May 31, 2013
Earlier this Month, social media networks were on fire when the news broke out that a former American Muslim, by the name of Umar lee, converted back to Christianity. Soon enough, after a number of emails and phone calls, Lee decided to release his own video statement to tell the world why he made this decision.
As an American Muslim myself, I must admit it’s a harsh review of the Muslim Community. However, let me be clear in saying that Islam is not the culprit. In fact Islam is perfect; and easy. As Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “Make things easy and convenient, don’t make them harsh and difficult. Give cheers and glad tidings, do not create hatred.” This Prophetic wisdom is probably one of the most important hadiths to reflect upon as a community. Do we make things easy for others? Do we follow up with new converts or even reverts and offer our support? Do we yell at each other, putting Quranic verses in each other’s faces? Or, do we show mercy towards others exemplifying Prophetic patience? As a community it is long overdue that we reflect on these questions and take a first hand look at the messages we’re sending to others. While Islam may be perfect, this does not mean that Muslims are perfect as well. We shouldn’t be discouraged or frustrated over our differences. Islam does not encourage racism, instead it stands against it. Instead of being judgmental, Islam teaches us to be kind and soft-hearted; because these type of people are the best of people. Surely, compassion and mercy were at the core of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)’s life. Allah (God) said to the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), “Had you been harsh and hard-hearted, they would surely have scattered away from about you.” (3:159). He tells us in the Quran that if we are soft with others, He shall be soft with us. Food for thought, isn’t it?It’s time for Muslim communities to seriously reflect on improving, so that they can thrive for years to come. We need to involve our women and our youth in our masjids and community centers. We need to welcome people of other faiths to explore our faith, without criticizing their lifestyle or their decisions. We need to help support converts and reverts in any way that we possibly can and guide them to the true Islam. Instead of busying ourselves arguing over who will run the masjid, perhaps we all need to chip in and do our part in running the masjid. The masjid should be where others feel safe, and where others feel connected to God. It should provide others with comfort and help pull them towards the Creator even more. So ask yourself, does your masjid comfort you, your family, other brothers and sisters? Instead of segregating each race or ethnicity, it’s time we embrace all of humankind. It’s time we become living examples of what Islam is all about. We can’t claim that Islam is this or that, when the reality is that the Muslim community does not exemplify the real Islam. Until this problem is not fixed, Muslims cannot expect Non-Muslims to perceive us through a positive light. That is my jihad (struggle).
So I want to know what will you do to change the face of Islam? How will you better your community? What ideas do you have to improve your masjid? It takes one person to make change happen, so I challenge you. The next time you want to yell at someone or treat them ill, instead smile; it is sunnah anyways. The next time you see a stranger, say “Salaam” and great them with peace. Be soft, kind, generous, and giving towards others and you will see that it is definitely worth it. If we don’t encourage change for the better in our communities, the number of people leaving Islam will only continue to grow. May God bless us all and guide us all. Ameen.