New Islamic Directions

By Imam Zaid Shakir

A Day of Thanksgiving and Penitence

Posted in notes by Imam Zaid Shakir on 2017-11-26 Thumb

When in the autumn of 1863 Abraham Lincoln proposed that the last Thursday of November be observed as a national holiday, he had two things in mind. One was for everyone to stop and thank God for His Bounties, Mercy and Grace. The other, in his words:

“And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged…”

In addition to offering praise and thanks to God, President Lincoln was appealing to us to repent for our “national perverseness and disobedience…” Were a contemporary American President to suggest that our country was in any way perverse or disobedient to God, it would likely mean the end of his career as the maddening accusations of unpatriotic behavior and religious fanaticism would make it impossible for the offending knave to focus on the work of running the country.

As we gather with family members, many having traversed great distances to come together, let us praise and thank God for the myriad blessings he has bestowed upon us. Let us, acting on the suggestion of the man considered by many to be the greatest President in the history of our country, also repent from the perversions and disobedient acts currently defining our national condition.

Finally, let us turn to God and “commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable” strife of varying sorts which we have avoidably participated in foisting upon innocent and unsuspecting masses of people all over the globe through our wars, weapons sales, boycotts and blockades. For those who would point an accusing or condemnatory finger at me for mentioning such unpleasantries on a holiday, don’t blame me: blame Abe for his courageous honesty and unfettered openness.

So eat, drink and enjoy the blessing of family, however, do not forget the primacy of thankfulness and penitence. May God Bless you all.


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