I believe that the best way to celebrate a national hero is to further the cause for which they fought. Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sacrificed his life fighting for racial equality and just treatment of everyone. Half a century later, we still find ourselves fighting this war and the dream remains unfulfilled.
Today, peaceful Muslims like myself also have a dream. I fully understand that there are many people around the world that consider Islam to be an intolerant religion. From my personal experience, I believe that one of the many reasons for the injustices to exist in any society depends a lot on individual bias and prejudice. If we try to be more accepting of the diverse views and ways of life among humans around the world, only then can we hope to see peace prevailing in this increasingly restless world.
The Islam that I practice is in complete agreement with the views of the great hero who we are celebrating this Monday. King famously stated, “I look to the day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
More than 1,400 years ago, the prophet of Islam taught this profound notion as a basic principle of Islam. Prophet Muhammad — peace and blessings be upon him — had preached, “A white has no superiority over a black, nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”
The issue of reverse racism is also beautifully tackled here. This quote is a manifestation of complete racial justice and equality taught by Islam. As a Muslim, I am proud to say that my religion not only propagates equality but celebrates the diversity of races. The Holy Qur’an states, “And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your tongues and colors” (30:23).
I firmly believe that Islam — being a universal religion and for all times — addresses all the issues faced by every society. Today, the war for equality has many fronts. We need to tackle discrimination not only on the basis of color but of religion and gender, too.
Today, my solution to this multifaceted war is to look towards the leaders who inspire me. The head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community — his holiness Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad — recently stated in his address that, “If we truly want peace in our time, then we must act with justice. We must value equality and fairness. We must pursue the rights of others with the same zeal and determination that we pursue our own rights. We should broaden our horizons and look at what is right for the world, rather than what is only right for us. These are the means for peace in our age.”
In fulfillment of King’s dream — meaning if we are to let freedom ring from every state and city of this great country — we must rid our minds of all prejudices, and practice justice and compassion with all our hearts. Only then we can proudly uphold the legacy of King and can eradicate any traces of racism. Let us take the advice of the aforementioned leaders to look for goodness and piety in each other and strive to be better to one another in 2018 and beyond.
Pasha, of Round Rock, writes for the Media Watch team of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.