22nd October, Mumbai
MIWF held an interfaith Meelad event at Memonwada playground of Bhendi Bazar on 22nd October which was attended by leaders from various Muslim sects, Christian, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist faiths.
MLA Amin Patel was invited as Chief guest and Nishith Mishra (IG, ATS) was the guest of honor for the event. The book written by Shaykh ul Islam Dr. Tahir ul Qadri titled “A real sketch of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)” was launched at the event which was attended by a large gathering of people from different faiths.
Event started with recitation of the Quran by Maulana Anis Ashrafi.
Sayeed Khan introduced the aims of the program by saying that we are followers of a universal prophet and a universal religion that teaches us to live in harmony with followers of different faiths and cultures.
Renowned singer Anushka Nikam recited a poem composed in the praise of the Prophet(peace be upon him) in Marathi and Alka Sharar recited her famous verses of Naat in Urdu.
Social activist Farid Ahmed Khan lauded the initiative of MIWF to celebrate Meelad with followers of different faiths and quoted Quwar Mahendra Singh Bedi that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is not limited to muslims and his Ummah includes the whole of humanity. He stated that this message has been echoed by many thinkers like Jyotiba Phule who was a well-known anti-caste social activist and writer who had composed famous poems in praise of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Marathi.
Father Dr. Stephen stated the purpose of Meelad or coming of Prophets in the world is to liberate people from bondages. He stated that Prophet Moses(AS) liberated people of Egypt from slavery. After him the trait of racial superiority became widespread and God sent Prophet Jesus(AS) who taught that salvation is not specific to a race and he gave teachings of brotherhood and tolerance to human beings and after his passing away, polytheism started spreading in the world as people started giving divine status to human beings and God sent Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who taught the message of monotheism to humanity. He taught peace and showed great restraint inspite of persecution in Makkah and in recent past this teaching was reiterated when Muslims selflessly served the covid patients during the Pandemic inspite of being falsely blamed for spreading the pandemic.
Shia scholar Roohe Zafar said that Meelad gives us a message of unity and said that it reminds us of how Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) united different tribes that used to fight and indulge in bloodshed for years over petty issues. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was recognized as truthful and trustworthy in this environment of mistrust and division of tribes and he gave message of humanity and selflessness and with his efforts Allah transformed that society to a point that his followers were ready to sacrifice their lives for the betterment of others. We need to celebrate the birth and also remove Envy, Hatred and selfishness from society so that citizens of our nation stay united as brothers in humanity.
Buddhist priest Shri Viranta Bhante said that there are lot of similarities in teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Gautam Buddha and quoted their common teachings that superiority is not due to birth or race but due to superior actions.
Shri Satnam Singh who represented Sikh religion said that universal teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are guiding light for whole humanity and said that that Innumerable lights of love are needed to remove the darkness of hatred.
Delivering keynote speech Dr. Hafiz ur Rahman stated that India is the most diverse nation in the whole world in terms of languages and religions and congratulated Minhaj team for setting up precedent by conducting this unique conference in which people of different faiths and ideologies are brought together. Highlighting teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) he said that he taught that water should not be wasted and even birds should not be killed without reason. He taught that whoever strives in caring for a widow or a poor person is like the one who strives in the path of God. Highlighting how he upheld rights of women he said that Pre-Islamic Arabia had no regard for daughters ,Widows and divorcee women and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) brought a revolution by upholding their rights. He stated that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was an embodiment of Social justice right from his childhood and he was a peacemaker throughout his life. When he entered Makkah as a conquerer he declared the home of his worst enemies as an “Home of peace” and said that anyone who enters them will not be harmed. He said that the Makkan phase of Seerah is an example of how a community can live in a state as a minority and be exemplars of patience and Madina is an example of how a majority can rule by giving minorities their full economic and religious rights. He said that there is a need to implement sunnahs of respecting young ones as our Prophet (peace be upon him) used to shorten prayers for the convenience of young ones. Highlighting the common teachings of love of humanity and Divine oneness in Upanishads and Holy Quran he said that there is a need for Hindus and Muslims to unite on common grounds and work for common good for humanity.
Local MLA Amin Patel expressed his views on the event and stated that humanity is a common ground among all relgious teachings and mentioned an example from hadith stating that Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him) asked his followers to feed their hungry neighbour and didn’t restrict this pious action only to Muslim neighbours. He said that Prophetic teachings of brotherhood, tolerance and mutual respect should be reflected in our behaviour and said that MIWF has taken a good step in this direction by involving people of different faiths in causes of serving humanity.
Zafar Arshad who had travelled from Canada for the event also recited poetry in praise of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ during the event.
Shakir sir from Jamat e Islami Hind and Shabbir Bhopalwala (PRO Madni Mahal – Bohra Jamat) were felicitated at the event along with other guests .
MQI Chief coordinator Asad Naeem and MIWF VP Zubair Ahmed Ansari thanked the guests and audience for gracing the event with their presence and the event concluded with prayers and salutations on the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by Maulana Anis Ashrafi.