In the Name of God, the Compassionate and Dispenser of Grace
Claremont Main Road Mosque Christmas Message 2017
The Claremont Main Road Mosque congregation sends fraternal greetings of peace and love to all our Christian compatriots, family and friends. We wish you a blessed Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
In Islam, both Mary and Jesus are held in the highest esteem and are greatly revered and admired for their virtues. The Muslim sacred scripture, the Qur’an confirms the significance of the birth of Jesus. In a chapter of the Qur’an, named after his mother, Mary, Jesus is documented as proclaiming:
“Peace was upon me the day I was born, and will be upon me the day of my death, and on the day I shall be raised to life (again).”
(Qur’an, Chapter 19, Verse 33)
The Gregorian year 2017 has been an outstanding one for Muslim-Christian relations at the local level. In June, Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba delivered the keynote address at the Claremont Main Road Mosque’s Annual General Meeting. He called for greater interfaith solidarity in the struggle for social justice in South Africa.
In September Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Mphilo Tutu issued a heartfelt letter to fellow Nobel peace prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, urging her to intervene in the Rohingya crisis. He expressed his profound sadness at the deadly situation in the Rakhine State and called for Suu Kyi to guide her people back to the path of justice and righteousness. This was followed by a number of interfaith leaders, including Reverend Alan Storey, Father Micheal Lapsley and Terry Crawford-Browne, the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum and the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative joining the Cape Town March to express solidarity with the persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar.
In November, the Muslim Judicial Council joined national interfaith leaders in supporting the National Day of Prayer, which was held on Sunday 26th November 2017. The purpose of the event was to unite all South Africans – irrespective of religion, race, culture or class – to pray for the poor, unemployed and marginalised, and for God’s guidance and blessings for a bright future for all its citizens. As part of its support for the event, the Darul Islam Mosque in Surrey Estate hosted members of the Motsepe Foundation and other interfaith leaders at their Jumu`ah (Friday congregational service) on 24th November 2017. The National Prayer Service called on South Africans to redouble their efforts in building our country’s great tradition of interfaith harmony as an antidote to interreligious conflict.
All of these inspirational events should not be taken for granted and should be celebrated. South Africa has been blessed with one of the most vibrant interfaith movements in the world, and at this joyous time of Christmas, the Claremont Main Road Mosque wishes to acknowledge the many wonderful achievements and gifts of our beloved country. In particular, we express our profound gratitude for the awe-inspiring interreligious harmony, coexistence and good relations between people of different faith traditions and those of none that we enjoy in our country.
At this blessed time, we express gratitude to the dedicated Christians and Muslims who work together to establish and maintain dialogue and reconciliation between our two faith communities.
May we devote ourselves to celebrating the good tidings of Christmas by practicing compassion, kindness, love, and forgiveness towards each other as this is the essence of the message of the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them).
During this special time, we pray that the Grace of God be with us, and that the New Year brings renewed hope and new opportunities for even greater just and peaceful relations between Muslims and Christians. We also pray that the New Year 2018 brings healing and peace to our suffering world and that we continue to strive towards the ideals of truth, justice and equality.
We wish you all a spiritually rejuvenating Christmas.
May the peace and joy of the season be with you always.
Imam of the Congregation Chairperson of the Board of Governors
Dr A. Rashied Omar Yusuf Abrahams