Kabeer,3,threw the ball to Harry, age 4.The squeals and the childish giggles were infectious as Harry launched the ball up the in air and Kabeer ran to collect it. Both mothers stood by, heads turned upward, anxious that each child was playing fair and no innocent bystander would be hurt.
Both children, oblivious of the difference in the colors of their skin. Oblivious of their different religions or that they were playing on the very spot we would soon gather for prayer.
They shared the excitement and the thrill of a soccer ball that they were using to play catch as only a child would. In three minutes of introduction to each other they accomplished what we as mankind have struggled to achieve in our many years of attempting to foster peace in the world.
Harry and his mother Annie came on an invitation to our “Sharing Ramadan” event at the Senior Recreation Center in Arlington, as part of our outreach program to invite our surrounding community members to meet their Muslim neighbors.
As we looked at the kids, for the first time I saw and felt very poignantly that the spirit in me was connected to the spirit in Annie and her son. We were created by the same God. The peace I feel at my place of worship was the same peace I felt when she ushered me into her sanctuary at the First Baptist Church in Arlington.
Annie and her son were among other guests who sat with us, side-by-side, and shared our food and drink as we broke fast when the sun began to set. Our guests were respectfully quiet and reverent as we formed rows to begin our Maghrib prayer. We sympathized together with the fussing kids when I ran out of American flags to give each one as we commemorated the ultimate sacrifice of our fallen brothers and sisters that Memorial weekend.
We laughed together as my 5-year-old daughter Aliya asked how many bites of pasta she had to eat before she could have ice cream. We talked together about our holy prophet Muhammad and the Promised Messiah as we enjoyed international cuisine on our American flag-covered table.
Another guest, Diane turned to me and said the women are very colorful today. I explained that the red, white, and blue shalwars were our display of patriotism to America as taught by our Holy Prophet Muhammad who said, “ Love of nation is part of faith”.
One of our guests, Katie, asked about the significance of Ramadan. I explained that Ramadan is the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad We fast during this month by abstaining from all food and drink, from dawn until dusk, so we can focus on attaining the spiritual food that nourishes our soul instead of the physical worldly things that distract us from our purpose in life. It fosters self discipline of mind, the ability to resist temptation, and sympathy for those who involuntarily go hungry every day without the ease of breaking fast at dusk.
As our guests left and we said our last prayer for the night, my tears overflowed in the hope and prayer that the pure unabated friendship Kabeer and Harry found can also one day be found in the leaders of our country, in the leaders of our community, our faith and the world.
The Holy Quran 3:104 says, "And hold fast all together by the rope of God and be not divided; and remember the favor of Allah which he bestowed upon you when you were enemies, and He united your hearts in love so that by His grace you become as brothers.”
A special thank you to all those who came to witness and experience our observance of the Holy month of Ramadan. I extend an invitation to all to join us for dinner and get to know your Muslim neighbor.
Angelina Tucker is a pharmacist living in Granbury and a Muslim who is committed to finding common ground among all religions. Ramadan began May 15 and ends in the evening of June 14.