Next week March 11, will be observed another World Day of Muslim Culture, Peace and Dialogue. This day was created in 2010 by Javed Mohammed of San Francisco who proclaimed the day as a special observance to share and discuss Muslim culture.
I do not want to go into whether it is accepted by some Shiâ€™a or Sunni Muslims. But the fact that as innovative as it is, it is aimed towards using culture, art and film to create bridges of dialogue and understanding among people of different faith which ultimately can lead a more peaceful world.
Again, understanding Islam through its culture, dialogue, and film in a way that will give the world an in-depth knowledge of the Islamic world based on correct information, actual facts, and a true analysis of the course of events.
At a time when Muslims and non-Muslims are seen as enemies rather than allies, at a time when many erroneously see the issue of Boko Haram as a religious ideals, albeit, it is now crystally clear that it has absolutely nothing to do with religion; at a time when both Muslims and Christians are being killed by enemies of Islam and foes of other religion; there is need to use the opportunity the day offers to extend the hand of fellowship to all and sundry for peace to reign. Last year, it was done in London, US, and other parts of the world.
For us who who make no distinction between the secular and the sacred, Islam becomes our lives and we will not accept anything that will tarnish the image or bring the religion to disrepute. We know what Islam is and we know what enemies of Islam are putting before the people inorder to decimate all the traces of Islam. But we will never relent in bringing the true teachings of Qurâ€™an and Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) to all those who care to know.
More younger Muslim groups and individual should also show boldness, courage, and willingness to reposition the image of Muslims, visa-vis the myraids of controversies facing the ummah. We have the misconception of violent, intolerance, the wrong notion of jihad, the raging hijab issue among others.
Much as we would always show greater sense and desire for personal liberty and freedom to practice our religion, destructive criticism, phony conjectures, pernicious statements that are capable of causing religious uprising should be avoided especially from the non-muslims who always feel their religion is superior.
We all need peace to live and realise not only our potentials but our God-given abilities and service for our hereafters. On our own part, practicing Islam through the Quran and the hadiths is the only way that will give the world an in-depth knowledge of the Islamic world based on correct information, actual facts, and a true analysis of the course of events.
Undoubtedly, to take of any action that will contribute to a better understanding of the diversity of Muslim culture and in initiating dialogue with people of other faiths that may result in a more just, peaceful world, is another form of ibadaah.
Message of peace
Although many Muslims are unaware of this day but it is not out of place to consciously reflect on the need for exchanging the messages of peace in and around our immediate society and continue to spread the message of peace to all and sundry.
By this, we will not only be teaching Islam, we will be correcting the misrepresentation the non-Muslims have about Islam. That is the the best Jihad we would have done in our life time.
As Muslims, we should know that peaceful activism is distinctly superior to violent activism, and that is why we need to exert more energy towards achieving peace at all areas of our lives than being violent. According to a Hadith, â€œGod grants to gentleness what He does not grant to harshness.â€ Come to think of it, an atmosphere of peace enables good relationship between people.
It makes it possible for feelings of love and friendship to prevail; it engenders constructive activities to flourish. It is my passionate appeal and that of other concerned Muslims to engage in a campaign for peace nation-wide.
It is time that leaders, scholars, and other well meaning Muslims in the country come together without any regional sentiment to send out messages of peace and practically showcase our resolve for enthroning lasting peace in the country. Islam is peace.
The Mischief Makers
Some people are wont to quoting out of context some of the injunctions of the Quran like: â€˜Kill them wherever you find them.â€™ (2:191) are those who are ignorant of the context and circumstance to which some of these verses were revealed.
They only claim to read the Quran but they donâ€™t understand it, yet they give the impression that Islam is a religion of war and violence.
This is totally untrue. Such verses relate in a restricted sense, to those who have unilaterally attacked the Muslims. The above verse does not convey the general principle of Islam. It was only giving direction to those Muslims who were persecuted, maimed and killed because they accepted Islam and Allah told them to stand up and defend their faith.
Again, the Quran was not revealed in the complete form in which it exists today. It was revealed from time to time, and under different circumstances, over a time span of 23 years. If this is divided into years of war and peace, the period of peace amounts to 20 years, while that of war amounts only to three years.
The revelations during these 20 peaceful years were the peaceful teachings of Islam as are conveyed in the verses regarding the realization of God, worship, morality, justice. Those who want to know will know while those who flunder their ignorance to cause mischief will only end up in hell. Ma sallam.