Bismillah ArRahman Ar-Raheem (In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful )
I’m not even sure whether I should do this. But I’m sick. Sick of being labelled; Sick of having debates with people who only see hate; Sick of reading about the same negative things over and over again; Sick of people who base allegations against my religion without even understanding it.
If you are ‘anti-Islam’ and going to stick to it irrespective of what I have to say, I suggest you stop now. If you are not, I ask you to open your mind before continuing to read this. I’m not trying to change you or get you to embrace Islam. All I’m doing here is showing you the other side – the side very rarely the mainstream media would portray.
First, let me tell you something about me : I’m currently a few months short of the age of 16. I live in the UAE. I’m ethnically from a town in India. I’ve grown up being taught that we are given certain rights by constitutions all over the world – one of which happens to be the Right to Speech. And, now, I’m finally practicing it like I’ve always wanted to.
One more fact about me : I’ve studied the religion of Islam ever since I was a child and have studied it in a particular extent of detail.
Let’s start with the basics. As a Muslim, I have 5 basic principles that must be adhered to in order to stay in the fold of Islam :
1. Shahadah – The Testimony
2. Salah – The five daily prayers
3. Zakat – The compulsory charity
4. Sawm – Fasting during the month of Ramadan
5. Hajj – Pilgrimage, at least once in a lifetime
Out of these, Shahadah is the most important. It isn’t just a verbal acceptance of Islam, but more deeply spiritual. Because why follow a religion if you don’t believe in it? This Shahadah is also the reason why Muslims find it in themselves to accept the teachings of Islam without question. To me, the Shahadah also feels like unwavering trust.
But, for someone who isn’t a Muslim, Islam would be difficult to comprehend at first glance. And that’s okay. Because Islam does allow discussion. If you have a question, ask someone knowledgeable about it.
The following is part of a post by a well-known Muslim speaker :
” ‘Religious people are closed-minded, religious people are fanatical, they are intolerant, religious people can’t take criticism, and they’re not open to conversation. So if we get rid of religion, then we will have an open-minded society where people can think for themselves.’
This accusation holds true for many religions that made their way throughout Europe. But the Islam that Allah gave His Messenger (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is the exact opposite of that. It’s a religion that challenges and invites dialogue. “Bring forth your proof if you are truthful.” [Surah al-Baqarah: 111]”
But that has never seriously bothered me. Throughout my virtual life, I have rarely replied to any offensive comments about Islam – mainly which I see on YouTube. But then again, on YouTube, videos rarely ever survive without negative comments, irrespective of the topic.
Anyway, I was more involved with these YouTube debates, starting just a little more than a month ago. And then things went crazy.
Heard of the Charlie Hebdo attacks? Well, those happened and everyone everywhere had something to say about Islam while the average Muslim like me got stuck in between like the stuffing in a sandwich.
Basically, these two people decided that they were going to ‘avenge’ the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) by doing what the man they were ‘avenging’ strongly forbade and, thus, causing worldwide criticism (to put it kindly) of this man. It really does make me wonder what their goals originally were.
People label Islam as a religion of violence? You’re talking about the religion in which people greet each other with “As-salamu’alaykum”, meaning “Peace be upon you”.
The Prophet Muhammad was the man who said : “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.”
If you conduct a Google search on the fact that fighting is only allowed in Islam in self-defense, the first results will be anti-Islam sites that say that this is not true. Lucky for me, such sites are blocked in this country. But the vast majority of the world may not be so privileged. So, even if someone wants to research this topic, the first thing they would read would be those long articles which, in a gist, say Islam is a violent religion.
On one side, I even find it funny when some people claim that all Muslims go around killing others or whatever. Because I can’t even hold a knife properly.
If I tell you that Islam is not violent and it does not promote violence, you probably won’t be convinced. However, I have a solution for you. Visit this site : http://quran.com/ And read this book and come to your own conclusion that is not influenced by anyone from either side. If you have to judge this book, judge it by reading it.
Not by the actions of some people who claim to be Muslim, give themselves an Islam title and then kill Lord-knows-how-many-people in the name of God. All I share with these people is, perhaps, the Shahadah and this identity of being a ‘Muslim’. I wonder whether these people even pray or fast or give charity. Following the model set by the Prophet Muhammad is far off.
Coming to this topic of fighting in Islam . . . They often used the term ‘Jihad’. Jihad literally means struggle.
So, basically, when I leave my house covering my hair and body (The Physical Hijab) even though I may be worried about how I may be seen as people . . That’s my Jihad. That is my struggle.
Speaking about the Hijab . . I speak for myself and Muslim women like me who know and understand why the Hijab is worn. We do not see it as a burden. I repeat, we do not see it as a burden. Spiritually speaking, it is an obligation upon us. It gives us an Islamic identity. I don’t think I can verbally explain how much a part of me the Hijab is, but please, if you are under the belief that this Hijab takes away our rights . . Well, I have to say that the moment you force it away from me, that is when you’re actually taking away my right.
Besides, I’ve found it much of a relief to not worry about how ridiculous my hair looks when I’m going out.
Also, if you’re a female and are willing to . . February 1st is celebrated as World Hijab Day. You could spend a day out in a Hijab and see how it feels for yourself.
And, thus, to conclude. . I only hope I make at least a small difference in somebody’s perspective of Islam.
Most importantly, though, Islam isn’t just a set of beliefs and practices. It is a way of life.
And by this, I mean that, while the rest of the world is constantly arguing against the Islamic law and against the Hijab (that people practice of their free will anyway) and everything else some people like to pick and pluck and portray to the world as part of “reasons why Islam is bad” . . . My daily life as a Muslim consists of none of these things.
(To put it simply, my main concern currently is school.)
In a religious context, my main concern would be perfecting my Salah.
As a Muslim, I’m not worried about the 50 million reasons (I’m exaggerating, of course) give about why I should not practice the Hijab. But, dude, are you serious? I’m happy wearing it. I’m not worried about how my ‘rights are taken away’ by wearing it or whatever they claim.
When I live life as a Muslim . . In the morning, when I wake up, I need to remember to say the supplication for waking up. And when I go to sleep, I turn to my right side, say the supplication and sleep, because it was a practice of the Prophet.
When I live life as a Muslim, I smile often because it was a practice of the Prophet.
When I live life as a Muslim, I treat my parents with love and respect because this is what the Prophet taught me.
When I live life as a Muslim, I try to forgive those who hurt me because this is what my Prophet taught me.
When I live life as a Muslim and I see those who insult my Prophet, I still deal with them with respect and do not insult them back because that is what my Prophet taught me.
And, yet, people insist on insulting this man – Mohammed – who never insulted anybody himself, even if they treated him miserably.
This one story (among so many others) is all I ask you to listen to : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re0Y_uyStb0