Muslim Peace Fellowship
A Letter of Invitation


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Pass the word!

Please copy and circulate this document as much as you wish. If you aspire to be a servant of the Most Merciful and would like to lay claim to this mighty good fortune, the Muslim Peace Fellowship may be of use to you.

Please send your name and address, suggestions and comments, to:

Rabia Terri Harris , Coordinator, Muslim Peace Fellowship PO Box 271, Nyack, New York 10977

Tel: (845) 358-4601
Fax: (845) 358-4924

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam:

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatu Llahi wa barakatuhu.

Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala said:

And the servants of the Merciful are those who walk upon the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them they say, "Peace!"
                  (Surah al-Furqan, Ayah 63)

Most Westerners know nothing of the realities and beauties of Islam. Since the time of the Crusades, propaganda has been circulated to convince the ignorant that Islam is hard, warlike, narrow-minded, and either sensual or puritanical--depending on which of these seemed more shocking at the цветы Архангельск! Islam as Muslims have always known it--the religion of tolerance, harmony, wisdom, and above all, peace--remains a stranger to those who have not lived it.

Is it not our responsibility to make the beauty of Islam visible? Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala calls us to be examples to the world:

He named you Muslims before and in this, that the Messenger may be a bearer of witness to you, and you may be bearers of witness to mankind....
                  (Surah al-Hajj, Ayah 78)

What is the best way to go about this? All of us know that we should follow the practice of the Holy Prophet (salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallim), and many of us are careful to observe his habits of dress and manner. But what about his moral pattern? It is this that Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala praises in the Noble Qur’an:

Surely you are of an exalted character."
                  (Surah al-Qalam, Ayah 4)

So the best witness for Muslims to offer is a witness emulating the character of the Holy Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim), which Allah Himself has given eternal praise.

That character is mercy.

It is part of the Mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them. Wert thou severe or harsh-hearted they would have broken away from about thee; so pass over (their faults) and ask for forgiveness for them; and consult them in affairs. Then when thou has taken a decision put thy trust in Allah."
                  (Surah Al-i `lmran, Ayah 159)

We have not sent you save as a mercy to the universe.
                  (Surah al-Anbiya’, Ayah 107)

We are all commanded to begin every lawful action with Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim–"In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate." What principle could be more fundamentally Islamic, and what principle could be higher?

Yet though we may try to live our private lives in the spirit of compassion, there is no public Muslim avowal of this essential ideal. By default, Crusader propaganda wins the day.

If we simply allow this to happen, can we claim before the Creator of the Universe to have fulfilled our duty to His religion? Have we as a community followed His Messenger? Will the witness of the Holy Prophet (salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallim) be for us or against us?

It is not within the capacity of any state to bear witness. It is no excuse that the perfect government does not exist. Even if it did, our duty would be unchanged. We would still be responsible. We are responsible now.

We are called to be servants of the Most Merciful in humility, and to speak of peace to the ignorant.

In this spirit, I would like to introduce the Muslim Peace Fellowship.

Insha’Allah, this fellowship can:

• Pemit isolated Muslims with a deep personal commitment to nonviolence and harmony to locate each other and exchange views
• Search out Muslim individuals and groups already involved in peace and justice work and make their efforts more visible in the larger community and the media
• Help such individuals and groups coordinate at the national level
• Provide training in nonviolent conflict resolution for jama`ahs in our endangered inner cities
• Target local situations that could respond to trained intervention by concerned Muslim peacemakers
• Organize Muslim humanitarian aid for threatened communities worldwide
• Formulate Islamic positions in support of human rights, unity in diversity, and upright and ethical political action
• Communicate with Muslims and non-Muslims about the essentially Islamic character of such positions
• Give moral support to our daily pursuit of tawhid.

Every Muslim man or woman, regardless of ethnic background or social circumstances. who is ready to unite with fellow Muslims in taking up the work of peace, is most welcome to join.

The effectiveness of the MPF is broadened by its formal association with an eighty-year-old international, interfaith peace society, the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). FOR has decades of experience to share with us, and seasoned organizers upon whom we may call. FOR has helped peace groups establish themselves within every major religious community in the United States; the Muslim Peace Fellowship is now the youngest of these. Yet Muslims have participated in FOR activities for years. There is a thriving branch of the FOR headquartered in Bangladesh, with majority Muslim membership, and two Muslims presently serve on the US FOR’s national governing board.

There is nothing to prevent us from coming together in pursuit of the common good. and every reason to work together.

Some may feel it is better for Muslims to keep our distance and concentrate upon our own community. Some may even view other communities with suspicion. While it is true that Muslims have often encountered hidden opposition, if not outright enmity, from outsiders, there are other possibilities. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala tells

...There is no good in much of their secret conferences save (in) him who enjoineth charity and kindness and peacemaking among the people. Whoso doeth that, seeking the good pleasure of Allah, We shall bestow on him a vast reward.
                  (Surah al-Nisa’, Ayah 114)

It is not Muslims, but non-Muslims, who are spoken of in this ayah. As Muslims we must support such activity no matter who engages in it, and not use Allah’s name as a reason to avoid it.

Make not God’s (name) an excuse in your oaths against doing good or acting rightly or making peace between persons; for God is one who heareth and knoweth all things.
(Surah al-Baqarah, Ayah 224)

Nobody is ever brought to Islam, or friendship with Islam, through argument. Only example convinces those who have the capacity to be convinced. It is not our business to challenge the beliefs of others, but to show them what the Way of Muhammad (salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallim) truly represents. That is what Allah intends:

..To each among you have We have prescribed a Law and an Open Way. If God had so willed He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to God; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.
                  (Surah al-Ma’idah, Ayah 48)

And who is better in speech than one who calls to God and does good works and says, I am surely of those who submit [to God’s plan]? Nor can the good and the bad be the same. Repel evil with that which is better: then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate. And none is granted it but those who are patient, and none is granted it but the owner of a mighty good fortune."
                  (Surah Ha Mim, Ayahs 33-35)

Allah knows best.

Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatu Llahi wa barakatuhu.




Copyright ©2001 Muslim Peace Fellowship. All rights reserved.
Muslim Peace Fellowship
Rabia Harris, Coordinator,
The Muslim Peace Fellowship is part of the Fellowship of Reconciliation network