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Edmonton Muslims Commemorate Prophet's Birthday

February 6, 2013

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born on 12th day of Rabi-al- Awal, the third month of the Islamic calendar, in the year 570 CE. To mark this occasion, the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities (ECMC) and His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for Edmonton have organized a special commemoration on Saturday February 9th at the Royal Alberta Museum located at 12845-102nd Avenue. The event will include a talk by Dr. Omid Safi.

Dr. Safi is an Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he specializes on Islamic mysticism (Sufism), contemporary Islamic thought, and medieval Islamic history. He received his PhD from Duke University. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University. He will be speak on:

"Justice and Pluralism: Life and Teachings of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him)"

Prophet Muhammad's quintessential message was that of equality of all before God, charity, kindness, compassion, social justice, and peace. In spite of all the challenges he faced in the early years, the Prophet remained steadfast in his message and is quoted to have said that he came but to perfect human moral values to their highest standard, and his role as a messenger of God was simply to reaffirm what God had already revealed to humanity through the previous Prophets of God, including Abraham, Moses, and Jesus (peace be unto all of them). Islam is founded upon basic principles that regulate human behavior in all its dimensions. Principles that verify the good of humanity, whose foundation is the oneness of the human species, and that people are equal in rights and obligations, peace and justice, realizing comprehensive security, and mutual social responsibility.

The Historic Amman declaration of 2004, unanimously adopted by the Islamic World's political and temporal leaderships at the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit at Mecca in December 2005 states:

"No day has passed but that this religion has been at war against extremism, radicalism and fanaticism, for they veil the intellect from foreseeing negative consequences [of one's actions]. Such blind impetuousness falls outside the human regulations pertaining to religion, reason and character, they are not from the true character of the tolerant, accepting Muslim. Islam rejects extremism, radicalism and fanaticism—just as all noble, heavenly religions reject them—considering them as recalcitrant ways and forms of injustice. Furthermore, it is not a trait that characterizes a particular nation; it is an aberration that has been experienced by all nations, races, and religions. They are not particular to one people; truly they are a phenomenon that every people, every race and every religion has known. We denounce and condemn extremism, radicalism and fanaticism today, just as our forefathers tirelessly denounced and opposed them" throughout Islamic history. They are the ones who affirmed, as do we, the firm and unshakeable understanding that Islam is a religion of [noble] character traits in both its ends and means"

It is therefore essential that we continue to dialogue, because it is only through education and understanding and respect for all human beings as equal in the eyes of God that we can hope to achieve peace and security and prosperity for all.

The essence of the Holy Qur'an is concerned with the salvation of the soul, but at the same time also with the ethical imperatives that sustain an equitable social order, a pluralistic society and a society in which the dignity of human beings is given the highest importance. Therefore as we commemorate Prophet's birthday, it is fitting that we reflect on his legacy of how to live and build a pluralistic and a just society for all. As Canadians we are proud and thankful to be living in a country that reflects these values.


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