Thanksgiving in our home

By Dr. Tasneema Ghazi Turkey Dinner Table

“Mommy, I think we have been living in America long enough to celebrate Thanksgiving!”

My seven years old thinker-daughter said this to me in 1973. We had just moved from Harvard to San Diego where my husband got a teaching job at the university.

We bought our first house in the United States and decided to settle in this lovely land instead of returning to India. America was home now; and it has been ever since.

We all sat down and talked about the history and the significance of this special national holiday for all Americans, both recent immigrants and longstanding natives. We reckoned that Thanksgiving is not holiday centered on religious beliefs, like Christmas or Easter, but it is a national holiday where the citizens of this great nation together offer thanks to their Creator for giving them this land of bounty and keeping it thriving and prosperous.

If anything we can even find in the origins of Thanksgiving the very Islamic principles of migration for the sake of faith, as well as helping those in need. This Pilgrims fled their native England rather than compromise their beliefs. They struggled for existence in the first years of their life in the Plymouth Colony, and if it weren’t for the assistance of the indigenous Wampanoag people the Old World immigrants would not have survived. Does such a story ring a bell with Muslims?

Thanksgiving is about offering thanks to Allah (SWT) for bestowing His grace and blessings upon all of us living in this country. For our first Thanksgiving we invited our dear friend Qiaser Jahan, a graduate student from Pakistan, and Mr. Bari whose grandfather had migrated to California from Punjab in the early 1900. Dr. and Mrs. Dill, both professors at the university also joined us in the celebrations.

We decided that our first Thanksgiving would be in typical American-style, complete with turkey, corn, green beans, pumpkin pie and of course gravy. In the center of the table was a tray with the sign “Prophet Muhammad’s favorite Foods.” This tray contained olives, bread, finely sliced meat, watermelon etc. Dr. Dill offered the du’a before the meal and everyone enjoyed the delicious food.

Since then we have celebrated this most American holiday every year. Sometimes we cooked the turkey on Thanksgiving Day, while at other times it was on a Friday or Saturday, depending on the schedules of family members and guests over the long weekend. In Chicago we once invited a number of visiting poets from India and Pakistan who were in town for a poetry symposium and they asked for a turkey dinner. I prepared the dinner along with a roasted leg of lamb – Indian style. My daughter invited a dozen of her friends from University of Chicago International House. The guest poets sat on the dining table and spread the traditional dastarkhwan/sofrah on our living room floor for the rest of us. The joy of meeting with family and friends and having warm get together was so very important, and it continues to be so.

Thanksgiving is all about praising Allah (SWT) as a country for all of the things He has blessed us with. It is about coming together with family and friends and sharing moments of joy and happiness. And as I.M.A.N.’s Turkey Drive tells us, it should also be about sharing with those less fortunate. It is all about brotherhood, sisterhood, love and peace. This is the spirit of Thanksgiving, and it is the spirit of Islam.
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IQRA’ At Parliament of the World Religions

IQARA’ At

Parliament of the World Religions 2015

 IQRA’ participated in the 2015 Parliament of the World Religions held in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 15-19.       Thanks to relentless commitments of its organizers and Chairman of the Board of Trustee, Imam Malik Mujahid  the event was a great success full of hope and enthusiasm for the common good of humanity and safety of our dear planet.

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IQRA’s Chairman, Dr. Abidullah Ghazi addressed the audience in two sessions.  In the first session he presented the universal position of Islam and talked about the Tawhid, Oneness of God and that we believe as Qur’an says Allah is The Lord of all worlds and Muhammad saw is Mercy to all creations of Allah swt.  Dr. Ghazi also talked about the beliefs of the Muslims that every human being belongs to the human family through Adam As and Hawwa RA.  We are all brothers and sisters, one big family.

Dr. Ghazi’s talk started an interesting discussion among the curious audience.  He summarized by saying that “Muslims are Interfaith community.”

In the second session Dr. Ghazi shared IQRA”s unique experience of developing and implementing an integrated program of Madrasah education in Singapore.  Citing the history of education in Islam he emphasized the fact that separation of ‘ILM, (Knowledge) between the secular and sacred was never the trend in educating Muslim children.  The focus of education in Islam had always been the acquisition of knowledge of the Deen of Allah swt and also the knowledge of the things created by Allah swt.  This holistic and integrated approach to knowledge acquisition is only Islamic approach and must be revived in our schools and Madaris.

Dr. Ghazi presented the successful model of Singapore /IQRA’ Madrasah curriculum and teachers’ training (human resource development) to be adopted by all full time Islamic schools and Madaris.

Dr. Ghazis’ presentation made the audience thinking about the importance of a unifying approach to curriculum development and methods of teachings.

Dr.  Ghazi also chaired two other sessions during the conference.

IQRA’s Book Service Director, Mr. Shahab Khan was represented IQRA’ in the Conference.  He remained busy sharing with the conference guests IQRA’s many projects and its unique publications.  He related to everyone the story of IARA’s unique pioneering work in the field of education for children, especially Muslim children.  Mr. Salman Ghazi, Director of IQRA’ India also attended the conference and shared IQRA” India’s work and services to the community.

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