Sermon: All of Us

On Sunday, January 22, 2017, I was invited to speak at Marble Collegiate Church in New York. Below is the text of the my prepared comments, a mini-sermon. The invitation was part of their annual Tri-Faith Worship, and the theme this year was Coming Together in Today’s World.

Video of the Tri-Faith Worship

Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim

In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

O you who have faith! Be maintainers of justice and witnesses for the sake of God, even if it should be against yourselves or your parents and near relatives, and whether it be someone rich or poor, for God has a right over them. So do not follow your desires, lest you should be unfair, and if you distort the testimony or disregard it, God is indeed well aware of what you do. (4:135)

As-salam alaykum wa rehmatullahi wa barakatahu

May God’s Peace, Mercy, Blessings be with you today [and with all of us.]

As a Muslim, I believe that the Qur’an is the Word of God. It is the holy book for us, but the ethical and moral guidance could be shared by all of us.

Here, we can think about coming together around justice, as witnesses for God. This is a promise of a society that is true for all of us.

This verse calls people of faith to justice: against those whom we love, against the rich, and those who claim to be rich, because the greatest claim on us is from the Creator of all of us.

Money and power are claims to a pride that is not the goal of lives. Even if Muhammad Ali is the greatest, God is greater, greater than all of us.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family), said that no one can be considered a believer until she wishes for another what she wishes for herself. So the Qur’anic call to justice is not justice for you or justice for me, but justice for all of us.

When I see an injustice, to paraphrase Dr. King, I know it is a threat to justice for all of us.

To allow a personal victory that causes injustice is not justice. It corrodes the soul of all of us.

Reinhold Niebuhr said that justice is what love looks like in public. As a Muslim, justice is our manifestation of Divine love, the suffering we take on for the sake of all of us.

Yesterday was the Women’s March. Close your eyes and imagine the one person at that march whom you know. Know a truth: it is a march not just for women, it is justice for all of us.

The movement to recognize that #BlackLivesMatter is ongoing, perhaps since the founding of the country. Close your eyes and imagine the one person that suffers from racism whom you know. Know a truth: this movement is not for Black people, it is justice for all of us.

To have a dream today is to want to build, not a wall, but America the beautiful. Close your eyes and imagine someone whom who love, fearful of being torn from you. Know a truth: to have a dream is not about immigrants, it is justice for all of us.

As a Muslim, as a New Yorker, I am not an existential threat to my country, but a citizen who takes seriously a commitment to dissent as a patriotic duty. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in prayer, not sure if you are being watched for loving God, or if it will be illegal for you to pray tomorrow. Know a truth: the freedom of conscience is not for the powerful, it is justice for all of us.

So let us come together for justice, for all of us. Let us come together in this moment, all of us. And build justice now and for the future, for the love of God, to bear witness to God that we are Divine creation, all of us.