Letter 11

DAY 11

Eboo Patel

Founder and President
Interfaith Youth Core
January 30, 2021

Dear President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Members of the 117th Congress,

We Muslims believe that God created all of us, made us his abd and khalifa (“servant” and “representative”), gave us responsibility to steward creation, and commands us to do this in the spirit of mercy. One of my favorite lines from the Qur’an reads: “God sent you to be nothing but a special mercy upon all the worlds” (21:107).

Sura 93 from the Qur’an gives even more context on the all important value of mercy in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad started receiving revelation from God during the month of Ramadan in the year 610. And then suddenly, without warning, the revelation stopped. God had ceased His communication and the Prophet felt forlorn, bereft.

“We must give to others the gifts that God has given us: support, guidance, sustenance.”

Then Sura 93 comes crashing through the sky. It opens with God reminding the Prophet that He has by no means abandoned him.

God gives him a promise:
“What is to come is better for you than what has come before.”

And then God gives him a reminder:
“Did He not find you an orphan and take care of you?
Did He not find you poor and enrich you?”

And God gives the Prophet a task:
“So do not oppress the orphan, and do not drive the beggar away.”

God ends the Sura with this:
“And keep recounting the favours of your Lord.”

This is, in my view, the wisdom of Islam in a few short lines. God is with us, always. What He has done for us is beyond imaginable. We must give to others the gifts that God has given us: support, guidance, sustenance. And we must do so with a spirit of gratitude, because the Source of all things has given us strength.

President Biden and Vice President Harris, your election has given so many of us strength. Please remember that we all come from one God, the Source of all things, and that God gives us great responsibility and a central instruction: be merciful. May your administration live out that command for the good of all God’s creatures.


Eboo Patel

Eboo Patel
Founder and President
Interfaith Youth Core

the author

Eboo Patel, Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core, a non-profit organization working to make interfaith cooperation a social norm in America. Dr. Patel earned a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship. He is a respected leader on national issues of religious diversity, civic engagement, and the intersection of racial equity and interfaith cooperation and served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council. He is the author of four books and dozens of articles, including Acts of Faith, Sacred Ground and Interfaith Leadership, and a frequent keynote speaker at colleges and universities, philanthropic convenings, and civic gatherings.