In the name of Allah; the Compassionate, the Merciful
As the gates of Heaven open and the gates of Hell close, let us mark the blessed month of Ramadhan by fasting not just with our stomachs, but also with our hearts, tongues, eyes and ears. Let us remember the far too many, of all faiths, who are less fortunate, and act in the way of expressing love for that which is good; always mindful of the Creator and the piety he has bestowed in us.
14 centuries after Revelation, Islam is alive on every continent, each day attracting new believers from an ever more numerous array of nations, colours and cultures. We are truly fortunate to be alive at a time when the practice of Islam — and the diversity of believers — is unprecedented in history.
Let us this year, though, seize Ramadhan as an opportunity to remind ourselves and our fellow man of that which brings us together as one Ummah under one Creator. And in doing so, let us not forget that the story of the advent of Islam is a magnificent lesson in the power of unity predicated on incredible diversity.
As the Muslim world remains torn by differences rooted in both internal disputes and external interventions, responsible leaders have a duty to come together in recognition of that the Ummah can only be dialogued—not fought—out of its dire straits. Each and every one of us also have a duty, as individuals, to be the change that we want to see in the world. As the Holy Quran commands, “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” [13:11]
To this end, we must transform the way we view what sets us apart. Unless we begin to see our differences as something to celebrate and a source of strength, they will remain open to be exploited as a point of weakness and division. We must not allow those who seek to turn Islam into a religion of exclusion to achieve that vision for those who foment phobia of our divine faith.
In this vein, let us take particular care this year to remember that which was revealed. The Holy Quran emphatically commands to believers, “Whoever kills a soul [… ] it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.” [5:32] More than ever, each and every one of us, from ordinary citizens to responsible leaders, must join hands and come together to find solutions that will definitively address the injustices and bloodshed afflicting the Muslim world. If not for ourselves, we must undertake the momentous task before us to spare coming generations from being burdened with the afflictions of our world.
I extend to all of my brothers and sisters in Islam — truly, all — the best of wishes for a blessed Ramadhan.