The South-West Sydney Islamic Society, or Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-I-Islam (Lahore) Australia, celebrated Prophet Mohammad Day on November 24, starting with an acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land, past and present.
The annual event honoured the life of ProphetMohammad and this year’s theme was the prophet’s universality.
It is thought there were guests in attendance from different religious backgrounds.
The key guest speaker was MehmetOzalp who is recognised as associate Professor of Islamic Studies, director of the Centre for Islamic Studies, founder and executive director of Islamic Sciences and Research Academy and editor of Australian Journal of Islamic Studies.
He said Islam is a universal religion and the characteristics of the Prophet Mohammad had universal appeal.
He continued speaking about the test of universality – applicable at all times, in all places and for all people.
He quoted verses of the Quran which addressed humanity as a whole, such as “Lord of the Worlds…” and ‘Oh, Humanity…”
He said for a philosophical and religious message to be universal, it needs to address basic human nature and that Allah had revealed this religion as a religion of Fitra, or human consciousness.
It was explained the Prophet Mohammad described the whole earth as a place of worship, which is why Muslims pray anywhere.
The speaker said a distinguishing aspect of Islam is that everyone is equal with no priests, no Pope, no intermediary. Their communication with God is direct and personal. And that Imams (leaders) are administrative.
He said Islam’s appeal is far reaching with about 1.8 billion Muslims in the world and one of the fastest growing mainstream religions. He said Islam’s message is simple - submission to the one God. Peace. Humanity. Love. The same as all other world religions. He said, it is not to be confused by culture and a country’s man-made rules.
He talked about Mohammad’s traits of mercy, love, compassion and leadership. He was involved in several wars and is seen as a war-monger, not a man of peace but to remember that history celebrates war heroes, such as, Churchill, Eisenhower, Napoleon, Truman.
Islam’s message is simple: submission to the one God. Peace. Humanity. Love. The same as all other world religions. Not to be confused by culture or man-made rules.
The speaker made a statement that Mohammad led his followers into war to defend his religion and unlike other countries, there has never been a holocaust involving Muslims, never an annihilation of indigenous peoples under Islam.
He also explained how Mohammad’s critics often mention his decision to marry a young girl, Aisha, seeing it as unacceptable and immoral.
However, Professor Mehmet said this was the custom at the time in 7th century, and although there is no documented evidence of her age, it is believed that she’d entered puberty between 13 and 17. And at the time, women married early.
A question asked on the night was why educated and informed people like Professor Mehmet didn’t front mainstream media amid the current spate of violence committed by Muslims in the name of Islam.
He shared a recent discussion he had with an Australian TV producer where he asked why they were reporting views of so-called Muslim leaders.
He claims the producer said they were commercially driven to attract viewers and Professor Mehmet thanked him for his honesty.
His main message was not to tarnish a religion because of actions by a few.
Society chairman AmeenSahuKhan led a prayer at the end and senior member MalkaShah gave a copy of the Holy Qur’an and the book Religion of Islam to Professor Mehmet.
General secretary SameerKhan thanked those who organised the event, including ZarinaDeanKhan and to those who’d brought non-perishable food for MissionAustralia’s Christmas appeal.