Friday, October 12, 2007

Have we been good Muslims?

The Muslim Eid al-Fitr (Celebration of Ramadan) is upon us.

Fitr is similar to Lent for Catholics; a celebration of the ending of a month of getting closer to God through soul searching, soul cleansing and clarity. It is not simply a month of self torture by starvation for which God has no respect.

On this day we worship the Lord, thanking Him for what he has given us, for the strength placed upon us and for opening the doors of heaven and calling our names. In addition to a month of fasting, every Muslim donates food for the needy, a practice known as sadaqah al-Fitr; similar to Thanksgiving Day dinner.

Islam means, “Giving one’s soul to God without question.” For authentic Muslims, Heaven’s temptation should not be the main incentive to worship. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset to remember what it is like to be thirsty and hungry. Rich and poor alike fast the same hours without deference to race, culture or status and, at the end of the day, worship standing side by side before eating (Effitar). Are we really like that in practice? If he were among us today, what would Prophet Mohamad ‘Peace upon him’ say about us during his yearly Ramadan lecture (Khotbeh)? Would he be disappointed? What would Ali, the first Imam of Shiah, fourth Khalifa of Sunni, say to us with the no nonsense attitude of his famous book Nahjol Al-Balagheh?

As an authentic Muslim, my heart and conscience call upon me to stand up to so-called “Muslims” or, eventually, there will be no peaceful Islam left in our world. As a Shiah Muslim, I keep my conscience clear because it is required by the teachings of the Prophet.

Thirty years of study tells me He would call us cowards and shame us for not standing up to the barbarism of Bin Laden, for not seeing the real evil among us, for misusing God’s word in calling others “infidel” when the personification of an infidel lives among us. Al Quaeda, a cancerous blasphemy, is destroying Islam as we watch with neglect because we can’t prioritize our pride to answer when people ask, “Where are the Good Muslims?” We sit quietly as closed minded people like Janet Levy from Front Page Magazine condemns all Muslims as latent terrorists.

Our God is not likely to reward the lack of authentic education for Muslims, based on peace and love as Prophet taught by example, and allowing ignorance to breed in our hearts, with Heavenly prizes.

Perhaps He would refresh our memories that although Shiah and Sunni both believe Ramadan starts and ends at the next cycle of the moon; they consciously celebrate this festive occasion on a different date; Friday of this month for Sunni and Saturday for Shiah.

Prophet calls us to answer, “Didn’t I teach you to value one moment of truth more than 70 years of prayers?” Why didn’t you stand up to Bin Laden who destroyed God’s religion on 9/11, bringing it to the lowest of the low? Why didn’t you act when you saw Iranian children for sale on the internet?

This peaceful religion has been abused by men in the business of God. Infidel is someone of any religion, Bin Laden, Khomani, Sadam, Al Zarqavi, who kills in the name of God. Prophet would be dismayed by the cruelty of wealthy Arabs toward those they bring to their countries as servants but treat as slaves. Arab women, although treated as no more than goods themselves, are oblivious to whether the diamonds they wear as paeans to polygamy came at the cost of a limb of someone in Africa.

We are dead wrong to think we can do hurtful things and assume praying five times daily will make it OK. Prophet would probably remind us, “Didn’t I teach you to be kind to others by my forgiving the Jewish man who poured hot ashes on me?” Didn’t I teach you when I deliberately lingered to play with children when I was late for a Khotbeh to many important people? Didn’t I teach you to smile so our world would smile with you and to show your hearts through human gestures?” He was so passionate that even his enemies had a hard time being angry at him in his presence.

Despite Ms. Levy’s denial, Islam has been hijacked from a Godly business to a business of God. Muslims do little to correct that impression and then wonder why non-Muslims don’t think of us as peaceful. A religion of pure, light hearted worshipers has become a religion of the mind where charlatans promise virgins in Heaven for men who take lives in the name of God without justification. We turned His peaceful white religion into a black and bloody morass; from the green of prosperity to the gray of oppression and yellow of disease; from the quiet blue of a majestic and holy feeling to a red blood bath with warriors who carry weapons instead of the teachings of Prophet in their hearts.

We try to intimidate others by showing our teeth at them. Then, we expect to be considered KIND.

Men and women who have lost their battle with Evil; turning over their hearts and minds and obeying Evil without question are destroying our religion.

If we don’t stand up today, we will one day, too late, stand remorsefully before God.

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