We are collectively responsible for the extremists that have hijacked Islam for their own personal agendas and political motives. If we had established the unity that is demanded of Muslims, the non-Muslims would never have the gap to produce plausible blame regarding atrocities often instigated by a third force that knows full well that Muslims are in too much disarray to provide any meaningful response.
Each time I try to engage with a non-Muslim about the true essence of Islam versus what is reported in the main stream media, I am immediately hit with a barrage of comments and examples of how Muslims do not act in line with what we claim is the beauty and essence of Islam.
But who cares, right? We need to focus on establishing sects and madhabs and Allah knows what else to define our superiority relative to others so that we can feel affirmed in our spirituality, while missing the point completely. I’m sick and tired of reminiscing about the glory days of Islam while our present actions make a mockery of that same legacy that everyone is quick to claim as their own.
So here’s a few questions that I’d like to ask my fellow Muslims:
- Have you ever accused someone of being a kafir because of the way they behaved, rather than because they openly proclaimed not to believe in Allah and the last Prophet Muhammed (SAW)?
- Have you ever conducted yourself in a manner that would make it difficult to identify the Muslim in you when compared to another individual of the same ethnic origin?
- Have you ever put off doing the right thing because you didn’t think it was anyone else’s business how sincere your efforts at being a Muslim is, or is not?
- Have you ever engaged with a non-Muslim and made excuses or apologies about some aspects of Islam because you felt ashamed of what they questioned simply because you didn’t have the knowledge or appreciation of the issue to provide them with a reasonable response?
- Are you looking for affirmation and inclusion from the non-Muslims and celebrating our inclusion in the world sporting events rather than realising that we’re pandering for attention at the expense of our integrity?
There are many more questions, and I have no doubt that some may interpret these questions as arrogance on my part. But I’m not here to appease anyone. I’ve been excluded from the Muslim community more times than I care to remember simply because I challenged their ritualistic approach to Islam that was almost always tainted with a healthy dose of cultural bias. We have turned Islam into a cult and the we cry that we’re being oppressed!
I for one am tired of watching kids raised with the fear of non-compliance rather than the appreciation of the beauty and value that the adoption of Islamic principles offer us. I’m also sick of the hypocrisy of overt inclusion but distinct prejudice when it comes to accepting Muslims as Muslims regardless of their ethnic origins or caste. Being of Indian descent in South Africa, the sickening stench of the caste system still very much permeates the Ummah, and given the stories that people share from around the world about their challenges in finding a marriage partner because of this, it’s obvious that this is not restricted to South Africa only.
We’re impotent. We are the generation of the Ummah that is a fulfilment of the statement of Rasulullah (SAW) that says that we will be large in numbers but weak like the foam of the ocean. So before you thumb your nose at a seemingly lesser Muslim, consider that you are part of this despised and contemptible Ummah, not because Islam is contemptible, but because our selective use and abuse of Islamic injunctions to suit our personal fetishes and fancies is what is making us contemptible.
Audhubillah min dhalik…May Allah save us from ourselves, and may He save others from us. Ameen.