Thanksgiving Service


The Council sponsors an Interfaith Service of Thanksgiving yearly in November. The date for this year will be posted as we get closer to Thanksgiving Day. Please join us.

Below is a prayer said at our 2012 service.

SEEDS OF RESPECT
By Afshan Jilani

November 15, 2012

O mankind!  Revere your Guardian Lord, who created you from a single person; created, of like nature, his mate, and from this pair scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Revere God, through whom you demand your mutual (rights) for each other, and revere the wombs (that bore you); for God ever watches over you.
(Al Quran. Surah Nisa 4:1)


TO RESPECT, REVERE, TO HONOR WITH CAREFUL REFLECTION, THIS, OH LORD, IS OUR WORSHIP,
IT IS TO HUMANITY OUR OBLIGATION, TO WOMEN A COMMITMENT, TO A CHILD A PROMISE
RESPECT IS TO RECEIVE AND TO GIVE, FROM ONE TO ANOTHER, TO PLANT SEEDS OF LOVE, FOR LOVE
COMMANDED BY OUR LORD, PRACTICED BY PROPHETS, THESE MORAL TENETS OF OUR EXISTENCE
ARE SOLID AND STRONG, RESILIENT, PERSUASIVE, FROM THE ETERNAL FOR ETERNITY,
AND YET, WE CHOOSE A PATH OF CONTEMPT AND IMPUDENCE, OF DENIGRATION AND SLANDER

THESE SEEDS OF RESPECT WERE PLANTED TOO TRUSTINGLY; FOR THEY ARE GROWN INTO WEEDS OF DISCONTENT,
FROM IGNORANCE AND HATRED- NOW YOUR HAND RAISED, TO STRIKE HER, ANGER IN YOUR EYES- DISDAIN
WHAT OF HER GUARDIANSHIP? VOWS TO KEEP HER SAFE, DECREES OF PROTECTION AND LEADERSHIP
WHERE IS THE MAN THAT WALKS HAND IN HAND WITH HIS BELOVED; WHY DO CHILDREN CRY OUT IN PAIN?
WHY CAN SHE NOT BE THE QUEEN OF HER HOUSE; WHY DOES THE CHILD’S CRY ANGER YOU SO?
WHERE IS THAT JUST LEADER, THE HONORABLE SERVANT; THE MAN WHO YEARNS FOR SALVATION?

HOW COULD YOU NOT ADORE HER TILL THE VERY END, LAY YOUR WEARY HEAD ON HER SHOULDER?
WAS SHE NOT KIND TO YOUR CHILDREN, NOR KEPT A TENDER WATCH OVER YOUR AFFAIRS?
WOULD YOU NOT RESPECT HER BECAUSE SHE IS WOMAN, MOTHER, DAUGHTER, WIFE, A SISTER
WOULD YOU NOT LOVE HER BECAUSE SHE GIVES OF HERSELF, IN ALL HER ROLES TRIES TO EXCEL
WOULD YOU NOT LOVE HER BECAUSE SHE CARRIED YOU; WIPED THE FEVER FROM YOUR BROW
GAVE UP HER OWN SLEEP, SO YOU COULD SLEEP, SACRIFICED HER PEACEFUL NIGHTS FOR YOU


AND THEN TELL ME, IF YOU CAN, WHAT MAKES YOU SO PROUD; YOU CANNOT SHOW RESPECT?
O MOTHERS, WEEP FOR YOUR SONS, YES, WE REFUSE TO RESPECT A YOUNG MAN’S LIFE
SACRIFICE THEM, MAIM THEM, FOR A MOMENT OF TRIUMPH, OVER WARS OF EGO AND PRIDE
CONFLICTS WITH NO LIMITS, NO BOUNDARIES, SO WRETCHED, BUT THEY SERVE THE MASTER WELL
DISRESPECT OR OPPRESSION, IS THERE A DIFFERENCE, DOES IT MATTER, WHO DO I ASK? WHO WOULD CARE?
RAVAGED, FEARFUL EYES- TELL A DIFFERENT STORY; SCREAMS OF POVERTY AND THE STENCH OF SICKNESS

AND HELPLESS, IMPRISONED, DEMORALIZED, NOW FORGOTTEN IN A LIFE OF DESPAIR
TO BE BROUGHT AND SOLD IN A GRAVEYARD OF DEAD SOULS WHERE HUMANITY WENT TO DIE
OUT OF RESPECT THEY SAID, WE RUINED HER; BIBI AASIYA, IMPRISONED WITH MALICIOUS SLANDER
A CHRISTIAN WOMAN IN A LAND OF TURMOIL, SELF-RIGHTEOUS MULLAHS SO VOID OF SELF-RESPECT
AH-THEY BORE ME, ACCUSATIONS AND DECEIPT; DERIVED FROM ARROGANCE AND PRIDE
TELL ME NOW WHO, RESPECT OR COWARDICE, WHO TORE OFF THE PAGES FROM A HOLY BOOK?


AND HID THEM IN A CHILD’S BAG? WHAT IS THIS RECKLESS, PUTRID POWER THAT BLINDS YOU
BY WHAT LAW, WHAT ORDER, BY WHAT DECREE, BY WHAT NAME DO I CALL IT?
HOW DO I CRY, WHEN TEARS OF SHAME AND DISBELIEF CHOKE MY THROAT; HOW DO I GO ON?
HOW DO I SPEAK, WHEN I HAVE NOTHING MORE TO SAY, HOW DO I DEFEND YOU
MUKHTAR MAI? VILLAGE GIRL, YOUR OWN BRAVE WORDS BROUGHT YOU JUSTICE
YOU RAGED AGAINST THOSE WHO BLATANTLY VIOLATED YOU, AND YOU STOOD STRONG


YES, YOUR STRENGTH FREED SOME OF OUR DAUGHTERS; BUT SOME, IT IMPRISONED EVEN MORE
ENOUGH NOW! NO MORE FALSE CHIVALRY, WEARY THREATS, THE LIES AND DISHONOR
BREAK THESE CHAINS, MELT THE IRON SHACKLES, LIFT OUR SPIRIT WITH SWEET MALALA’S SMILE
LET HER FRIENDS FLOAT AND SING, DANCE, HAND IN HAND AND RUN INTO THE WARM SUNSHINE
BECAUSE WE WERE THE FIRST, ENDOWED WITH OUR RIGHTS, WE SHALL KEEP THEM STRONG
AND I AM THE ONE WHO CAN COMMAND THE GREATEST RESPECT FROM MY CHILDREN

“HONOR AND RESPECT, ‘THY MOTHER”, AND THEN WHO, “THY MOTHER”, AND THEN WHO, “THY MOTHER”, THEN WHO, “THY FATHER”
SO IT IS SAID, SO BELOVED IS THE REALM OF MOTHER THAT HEAVEN LIES BENEATH OUR FEET;
AND OUR DAUGHTERS WILL OPEN THE DOORS OF THE GARDEN OF EDEN FOR YOU
IF MY FAITH HAS MADE ME EQUAL IN SPIRIT AND INTELLECT, DO YOU THINK YOU CAN BRING ME DOWN?
NOT FROM GOD, NOR FROM FAITH, NOT OF HUMAN, NOR OF LOVE, NOT OF CARE, NOR OF RESPECT
THESE ACTS OF ANGER, OF IGNORANCE AND REVENGE, THEY ONLY MAKE ME STRONGER, DEFIANT!

BUT, DO I WEEP, DO I WHIMPER, DO I CRY, DO I CURSE THE HAND THAT FIRED THAT BULLET?
DO I MANGLE THE ARM THAT THREW THE ACID; DO I SET FIRE TO WHAT SHATTERED MY WORLD?
NO! I WILL HONOR MY OWN FATHER’S WISHES, MY HUSBAND’S LOVE, MY BROTHER’S AFFECTION,
MY LORD’S DECREE, MY FAITH’S HONOR, MY MORAL RIGHT
TO REACH OUT AND COMFORT FOR I STILL KNOW MY OWN FREEDOM; I AM MUSLIM WOMAN
AND YES, I TEACH MY DAUGHTERS TO DREAM, AND I GIVE WINGS TO MY GRAND DAUGHTERS,



SO LIGHT AND FREE, THEY MAY FLY INTO THE BRIGHT, CLEAR SKIES, LAUGHING AND SMILING
UNCHAINED, UNHOOKED, UNFETTERED, UNSHACKLED, FREE TO RISE
TO SOAR INTO UNKNOWN, MAGICAL, WHIMSICAL REALMS WITH UNTETHERED FLIGHT
AND REACH UP INTO THE CLOUDS WITH GLORIOUS EXPECTATION
WHERE SHE CAN BREATHE THE SWEET FRAGRANT PAGES OF FANTASY AND POETRY
AN ENIGMA, THE MUSLIM WOMAN, SHE IS MY INSPIRATION AND IT IS SHE IS WHO I RESPECT