What Payaam are We Talking About?

Jun 23, 2006

Unlike the anti-Islam and anti-Muslim propagandists, alarmists and scaremongers that have sprouted all over like mushrooms in a monsoon, I am not asking anyone in the West to move over or fall off the cliff because Muslims are coming. All I am saying is this: Could everyone please make a tad bit of room because Muslims are here, even if it means just a bit of psychological openness and acceptance.

The Only Home Millions of Muslims Know

Why? Because I live here in the West; my family lives here in the West; and millions of other Muslims and their families live here in the West. Millions upon millions upon millions of them.

In fact, the West today has more Muslims living in it than perhaps Syria; than perhaps Lebanon; than perhaps Malaysia; than Libya; than Iraq; than Jordan; than all the countries of the Persian/Arabian Gulf.

Many of these Muslims in the West are immigrants from their historical habitats in Muslim lands in the East — or their children and children’s children — while many others are local converts to the power, glory, charm and irresistible magic of the Deen of Allah from among the native sons and daughters of the West.

West is the only home my children know. It is also the only home the children of millions of other Muslims know. What is the West then if not a home to me and to them? To the extent any part of the earth of Allah can be a home to a Muslim or to any human being for that matter.

All of us were sent down here on a temporary visa, were we not? Wa lakum fil ardi mustaqarrun wa mataa’un ilaa heen, said the owner and master of the place, God Almighty, Rabbul ‘Aalameen, when we got thrown out of the Garden towards earth. It means, “You shall have temporary lodge and board on earth” — if you want to paraphrase it that way.

How much clearer does it get?

Allahu Akbar, the clarity of the words and ideas that this Unlettered Man Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, brought from Allah. What a marvel of clarity and precision it is to this day! And more today than ever before! And more in every time, age and place than every other time, age and place!

Tabaarakallahu ahsanul khaaliqeen — blessed be the finest of creators. Rabbis-samaawaati wa Rabbil ardi Rabbil ‘Aalameen — master of the heavens and earth and of the most noble throne and of all the worlds.

Prisoner of History and Geography

So, the West is the only home millions of Muslims know — on this earth that was never meant to be a permanent home for any human being to begin with.

But that is how sad the Muslim story has become in our days. Those who were meant to conquer space and time have themselves ended up becoming prisoners of history and geography. This is also the sad story of all of humanity, which is treating this earth as if it were its true, permanent and only home.

How beautifully that masterful Persian Muslim poet and seer, Rumi, captured this great tragedy of the human soul. Writing in Farsi hundreds of years ago, he said: “Bishnu as nai choon hikaayat mee kunad; Waz judaa-ee-haa shikaayat mee kunad”. Paraphrase: Harken to the lute as it tells its story — as it laments its separation from its roots.”

Sweet Or Not
What Do You Do When You Have A Home?

To a Muslim, sweetness is remembrance of Allah — thinking about Allah and talking about and to Him. And what a joy that can be! But who can turn his back on the beautiful things Allah has created for us right here in this world — including places we tend to call “home”?

We do what Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, used to do: Kaana yakoonu fee mihnati ahlihi. What a Hadith, Allahu Akbar! And what a profound impact it had on me when I first read it as a mere boy!

You want a panoramic paraphrase of that Hadith? Here it is!

You spend your time, energy, resources, imagination and inventiveness in finding ways to do household chores and duties; in taking care and meeting the needs of those in your “home”; in tirelessly teaching, guiding and educating those in your “home”, in fearlessly defending and protecting your “home” and those in it; in continually cleaning, fixing, repairing, maintaining and improving your “home”, in using every opportunity and occasion to bless your home and those in it; in being nice to the neighbors surrounding your “home” and sharing with them the wonderful things with which God has filled your “home”; and in doing the same to and with, the entire neighborhood, community, society, region, continent and planet of which your “home” may be a part.

That is what you do when you are a Muslim and God has given you a place under the sun that you call “home”. And that, unfortunately, is what many Muslims failed to do sufficiently in many of the places that they so proudly called “home”, including Spain and India. And that, unfortunately, is what many of them failed to do in the so-called West in more recent times — a West which sooner or later they will have no alternative but to call “home”.

If many of them didn’t do it so far willingly and routinely, whatever their reasons — lack of insight into the present, lack of vision about the future; lack of leadership; a pre- and post-Islamic allegiance (Jahiliyyat if you will) to their own native and ethnic cultures and backgrounds; a generalized sense of Muslim nationalism, a misguided emotional bond to territorialized Islam; a blind acceptance of a millennium — old Fiqh that divided the world into Darul Harb and Darul Islam; or whatever else — Allah will force it upon them. As Allah always imposes reality on those who are deaf and blind to the unfolding history around them.

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