Oh ye Muslims of terribly little faith

The two men left the city, young hooligans at their heels. The hooligans, spitefully and without mercy, hurled rocks at the two noble travelers, furiously chasing them as the two dignified men left the city.

By the time the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his adopted son Zaid bin Harithah (ra) had made it out of Taif, the Prophet (s) was bleeding and in pain. Zaid (ra), noticed that there was so much blood in the Prophet’s (s) shoes that his feet were stuck. His visit to the city had garnered no new support for his cause. In fact, the Taifites had treated him with utter disrespect and disgust. Rejection is always painful.

But this rejection came at a time of especial difficulty, when his beloved wife Khadija (ra) and the protection and support of his uncle Abu Talib had been taken away by their respective deaths. Any normal person would have felt hopeless, dejected and demoralized.

But at this time, when he was physically almost alone and without visible protection and support of those two important people, he offered a prayer to God that is itself a mighty inspiration to those of us currently in difficulty.

Here is a translation of his prayer:

“To You, My Lord, I complain of my weakness, lack of support and the humiliation I am made to receive. Most Compassionate and Merciful! You are the Lord of the weak, and You are my Lord. To whom do You leave me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom You have given power over me? If You are not displeased with me, I do not care what I face. I would, however, be much happier with Your mercy. I seek refuge in the light of Your face by which all darkness is dispelled, and both this life and the life to come are put on their right courses against incurring Your wrath or being the subject of Your anger. To You I submit, until I earn Your pleasure. Everything is powerless without Your support.”

In this prayer we can see Prophet (s) had hope for the future. He did not, as some do, lash out at God, even in this seemingly desperate situation. Nor did he feel that the way things had turned out at Taif would remain this way or that his cause was no longer worth pursuing.

The Prophet (s) remained optimistic.

Then God sent angels who offered to destroy the people of Taif for the way they had treated him.

His response was this: “No, I hope that God will bring out from their offspring people who worship Him alone and associate no partners with Him.” (excerpt What Would Prophet Muhammad (s) Do? by Abdul Malik Mujahid)

 

Enough with the fanatical, maniacal, and pathetic rhetoric and actions espoused by some Muslims that is all too often associated with the latest “outrage” against “Islam” some non-Muslim agitator of the moment committed.

As a Muslim who has actively engaged fellow Muslims and non-Muslims for over five years on those issues that effect both communities in the age of continual coverage of the angry, fanatical, Muslim minority, I have to bluntly state that I am sick, sick, sick, of you guys, and I am tired of hearing from you. I am sick and tired of your whining and bickering, you shameless group of Muslims who have little to no faith in the principles of our supposed common faith. You, the Muslim minority who never cease to increase in your work of broadening the wedge between peoples and civil discourse, need to take a step back and re-evaluate what you truly believe.

Is it OK to be upset when the controversy seeker of the moment wants to burn a Qur’an, draw offensive cartoons, make provocative videos, or make disparaging remarks against Islam and Muslims?

Absolutely.

But should we in return add fuel to the fire by acting like miscreants calling for their deaths and doing equally offensive and disparaging things?

Absolutely not.

As many of my brothers and sisters of fanatical, angry stock often prove, not only do we make a mockery of our religion when we behave in this manner, but we also validate the very stereotypes and false allegations often made against us suggesting that ours is a religion of anger, violence, and intolerance.

Dear Muslims, you will never find in any Sirah (biography) of the Prophet (saw) where he ever once told the believers that we should kill, maim, or insult in equal measure those who berate him, or the community of believers. Never will you find a statement in the Qur’an revealed by Allah (swt) that recommends such behavior either.

However, what you will find is a litany of guidance from Allah (swt) that commands the believers to restrain our anger (3:133-134 and 24:22), remain patient even in adversity (3:186), be just even with a people we may hate (5:8), exercise restraint and argue in the best manner (16:125-128), and repel even those things we consider or believe to be evil with good which is better (41:34).

I could go on and on posting the multitude of verses from the Qur’an or associated text from the Hadith, but these are things every Muslim should know. Which begs to question, then why is it that every time some non-Muslim “disrespects Islam” there exists some cleric or Muslim group eager to respond to the perceived “outrage” with un-Islamic, foolish behavior and commentary?

Personally, I can only think of one answer: They have lack of Iman (faith).

If we all believe in the same God who created man from clot and taught him what he knew not (96:1-19 ), if we all believe in the same God who is self subsisting, knows all, is evident in His creation, and never tires from it’s maintenance (2:255), if we all believe in the same God who will judge all mankind by his or her actions (45:14), then why else would some of us believe that this very same God is incapable of defending Himself or His messengers against any perceived “insult” or “outrage” if not for lack of faith?

I prefer to call it like I see it. If we can believe God delivered the children of Israel from Pharaoh in such spectacular fashion, if we can believe God raised up Jesus (as) son of Mary to a place of honor and his mother give birth to him although she was a virgin, and if we can believe that the Prophet (saw) travelled from Medina to Jerusalem in one night AND ascended to heaven, then I just find it a tad ironic and moronic that these terribly misguided brothers and sisters, believe that it is their duty to display non-belief or lack of faith by acting against God’s commands and the Prophets (saw) sunnah (example). By not believing that ultimately it is our adab (manners) that turn the hearts of the people and champion the case of our deen (religion) we stray completely off the path of Islam.

It is high time, the majority of us rational minded Muslims remind our brethren of some of the basic tenets of our faith. We have to engage them firmly on the grounds of truth and expose the ignorance of their actions when they are supposedly defending of our faith. We cannot allow these people to continually represent who we are to a determined body hell bent on amplifying their voices as a means to discredit our desires and intentions to be all that Allah (swt) intended.

We have to stand our ground and educate both Muslim and non-Muslim alike about the appropriate Islamic response to offensive actions, which is through dialogue and walking the high road. When attacks against our Prophet (saw) persist, instead of calling for the death of individuals, educate about the life of Muhammad (saw), since the critics seem so obsessed with him anyway. When attacks and open disrespect is given toward our Holy Qur’an, instead of destroying our property (foolish) and others educate our detractors and teach all who will listen about the beauty of the message of Islam contained within. We should gave classes, give out free Qur’ans, etc. The message is written in the book, but Islam originates with Allah (swt) and exists in our hearts and minds. Let them destroy the book if it makes them feel good, even if they destroyed every copy in existence, it wouldn’t extinguish the light of Islam. With all our Hafiz (those who completely memorize the Qur’an by heart) and all the Muslims across the globe who at a minimum know two or three surahs by heart combined, we can always write more Qur’ans in a couple of days anyway. There have been increased attacks, protests, and other hostile actions toward our community buildings and places of worship, instead of fighting fire with fire and engaging in shouting matches, invite them into our Mosques, let them eat and pray with us, and in our countries let us build more churches and synagogues, let’s show our critics what true tolerance looks like. This is what is fighting fire with water looks like.

My thoughts and ideas although chock full of sarcasm, light ribbing, and several proverbial shots across the bow, may seem to display that I take these issues lightly. It is not my intention to be perceived in this manner. It is my belief that we have to get away from the “angry Muslim” stereotype. Our Prophet (saw) was most radiant when he smiled and was known by all his contemporaries’ friend and foe alike as one who was quick to compassion and gentleness and slow to anger. His faith in God was such that his actions continually displayed the belief that ultimately not only is God the Ultimate Judge and Decider of man’s affairs, but ultimately God’s will and message will prevail. Muslims have to be more active in amplifying and enacting his example. If we had even the faintest amount of faith like his, we wouldn’t even dare to act in the manner that some of us do. Islam is not just words, it is actions. You can’t in one breath call on our Lord as the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate, to whom the Most Beautiful names belong, and then in another breath act in a way contrary to those very titles and names and our responsibility to reflect them.

I believe lack of faith is our major issue in the Muslim world and regaining true Iman, will result in the real outrages of our day truly being resolved. A cartoon or a provocative word or action real or perceived, against Islam or Muslims is by no means nowhere close to being an actual outrage such as the horrors we inflict against our own people in our Muslim lands. If we want to be truly outraged, let’s stop spending so much time protesting against what other communities do in their countries but more so what we do in our own communities.

Maybe it’s just me.

16:125 CALL THOU all mankind unto thy Sustainer’s path with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the most kindly manner for, behold, thy Sustainer knows best as to who strays from His path, and best knows He as to who are the right-guided.

16:126 Hence, if you have to respond to an attack in argument, respond only to the extent of the attack leveled against you; but to bear yourselves with patience is indeed far better for you, since God is with those who are patient in adversity.

16:127 Endure, then, with patience all that they who deny the truth may say -always remembering that it is none but God who gives thee the strength to endure adversity and do not grieve over them, and neither be distressed by the false arguments which they devise:

16:128 for, verily, God is with those who are conscious of Him and are doers of good in addition!

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