Assist. Arts & Culture Editor
“Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity.”
These words, a translation of Chapter 3, Verse 104 of the Qur’an by Yusuf Ali, were recited before the audience that gathered on Saturday, April 5th, celebrating the first anniversary of the Islamic Community Center of Lancaster. Along with the Muslim Students Association of Millersville University, the Islamic Community Center was granted the opportunity to host a Muslim Celebrity, Yasmin Mogahed.
Mogahed has a B.S. Degree in Psychology, and a Master’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked as a writing instructor at Cardinal Stritch University and a staff columnist for the Islam section of InFocus News. Currently, Mogahed works as an instructor for AlMaghrib Institute, a Huffington Post Writer, an author, and a very inspirational international speaker. The next stop on her worldwide lecture tour will be in New Zealand, so the honor and privilege of hearing her speak were sentiments expressed by every member of the audience.
Yasmin’s recently released book, “Reclaim Your Heart” has recently become available worldwide, and was the subject for discussion during her lecture.
Shakeel Amanullah, Chairman of the Islamic Community Center of Lancaster, spoke first, expressing his gratitude for all those who were present for this lecture, as well as conveying the credo of the group, which is to reach out and celebrate diversity throughout the Lancaster Community. After his warm welcome, Shakeel Amanullah’s wife welcomed Mogahed to the stage with an introduction stating that Mogahed needed no introduction.
As Mogahed walked onto stage, it became clear that her opinion was one worth listening to. She began by saying, “Every single person alive is on a journey to return home.” By this she means that every person is living life in an attempt to make it home, be it to Allah, God, or any other name the creator may go by. However, our hearts are becoming cluttered with material, Earthly things, when the only thing that should occupy our hearts is Allah. She compared it to the Titanic; the ship was unsinkable while it kept its airtight chambers sealed. When it hit the iceberg, and the water began to enter the boat, it was then that it began to sink. Life, at least this material life, is intended to remain in our hands, but not in our hearts. She said that the Muslim religion does not preach that people should not have money, careers, family, or possession. Rather, they should have all of these things, but keep them in the material world; keep them in their hands and not their hearts. When the heart is littered with material things, it ceases to work properly. Mogahed likened our hearts to a car’s gas tank. The gas tank works properly when it is filled with gasoline, the substance with which it was designed to work. If we pour something into instead, like cheap tap water, the car ceases to function as it was designed, because an integral piece of the puzzle is missing. It may be more difficult, but it is better to fill the heart with Allah rather than material things, because it is only this way that our hearts can truly function as they need.
Mogahed said, “The truth is, when we thought we were looking for a good husband or a good wife or a good job or a lot of money or a lot of fame, we were really just looking for God. So it’s no wonder that we got disappointed when the husband, the wife, the job, the money, or the fame didn’t fill our need – or our emptiness.”