As we gather here today and try to reflect and look towards healing for our communities on a local basis, there are many others who are congregating and remembering today. That reflection takes into account the events of 9/11 and 7/7 and those who have passed away in other parts of the globe such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan due to the actions on that sunny day in New York.
For those who conducted the acts, their actions went against the very tenets of the protection of life in Islam. A fundamental pillar of Islam where the relationship between God and man / woman is based on the spiritual, mental and physical protection of life.
And as we gather here and reflect on healing today, I thought I would briefly talk about the spiritual, physical and mental perspectives of Islam. These elements, Islam discusses are aspects of human life that are gifts from God. Islam places great focus on God’s grace, his ability to provide a solution and for his mercy when people feel his presence even at the darkest times and the darkest depths of despair. That Islam suggests, is sometimes when the power of God is felt the most.
Healing or Shifa in Islam therefore encompasses all three elements, the spiritual, physical and mental elements of a person. At the root of grief and despair Islam suggests, communities jointly can find a solution. Indeed the history of Islam is based on this, for when the first Muslims were consistently persecuted and chased from land to land, they sought comfort and healing as Muslims from people of other faiths. That healing was undertaken jointly and collectively with people of other faith. For example, when they sought refuge in Ethiopia under a Christian king they were asked whether they believed in God and they answered that God gave them the power to heal through belief in him, but also healing came through his creation – through people and by belief and trust in one another. That I believe is key in today’s world – the ability to believe that we can all forgive and we can come together as people to heal ourselves and our communities.
So, today’s commemoration is a chance to heal as we come together, and a chance to reflect on what took place 10 years ago. Let us also reflect on those communities in other countries who have lost loved ones and whose communities have been affected by death and destruction. They deserve healing as much as any community and may we also reflect on a world where we respect each other on the basis of how we treat each other, rather than on the basis of which religion we are from, or where we have originated from.