On September 11, 2001, the United Nations voted to make the International Day of Peace a permanent fixture every year. Since 1981, it had been the third Thursday of September and not well recognized worldwide. Interestingly enough at 10:23 am in New York City, the unforgettable events that some harbor ill feelings towards Muslims and Islam, were unfolding almost simultaneously.
This year 9/11 falls not only on the Day of Arafah but also during the blessed month of Dhul-HIjjah.
Before you click off or start the negative rant about Islam in your mind, STOP. Use this as an opportunity to learn something new.
For those of you who are not familiar with Islam a reliable source is on sunnahonline.com.
“The ninth day of Dhu’l-Hijjah (the 12th and final month of the Islamic calendar) is the Day of ‘Arafah. It is the day when pilgrims stand on the plain of ‘Arafah to pray. On this day, Muslims all over the world who do not witness the annual Hajj should spend the day in fasting, in preparation for the three – day festivity following ‘Eid ul-Adha (the celebration marking the end of the Hajj commemorating the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness of sacrifice).”
Yes, this is the day that Prophet Abraham (peace and blessings be upon him) followed the command of God (Allah) to sacrifice his son. All Abrahamic faiths are familiar with this story; although the details may vary. Details are what human beings use to separate us while God clearly states in His books, including the Quran, that he created us differently so that we can love and worship Him even more.
Like Ramadan, Dhul Hijjah is another opportunity for Muslims to become closer to Allah through fasting. Those who do not attend Hajj can fast the first ten days of the month, give charity and perform good deeds. But of all the of these ten days, the Day of Arafah is the most blessed. Which is why, I do not find it coincidental that Allah would have the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, at the height of xenophobia, racism, all sorts of human bigotry during a US presidential election year fall on the Day of Arafah. To me it is a clear sign that we need to unite as humanity.
It is not too late to organize something in your community for the International Day of Peace. Don’t let another year separate you from your neighbor, the clerk at the store, the Uber driver or your co-worker. Be the light in your community. Say Eid Mubarak on September 12 if your Muslim co-worker comes to work a little late or on the day he returns. Now you know why he was missing. Maybe even give him a gift. It is like Christmas for us.
Some things that I have participated in preparation this year is the Interfaith 5k. This was the inaugural event organized after a local synagogue was defaced last fall. A call was put out to unite all faiths.
Within the realm of my business, I have introduced a new group coaching program called the WOAMD Moms Circle. As mothers we sometimes need support outside of our network friends and family. We need a sisterhood within motherhood. Within the secret Face Book group, we will support each other in our mental, nutritional and physical health journeys the way only a mother can. It is a paid membership because we also need to value our progress and our self-nurturing. The group also provide weekly livestream meetings related to the weekly challenge results. We will celebrate our successes and gives ideas on how to overcome our obstacles.
Whether you create or join an interfaith event or join become a part of a sisterhood for mothers, find a way to celebrate the International Day of Peace with your community this year.