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Some post-2012 Thanksgiving thoughts I thought I’d share from a Philadelphia parking lot.
On the Authority of Abu Hurayrah as collected by Imam Muslim:
“When you hear a man say, ‘The people are ruined,’ he himself is the most ruined of them all.”
إذا سمعت الرجل يقول هلك الناس فهو أهلكهم
On the authority of Salih bin Bashir bin Fudayk as collected by al-Dhahabi:
“Fudayk came to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and said ‘O’ Messenger of God, they are claiming that the one who does not make hijrah is destroyed’. He صلى الله عليه وسلم replied, ‘O Fudayk!, establish prayer, pay the Zakah, renounce evil and live in the land of your people wherever you like.”
جاء فديك فقال يا رسول الله إنهم يزعمون أن من لم يهاجر هلك. قال يا فديك, أقم الصلاة وآت الزكاة واهجر السوء
Being Muslim in a non-Muslim environment can present a number of challenges. From time to time, we are called upon to negotiate a space in which we are not the defining power. This happens with great frequency here in America, a non-Muslim majority environment. So when it comes to the holidays, many Muslims feel torn between upholding immutable values of their religion and not breaking the ties of kin [interestingly enough, another immutable value in Islam]. For those who already believe Thanksgiving to be haram, this discussion is not for you. I’m sure my blood is already halal to you. But for those who are of a mind that is trying to negotiate this space, I give you a little something to take with you to your families. Whether you’re a convert whose spending the evening with family or one who was born Muslim, but because of family ties, one may be staring down a turkey, this small supplication is for you. Share it with your families and let them know that Muslims also have a narrative, an opinion, a take on the duality of food and thanks.
الحمد لله الذي أطعمنا وسقانا وكفانا وآوانا سيدنا ومولانا يا كافي من كل شيء ولا يكفي منه شيء أطعمت من جوع وآمنت من خوف فلك الحمد. آويت من يتم وهديت من ضلالة وأغنيت من عيلة فلك الحمد حمدا كثيرا دائما طيبا نافعا مباركا فيه كما أنت أهله ومستحقه. اللهم أطعمتنا طيبا فاستعملنا صالحا واجعله عونا لنا على طاعتك ونعوذ بك أن نستعين به على معصيتك
“All praise belongs to God who has provided food, drink, and sustenance, as well as sheltered us. O’ our Lord and Master!, You who defend us from everything, none can change Your decree. You kept us from hunger, secured us from fear, therefore to You belongs the praise. It is You who has sheltered the orphan and provided guidance from error and it is You who has enriched from poverty, therefore to You belongs the praise, a praise that is plentiful, everlasting, good, beneficial and blessed. You are undoubtedly worthy and deserving of it. O’ God! You have fed us well so make us conduct ourselves well by it and through this, make us act obediently to You. We seek refuge in You should we use this blessing in disobedience to You.”
The above is from Hāmid Abu Muhammad al-Ghazālī, one of the great thinkers of Islam, who earned the title of hujjatul Islam – the Proof of Islam. May God have mercy on him.