Islamophobia is a newly coined word that is not recognized by Webster’s dictionary. As a Muslim we are privy to the magnificent all engulfing message of peace within and peace without from Allah Subhanawataala in His own words in the Quran. We have a beautiful live depiction of the Ikhlaaq of the Quran by our Prophet Muhammad pbuh.
Thus we know from the Quran and the life of our Prophet Muhammad pbuh that that everyone faces tribulations at some point in their life.
These may be:
- Inner tribulations (these will be dealt with in a separate article)
- Outer tribulations
A human beings response to either of the above will depend on his belief in Allah and a degree of the depth of his absorption of our faith within him or her via the Quran and Sunnah.
I will address the most common one nowadays in the whole wide world.
DEFINATION OF ISLAMOPHOBIA
This is a relatively new term in today’s world. Phobia means “fear” The most recent fear of non Muslims is of “Islam and Muslims”
CAUSES OF FEAR
The most potent cause of fear is that of the “unknown” whether that is a dark room or an unknown person or thing fear is the result of that “unknown quantity.
Allah addresses this in Surah Falaq and Surah Naas and provides the offer of refuge and a methodology to attain it.
He Subhanawataala precedes it with surah ikhlaas which introduces His strength and attributes to the believer and by repeating it with full sincerity it puts strength and a sense of security in the heart of the Believer.
Islamophobia on the other hand is a fear of Muslims and Islam’s. and the usual sufferer from this malady is a non Muslim. This may stem from:
- A fear of change in lifestyle
- A fear of subjugation to harsh punishments
- A fear of “different” looking and dressing of people who are Muslims
- A fear of the “Islamic law” or Shariah, which protects the sanctity of the human self, family and property.
- The fear of being punished for the major sins outlined in Islam by Shariah law which is perceived as being “scary” and very “public”
- A fear of losing control of the State, City or Country.
- For women a fear of subjugation and usurping of women’s rights.
- A fear of being answerable to the nebulous Divine rather than officials who can be bribed and molded as needed.
- Other unknown fears related to Islam by association.
WHY ADDRESS THESE FEARS?
- Are you afraid for your persona? Business, source of income, job etc.?
- Are you angry and want to hit back for an insult or destruction of personal property?
- Do you want fame by addressing the buzzword?
- Do you see this an invitation by Allah to convey His message to those who may be unaware of it?
BEORE ADDRESSING ANY FEARS OF OTHERS EVALUATE YOU NIYYAH (INTENTION). Prior to answering these questions regarding Islamophobia one should evaluate ones niyyah for doing so:
- Is it out of fear of harm? If so, one should remind oneself that no harm can touch you without Allah’s permission.
- Is it to hurt and insult the other questioner? Then know that you have failed in giving the message of Allah to someone who was needy of it. I.e. you have denied the sweet water of emaan to someone who was thirsty for it.
- Is it to gain popularity in the masses then know that you have a disease of the heart, which will misguide you eventually?
- Is it a reason to give Allah’s message in all its sincerity and purity? Then that is the way to proceed.
HOW TO ADDRESS THESE FEARS
Knowledgeable Muslims using the Quran and Sunnah and lots of wisdom can address some of these fears in a very logical and non-hostile manner.
The challenge to Muslims comes in when they try to Google the Quran and Sunnah to answer questions pertaining to Islamophobia and the answers are contextually not relevant in most cases.
PLATFORMS FOR ANSWERING ISLAMOPHOBIC QUESTIONS OR FEARS
There are several platforms that are available to a Muslim to answer islamophobic questions.
PLATFORM ONE: INDIVIDUAL. ONE TO ONE
The best platform is the one to one opportunity when you are faced with an islamophobic act or suggestion of an act.
Unlike Jews who took the stance of punishing everyone who was “anti-Semitic” with harsh persecutory laws, Muslims are advised otherwise.
A one to one dialogue: you doo not have to be a talk show host to have a dialogue that will carry weight and circulation. We as Muslims have to remember that all we have to do is what Allah states in surah Baqarah is “Convey, don’t convince” Allah Subhanawataala states that our charter is to convey His message, and convincing is in His (Subhanawataala’s) domain.
However in order to convey accurately not only the text of the message but also the essence of the message several things have to happen:
- You have to look externally like a Muslim
- You have to have internal embodiment of your faith and thus certitude in your faith
- You have to have the wisdom to give out what the listener is able to understand and digest: thus neither overfeeding nor underfeeding of facts and information
- You have to behave with the Ikhlaaq (etiquette, behavior and tone of voice) of our Prophet Muhammad pbuh while you impart the message.
All of this does not come at once in any one individual, thus the following steps will help facilitate giving the message:
- A daily diet of Ilm of Deen
- Careful study of the Prophet pbuh character and deportment
- Careful implementation of his character and deportment into our daily life till it becomes second nature
- Start practicing speaking aloud answers of some common fears in a coherent, succinct, gentle, polite, patient but confident and non-sarcastic manner.
PLATFORM TWO: PUBLIC SPEAKING PLATFORM
IF you are invited to speak about or defend the allegations made against Islam and Muslims it is essential to follow the same guidelines and noted in platform one. However prepare to answer gracefully the instigating, inflammatory comments and questions thrown at you and research the answers from the life of the Prophet and how he answered the pagans of Arabia when they asked the same or similar questions.
PLATFORM THREE: SOCIAL MEDIA
Most social media responses are reflexic. Your hear or see an article on Islamophobia and you advance its circulation by posting it at all the sites that our under your domain.
In order to successfully answer the islamophobic questions asked over social media, it is best to use the guidelines noted in PLATFORM ONE.
Other things to keep in mind while posting your response in social media are:
* Evaluate your social media page/site etc. from a non-Muslims point of view. Do you seem well versed in Islam? DO your posts stick to the ethics of the Sunnah regarding truth, decency and etiquette of speech? If not then first reform your site and yourself before you answer any questions regarding “Islam” or “islamophobia”
- Check your facts first hand from the Quran and Sunnah. Do not make up things and do not post answers that you are not absolutely sure of their source.
- Be polite, firm and unapologetic
- Lead them to a reliable resource of Islam that can answer them more knowledgeably and with more wisdom and patience.
- Do not become argumentative
- Do not malign their faith or beliefs, just present yours in a positive light
- Do not fall into the quagmire of sectarian hatred which is commonly used by those who want to divide and rule the Muslims
- Do not believe everything “islamophobic” that you see online and do not repost it unless you have verified it to be from an honest source (surah Hujaraat)
DUA: May Allah guide each of us to say, do and live the way that He (Subhanawataala) has commanded us to do so we may reach Felicity.
Inspired by the first class I took on Islamophobia at Qibla.com by Sheikh Nuh Keller