CNY Inspirations: Bridging the Loneliness
This feature is coordinated by The Post-Standard/Syracuse.com and InterFaith Works of CNY. Follow this theme and author posted Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
The culture of individualism has been increasing nowadays, letting many people carry a burden of worries and challenges all by themselves. Sometimes, even in one household, we can see few different worlds and experiences. Keeping this in mind, it is of great importance to sit around the table with our family at least once a day for breakfast or dinner, to break the silence, say a blessing together, and listen to each other. Such practice would be helpful in our dealings with neighbors and minorities in our society as well. God says in the Qur’an, “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another…” (Qur’an, 49:13)
Few years ago, I was invited to participate in a Thanksgiving program together with representatives of other faiths at a church in my old neighborhood in New Jersey. My heart was melting and opened up when we were sharing peace among each other. This truly was one of the most beautiful experiences I had in my life, as it helped me realize the importance of gathering together while being surrounded by compassion and respect. It also reminded me about a saying of Jesus when he was asked, which gathering is best? He said, “A gathering of those who inspire you to remember God when you see them, whose discourse increases your knowledge, and whose good deeds inspire you to remember the Hereafter.” (Tarif Khalidi, Muslim Jesus, 57)
Thus, is there a greater inspiration to remember the Sustainer than by looking at the blessing of our differences when we get together for a greater good? Is there a more noble knowledge than knowing the purpose of our existence? Is there a bigger joy than being happy forever, here and now, and in the Hereafter?
Amir Duric is Muslim Chaplain at Syracuse University and an imam at Islamic Community of North American Bosniaks. In these roles, he develops various programs supporting and serving students, faculty, staff, and wider community.