July 4th Message – Muslims have a special bond with America
By Dr. Mike Ghouse
American Muslims consider July 4 as one of our cherished holidays. We uphold, protect, defend, and celebrate the values enshrined in the U.S. constitution.
“America is the greatest nation on earth. Indeed, Muslims are a part of the American Heritage from the very beginning with African Muslims, among others, help build the nation. Upon declaration of our independence on July 4, 1776, two of the first three heads of states who recognized the sovereignty of The United States were Muslims, and one of them was a Muslim from India.”
Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the United States of America and signed the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship, the first of its kind. Friesland, one of the seven United Provinces of the Dutch Republic was the next to recognize, and Tipu Sultan, the King of Mysore State (India), was the third.
“America means everything to Muslims; indeed, America is a natural home for Muslims. Let me share a few of the many values that resonate with them: Equality, Merit, Innocence, Free will, and Justice.Equality — Thomas Jefferson wrote the immortal declaration of our independence on July 4, 1776. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
This declaration resonates with Muslims as Prophet Muhamad made a similar announcement on March 6, 632 AD, Eleven hundred forty-four (1144) years before Jefferson’s declaration. “All mankind is from Adam and Eve; an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also, a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”
The concept of equality is etched and nurtured in the Muslim psyche in every ritual and spiritual practice of Islam. There is no other country in the world that offers genuine freedom, freedom of speech, and conscience.
Yes, American Values are Muslims Values!
Merit — Honoring merit is a Muslim thing as well. The Prophet tells his daughter that she will not get a free pass to paradise because she is his daughter; she has to earn it on her own through good deeds to fellow beings, such is the emphasis placed on merit and individual responsibility.
Free will — It is one of the most cherished values of Islam. First, God gave a choice to Adam about eating or not eating the fruit. But when Adam Chose to eat, and God did not stop him; God honored his own words – he gave Adam a free choice, and Adam exercised it. God uploaded the inalienable free will in all of his progeny.
Second, God wanted to make sure free will is the most critical value for humanity, and he delivered that in Chapter 2, verse 256 of the Quran. – There is no compulsion in matters of faith – no one has a right to force anyone to believe otherwise.
Third, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) reinforced the ideal by not compelling his uncle to believe in the message of accountability to one creator. He could have, but it was meant to emphasize free will.
Yes, American Values are Muslims Values!
Innocence — Every immigrant in general and a Muslim, in particular, loves the idea that you are innocent until proven guilty. They see the wholesomeness of Justice in America, and they love America for it. An observant Muslim recites at least 17 times a day that God alone is the judge, and we must refrain from judging others.
Justice — Prophet Muhammad said if you cannot stop the oppressors and unjust rulers and injustice, the least you can do is to speak up. Justice is a critical factor for peaceful and secure societies. If there is no justice, there is chaos.
That is what is happening in America today – Black Lives Matter. The injustice meted out to the Black people has to stop, and thank God almost every American is speaking out against racism. And I am glad to see Muslims are speaking and participating in the protests.
Yes, American Values are Islamic Values!
Now back to the shared heritage – Both George Washington and Tipu Sultan fought our common enemy Lord Cornwallis – Washington chased him out of America, and Tipu Sultan defeated him in three wars but lost to him the fourth time. Cornwallis bribed Tipu’s confidant Mir Sadiq to get information about Tipu’s whereabouts and hit him from the back. Had Mir Sadiq not betrayed Tipu, India would have achieved its freedom in 1799 right behind America in 1776.
Both George Washington and Tipu Sultan died in the same year 1799.
Google Search for Mysorean Rockets – It was the Tipu Sultan invention and he also invented the Torpedo, known as Bangalore Torpedo.
As American Muslims, we uphold, protect, defend, and celebrate the values enshrined in the U.S. constitution. Our faith reinforces the creed of “One Nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.”
Dr. Mike Ghouse is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism. He is a speaker, thinker, author, peacemaker, community consultant, pluralist, activist, newsmaker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. Mike is deeply committed to Free speech, Human Rights, and Pluralism in Religion, Politics, Societies, and the workplace. He has dedicated his life to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions to the media and the policymakers. More about him at www.TheGhousediary.com.