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A friendly note from M.K.Qureshi to his neighbours PDF Print E-mail

December 22, 1998

From : Mr. M. Khaliq Qureshi - 1317 Shamrock Lane, Plano, TX 75093. Tel. 972-380-5106.
To : My neighbors in the Old Shepard Place, Plano, Texas.

Subject : A friendly note from your Muslim neighbor

In 1983, I was transferred from Singapore to Dallas and since that time my family has been residing at 1317 Shamrock Lane. Our three children went to schools in Plano and graduated from the Texas universities (SMU, UT and UTD). After working for thirty years in the Petroleum Industry, I  retired in 1987, and  I have been quietly enjoying my retirement life in Plano, a great place to live and raise your family. 

First of all, my wife Aisha joins me in extending to our neighbors and their families the blessing of peace and happiness during the holiday season and throughout the years ahead. We all know that there is no country in the world that is more blessed by God Almighty than the United States of America, both in human and material terms, and Americans have proven themselves to be the most generous people on earth. People of different colors, religious faiths, beliefs and cultures inhabit this land of opportunities and freedom. The American Muslim community is a part of the American mosaic but the community is very much concerned about the negative portrayal of Islam and Muslims in America, and I feel that this perception is due to misunderstanding or lack of knowledge.  So I thought it appropriate to give you some information in the form of a friendly note concerning the subject matter. I hope you will enjoy it.

'Islam' is an Arabic word and it means submission, surrender and obedience. As a religion, Islam stands for complete submission and obedience to God or Allah - and that is why it is called 'Islam'  A Muslim is the one who surrenders himself to Allah. These terms 'Submission, Surrender and Obedience to God" are universal and are not limited to any specific community, race, clan or denomination. Whosoever possesses these attributes is a Muslim. According to Quran (the Holy Book of Muslims), among every people and in all ages there were good and righteous people who possessed these attributes - and all of them were and are Muslims. For example, Abraham is spoken of as having "surrendered himself unto God" and the disciples of Jesus said " Bear thou witness that we have surrendered ourselves unto God."

Christians, Muslims and Jews have much in common. They all believe in One God- the Creator and Lord of the universe. They all consider themselves the spiritual heirs of Abraham as they share his blood. They all pledge to prayers, peace with fairness and justice, compassion, charity, family responsibility, tolerance towards people of other faith traditions and respect for the environment. All the three faiths have spread worldwide. Because of geographic dispersal, within each faith exist several sects with slightly different interpretations of politics, family, dress and social life.

There are nearly 1.3 Billion Muslims in the world. In America there are about 8 million Muslims that fall into three basic groups: Immigrants, American converts and those born of both groups -  42 % are African Americans, 25% South Asian sub-continent, 12% Arabs, and the rest from other areas of the world.

Islam and Democracy are compatible and complimentary. Both rest on accountability, consultation, open discussion, delegation and consensus. The opening words of the U.S. Declaration of Independence express deeply felt Islamic sentiments.

Muslims believe in all the prophets sent by God, and Prophet Mohammed was the last prophet who is greatly revered by Muslims but not worshipped. ( Michael H. Hart in his book titled  " The 100 - A ranking of the most influential persons in history "  writes that  " My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.) " Quran, the Holy Book of Muslims, is the final divine revelation, providing a complete guide for all humanity. Its text was directly revealed, piece by piece, to Prophet Mohammed between the years 610 - 632 A.D. Muslims honor Judaic Prophets, accord special esteem to Jesus and the Virgin Mary, and recognize as sacred the original scriptures revealed to Moses and Jesus, namely the Torah and the Bible.

Muslim Women, like men, have the right to obtain an education, own property and engage in business, professions and public life. Both women and men wear modest dress out of respect for public morality. If a society oppresses women or discriminate against them, it is in spite of Islam, not because of it.

Muslim Husband has the primary responsibility for family support, his wife for the household and children. Divorce is discouraged. Procedures vary by country, but either husband or wife may petition to dissolve a marriage. Polygamy is subject to restrictive conditions and is seldom practiced, never where it violates public law, as here in America.

Muslims assume personal responsibility for relatives and others in need. In Islam, a woman or an elderly person is almost never obliged to live alone.

Muslims are committed to rules. Sadly, some people who say they are Muslims - like some professed Christians and Jews - grossly violate these rules and the rights of others. In doing so, they do not act as Muslims. It is erroneous to call them Islamic fundamentalists, a term unknown in Islam and used mostly in false stereotyping.

Jihad has two meanings: one, non-violent struggling within oneself for a life of virtue; the other, fighting for justice, a supreme goal in Islamic teachings. Islam eulogizes moderation and abhors extremism, terrorism, fanaticism, occupation of other's land by force, oppression and subjugation.

Muslims are proud to be Americans. They wish to be good citizens and neighbors by practicing their commitment to tolerance, charity, hard work, cooperation, and interfaith activities for community betterment.

It is curious to note - for those who are interested in the hoopla surrounding the Year 2000 or  "new millennium" -  that the most important religious events of Christians (Christmas), Muslims (Ramadan and Eid) and Jews (Hanukkah) will be celebrated at about the same time for the next four years, that is , the years 1998-1999-2000-2001-2002. Ambassador Murad W. Hofmann, the eminent scholar and retired German Muslim diplomat, states that "Muslims are no number fetishists attributing magic to numbers, nor does Y2000 start a new Hijri year, and also because as Muslims we are acutely aware of the relativity and discontinuity of time. The year 2000 for Muslims is not necessarily the beginning of a 3rd Millennium, for the simple reason that there may not be such a millennium."





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