Thankfulness as a Remedy for Change

There is a popular saying in Islam that Muslims use in their everyday interactions to give thanks, praise and glory to God. Alhamdulillah is an Arabic phrase translated as All praises are due to Allah. Muslims use it to show their reverence and appreciation for the Creator and to divert from taking credit for what belongs to Allah. This phrase is used to demonstrate humility and gratitude for one’s gifts, talents, skills, and experiences from the smallest to the most pronounced. Although this is a Muslim expression it is a powerful testament to human beings’ dependency and interdependency on higher forces that affect every aspect of life.

In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, many colleges like Smith have taken precautions by holding classes virtually and some have adopted a blended or hybrid approach. The state’s four biggest cities and 19 municipalities have been classified as red zone cities where surges are anticipated. We are all special to the Creator and possess a sacred life with which we are entrusted. It is inherent in our nature to hold on to this life; to nurture it and preserve it since it is the only one that we have. When a precious life is snuffed out because of forces beyond our control, forces that have become a perverse normality, our minds lose balance and our hearts twist with pain, while our collective vision stumbles and blurs. Such is the way that distressing news absorbs the soul, as it witnesses not only senseless state-sanctioned violence but injustices perpetrated by the nation’s court system. The death of Breonna Taylor and the anguish of her family pervade our country’s consciousness. Although the family was awarded $12 million for a wrongful death suit, it will never replace the life that was lost.

Yet, whether we like it or not we are all in this together. News reports, press conferences, marches, and protests center our attention on the calamity. But the human heart begs to know when injustice will halt. People of faith struggle to rely on a higher power in times like these. Tremendous sorrow and calls for retribution threaten to send us backwards as a nation. What will tomorrow bring? How can we stand and act? There is much to give thanks to even amidst these perilous times. It’s a dawn of a new day and a new generation coupled with the vanguard of the ages, declaring war on  structural racism and its nasty residue within each of us. Let us give thanks for strength, forbearance, wherewithal and conviction to fight for a new reality. Dismantling structural racism is our destiny.  For our own souls, in the face of inequity, continue to incline towards the good and the everlasting. Truth, ultimately will win. Only God knows when it will finally emerge, Alhamdulillah!

“And say, “Truth has come, and falsehood has departed. Indeed is falsehood, (by nature), ever bound to depart.”      – Holy Quran 17:81         

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”                   – Maulana Jalal ad-Din Rumi, 13th century Sufi Mystic

Kim Alston serves as the CRSL Muslim Student Adviser. 

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