Sitting at home in Hartford during this holiday break I was pondering upon what it truly means to be thankful, especially as a Muslim in America.
As difficult as it is to be a Muslim in America, Muslim Americans continue to migrate to the United States. This has to do with the dire situations their own countries are in: the result of heavy US intervention. Countries that were once beautiful places of civilization lay in ruins due to the pursuit of “democracy.”
What is thankfulness? How can I be thankful knowing the global realities in which I live?
Thankfulness is the ability to see past all of this and be present in the moment. Wars have happened and will continue to happen. Dehumanization has happened and will continue to happen. But I am living in this moment, my moment, and I recognize that it will pass and will never come back. So, let me be joyful in the blessings that I can enjoy. I enjoy the security of being able to go to work every day without fear. I enjoy the security of being able to purchase food with the relative knowledge that it will not poison me (at least not immediately). I enjoy the peace of breathing fresh air without a mask. I enjoy the ability to walk, talk, smell, touch and feel without pain. I enjoy my office, my colleagues, and all of you. For all of this, I am thankful. May we all be thankful for each other.
Human beings are constantly in need of reminders, so I welcome the Thanksgiving holiday as a reminder to be thankful. I connected it with my own faith in which Prophet Muhammad teaches me to meditate after my 5 daily prayers and say Alhamdulilah (All thanks belongs to Allah) 33 times. For me, the 5 daily prayers are a cross between yoga and meditation, a perfect recipe for thankfulness in word and motion.