As humans, we like to think we are good planners. We schedule events, we make an agenda, we invite our contacts, and we make arrangements. The truth is, God is the best of Planners. He makes plans for us that we cannot even anticipate.
This was exactly the case for our Interfaith Peace Prayer held at Masjid Bait-us-Samad in Baltimore on December 13, 2015. As humans, we were expecting our Open House to be the first event in our new Masjid. Allah had better plans – He wanted to populate our Masjid earlier than we had planned, and with more people than we had anticipated.
With Allah’s Grace, our Interfaith Peace Prayer came together in just four days, because He did the planning for us. He inspired the kind hearted faith leaders who reached out to us themselves and expressed a desire to show their solidarity at a time when politicians are using inflammatory rhetoric against Islam. Thus, the Interfaith Peace Prayer was born.
Hafiz Abdul Qudus Kukoyi Sahib started off the evening with a beautiful recitation from the Holy Qur’an. Abdul Latif Bennett Sahib moderated the event, and enlightened the audience with words of wisdom about Islam and Ahmadiyyat between the agenda items.
Allah inspired the good hearts of our fellow Catholic, Protestant and Jewish faith leaders to share some prayers and peaceful thoughts with us: Pastor Joe Muth, Pastor Shannon Sullivan, Pastor Andrew Foster Connors, Pastor Gary Sheffield and Rabbi Andrew Busch spread kindness with their powerful words and sincere hand shakes. We thank them all.
Imam Hammad Ahmad Sahib expressed condolences on behalf of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Baltimore to the families of the victims of the San Bernardino attacks in California, and introduced the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and our beloved Khalifa of Islam, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadatba. He also shed some light on what the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Prophet Mohammadsa say about the sanctity of all human life: “It is our human duty, not just as religious people but as humans, to give our condolences to victims of any kind of extremism, any kind of violence and unite against the extremism that is there to divide us.”
A lively question and answer session was held, after which Dr. Faheem Younus Qureshi concluded the event by sharing a personal childhood story that illustrated the stark contrast between Ahmadi Muslims and those Muslims who believe in terrorism, violent jihad, and harsh punishments. He prescribed the perfect “vaccine to ISIS” – the peaceful and non-violent teachings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas
NBC news, ABC news, CBS news, and the Baltimore Sun ran stories to describe our event. You can watch and read them at the top of this page. We were honoured to have been broadcast live on NBC, been on the nightly news on ABC and CBS, and had an article in the Baltimore Sun published on their website before the end of the night.
Allah’s Grace and Mercy brought over 175 people to this event, approximately one hundred of whom were our respected non-Muslim guests. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Baltimore enjoyed an evening of peace, friendship, and prayer. New contacts were made, and plans for future interfaith harmony were proposed.
These stories and numbers make one thing very clear: Allah is the best of planners, and He truly has the best in mind for His special community. Alhamdulillaah!