Despite whatever else I may choose to write about on this site, it must be remembered that it began primarily as a forum for Muslims to address the glaring contradictions between what we say we are all about, and the actual reality of our condition. It is indeed sad and heartbreaking for me, a Muslim convert for over a quarter of a century, to see the image and reputation of Islam in America reach such an all time low. Of course we all know the reasons for this sad state of affairs so there is no need to rehearse them all here. Suffice it to say, we have a lot of work to do to regain the footing we once had in the 80’s and 90’s, those wonderful days when our beards were all black and our idealism and hope for the future prospects for Islam in the U.S. shined its brightest. It is mostly for that reason that I launched this blog many years ago now, to correct the mistakes that we made in the zeal of our youth to share this beautiful religion with the people, and to most importantly declare it innocent of the blood cult that lunatics bearing Muslim names had introduced.
Service to Humanity is the Core Message of Islam
It is then is the spirit of recapturing that enthusiasm and dedication to the propagation of Al-Islam that I now inaugurate a series of articles lauding the place and importance the religion gives to promoting human welfare and its commitment to service, and how such commitment bears witness to the divine truth sent down to Muhammad (p). Allah described the sending of his final prophet and messenger thusly,
We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures. (21:107, Yusuf Ali)
In essence, the Prophet and his followers are raised up by God to bless the world with mercy by 1) calling it away from the gross ignorance of disbelief and polytheism to which it is imprisoned, 2) and to insist that the people worship the One and Only God Allah. But this message of God’s uniqueness and transcendence is no mere abstraction, it must be manifested in the righteousness and good deeds of those who proclaim it. By lifting the people’s burdens and relieving them of their misery; by extending the soft hand of kindness and generosity, humanity will thus come to experience the true embodiment of God’s tender Mercy. It was this characteristic of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h), his kindness and generosity, that attracted his first followers to his message. It is for this very reason that the followers of the Prophet (p) are described by the Lord of creation as the best of humanity.
Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in God. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors. (3:111)
Service Requires Sacrifice, the True Path to Righteousness
The kind of service of which we speak is challenging enough for most of us who are caught in the daily grind to earn a decent living. In essence, it requires that we step out of our comfort zone and perhaps spend some money that we don’t really have, or engage in activities we may not find the most pleasant, like perhaps manning a soup kitchen, like the brothers and sisters have in Detroit, or visiting a homeless shelter. It may also mean helping the working poor earn a livable wage from the greedy oligarchs, or demanding health and safety standards for overseas workers. Whatever the case, this religion, Al-Islam, calls on its adherents to sacrifice what they love most to be truly counted among the righteous. Again Allah informs us,
By no means shall ye attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which ye love; and whatever ye give, of a truth God knoweth it well. (3;92)
By giving of ourselves, our time and our resources, to serve our fellow man and woman, we as Muslims will illuminate the light and guidance of Islam to humanity again. It is tragic and truly depressing that the so-called leadership of American Muslims have “led” the people more in the direction of grievance mongering than to service, wasting tens of millions of dollars on cheap political stunts and nursing a morbid fixation with so-called Islamophobia, when they could be marshaling those very resources to actually help those in need and give folks a delectable taste of the sweetness of Islam.
(to be continued)