Imam preaches peace, love and harmony
It’s not every day Bermuda’s Muslim community gets to hear the teachings of an internationally recognised lecturer and author.
They will get such a chance next week, when Imam Mustafa El-Amin visits the island for the first time.
The author of eight books on Islamic faith, family relationships and Afrocentricity, lives in New Jersey, where he works in the Newark school system and runs his own production company.
Event organiser Mustapha Rasheed tells us more about the visit and what residents can look forward to.
Why did you invite him to come and speak?
Historically, every February 26, we gather together for what we call Saviour’s Day. The leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad, died on February 25, 1975. The day after, his son inherited the faith and leadership and we all converted to being Orthodox Muslims.
His son kept the traditions and historical context of the faith alive. The goal of the day is to remind us of our history and where we come from.
How does the Bermuda community acknowledge Saviour’s Day?
On Friday, February 23, Imam El-Amin will deliver the Jumuah Kutbah — which is our congregational prayer service — hosted at Masjid Muhammad.
Jumuah is significant and a part of how our faith is structured. That evening, between 6pm and 8pm, he will deliver the Taleem speech. The aim is to inspire and encourage people with ideas to help them to better live out their everyday lives and faiths.
Fridays for us is used to bring information and serves as a reminder of our duty to the Creator. On Saturday, February 24, Imam El-Amin will deliver a Saviour’s Day address at Bermuda Industrial Union’s Dr EF Gordon Hall from 7pm until 9pm. This is the highlight of this year’s event.
What will be the theme of the teachings by Imam Mustafa El-Amin?
The theme will be centred around progress from the standpoint of Bermudian Muslims. We are proud of the tapestry of our community in Bermuda. We have a history on the island that goes back to the early 1960s. The whole theme of the event is how we have progressed as a religious entity on the shores of Bermuda.
What do you hope people take away from these events?
We live in an information age, with so many different ideas and concepts for how to live. Islam is just one of the religions of humanity and we hope to relay information that will help people grow and mature.
Bermuda has always been accepting of us as a religious group, but around the world there is a lot of misinformation about the Islamic faith. We want to share knowledge so people can be informed enough to make their own decisions.
How did you come to hear about Imam El-Amin?
My wife and I have personally known him for more than ten years. We are friends and he is well known in the Islamic circle as being one who is very knowledgeable and wise.
We knew he would represent the religion of Islam as a speaker because he is well versed in sound principles of Islamic thought. We spoke to him last year and he told us he had never been to the island before. He had just come from a trip to Jerusalem, where he was invited to be part of an interfaith event with Muslims and Jews.
Once we saw the photos from that trip, we asked if he could come and share his experiences with the people in Bermuda.
This is the first time he has spoken in Bermuda, so we hope the public will come for the purpose of clarification and also for information on the topic of Islam and its role in society.
What would you say to encourage people to come out for this month’s events?
We are hoping the community will embrace the teachings and it will bring some kind of relief from all the craziness of this world.
I find that the more progress we make as humans and as a society, the more we have to be reminded about God.
That’s why Christians, Muslims, Jews and other faiths pursue religion. We live on one earth, one planet, and all of us will face the day of judgment with our different faiths. In the meantime, we have to learn to live on this earth together in peace, love and harmony.