Friday, September 14, 2012

Stop the Defense.

"Lately people sayin', stuff about my Prophet
They see our numbers rising, so they make him a target
Agitate the Muslims, get money in their pocket
We just work to spread the truth and make sure people got it

Like how he treated neighbors with all the love and care
Examples that he gave us, to be honest and fair
How to be forgiving, respecting every faith
Giving rights to the women, at war how to behave

The women and the children and every innocent
Should be protected no matter how oppressed we get
So we know they’re saying stuff about the Prophet that ain’t true
They did that at the prophets time so this ain’t nothing new

Did he worry what the people said after he passed
Or was he more concerned about us doing what he asked
Do our deeds tell the story of the man he was
A Mercy to Mankind, lets show the world his love

- Native Deen, "Mercy to Mankind"

Just stop. All of you, all of the Muslims in Libya, in Sudan, and anywhere else who are reacting in a violent and barbaric manner to the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims".


And think.

All the prophets have faced slander and defamation of character, both in their lifetimes and in the many years since.

Did that hinder their mission: to deliver the message?


But your behavior sets us all back. Anti-Muslim sentiment in the US is at an all-time high. I suspect the same is true in many other countries around the world.

And you're doing nothing but confirming the stereotypes: that Muslims are violent and barbaric people who think nothing of stoning innocent people to death but will rise up in violence if a single word is said against Muhammad.

This is a test for us. And you are failing the test. Instead of forgiveness, you result to violence. Instead of love, you embody hatred. I'm sure that, if Muhammad were here, if any and all of the prophets were here, they would be sorely distressed at you allowing slander to be an excuse for murder and brutality.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, as Ghandi says. Hate for hate leaves the whole world loveless.

Don't be a part of the problem. Be the solution.

Forgive. Forgive and show love, not hate. Don't be the stereotype of a Muslim - be the reality, so that when someone says "all Muslims are violent and backwards", your friends, family, and all who know you will say "No, they aren't. Here is the truth."

Show the world the mercy and love shown by all the prophets. Don't fight and kill because of an insult. As the best of people at their times, the prophets don't need us to defend them. Allah is their protector. We do, however, need to defend ourselves -- by behaving in a manner that reflects that of our prophets, who were all good examples for us to follow.

Allah, forgive us all and be patient with us. We still have so far to go.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Letter to my Muslim friends

My dear Muslim friends,

I have a high regard and love for all of you, but I have to get this off my chest. I do not and cannot believe much of what you do, so please stop expecting me to.

I am tired of being expected to believe every single thing that the ummah, in general, does. I'm tired of individual interpretations being "wrong" and religious determinations being left to scholars to decide, as if we don't have our own brains to think and reason with. I don't want to trust the fate of my soul to anyone on Earth but myself, and I doubt "but such-and-such scholar/this or that hadith said to do it" is going to suffice as an excuse for following superstition and falsehood, or the conjecture of other people. Allah gave you a brain and reason and free will to decide for yourself, not to be told what to do every moment of every day by the hadith and scholars.

I'm tired of people telling me Islam has rules, when the rules and customs they believe are not Qur'anic, but usually Persian or Arab culture confused for religion. Once you remove the culture from the Qur'an's teachings, Islam becomes what it was meant to be: easy for us, not a hardship, and for all mankind, not just the Arabs of centuries past.

I'm tired of women obsessing about each other's hijab, as if piety can be measured by the clothing you wear. Keep women talking about clothes, and you'll never have to worry about them coming to together to demand equal participation and rights in the mosque or society. Keep women believing they can't pray, read the Qur'an, or fast during their periods (despite 2:222, which forbids men from approaching their wives during menses, but doesn't forbid for women any spiritual practice), and you force them into a state of spiritual deprivation. ENOUGH. Don't lie to me and tell me my Lord thinks me unclean because of a bodily process HE CREATED. The Qur'an says Allah always hears our prayers. Always. What the Qur'an permits, or does not address, I will do. I will not hold as discouraged or forbidden what Allah did not.

I'm sick of segregation between men and women, especially in the mosque. The segregation hypersexualizes male/female relationships, making "temptation" much more of a problem than it would be if we weren't segregated. And really, are you THAT attracted to every man or woman you meet, or even a fraction of those you meet? Of course not.

I'm tired of the gossiping and backbiting, and the way some people say, with such certainty, that another person or group is going to Hell because those people don't believe every last detail like they do. Are you Allah, that you know what is in others' hearts?

I'm tired of hearing people say that they want to "get more rewards" for doing good, rather than do good out of love for others, and of hearing people trying to quantify the blessings of Allah, as if the reward He has planned for us is even comprehensible for us.

I'm tired of people saying that recitation of the Qur'an in Arabic (when you don't speak Arabic) is better than reading an English translation and reflecting on what you've read. (This despite the fact that we are ORDERED by Allah to read and reflect upon the Qur'an!) I'm tired of being treated as if I'm ignorant because I'm a convert. I don't need a scholar to "guide" me to the "right path". My guide is Allah, my guidance the Qur'an. Trusting Him, I will never be led astray.

I'm tired of people elevating Muhammad above Jesus, Abraham, Lot, Noah, and all of the other prophets. I didn't reject the trinity concept of Christianity only to worship another man alongside the Lord of the Universe. The name of Muhammad is on the wall of the masjid beside that of Allah, Muhammad's name is in the ritual prayers, yet Muslims will deride Christians as polytheists for worshipping Jesus. Well, at least the Christians are honest about their attitude towards Jesus, while the ummah, by and large, continues to play ostrich and stick its collective head in the sand, ignoring the level of devotion (read:worship) directed at Muhammad. You may tell me it's not like that, and maybe for you, personally, it isn't. But by and large, it is. I say this as someone who has been on the outside looking in as a Christian, and then on the inside, as a Muslimah who recognized the wrongness of the Trinity concept and left Christianity as a result. My eyes are wide open, and I won't close them - associating partners with God is the same, no matter what you claim. Your willful blindness doesn't change the truth.

Don't misunderstand me: I love Prophet Muhammad as I love all of the prophets, but I will not elevate him above any of them. (2:136 "Say: "We believe in God and in what was sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the Patriarchs, and what was given to Moses and Jesus, and what was given to the prophets from their Lord; we do not make a distinction between any of them and to Him we submit.")

Above all, I'm sick of people saying Islam is incomplete without the hadith, when Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, tells us in His revelation that the Qur'an is complete, fully detailed, and full of examples for people who reflect. What hadith other than the Qur'an will you believe? (77:50) Some people even have the gall to say that Allah "forgot" to put something in the Qur'an. Allah does not forget!

When I converted to Islam, I became a Muslim, not an Arab. I will not change my name, my clothes, my language, or my culture to conform to an Arab-centric mindset.

I'm not asking you to agree with me or trying to "be right", and I'm not judging you. I'm just being honest and stating my views. I'm not afraid of being shunned by you. If you don't agree and still want to be my friend, we'll agree to disagree in peace, and focus on what we have in common, not on our differences. If you don't want to be my friend, fine. I will tell you goodbye with no reproach or resentment in my heart, wish you the best, and go on about my life, and on the Last Day, I will have peace in my heart because I will know that I strove with all my heart and mind to love Allah and submit myself to Him.