Friday reflection: Let's change our way of relating to each other
A successful life is one in which we develop, maintain and nurture meaningful relationships with the One Transcendent God, Allah, with our fellow humans and other creations.
We are a growing and beautifully diverse Muslim community in this city.
However, one of the greatest challenges we face is how to develop and maintain relationships with our fellow Muslims from different nationalities, ethnicities, orientations, and linguistic groups - we are challenged by our diversity.
For the most part, we are comfortable mixing among our ‘own’ and building mosques to serve our ‘own.’ This is especially more pronounced in the larger metropolitan areas such as the GTHA where groups have the numbers to go it on their own.
So, we spend most of our resources constructing buildings for our ‘own’ rather than constructing relationships.
We are more concerned with cementing blocks than with cementing relationships.
For us to develop relationships amongst ourselves - there is an important element that defines a believer from one who merely attests to faith; that important element is having the ability to enact change in their lives.
We are aware of the Qur’anic principle for change: “God does not change the condition of a people unless they change what is in themselves....” (Qur’an, 13:11).
As far as our relationships to each other - yes, we can continue to live mundane, selfish lives – only concerned with ourselves and our immediate needs and our ‘own’; but by living as separate entities we never quite realize the potential of our community and fulfill our mission in this society.
And the potential is immense - the Muslim community in this city is the most diverse in the world with the best and brightest talents of the Muslim Ummah.
We can be a beacon light of what Islam can offer to the world and show the world how multiethnic, multiracial, multilingual, multi-oriental peoples can coexist under one roof and evolve a truly Canadian Muslim identity. This has always been the power and beauty of Islamic communities through the ages.
But to realize our full potential we must live up to the advice in the Qur’anic revelation that tells us to celebrate our diversity and seek out relationships with each other.
This is where an important change must begin for all of us if the Muslim community is to excel.
Each individual and each organization of Muslims needs to develop an action plan based on collaboration, exchange and partnerships.
We must develop mutually enriching relationships with others – with our fellow believers from other ethnicities, language groups, nationalities and organizations within the Muslim community and with all others interested in the future of our presence in this country.
This means that we should look to derive maximum benefits from each other’s talents.
We should highlight involvement with our fellow Muslims and multiply the chances of dialogue at all levels while respecting each other’s diversity.
We should develop our relationships on complementary and common goals.
We need to weave these links with our fellow Muslims - this is our common responsibility of living up to the Prophetic advice of developing relationships that are mutually beneficial.
This way of thinking and acting is far removed from our current ways – the artificial divisions that we have allowed ourselves to accept; the silos that we have erected around ourselves and which prevents us from living up to our potential.
It is also far removed from the unhealthy and perilous competitions which say that my understanding of Islam is better than yours; that my group is better than yours; that my vision is more valid than yours; that my methodology is superior to yours.
This new way of thinking and acting that I am proposing draws us together because God and the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us that we are nothing without each other.