Mariam Zarafshar on the 9/11 Interfaith Vigil

September 11, 2011

"Let there arise from among you a band of people who should invite to righteousness, enjoin good and forbid evil; such are the ones who shall be successful." (3:104)
From the Holy Qur’an, Muslims learn that doing righteous deeds is an essential part of our faith. We believe that Prophet Mohammad said: "On every person's joints or small bones (i.e. fingers and toes), there is charity every day the sun rises. Doing justice between two people is charity; assisting a man to mount his animal, or lifting up his belongings onto it is charity; a good word is charity; every step you take towards prayer is charity; and removing harmful things from pathways is charity."

From this and other lessons of Prophet Mohammad that we as Muslims strive to live by, we know that even the smallest good work is an act of charity that brings a person closer to God.

It is a travesty, therefore, that the atrocious events of 9/11 have become associated with a religion that makes constant righteousness a requirement and a priority, much like many other religions with similar values and creeds. The acts of a small number of misguided villains have unfortunately become, in the minds of many, representative of an enormous community of Muslims striving to be the very best versions of themselves for the sake of God and humanity.

As we pray for and commemorate those lost on that fateful day, we must also reflect on our growth as a community of many faiths. We must remind ourselves of our duty- not just as Muslims or Christians or Jews, but as human beings- to be devoted to spreading goodness and suppressing evil.

Our Loving God!
We call on you today that you may bless this nation of ours.

America is a land of many faiths, races and beliefs, and of many cries and calls… Continue to inspire its leaders with the wisdom to seek common ground, and to recognize our common humanity when we disagree.

We ask that You keep us together, protecting us from all forms of evil and terror, both internal and external. And we ask that You may help us all advance goodness and restore peace to our country and all the nations of the world.

We call on your glory, God, to make each and every one of us here today an instrument for building bridges, for promoting mutual understanding and respect. Help us repair the hearts of those who drink from the well of hatred, that they may instead taste the waters of harmony.

We call on you, God, to continue to help us to be generous, to give voice to the voiceless and offer shelter to the homeless. To help heal this nation and the entire world.

Give us the courage to embrace the diversity of our nation and world, that we might give all people hope and optimism for a better future as we continue to foster a powerful, free, safe and just America.

God for a humane society and a just nation, continue to bless us with your guidance and wisdom.

Thank you.

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