Welcome

 

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

 

It is wonderfully heart warming to see all these beautiful faces here tonight, thank you for choosing to be with us on this fine evening.

 

Distinguished guests, my fellow directors from the Lebanese Muslims Association, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, friends, as a Muslim speaker, it is very important for me to ensure that every person here tonight has a full appreciation of what the word Islam means and how this word in fact applies to all believers in the One true God.

 

Quite simply, Islam means the way of peace, the way to establish a just enduring peace.  It also means submission to God.  Islam is peace through living a God-centered life.  I ask my Christian friends:  Does this not apply to them also?  I ask my Jewish friends, is this not a beautiful description of their life’s mission?

 

Yes my dear friends, we all have the same objectives, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, we are all trying to establish peace on earth through God’s grace.  Hence, the word Islam is an apt description of the purpose of all our faith traditions.  Islam unites us in devotion to the Creator and this Creator has manifested His Mercy to us with messengers and prophets and messages the last of whom is Muhammad and the last of which is the Noble Qur`an.

 

Muhammad is described in the Noble Qur`an as a mercy to the worlds and the Qur`an is described as containing mercy, Christ was sent to us through God’s Mercy, Moses is also a manifestation of God’s Mercy, Abraham is also mercy and grace from God, mercy upon mercy upon mercy, compassion upon compassion upon compassion, this is the God that we believe in, ArRahman, the Source of all mercy and His final messenger and book, mercy and compassion working in unison.

 

Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, a manifestation of love and mercy said:  A Muslim is the one from whose words and actions people are safe.

 

He is the person who said:  “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”

 

A man who walked in the footsteps of Christ, Moses and Abraham, he was charged with putting the finishing touches to divine revelations, his mission concluded the work of his predecessors, he looked to his followers and said:  All the men of God are brothers, their mothers are different, but they are the children of the same faith.

 

This is but a brief glimpse of some of his words, to know Islam as a faith, I need to introduce you to its final messenger, to Muhammad peace and blessings upon him and I guarantee you this evening, that to meet this great man is to love him.  Once you know him, you will love him.  When you love him, you will put your faith in him, it is not possible for you to meet him without loving him immediately, to love him an intellectual, spiritual soul filled love that transcends the physical.  This is the man whom whilst bleeding from persecution, as the angels came to him and offered to punish his persecutors, he spoke with love and compassion and said:  No, do not punish them, I pray that goodness will come out of them.

 

A man from whom love flowed in abundance, love that transcended all material considerations, he gave freely, of his possessions and of his time, of his effort and of his comfort to leave us with infinitely enduring wisdom and the means to resolve our problems through cooperation and collaboration.

 

It was not enough to forgive his persecutors, at the height of his glory, as he transcended the seven heavens and entered the divine presence, he spoke to God and said:  “My Lord, you have honoured me so much, what about my supporters, those who believe in me and stand by me and uphold my teachings O Lord.”  He did not walk away with it, he thought about us, you and me and asked God to give us the same transcendence to take us also beyond the seven heavens.  God immediately responded.  Today, you and I can have the same honour through prayer, you and I can transcend this material world when we bow our forehead in humility and devotion to our Creator.

 

He was not only concerned for his close supporters, he also asked about you and me.  He said to his supporters one day:  Ahhh how I long to see my brothers.”  They said to him:  “Are we not your brothers o messenger of Allah?”  He said:  “You are my companions, my supporters in my worldly life, my brothers are those who will believe in me without having met me.”

 

He is a man who taught us to love and honour women and tend to their needs, there are several instances in his life when a young lady would grab him by the hand and ask him to help her with her chores, the messenger of God would humbly help her and once finished, he would get on with his normal duties.  He told us to honour our mothers and that paradise lies at their feet.  He told us that the person who honours women is an honourable person and the person who is mean to them is a mean person.  He taught us to honour our wives and daughters and sisters and neighbours, to live in perfect peace with others and also with our environment.  When God described this man as a mercy for the worlds, it is a comprehensive mercy, for the human race, for the animal kingdom, for the environment, his teachings outlined to us the perfect balance for the needs of all these that share our world.

 

He longed to meet you and me, fourteen hundred years ago and there is nothing to bind us with him other than our common humanity and our faith in the Creator, God the Almighty.

 

This is the man who was described by God as kind-hearted and compassionate with believers.

 

A man who spoke gently and with kindness to people and told his followers:  if you believe in God and the final day, speak good things or remain silent.

 

My friends, when I as a Muslim stand up here and pay homage to Muhammad, my heart equally celebrates the great Christ, Moses, Abraham and Noah, Muhammad told me about their greatness, their single-minded fidelity and devotion to God.  A Muslim loves Christ as much as a Christian and loves Moses as much as a Jew and loves goodness and all those who work for it.

 

God charged Muhammad to bring to us an inclusive way of life, one that celebrates the unique qualities of every person, one that welcomes and embraces every person, one that accommodates every person, a way of life that also holds the salvation of every person.  He did nothing other than continue and conclude the preaching of Christ, Moses and Abraham!  He walked in their footsteps and a little further into the land of the gentiles and many of the gentiles embraced his message.  Indeed, to know him is to love him and to celebrate his message and embrace those who adhere to it.

 

As a Muslim, Muhammad taught me to respect others regardless of their faith tradition and to pray for others, to cooperate with others on the principles of goodness, he taught me to love others as I would myself and to look out for the needs of others as I would for myself.  I pray ask: is this not the message of Christ?

 

Good evening all.