Interfaith Iftar in Detroit – Virtual reflections on the Power of Prayer


Shamshad Nasir, Missionary, USA

Muhammad Ahmad Sahib of Detroit reports that Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Detroit held its centennial interfaith iftar titled “Virtual reflections on the power of prayer during the pandemic” on 9 May 2020. This event was part of the nationwide centennial celebrations held across all chapters of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya USA, on the same day.

2020 marked the hundred years of the arrival of Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra to the US and thus the formal beginnings Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya USA. Due to the ongoing pandemic across USA and state-wide restrictions on gatherings, the programme was held virtually. This year’s programme was kicked off by secretary public affairs, Nasir Bukhari Sahib who provided details of the proceedings and introduced the interfaith speakers.

The formal programme proceedings started with the recitation of the Holy Quran by Shifa Ilahi Sahib.

Next, local president, Maqbool Tahir Sahib welcomed the guests and Jamaat members.

“Exactly hundred years ago, our community’s foundation was laid in this very state in the city of Highland Park”, said Maqbool Tahir Sahib. He then went on to provide a brief summary of the accomplishments and services of the Jamaat in the United States including blood drives, and other disaster relief services through Humanity First.

Following the opening remarks, a short video on the Jamaat’s centennial celebrations was played that showed the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya USA’s journey from the arrival of Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra Sahib to the current day progress.

Nasir Bukhari Sahib then invited representative Elissa Slotkin, US Congresswoman of MI 8 district, to provide her comments. Elissa thanked the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Michigan for organising and inviting to the centennial iftar. She provided details of the efforts she has been involved in regarding Covid-19 pandemic relief.

Then Barb Annes, democratic candidate of the Michigan 45th district provided her comments. His Excellency, Sidique Abou Bakarr Wai, Ambassador of Sierra Leone spoke briefly about the Jamaat’s services in his country and thanked him for the invitation and the Jamaat’s services for his country.

Rev Eric M. Williams of the St Philip’s Episcopal Church of Rochester Hills spoke briefly and thanked the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for organising such a wonderful interfaith event. He provided prayers from the scripture for difficult times, such as Covid-19 pandemic.

Rev Melissa DeRosia of Westminster Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor commented that she was delighted to be part of the virtual programme and would love to be part of the interfaith dialogue with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

The Jewish faith was represented by Edward Chezick who thanked for the opportunity to be part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s network of friends and prayed that may God remove the situation created by the current pandemic.

A few other guests who spoke during the programme included Padma Kuppa, Michigan State representative, Narayanaswamy of Bhartia Temple Troy, Mohamed Kondeh, Imam of Sierra Leone Muslim community of Chicago and Lamin Kondeh of Sierra Leone community of Maryland joined and provided brief comments.

Hon Siddiqu Abu Bakker, Ambassador of Sierra Leone was also invited to speak, he praised the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Sierra Leone for its service and appealed to continue special help in this critical time.

Regional Missionary, Shamshad Nasir Sahib spoke as a keynote speaker. He thanked all the guests and members for joining the interfaith Ramadan event. He said:

“We are facing a great challenge this time due to Covid-19, and this is not our normal practice to hold this event virtually. “During these difficult times, we need to turn to God. In all the holy scriptures brought by the reformers, it is clear that they all came to bring mankind closer to God”.

He further said that God listens to prayers and we need to turn to no one else but the only One God. He heard the prayers of Jesusas while he was put on the cross where he prayed “Oh my Lord take this cup of death from me” and his prayers were heard and he was delivered from the cross. He said:

“The spiritual head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa has been promoting peace through his many efforts of outreach to various heads of states. He has addressed the US Congress, Canada, UK Parliament and has written to many other world leaders to come together for world peace.”

Shamshad Sahib requested all to pray for all the front line workers including doctors, healthcare professionals and other workers, that may Allah protect them all in these difficult times. There was then a silent prayer.

Overall feedback from guests and Jamaat members was very encouraging.

Rev. Melissa DeRosia of Westminster Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, Michigan said:

“Dear Muhammad, thank you for the invitation to be part of such a monumental celebration in the life of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. It was an honour to share words of peace and prayer during this holy season of Ramadan. I have been so blessed in my relationships of interfaith partnerships in the past and pray this is the first of many opportunities to work together. If at any time an opportunity arises for further conversation and collaboration, please do not hesitate to reach out. Ramadan Mubarak.”

By the grace of Allah the Almighty, the overall attendance was very good with more than 300 people. May Allah bless all those who worked hard to make the programme a success. Amin

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