Masjid-e-Ali Mosque Celebrates Birthday Of Muslim Prophet Muhammad

Imam Mubin Kathrada of Trenton speaks to the gathering at Masjid-e-Ali mosque on Dec. 17.

Mosque Imam Rizwan Rizvi speaks to the crowd.

More than 100 members of a township mosque gathered there Dec. 17 to celebrate the birthday of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

The faithful gathered at the Masjid-e-Ali mosque on Cedar Grove Lane to hear several speakers talk about Muhammad, and equate his life to the present day.

“It’s not just that we celebrate the day the prophet was born, we celebrate his lifestyle so that we can all lead that lifestyle,” Rizwan Arsalan Rizvi, the mosque’s Imam, told the crowd.

The evening’s first guest speaker, Essma Bengabsia, a New York University student, told the youth in the crowd that they should not be afraid to become involved in their communities.

Essma Bengabsia told youth in the crowd that they should not be afraid to become involved with their community.

Muslim youth must “make sure we are doing our part in the community,” she said. “No one can change the world, but we can make a change in the world.”

“Oftentimes, as American Muslims, we hide our faith and we don’t feel comfortable with it,” Bengabsia said. “We need to be confident in ourselves and we need to know that we are not alone.”

“Don’t ever think that you’re not good enough for something if an opportunity comes along for you to get involved,” she said.

Bengabsia said that the differences that divide Muslims today “are going to ruin us.”

Imam Mubin Kathrada told the crowd that Mulsims need to emulate their Prophet Muhammad’s humbleness.

“Let’s take ownership and say, what can I do to make a difference … and then move forward together,” she said.

Imam Mubin Kathrada of Trenton gave the attendees an “action plan” to navigate in what he called “these very unsettled times.”

Giving an example of what he was referring to, Kathrada said that “lunatics are given the most powerful weapons and encouraged to snuff out life … in the name of Islam.”

Townshiop Councilman Rajiv Prasad said that Franklin will always work to protect its diversity.

Kathrada’s plan had five tenets: beware of disunity, learn to “swim against the current,” participate in the political process, use discretion in dealing with people and situations and empower the youth.

Disunity, Kathrada said, “destroys your will to succeed. It spells failure. Fall into no dispute, lest you lose heart and your power depart.”

“This is not the time to build walls, this is the time to tear down walls, like we are doing here tonight,” he said to applause from the crowd. “This is the time to lay waste to the ‘my way or the highway’ barriers.”

To “swim against the current,” Kathrada said, one needs an open mind, “a mind that is not handicapped by racial biases, by cultural biases.”

The best way to effect change in this country, Kathrada said, is by participating in the political process.

“We have to step out, we have to show that we are here and that we count,” he said.

“Don’t be a bull in a china shop” when dealing with others, Kathrada said. He noted that Muhammad treated people with calmness.

“He was sent as a mercy to mankind, not as a perpetrator of pain,” he said.

It’s important to give Muslim youth a seat at the table, Kathrada said, because “when you keep people out, you keep ideas out.”

“Welcome young people,” he said. “They ask great questions. They ask silly questions. They desire transparency and transparency is the bride and mother of progress.”

Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad (D-At large) told the crowd that Muhammad’s birth “changed the world.”

Muhammad professed an Islam that is “trying to bring people together, not the Wahabi perversion that we see.”

Prasad told the crowd they should get involved in their local communities.

“That is how you change the perception of Islam,” he said.

As far as Franklin Township is concerned, he said, “whatever we have to do in this township, we will to protect diversity.”

Sheikh Muslim Mahdi Chawla, of the Jaffarya Center in upstate New York, told the crowd that Muhammad, who represented the “best of humanity,” was also a humble man, and that his example should be followed.

“We have to look at our lifestyle,” he said. “Are we following his footsteps?”

“We have to look at our lifestyle and we have to adopt some of the qualities the Prophet has explained to us,” he said.

For example, he said, “If we have offended someone, the best thing to do is to ask for forgiveness in this world. That is the practice of the best of humanity.”


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