Hajj 2011: A Democrat’s prayer in Mecca

O Lord, here I stand, in front of the house that Abraham built, to ask for Your mercy. Here I stand, together with millions of pilgrims from every corner of the earth, to ask for forgiveness, seek Your blessings and affirm Your majesty.

At this most ancient of rituals, I circle the Ka’ba, walking softly upon the cool marble of this sacred house, as if I were but a drop of water in a sea of humanity, wrapped in two simple pieces of white cloth.

It is with a deep sense of humility, my Lord, that I pray not only for mercy on my soul but for mercy on the soul of my country. I worry about the health of our nation. Our middle class is shrinking. Wealth and power increasingly resides with the 1%, while millions suffer in poverty and millions more search hopelessly for jobs that have disappeared. Our educational system is failing, and too many Americans either cannot afford college or find themselves shackled by debt. The growing influence of money corrupts our political system and drowns out the voices of the people.

O God, Giver of Life, You have blessed America with so much: a firm foundation enshrined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights, a strong work-ethic and a deep sense of right and wrong. These blessings have seen us through historic struggles in the past.

O God, O Protector, protect this great nation. Give us the strength and wisdom to work through these immense challenges with respect and not rancor. My Lord, strengthen the resolve of our Party’s leaders to do the right thing — even when it means compromise. I pray that You soften the hearts of Republicans so that they can come together with the president to promote the general welfare of our society.

O God, O Sustainer, sustain our president, keep him in good health and grant him the wisdom and strength of purpose we desperately need from him during these difficult times. I pray that You give him another four years to move our country forward.

In commemoration of Abraham’s story, we sacrifice our time, wealth and worldly conveniences. We pray for personal transformation that fulfills our God-given potential. O God, I also pray that through our collective sacrifices, You transform our nation into one that fulfills its promise. Amen.

Mazen Asbahi is an attorney and community organizer based in Chicago. In addition to his legal practice, Mazen serves on the boards of the Council of Islamic Organization of Greater Chicago and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. During the 2008 Obama campaign, he served as the national outreach coordinator for Muslim Americans and Arab Americans.

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