For Immediate Release
This year, the 17th Annual Prophet Muhammad Interfaith Conference highlights civic engagement and social activism. Prophet Mohammed is not only celebrated for his role as a religious leader but also revered as an embodiment of social activism. His life and teachings offer valuable lessons on compassion, justice, and the pursuit of a better society.
One of the core principles of Prophet Mohammed’s activism was his unwavering commitment to social justice. He advocated for the rights of the marginalized, including women, orphans, and the economically disadvantaged. In a time when the Arabian Peninsula was marked by inequality and tribal divisions, the Prophet preached the equality of all believers, regardless of their social status or lineage. His famous saying, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve,” emphasized the common humanity that unites us all.
Prophet Mohammed’s activism extended to economic justice. He promoted charity and encouraged the redistribution of wealth to alleviate poverty. His establishment of the zakat system, a form of almsgiving, aimed at ensuring that the wealthy supported the less fortunate, laying the foundation for modern social welfare systems.
Moreover, the Prophet was a vocal advocate for women’s rights. He granted women rights to inheritance, education, and the freedom to choose their husbands, challenging the prevailing norms of his time. His relationship with Bibi Khadijah, a successful businesswoman and a woman of influence, demonstrated his belief in gender equality.
Prophet Mohammed’s commitment to peace and conflict resolution is another facet of his social activism. He encouraged dialogue and peaceful resolution of disputes, even with rival tribes and nations. His famous Treaty of Hudaybiyyah serves as a model for diplomacy and conflict prevention.
Muslims4Peace was formed in 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, principally to provide an inter-faith platform for likeminded people of diverse faiths to advocate for pluralism, tolerance and a common humanity. Every religion has organizations that subscribe to these tenets, and Muslims4Peace seeks to make common cause with them in its attempt to dispel misconceptions about various minority groups.
One of the mandates adopted by Muslims4Peace is to highlight the tolerant and peaceful elements of Islam, and educate mainstream America about Islam and Muslim practices. This mandate has broadened organically over the years, to incorporate inter-religious solidarity and dialogue, relief and charity, intellectual discourse, and advocacy for peace and social justice.
Islam is one of the world’s largest religions, and yet it is also one of the most misunderstood. For various reasons – be they political, economic, biased media or fear of the “other” – mistruths and misconceptions about the religion abound in the current landscape. Highlighting the humanitarian character of the religion, Muslims4Peace draws inspiration from the spirit of inclusiveness that runs through Islam. For instance, Imam Ali, the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad, in his letter to his subordinate Malik Al-Ashtar, who he had appointed governor of Egypt, had said: “Remember, Malik that amongst your subjects there are two kinds of people: your brothers in faith, and your equals in humanity.”
The organization’s activities include a diverse set in the social, political, cultural and community spheres. To highlight some activities from 2022-2023, the organization participated in anti-war mobilization, conducted an inter-faith iftar with members from Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and secular organizations, organized a Christmas party for underprivileged children, coordinated relief work for urban communities in Newark, hosted a stand-up comedy night, and participated in academic and intellectual seminars.
One of the flagship events of Muslims4Peace is the Annual Prophet Muhammad Interfaith Conference. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a blessing not just for Muslims, but for all of humanity, and in the past 16 years, this event has attracted academics, political and religious leaders, philosophers, poets and community activists, who seek to draw inspiration from his life to inform contemporary citizenry and humanity. The event has been characterized by the active participation of Muslims as well as non-Muslims, who use the forum to educate themselves about Prophet Muhammad and bring the lessons from his life into the contemporary social order.
Prophet Mohammed’s life and teachings provide an enduring legacy of social activism. He championed social justice, economic equity, gender equality, and peaceful coexistence. His actions and principles continue to inspire individuals and movements striving for a more just and compassionate world. Prophet Mohammed’s legacy reminds us that true greatness lies not only in faith but also in our commitment to making the world a better place for all.
We hope that this event is as successful and inspirational as conferences past, and look forward to future interfaith dialogues in the future.
Raza Mir is a member of the board of Muslims4Peace.