A need for change

I was brimming with excitement when I made my first trip to London around 8 years ago. I couldn’t wait to shop, see the museums and just absorb the feel of London’s streets and its fashion culture. I was quite surprised seeing a lot of Muslim women covered in their jilbabs and some even in the niqaab. I wasn’t a hijaabi then and Islam, unfortunately wasn’t embedded in my lifestyle. I remember seeing two Muslim brothers giving away CD’s on Islam to passerby’s trying to give Dawah and a better understanding of Islam. I approached them to ask them questions on the CD’s and they said they were free for non-muslims. I informed them that I was a Muslim and I wanted to purchase a few of them for myself. Their reactions totally shifted. “A Muslim woman, and you dress like that?” one of them snorted. I was taken back and shocked. One of them slyly asked me if I was married, and I replied back that I wasn’t. “Who would marry a girl like you? I would be terrified if my wife dressed the way you did in those tight jeans and a short top! How could I trust her if men look at her up and down” and the tirade of insults just didn’t stop for the next few minutes. I bit my tongue, bought the CD’s and just walked off. I wanted to beat the living daylights out of those two self-absorbed, ‘i think I’m better than you cause I have a beard’ muslim brothers but I knew they just weren’t worth it.

Alhamdulilah, almost 2 years later I adorned the hijaab through no one else but my own and the events that pushed me to become a more spiritual being.

A few days back, there were reports all over the news of an American soldier based in Afghanistan that went on a shooting rage and mercilessly killed women and children in their sleep. The US government condemned it, the Afghan community were in an uproar, and the Taliban were the 1st to point their fingers at America and the invasion of US soldiers in their homeland. First off, I hate the fact that the US government thinks it’s their solemn right to camp at any country in order to ‘provide the locals with a better life’. Whatever, its absolute bollocks. However what I cannot stand is the hypocrisy that lies within the communities itself. Like,you always get reports of the Taliban’s anger at innocent civilians being killed  whenever it’s done by a foreign entity – innocent deaths are sad regardless who acted on it. But it is also the same group that carries out merciless acts of brutality everywhere they go. They take recognition of suicide bombers that aim the busiest streets in the busiest of hours, and that’s Ok !

I really cannot stand the hypocrisy and double-sided views that some of these so-called muslim leaders have. First off, I don’t consider anything the Taliban does as Islamic. They’ve bombed and shut down various educational institutions, mercilessly stoned hundreds of women to death on claims of adultery – why are the men involved never punished – and have themselves killed thousands of innocent people, if not more, over their personal political agendas.

Islam is a religion based on tolerance and any Muslim that truly reads the Qur’aan and follows the Sunnah (the ways of the Prophet Muhammed PBUH) understands that. But where is the tolerance that we need to have as Muslims today ?  I know so many young girls that feel intimidated walking into a mosque to pray because of the stares given by covered sisters, or the brothers that think that they have a right to preach to non-hijaabi’s. First off, before I can speak about anyone or any other community, I am completely aware that I am not void of sin or flaws. Just because I cover myself, doesn’t mean I have any right to look down at those who don’t. I need to change myself before I can think of changing the world. Tolerance, patience and compassion are one of the most important qualities that are lacking in people today, Muslim or not. Before we start pointing fingers at others we need to point them at ourselves first.

If neighboring Muslim countries truly acted as ONE community, ONE UMMAH, the American government wouldn’t be allowed to meddle in Muslim countries and their affairs. Look at Syria, it’s absolutely disgusting how many innocent lives are being taken by their military regime, but which Muslim country is speaking up for them – actually forget speaking, cause I’m tired of all these peace ‘talks’ – where’s the action needed to intervene in the sufferings of these innocent people ? The plight of the Palestinian people and their living conditions are continually being ignored and pushed aside. We financially support corporations that fund the Israeli army yet we Muslims put our hands in the air and say no one’s helping us. But look around you, the majority of us are too busy sipping on our Starbucks Fraps, enjoying our McDee’s with Coke, and can’t wait to get our hands on the latest MAC lipstick.

All I know is that there too many contradictions amongst ourselves. Before I can even hope for the world to be a better place, I need to make it a better place for my family, friends, neighbors and my community. May God give us the strength to right what’s wrong, speak the truth even at the most difficult of situations, voice out for those who can’t, and help those that are in need – whether it be financially, physically or spiritually.
Let us not make empty promises that we have no intention of fulfilling and let us not think that we are above those in affairs of religion. We have the power to make a change. Let’s make a change through tolerance, compassion, patience, re-education and most of all out of love for one an other.

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