Editorial comment – Special day for Muslims

Members of the Ma'unatul Islam Association pray during the Milad un Nabi Jalsa Celebrations at Vomo street, Lautoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

Today Muslims around the world, will celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed.

It is a special day for them.

They believe the prophet was a perfect example of being upright, merciful, compassionate, truthful, brave, and generous.

These are qualities many people place great value on.

Wherever you are, and whatever you plan to do on this public holiday, perhaps you could factor in the need to consider these important elements, and embrace life.

In saying that, we have an opportunity to dedicate our lives to doing good things for ourselves, our loved ones and for our nation.

On this special day, let us consider working together to raise the quality of life for every Fijian.

That should be something we all strive for.

In fact we can all benefit from Prophet Mohammed’s teachings.

Without a doubt, there are many challenges for Muslims around the globe.

The Prophet Mohammed’s teachings, Muslims believe, are aimed at nurturing peace, harmony and mutual respect for one another.

These are the basic tenets of most religions.

We get to appreciate the need to place value on such factors and there is an expectation to be forthright in how we value doing good for others.

Let’s face it.

We live in a multiracial country, where religion, culture and traditional identity and values are appreciated.

There is value attached to these important facets of life.

As Fijians, we have grown up alongside one another, in a country where issues of ethnicity, gender, and religion have been part and parcel of our upbringing.

We clearly appreciate many things, which makes us a special nation of people who have learnt to live together.

There is true value in appreciating we each have our differences, yet we live together, embracing these differences.

If you haven’t already done so, perhaps it is time to learn about, and appreciate other religions.

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, said something during celebrations in 2016 that is still apt today.

“Every year, this occasion serves as an opportunity to appreciate the diversity of thought we enjoy in our society,” he said.

“The values taught by the Prophet Mohammed formed the foundation of Islam, and carry meaning for all of humanity, irrespective of cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds.

“Our shared identity as Fijians transcends religious boundaries.”

Fijians, he noted, should take a leaf out of Prophet Mohammed’s book by understanding that nothing else defines us but our good deeds, love of God and love of fellowmen.

“It is not our ethnicity, our background, or our creed that defines us.

“No, only our good deeds, and our love for both God and our fellow Fijians show our true character as both individuals and as a nation.”

We live in a country that is diverse in many things.

Today, once again, we have an opportunity to promote love, understanding and mutual respect for one another.

Inter-religious harmony will have a large bearing on peace and tolerance in our country.

Let’s encourage this as a part of our contribution to nation-building.

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