Today is a day to remember. A day to remember for many reasons. Today marks a special day for me as a Muslim. Today is a Friday. Today marks approximately a week (or less) to the Muslim Holiday of Eid Al-Adha. During this time, up until Eid millions of people are currently in Makkah & Medina getting ready to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. For those of us who aren’t aren’t on the pilgrimage, we fast. In addition to all that, today marks the 14th anniversary of 9/11.
For Muslims, Friday is a day to remember God. Of course Muslims are taught to remember God everyday, but Friday is a most special occasion. Friday is the day that Muslims wear their best, go to a mosque, and listen to a sermon. This sermon is usually about remembering God and reminds us to be better people in our societies in which we live. In order to become better members of our societies, we must better ourselves. Acts of worship such as going to a weekly service or on a pilgrimage serve this purpose.
With the pilgrimage almost underway, Muslims around the world are on a spiritual high, if you will. Whether on the pilgrimage or not, it’s on everyone’s minds. While in Makkah, a pilgrim is surrounded by millions of people in the exact same act of worship as him/herself. He/she is surrounded by Islamic history whilst taking part in ritual reenactments during the pilgrimage. Then going to Medina to visit the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s grave. Each of the days spent there can barely be described except by using words like a “sense of calm” and “tranquility”. The kindness that one experiences in Medina is incomparable to anywhere else in the world. It’s honestly almost as if the Prophet’s spirit is on everyone’s faces there. It’s through these acts of worship that Muslims become stronger in their faith.
Through acts of worship, Muslims are reminded of the essence of Islam which is peace. The generosity that one experiences in Medina expresses this essence. Each Muslim is required to love their neighbors whether they are Muslim or not. I loved it in Medina because someone told me I was pretty! 🙂
Being in Makkah and Medina during a pilgrimage also prepares one for tests they may experience in their daily lives. Everyone is tested in different ways and one such test is through a specific traumatic event. One such event that was most horrific for Muslims and Non-Muslims alike was that of 9/11. Everyone was affected by 9/11 in different ways. Everyone was saddened by the loss of lives on that day. Muslims were affected because the peaceful nature of our religion was called into question on that day. Time and time again, Muslims have had to explain that the actions of a few do not determine the whole. Countless examples of peace and love in our religion were questioned on that day. Muslims mourn the loss of life on that day along with their fellow Americans. On this day, this Friday, this anniversary of 9/11 Muslims remember the lives lost and the lives affected by those horrific events. As our religion tells us, we pray for peace around the world. This is a day that no one can forget because everyone was affected in one way or another. Everything changed for Muslims living in America after 9/11. In a way, it made Muslims stronger, because as the American principle suggests, United We Stand, Divided we fall. This goes for all members of a society, not just the Muslim ones. Muslims have always been willing to answer any questions people may have, now more than ever. Muslim and non-Muslim Americans are neighbors in this society and treat eachother as such. On this day we remember American as well as religious values of peace, and love and tolerance. This day we remember the lives that were changed forever.