What is the feeling that makes one feel part of the Muslim ummah? What brings about this feeling, a feeling which eliminates excludes all unnecessary attachments and makes one feel a part of a whole, leaving all appendages such as race, culture, income, etc. irrelevant?
When I go on umrah, I savour the sounds, smells and colours of Mecca and Medina, and this strengthens my admiration of the unity of the ummah. Whenever I attend an international conference of Muslims or find myself among a variety of people from different Muslim countries I feel exhilarated. There is only one thing that brings us together and makes us pray for each other with "Assalamu Alaikum!" and that is being a Muslim.
The previous weekend (April, 10-11, 2010) was one of those exhilarating times where I felt humbled by the mercy and blessings; this emotion only comes with the feeling of working for the cause of Allah and His messenger. As representatives of Lastprophet.info we hosted many esteemed scholars to discuss how we, as Muslims, should represent Prophet Muhammad in the West and the handicaps faced by Muslims, or sometimes caused by them, during this representation. Among our guests were Dr. Ahmad Gianpiero Vincenzo from Italy and Dr. Jonathan Brown from the United States. Both converts to Islam, they spoke about the representation problems Muslims face in the West as insiders. They both stated that ignorance and misinformation are among the major culprits of causing Islamophobia.
In the evening there were more than forty academics and thinkers/writers who joined in the roundtable meeting, sharing their ideas and thoughts on the subject; among these was the Turkish ambassador to the Vatican, Dr. Kenan Gürsoy. One idea prevailed; being the best example is the best representation. And this could only come about with knowledge of the Qur'an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
The next day the same scholars were joined by many other people at the Hadith and Seerah Awards Ceremony, given to postgraduate students to promote study in the relevant fields. President of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate, Ali Bardakoğlu, gave a poignant speech and stated the importance of promoting justice and being steadfast in expressing affection and loyalty for the Prophet while also stressing the importance of correct representation and the significance of promoting such work with similar programs. Dr. Kenan Gürsoy emphasized the great importance of mutual understanding and the use of correct channels for Muslims when promoting the message of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
The entire hall was filled with love and energy. People coming out of the program expressed their enthusiasm and how they had been recharged to learn, study and promote the correct message of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
The feeling of being a part of an ummah emanated throughout the hall. It felt like we were all one small brush stroke in an exquisite masterpiece. May Allah give us the strength to work for His cause and guide us in the right path.