>> Sunday, March 27, 2011
I think I need some help. This week is Islam Awareness Week at my university and I'm really excited to be able to participate and inshaAllah present the right image of Islam. I believe it is my duty as a Muslim to explain what Islam really is.
Well, I have been preparing some things to say about Islam, but I wanted to ask you about three main things that I have a little bit of difficulty answering and I thought I would ask you. How do you answer people who say that you can't be American and Muslim, and the people who ask why Prophet Mohammed married Aisha and also had so many wives.
I myself, for the first question, usually say that islam is not a nationality or race. It's a religion. But I want some more things to add. What do you think?
Ma'shaAllah, it is so inspiring to see you so concerned with the image of Islam! May Allah reward you for your endeavors, insahAllah :)
AND, you've also asked three great questions. We're going to have to divide this post into 2 or 3 parts, LOL. But inshaAllah we will answer them this week, since Islam Awareness Week is this week =)
So, first thing's first.
Can a person be Muslim and an American?
Definitely! As you said, Islam is a religion and not a race or nationality. To be Muslim is simply to acknowledge that there is One God and that He has rights over you and to strive to live your life in a way that pleases Him. It is to be God conscious in every moment of our lives- with the way we deal with our parents, children, teachers, the poor, etc.
So, the real question is "What does being American entail/ or mean?" Isn't America built on the promise of freedom of religion? Freedom of speech? Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
Isn't America all about celebrating our differences?
So how can any 'one' thing make you "American"?
And the real fact of the matter is that Islam shares many of the same core values as the West. We just maybe sometimes see these values expressed differently.
And that's what I would do. I would start talking about these same values...
Freedom of Religion
• 'Had thy Lord willed, everyone on earth would have believed. Do you then force people to become believers?’ (10: 99)
“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error…” (Chapter 2, Ayah 256)
Equality of the Races
* O mankind, verily We have created you from a single (Pair) of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is the most righteous (49:13).
Prophet Mohammed said, "O people, indeed your Lord is one and your father is one. Behold, there is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor for a non-Arab over an Arab, nor for a white person over a black person, nor for a black person over a white person, except through piety." (Musnad Ahmad)Equality of the Sexes
O Mankind, keep your duty to your Lord who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate (of same kind) and from them twain has spread a multitude of men and women" (Qur'an 4: 1).
He (God) it is who did create you from a single soul and therefrom did create his mate, that he might dwell with her (in love)...(Qur'an 7:189)
And their Lord has accepted (their prayers) and answered them (saying): 'Never will I cause to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female; you are members, one of another... (3:195; cf 9:71;33:35-36;66:19-21
Moreover, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that men and women are like twins or siblings!
• “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor...” (Quran 4:135)
“Let not the hatred of a people swerve you away from justice. Be just, for this is closest to righteousness…” (Quran 5:8)
• “God commands you to render trusts to whom they are due, and when you judge between people, judge with justice…” (Quran 4:58)
“We ordained for the children of Israel that if anyone slew a person, unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land, it would be as if he slew the whole of mankind. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of a whole people.” (al-Ma’ida, 5:32)
“ Nor take life which God has made sacred, except for a just cause" (al-Isra', 17:33)”.
The Importance of taking care of the Vulnerable in Society
Have you seen the one who denies the Judgment? (1)That is the one who repulses the orphan,
(2) and urges not the feeding of the poor (3). (Chapter 107)
The Prophet said: “The one who looks after and works for a widow and for a poor person is
like a warrior fighting for Allah’s Cause or like a person who fasts during the day and prays
all the night”. (Volume 008, Book 073, Hadith Number 035).
Prophet Mohammed said, “"Have mercy on those who are on the planet earth and you shall
have the mercy of He who is in heaven."
He also said: “Whoever does not show mercy to the young and honor the elderly is not one of
In fact, guess what?
We've gone ahead and done it...We've made a presentation for you that you can use/ get some ideas from.(Alright, we didn't actually make it for you, you..we'd made it long ago, but we're putting it up now). Anyone else is also more than welcome to spread this presentation around. It gives many more common values and shared principles between the West and Islam.
And, hey, it's got a catchy intro (if we do say so ourselves, haha):
According to Wikipedia, “As of 15 May 2010, the human population of the world was estimated by the United States Census Bureau to be
Of these, more than 1,500,000,000 are Muslims.
That’s almost 5 TIMES the population of the United States (309,276,458).
That’s a lot of people.
In fact, it means that out of every 5 people, 1 is Muslim. *
Isn’t it time, then, that we start focusing on what we share in common? Isn’t it time to start building bridges?
So yeah.....you can definitely be a good American and be a good Muslim. In fact, being a good Muslim should make you a great citizen of any country :)