How to fight for “your” Islam
by Aanya F Niaz
Aren’t you most enervated by this no longer sudden, but continuous outcry of Muslims around the world? “Quit the hatred!”, “Stop bashing Muslims!”, “We did not murder your son!”, “We do not all kill!”, “We are not terrorists” and what never fails to provoke me most, “The Quran speaks of peace, not hatred!”
Enough. There is no longer any need for making empty arguments about how Islam is not a religion of hate. Enough. It is time to take responsibility as citizens of a religion to research, read and then re-inform the globe of how it truly is a religion of peace. How many of us can authentically state we know the Quran’s various messages, or that we’ve read it in our own “understandable” languages and can quote enough examples so as to lead an informed discussion? How many of us have read the historical insights on our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his family members? How many of us, when subjugated for being a terrorist simply because we are Muslim, have known where (even in general terms), the Quran speaks directly against violence and imposition of religion?
The truth is, we are (or have become) a most indolent and work-shy peoples, channeling only emotional vengeance towards the attacks we face. How can we expect them to stop, when we have no informed argument to make? I am, evidently, not speaking of those few and far between scholars and academics, (from both the East and West), who have dedicated constructive time to understanding the religion before speaking for or against it. They seem to have realized the global manipulators or simply, representatives have no reason to listen to us unless we adopt an educated mind-set. This isn’t exactly the hardest of tasks, you see.
Many philosophers have stated, in order to ascertain progress and civil conduct, once an individual reaches an age of questioning their beliefs, it becomes their responsibility, in whatever capacity available, to acquire knowledge on the subject, at least of a fundamental foundation so as to pose any arguments against or for that particular belief.
The voice of reason has steadily become the “lingua franca” in transforming perspectives in this lifetime. And that, in my perhaps skewed but nevertheless limited, opinion, is the art of opening books, reading, identifying, disagreeing, ruminating and debating over a religion that remains at the core of our cultural and societal lives. Martin Lings “Muhammad” is an excellent starting point. In fact, simply google (yes, believe it) Islam as a religion of peace, women of Islam, the fundamentals of Islam, history of the Prophet (PBUH), Imam Hussein, Hazrat Ali, Bibi Fatima, Hazrat Zainab, Caliph Abu-Bakr can be the best way we can encourage literate and mature conversation over the religion. Libraries around the world are brimming with literature on these figures we revere, but unfortunately do not know enough about. In fact, they have been recorded in history around the world for their valor, courage and glory. Why do we not know what we whole-heartedly claim to be ours? How will anyone want to take us seriously?
It’s the only way to shed light on a religion we easily become excessively emotional over, and perhaps, the only way to shift paradigms of thought when it comes to Islam.