A few weeks ago after speaking at an evening session, I received a phone call. The scholars present at the ISNA and MSA Continental Conference were meeting and requesting my presence.
As I rushed over I was on my cell phone with MSA volunteers who were running around complying with the scholar's request to get a room and food for the meeting.
After a long day of meetings and speaking, Imam Zaid opened the gathering. Less than a few weeks ago, a few scholars were at an event and began talking. As often happens with individuals of amazing intellect, they decided it was time for Muslim educational organizations to come together, to stop disagreements between their students.
As Imam Zaid opened the floor for comments, I politely raised my hand. After Imam Magid spoke, the moderator called on Dr. Jackson. "Asma, go ahead" he said as he gestured towards me.
I looked around the conference table at all of our teachers. They slouched slightly as if the weight of the long day pulled their shoulders down. Their faces showed the lack of sleep from a long conference weekend. Yet, they were here. They met at well past 11pm because this Pledge, this sign of cooperation and respect is important, even crucial to our community.
I began slowly, first thanking Dr. Jackson and Imam Zaid. Then I turned to everyone in the room. May Allah bless you for this initiative. Our students, our campus communities will benefit so much from this sign of leadership from our teachers. Several MSAs have been hurt by ideological disagreements; they've let go of the principle of unity, of brother and sisterhood. If those who teach us our religion stand against this degradation, then insha'Allah, God willing, their students will follow. It is my honor for MSA National to help facilitate this meeting in the small way that we have.
Thus on that historic night, over twenty leaders of Muslim organizations signed the Pledge of Mutual Respect and Cooperation Between Sunni Muslim Scholars, Organizations, and Students of Sacred Knowledge.