There are times when my fellow Muslims truly baffle me. For these folks, it’s always ‘haram this’, ‘haram that’, ‘you’ll go to hellfire’, and ‘your life is cursed’ kind of conversation. They don’t always talk about Islam but when they do, it’s to slap a haraam label on something or someone. They brandish their haram gun everywhere they go, and are ready to strangle anyone who dares to challenge their religious perspective. ‘Pyu, pyu, pyu!’ Off they go shooting haram bullets at others in the name of God. It’s not that what they have pointed out to isn’t haraam, it’s just that they have summarized Islam into a dogmatic code of living instead of the profoundly beautiful explanation to the mystery of life that it is.
But Islam is more than just a set of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’- it is not just the sum of rituals and practices, or a memorization of Arabic vocabularies to impress the world with. Islam is more than that; it is living a life devoted to God and to the promoting of the well-being of other human beings.
I am Muslim and this is what I believe: If the way you practice Islam has turned you into an angry human being; if it’s turned you into a social nuisance, and if the energy that you emit out into the universe serves as a liability rather than an asset, then you aren’t practicing the true Islam.
Because here’s the thing about Islam: it literally translates to peace and submission to God. As a Muslim, to know God is to also to be constantly in a state of humility. You are not perfect; no one is. And one man’s open sin could be smaller in magnitude than your thousand hidden ones. So before you bring out your haram gun, think. Refer back to how the Prophet Muhamad (SAW) rectified the behavior of others and contemplate the wisdom behind his actions. Afterall, the Prophet was the living example of the Quran and to emulate him is to bring the Quranic verses to life.
The Prophet was gentle in speech and never harsh towards others. He managed to unite warring communities, establish a civil community and spread Islam to the furthest corners of the earth not by huffing and puffing his chest, but by being the person that others wanted to be around all the time.
Be kind, be kind, be kind. It’s a fact that changing yourself is the only way to change the world.