CT Ahmadi Muslim Couple’s Angle on Black History Month Amid Divisiveness in America
Originally Published on Beliefnet
by Zahir Mannan
A Lesson for President Trump from Prophet Muhammad & Islamic History
What’s it like being Ahmadi Muslim Americans amid divisive Executive Orders in the month dedicated to Black History? Simply put, it’s a calling!
Islam’s spiritual father, the immaculate Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, “sent as the mercy unto all the worlds” (Quran 21:108) exemplified how to champion righteousness whether in victory and ascendency or persecution and annihilation. How did he do it? It was by personifying the revolutionary yet pragmatic navigation preserved in the Noble Quran; prayer, education, and love. This was his Jihad and how he founded a paradisiacal kingdom of unity betwixt diversity affording peace, freedom, and justice for all that would even progenerate the Renaissance.
He triumphed by winning hearts and minds not territories and mammon, he commanded with affection and service, not with force or fascism. A light for both the leader and the follower, the rich and the poor, the black and the white, and everyone in between. One such captivated soul was an African named Bilal, with whom Allah is well pleased. The black Disciple was a former slave liberated by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and had retained his native Ethiopian accent. After accepting Islam he humbly endured the most inhumane persecution because of his new faith and undying love for One God, and had been elevated to a prestigious rank memorialized forever as the first Muezzin or caller to Salat, Islamic worship, despite abounding discrimination. The compassionate Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) recognized humanity as one preaching equality and equity; “…O people, indeed, your Lord is One and your father is one (Prophet Adam (pbuh)). Verily, there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, nor of a non-Arab over an Arab, nor of a white over a black, nor a black over a white, except by piety and good action…” (Farewell Sermon at his last Hajj). He practiced this by manifesting Bilal’s stirring melody and spiritual prowess, ever inclined to his True Creator and forgiving towards his tormentors like his beloved teacher Muhammad (pbuh).
What you may know about the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is that he was a descendant of the revered Prophet Abraham (pbuh), Patriarch for at least Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but what you may not know, and what many conveniently overlook, is that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was himself also partly African. That’s right, his matriarch was Hagar, with whom Allah is well pleased. She was a former slave from Egypt, whose faith, sacrifice and heroism turned the barren desert of Arabia into a thriving metropolis! It’s no wonder Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said “Paradise lies under the foot of your mothers”. Hagar bore Prophet Abraham (pbuh) a son named Ishmael, a half African, an honored Prophet in Islam and the Quran, and Progenitor of the Arabs with an African wife, according to Genesis. So, the next time anyone assumes there weren’t any African Prophets or Messengers of God, you can fearlessly correct them, and see that truth sink in!
Speaking of Africans in Black History Month, another model we can learn from today was a 7th century Christian King named Ashama. When after years of tyranny and affliction suffered by the earliest Muslims reached its limit, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advised “those who could afford it should migrate to Ethiopia, the King of Abyssinia is just and equitable. None are subjected to oppression under his rule.” The Meccan Quraish sent a delegation to Abyssinia to entice the King against the Muslim refugees, but the Christian Ruler proved faithful and upheld integrity even in the face of pressure and refused to hand over the Muslim immigrants. Under the just Christian Monarch, Muslims found a life of harmony and protection from the cruelties of the Quraish. This humanity is a lesson for President Trump who very well knows the violence and desolation the disadvantaged immigrants, targeted in his travel ban, are fleeing! Ironically, he himself admitted to being an offspring of immigrants. History bears witness how immigrants, from both eras, only enriched their new homes and benefited their new compatriots and fellow beings. Countless migrants serve their new home with passion and loyalty, like our grandparent Dr. Basharat Munir Mirza, for example. Mirza served his country and fellow Americans as the first Muslim Mayor of Chauncey, Ohio.
Tragically, simply believing God’s Messiah came again in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (pbuh) and that he was a Divine Prophet has made us objects of the cruelest persecution for over a century. Ahmadi Muslims immigrate to escape oppression seeking religious liberty and a better life. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. It’s what America itself was founded upon.
Nevertheless, we will never allow ourselves to forget where real power lies, how tribulation proves a blessing in disguise through “patients and prayers”, and how to overcome trials; “Do you think that you will enter Heaven while there has not come upon you the condition of those who passed away before you? Poverty and afflictions befell them, and they were violently shaken until the Messenger and those who believed along with him said: ‘When will come the help of Allah?’ Yea, surely the help of Allah is nigh” (Holy Quran 2:214). “And he who fears Allah alone – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he expects not. And he who puts his trust in Allah — He is sufficient for him. Verily, Allah will accomplish His purpose. For everything has Allah appointed a measure” (Quran 65:3-4). Time and time again, our faithful and patriotic neighbors and their leaders in Meriden, as well as from all around Connecticut, have proven to embody a heavenly help in turbulent times and we have faith that this is just the beginning. Even the previous Messiah Jesus (pbuh) had promised “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:4-5).
We don’t just talk the talk, we’re walking the walk emerging from real life and proven paradigms. In 2015 for instance, our unpretentious House of Peace Mosque in Meriden harnessed a tribulation by fulfilling dignified strivings taught in the Quran under the worldwide leadership of the current spiritual Khalifah or Vicegerent of Islam Ahmadiyya Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad; “And the recompense of an injury is an injury the like thereof; but whoso forgives and his act brings about reformation, his reward is with Allah. Surely, He loves not the wrongdoers” (Quran 42:41). “And good and evil are not alike. Repel evil with that which is best. And lo, he between whom and thyself was enmity will become as though he were a warm friend” (Quran 41:35).
We witnessed and partook of a miraculous transformation together, let’s do the same now and break barriers, bridge divides, and resist resurging hubris and inequity against minorities with goodness, dignity, and leading by example like those successful guided leaders from Allah before us. We can start by getting together for an Interfaith prayer service for the nation and world this Thursday, Feb. 23rd at 7 pm and follow up with a session of coffee, cake and conversation on True Islam Friday nights at 8 pm in Meriden’s Ahmadiyya Mosque. Where we go from there is up to you.
Regards of peace and blessings,
Miyan Zahir Muhammad Mannan and Syeda Sana Shah