I'm sure you've all heard of the Pastor Terry Jones threatening to wreak havoc on the entire world by burning around 200 copies of the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11. Yes, he came out and said he would never do something like that again alhamdulilah , but Allahua’lam where this ends up.
When you hear of someone wanting to do something that inflammatory....something so blasphemous and despicable, it's natural to feel angry. Reallyyy angry. This is the QURAN we're taking about. The book of Allah (SWT). I mean, how could someone leading a congregation of a place named "Dove 'peace' Church" do something that hurtful...and just plain wrong?
But the trick is, how to do we deal with this anger? On my recent drive back to Tampa, I had a lot of time to think about my last few weeks in Gainesville and how the Muslim community there has been reacting to all this controversy. The world's eyes would be looking and critically evaluating our every move. As someone who’s worked in the media from the inside and knows what damage they can do if we even made one mistake, I can tell you, it's a creepy thought.
SubhanAllah, guys. This tiny Muslim community has so much to teach our broken Muslim ummah. And if we cared to learn, one could only imagine how far a few simple lessons could take us.
It could all really be summed up into one short sentence:
Practice what you preach.
One of the first things that crosses our minds when we hear of something going on that we don't agree with that we want to speak out against is, "Where are the picket signs? We need to plan a protest for this thing!"
But have you ever just stepped back for a second and wondered how effective you were really being? Sure, you might have let go of some steam you were bottling up inside. There'll probably be a 30 second spot about it on the evening news. Then what? Business as usual and people go about their lives like nothing ever happened. End of story.
Want to know something that surprised me while I was there? Not a single protest about this issue. By the Muslims at least...I know the International Club for the Resurgence of the Socialist Party was planning a few lol.
What did they do instead? Exactly what Islam teaches us to do. A particular ayah from the Qur'an comes to mind:
"And not alike are the good and the evil. Repel (evil) with what is best , when lo! he between whom and you was enmity would be as if he were a warm friend....And none are made to receive it but those who are patient, and none are made to receive it but those who have a mighty fortune" (Surat Fussilat: 34,35)
It's easy to become provoked in tense times like these. But is letting your emotions get the best of you going to help the situation? You can yell at the top of your lungs saying that those maniacs committing brutal acts in Allah's (swt) name aren't practicing Islam the way it was meant to be practiced, but when all is said and done, your words will fall on deaf ears. Because they're just that: words.
"....Repel (the evil) with what is best, when lo! he between whom and you was enmity would be as if he were a warm friend"
The ball is on our court everyone. We're on fourth down in the in-zone. Top of the ninth inning.Stoppage time on the field. I don't know what the sport reference you prefer is , but I hope you get the idea. We cannot afford to waste any more time. What can YOU do?
If you see trash on the street when walking to class, pick it up...cleanliness is half our faith after all. Smile while dealing with people...it's charity. Ask about your neighbors, they have a right on us. When a friend doesn't show up to class, ask if they're okay. Start up a conversation with the person behind you while standing in line at Publix. If you see a janitor cleaning up a public restroom, let them know that you appreciate their services. Open the door for the person behind you. If an older person enters the room, offer them your seat. Be kind and understanding to the disabled. Say 'thank you' when someone does something nice for you. Do you catch my drift...?
None of these is essentially life altering. They all have to do with how we deal with the people we interact with every day. The best dawah we can do is the kind we do unconsciously...it makes us better people and doesn't make others feel like we’re preaching to them. SubhanAllah, Islam first spread across the Middle East and Asia when people started to notice the conduct of Muslim traders who visited their region. Their honesty and politeness were uncommon, and the more they learned, the more interested they became.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A bedouin urinated in the mosque and some people rushed to beat him up. The Prophet (PBUH) said: "Leave him alone and pour a bucket of water over it. You have been sent to make things easy and not to make them difficult.'' [Al-Bukhari].
The best way to get people to understand Islam is to lead by EXAMPLE. Only once we as Muslims start fully embracing Islam into our lives do we have any chance of showing others that their assumptions are wrong. Actions speak much louder than words, my friends. People are more likely to listen if you SHOW rather than TELL. Okay, I'm gonna stop with the clichés...
Don't get me wrong...I know it isn't easy being a young Muslim in this country. Pressure to give into the social norms is suffocating. Temptations are everywhere. Falling into the hole of disobedience to Allah (swt) is becoming easier by the day...
But remember, the more difficult times become, the more good deeds we get for adhering to Allah's commands. We need to be in a constant state of self re-evaluation to correct ourselves whenever we go astray, and to make sure that when we are on the right path inshaAllah, we're on it for all the right reasons.
Something from the book Agenda to Change Our Condition is ingrained in my mind: "Struggle with the self is the means by which we purify our hearts of false deities. It is the ancient way of the Prophets. It is to walk towards a realized state of submission to the will of Allah."
The battle with ourselves and our desires will never be over. But may Allah (swt) make it easy on us and make us fit to deliver His message. Ameen.
Don't forget...make dua'a for you, make dua'a for me, make dua'a for our parents, make dua'a for our teachers, make dua'a for our scholars, make dua'a for peace, make dua'a for the victims of world hunger, make dua'a for the ummah and just keep making dua'a for everything and anyone that may need it! We could all use the power of Allah’s (swt) Mercy in our lives.
Anything I said was meant to be first and foremost a reminder to myself before anyone else. Feel free to share your own thoughts as well :) Jazakum Allahu khair for reading.
University of Florida
Muslim Youth for Truth Co-Founder
PS: A dua'a the Prophet used to say every morning...let's make it a goal for us to say it too inshaAllah:
Allahumainny Aa3uthu bika min al-ham walhazen, wal 3ajl walkasal, waljubn wal bukhol, wa a3uthubika min ghalabet al- daynwakahr al-reejal.
O Allah, I seek refuge from you from grief and anxiety, impotence and indolence, cowardice and greed, and from being overcome by debt and overpowered by men.