by Zahir Mannan
A Lesson for President Trump from Prophet Muhammad & Islamic History
What’s it like being Ahmadi Muslim Americans amid divisive Executive Orders in the month dedicated to Black History? Simply put, it’s a calling!
Islam’s spiritual father, the immaculate Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, “sent as the mercy unto all the worlds” (Quran 21:108) exemplified how to champion righteousness whether in victory and ascendency or persecution and annihilation. How did he do it? It was by personifying the revolutionary yet pragmatic navigation preserved in the Noble Quran; prayer, education, and love. This was his Jihad and how he founded a paradisiacal kingdom of unity betwixt diversity affording peace, freedom, and justice for all that would even progenerate the Renaissance.
He triumphed by winning hearts and minds not territories and mammon, he commanded with affection and service, not with force or fascism. A light for both the leader and the follower, the rich and the poor, the black and the white, and everyone in between. One such captivated soul was an African named Bilal, with whom Allah is well pleased. The black Disciple was a former slave liberated by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and had retained his native Ethiopian accent. After accepting Islam he humbly endured the most inhumane persecution because of his new faith and undying love for One God, and had been elevated to a prestigious rank memorialized forever as the first Muezzin or caller to Salat, Islamic worship, despite abounding discrimination. The compassionate Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) recognized humanity as one preaching equality and equity; “…O people, indeed, your Lord is One and your father is one (Prophet Adam (pbuh)). Verily, there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, nor of a non-Arab over an Arab, nor of a white over a black, nor a black over a white, except by piety and good action…” (Farewell Sermon at his last Hajj). He practiced this by manifesting Bilal’s stirring melody and spiritual prowess, ever inclined to his True Creator and forgiving towards his tormentors like his beloved teacher Muhammad (pbuh).
What you may know about the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is that he was a descendant of the revered Prophet Abraham (pbuh), Patriarch for at least Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but what you may not know, and what many conveniently overlook, is that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was himself also partly African. That’s right, his matriarch was Hagar, with whom Allah is well pleased. She was a former slave from Egypt, whose faith, sacrifice and heroism turned the barren desert of Arabia into a thriving metropolis! It’s no wonder Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said “Paradise lies under the foot of your mothers”. Hagar bore Prophet Abraham (pbuh) a son named Ishmael, a half African, an honored Prophet in Islam and the Quran, and Progenitor of the Arabs with an African wife, according to Genesis. So, the next time anyone assumes there weren’t any African Prophets or Messengers of God, you can fearlessly correct them, and see that truth sink in!
Speaking of Africans in Black History Month, another model we can learn from today was a 7th century Christian King named Ashama. When after years of tyranny and affliction suffered by the earliest Muslims reached its limit, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advised “those who could afford it should migrate to Ethiopia, the King of Abyssinia is just and equitable. None are subjected to oppression under his rule.” The Meccan Quraish sent a delegation to Abyssinia to entice the King against the Muslim refugees, but the Christian Ruler proved faithful and upheld integrity even in the face of pressure and refused to hand over the Muslim immigrants. Under the just Christian Monarch, Muslims found a life of harmony and protection from the cruelties of the Quraish. This humanity is a lesson for President Trump who very well knows the violence and desolation the disadvantaged immigrants, targeted in his travel ban, are fleeing! Ironically, he himself admitted to being an offspring of immigrants. History bears witness how immigrants, from both eras, only enriched their new homes and benefited their new compatriots and fellow beings. Countless migrants serve their new home with passion and loyalty, like our grandparent Dr. Basharat Munir Mirza, for example. Mirza served his country and fellow Americans as the first Muslim Mayor of Chauncey, Ohio.
Tragically, simply believing God’s Messiah came again in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (pbuh) and that he was a Divine Prophet has made us objects of the cruelest persecution for over a century. Ahmadi Muslims immigrate to escape oppression seeking religious liberty and a better life. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. It’s what America itself was founded upon.
Nevertheless, we will never allow ourselves to forget where real power lies, how tribulation proves a blessing in disguise through “patients and prayers”, and how to overcome trials; “Do you think that you will enter Heaven while there has not come upon you the condition of those who passed away before you? Poverty and afflictions befell them, and they were violently shaken until the Messenger and those who believed along with him said: ‘When will come the help of Allah?’ Yea, surely the help of Allah is nigh” (Holy Quran 2:214). “And he who fears Allah alone – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he expects not. And he who puts his trust in Allah — He is sufficient for him. Verily, Allah will accomplish His purpose. For everything has Allah appointed a measure” (Quran 65:3-4). Time and time again, our faithful and patriotic neighbors and their leaders in Meriden, as well as from all around Connecticut, have proven to embody a heavenly help in turbulent times and we have faith that this is just the beginning. Even the previous Messiah Jesus (pbuh) had promised “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:4-5).
We don’t just talk the talk, we’re walking the walk emerging from real life and proven paradigms. In 2015 for instance, our unpretentious House of Peace Mosque in Meriden harnessed a tribulation by fulfilling dignified strivings taught in the Quran under the worldwide leadership of the current spiritual Khalifah or Vicegerent of Islam Ahmadiyya Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad; “And the recompense of an injury is an injury the like thereof; but whoso forgives and his act brings about reformation, his reward is with Allah. Surely, He loves not the wrongdoers” (Quran 42:41). “And good and evil are not alike. Repel evil with that which is best. And lo, he between whom and thyself was enmity will become as though he were a warm friend” (Quran 41:35).
We witnessed and partook of a miraculous transformation together, let’s do the same now and break barriers, bridge divides, and resist resurging hubris and inequity against minorities with goodness, dignity, and leading by example like those successful guided leaders from Allah before us. We can start by getting together for an Interfaith prayer service for the nation and world this Thursday, Feb. 23rd at 7 pm and follow up with a session of coffee, cake and conversation on True Islam Friday nights at 8 pm in Meriden’s Ahmadiyya Mosque. Where we go from there is up to you.
Regards of peace and blessings,
Miyan Zahir Muhammad Mannan and Syeda Sana Shah
Miyan Zahir Muhammad Mannan serves as Secretary of Outreach, Holy Quran Education & Devotion, Press & Media, and Spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community CT, Baitul Aman “House of Peace” Mosque on 410 Main Street, Meriden, CT 06451 where he hosts a weekly conversation night on True Islam at 8 pm over free coffee and cake. You can contact him at 860-670-6402, firstname.lastname@example.org, @zahirmannan, or facebook.com/zahir.mannan.7
Regards of peace and blessings,
Miyan Zahir Muhammad Mannan
Serving as Secretary of Outreach, Holy Quran Education & Devotion, Press & Media, & Spokesman
Baitul Aman “House of Peace” Mosque, 410 Main Street, Meriden, CT 06451
Coffee, Cake, & Conversation Friday nights @ 8
Endorse our values @ www.TrueIslam.com, Official Int’l Web: www.alislam.org
Cell: 860-670-6402, Email: email@example.com
@zahirmannan, facebook.com/zahir.mannan.7, MuslimWritersGuild, LinkedIn
“Love for all, hatred for none”
by Hassan Mahmood
“As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.” – Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Letters.
In a time that appears to be a crucial moment in the history of America and her people, these words cannot be more haunting.
We, the American People, are frequently referred to as a nation of immigrants. Our ancestors came here at various points in history, fleeing oppressive governments, seeking a better life for their families, or in hopes of a land of endless opportunity. Since a fateful night in 1776, America has held her doors open for the people of the world with a promise: that all men are created equal and deserve to enjoy the blessings of freedom.
We have not always been perfectly true to this ideal, but with the power of our voices and the passion of our people we have always returned to this self-evident truth. It is devotion for this ideology that drove our founding fathers and it is what makes our love for America as consuming as it is.
Many have tried to draw parallels between the current times we live in and the rise of fascist Germany. But our deep burning sense of patriotism was never at risk of becoming fascism because of our diversity. When we rally together, we rally as a nation of all races, religions, and political views. It is this American unity that we need now.
It is a shame that the greatest country in the world must turn on it’s timeless ideals in fear of a small group of radical extremists. As an American and an Ahmadi Muslim, I strongly support securing our borders and increasing the safety and security of the American people. Marginalizing a large group of people however, most of whom are citizens or are here legally, is not the way to do it.
Have we forgotten the words that lie in the Statue of Liberty, the Mother of Exiles? “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
The key to defeating those who wish to do us harm is not in shutting our doors, but in embracing the ideals that are at the very heart of America. Let us learn more about each other, and in that learning banish the misinformation that leads to bigotry and hatred. Let us come together as Americans, both current and aspiring, and love one another when our enemy does nothing but hate. In doing so we will strip our enemy of all weapons he can use against us and bring about his assured end.
Let us remember the ideals this country was founded on, and let us return to them in haste. For in an attempt to protect the torch of liberty, I fear we may be blowing it out.
by Sohail Khan
by Umer Choudhary
On January 20, 2017, President Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, was sworn into office. He enters the office of presidency as probably one of the most controversial presidents. As a matter of fact, a CBS News conducted an approval rating poll of our new president, and the results were astonishing. President Donald J. Trump enters office with a record-low approval rating of 32 percent. This proves that the people of the United States are not sure of the abilities of our new president. The reasons for such a low approval rating could be many things, but for me, a deal-breaker is the image of Islam that is portrayed by President Trump’s campaign.
The problem for many Muslims may not specifically be the vetting suggested by President Trump’s campaign, but rather the image that this creates towards Muslims already living in America. It puts us in scrutiny, as many people start to doubt the loyalty of Muslims for the nation, further developing “Islamophobia” in the hearts of many Americans. As Muslims, we value the democratic principles that founded this beautiful nation, and believing in what this nation stands for – freedom and equality – gives us a hope for the forthcoming years. We appreciate the fact that we are blessed to live in a stable country that grants so many freedoms to all its citizens, no matter the religion, race, and gender, one of the many reasons I love this country.
Yet, this still doesn’t relieve the anxiety that many Muslims feel. I myself have been very pessimistic. However, when harboring negative thoughts of the future I remind myself of the saying of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad(saw)[*]: “The love of one’s country is part of faith.” This teaching requires us to remain to loyal to our country no matter the leader and to work for the betterment of our country. I have come to realize the importance of accepting the election and praying for the best as an Ahmadi Muslim*. While I may not agree with President Trump on a myriad of political positions, I have come to terms with this election through a just process, without any violence. This does not mean that I sit on the sideline, but as a loyal citizen I utilize my First Amendment right to voice my opinion in a peaceful manner, such as writing this op-ed.
Further utilizing the First Amendment, I suggest to President Trump, as he takes on the most important office of our country, to be a president for all and not just a few. Here I would like to give the example of Prophet Muhammad (saw). When he ruled in Medina, he ruled over a diverse population, but never regarded Muslims as more deserving of justice and freedom over the other minorities. On the contrary, he safeguarded the rights of minorities and assured them that their freedoms would not be affected. The Prophet Muhammad (saw), when speaking of the Christians under his rule, stated: “I place them under my protection from any damage or harm. I am behind them, protecting them from every enemy or anyone who wishes them harm… In virtue of this pact, [Christians] have obtained inviolable rights to enjoy our protection, to be protected from any infringements of their rights, and they are not to be disputed, rejected, or ignored…” (Covenant of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christian world). These high standards set by the Prophet of Islam should be practiced by all world leaders, not just President Trump, as they portray the true concept of justice – something that is not only unique to Islamic teachings, but also to other faiths. I am sure if these values are practiced in every country, we will have a more peaceful world. I hope that President Trump will unite the country by protecting the rights of minorities and those who are underprivileged, and work to make the country great for everyone. And if I, as a Muslim, can believe in a prosperous future for America, so can you.
[*] An abbreviation of an Arabic prayer repeated after the uttering of the Prophet’s name, which means: “May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him”.
* The sect of Islam that believes in the advent of the long-awaited Promised Messiah