بسم لله الرحمان الرحيم
In the name of Almighty God, the most gracious, the most merciful. All praise be to God, the lord and sustainer of all creation. I give Him praise, I seek his guidance, I seek his forgiveness, and I seek refuge in Him from the evil in my deeds and in myself. No one whom the Almighty guides can be misguided, and for those whom he allows to go astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no Deity worthy of worship except Almighty God, alone with no partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, is the servant and messenger of Almighty God.
This coming Monday is known here in the US as "Memorial Day". It is a day in which Americans remember those who have died in military service to our country. Many people now-a-days, tend to just think of it as a day off work, but this is, in my opinion, one of many signs that many people of this country have lost sight of what it really means to be an American.
Memorial Day began first as a day to honor US (Union) soldiers who died in the War for Southern Independence, or more commonly known as the American Civil War, and the day was originally known as "Decoration Day". As a side note, many former Confederate states have "Confederate Memorial Day" that honors those soldiers who died for the Confederacy in that war. After World War I, the holiday was extended to all American servicemen who gave their lives in combat.
As an American Muslim, Memorial Day has special meaning to me, because it is a recognition of what it took and what it has taken for this nation to preserve it's freedom's. I cherish my American heritage for the fact that it is the very thing that gives me the freedom to choose and recognize the truth of Islam. The Constitution of the United States, is a political document that bears incredible resemblance to the Constitution of Medina, implemented by our prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. The Constitution of Medina gave equal rights under the law to all who pledged allegiance to it. It guaranteed freedom of worship, commerce and trade, and property to all whether they be Muslim, Jewish, or even Pagan. It was a document that recognized that all human beings are equal in the sight of Almighty God. The Almighty says in the Qur'an, "We have created you from a single pair, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may come to know one another (not to despise one another), and the best among you is the most righteous." This compares rather similarly with statements in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Those men and women who have fallen in defense of this country, are the "beasts of burden" upon which the heavy weight of liberty was carried. If not for them, Muslims and non-Muslims alike would not have the opportunity to live in such a place that is based upon the individuals right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Some might say that some of the recent military campaigns that the U.S. has engaged in have not been for the sake of "defending freedom". Regardless of your political views, it cannot be said that the men and women who serve in our military are always in unanimous agreement with the "politics" of the situation. However, they serve there country because they believe in the ideals upon which it was founded; as do I, and as should all people of this nation, especially Muslims.
The bottom line is that we may not always agree with policies of our government or the reason for waging such wars, and no doubt there are indeed servicemen who behave shamefully in any conflict. However, the heroism that belongs to those men and women and serve and die honorably in defense of the American ideals can in no way be diminished by these few ignorant and shameful soldiers and the corruption of Washington. They deserve our utmost respect and admiration, and on this Memorial Day, I encourage all my brothers and sisters in Islam and my fellow Americans to remember these words.
...And Allah Knows Best...