– are universal in nature and they characterise Prophet Muhammad’s teachings, says PM
By Rabindra Rooplall
GLOBALLY, nations are experiencing disruptive challenges in the form of a pandemic as well as political, economic and environmental turmoils, but on the occasion of Youman Nabi, the teachings of Prophet Muhammad brings hope amid the despair.
This is according to Prime Minister (PM), Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips, during his address on Thursday at the Anna Catherina Islamic Complex (ACIC), West Coast Demerara, on the occasion of the birth of the Islamic Prophet, Muhammad.
Attending the event also were Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr. Vindhya Persaud; Culture, Youth and Sport Minister, Charles Ramson; Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar; former President and Prime Minister Samuel Hinds; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Go-Invest, Dr. Peter Ramsaroop and other special invitees.
The Prime Minister was representing President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, who was unable to attend the occasion due to a pressing international engagement.
“This event is an important one that encourages us to reflect on the teachings and examples bequeathed to us by this great Prophet. Throughout his life, Prophet Muhammad led a life of righteousness, kindness, brotherhood and unity. These lessons are universal and timeless, offering solutions to conflict and issues that we face today,” the Prime Minister told a diverse gathering.
Emphasising that many occurrences can have a massive effect on a person’s physical, mental, social and economic well-being, the Prime Minister said it is during trying times that everyone needs to understand and embrace the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.
“Lessons such as mercy, forgiveness, love for humanity, seeing the best in our neighbour, humility, being slow to anger and indulging in good health and continued knowledge — these are all practices that can serve as immeasurably useful for us as we face the world today,” the Prime Minister contended.
He continued: “I am grateful that in Guyana, we have a culture that practices religious tolerance and freedom and our people can have the opportunity to indulge in and honour the practices of their fellow citizens without discrimination.”
At these times, he encouraged all to forget their differences which often divide society and look instead at the things that can unite all — principles much like those taught by the Prophet Muhammad which can guide persons toward love, unity and harmony in the toughest of times.
“I take this time to, therefore, extend the happiest of Youman Nabi greetings to our Muslim brothers and sisters and to all Guyanese as we continue to work towards unified prosperity in this beautiful country that we call home,” the Prime Minister asserted.
Also addressing the gathering, Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, said the celebration of the life, work and birth of Prophet Muhammad should inspire the generations of tomorrow.
Adding that love, respect, unity and understanding bring people together from all backgrounds in life, Minister Persaud said human beings live in a diverse and secular world that brings a unique and distinct way of life that flourishes with togetherness.
Dr. Persaud, who is also the President of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, said compassion for humanity is essential in the development of society since helping each other through kindness can slowly change the world into a better place.
“In Guyana it is important for us to share commonalities that bind us together and if there are differences, let those differences not be anything which we cannot surmount or transcend. Let those differences make the kaleidoscope or the tapestry of our country uniquely distinctive,” the Human Service Minister said.
She explained that the Guyanese lifestyle is not the usual practices in many parts of the world, but “we can be very proud of what we are and who we are, because we are able to easily bridge those gaps and barriers, and have moments like these where people of all faiths can sit and celebrate, observe and can be part of Youman Nabi.”
The minister said for everyone to understand and appreciate each other, there must be sharing of faith and beliefs in a world of trials and tribulations.
Culture, Youth and Sport Minister, Charles Ramson, said Prophet Muhammad explained that the best way to defend Islam is to practise Islam and tolerance for all people.
“It is important to share the messages and teachings of Islam because, while we share this country and land called Guyana, we have this multi-cultural treasure, and you must be able to share all of that with all of us, so that we don’t only learn to tolerate each other but learn to appreciate and celebrate each other,” the Culture Minister said.
Noting that everyone should be proud of their faith and religious background, Minister Ramson said peace, charity, morals, discipline and respect for each other are timeless and should be consistently shared in society.
Adding that President Irfaan Ali has implored that all religions should be involved in all cultural programmes, Minister Ramson said his ministry will be spreading the message of tolerance, appreciation and celebrate the cultural diversity of Guyana as a national treasure.
Meanwhile, Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, said Government will enable progressive development in all communities that will benefit people of all religious persuasions.
He noted that Youman Nabi is a celebration of the Guyanese culture that enriches society.
Imam of Meten Meer Zorg (East) Masjid, Halim Khan, said that generations of nations are preserved by the teachings of Muhammad and the establishment of progressive nations and successful people are a result of adherence to the guidance of Prophet Muhammad.
The prophet’s message of peace, Khan added, is particularly relevant today as humility and kindness are needed in society.