I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” Qur’an 5:3
In recent times, perhaps more than ever, the Muslims are faced with the worst form of warfare in their shores and this is none other than ideological warfare. The aim of which is to infuse within the minds of susceptible Muslims an identity crisis. And judging by the lifestyle of most Muslims today, it can safely be said that they have been plagued by the diseases of confused identity. Yet, there are few that are still striving their utmost not to fall victim to such ideological warfare even though part of the aim of the warfare is to paint this few has been overtly orthodox.
As Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) alluded in his Majmoo’ Fataawa, there is need to understand concepts so as to avoid many discrepancies. Hence, the need to understand the meaning of Islam and what it takes to be a Muslim. In the Arabic dictionaries, the term Islam refers to: submission, humbling oneself, and obeying commands and heeding prohibitions without objection, sincerely worshiping Allaah alone, believing what He tells us and having faith in Him. Thus, everyone that chooses to acquire these aforementioned attributes becomes a Muslim. This was the submission by Dr. Muhammad al-Suhaym in the book al-Islam Usooluhu wa Mabaadi’uhu.
Analytically, the name Islam unlike other religions on earth was not taken from any founder or nation, rather it is an attribute which refers to the meaning of the word itself. This has been aptly captured in Qur’an 22:78 where Allaah says: “…..He has chosen you, and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship, it is the religion of your father Ibrahim (Abraham) (Islamic Monotheism). It is He (Allaah) Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (the Qur’an)…”
Indeed, the greatest possession in the custody of a Muslim is the gift of Islam itself. Allaah Exalted be He says: “And who is better in speech than he who [says: “My Lord is Allaah (believes in His Oneness),” and then stands straight (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allaah, and does righteous deeds, and says: “I am one of the Muslims.” Qur’an 41:33.
Islam is the culture of the Muslims, a complete way of life, their civilization. It has left no loopholes as far as the existence of humanity is concerned. This Islamic identity, nay, its civilization is not exclusively defined by frequenting the Masaajid (Mosques) nor is it by beards kept by men or Hijab worn by women. It is rather much more than that, it encompasses every aspect of a Muslim’s life. This is the message that has been resoundingly echoed in Qur’an 6:162, Allaah Exalted be says: “Say (O Muhammad peace be upon him): “Verily, my salaat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allaah, the Lord of the ‘Alameen (mankind and Jinns and all that exists).”
However, the trend in the lifestyle of some Muslims today is nothing to write home about. By far, majority are living below the expectations of this magnificent verse referenced above. Abdullah in the Masjid, Abdul outside the Masjid, Fatimah in the Masjid, Teemah outside the Masjid, Mustapha in the Masjid, Musty outside the Masjid; in essence, a pious person in the Masjid, an irreligious person outside the Masjid.
In the early parts of Islam, the religion was widely spread among non-believers as a result of their interactions with the Muslim community. The Muslims were morally upright and trustworthy, spiritually active at all times by their constant remembrance of Allaah and the Hereafter and were too pious to be ashamed of disclosing their Islamic culture and identity.
It was a case of, “in Rome do as the Romans do, but as Muslims, even in Rome we do as Islam dictates.” They practically lived an ideal Muslim life, never double-faced, never ashamed of being who they were.
A man that recently purchased the latest car in town and even built the most beautiful mansion would not hide it away from people as long as it is legitimate. He would count his blessings, show case it and would not leave out any opportunity to use either his latest car or move into his latest house. If this is the case with material things, why then is the Muslim of today paranoid about Islam and feel utterly uncomfortable to represent Islam always? If truly, the Muslims appreciate the light of Iman compared to the darkness of shirk (Polytheism and Kufr), the guidance of Sunnah (prophetic ways) compared to the misguidance of bid’ah (religious innovation), why then are they apologetic about being Muslims in their work places, amongst their friends, on social media and even when they travel to non-Muslim lands?
The Muslims must pause and reflect to appreciate the extraordinary gift bestowed upon them by Allaah, perhaps that will strike a sensitive nerve in them to spur them into implementing Islamic lifestyle anywhere, anytime without fear of being judged as odd, extreme and fundamentalists.
Unfortunately, today being a Muslim means something else, nominally it is okay to be called a Muslim but practically it seems not to be okay at least with some. It was narrated that a non-Muslim came to the Masjid (Mosque) of the Prophet (peace be upon him) with the intention of assassinating the Prophet but instead became a Muslim after being exposed to the Islamic culture.
With all the comfort most Muslims enjoy today, yet some suffer a complex reflecting the true Islamic image. A lot of people stand to be convinced about the beauty of Islam, if only Muslims can live their lives as Muslims without suffering from complex nor compromising on their Islamic identity. Since, some prefer to be like those other than Muslims, it then becomes difficult for the others to see the difference between them and the Muslims. To be able to sell Islam, the Muslims have to live Islam.
In a narration graded as hasan (good) by at-Tirmidhi, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was reported to have said that: “Fear Allaah wherever you are.” Hence, Muslims are obliged to be submissive to the Will of Allaah whether they are in their rooms, offices, market places, home or abroad, wherever they are.
In conclusion, every Muslim should strive his utmost according to his ability to remain steadfast and consistently uncompromising on any Islamic provisions ranging from worship to social interactions. A Muslim is not a secularist that seeks to restrict religion to the four corners of the Masjid (Mosque), rather a Muslim is known wherever he is through his appearance, through his speech, through his interactions with others and through his meticulous nature of being very conscious of Allaah in all aspects of his life.
If the Muslims will be proud of their Islamic heritage and stick to it wihtout fearing the blame of the blamers and suffering from any inferiority complex, surely, others will seethe beauty of Islam and not the other way around. May Allaah make us ambassadors of Islam wherever we are and give us the strength and the wisdom to be steadfast on the right Path.
Mr Abdullah (Penabdul), can be reached via Twitter: @Penabdull, Instagram: @Penabdul