Note: Please don't be discouraged by the length of this note - in the end you will be glad you have read it.
In a world that has become a global village, where values are flattened and virtues that appeals to some (or lack of) are spread. In a world, where nothing seems black and white, but grey. Nothing is right or wrong but "maybe right" or "maybe wrong", it's difficult for one to maintain a clear definition of his/her Islamic identity.
In a global village, where this identity has become a synonym to being "anti-integration" or “anti-Civilized”, the Islamic identity is being tested and tried in many "democratic" countries, with bans on religious symbols such as the hijab or debates against Muslim faith-schools. We're also witnessing many attempts of shaping this identity to suit the interest of some.
However my concern is not the ideologies of the kuffars regarding this topic what’s disturbing is how Muslims could care less of their own identity, which Rasullullah struggled to uphold till his last breath, its how we Muslims have become so engrossed in our daily lives and upon being "accepted" that we've sometimes left our values and lost our identity and joined the masses in what they do so not to stick out or not to be seen as strangers. We're ashamed of some of our principles and never dare mention them so as not to be seen as strangers. We'll celebrate Christmas and New Year, Valentine and Easter so not to be seem as strangers. We'd delay our prayers, or not pray them at all so not to be seen as strangers. We'd take off our Hijab and shave our beards so not to be seen as strangers. We'd remove layers and layers of our Islam and re-interpet other parts of it so not to be seen as strangers. How much more can we compromise?
I heard about a beautiful hadith that brought tears to my eyes and had me intensely thinking of how much the ummah of the best of mankind (sallallahu ‘alahi wasalaam) has changed, am not sure who narrated it but I think it’s a sahih hadith coz I heard it from sheikh kamal el mekki in one of his lectures ‘chain reaction’, that when the verses in the quran were revealed that commanded the wearing of the hijab and veils, in one of the villages of makkah a young muslimah covered in her full hijab attire in a market place started to be teased by a gang of quraishi, ya’nee they were trying to see her face or something like that so she immediately refused and continued to buy her groceries . now among the quraish gang one of them decided to stick a nail on the end of her cloaks so when she starts moving her hijab falls off, he succeeded and the lady screamed now there was a muslim man who was watching what was happening and when he saw how the quraishi ridiculed a muslimah, he rushed to her side and killed the quraishi and ofcourse after he did that the rest ganged up on him and killed him. On hearing this the prophet saw rounded up an army and went to war to avenge the death of this mujahiid.
Subhanallah, look at how the muslims were selfless and fearless, today we have brothers who slander and snare everytime a muslim girl walks pass them, we have sisters who dread wearing the hijab, not knowing the jazza it posses, complete opposite of what a muslim is. Muslims by name, who have no shame, who detest what was brought by the best. Our identity loss is already taking place, can you see why a revival is needed?
We wonder why muslims are being persecuted, ostracized, and massacred all aroud the world,
We wonder why our dua’s are not being accepted by jalla wa ‘alla
We wonder why our enemies have lost all respects for us and degrade us like the scum the floats on the sewers. Its coz we have abandoned our heritage, we lost our guide, we turn to the quran and the sunnah when we are sick and indebt. We are all here today because we claim that Laa ilaaha illa Allah Muhammadu Rasul Allah is what we believe. Nevertheless, the problem is that for many it is a belief that dropped its bags and sat down on the tongue and did not move on to penetrate the heart. We have forgotten that it was Islam which made us honorable, and without it we are nothing.
When the Muslims opened Jerusalem, the Christians refused to give the city’s keys to anyone except the Caliph. So ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab, may Allaah be pleased with him, set off from Madeenah to Jerusalem. His entourage? One attendant and a mule, which they took turns to ride. It happened to be the attendant’s turn to ride on the day they were to reach Jerusalem. The attendant volunteered to give up his turn because it would look “awkward in the eyes of the people” if he rode and the Chief of the Believers walked. ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, refused, saying: “yakfeenaa sharaful Islaam – the honour of Islaam is enough for us.”
On the way, while walking across a muddy area, ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, took off his footwear, put it under his arm and raised his clothes so they wouldn’t get muddy. When Abu Ubaydah, may Allaah be pleased with him, who was one of the commanders waiting for him saw this, he ran to ‘Umar asking him to ride his horse while entering the city. He said they were in a land where the quality of clothes reflected the rank of people.
‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, replied: “I wish someone other than you had said that. Have you forgotten that we were a lowly people and it was Islaam that made us honourable? If we seek honour from anything other than Islaam, Allaah will return us to that state of lowliness.”
The more one thinks about this, the more we realize the importance of keeping and upholding our Islamic identity in our lives and reminding others as well. We need to learn and re-learn about our heritage and Islamic roots, we need to keep close to the fountain of our spiritual life, the Quran and the Sunnah of our Prophet (Peace be upon him). We need to be proud of our identity, that's the first step, and we'll only be proud if we understand the beauty of what we have.
It is said that if you want to destroy the tree of a nation then strip it off its history, and surely enough the nation will wither away and die. This parable is unfortunately poignantly befitting for our Ummah now. Ibn Khaldun, in his muqadamat said that a group is defined by a shared goal. In our case the goal is jannah. But how many people know the number of gates, levels or names for the different quarters of this supposed goal?
A closing point; no way can the ummah find its way back unless and until we return to this goal. No way can we appreciate and comprehend the meaning of jannah without a deep studying or the founder and leader of this great nation, Muhammad Sallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam. The most productive human being ever to walk the earth. So heavenly was he that his companions described the fragrance of his sweat as that of the sweetest musk! And may Allah bless the poet who said:
"And were a group of riders to follow you,
Your sweet fragrance would be enough to guide them"
By knowing him we will know the best of ourselves and fall in love with the best of His creation. There are many facets to the challenges we face, but rest assured, the bud of Islam is soon to blossom once again. Qadrallahu inshallah J