Publications & Statements by Imam

07/03/07: Summer should be time of prayer, family, charity

Detroit News

July 3, 2007

Faith and policy by Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi

Summer should be time of prayer, family, charity

Summer vacation is a time for barbecues, sleeping in and fun, but it's also an opportunity to reorganize our priorities. To "kill time" in boredom is a bad habit and a regrettable waste of this precious divine gift.

Balancing our free time between our personal, spiritual, family and social needs is challenging, especially for children out of school. Imam Ali said, "He whose two days are alike is a sure loser!"

The prophet Mohammad said: "Appreciate your leisure time before you become occupied, your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your wealth before your poverty, and your life before your death."

On the fixed date when we meet our Lord, He will ask us about the way we spent our life, youth, knowledge and money in this world. For some, that will be a moment of happiness and reward; for others, a time for loss and regret.

The wisest investment is time spent in communion with God. Prayerful meditation gives us a sense of peace and purpose. It purifies our hearts from any evil in our intentions and actions.

It's good to have some amusement and escape from the pressures of life and enjoy the gift of sea and sun, while being mindful of the environment. Fulfilling both our physical and spiritual needs should be the goal. Reading some good books, gardening, listening to some educational lectures or taking a few classes may help us direct our human faculties to the path of balance.

Family relationships should be another focus of summer vacation. The average American parent spends less than 15 minutes a week in serious discussion with their children. The neglected kids may spend most of their summer time watching TV, chatting online, playing video games, and learning about violence, drugs, drinking and smoking. Summer can be a time to seek out ways to help our neighbors. Thanks to technology, we are aware of events on the other side of the earth, yet we have no idea about the people who live next door. Jesus said: "You should love your neighbors as you love yourself." Mohammad said: "You will not enter paradise until you have faith and you have no faith till you love one another." He also said: "If you go to bed with a full stomach while someone in your neighborhood is hungry, you are not a Muslim."

In the last four years since the invasion of , our troops have had no summer vacation. Not only our soldiers but also millions of innocent Iraqis, Lebanese, Palestinians, Afghanis and others are victims of carelessness and injustice of our political leaders.

While the Bush administration has failed to bring service and security to and the innocents are burned and beheaded in a daily hell in , some crazies are calling for more wars. We need to speak up, and keep striving for peace.

Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi heads the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights