Imam of Badshahi Masjid in the Bay Area
A Pakistan Link Report
Maulana Muhammad Abdul Khabir Azad with Iftikhar Hai and Reverend Charles Gibbs
Maulana Syed Muhammad Abdul Khabir Azad from the Badshahi Masjid Lahore visited the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday, February 13, 2010. He was recently the guest of US State Department and had traveled to Washington DC to attend the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday February 11.
The Breakfast was a gathering of religious and political heavyweights. President Obama presided over this event and the message was that the people of various religious and political affiliations should work for bettering humanity through dialogue. Pakistan was represented by Imam Azad at the Breakfaast.
Just three weeks before the event Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Pakistan and paid a visit to the Badshahi Mosque where she offered a prayer for peace. She also spent some time with Imam Azad and asked for his help in bringing interfaith peace and understanding among the world’s religions. Maulana Azad is already a part of the United Religions Initiative of San Francisco ( www.uri.org) and represents Muslims on the Global Council.
The Imam called upon the religious community of SF Bay Area and had breakfast at the Hai home with Rev. Charles Gibbs and Executive Director and Sally Mahe. He later visited the Muslim Community Association in Santa Clara and gave an update on his visit to Washington, DC. He was at the Magrib prayers held at Islamic Society of East Bay, Fremont where he addressed an enthusiastic crowd. His melodious voice and the recitation of Surahs from the Holy Qur’an captivated everyone present. A number of Pakistani and Indian worshippers showed up along with their families.
At both the mosques during the day Maulana Azad emphasized the following verses from the Qur’an: Lakum Dinakum Valiuddin: Which means the time has come for us to respect pluralism in Islam. Let them follow their religion and we follow our religion. But we have to come on common grounds and work for peace in the world --- the non-violence ways because Islam means peace. He said that our Prophet (PBUH) gave us an example of love, compassion and forgiveness by taking care of a sick lady who used to throw garbage on him as he walked his way to the mosque for prayers.
Maulana Azad also said we must not only read the Qur’an but also understand it. He had come across many visitors to the Badshahi Mosque from foreign countries who convey to him the excellent wisdom that is conceived in the Qur’an. He urged the Muslim youth to come to Pakistan and set up computer classes and get involved in bringing prosperity and progress to the country.
He has designated Iftekhar Hai of United Muslims of America as his representative. Mr Hai can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.