God's love beckons believers to action

By Dr. Shahid Athar

Muslims are told in the Korran: 'Let a party of believers rise which enjoins what is good and forbids what is wrong.' We are also told to cooperate with others in goodness, but not in wrongdoing. Those who don't are doomed. 'By the token of time, mankind is in state of loss except for those who believe and do righteous deeds and join together in the mutual teaching of truth and perseverance."

Spirituality is nothing but the awareness of the presence of God with our spirit. When we recognize this and then is it in our positive actions through prayer or social work, we become instruments of God. We then see through His eyes, hear through His ears, work with His hands and speak in His tongue. When we take one step toward Him, He takes giant leaps toward us. When we walk. toward Him, He runs toward us to the extent that the children of God in His image merge in his cause.

We go to the house of worship. be it a mosque, church or temple. not , just to get the attention of Its owner.' but also to pray to Him that He will I have mercy on us and guide us through our journey on this planet. '

In return, He expects us to carry His message to the whole of mankind. Thus taking care of fellow human beings and all other creations of God becomes our collective responsibility whether we like It or not. The suffering of human beings, in the form of homelessness or poverty, Is nothing but a test from Him of how we patiently persevere and how we' do our best to relieve those who are suffering.

The social obligation of believers includes taking care of those who have not, Irrespective of their faith. There are 20 million Americans below the poverty level. Many of our children are also at the poverty level.

The responsibility of people of faith includes establishment of shelters, halfway houses for run-away teenagers, rehabilitation for drug addicts, combating violence on the streets and fighting discrimination and racism. We cannot leave this to the city, state or federal government only.

The responsibility of those who leave houses of worship after their prayer is to go on the street and introduce love within families, neighborhoods, the community and among the religious.

As we enter the next miillennium, we must remember the work of Jesus and all Qf the prophets before and after him toward humanity. We must forget and forgive our differences and give some gifts to our fellow human and Mother Earth.

Our talk of peace for the next millennium should be followed by peaceful actions such as human rights for all. gender equality, the right to earn a living and basic needs. and the end of hostility based on religion, language and ethnicity.

We must develop programs to implement these goals in our community, joining with others in the, same cause. We must do all for the love of the same God whom we like to visit once a week.

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Shahid Athar, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Indiana University School of Medicine
8424 Naab Road
Suite 2D
Indianapolis, IN 46260