Folsom California Seerah Program Focuses on the Greatest of Mankind
By Ras H. Siddiqui
The Muslim Community of Folsom (MCF) hosted one of three prominent Seerah programs held in the greater Sacramento area recently. All of them attracted hundreds of people who religiously gathered to honor the legacy of our Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), a man through whom the message of Islam was brought into this world, and a religion which now has over 1.5 billion followers.
These annual events have become a regular addition to our social calendar in the Sacramento region and are held around the birthday of the Prophet (which fell during early January this year). Seerah Programs biographically travel through or highlight the Prophet’s life which has been captured via both the written and oral traditions of Muslim thought and preserved over several hundred years. Holding these events also shows the love that the Messenger (PBUH) of Islam evokes amongst its followers.
The program in Folsom was hosted by Imam Aamir Nazir. I was unable to attend the entire event and missed the beginning, but it was reportedly started with a memorable recitation from the Holy Qur’an by Qari Zakaria Elmakkaoui and a “Naat” by Hafiz Tulaib which followed was also very inspiring.
Imam Askia Mohammed spoke first. It has been good to see him active here recently. It is too bad that I missed his delivery. I have known him for close to 20 years ever since Dr Agha Saeed of the AMA introduced us. Imam Askia spoke of the rainbow of race and ethnicity which people that have followed Islam are today and have been since the very beginning. And amongst them who can forget Bilal (RA) and his call to prayer during the time of the Prophet and soon after when it moved Muslims to tears.
Next up, Imam M. A. Azeez was as eloquent as ever in his speech. Starting his thought process from the struggles of an immigrant from Pakistan who eventually found success in the world of architecture, Imam Azeez went on to discuss in detail the role model that the Prophet (PBUH) is for all of us. He described him as the most extraordinary “ordinary” person one could ever find in history, one whose life has been documented in very minute detail. Muhammad (SAW) lived his life in an exemplary manner which remains a standard for all of us to study and follow. Imam Azeez said that we get angry about criticism of the Prophet coming from certain quarters. Our reaction is often “How dare they?” he said. He added that instead of expressing anger, we need to do what Muhammad (SAW) did. His instrument of change was his ability to live with people (including antagonistic ones). How the Prophet handled rumor mongering was given as one example. Involvement, empathy and time spent with others were his way. Spending time with people rather than judging them. Imam Azeez said that the approach to take with other people, your neighbors who might have misguided ideas about the Messenger of Allah is not to get worked up and send them all kinds of information via email, Facebook etc. The best approach according to Imam Azeez was, “Invite them over for dinner.” Be an example of a good neighbor and you have done your Dawa work. The dishonor on the Prophet (SAW) is primarily caused by us. By our attitudes, by our anger, he said. Cast all that aside and do what the Nabi (SAW) did, he said.
Mufti Mudassir Owais from Fremont next beautifully articulated the Prophet’s life in the Urdu language. An English translation was provided by Imam Kashif Ahmed. Mufti Mudassir concentrated on the life lead by the Prophet (SAW) and what he would want to see in our own households today. Respect for one’s mother, parents, kindness to all especially women all fell into this domain. Showing mercy to everyone was also highlighted.
After a short presentation by our “future generation” (two community kids) the formalities soon came to an end and dinner was served. And as one left the venue it was good to reflect on “Muhammad (SAW) The Greatest of Mankind” theme for this event. One can add that we all came out of this Seerah event with a good feeling that the compassion and kindness shown by the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) during his life should be shared by Muslims with people outside the faith who are getting the wrong impression about us by the violence practiced by a few misguided groups.