January 2015 archive

Mohammad: Big deal!!!

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cry_by_cahaya_pemimpin-d4aeb5iMy next blog was going to be about my prophet, Mohammad, peace and blessings be upon him. I chose this subject, since few million Muslims are celebrating his birth this month. They do that with rejoicing, telling the story of his life and devotion to God, and listing his actions and good manners. I was planning to do that outside any pressure or context. The point of my article was mostly to explain to people of all faith, or no faith, his status and high esteem in the lives of Muslims.

I am finding myself today writing the same intended article, with deep grief and sorrow for the loss of lives and heinous bloodshed that took place in Paris yesterday, hoping that my explanation will shed light on an aspect that people cannot get a grip of, and therefore help prevent more of those nightmarish scenarios in the future. I will do so disregarding what people expect Muslims to say on such an occasion.

I wanted to look for a figure in people’s life that they can relate to, the way Muslims relate to prophet Mohammad or other prophets, like Jesus, Moses and a lot more mentioned in the Quran. I thought of noble and respected figures like Gandhi, Shakespeare, or Abraham Lincoln. Even though they are great figures, their accomplishments however did not transcend their own circumstances. They are great for what they have accomplished for themselves and their countries. Inspirational but do not come across as personal and alive to their admirers. I had to look in another category.

I thought maybe a mother, in someone’s life, could have a bit of that sacred and personal feeling I am looking for. But I have lived long enough in this country to know that some moms are abandoned as they get old, are rarely spoken to sometimes, and some even die alone. While some people respect and honor their moms, it seemed to me that mothers do not hold that status in general, and therefore cannot represent the perfect example I am looking for.

I really could not find any figure in people’s life that explains to what extent our prophet is dear and sacred to our hearts. It is not even relatable to one’s own self-worth and respect. It is a lot more than that. We owe him our happiness. We owe him the meanings in our lives. We owe him the light we walk in. We owe him the most precious thing we have: our access to God!

What we owe him is very real and tangible, not the mumbo jumbo that people think it is. Islam fills a person’s life with meaning and purpose. It also makes sense of everything in life. We know and live that truth because of our prophet’s sacrifice and hard work. We know how he lived. We know what he used to say when he wakes up, on which side he used to sleep, what he ate, how he looked, how he walked, how he smiled, we know him as if we can almost see him. We struggle a lifetime to attain his noble characteristics and strive every single day to make him proud of us.

For someone to come and make fun of that, or demean his image in the name of “freedom of expression” is deeply offensive and simply unacceptable. Should Muslims go and kill those who did it? Absolutely not! Muslims then wouldn’t be acting upon their prophet’s teachings. Twelve lives have been taken away in “his name”, while He spent his life saving souls and healing broken societies!!! His name was “mercy to the worlds”, that is what God called him.

If you examine closely the actions of the attackers, they are also a form of expression, that of anger and vengeance. People need to know that a Muslim prefers to be stabbed thousands of times, over seeing the prophet insulted in any way. What the cartoonist did is a lot more damaging than those thousands of stabs. This is the effect and weight of his satire on a Muslim’s heart. Why would someone want to gamble his life on that? For what?

While I am only trying to explain what prophet Mohammad means to Muslims, I am, and with my loudest voice, condemning the barbaric actions of the terrorists. This is not a justification of what the terrorists did. Nothing justifies such hideous acts! This is just a background information for free thinkers, intellectuals and journalists who want to bridge the gap that exists today between two diverging nations: One that wants to communicate, and one that wants what it wants. Religion has barely anything to do with it!

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My resolution of no resolution!

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peace564564565465It is New Year’s Eve to most people. To me, it is just another great eve. What pact could I make tonight that I haven’t made already before? Absolutely none! There was a time in my life when I made sure I celebrated this special night, with some special friends, and had a special time. Back then, my life was not special, so I had to make up a special moment out of that night, and every other occasion for that matter. The general feeling of dissatisfaction reigned my life, even though I had a pretty good life. I had everything anyone wanted. My struggle, back then, was to make sense out of things. I felt like I was swimming against the stream. There was no harmony, nor synergy. There was only temporal, short-lived, and stimulated moments of joy: a great party, a good night out, a fun friend, an awesome weekend. As soon as that event ended, the set back was the usual, lonely, dissatisfied self that I was.

When I embraced my new lifestyle, as a committed Muslim, I made a lot of changes. I stopped seeing people that I loved. I rejected friends that I had a lot of fun with. I even turned down a job offer at one of the best advertising agencies in London. I packed my bags and went home. I had nothing to regret. I went all the way in doing things the way they should be done. I am not a person that can settle for mediocracy. My feeling towards life was swinging in its meaning and I needed to come to term with that. I really needed to give Islam a shot, so I dived in wholeheartedly. Had I not done that, I wouldn’t have discerned what I experienced. I wouldn’t have been able to satisfy my mind with adequate answers. Half-way solutions are no-way solutions in my book.

Now, and after close to 14 years of commitment to my religion, I can easily say that every living moment of my life is special enough, in its good and bad. Every breath I take is an opportunity to get to know my creator and contemplate on His infinite wisdom. Every look I take is a manifestation of His beautiful names. I find peace in everything I do. Peace within me, peace around me, and peace with the world. I am part of the cosmic energy. I am not struggling anymore. Not even with those who have their fingers, or finger, pointed at me. I have nothing but love to give, and I want to be nothing but a source of mercy, just like my prophet was, peace and blessings be upon him.

This is why I do not feel compelled to celebrate New Year’s Eve or Day, even though some Muslims do. There is nothing I want to celebrate tonight that I don’t celebrate every night. There is no resolution I am short of, beside the one I made 14 years ago. I take every breath like it’s my last one.

I am in total peace and submission, just like the literal meaning of the name of my religion “Islam”.

 

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