celebrate your native culture. African Americans do this as well with our Kwanza and Juneteenth observations. But let us not be just solely focused on our ethnic heritage. Most Muslims in this country (with the noticeable exception of African-Americans) chose to come here â€“ and are free to leave if desired. Therefore the United States, in many ways, must be better than where you left from.
So let us celebrate America. Let us applaud her goodness and strengths while we join with others and change those things that need changing. The more of us that celebrate America, the less noise the haters of peace will be able to make.
As Salaam alaikum
(Al Hajj) Imam Abdullah El-Amin