Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
I wish to present an explanation of the January 21, 2013 inaugural speech of the US President Barack Obama as a reflection of the principles dear to Islam.
What binds this nation together is not the colours of our skin … or the origins of our names.
These words could have come straight from the sayings of the Messenger of Allah who forbade differences based on race, skin colour or place of origin. Unfortunately, some Muslims have misplaced their culture for Islam and consider any Muslim who does not conform to their sewage called culture as a non-Muslim. These Muslims propagate their culture as Islam tarnishing the image of Islam in the process.
What makes us exceptional is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration
That allegiance is to Allah and His Messenger vocalised in the words: “No one should be worshipped except Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger”. Every Muslim believes those words and declares this belief: “I believe that no one should be worshipped except Allah and I believe that Muhammad is His Messenger”.
The declaration of those words and the affirmation of the belief demonstrated in actions endorsed in the Sunnah (Practices) of the Messenger of Allah define the outstanding features of a Muslim as an individual and as a valuable member of the Muslim Ummah (society).
This declaration dates officially from more than 1400 years ago. Its origin however dates back to the creation of humanity and to the days of our ancestor Prophet Adam. It is a declaration etched in diamonds and an inviolable statement of fact and purpose.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
Indeed humanity is equal in rights of sanctity of life, freedom, and dignity. The life of others must be valued irrespective of whether one values one’s life or not. A common statement among some Muslims is “I am prepared to sacrifice my life for Allah”.
On the surface, such statements may sound sincere and devotional, however to the average Muslim it is an indication of the worthlessness of own life. If own life is not valued – and that is the theme – no one should expect such a person to value the life of others.
In effect, the statement has come to signify the ease with which one is willing to end the life of another individual regardless of the consequence to self. Hence one finds assassination and murder an acceptable means of dispute resolution in certain communities.
Freedom of will and of action is another taboo in some Muslim circles. No one has the will to make right choices not to mention to implement such choices. One is either under coercion or enforcing cruelty on others. Everyone is a victim of everyone else. Need I add that everyone is a victim of Allah. Oh yes! How could I omit that? Glory be to Allah; Exalted is He above their assertions.
“Honour”! Yes. Never mind that the perception of “honour” in some Muslim circles is not in any way connected to one’s good conduct, but to the conduct of others. In other words, one’s “honour” is not depended on one’s reputation and integrity of actions, but on whether someone else conforms to one’s delusions. One’s misbehaviours do not affect one’s “honour”. Someone else’s behaviours apparently do. This is what I call delusional “honour”.
Dignity, my preferred term for the misuse of the word honour to commit abuses, reflects in one’s beliefs, values, behaviours and actions, whether in public or in private. Dignity improves one’s life and is an impetus for one to appreciate and value oneself. Dignity keeps an individual constantly on alert to avoid acting in a manner that contradicts own principles.
The dignity of others must be respected. It is futile to demean and insult others while demanding respect from the same individuals one insults. If one is comfortable with one’s impoliteness and freely engages in the personal attacks of others, one should not play victim when one receives the same.
Only if one values own life, freedoms and dignity can one embark on the search for happiness. Happiness is a way of life for those who seek goodness on this earth as well as in the Hereafter. Allah and His Messenger extended to the believers innumerable glad tidings of the present life and the life after this.
It is an irony that some Muslims have restricted happiness to the Hereafter. Anyone who does not make others miserable is conceited and lives in fairyland. Reality to them is to frown and frown some more, not to mention to make other people miserable. Everyone must be miserable.
Rather, happiness is a vibrant reality that one can employ to keep one’s state of mind and body in good health.