What Makes Us Muslim

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As Muslims, it seems we have stooped to the level of manipulating our faith for this purpose too. We have bent and turned Islam around in all different ways, moving further and further away from true Islam.

It is common today, when speaking about other people, no matter what the offense or action, to say “well, at least (s)he is a good person.”

I think it has just come to a point where we are all tired of being angry, upset, or correcting people, so we try and justify, even if a person or action is blatantly wrong or going against our faith.

If you ask me, I think it has been enough – enough justifying. Enough sacrificing of our values, our creed, and our values, just to make other people happy. When are we going to stand up and be proud and confident Muslims, as our dear forefathers were? When are we going to stop claiming identity crisis and accept that what we do may not be popular in today’s Western society, but it must be done?

We have lost touch with our completely basic foundation. Today we find ourselves befriending people of all faiths, which is a great thing, but unfortunately, we also find ourselves being influenced. As quick as the world is moving today, we naturally manipulate our lives to try and keep up with technology and advancements. As Muslims, it seems we have stooped to the level of manipulating our faith for this purpose too. We have bent and turned Islam around in all different ways, moving further and further away from true Islam.

Prayers are not as important as charity. We seem confused. We find ourselves in places or in gatherings which we know Islam prohibits, but we won’t dare take our Hijabs off. We will work and earn haram money, but we proudly wear our name tags with our “very-Muslim” names. It’s as if we’re lying to ourselves. We know what is right and what is wrong, but we tell ourselves it is acceptable, just this once. I mean, it’s 2009, right? Then it becomes twice, thrice, and a habit.

It is a very good thing that at least we are still wearing our Hijabs and are proud of our names, but it shows that we need to hit rewind. Go back to the basics. Our Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) has said, “The practice of religion is easy, and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will be overpowered by it. Therefore, be moderate, try to be near perfection but within your capacity, and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded. And seek Allah’s help by worshipping in the mornings, afternoons, and during the last hour of the nights.”

And that is exactly what we have done – made our religion a complicated side job. We criticize and try to understand and think on levels we have not reached yet. As our Prophet is saying, seek Allah (SWT)’s help by worshipping – and if we look around today, that is what we find ourselves doing the least. We see all these discussions on politics and current affairs in our mosques – which is great and wonderful – but we need to simultaneously cleanse ourselves spiritually and strengthen our foundation.

Why is it that our young Muslims today think it is okay to abuse temporary marriage? Or why don’t our young Muslims have that feeling of guilt, or desire to seek forgiveness? Hold a gathering to read Dua’a Kumayl together, in English, or just talk about how to get better? Instead, we are ready to spend hours and hours being brainwashed by entertainment today.

It can pretty much be a fact that today most Muslims are unhappy, unsatisfied, confused, and thirsty for faith. But as the Holy Qur’an says, “Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition.” (13:11)

So what does that mean? Allah has created human beings – the best creations, those who can invent things, and be geniuses, build amazing architecture, and solve complicated math problems – to be in control of their own lives. So unless we want to change, we won’t.

The face of the matter is, we Muslims have a deep and dear connection to our faith. No matter how “practicing” or involved a person is in his/her religion, when it comes down to the things that have been ingrained in our brains and our hearts as children, we love them. We have memories of running around with our friends in the center, memorizing chapters from the Holy Qur’an. We remember competing to see who could memorize the most. We remember how much fun we had telling our non-Muslims friends in public school about Eid and why wouldn’t be at school. Or why we have to wear long sleeves, or pants in gym class. Or why our young men couldn’t shave their beards at graduation. We used to be proud of being Muslim, never ready to sacrifice our values.

And today we see the total opposite. We befriend, and don’t even think about telling Muslims who drink but still pray and fast that what they are doing is wrong, because we do not want to come off as “extreme”, but accepting. It is almost as if we are ashamed of who we are.

We need to take the time out and remember our identity. Refresh our basic values and put them to practice. Islam has been attacked, and we have played into the plan of acting as victims, losing our identity and assimilating into the modern world, giving up all of our beliefs. Take the time to pray, force yourself, even if you don’t understand why, but because you know it is right and for your good. We are quick to eat right and exercise because it is good for our body, let’s use our God-given logic to do the same with prayer. Our addiction to music and lyrics of today can be slowly turned towards the “lyrics” and beautiful words of our Imams (peace be upon them) and the Qur’an. If we only take the time.

It is the little things that count. Praying, fasting, believing in one God, knowing tomorrow is not guaranteed, and knowing there is another world to come. It is these small basic values, which each have their own world of understanding, are where we need to start once again. But only you are in charge of you.

So make a promise that from today you will try harder. And hold a friend’s hand as you do. We are aware that we can’t always do things alone, for we were created to be support for each other and to help others – it is what makes us Muslim.

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