Mending, Healing and Peace

By Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi

Religion provides identity, promotes social integration, fosters spiritual and moral transformation and, when needed, it is the most effective instrument for healing and mending relations.

Martin Luther King knew this and consistently sought strength from religion in seeking redress for the oppressed. As we celebrate his endeavors and contributions towards the transformation of society in this direction, we are mindful of the uneasiness around us, and of the broken relations, heavy hearts and shattered trusts in many parts of the world; also of the challenges of constructive and collaborative tasks towards remedying the social ills that plague the humanity.

As people of religion we need transformation from a state of self existence to that of pro-existence, in which, in accordance with our true religious values, we would live and strive not only to seek benefits and advantages for ourselves and our near and dear ones but also, and importantly, attend to the needs of our other fellow human beings. There is, thus, a need for spiritual and moral revival for all of us. In this vein, let me recall some of the core values and teachings of Islam which may not be widely known. Firs, two quotes from the Holy Qur'an, addressed to humanity at large:

O People! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God are the most righteous of you. And God has full Knowledge and is well-acquainted (with all things). (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

...To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way. If God had so willed, He would have made you a single People, but (His plan is) to test you in what He has given you; so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to God; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which you dispute. (Al-Ma'idah 5:48)

Based on these and other Qur'anic teachings which are embodied in the ethical and moral principles of Islam, I offer the following thoughts to the readers:

Our Creator is One and the same. We call the Creator with different names, but behind all names there is One and the same Being. God created all human beings from the same parents: Adam and Eve. All human beings are related to one another and are the members of one and the same extended human family. Human beings have been given differences of colors, languages, and races. The diversity is beautiful and enriches life with varieties of cultures. All human beings regardless of their races, colors, genders or religions are equal and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Life, freedom and honor of anyone should be protected. Throughout history God has guided human beings through His Prophets and Messengers including the last Prophet Muhammad. We must pay attention to this divine heritage. God commands us to live with, and spread, peace, justice and righteousness in the world. We must work together and cooperate in this mandated effort. Real peace will be accomplished when we start caring for all the creations of God.

May God bless all people, heal their wounds, mend their bodies and restore their trust in each other and in the goodness of God's creation. May the Lord grant every one peace in the heart, mind and body. Ameen.

Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi is the Director of the Islamic Society of Orange County, California and Past President of the Islamic Society of North America

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