Youman Nabi 2023: Respect for diversity must be a core national value – Pres Ali
On the occasion of Youman Nabi and in the wake of Guyana’s recent success at the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), President Dr Irfaan Ali has reminded that respect for diversity must be a core national value and Guyanese should continue their support of each other, as was evident during cricket.
In his Youman Nabi message, President Ali described today as a special time in the Islamic calendar, when Muslims come together to recall the life and teachings of the Prophet Mohammed and reflect on his exemplary character.
“The Holy Quran urges us to refrain from insulting or disrespecting those who follow different paths and beliefs, emphasising the importance of knowledge and understanding in our interactions with others. This message is particularly relevant in our country where diversity is an asset and unity of paramount importance.
“Youman Nabi serves as a reminder that regardless of our individual beliefs, we can come together as one community to celebrate our successes – both individual and collective. Regardless of our differences, we can and must find common cause in uplifting our nation and all its people,” the President said.
According to President Ali, it is important that Guyanese continue to unify and support each other in much the same way as they came together during the CPL tournament, which Guyana won for the first time on Sunday.
“As we observe Youman Nabi, let us continue to come together, supporting each other, egging each other forward, celebrating our successes and respecting our differences. A fitting manner to honour the Holy Prophet (on whom be peace) is to continue to fashion a society in which respect for each other’s beliefs and traditions is not just a principle but a core national value.
“In recent days, we’ve witnessed how much can be achieved when we rally together behind our country. We have experienced the pride and overflowing joy evoked by the success of our cricketers, and how much this success has meant to all our people. Guyanese from all walks of life came together to support their team,” President Ali said.
He further noted that as Youman Nabi celebrations were held and the Islamic community opened its doors to neighbours and friends, it should also be viewed as a time of spiritual reflection, communal prayers, and acts of charity.
“As we commemorate the birth and death of the Holy Prophet (On Whom Be Peace), let us reflect on the wisdom of the Holy Quran 6: 108 which advises us: And do not insult those [who] invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus [will we] have made more pleasing to every community their deeds,” the President said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister, Brigadier (Retired) Mark Phillips, in his Youman Nabi message, expressed greetings on the occasion and noted that now was a time for reflection, prayer and unity, as well as a time of particular significance to Muslims around the world.
“Guyana, as you know, is a mosaic of diverse cultures, traditions, and religions. Our rich tapestry of cultures has woven together a vibrant and harmonious nation where people from various backgrounds live in peace and harmony. Youman Nabi reminds us of the values that unite us all, transcending our differences and fostering a sense of belonging.
“In the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), we find a shining example of compassion, humility, and wisdom. His teachings emphasise the importance of kindness, tolerance, and justice. These values are the cornerstones of Islam and are also universal principles guiding us on our shared journey as a nation,” the Prime Minister said.
Phillips noted that as Guyanese commemorated this special day, it was important to reflect on how better to embody the Prophet’s values in our daily lives. The Prime Minister also urged Guyanese to use the occasion to recommit ourselves to these positive values and “resolve to work hand in hand, irrespective of our backgrounds, to overcome the challenges that lie ahead and to build a brighter future for our beloved nation.”
The history of the Prophet’s birthday is traced to around AD 570. Youman Nabi was first observed during the 13th century, with the earliest Muslims using up an entire month to do this. (G3)