Friday, June 5, 2009

The Magical Word of Assalamualaikum-Did Obama's speech inspire us?

It began with Obama greeting the crowd with the magical word--assalamu alaikum, or "peace be upon you," and was bolstered by weaving in quotes from the Quran. And the speech was delivered the way you introduce yourself here to neighbors as a newcomer to town: explaining where you're from, your passions, your dreams, but not delving too deeply into prickly things. That unveiling comes later, during ensuing weeks, months and years.

He came with goodwill and pretty sentences, but the question kept echoing: Were they enough? The 55-minute address at Cairo University was short on policy details. The speech made up for by linking Obama's story -- the Christian son of an African Muslim father -- with his administration's goals of ending the Arab-Israeli crisis, sitting with Iran at the negotiating table and calling on Muslims to reject the fanatical voices of Osama bin Laden and others.
In the end, a few words and phrases stood out, either because they were said or because they weren't even alluded to.

Yes, there were many interesting moments during Obama's speech in Cairo. The moment that got the most attention, in Search anyway, was Obama's use of "

assalamu alaikum." Said the President: "I'm also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalaamu alaykum." After the speech, searches soared on the greeting, its meaning, and translation. According to the Islamic Dictionary, it literally means: "Peace be upon you." It is a shortened form of a phrase that translates to "Peace be unto you and so may the mercy of Allah and His blessings."

I highlighted some paragraphs from Obama’s speech that I think very interesting for us to have a second thought of them.. :)

- I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles - principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

- As the Holy Koran tells us, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth." That is what I will try to do - to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.

- Part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.

- Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it. For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.

image: Gerald Herbert AP

- The sixth issue that I want to address is women's rights. I know there is debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous.It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share.

But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples - a belief that isn't new; that isn't black or white or brown; that isn't Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It's a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It's a faith in other people, and it's what brought me here today.

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

The Holy Koran tells us, "O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another." The Talmud tells us: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace." The Holy Bible tells us, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God's vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth.

Thank you. And may God's peace be upon you...See Obama’s full speech--here

Well for me, the speech did inspire people, not to inspire HOPE but to search for the true meaning and translation of the magical word "Assalamualaikum"..:)

Source: Mike Krumboltz and LA Times

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