A Proposal for Change
by Tahira Rifath
Assalaamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakaatuh
Everyone has his or her personal jihad, but we’re all in the struggle together. See, Shaytan doesn’t center his efforts on the disbelievers, because they are already astray. But rather he preys on us Muslims trying to divert us from the path we’ve already testified as truth. In that, we should push aside our differences and focus on identifying and overcoming the same enemy we all have.
And yet I wonder, how can we call ourselves Muslims? Our sisters are sexually assaulted, physically abused, and emotionally degraded in Abu Ghraib. Our brothers are dehumanized, stripped of identity, denied basic rights, and forced to admit inexistent crimes in Guantanamo. Our children are orphaned, maimed, lost, hungry, and homeless in Palestine, Syria, and Iraq. Our families are suffering all over the world. It is our fault.
How can we pray five times a day so insensitively? We believe in Allah, right? We do recite the Shahada to prove that? But do Iman (Faith in God), Taqwa (God-Consciousness), and Tawheed (Believing in the Oneness of God) really reside in our hearts?
I have a crime to confess. I’ve forgotten what Islam, the way of life I follow, calls upon me to do. I’ve forgotten that Allah has placed me on this earth to take on the role of khalifah when He says in Surat Al Baqarah,
“And [mention, Oh Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority (khalifah).’”
I’ve forgotten that every breath I breathe is a blessing. I’ve forgotten that my life is to be dedicated for the cause of Islam. That cause is to protect what is in harms way. To speak what needs to be spoken. But more importantly, to DO what NEEDS to be DONE.
Allah tells us in Surat Ar-Rad,
“Verily, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”
I propose a change, and it has to start within myself. I will be more aware of God. Knowing that no matter what I do will never come close to repaying Him for even a single blood cell I have running through my veins, I will still strive to show Him that I’ve spent my life making an effort to prove to Him that I am grateful of what He has bestowed upon me—no matter what form it comes in. As He says in Surat Al-Baqarah,
“You may dislike something although it is good for you, or like something although it is bad for you. God knows and you do not.”
I will continuously remember Allah, going over blessings which I initially believe to be insignificant. We do take the time to thank a person for an unwanted gift, but what about the necessities Allah gives us every moment?
I will help the state of my Ummah, reciting the same dua Musa (peace be upon him) made regarding his followers after they went astray,
اللهم أهد قومي فإنهم لا يعلمون
Allahumma ahdi qawmi fa’inahom la ya’lamoon.
“My Lord, forgive my people for they do not know.”
I will protect the oppressed, spreading awareness of human rights issues, as well as making dua for them so Allah can change their fate. (Public activism is an extremely essential part, but we can not neglect the importance of what I like to call ‘our spiritual activism’.)
It is narrated by Abu Dharr in Sahih Muslim in the Book of Remembrances, Supplications, Repentance, and Seeking Forgiveness, Number 6588:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The Dua of a Muslim for his brother (in Islam) in his absence is readily accepted. An angel is appointed to his side and whenever he makes a beneficial Dua for his brother the appointed angel says, ‘Ameen and may you also be blessed with the same.’”
I will recognize right and wrong, fulfilling the purpose of life as Allah swears in Surat Al-Asr,
“By the Afternoon Hour, Verily Man is in loss, except those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience.”
I will strive to be a better Muslim each day, asking Allah to protect me from the Shaytan and overcome my human temptations to walk on a diverted path.
I will be a Muslim.
Image source 1 – http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5051/joint-statement-on-syria-from-archbishop-justin-and-archbishop-vincent
Image source 2 – http://www.tutufoundationusa.org/2012/10/war-for-peace-the-moral-and-legal-case-for-intervention-in-syria-2/