Despite being ostracised, constantly ridiculed, and bullied for being a Muslim,I will never reciprocate the same treatment to those who inflict such wrongs upon me. By me, I mean my community and I of course. Lies! The skeptics reading this will say. For some, my behaviour is a given. Why treat those that paint you with the same brush, the same way? But that’s not why I refuse to do it. And boy, wouldn’t we love to prove a point? Modernists who deem themselves “Rational thinkers” would think it an obvious ‘natural’ response. After all, tolerance is the ultimate way to insure our survival isn’t it? But to others, a person seen smiling and reciting prayers of peace to those who want nothing more for them than to burn in a harrowing fire, is an odd sighting,to say the least. One that ignites skeptical emotions. The skeptics would go as far as to say that such behaviour goes against our very own nature. Human beings are intrinsically selfish. A sign of weakness perhaps? No. A trick by the dirty terrorist! Don’t fall for it. They are using “Taqia”.
If like me, you’ve spend frivolous hours roaming the never ending cycle of the Youtube political vortex, then you would recognise that the backlash I mention is no exaggeration by any feat,and just like with any case of bulling or cyber-bulling, at first, you feel angry, if you were in a Youtube comment war, this would look like a heated, back and forth exchange of petty name calling,even if done eloquently, it’s nothing but a battle of wits that does more to feed the ego than to call for peace. After a while you realise your defencelessness against the greater threat, you convince yourself that there is no point in arguing with someone so dead-set on being ignorant,and finally you give up. The next time you read a similar comment, repeating the same false rehtoric and miscocetptions that you could swear that same person has created several accounts, or they all went to the same slumber party, you become numb.Then you grow accustomed to it.
But there is yet another station a few people are lucky to arive at and that is the practice I choose to adhere to. Today, in westrn society, people who adopt this type of ‘atitude’ are percivived mostly as niave. But any desert monk would instantly recognise the trait as a strength worthy of priase. Manyt travel long distances to study at the feet of these masters, spending years disciplining theirselves, till they reached these high stations.
Aside form the fact that it was our Prophets Sallah Allahu Alhi wassalm’s way. There was a time when it was considered a given. It is not the backlash that we are faced with everyday that causes me the most grief, that is gravely our own fault for being bad examples and having poor representation. What is sad, is that this response has become so foreign to our temperament, to our essence, to the extent that it rasies suspicion.
When did this happen? Humans, the mammals gifted with speech. The elevated being blessed with moral awareness, the ability to differentiate right from wrong, and the sole reason for all earthly suffering. I assume you detect the pessimism. I don’t blame the skeptics…Humans are weak. That part is clear. It is our flaw. Perhaps the effects resulting from the division our political ancestors have created throughout the ages, causing our humanity to deteriorate in crippling ways, are too strong to overlook, even when it goes against that which we inherently know isn’t the case. After all, what do we know ? So no, I don’t blame them. It’s hard yes. The right thing usually is.
Believe me, it is hard when you are stood there for hours trying to debunk someone who believes they are an expert at your religion because they’ve read translated bits of the Quran,without prior knowledge of it’s tools. And in most cases even coping incomplete verses off an anti-islam blog,not realising that the most laymen of muslims could easily recognise what they’ve done and how foolish they look. If you want to know one of the biggest reasons mulsims are so quick to lose their temper in argument, it’s because of the combination of little knowledge and an inflated ego that their so called “challengers” possess. Imagine a creationist standing up in the middle of Oxford Union and taking on Richard Dawkins on Evolution after reading an elementary science book.
But never mind all that. Bottom line is, don’t argue something if you haven’t thoroughly studied it, and not speaking the language the message is revealed in, is enough to deem you handicapped. Language is indeed a gigantic barrier, to deny this, is to deny the many wars caused by semantics who’s effects have been far greater than any caused by religion.. but nevermind all that either.
Now, Imagine that same person you’re ….conversing with, in addition to being ignorant and arrogant, also, feels no remorse for children you’ve lost in Syria. Why ? Because they are Muslim, they are the enemy, they are the other,their lives don’t matter,they deserve it. etc…” Such people don’t really care for the truth. They have already made up their minds and have made assumptions about you that fit their simple narrative. The one they’ve been fed. Now be peaceful and loving, to this person that feels no remorse for the lost lives of innocent people and children. Offer them your help as they laugh at the dead bodies and curse at them. See, I told you it’s not easy.
I understand the hatred, you want it to stop. I get it, so do the parents of those innocent children.What you are saying makes you a hypocrite. It is no different from what you accuse Muslims of. This isn’t The Lord of The Rings, well at least not .. literally. The world is not in black and white, as much as we want it to be. It’s just not that simple. Even science is against you not just morality. If humans don’t tolerate one another they will go extinct. We either love or we hate. When I first came across the theory that all emotions were either from fear or love. I felt it was minimalistic to say the least. But the more I experience and ponder on it, the more sense it seems to make. All evil actions stem from fear..and many hide behind it. You see it everywhere. Behind the actions of politicians and world leaders..A big one being zenophobia or otherisation, it was conjured from fear of the unknown, the most basic of fears. Master Yoda said it right.
F.E.A.R : flase things appearing real, an illusion. Love on the other hand, is everlasting and the only thing that’s true. That is what I choose. What are you going to choose?
Have you ever noticed that sometimes people turn into the very thing they swore they never would? Like dad’s who were abused by their fathers that then go on to do the same thing to their kids?
Here is a story I read in another online blog that demonstrates our capacity to become the very thing we hate, by psychology today blogger, Peter Bregman. The following is the excerpt mentioned :
One by one people stood up—people from the U.S., Colombia, Somalia, Mexico, Israel—and spoke about the cruelty they had experienced in their countries. As I heard about family members being kidnapped, raped, or killed, people being bombed and forced to live in refugee camps, my empathy for the victims and my anger at the perpetrators intensified.
Then a quiet woman named Nancy spoke. “We all participate in one way or the other,” she said, “We are all guilty.”
I could no longer restrain myself. “We’re all guilty?” I burst at Nancy. “Really? How about the babies who are dying or the women who have been raped? Are they guilty too? Guilty just like the rapists? That’s ridiculous!”
The room went silent.
Nancy shrank, and I didn’t care. Actually, that’s not true—I did care. I loved it. It felt great to lash out. I felt powerful. Safe from the violence. Righteous. And relieved, as the tension that was building inside me began to subside.
Then Ian, who hadn’t yet said a word, spoke into the silence. He asked me if I could see myself killing, if I were in, say, Somalia. I was quick to respond no.
“You scare me,” Ian said
I scared him? I was the one showing outrage at evil! He shouldn’t be scared of me; he should be scared of people who could see themselves killing.
But Ian was on to something deep and important. Something all leaders need to understand: When empathy plays favorites, we should all be scared.
It makes us feel better to separate ourselves from people whose behavior we don’t like. It makes us feel moral, safe, and beyond reproach. But separating the other people as evil means we are more likely to lash out at them and, before we know it, become cruel ourselves.
I am not saying that we should excuse violence or poor behavior. There must be consequences to people who act destructively. But psychologically separating ourselves from them makes us dangerous.
It didn’t take long for me to learn that lesson firsthand.
I was still filled with emotion from the last conversation when Günther, a German man, started yelling in German, and slamming a tennis racket onto a large foam block, one of the tools that Ann uses in her workshop to get energy moving.
Every time the racket slammed down, I flinched. His accent, the yelling, and the slamming brought me back to my family’s memories of the Holocaust. My mother and her family were in hiding in France during the war, and her newborn sister, Ariel, was killed by a doctor who gave her milk that was too thick. He said he did it because she was Jewish.
I imagined Günther in a Nazi uniform, cold eyes peering out behind a low-hanging army cap, emblazoned with a swastika. I was flooded with rage, sadness, and fear. My whole body was shaking. I pictured baby Ariel, dead, wrapped in a blanket, as I picked up the racket.
I slammed the racket on the cube with all my strength. “Stop it,” I screamed, completely swept up in the moment. “Stop screaming. Stop the hatred. Stop the violence.”
In that moment, I could have killed Günther.
But Günther isn’t a Nazi. He’s a software developer with a German accent.
In other words, I didn’t want to kill Günther for something he had done. I wanted to kill him for something he represented. For his accent.
In that moment—and I feel chills down my spine as I write this—Günther wasn’t the Nazi. I was.
You can check out the full blog here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-we-work/201111/how-avoid-becoming-person-you-hate.
So in conclusion, In us, we have the capacity for both good and evil. With every decision we make in our daily lives, we are presented with a choice. It was no chance that Anikan transformed into “the very thing he swore to destroy.” One choice can be the determining factor in you becoming Luke or Vader.
I consider myself lucky to be able to see this and not fall into the traps of otherization. For many, it’s easy to be blinded, especially those who have lost people they love and have legitimate reasons for pointing the finger at the other side. And yet, believe it or not, even amongst them you will find those who’s humanity is still intact. For they know the danger of that mindset well. Those are the ones that truly deserve admiration.
When I think about all that’s come from this kind of hatred, suddenly, it isn’t so hard for me to be nice. What’s a smile and a few kind words if it can prevent an avalanche of hate? So despite the rudeness and the hostility, I will continue to smile in the face of those who insult me. Thus, was the way of my beloved prophet Sallah Allhu alhi wassalm. Known as the smiling prophet. And that is my choice.
Peace/salam,namaste,thank you, and goodnight 🙂
Ps. this is my first blog post, so be gentle, please. 😀