Muslims called upon to innovate and empower

SHAFAQNA - Muslims must “participate and compete” in the “global village” of the 21st century or risk being “subordinate” to the wider world, US preacher Khalid Yasin told the Ramadan Forum in Dubai on Thursday.

During his late night address, Yasin, who was born a Christian but embraced Islam in 1965, called for “innovation and empowerment” in the Islamic world, especially during Ramadan.

His talk was based on an excerpt from his research paper titled ‘Islam and 21st Century Empowerment,’ which he said is inspired by the book My Vision — Challenges in the Race for Excellence by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Speaking at the forum, held at Zabeel Hall of Dubai World Trade Centre, Yasin said the UAE and its leadership have created a success story that proves a Muslim country can be progressive, tolerant and an example to be followed.

Yasin, who has “dedicated the last 35 years removing misconceptions about Islam and Muslims”, urged the audience to follow verses of the Quran and sayings and examples of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) that urge them to “excel and win… in this world” besides in matters of spirituality and faith.

“You must prove — to yourself first — that Islam is a valid, comprehensive system for all times, places and circumstances… Islam has to play a decisive role within the context of all challenges and complexities in this present world today,” Yasin said.

Ramadan, he added, presented a special opportunity for reflection on how to reach that goal. “Ramadan is a month of empowerment, not just rituals… It is the desired outcome of these actions that we need to ponder.”

Every Muslim should use his unique skills, talent or edge to come up with innovative solutions for Muslims as well as other peoples, Yasin added.

“I wonder, how many Muslims in the month of Ramadan, who are technologically advanced [for example] said, ‘I’ll make a smartphone for the Muslim world so they don’t have to be subordinate to a foreign culture?’ Are they more creative than we are? No, but we are not given the impetus to step out and take a chance. This Ramadan, each one of us needs to think about that,” he said.

“We’re part of a ‘global village’ and we must develop a world view. The question is, how will Muslims use the Quran and Sunnah [examples and sayings of the Prophet] to participate and compete in the modern world? If you don’t participate, you cannot compete. If you don’t compete, it’s impossible to win. Life is a race.”

The annual Ramadan Forum, organised by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing since 2002, features a series of lectures each Ramadan.

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