- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 18, 2007

The following are excerpts from a recent sermon by Imam Faizul R. Khan of the Islamic Society of the Washington Area.

The world of today is passing through unrest and uneasiness. It is passing through troubles and tragedies. People are in a state of constant anxiety, and peace has left humanity. Lack of peace has created heavy pressures on the mind.

The human mind has failed to keep up with its spiritual needs. Our social system, our family system and other factors help create such pressures on the human mind. And as you know, there are many other problems all over the world: disasters, wars and tragedies.

The tragedy of the people of Palestine, Afghanistan, Eritrea, India, Iraq and Sudan are a living example of human injustice, fanaticism and intolerance. It is the duty of every person to find the means and methods to solve these problems.

There are a lot of factors that can influence a change in our attitude and help to solve the problems of humanity and create peace in the minds, hearts and spirits of people. Here are some reminders:

The oneness of humanity: One may belong to the East or the West, be white or black, or this nationality or that. All these things are insignificant in the sight of God. Man must be freed from feelings of either superiority or inferiority, for Islam regards all people as equal in the sight of God except for the degree of piety and righteousness.

The prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, declares that there is no superiority of the Arab over the non-Arab, nor white over black, except through piety or good deeds.

The oneness of God: Although there are many man-made religions, there is only one divinely revealed religion. When a church or a group of people introduces a new concept into their religion so as to satisfy their needs and to keep up to date with the desires of society, this religion is man-made. For a religion to be revealed and divined it must satisfy the needs, the hopes and the wishes of all societies, cultures and nationalities at all times.

In order to have a divine religion, we have to have the original message preserved in its original language and text. In order to be a revealed book, the concept of one God, of the oneness of mankind, oneness of prophets and oneness of messages must all be predominant.

Brothers and sisters, let us go back to study the religions and come together to the religion of Allah.

Mutual understanding: To have mutual understanding, one has to believe that the other faithful people are believers. The way you pray to God and the means by which you worship Him are insignificant, as long as you are a faithful and devoted person. Allah says in the Koran: “There are among the people of the book some upright men … who believe in Allah and the last day, who enjoin justice and forbid evil. … These are the righteous men. Whatever good they do, its reward shall not be denied them. Allah knows the righteous.”

To have mutual understanding, one should understand that he will not go to heaven because he is of a chosen nation or people, nor because he is of a particular denomination, rather it is because of his good deeds and motives, preceded by faith in God and submission to his will.

Cooperation: The concerned people of the world should work together hand in hand for the welfare of humanity, which is suffering. Humanity is suffering from indifference and intolerance, from struggles and fights for worldly gains, from wars, anxiety, worries and lack of peace. It is the duty of all these and others to work together and coordinate their efforts for the welfare of all humanity. Allah says in the Koran: “Help one another in what is good and pious and not in what is wicked and sinful.”

A call for common terms: The motto and theme of this Muslim New Year should be to promote peace and understanding among the people of the world. I realize through traveling and meeting other people that there are common terms that a Muslim can advocate that Christian, Jew, Hindu, Bahai and atheist are willing to hear. The common terms are peace, good will and understanding. The word Islam to a Muslim means peace.

Since humanity in general is torn down by sectarian strife, suffering, war and other calamities, there is a desperate need for peace in all its meaning: of tranquility, tolerance, harmony and cooperation. May Allah help us accomplish these goals.

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