This I Believe -- Perspectives From a University Muslim Chaplain

Hands of an unrecognizable woman with Bible praying
Hands of an unrecognizable woman with Bible praying

The following post is my thoughts and contribution to the "This I Believe" campaign.

I believe in the relationship between the Creator and the Creation. I have traveled to
the Vatican, the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and to Mecca; I have seen spiritual sites of people of all faiths and have met spiritual leaders from across the world. One reality that all of them have in common, is love for their spiritual tradition and love for their fellow families in humanity.

I believe that I was created to worship the creator, and to serve and treat His creation
well. I believe that interfaith dialogue is part of my faith, duty, and calling as a Muslim.

I believe as the Qur'an says that we were created to "know one another" (49:13), and that my duty to people of other faiths is to treat them with piety and justice in a peaceful setting.

On my doorstep, there is a "Welcome" mat with languages from all over the world, a true chaplain's welcome to the human soul that we all encounter.

I believe the struggles of my Christian neighbor, and my Jewish friend, are my struggles to help with. I believe that the joys of my Black cousin, my gay brother, my Asian mother are mine to celebrate with. I believe that only together as a people, humanity, can we survive. I believe in what St. Francis of Assisi said to "Start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

I believe in the potential of human kindness. Recently I was at the airport, and I noticed a young woman, about the age of a graduate student, crying in severe distress and I could tell that she had also been drinking. I didn't know who she was, and she didn't know who I was, but what I KNEW was that she was suffering. So I went to the café, and got her some tissues, and she took them, used them and told me in her own words and expressions how much she appreciated it.

She was in a state of suffering -- a human state that knows no religion, race, or creed. I believe in being always present and aware in my interactions with others -- so that my role as a pastoral presence is who I am, not merely the source of my livelihood. I believe that is the kind of work that I am called to do.