Building bridges with the non-Muslim communities -part 3

Step one - seek knowledge and supporting the truth

Is our purpose in life to benefit each other or to hate each other?

How can we be surprised if the host countries are tired of our behaviour, in taking advantage of the social services, escalating crime and gang violence, and bringing offensive habits from our own countries. Who is really to blame?

We cannot isolate ourselves from the multi cultural society we live in. For most second generation immigrants onwards, we cannot simply cut ties with each other, because economically, politically and socially we are mutually bound and dependent.

Islamically, the rule in such a situation is that we should respect other faiths even if such faith is against our own belief system. Belief and disbelief lie with the Creator. You should not hate another person just because his religion is different – you can hate the action, but not the person. Yet, many Muslims do not comprehend this. If we hate our fellow men, how can we possibly deal and interact with them? How can we communicate with each other and build bridges with the ones we hate?

We lack deep knowledge and leadership, and we are not seeking wisdom or knowledge to improve our situation and mentality. We fail to have long term vision.

The simple solution is to seek knowledge from legitimate sources, and even then, don't just stop at one person. Do not simply assume that what you have been taught by custom and your family is correct. The same way that you would obtain a second and third opinion for a life saving surgery, you should also ensure that the knowledge about your faith should be sought from different learned people.

Remember that there is only one Qu'ran and there is the Sunnah – find someone who sticks to these basics and not his own personal, social, national, racial or political ideology. Go to the correct sources, and those who can back their views with Qur'an and Sunnah, and not just their personal opinions. The best is to find someone you know or someone a trusted person can vouch for, whose knowledge is sound and whose behaviour is the embodiment of Islam.

At the moment, there are many YouTubers and social media influencers whose knowledge of Islam is scant, but profess to be authorities on Islam just because they have a beard or a hijab. Check their credentials and what they are talking about and what values they are promoting. Is their reason to spread Islam or to gain material status or sell their merchandise? Is the majority of their speech about Allah, or about the latest clothing trend, the car they drive or the product they are selling? Even if they are quoting Hadith, are they quoting it correctly and in the correct context? We have strong reservations about such people, because they are usually unqualified, have not had formal Islamic education, and usually have their own personal agenda (usually money, sponsorship and popularity), making their public on-line persona at total odds with Muslim values. You would not seek medical advice from a person who is primarily interested in teaching eye make up techniques, so why would you study the deen from someone whose primary motivation is to sell her own brand of scarves or cosmetics? Dunia simply does not mix with akhirah when it comes to teaching and learning Islamic knowledge.

Remember that the message of Islam is only one, and if these influencers start saying something blatantly weird such as Muslim women being allowed to marry non Muslim men in Islam, or that homosexuality is permitted in Islam, then walk away and find someone else. Follow the religion of Muhammad (SAW), not the religion of YouTubers.

There are also plenty of good books about Islam. We recommend those written by the early scholars of Islam rather than contemporary writers, simply because these books have stood the test of time (by the will of Allah), and were written by shining figures who exemplified the Muslim creed to their last breath.

Isn't the journey of life and your soul important enough for you to be careful about where you source your knowledge from?

If you believe in the legitimacy of the Qur'an, take time to understand God's message to you, and translate that knowledge into action.

We call our ummah the people of knowledge, intellect and civilisation, and each of us is responsible for our actions and reactions, direct or indirect.

How many Muslim citizens demonstrate in the street in support of their leader, even though the leader is corrupted? How many Muslim citizens continue defending certain political figures even if these persons have drained the country of resources for their own personal enrichment? Why do Muslim citizens support leaders who promote hatred and racism? Why do the Muslim communities render support to their leaders even if these leaders are brutalizing and killing their own people?

Did you consider that during the time of the Pharaoh, both the leaders and the followers were blameworthy? The Pharaoh, for his tyranny, arrogance and oppression. The followers, even in the light of divine evidence, chose to continue supporting the Pharaoh and chose to support the wrong. They were too cowardly to stand up for the truth and paid the price for it.

In Islam, the truth is the truth. We are supposed to be the people of the truth. If our own kind are committing wrong, we should speak out and call them to account, not stand in solidarity with them out of misguided social, political or cultural loyalty.

Click here for - Part 4

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