Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wabarakaatuhu
"'The time has come,' the walrus said, 'to talk of many things."
Well, Islamically speaking, whatever we should be talking about shouldn't be idle. I recently was at a gathering where all of the people were sitting together talking amongst each other, except for two. I went up to these two people and asked them why they were not in the living room with everyone else. One sister replied to me that the 'group' was too cliquey. I thought about this and realized, they weren't being cliquey, they were all in just one large group, and they weren't excluding anyone out, which I pointed out to her. And she replied by saying that they never talk about anything but Islam, they never talk about their personalities, or what their hobbies were or anything personal, it's always about Islam.
My initial reaction, from what this sister had said, was pride and joy. We finally can actually sit around and talk about something meaningful, and not the hottest music video on MTV, or what sister Jane said to sister Martha at sister Cathy's wedding. But then I was disappointed in that some people would dare, even say, that they didn't care to talk about Islam. They wanted to talk about dunya. It's funny, we talk about the ID card Muslims, but even ID card Muslims pray, fast, and wear hijab.
About a quarter of a century ago, Islam was just about non-existent in this country. It was never mentioned on the news, the enemy was communism. Hijab was scarce, and if a person was seen wearing it, that person was automatically from Iran. Sadly, believe it or not, some people are still in this mentality. Funny, maybe they don't watch television.
However, on the positive side, Islamic Awareness in America has changed. Now, if people want to ask about what you represent, they ask Are you Mozlem? It's a start, and I know we need to go on. But that shouldn't be our prime objective.
What I am about to say, may be harsh, and although I am not sorry for what I am about to say, I am sorry that some may find it mean.
Here in America, Muslims have this mentality that we need to make ourselves aware. And we need to be more active. Actions speak louder than words, true, but there is something still even louder. I understand through recent posts that there are some porblems with organization, and some things that may need to be done are not getting done. Well, maybe it's because we may be trying to do the wrong thing.
A while back a man was considered a 'good Muslim' if he prayed and fasted. Now he is consisdered a 'good Muslim' if he is active in the Muslim community. Ok, so he improved, he now prays, fasts, and is active in the Muslim community. He not only attends all the conferences but he volunteers in them too. Which is all very good, may Allah (swt) accept the efforts of those who gave their time in His cause.
However, these conferences focus on Islamic Awareness. To give ourselves the identity of being Muslims. As if, if we know that Islam exists then automatically our Iman will rise. The topics of these conferences do not have a whole lot of diversity in them, the basic themes are: Islam in America, Unity, and Marriage in Islam. Sometimes they speak about interesting topics that are not practical in everyday life such as: Jinn, and Dreams. But never anything that will elevate our spirituality. Islam is being used as a product. We are trying to sell Islam to the West, instead of trying to sell the West to Islam.
All that has become important to us is that people accept Islam in their societies. We want to merge the two together. Make everybody understand what Islam is so that we aren't discriminated against in the workforce, so we can wear hijab without any trouble to work, and so they won't give us unexcused absences in school on Eid. We have commercialized Islam, made 'I love Islam' bumper stickers, hats, shirts, and key chains, to make up for the fact that we don't go to jum3a every Friday. One time I saw a 'Read the Holy Qur'an' bumper sticker right next to a 'Live 105' one, the local alternative music station. Like a man proudly wearing his 24 carot gold Allah necklace in the bathroom.
Enough is enough!
Islam is more beautiful than all this. Twenty five years ago, I
would have agreed that we need to make everybody, as well as Muslims aware that Islam
exists. As a religion that is non-oppressive and liberating. The conferences were needed
to gather ourselves together, to see that there are other Muslims. Wallahi, as I was
growing up, I really did think that my family was the only Muslims in the state of
California, the only other Muslims I ever heard about were the Arabs in Detroit and
Chicago, let alone the non-Arabs. So when our mentality is like this, of course we need to
open our eyes and show ourselves that Islam is all encompassing.
But now, we have moved beyond this mentality, alhamdulillah. What we need now is to educate ourselves. We need to go learn the Qur'an, not just read it. We are forgetting that memorizing Qur'an is a big sunnah. That's one of the beautiful things about Islam. The knowledge is not reserved for clergymen and rabbis. EVERYONE is encouraged to learn. I'll give you a real life example: My friend, is engaged, alhamdulillah. When she learned surat AT-Talaaq (Divorce) she went over to her fiance and warned him not to ever upset her because she knew her rights!
So in addition to the vast amounts of ajr we get for just memorizing Qur'an, it has it's practical uses too. Islam needs to be adapted to our lives. we always say Islam encompasses all parts of our daily lives, but we need to remember the nitty gritty things. The parts that teach us how to deal with each other how to react to other peoples behaviors. It's not a very difficult formula to understand. If we apply Islam to every teeny tiny aspect of our lives then we can't go wrong. Allah will not make us lose. We will win, insha'Allah.
All the problems of society can be solved if we apply Islam. Not just know that it exists, but everytime we learn a hadith or an ayah, apply it. And make the effort to learn. Knowledge is power, it's known throughout the world. But no, we are too warped up in this life to make any time for Islam. Well, guess what, you can make time for Islam and by doing so, you'll accomplish a lot more in life, worldly *and* spiritually.
We need to change our plan of action. We give so much time and effort in doing da3wa to non-Muslims. And I feel that this time can be used for something else. We need to better ourselves first. The life of the Prophet (saw) was not given to us just for the Hadith and Sunnah, but for his history as well. Remember for the first few years of his prophethood, it was done in hiding. He did not state his prophethood the moment Gibril (as) came down, but only when he knew he had enough strength. We all know the saying "People who ignore history are doomed to repeat it." Ikhwan and the massacre at Hama, Syria. The biggest mistake they made was to tell everyone they existed before they were strong enough.I am not putting Ikhwan down, but that may be a key factor in their defeat. And we need to realize other peoples' mistakes and learn from them.
Success comes with Iman. We should never start our day without reading a page from the Qur'an and never end it without doing the same. The Qur'an was given to us to use, not to buy the one with the nicest cover and go stick it on the shelf to look at. We need to learn it. In some areas in the Middle East, and I am sure else where. The average child, by the time he is eleven years old, he knows the entire Qur'an, by the time he is fourteen, he knows Qur'an and all of the rules of his madhhab, both men and women. In contrast, the average *twenty* year old Muslim in America, barely knows jizi' 3amma, and if you don't know what jizi' 'amma is, get off this computer and don't come back on until you figure it out!
Most of us learn Islam from our parents. But man is corrupted. True he born innocent and pure, and I know parents do not wake up in the morning and say 'ok, how can we further corrupt our children, today,' but reality is reality, and the reality is that we are all corrupt to one extent or the other. But the point is, if we grow up believing the way our parents raised us is the right way, then there is no hope for improvement. But if we realize that sometimes society dosn't always do the right things and look to correct ourselves, it's not only fighting the greater jihad but it also insures that we will sincerely try to raise our kids better the next time around, and we can open our eyes and see what is actually islamic and what came from society. We start from the individual, move on to the family, then to society. Right now, we are doing things backwards, we are trying to correct society before we correct ourselves. Isn't this being a little hypocritical? And let me say right now, that if we continue with this stategy, we might as well just give up. Because this isn't the right way to do things.
The way to win this war is not with quantity. Allah (swt) says numerous times in the Qur'an: Allah yahdi man yashaa. He guides who He wills. So whether or not we present Islam and stuff it down peoples throats or just sit there twiddling our thumbs, those who Allah (swt) has said will be guided, will be guided regardless of our efforts. But Allah (swt) has been merciful on us and wants to give us the credit anyway.
Islam is not learned from the Internet, it's learned from the book. And we do things, insha'Allah, by the book.
Wassalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wabaraskaatuhu