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A Defining Moment

Khaled Al-Maeena

Arab News, 1/31/04

The Standing at Arafat is the pinnacle of Haj and an unforgettable experience in the journey of a lifetime. Today, the pilgrims will spend the afternoon at Arafat, praying to Allah for guidance and forgiveness. The pilgrims will also beseech the Almighty for deliverance from the grief that has beset the Islamic Ummah. Perhaps most of all, they will pray for peace in our time.

We should pray too that God in His infinite Mercy will guide us to do good, avoid evil and shun intolerance and bigotry. We should pray that the deprived, the dispossessed, the sick and the poor will have their conditions alleviated. We should ask God to grant respite to all those living in abject misery. We should implore our Lord to allow children of all races, nations and creeds to know laughter and banish forever the tears from their eyes.

We should bow our heads to the All Powerful One and beg that freedom must dawn on those who are under occupation. They must be given the opportunity to live their lives with dignity. We should ask God to grant patience and fortitude to those who have lost their loved ones as a result of mans inhumanity to man.

It is not a matter of prayers alone. We should resolve that as of this moment our actions and deeds be in line with the teachings of our faith as prescribed by the Prophet Abraham and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them), who on this day delivered his last sermon. Then only will this world be the one that God wanted it to be.

Muslims in Palestine, Chechnya and so many other places have endured daily misery for years. And now, due to the inertia of the Islamic Ummah in tackling those horrors, Muslims and others around the world are persecuted with impunity. It is a sad truth but we lack the will to face down tyrants. Instead we turn our faces and look away.

The Muslims standing at Arafat today have assembled with purpose, joined in collective, constructive action. Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik, the pilgrims chanted and beseeched Allah, We beg for Your mercy and blessings. But that is now. Tomorrow, too many of that group and most of us will return to the rivalry that has become the universal signature of Muslims.

I call on my brothers and sisters to remember the example of our blessed Prophet and unite to save the Ummah. Ask yourself, what have you done for Islam lately? Even on this most blessed occasion, it cannot be forgotten that Muslims, from Afghanistan to the United States, live with the threat of violence on their doorsteps.

We face a potential debacle because we have abused our faith. We have allowed the voices of intolerance and extremism to smother the gentler tones of those who prefer to work for inclusiveness and moderation. Abandoning the search for common goals, instead we dig deep to unearth individual differences. This is a pity because the word Muslim denotes no race, ethnicity or national origin. It only signifies ones desire to submit to the will of Allah.

It is time to think of Allahs will rather than our individual desires. It is time to remember that the blessings of the hereafter depend on our piety in the present. The essence of Arafat must become the foundation of our efforts to work toward peace and to end the suffering of all people, everywhere. My best wishes to all our readers on this blessed occasion.


Earth, a planet hungry for peace


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python. (Alquds,10/25/03).

Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.