Coatbridge voluntary community worker, Bushra Iqbal MBE, was recently invited to give Time for Reflection at the Scottish Parliament.
Here is a transcript of the speech on Islam Bushra presented to the members of the Scottish Parliament and her 25 guests:
"Allah, the most beneficent, the merciful.
"Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, aslamoalikum—peace be upon all of you.
"My topic today is our purpose of life and accountability. We humans are special because we have been chosen to represent God on this planet earth.
"Every human has been honoured by God Almighty by being given the title of a governor, as stated in verse 30 of chapter 2 of the Qur’an.
"We have also been given the right to choose or refuse to follow the guidance of God, as mentioned in verse 256 of chapter 2 of the Qur’an.
"This honour that each one of us, man or woman, has been given comes with a great responsibility and we will be accountable for the choices that we made in our life, as mentioned in chapter 99 of the Qur’an.
"So we have established that, because of our authority and choice in our lives, we have a special purpose to fulfil, and that purpose is ultimate accountability.
"We are told in the Qur’an, in verses 10 to 12 of chapter 82, that all our deeds are constantly being recorded by special angels assigned to each individual.
"Is that not an amazing revelation, made 1,400 years ago, when we had no concept of closed-circuit television or other gadgets for recording people’s actions and words? We still have angels.
"The liberty to choose or refuse to act responsibly in our life is free from any compulsion.
"However, this liberty comes with full and final accountability to the one who gave us this life, blessed us with all the resources and gave us the choice and liberty.
"This choosing and refusing has huge implications for society and the universe as a whole, so it is but natural to have a system of checks and balances in place in both the worlds.
"How we express our choice and liberty is what determines our value and status in both the worlds.
"This very message was delivered by all the prophets including Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him—all of them.
"Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, was to be the perfect role model for the whole of humanity.
"However, how each individual perceives his message is a matter of choice.
"It was that very thought and belief that made Umer Bin Khatab, the head of the Islamic state, say:
"'I fear that in my domain even if there was a hole in a bridge and a sheep’s foot got caught in it, I may be held accountable for that injury.'
"I believe that the notion of accountability in both worlds is the key to human success and lasting peace.
"Aslamoalikum. Peace be upon all of you."