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M. Bakri Musa

Seeing Malaysia My Way

My Photo
Location: Morgan Hill, California, United States

Malaysian-born Bakri Musa writes frequently on issues affecting his native land. His essays have appeared in the Far Eastern Economic Review, Asiaweek, International Herald Tribune, Education Quarterly, SIngapore's Straits Times, and The New Straits Times. His commentary has aired on National Public Radio's Marketplace. His regular column Seeing It My Way appears in Malaysiakini. Bakri is also a regular contributor to th eSun (Malaysia). He has previously written "The Malay Dilemma Revisited: Race Dynamics in Modern Malaysia" as well as "Malaysia in the Era of Globalization," "An Education System Worthy of Malaysia," "Seeing Malaysia My Way," and "With Love, From Malaysia." Bakri's day job (and frequently night time too!) is as a surgeon in private practice in Silicon Valley, California. He and his wife Karen live on a ranch in Morgan Hill. This website is updated twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays at 5 PM California time.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Gratitude And Love - Thanksgiving 2018

Gratitude And Love - Thanksgiving 2018

Karen Musa
President, South Valley Islamic Community

[Speech given at the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at the Advent Lutheran Church, Morgan Hill, California, on Sunday December 18, 2018, organized by the Interfaith CommUNITY of South Santa Clara County with Pastor Wanita Warner officiating.]

Good evening!  Assalamuallaikum!  May peace be upon you all!

This evening we gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, the most observed holiday in America.  Although a secular event, the spirit of thanksgiving is universal in all faiths and cultures.  While this evening we do not reenact the first Thanksgiving of 1621 in Plymouth, nonetheless we do so in spirit and sentiment to celebrate our own bountiful harvest of the season.

As we open the Quran, the Muslim’s Holy Book, the first chapter starts with ‘Alhamdulillah’ which is approximately translated as “All praise is for Allah!”  In day to day conversations, the word Alhamdulillahsignifies gratitude.  When someone inquires how we are, Muslims would respond with, “Alhamdulillah,” a short hand for, “I am fine, thanks to the blessings of Allah!

Islam teaches us to be thankful at all times, grateful to the Almighty for all our blessings, large and small.

Shukoror gratitude is mentioned many times in the Quran.  Gratitude to the Almighty and to our family, friends, neighbors, and community.  Gratitude is also related to another concept–love.  In my husband’s Malay culture, when someone receives something, the response would be “Terima kaseh!”  Thank you!  The literal translation however, is “Receive my love!”

Thanksgiving is thus also an expression of love for God.

In Islam, we express our gratitude to God for all of His blessings on three levels. First within our heart, then by verbalizing it, and third by doing righteous deeds.
The first is the appreciation and gratefulness that we feel in our hearts.  We then fortify or reinforce that through our words or speech.  And third, we express our gratitude in our actions to our fellow human beings by doing righteous deeds.
            Here in South Santa Clara County area, we have all shown our thankfulness by doing good as an individual, as a family, and community. We have come together in support of our families who are serving in the military, the homeless, those displaced by massive fires, and the disadvantaged amongst us.  Our community has also come together in solidarity against those who threaten our peaceful houses of prayer.

For our Muslim community in particular, we are truly grateful and thankful for the support of the community in our application of our Cordoba Project in San Martin.  Many of you spoke publicly at the recent public hearings and have written letters of support to the county.  Your words of encouragement helps us persevere in our goal of our building our place of worship.  Mere words cannot adequately express our gratitude and thanks for your support.

Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday.  It contains a good spirit and noble message.  It is not a holiday of any particular religion but it has many deeply religious and spiritual meanings and attributes.  America at Thanksgiving is America at its best.

The Quranic word for thanksgiving is shukor.  It is the quality of human beings and it is also the quality of Allah.  It is the consideration of His favor and its acknowledgment by us mortals.
Shukor is a central principle of Islam.  It is a quality of the believers and a source of all goodness.  Shukoris used in the Quran sometimes as the equivalent to faith.
In Islam, thanksgiving is not only a particular religious act or service; it is our way of life.
            So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we thank Allah for all our blessings, and may we all continue to be blessed with the bounty given to us by Him.  Thank you all for coming to share this evening.


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