Thursday, March 22

Islam As A Verb

Not to be a lemming in weighing in on breast cancer research put under the spotlight today by Elizabeth Edwards' announcement, but this post needs to occur.

The Muslim masses' general ignorance on health-related issues, such as cancers, communicable diseases, mental illnesses, and the like, is a frightening reality to wake up to every day. For instance, there is this delusion that we're exempt from some of these health issues because we supposedly don't smoke, aren't promiscuous, or don't have drug/alcohol addictions. The saturation of blindness--misinformation, at best--these perceptions reflect can only lead one to try to imagine the severity of the actual problems that exist within our communities. More importantly, it leads us to the very real possibility that diseases that can be cured or better treated are left to "the non-Muslims" because these are supposedly "non-Muslim issues."

What a scary way to live Islam.

Last year, my younger brother asked my dad if he could go to a New Year's party at a friend's house. My dad denied him permission, but gave an alternative, "Let's watch a Hindi movie together guys!"

As it turned out, this movie, "My Brother Nikhail," was about a happy family in which a young man contracted HIV and found himself a pariah in an otherwise post-modern Indian society. I would highly recommend this movie, to everyone. I had no idea that our societies are still so closed minded that we would not only refuse to attempt to treat HIV/AIDS patients, but that we would treat them worse than criminals. (Btw, no one went to any parties that night.)

It saddens me to see that almost all of today's Muslim communities, regardless of how enlightened or politically organized they are, continue to be blinded by a sense of self-righteousness. Where is our humility? Forget humility--where is the humanity and compassion we attribute to our beloved Islam?

So much of our religion is treated as theory, not because Islam fails in anyway to adapt to an ever-changing world, but because Muslims fail to understand it and put it to practice.

How many Muslims subconsciously--or even overtly--walk around thinking that just because they personally don't drink, smoke, or live a certain lifestyle that they don't have to care about fellow human beings (Muslims or otherwise) who do find themselves facing adversity, irrespective of how the situation arose? How many Muslims donate to research foundations, let alone actively partake in furthering these kinds of causes? Subhan Allah, not nearly enough.

Hardship happens--indiscriminantly, despite what we want to believe. Allah tests all people by the dunya, so this sense of self-righteousness is founded in nothing other than pride and ignorance. All the good we could be doing, we quite stupidly don't, because we're somehow above it. Believe it or not, millions of Muslims are waking up to reality when they realize that either they, themselves, or someone close to them is affected by cancer, mental illness, and, yes, even a communicable disease.

We, "ze Mus-lims," need to revisit how we Islam.


Rawi said...

"revisit how we Islam"

Islam as a verb: how apt, and appropriate! I'm gonna have to use this in future conversations, credits due to you of course. Another spot-on remark: "So much of our religion is treated as theory"

Good post.

Samira said...

It'll be my honor. Thanks storyteller :)