It’s Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The time when Muslims fast, drinking nothing and eating nothing from sunrise to sunset. It is a time to get closer to Allah, a good time to reflect.
I just viewed an informal interview with a young man who was an unaccompanied minor, coming to the United States, alone, at age 13. His mother told him to leave her and their village because their village had been invaded the night before. Many people were kidnapped that night.
I couldn’t help but think throughout history of mothers doing their best to give their children a better future, and the sacrifices people are challenged to make. Like the fall of Saigon, where there is film showing a mother shoving her baby onto a helicopter that she had no way of getting on. And the Prophet Ibrahim, walking with his son up Mount Arafat to sacrifice him.
Today, the teen, who walked for months to Morocco before being able to come to the U.S., is safe. He is going to school, and he is eager to go to college.
I just heard the verdict in the George Floyd case. My body relaxed — I didn’t know I had held on, literally, to so much stress.
Then I had a Halaqa (talk,) which has been happening every single night for more than a year due to our mosques being shut because of COVID-19. At the beginning, we listened to someone reciting the Quran.
I wonder, after “sheltering in place” for a year, how do we come back together? Do we return to how things used to be? Ya Allah (God, the One who has always been, the One who is, and the One who always will be), I hope not!
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress and the first African-American representative from Minnesota. In response to the verdict, he said: “I would not call today’s verdict justice … because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step toward justice.”
Indeed, this is a step toward our full, complete way of being.
This is a step toward our healing of America — reparations (whatever that looks like) for at least the descendants of slaves and the Natives who were here before any of us who traveled here, willingly, or unwillingly. Other immigrants were treated very poorly, to say the least. And yet all these descendants and all the new immigrants are part of this nation.
I pray that as we come together again, we greet each other fully, with light in our eyes, with a smile on our lips, with heartfelt words for each other.
I pray that as we come together again, we embrace our differences and learn from each other, and revel in these.
I pray that as we come together again, we move toward Justice for All in the purest sense.
I pray that as we come together again, we meet each other and expand our acquaintanceships and friendships and work together – garden, teaching, learning.
I pray that as we come together again, we pray together.