Monday 28 August 2017

I Embrace Being Muslim, Mexican & Pakistani; I’m Better for It

I grew up waking up at 7:00 A.M. on Saturdays to the sounds of Spanish music as my mom opened my bedroom door to find my sister and I hiding under the covers in our twin beds. She would yell, “Vamos a limpiar la casa, vamos!” And boy, did we clean.
My mom was born and raised in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico; one of the most beautiful places in the world. With the sounds of Vicente Fernandez, Alejandro Sanz, and Alejandro Fernandez in our house, it reminded me of the early days (when I was like, 5) in Mexico. It made the cleaning a little more tolerable.
Every afternoon we would get ready and head to my tio’s house where at least 60 family members would gather for pool parties. Tacos and ceviche were obvious to the eye, but so were Coronas and Pacificios in the ice chests near the bar.
We also had a Qur’an teacher come twice a week to teach us how to read, pray, etc. I began reading the Qur’an at the age of 3 or 4 and finished it by the age of 5. I still remember the look on my father’s face when I recited Surah Yasin to the entire mosque. He smiled so bright that day.
I grew up with a lot of people who were also mixed; however, a lot of people were judgmental toward my family because my mother was not “raised Muslim.”
My parents always placed a huge emphasis on religion and I always wondered why. I wondered why people looked at me different because I was not fluent in Urdu (and yes, I’m talking about the “aunties” whose daughters were fluent in Urdu.)
I could tell Rasmalay from Barfi and understand my dad when he spoke. I was even fluent in Urdu and Punjabi when I was a kid and would run outside when the airplanes would fly over our house and yell “Ja’has” to my parents in awe. Later in life, I dropped the Urdu and picked up the Spanish.
We would not get invited to many parties and as I got older and I understood why. It was because my parents were one of the first mixed-ethnic couples in our area where the wife actually converted.
Though my mother converted to Islam, she never compromised her culture. She still cooked Mexican food, listened to Spanish music, and we would go to church sometimes with our Mexican side of the family. My mom wanted us to understand that although we were Muslim, we had to respect all faiths.
Full article 

Saturday 26 August 2017

Peace and the four Islamic sacred months

Narrated Abu Bakr: The Prophet ﷺ said: “(The division of time has turned to its original form which was current when Allah created the Heavens and the Earths. The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred: Three are in succession Dhul-Qa’da, Dhul-Hijja and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumadi-ath-Thaniyah and Sha’ban.” - Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book of beginning of creation, Hadith: 3197

Many Muslims are unaware that there are four sacred months in the Islamic Calendar. Even during the days of Jahilliyah, the idol worshippers of Arabia knew how to respect in these months. There used to generally be no fighting and most places were peaceful.

During these sacred months, Muslims are supposed to spend every possible opportunity to please his creator and avoid from harming anyone physically, verbally or mentally.
O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the symbols of Allah, nor of the sacred month. - Surah Al-Maida(5), Verse 2

[Fighting in] the sacred month is for [aggression committed in] the sacred month, and for [all] violations is legal retribution. So whoever has assaulted you, then assault him in the same way that he has assaulted you. And fear Allah and know that Allah is with those who fear Him. Surah Al-Baqarah(2), Verse 194
Recently we are getting more and more news of people who are calling themselves Muslims but doing everything against Islam and Muslims. These crazy zealots, many of them subscribing to Islamic State ideology are doing everything against Islam (see here for more details).

There are many other glory hunters who may not be a part of any terrorist organization but think of themseleves as holier than others and are harming others every other day. This post is directed mainly towards these people to remind them that they are violating the sanctity of the sacred months that Allah and his Prophet talked about on many occassions.

Friday 25 August 2017

The First Female Commander in the Modern World Was Muslim – Meet Aceh Malahayati

The history is full of women who have been doing great work the past decades. From science to fine art to extreme sport, nowadays every discipline has its female heroes. As a matter of fact there has always been ‘the first female’ in everything. Aceh was one of them.
Keumalahayati, also known as Malahayati, was the first female admiral in the world. Her story and achievements are more than just impressive; they are brave, honorable, successful and admirable. She is a role model and an inspiration for everyone.
Malahayati lived in the period of the Aceh Sultanate during the 15th and the 16th century. She was a descendant of the founder of the Sultanate of the Aceh Darussalam. In fact, one of the founders was her great great grandfather Sultan Ibrahim Ali Mughayat Syah. Her father and grandfather were both very respected admirals. She was interested in the fascinating work her father fulfilled and decided to enter the Ma’had Baitul Maqdis Military Academy after graduating from Pesantren, an Islamic boarding school. The Academy offered education in The Navy and The Ground Force department. After graduating from there she married her true love, a Navy officer candidate. Unfortunately he was killed during the Haru Bay War against Portuguese troops. Malahayati swore to take revenge for her husband.
Determined to continue her husband’s fight, she requested the Sultan to form an armada from Aceh’s widows. After his approval the armada was named the ‘Inong Bale Armada’ and Malahayati was appointed as the First Admiral. She led many different battles against the Dutch and Portuguese.
In 1599 the Dutch commanders Cornelis de Houtman and his brother Frederick de Houtman visited the Sultan to establish their trade relationship. They were welcomed peacefully but Cornelis brought a Portuguese as a translator, which was an insult against the Sultan. Many violent battles followed in which Malahayati was the lead. She succeeded to defeat the Dutch, killed Cornelis and jailed his brother for two years.
In 1600 Paulus van Caerden, who led the Dutch Navy robbed an Aceh merchant ship of its pepper and sank it. A year later Admiral Jacob van Neck and his companions introduced themselves as merchantmen to buy pepper. But after Malahayati found out that they were Dutch, they were arrested as a compensation for the previous deeds. After a few months Maurits van Oranje ordered two emissaries, Admiral Laurens Bicker and Gerard de Roy, to take a diplomatic letter of apology and some presents for the Empire of the Aceh. As a result Malahayati and the emissaries made a treaty agreement. Meanwhile she was appointed as a Troop Commander and Palace Guard. Malahayati was also involved when England entered Malacca Strait. Queen Elizabeth I had sent James Lancaster with a letter for the Sultan. After he had a negotiation with Malahayati an agreement opened the English route to Java.
An extraordinary coincidence is the way Malahayati died. She was killed during the battle against the Portuguese, just as her husband. These days many universities, hospitals, roads and Sumatran cities are named after her. Even a series, “Laksamana Keumalahayati” was made to honor her great work.
There is no doubt that Malahayati is a name to remember. She was a warrior with a will to achieve anything if she sets her mind to it.

Thursday 24 August 2017

On sexism, son preference and female infanticide in Bangladesh

On July 30, a father in Narayanganj burned his nine-month-old female infant alive since he “wanted a son” and was enraged at the birth of a girl (“Father 'wanted son', burns baby girl alive”, The Daily Star, August 4, 2017). He poured petrol over the child when she was asleep and set her on fire. He then switched on the fan to let the fire spread and stopped the mother from helping the child or taking her to the hospital reported a leading online news site.
While it is appalling and abominable that a practice as medieval and barbaric as female infanticide still takes place in our country, it should not come as a surprise. In fact a similar incident took place only two months ago when a man from Satkhira, Khulna threw his two-week-old daughter into the pond since he too wanted a son and was disgusted by the birth of a daughter (“Father kills 15-day-old infant for being female”, Dhaka Tribune, June 9, 2017). Last year, a man from Abhayngar, Jessore poured poison into his three-month-old daughter's mouth while she was asleep because he was craving the birth of a son and could not bear having a daughter for the fourth time (“Father kills daughter”, The Independent, March 2, 2016). 
Killing new born daughters (i.e. female infanticide) is not a random, inexplicable act of violence; it is an extreme manifestation of a pre-existing and deeply sexist societal mindset known as “son preference” which still plagues a sizeable portion of our population today. A 2006 study of 850 families conducted by Promoting Human Rights Education in Bangladesh showed that 93 percent of Bangladeshi families preferred a son, viewing them as a “blessing” to the home and country, while 93 percent viewed girls as a “problem.” (“Son Preference”, Stop Violence Against Women, The Advocates for Human Rights). So it is not enough or even helpful to simply admonish the perpetrator (necessary as that may be), we must also look at the wider scheme of things and force an introspection: what socioeconomic factors cause certain people to cherish the birth of a son but loathe the birth of a daughter—sometimes loathe to the extent of killing their own flesh and blood—and what are we, as a country, doing to tackle this insidious mentality and its component causes?
In South Asian culture the birth of a son is celebrated because boys are seen as custodians of the family who will secure the family's future by providing economic security and ensuring the continuity of the male line. Conversely, the birth of a daughter is an impediment to this continuity since our culture dictates that upon marriage a girl must take up her husband's name, permanently leave her family and move in with her in laws. As such, the birth of a daughter is considered "a burden" because the family must protect her "honour", and when the time comes, find a husband willing to marry her and provide a hefty dowry to incentivise the marriage (or rather "transfer of burden"). The practice of dowry runs rampant despite it being outlawed in Bangladesh by the Dowry Prohibition Act 1980. Indeed, going back to the Narayanganj case, Jahirul himself had taken Tk 1 lakh as dowry from his wife. 
Given their inevitable departure from the family and the price that must be paid, educating girls (or educating them on par with their male siblings) is not seen as a sound investment. This mindset is encapsulated in the old and notorious Asian expression which warns: “educating a daughter is like watering another man's garden”. Rather paradoxically, it is our own sexist and cultural practices which deny a girl the same opportunities as a boy which in turn eternalises her financial dependence on male kin but the girl is then blamed for “being a burden” as though it was of her own doing. How can we feasibly assess a girl's worth when we do not even allow her to realise her full potential to begin with? 
In her book Gender Roles: A Sociological Perspective, Linda Lindsey explains how female infanticide and neglect are associated with the economic survival of the family, which is dependent on the number of sons and control of the number of daughters, who are regarded as financial liabilities. She further explains that a major shift in favouring males in the average sex ratio at birth (SRB) is growing throughout Asia and rural Bangladesh is among the places with the worst SRB imbalances. 
In 1990, Amartya Sen coined the term “missing women” to denote the shortfall in the number of women relative to the expected number of women in a region or country. This shortfall is usually measured through male-to-female sex ratios (such as SRB), and is theorised to be caused by sex-selective abortions, female infanticide. According to a study by the University of Kent, there are approximately 2.7 million missing women in Bangladesh (“Missing Women and Bare Branches: Gender Balance and Conflict”, ESCP Report, Issue 11). The study also found that gender imbalance in Asia is primarily the result of son preference and the profound devaluation of female life. The futility of the Dowry Prohibition Act in curbing the practice of dowry illustrates how legal change alone cannot remedy cultural malpractices; societal change must also follow.
Why must we wait till a female child is burnt or drowned alive to address the deep-rooted sexism and son preference which pave the way for barbaric practices such as female infanticide to occur? Every time we encounter anyone stating or doing something which is even remotely sexist or anti-women, we should call them out and retaliate. Indeed, change begins at home and change begins with us. We must attack sexism whenever we see it, from whomever we see it and in whatever shape or form we see it. 
by Taqbir Huda

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Shkodran Mustafi: This is why I started to pray five times a day

Shkodran Mustafi is one of the most successful muslim  players in the world, he is also a world cup winner.
Arsenal member besides being a very good player, he is also good at practicing Islam.
He has shown an interesting story why he did’nt drink alohool when he was at Everton years ago.
“I started to practice religion from the age of 17. I was part of Everton. We went with teammates for dinner and all my friends where drinking but I did not. One of my friend asked why you do not drink you are German, I said I am a Muslim and I do not drink alcohol, “said Mustafi.
“My teammate always asked me why I am a Muslim, and I told him my parents are Muslim and I was raised in a family of believers”.
“I never asked myself why I am Muslim. My parents have taught me but I never wondered why I do not drink, why I don’t eat pork or other things. ”
“I started reading and searching for this answers, since then I started to pray five times a day and I feel happy with this,” said Mustafi.
“Faith is very similar to football. If you do not believe in what you are doing is useless because it will be bad, ” said the Albanian.
Mustafi is known in the  football world as player who practices Islam

Monday 21 August 2017

The female face of Islamic law in Malaysia

Islamic law enforcers are not often credited with being feminist pioneers, but Judge Nenney fits both those descriptions.

She made history in Malaysia last year when she was appointed one of the first two female Syariah High Court judges in this Muslim-majority nation. "Syariah" is the Malay spelling for the Arabic word "sharia", meaning Islamic law.

And the 42-year-old mother of three doesn't shy away from imposing the harshest punishments prescribed by Islamic law.
"When I'm on the bench, I'm not a woman, I'm not a man. I'm a judge," she says. "I need to deal with the case fair and firm, to follow the law, no bias."
In Malaysia, more women are pursuing careers in the Islamic justice system, from judges and lawyers to court mediators.
Under Malaysia's two-tier court system, Islamic law courts deal with family and morality cases involving Muslims, such as consuming alcohol, gambling and polygamy, while secular courts hear criminal and many civil cases.
Malaysia appointed its first two female Syariah judges in 2010.

Now, 27 of the country's 160 Islamic court judges are women.
Full article 

Sunday 20 August 2017

Islamic scholars offer themselves on sale for one-night stands with divorced Muslim women

The cleric, the investigation found, was already married. Still, he negotiated his role-play as a husband for a night with India Today's reporters posing as relatives of a divorced Muslim woman.
Will your wife object to it?" asked India Today's reporter.
"No, no. She won't have any objection," imam Nadeem replied.
"Have you spoken with her?" prodded the reporter. "No, I haven't spoken with her. I haven't told her. What's the need to tell her?" Nadeem shot back.
The Moradabad imam admitted he had officiated several nikah halala marriages before. This time, he proposed a package deal for the entire service, including sex. "It's Rs 1 lakh," he demanded.
Imam Nadeem guaranteed issuing divorce after spending a night with the bride for her to become eligible to go back to her first husband in accordance with the personal law. The business of one-night grooms is widespread, the India Today investigation observed.
At Delhi's Jamia Nagar, the team met Zubair Qasmi, a qualified maulana married with two wives. He nominated himself up for a third at the prospect of nikah halala, in exchange for money.
"I spend many nights out. It's much easier to manage this with two (wives). One would think I am with the second. And the second would think I am with the other. It's not at all difficult with two (wives)," he bragged.
Zubair Qasim based his fee on mehr - money or gift the groom pledges to his bride during Islamic marriages.
"Don't worry about anything. I'll make every arrangement. If Rs 30,000 is set as mehr, it will be either 40,000 or 50,000 (in return for participation in nikah halala). No problem in it," Qasim said.
The rot runs deep.
Next, India Today's investigative journalists visited Mohammad Mustaquim of Delhi's Darul Uloom Mahmoodia Madrasa.
Educated in Islamic studies, he was keen to do what he had done several times before -- sleeping with divorced women to consummate nikah halala.
"There was a woman in the room. I went there and had sex. Before leaving at 2-3 am, I divorced her," he confessed.
Mohammad Mustaquim performed nikah halala even without formal marriage.
"So you have taken part in three nikah halala. You actually married on one occasion, right? The other two nikha halala were without marriage," the reporter asked.
"Without marriage," he admitted. "After sleeping with her, I left at 1 am."
Mustaquim's fee for this service included donation for his madrasa. "You'll have to pay Rs 20,000 for the madrasa. I am ready to do it for whatever amount. I have done it several times before," he said.
As India awaits the Supreme Court's judgement over triple talaq, the dangerous trapdoor of nikah halala remains wide open for divorced Muslim women, the probe noted.
In some cases, potential deals were found to be brokered by clerics themselves.
At Bulandshahr's Til Gaon, imam Zahir-ul-lah of Mewatian Masjid introduced India Today's undercover reporters with a prospective groom for nikah halala.
Arif, the groom-to-be, was quick to boast about his masculinity despite his old age.
"My programme is all set, today, tomorrow or the day after. I am always fit 24x7, mashallah!" he remarked. His price: Rs 25,000 for a night.
In western UP's Hapur district, the team next met Mohammed Zahid, who runs a madrasa at Sikheda village.
He marketed his services for nikah halala as a professional.
"We'll see to it. We have the men. It will be done through them. If you don't trust them, I am always available for it," he said.
"How much money in total would you like us to organise for you?" asked the reporter.
"Between 1 lakh and 1.5 lakh," he answered. "Not above Rs 1.5 lakh and not less than Rs 1 lakh."
Rising above their political differences, Hindu and Muslim leaders called nikah halala a criminal act after India Today broadcast its investigation.
They demanded that the perpetrators should be prosecuted for rape.
"This is lust. It's not permissible in Islam. This is a criminal offence committed in the name of religion," said Maulana Maqsood-ul-Hasan Qasmi, the head of the Imam Council of India. "These people should be thrown out of the mosques. They should be booked."
Zafar Sareshwala, chancellor of the Maulana Azad National Urdu university, blamed personal laws for certain regressive practices in Islam.
"These people should be put in jail and charged with rape," he said, demanding strong action against men participating in nikah halala for one-night stands. "I think the genesis of the problem lies in the Shariat Act of 1937," he insisted. Authors of the personal laws, he added, had been "millions of miles away" from the teachings of Islam.
Maulana Ansar Raza of the Gharib Nawaz Foundation called for immediate ex-communication of religious scholars offering themselves for nikah halala. "They should be beaten with shoes and thrown out of mosques. They should be charged with rape. Nikah halala is a regressive un-Islamic practice," he said. "I salute India Today for this story."
In his comments, BJP spokesman Gaurav Bhatia, himself a lawyer, underscored the need for abolishing nikah halala like the sati practice in Hinduism. "Nikah halala and polygamy, as triple talaq are regressive. Sati is abolished. So should be these practices," he said. "India Today's expose will help the civilised society to come forward for human rights and dignity."

Tuesday 15 August 2017

How to get peace of mind, richness and happiness - Hamza Yusuf Lecture

"God does not change the condition of a people until they (first) change that which is in their hearts." The Holy Quran, 13:11

Monday 14 August 2017

Hajj and the Neglected Legacy of a Great Woman

I want to focus here on the not-so-mentioned legacy of a great woman, Mother Hajar (Radhiallahu 'anha, May Allah be pleased with her) the wife of Ibrahim and the mother of Ismail . Indeed, she is an integral and as important part of the legacy of Tawheed and the Milla (community) of Ibrahim. Her submission to the will of her Rabb and her sacrifice were as ideal as that of Ibrahim and Ismail. God has ennobled her in the Quran by making Safaa and Marwah integral to the performance of Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam. These are the two hills between which she ran back and forth in search of water for her beloved infant son, while she was all alone according to the plan of God Himself. "Behold! Safaa and Marwah are among the symbols of God. So if those who visit the House in the Season or at other times, should compass them round, it is no sin in them. And if any one obeys his own impulse to Good, be sure that God is He Who recognizes and knows." (Quran 2:158)
If the readers have not read already, I invite them to read the Hadith containing details of her story in Sahih al-Bukhari (Vol. 4, #583, Book of Ambiya or Prophets).
Mother Hajar was not just a wife of Ibrahim, but she was deeply loved by him. But, once again, to fulfill the wish of God, he brought Mother Hajar and their beloved infant son, Ismail, to this abandoned, desolate, barren valley of Makkah. There was no such inhabited place called Makkah at that time.
As Ibrahim brought Mother Hajar and Ismail to that barren, rugged valley, she asks (as in the Hadith): 'O Ibrahim! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is neither any person nor anything else (to survive)?' She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her. Then she asked him, 'Has God instructed you to do so?' He replied, 'Yes.'...
That was enough for Mother Hajar. Now she knew that it was according to the Divine Will. With the same nobility and dignity of faith as it ran in that family, "She said, 'Then God will not neglect us.' (In another version): 'I am pleased to be (left) with God.'
Then Ibrahim  left and she was alone with her infant. Makkah was not an inhabited place yet. Food and water that Ibrahim provided them with were consumed by the mother and baby. Desperately, she started searching for water running back and forth through the valley between the hills of Safaa and Marwah. Surly Allah would not abandon the family of Ibrahim and so, she was visited by the arch-angel Jibril . This is an significant point to ponder: What kind of person is visited individually by Jibril?
Water, in the form of an ever flowing spring, the Zamzam, was made available to them by direct intervention of God. Right during that time, the tribe of Jurhum, passing by the valley saw birds flying. Realizing that water must be available, they searched and discovered Mother Hajar and Ismail. They sought permission to settle there. Thus, the desolate valley of Makkah became an inhabited area. Ibrahim returned there much later and laid the foundation of Ka'ba. Makkah ultimately was to emerge as a city and as the perennial heartland of Tawheed, the belief in oneness of God.
Subhanallah, God is glorified. He took such a significant and noble service from a woman. But consider another aspect. What kind of situation Mother Hajar was placed into? In that desolate, uninhabited valley, what might have been going on in her mind?
While unconditionally committed to her Lord, she was constantly searching, moving and struggling not thinking about herself any longer, but to find some water and save her child. What could she think about herself? Dr. Ali Shariati, in his well known book Hajj, attempts to provide a glimpse. Once she was slave only to be given away by her Master, a king representing the owning class; now a victim and a stranger, exiled and abandoned by her family all alone with her child in her arms! She hardly ever had a dignified identity. Had she not been the mother of Ismail, who would have given her any recognition and worth? There, in that barren place, her identity did not matter any further. Yet, she reposed her complete trust in her true Lord (Rabb) and was determined to pursue whatever she could in the Way of God.
Now ask yourself. If any human being needs to be identified, whom would you consider the foremost as far as founding of Makkah as a city?* Is there any other civilization, or even a city of this stature, that has been brought about by such primary contribution and sacrifice of a woman? How ironical, unfortunate, insulting and utterly unacceptable that the city that came into existence through the sacrifice and struggle of a lone woman now does not allow a woman to drive a car by herself. Nor does it allow a woman to travel to hajj by herself, even though the Prophet Muhammad  himself had the vision that woman would travel someday alone to perform hajj and indeed, the vision did materialize. (Musnad of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 4, #19397, 19400; Also Sahih al-Bukhari: Vol. 4, #793)
It is so unfortunate that so little about her is talked about even on such pertinent occasion of which she is an integral part. I don't recall myself listening to any Khutbah that highlighted her faith, sacrifice, and contribution that were second to none; yes, second to none. Indeed, I have read Sahih al-Bukhari before too, until the work of a Muslim intellectual of our time, whose mind is keen about women's contribution in the heritage of Tawheed, drew my attention to this.*
What men and women can learn from a woman, whose service and contribution ennobled the Hills of Safaa and Marwah to the status of "among the Sign of God," which must be visited, and whose quest for saving the object of her love must be reenacted?
From far away as the pilgrims perform this reenactment, we also want to be like Ismail and have a share of this noble woman's affection. But there is a greater symbolic implication!
This community of believers follow the Way of Prophet Muhammad, a way that primarily was designed after the Way of Ibrahim and his family. The role that was played primarily by the family of Ibrahim, was broadly assumed by the Prophet Muhammad , but now involving not just his family, but the larger community of believers. This community (Ummah) is created for mankind! (Quran 3:110)
As it was true then, it is also true now, the humanity is in pursuit of doom and destruction. Should we not, think of the humanity as Ismail destined for death, to save which love, affection, and restless passion of Mother Hajar are needed again and again? Did not the Prophet Muhammad  carry on that mission of mercy and affection, and thus he was the Rahmatullil Alamin (mercy for the universe), according to the Quran? Did not his loyal companions fulfill the same mission? Then, does not this community (Ummah) need to be conscious of the trust God has given to them, for which the community will be accountable? What could be a better occasion for us to remind ourselves of that trust and invite ourselves to reflect on this and respond accordingly?
In conclusion, what is there, then, to celebrate?
"Our Lord! Grant us what you did promise to us through your Prophets, and save us from the shame on the Day of Judgment: for you never break Your promise." And their Rabb (Lord) has accepted of them, and answered them: "Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female: you are members, one of another; those who have left their homes, or been driven out therefrom, or suffered harm in My Cause, or fought or been slain; Verily, I will blot out from them their iniquities, and admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing beneath; A reward from the Presence of God, and from His Presence is the best of rewards. (Quran 3:194-195)
For all the toil and struggle, the hardship and sacrifice, the efforts and pursuits, is it not truly deserving of celebration that our works will not be in vain, will not suffer any loss? This is a guarantee from none other than God.
For me, that is more than good enough. With all the worldly promises, guarantees, and warranties that give us a sense of security, one tends to forget that there is also a vast world of deceptions. If we cannot have peace of mind with the promise from God, we have nowhere to turn to. Thus, what could be more worthy of our celebration than the invitation of God to an eternal life of peace, happiness, and prosperity, an invitation that comes with the unfailing promise of God. This, of course, requires that we commit ourselves to the positive and constructive pursuit of bringing peace, happiness and prosperity to the humanity.