Frasat Ahmad, USA
This week, your Muslim neighbor Ahmad will be enjoying Thanksgiving just like you.
You may not know, but Muslims love thanksgiving. Not only does the thought of juicy turkey and sweet pumpkin pie entice our stomachs, but the spirit of Thanksgiving entices our souls.
Although Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday or observance and is not commemorated as such, Muslims in America are naturally drawn to this holiday because of the spirit of gratitude and service that it embodies. This American spirit of giving thanks is actually enshrined in Islam. In fact, Islam can be boiled down to two ideals: giving thanks to God and giving thanks to our fellow human beings.
The Qur’an tells us,
‘Worship God and be thankful to Him,’– The Holy Qur’an 39:67
Some may say that ritual prayer and worship suffice to give thanks to God. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) could not disagree more.
In a famous tradition, he states,
‘If you are not thankful to people, then you are not thankful to God.’– Sunan Abu Dawud 4811
Gratitude to our fellow brethren by way of community service, paired with prayer, is the truly Muslim means to give thanks to God. And it fits perfectly with the American spirit of Thanksgiving.
As Americans excitedly prepare to organise food drop offs to homeless shelters, donate groceries to food pantries, volunteer at food banks, or raise money for local charities, they will see that their Muslim neighbors stand in unison with them in these selfless acts of service.
This spirit of selfless service connects us all, whatever our background or religion.