By: Janice Tufte
I am a sister of many scarves. I wear a scarf to represent justice, a scarf for education, scarves for respect, reflection and worship. Intentional Interfaith education along with dialogue are the first steps for diverse faith groups “to get together to know one another”. The next step is Action. We have been taught in Islam to speak out against wrongs, to use our hands to stop the wrong if discussion is not an option; the least favored way to bring about change is to do nothing. If we Say Nothing and Do Nothing, how are we then catalysts for creating and nurturing a collaborative positive future for our children? I ask you how are we then stewards of the earth if we are quiet? What scarf is the quiet scarf I ask myself? Are many of us humans veiling ourselves with silence?
In Islam it is best for one to be quiet when someone has committed a slight against us, if the slight is unintentional. Benefit of doubt is emphasized unless clearly one has been wronged. Islam teaches us to always provide a more respectful greeting after being greeted. Niyaa or intent before performing an action is a highly regarded requirement in Islam. As Muslims we are required to make intention or supplication to Allah (GOD) for every prayer, also for every ritual cleansing before prayer. Muslims are taught to make supplications of intent before going outside, before eating, before giving gifts of money or goods; we are supposed to make intention for every act we are planning to perform. In Islam we believe that our intention is as important as the actual act.
Just think if all of us, no matter what the faith, offered real intentions to their higher power before every action. We would all be forced to think before we act. What a different world we could all wake up to if we practiced the simple act of making positive intention to perform good acts during the day. This would command discipline and a conscientious constant reminder to ones’ inner self of what their next steps are, what their original intentions were. I say quietly to myself my intention for the day when selecting my scarf to wear on that day or for this occasion.
Last month in Seattle, I had the opportunity to wear my justice scarf and spoke out for others to not be quiet when living amidst violence. I, along with hundreds of citizen leaders walked the talk, in the same shoes, inspired by the same civil rights leaders before us; Musa, Noah, Issa, Muhammed, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. We walked while reflecting in the cool, misty evening across Seattle from Cathedral to Cathedral carrying candles, some singing… some signing. We all shared the same intent; we want the violence to stop, now. The useless horrific acts against others or selves, to burglaries gone bad… all need to stop. Children were carrying signs that proclaimed: Arms are for Hugging. We should remind ourselves that we are here as “stewards” of this earth by choice, and through intent and by design we must collectively make that positive change.
It is time for us to walk our talk. I am an ambassador for my faith and I wear a scarf every day, to remind myself to do good acts, and to remember to not be silent amongst injustices.
Q2:62 Those who believe in the Quran and those who follow the Jewish scriptures, and the Christians and the Sabians, any who believe in God and the last day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
Janice believes in encouraging others to be involved with volunteerism, sharing all the benefits of giving. Janice has founded six successful projects in the Puget Sound in as many years; tackling poverty head on, incorporating homeless awareness opportunities with a direct service focus.