A LETTER TO MY YOUNGER BROTHER………….
This is a response to a letter from my youngest brother who was distraught at all the lies that is being fed to the Americans about Muslims and Muslim countries via the media. He was also concerned as to how to correct the balance and show Americans what is right and what is wrong………….
Here are my thoughts about it that I wrote to him and would like to share with you to get your response and suggestions:
My dearest brother, Asalaam-o-alaikum,
I read the article with interest, and I wish we had a magic wand to change people’s opinion in the country we live in.
The most potent way of changing peoples opinion is by personal interaction. If someone met one honest Muslim he will usually say, “Muslims are honest people” or vice versa. Isn’t that what happens?
There is a lot of upheaval going on in the Muslim lands, part of it is foreign invasion and part of it is breaking the vice of Dhulm (Oppression) that the local people were caught up in. Which in some countries has been for decades, and there seemed no hope of breaking the stranglehold.
Allah Subhanawataala sends calamities, both natural and in the form of war where one nation that has been majorly disobedient and Dhalim is replaced by another nation.
It is important to observe and draw conclusions that help us individually to learn and change ourselves so that on the Day of Judgment when we are questioned we can honestly say that we did our utmost best to follow the Quran and Sunnah.
It is important for each of us to start the dawah at home, beginning with one self. What does that mean?
One can say: Well I fulfill all the rights of Allah (pray, fast, sadaqa, zakat, Hajj, and I repeat shahada many times a day), and I have “paid my dues”
If we do all that then we have fulfilled the rights of Allah and to me it means that we now need to pay attention to the Haqooq al ebad (or Human rights), which means our ikhlaaq (internal etiquette manifested as outer behavior) with our immediate family, distant family, the neighbors, the surrounding community, Muslim and nonmuslim and then the distant Ummah.
Do we give them their rights with ehsaan if possible?
To me it means, shutting off the TV and computer and spending time with the people who are at home, and in my neighborhood and listening to them and letting them watch me be patient when irritated, be gentle when angry, kind and loving when exhausted and attentive when bored. If we practice the words in the Quran by making them alive in our life, living becomes joyful.
To me this has happened only by studying a little bit of tafseer every day (1-2 ayahs) and trying to implement them in my daily life.
It is hard at first, but if you make dua, Allah Subhanawataala makes it easy.
We have to struggle to adopt the Ikhlaaq of RasoolAllah (PBUH) in every act that we execute daily, so that everyone who observes us sees a manifestation of Rasool Allahs (pbuh) etiquette and will then want to know: Who and what are Muslims?
It is a difficult path, initially sort of like being on stage, but slowly it becomes ingrained in ones personality and then one can advance to the next level of etiquette of RasoolAllah pbuh (sunnah)
Nothing in the world moves fast to change people, other than being influenced by people. Two hours of media opinions by a talking head are wiped clean by one positive, kind, caring and genuine interaction with a Muslim at a personal level. That is my experience.
At a subconscious level Americans know that what is being blasted on TV is lies, but they have no example to gauge it against..
Since most of the American Muslims live in a cocoon and have a semi ghetto mentality in which they seldom invite or venture out socially while manifesting their Muslim identity, the American’s at large don’t find them any more inspirational than anyone else. This ghetto mentality maybe perhaps due to fear of reprisal if overtly muslim which is further fanned by organizations that thrive on sensationalism.
It is time to stop living two lives, one in the home and one outside and merge the two, you will find it brings comfort, peace and progress.
It is also time to accept that one who takes Allah Subhanwataala, as his or her guide will have no fear and no grief:
In Surah Baqarah ayah 38 Allah Subhanawataala says:
We said: “Get ye down all from here; and if, as is sure, there comes to you Guidance from me, whosoever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
For more detail on Fear and Faith check out my blog article
In the final analysis it is Allah Subhanawataala who decides if we are protected from harm or not, thus if we become outside who we are inside then what ever happens to us good or ill is our decree, as part of our Aqeedah we have to accept it.
He Subhanawataala knows that at least we tried to be who He Subhanawataala has commanded us to be and obeyed the Prophet (PBUH) as He Subhanawataala commanded us to do.
This a beautiful dua to pray after every salah (masnoon), which will bring you strength:
اللّهُـمَّ لا مانِعَ لِما أَعْطَـيْت، وَلا مُعْطِـيَ لِما مَنَـعْت، وَلا يَنْفَـعُ ذا الجَـدِّ مِنْـكَ الجَـد .
“Allaahumma laa maani‘a limaa a‘tayt, wa laa mu‘tiya limaa mana‘t. Wa laa yanfa‘u dhal-jaddi minkal-jadd.”
“Ô Allaah, none can prevent what You have willed to bestow. And none can bestow what You have willed to prevent. And no wealth or majesty can benefit anyone, as from You is all wealth and majesty.”
May Allah always protect and guide you!
I remain your loving sister with love and duas.
P.S. Palaces are built one brick at a time, the muslim spirit is nourished and renewed one cell at a time, so keep the regular diet of ilm going:)