From Charlotte with peace
Muslims in the world ought to admire American Mrs Hamid for her matchless effort in upholding peace. She travelled all the way from her home in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, to Cleveland to extend peace (salam) to the people.
When passers-by cheered her effort, Ms Rose remarked: “Now that’s the kind of interaction I’ve been hoping for.”
In an article, “More festive than scary in Cleveland despite heavy security” (The Straits Times, 20 July 2016), journalist Paul Zach in Cleveland, mentioned that Ms Rose distributed a message that read: “Salam: I come in peace”.
I reproduce here the relevant paragraphs from the 450-word article to show Ms Rose’s effort in extending peace to all.
“On a street two blocks from the venue where Mr Donald Trump – who has vowed to bar Muslims from entering the United States – was expected to be nominated the Republican Party’s presidential candidate this week, Mrs Rose Hamid and her son Samir quietly passed out pens tipped with roses to passers-by with the message “Salam: I come in peace”.
“So while Americans celebrated their freedom to protest, each in his own way, the streets of Cleveland on the first day of the Republican National Convention on Monday felt more fun than frightening, especially in the light of the recent fatal shootings of policemen in Dallas and Baton Rouge.
“As for the American-born Mrs Hamid, 56, and Samir, 24, they financed their trip from Charlotte, North Carolina, to bring their hope of a peaceful convention to Cleveland. Her main concern was getting the message of “Salam”, emblazoned on her purse and Samir’s T-shirt, to Republican delegates.
“Just then, a group from Texas, decked out in red, white and blue apparel, walked by. They thanked her for the rose pens, asked where she and her son were from, and invited them to visit their state. Mrs Hamid said: “Now that’s the kind of interaction I’ve been hoping for.””
Islam has taught Muslims a very special way of greeting people using the word “Salam”.
The salam (which literally means ‘peace’) is the universal greeting of Muslims who greet each other with “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah” (May the peace and mercy of Allah be with you). This is the salam (greeting of peace) a Muslim offers to another Muslim upon meeting him and leaving him, and the obligatory reply is: “Wa-alaikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh” (May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you, too).
The shorter form is simply: “Assalamu alaikum.” The same (salam) phrases are offered and replied by Muslims of any race or culture in any part of the world when one Muslim meets another at any time of the day or night, even though they may be strangers and do not speak the language of the other, but each knows that it is the Islamic greeting and what it means. The Islamic greeting cuts across all language barriers, making it understood universally.
Islam itself means peace. The word “Islam” is derived from the Arabic root word “Salam” which means peace, safety, purity, submission, surrender and obedience. In the religious sense, “Islam” means “submission or surrender to the will of God and obedience to His law”.
Rosemary Pennington, who is the Program Coordinator for Voices and Visions, and graduate student in the School of Journalism at Indiana University, writing for “Muslim Voices” under the heading “What is the meaning of the word “Islam”?”, says: “The word Islam indicates a covenant between Allah and His followers, where a Muslim surrenders his or her will to Allah in return for peace or safety.”
Thus, when a Muslim follows the teachings of Islam in the Qur’an and the Hadith (Sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad), he or she is a good Muslim who would enjoy peace and spread peace.
Singaporean Rachel Aryssa Chung, who converted to Islam in May 2016, was among two converts to Islam interviewed by Executive Photojournalist Neo Xiaobintwo for his article, “New faith, new lives”.
Ms Chung was quoted in the article as saying about Islam: “I feel that it’s a very comprehensive and disciplined faith. How you should treat other people, how you should behave as a person. We’re encouraged to pray five times a day. When you do things like that, I feel that it changes you as a person.”
Salam, peace be to all.
For Ms Rachel Aryssa Chung: (http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/new-faith-new-lives)
22 July 2016