Muslim Teen Chat!

Lesson Twenty Six: Indirect Obedience (Part II F)

The Lessons
Questions & Answers (FAQ)
Reader Contributuions
Message Board

The Message of the Book May Remain Locked in its Pages.
Example 6 – The Notion of Nation and Race

The greatest obstacle  in the path of  Muslims and their practice of Islam is the disunity perpetuated by their differences of nation and race. It is so very toxic that we must face it, deal with it and get rid of it, or else it breaks the entire ummah into bits and pieces. Who is a Muslim? A Muslim is one who testifies that there is no other gods except Allah (S.W.A) and that prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) is His servant and messenger. Do we really want to be Muslims? Do we want prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) to be our leader on the Day of Judgment holding the banner of Islam for us? Do we still want the Qur’an to be the governing constitutional law to our lives? Do we still believe in Allah (S.W.A) being our sovereign master? If our answers are all yes, we have to change the way we see ourselves and others not like us, or not from the same nation. We have to transform our lives to fit the teachings of Allah (S.W.A)_ the teachings of Al-Islam. Allah (S.W.A) speaks:

“Verily, this brother hood of yours is a single brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore serve me (and no other). (21:92)”

Commenting on this verse, brother Yusuf Ali (A.S) said that although we are different in many ways – temperaments, virtues, widely different in time, race, language, geographical surroundings, history, careers – if we do say and believe, that we are Muslims, our attention must firmly be drawn to forming the closest brotherhood as being men and women untied in the highest service of Allah (S.W.A). How can we still  claim to be  Allah (S.W.A)’s deputies here on earth, when some of his servants we have rejected, despised, and hated, while some we have loved so much so that we are almost worshipping them. How can we still claim to be Allah (S.W.A)’s deputies when out of anger and frustration we have abandoned a brother who despised us, called us names and treated us with ridicule. If we were doctors, would it not be wrong to turn away from a patient who needed medical attention despite his or her moral disposition? What people do or say to us must not make us forget our duty to Allah (S.W.A). In fact my grandmother used to say that one should never let a bad person make him/her bad, too. We cannot give up on our covenanted word to Allah (S.W.A) of complete obedience, service and worship of Him, or else we lose the chance of Allah (S.W.A)’s love. An obedient servant of Allah (S.W.A) does not judge, abandon and or discriminate any of Allah (S.W.A)’s creatures_ he is a servant and therefore, his job is to serve. Allah (S.W.A) speaks:

“Oh you who believe! If any from among you turn back from His faith, soon Allah will create a people whom He will love as they will love Him – lowly with the believers, mighty against rejecters, fighting in the way of Allah,  and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault. That is the grace of Allah (S.W.A) which he will bestow on whom He pleases and Allah encompasses all and knows all things. (5:54)”

Oh you who are discriminated, rejected and despised! Did you forget the indomitable will of Bilal (A.S)? He was a slave and many men and women were slaves like him, but nothing cowed these people down when it came to obedience, service and worship of Allah (S.W.A). They solidly marched forward with a firm purpose of service, worship and obedience to Allah (S.W.A) despite the daily scourge of ridicule poured on them from those who thought they were their masters and therefore, superior. They never flinched; they never wavered in their commitment to Allah (S.W.A) to the extent that some of them were guaranteed paradise while still residing on earth. Barakah (A.S), a woman, and Bilal (A.S) were some of those that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) referred to as the people of paradise. I know and I understand how painful rejection and humiliation can be, but this can only occur if we let it sink and believe in it, and consequently develop self pity. Do not make people be the judges of who you are. Live a life indebted to none but Allah (S.W.A). Then let Allah (S.W.A) be the only judge of your character. Mind your manners because the prophet (S.A.W) said,

“Islam is good morality.”

Do not do it at all if your intention is to convince those who despise you that you are human. You are human, all right, because Allah (S.W.A) said it and that is what matters. Therefore, be good for Allah (S.W.A) and do good to people for Allah (S.W.A). You do not have to prove yourself to anyone except Allah (S.W.A). Allah (S.W.A) is the ultimate judge of who you are and hence, fear none but Him. Therefore, effectively ignore the negative things people say or do to you; attention to it will make your life miserable. Straighten up your character to please Allah (S.W.A); work hard in whatever you do to please Allah (S.W.A); love for Allah (S.W.A); make Allah (S.W.A) the ultimate goal of your living, and anything else you do should be dependent onto that. Discriminated people tend to develop self-pity, false pride, and hatred. Watch out for these. They are debilitating diseases for the heart. They will thwart your spiritual development and consequently interfere with your quality of obedience, service and worship of Allah (S.W.A).

The slavery Bilal (A.S) and many others faced stripped them of all rights of humanity. Those are days long gone. If Bilal (A.S) persevered and overcame his trials, what about us? What reasons are we going to give Allah (S.W.A) for failing to do our duty to Him? My friends, let us stop wallowing in self-pity, and stand firm and steady for what is true and what is just and live our lives as it was intended. Self-pity leads to nothing but destructive behavior to us and to others. No one can stop us from feeling and being human – no one. Sadly, when we choose self-pity, we abandon our will to guide us to those we accepted to be our superiors. This should not be, and it must never happen. The master here does not have to be a human being. It can be material wealth, honor or power. For the people who worship wealth, they are raised to believe that life is all about material wealth. They work hard and toil to acquire it. Those who do not have it but worship it, praise and almost worship those who have it, or simply hate them. If the object of worship is power, it is sought for what it is –power, control and inflict pain if you wish. Those who worship, but do not have it, sometimes worship those who have it, and sometimes hate them bitterly out of envy. Worshippers of Allah (S.W.A) on the other hand, genuinely respect people for their rank and position in society and then ask Allah (S.W.A) to help them use their possessions well. Allah (S.W.A)’s worshippers feel no envy towards anyone, because they know that whatever blessings they have are from Allah (S.W.A) and are for humanity.

Self-pity is as dangerous as fire is to the person it engulfs. One who buries himself or herself in pity would be like one who is trapped in a burning house. A little fire falls on him/her and burns him/her a little and he/she sits down and starts screaming, “Fire is burning me! Fire is burning me!” instead of looking for a way out of the fire. Before long bigger chunks of fire trap him/her and he/she is burned to death. Such is the case with self-pity. When we sit inactive and think about the bad people do to us, it brings us no good. We never get stronger and never grow and certainly never get rid of the ridicule. What people do or say to us must never be allowed to determine who we become. The power resides in us, whether we accept people’s ridicule and plod along as sub-humans, or we focus our energy and attention to being the men and women we want to be. As servants of Allah (S.W.A) we must be impermeable to the criticism of those who find fault. We want to succeed. We want to wake up on the Day of Judgment and find ourselves counted among the faithful, devotee worshippers and servants of Allah (S.W.A). Therefore, we must certainly rise above criticism. Rocks, steal and diamond are famous for their resistance to crumbling under duress, but yet man has found a way to break them, hence, man is capable, intelligent and can be dangerous. Therefore, we must guard ourselves with fortification and resistance stronger than that put up by the above mentioned materials. The only way this is possible is by abiding by Allah (S.W.A)’s principles. It is the only way. Here is guidance for us from Allah (S.W.A):

“Oh you who believe! Guard your souls: if you follow (right) guidance, no hurt can come to you from those who stray. The goal of you all is to Allah: it is He that will show you the truth of all that you do. (5:105)”

Do what is true and do what is just. Do what is right. Hold tight to doing what Allah (S.W.A) wants and you will be safe. Sadly, the feeling of worshiping other than Allah (S.W.A) is normally planted early in life. By the time one is an adult, one has already accepted his/her state of being. Even then, people who are corrupted while young, can rebel against their unjust past by redeeming their lives to become committed servants of Allah (S.W.A). It involves only a change of focus and masters. We should choose Allah (S.W.A) for our master and we will be free and happy whether wealthy or poor, low ranking or high ranking, low birth or high birth, educated or illiterate, etc. Humans cause misery to fellow humans, but Allah (S.W.A) wants all his creatures to be free and happy. Besides, if we don’t choose Allah (S.W.A), we have no protector and no helper. We are all on our own. Let us find refuge in Allah (S.W.A) and nothing will touch us. Allah (S.W.A) confirms:

“Say: ‘ Who is it that can screen you from Allah (S.W.A), if it be his wish to give you punishment or to give you mercy?’ Nor will they find for themselves any protector besides Allah (S.W.A). (33:17)”

Nation and race are two ideas that are deadly toxins to Muslim people’s unity today. We should not forget that we are Ugandan, Saudi, Iraqi, Iranian, American, British, Nigerian, Malawian, Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Pakistani, Mexican, Egyptian, Japanese, etc. Allah (S.W.A) says these national denominations are important for us to know one another. We just have to remember that the brotherhood of Islam is one brotherhood. We must not let love for nation and race surpasses our love for the Muslim brotherhood – the ummah. The ummah is a nation in its own right. We should not abandon the nation of the prophet (S.A.W). Oh Muslims! We should not turn parochial and narrow minded. We must remain global. Muslims are here to serve Allah (S.W.A). The whole world to a Muslim must be one big nation in which he/she has to serve the sovereign ruler – Allah (S.W.A). Wherever there is work to be done a Muslim must be there, especially if his/her service is required by another Muslim. Oh my brothers and sisters! Think broadly; think clearly and focus on the purpose of your existence to overcome the limitations set by nation and race and other denominations. We must overcome these to become true deputies of Allah (S.W.A) on earth. If we fail, then we are servants of our races, our nations and men of power; this will be a terrible loss to us. In Allah (S.W.A) we will find true freedom, true happiness, true success, real power, true wisdom, real honor and all good things that you want to think about. Come one, come all – let us unite, coordinate our efforts and truly serve Allah (S.W.A). Allah (S.W.A) knows no color, no race and no nations. He loves all his creation. To truly achieve being true servants of Allah (S.W.A), we must break the barrier of race and nation and the ranks that they set for people. We must deal with people for what they are – people. Race, nation, power, poverty, affluence, size, rank, honor, professionalism, do not take away or add anything to the self which Allah (S.W.A) breathed into each one of us during the fourth month of conception. It is this self or soul which matters to Allah (S.W.A) and which makes us who we are – people. People are people and treat each one of them that way while remembering these verses. Allah (S.W.A) speaks:

“And the messengers whom we sent before you were all men who ate food and walked through the streets. We have made some of you as a trial for others: will you have patience? For Allah is one who sees all. (25:20)”

“Oh you who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former). Nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame, nor be sarcastic to each other. Nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness (to be used of one) after he has believed. And those who do not desist are (indeed) doing wrong. (49:11)”

“Oh you who believe! Avoid suspicion as much as (possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: and spy not on each other nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, you would abhor it…but fear Allah (S.W.A): for Allah (S.W.A) is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. (49:12)”

“Oh Mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise one another). Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is ( he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well-acquainted with all things (49:13)”

“The messenger of Allah (S.W.A), Muhammad (S.A.W) said, ‘Do not envy one another: do not inflate prices one to another; do not hate one another; do not turn away from one another; do not undercut one another; but be you, Oh servants of Allah (S.W.A), brothers. A Muslim is a brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor does he fail him. He neither lies to him, nor does he hold him in contempt. Piety is right here,’ and he pointed to his breast three times. ‘It is evil enough for a man to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. The whole of a Muslim for another Muslim is inviolable – his blood, his property, and his honor’ ( Hadith No. 35: From Imam An-Nawwawi’s 40 Hadith)”

To Be Continued...