Today was one of the worst days in quite a while. I don’t mean to be ungrateful- I know what bothers us is probably so silly in comparison to actual issues faced around the world but it actually felt like I had been through hell and back within three hours of me actually being awake. […]
Words matter. Words are incredibly powerful. You cannot undermine the impact words have on our life and the way it has allowed the world to evolve. The way that a person selects certain words, brings them together into a sentence to express a certain feeling or fact could say a lot about a person. Even with words, a compromise should be reached where a person shouldn’t say too little or too much. Saying too little could suggest that you are unable to express yourself, shy, or unable to come out of your shell and tear down the defensive barriers we constantly put up, as though every word expressed could be a loss. Control is also necessary. Control of the outflow of words is a skill that we master with time, with some going through their whole lives without the ability to place an invisible filter between their thoughts and what they express out loud. Words can elicit feelings of elation, sadness, motivation, or purpose, impelling us to achieve our dreams and goals, pushing us to make that extra effort. In history, Words have initiated change, improvement, revolutions, wars, even resolution. They can make your soul fly up to the moon, float over the clouds, swim with the fishes under the sea and prance around in a garden full of roses or drag it back down to the gutters. Words can be sharper and more painful than swords and knives stabbing your back and bullets straight to your head or they can be medicine to the heart and mind, relieving us of the stresses of life and all its worries. Words are often like water. Once we spill it, we can’t gather it all up again as though nothing happened. Sometimes what may seem as mere words can break ties we thought were unbreakable. Truth is we’re all hanging on a very thin thread. As with everything in life, we need to maintain that crucial balance. If it wasn’t for our weakness for words and their ability to uplift, set back, enlighten, scream and voice our feelings, we wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be writing and you wouldn’t be reading.
With all the demeaning depictions of Islam and Muslims in general, the whole religion itself has undoubtedly become a focal point of controversy and debate all over the world. Moreover, a certain apprehension or a phobia has been fuelled based on the actions of a minority that use the name of Islam unlawfully to justify their actions. I cannot delve into this deep topic completely but there are several issues that I would like to touch on: The Simplicity of Islam itself; The Anti-Islam movie ‘Innocence of Muslims’ or negative media coverage in general; the truth.
Islam is a religion originating from Christianity and Judaism, with the messenger of God being the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). There must be a certain beauty, truth and simplicity in the religion itself if it has become one of the fastest-growing religions in the world, if not THE fastest growing religion with the increasing numbers of converts. Muslims look up to Prophet Muhammad as a role model in Islam with his good manners and simple yet inspiring way of life. With the vast amount of people labelling this simple person a ‘role model’, he must have accomplished much and led an inspiring life. He lived a life that left an impact, essentially what we all strive to achieve. The main pillars of islam are; the shahada (Belief in the oneness of god and in the prophethood of Muhammad); salah (daily prayers); zakah (giving money or helping those less fortunate); sawm (fasting- for self-purification and remembrance of the needy); hajj (pilgrimage to Makah if able). These are the foundations of life as a Muslim. At this point I personally don’t see anything that could be ridiculed. Even with these aspects being the foundations of Islam, Akhlaq (the Arabic term referring to the application of manners, morality and virtue in life and more so when interacting with people, ALL people) is placed at utmost importance. THAT is the focal point of Islam and of all religions to be fair. The sole point of ‘religion’ itself is to provide people with guidance in life, a way of life where we have set rules or guidelines to assist us in being able to identify right from wrong and in abstaining from sin with sin being either actions that hurt you or others. Even so, God acknowledges that we are humans, prone to commit mistakes and life is but a cobbled street with twists and turns and hurdles on the way. Islam is in fact a forgiving, merciful and loving religion. Therefore, with the majority of Muslims being peace-seeking, well-mannered individuals who tolerate and respect other people, it seems unfair to degrade it to this point. When I was hearing about this ‘anti-Islam’ film or clip or whatever it was on facebook, I assumed it was an exaggeration. Negativity towards Islam isn’t new to me so I thought it may perhaps have reached a slightly lower point than the cartoons published in Denmark mocking Prophet Muhammad. Out of curiosity, I watched ‘Innocence of Muslims’ uploaded on youtube and when I say it was the definition of pain and disrespect at its all-time lowest, that is an understatement. Our role model was portrayed as a terrorist, a cruel-hearted psychotic man, a paedophile, with his wife khadija being illustrated in the most repulsive manner!! How could such an inspirational character that always fought negativity with positivity be shown in such a way and why?? Could the actions of a minority be attributed to the Man they claim to follow?
In the Quran, there are so many references to Akhlaq, the way you present yourself to society, the proper way to act, having love for people and the treatment of everyone with care and a positive attitude. Islam is simple. I am in no way saying that all those that supposedly follow Islam are perfect or that there aren’t people that could rightfully be labelled as ‘terrorists’ or ‘oppressed’ or just basically the epitomy of wrong or evil. However, Islam is not responsible for that. The perfect individual following the teachings of God and the prophet should behave in a calm manner, without being angry or using hurtful words. Imam ali, a caliph of the prophet and a member of the prophets family is one of my greatest role models. Of the topic of speech itself he said that “Speech is like medicine. A small dose of which cures but an excess of which kills”. On humanity he says that “ People are of two types, either they are your brothers in faith, or they are your equals in humanity”. Why is it that the media concentrates on the minority of supposed “muslims” that have been involved in killing and brutal acts that Islam clearly condemns and disregards the millions around the world that do not discriminate, treat everyone equally, interact with people in a proper manner on a daily basis, and are educated individuals providing much to society. Conversely, when burglaries, stabbings, violence, rape and other crimes happen in all these countries, why is that they not attributed to the religion they follow-. Double Standards?
Islam clearly forbids the killing of human life. The whole topic of ‘jihad’ which has been used as some sort of attacking point is completely misunderstood. Jihad is separated into the higher jihad which is the struggle against your own bad will and the lower jihad where one should defend herself/himself if attacked (emphasis -defend- if-attacked). The higher jihad is given much reward as having the will power to go against all negative desires is actually very difficult. Humans remain prone to kneeling down to their weaknesses and making mistakes – That is natural. Controlling your anger when something annoys us or when someone directs negative comments towards you is what is actually considered jihad. It would be much easier to return negativity with ten times more negativity but what will that do ultimately? The whole beauty of a human being is essentially based on their manners and in the way they treat others. On the topic of manners, the prophet said: ‘’Love for your brother what you love for yourself”. In essence, this suggests that you should not treat anybody in a way that may cause any sort of suffering. The true meaning of the word ‘Love’ illuminates from Muhammad. I may not know what ‘Love’ is exactly but I know that it does not associate with any sort of racism, discrimination, sexism, oppression, hatred, cruelty, filth, bad manners, cold attitudes and any sort of negativity. Love is beauty, beauty within us, lying in the very depths of our hearts and souls. Love is the goodness that radiates from us as individuals, and LOVE is what prophet Muhammad gave to the world during his lifetime and even after his death.
Very often we think that the more we HAVE and the more we TAKE, the more happiness we will get. The opposite is actually true, the more we GIVE, the more happiness we will reap. The more we achieve, the more we will be content. The more effort we exert actually makes us less tired and relaxed. I could go on and on about the teachings of Islam from humility, to contentment, bravery, forgiveness, the importance of knowledge and education, and the emphasis on making a positive impact in this world as the real rewards will be attained in the hereafter.
This life is temporary. Sometimes we talk so much and over each other and the screams and shouts leave us in complete confusion. If we all communally just went ‘mute’ for even a minute and looked, for once, really looked properly, in that minute the truth would be clear.
It’s no lie that memories mould us into the individuals that we are at present. Often we have what seems like films of the past playing through our minds in chronological order, fast-forwarding through the most vivid and touching moments of our life that made us laugh, cry or squeal from embarrassment. I remember… -Sitting […]
It was a typical dull Monday afternoon in London. I was walking at a relatively quick pace down the road to arrive at my destination, hurrying to be rid of the wind that was somewhat penetrating through me, putting my head down to avoid the droplets of rain – when she dropped. A middle-aged English […]
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Living in the 21st century with all the major advances in technology that every year brings upon us, it seems foolish to bring up our children with the fairytale stories and Disney films keeping them hidden or isolated from reality in the world of magic carpets, princes and princesses, vibrant surroundings, talking animals and nature, […]
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Very often we take where we have been brought up and raised for granted and it takes a glimpse into the life of those less fortunate to give us that all-important wake up call. I remember sitting in assembly during primary school and high school with the recurring reminders that we are so blessed. We […]