On Sunday morning, Muslims took part in the inaugural National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness that was called for by Indigenous Elders to pray for unity, understanding and a peaceful resolution of issues facing Indigenous people and settlers in the land.
At two major Islamic Centres in the Greater Toronto Area – the Islamic Institute of Toronto and the ISNA Islamic Centre – gatherings were held for the National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness that was initiated by Elder Dave Courchene from the Turtle Lodge in Manitoba, acting on behalf of the National Indigenous Elder Council from the four directions across Canada.
“Thank you for joining in the Day of Prayer,” said Elder Dave Courchene in a message sent to the Canadian Muslim community and read out at the Islamic Institute of Toronto by Dr. Sabina Ijaz. “It means so much to us to have the Muslim community support our concerns and our faith in the Spirit.”
“As the Elders and Knowledge Keepers of our Original Nations, we ask for you to help support our ancestral schools of knowledge that share our knowledge of values and protocols in acting as stewards of the land, that can help all people make peace with each other and make peace with the earth,” added Elder Courchene.
“I also welcome developing further relationships with the Muslim community, and continuing a process we started together many years ago.”
Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick and Professor Robert Lovelace of Queens University addressed the breakfast gathering at the Islamic Institute of Toronto.
Several faith groups have endorsed the National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness across the country.
The Elders made a call for a National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness, “a national day that people of all religions, denominations and sects pray or meditate in their own way, in their own churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and lodges.”
According to the Elders, “the hope is that they stand with Indigenous people and call out in their own way for unity, understanding and a peaceful resolution of issues.”
A resolution to hold the National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness on August 6th was passed unanimously at a recent meeting of the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs Committee on Health.
“The tone of the national conversation has become harsh and divisive. It is only through Spirit that we can come together as human beings and work together to bridge our differences and create positive solutions,” said Turtle Lodge Elder Dave Courchene. “The power of spirit will unite, not only First Nations, but everyone on Turtle Island.”
Supplication made at ISNA Islamic Centre
O Allah, we have come together here on this day, to supplicate to You, at this troubled time in the world as we struggle with a loss of humanity.
Our Lord, our world faces violence and misunderstanding; many of our youth in this land are in a state of depression and many contemplate suicide; and the First Peoples of Turtle Island continue to find themselves marginalized and in poverty.
To you, our Lord, we have stretched out our hands and from You, our Lord, we hope for kindness.
Be kind to us in what You decree and let us be pleased with what pleases You.
O Lord, we approach You, weak and lowly.
We call to You with the supplication of the one who calls on a noble Lord who does not turn aside those who call.
O Allah, we pray for unity, understanding and a peaceful resolution of issues facing the First Peoples of this land and all settlers of Turtle Island.
Our Lord, You are the One on Whom We call to remove our adversities, and You are the One we hope will dispel our sorrows.
O Allah, we ask You to relieve the pain and suffering of people who are subjected to acts of terror, violence, discrimination and marginalization.
Our Lord, we ask You to grant peace and security to the innocent everywhere and protect their lives, homes, properties and places of worship.
O Allah, forgive our violation of Your creation.
Our Lord, forgive our violence toward each other.
O Allah, inspire us with Your divine Mercy so that our hearts may be full of compassion, not of anger, that our hearts may be instruments of forgiveness, not of revenge, that we may experience genuine love, not hate.
Our Lord, we ask for protection for our hearts, lest they become hardened at the sight of suffering.
In all our actions, we ask for compassion for the suffering that surrounds us.
May we always recall the preciousness of every life and minimize unneeded hurt and destruction.
May we always appreciate our deep interconnectedness, as common citizens of one Earth.
May our own words arise from the depth of prayer.
May they never incite or be the source of suffering and violence.
May our words have the power to heal and soothe rather than to incite and inflame.
Our Lord, we petition You this day – accept our repentance, cleanse us of our misdeeds, answer our prayers, substantiate our pleas, guide our hearts, straighten our tongues and banish all ill-will from our breasts.
O God, You are peace and from You comes Peace. Blessed are you, the Majestic and Generous.