Posts tagged Islam
Posts tagged Islam
Given the fact that Muslims, myself being one of them, are constantly upset over being grouped into a stereotype of “terrorists” and whatnot due to the actions of a select zealous few, it would do these same Muslims in the Middle East a favor to stop raging against American Embassy’s in an attempt to show their discontent with the select few Americans who made such a denigrating video. Anyone smell the bitter scent of hypocrisy? Come on people!
Have we forgotten how to be humane?
No one is born intolerant.
I’m standing in uniform, that is to say hair, skin, bosom covered. Hands clasp against my chest feeling the beat of a savaged heart. My body is clean but that seems to be more than I can say for my impious soul. I’m unfocused. My mind is lost in delirium, running through a course of irreverent thought. I’m reciting words I’ve yet to look up the meaning to, chanting phrases of devote intent yet I lack the intended devotion. Tears stream the canvas of my face in helpless misery. I’m begging for salvation with a faithless heart. I’m on empty, fueled by sin and retribution but I’m on bended knees pleading for some kind of conviction. I can’t remember the last time my prayers were answered.
Religion seems eager to find me but these days I can’t decipher between faith and reason. Mid-prayer I find my heart beating against my chest, hard, ready to break through my walls of contravention. Tears border the bridge line of my eyelids, floating in melancholy devotion. My hands clasp heavy against my palms holding together this conviction. I want to be faithful, desperately searching for the liberating confidence of belief. I’ve got creed chasing after me but I can’t seem to keep myself from running. Bruises brand the essence of my soul from the weighty grip of piety, leaving me tarnished by my own immoral transgressions. I am heavy with sin, astray in a benevolent world of irreverence, seemingly unfocused and imprudent. I’m trying to succumb to revelation but I’m still waiting on a sign of your existence. God, are you listening to me?
Ehsas Jdeed (A New Feeling) by Nancy Ajram (translated)
I’m a sinner at heart, in the most immodest way.
I’ve grown up in an interracial culture, constantly battling the deeds of my heart and mind. Relentlessly questioning the correlation between my faith and my actions, between my words and my thoughts.
How can someone feel so lost and so at home at the same time?
I’ve never thought of myself as wrong but I often try to convince myself that I’m made up of nothing but transgressions.
Word of the month: Transgression (of the holy month needless to say).
This Ramadan I was in limbo, teetering back and forth between sinning and sainthood. It all felt so… right, as wrong as that is to say.
I found myself amidst prayer, convoluting conversations with God, talking to Him as if He were my best friend. In silent solemn I asked for forgiveness, not of these indiscretions, but rather of my lack of piety.
I’ve always been a woman of faith, that is to say, I never stopped believing in God. Yes, at times I’ve questioned His existence, but even then my distressed prayers had always been aimed at his mercy.
I’m a sinner at heart, conceited with contravention, blatantly misguided by shorthanded virtue. But I’m a saint, because we’re all flawed.
Fifteen days down, fifteen to go. Half way through this holy month and I seem to have transgressed further away from sanctity than ever before. When did religion become so immeasurable? All these rules and regulations have me feeling faulty. I fast away impurities only to invite them back in come the hint of sunset. Fighting off thoughts of tainted divinity as I battle notions of furtive indiscretions. My body suffers the bruising of imprudence, tarnished by an imperfect conscience that tends to sway at the sight of infidelity. Nothing seems more difficult than the commitment of commencement. This inaugural sentiment of purity and righteousness baring heavy on this seemingly blemished soul. I’ve yet to conquer a faithful will.
It’s nights like these when religion doesn’t seem fathomable. When God can only be found at the bottom of an empty bottle or the bed of a reticent lover. I tried praying but my sins speak volumes, drowning out the verses of hymns I recite in monotone recollections. Does faith count when it’s faithless? This all feels too routine. I can’t remember the last time God and I spoke but it must’ve ended on bad terms. My prayers seem to have gone unanswered. Do these fasts even count? With a mind that wanders through thoughts of sin, eyes that partake in treachery, hands that itch at the sight of sunset, tingling at the essence of lost virtue. I’ve been counting down the hours, minutes, seconds up to this momentary lapse of inhibitions. Temptation etched on the palms of a clandestine lover, heavy with indulgence, reeking of coaxed immoderation. I can’t hide these thoughts from Him. I spend my waking hours consciously fighting back my own conscience, deciphering right from wrong, calculating my every transgression. Is it considered belief if I’m constantly questioning?
It’s officially the first day of the holy month of Ramadan and somehow I’ve never felt more unholy myself.
Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the last eight months of the year committing more time to sin than religion. Maybe because I’ve told more lies than truths, kept more secrets and made it an incentive to become a more selfish person.
This time of year is for the purification of mind and body but how does someone purify their soul? Yes, I can commit myself to conceding food and water. I can keep my thoughts occupied with work, family, friends and even religious scripts. I can pray. I can spend the next thirty days confined to faith.
But what happens on the thirty-first day?
What happens when Ramadan is over and all that surrounds me is no longer consumed by religion? What happens when we all go back to eating while the sun is out, sinning when it sets and absorbing ourselves in the lives we led before August 1st? How does thirty days, more or less, purify the talking demon from within?
This year I’m starting Ramadan with more questions than answers. It’s the first year I find myself questioning my faith…not in religion, but in myself. Do I want to be the holier version of myself? Am I ready, willing, to give up indulgence for creed? Maybe the answers lie within the questions themselves. If I am questioning my own conviction than where does that leave my soul?
Ramadan is an emotional journey. Every year we devote ourselves to a month of blatant worship, obligating ourselves to mandatory prayer and conscious faith. With every growling stomach comes the reminder that religion is an everyday part of life. It is a necessity, like the water and food we’ve forfeited. Ramadan is a concentration camp. It is a deliberate awareness of faith.
Day one and I am already feeling faithless. Can thirty days of religion cleanse a sinner’s heart?
“The month of Ramadan is that in which the Quran was revealed, guidance to men and clear proofs of the guidance and the distinction; therefore whoever of you is present in the month, he shall fast therein…” Quran 2:185
In the wake of horrific natural disasters, people having lost more than their homes, and freedom revolutions, it amazes me that there are still those who can find the time to discriminate and prejudge.
May 1, 2011 marked an infamous day for the Obama administration and the arousal of what unmistakably seems as the demise of humanity, at least in my opinion.
The Obama administration carried out an operation that accomplished a mission that was set nearly ten years ago: vengeance against the Taliban by the death of Osama bin Laden.
The aftermath of that operation is something rather disturbing. People took to the streets in celebration. I can’t say that this isn’t understandable, but the underlying notion is sickening: the commemoration of a killing.
How we treat our most unwanted person is a reflection of who we are as a society. And I stand firmly behind this statement.
Festivities aside, I thought that once the shock surpassed, people would go back to being humane. I’m sure these celebrations were derived more from the relief that a mass-murderer was no longer roaming the streets or in hiding.
What disturbs me most about the aftermath of the killing of bin Laden is the fear, tension, anger and discrimination it has revived against the Islamic community. Muslims being targeted strictly based on their faith and the practice of that faith. Being removed from airplanes or not even allowed to board because of misplaced ‘uncomfort’, for lack of a better word.
What is shocking is that people, to this day, do not understand that Islam, just like all faiths, is a peaceful religion. No matter how many times it is reiterated, people seem to associate the Muslim faith with terrorism and hatred.
We did not condemn Christianity or the white man for Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City Bombing. Or most recently, Jared Loughner’s slaying of six American citizens, including a nine year old girl.
What other religion is viewed with such hatred? Such misconception? What other race is discriminated against on the basis of their faith?
Yet even now, in the 21st century, with thriving technology, endless educational opportunities and intermixed faiths and relationships, people can still find it in themselves to hate and discriminate, but they can’t seem to look deep enough within themselves to realize and understand.
What is happening to humanity? What are we teaching our youth? I thought we were supposed to be progressing.
As I listened to a story covered by NPR this afternoon, on a hearing scheduled this coming Thursday to investigate the radicalization of Muslim Americans, I couldn’t help but think about the underlying factors that would stir up such a debate.
I was taken back, for a moment, to the months that followed the tragic day in September 2001. I remember my parents being too scared to let me go to school, my mother cursed at by people who once smiled at her at the grocery store, glares of anger and acts of hate.
These days, with the ongoing freedom protests in the Middle East, I wonder what these simple factors mean for people like me in the United States.
Honestly, I’m disturbed by the fact that many people are more concerned about the price of gas. They seem angry at the fact that these revolutions have erupted not realizing that what may cost them 20cents more in gas is actually costing someone else their life and livelihood.
And with Middle Eastern dictators such as Libyan ruler Gaddafi having innocent protesters killed and having no mercy for humanity, it seems to have stirred up the September 11th stereotype of Islam.
I spoke to a gentleman just the other day expressing how happy I am about the revolutions in the Middle East. I explained that my excitement stemmed from the fact that Arab youths were standing up for themselves, taking charge of their lives even if it meant they were risking it.
Through unintentional ignorance, this man explained that he was fearful. That from what he’d heard, these revolutions were acts of terrorism in these Middle Eastern countries and that if these rulers fall it would mean bad news for America and the rest of the world.
Wow. This was his understanding of what is going on in the Middle East. I couldn’t help but wonder how many people out there are just as confused, how many people are misled and misunderstanding what is really going on. It’s disturbing to think that people are mistaking these freedom struggles for acts of terror.
Ignorance doesn’t sound like bliss to me.
Suddenly, debates on the role of Islam in American society have flourished. Muslims all across the nation being targetted through acts of hate and, for lack of a better word, confusion. People misled by the media, political propoganda and greedy incentives are fearful of a religion that preaches what all religions do: peace and understanding.
Fear is the catalyst of this hatred, of this prejudice. People are often fearful of the unknown, and in this case, what they do not know is what they are actually afraid of. Islam and Muslim Americans have become the stereotypical scapegoats of this fear. If the fear can be pinpointed, it can be eliminated. Why else would such an irrational meeting be scheduled by Rep. Peter King (R) of Long Island?
What next…internment camps for all Muslim Americans? You would think that sounds ridiculous, but this seems to be the kinds of steps political officials like Rep. King are leaning towards by instilling fear in everyone else. Somehow convincing many people, like the gentleman I spoke to, that the revolutions in the Middle East are acts of terror and that these supposed acts are spreading throughout the United States.
Does that make sense to anyone? Why are people so keen on associating terror to Islam? To Muslims? No one called Jarod Loughner a terrorist when he shot 31 bullets, wounding 19 and killing 6. No one associated his faith and beliefs with terror. What about the Unibomber? Timothy McVeigh? No one associated or stereotyped Christianity with terrorism. So why Islam? Why Muslims?
Read a little bit about all the things you didn’t know. Update yourself. Educate yourself. Understand the true nature of society. Learn about the things you’re not being taught.
This week’s read: A Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin