Archive for June, 2012

What makes an American good?

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Can a Muslim be a good American

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A conversation with a co-worker led to this inquiry.  This response from a regular American who happens to be Muslim explained plenty.  I apologize that I don’t have her name.

A Muslim can be a good American, as are most Muslims that I know and interact with.  Let me give you a general overview…
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) began preaching Islam in Makkah — there, he and his followers lived in Makkah, where most of the people where idol worshippers. later, he was pushed out of Makkah and went to Madinah, where he and his followers lived, in peace, amidst huge amounts of Jewish tribes.  Moreover, when he finally was able to go back to Makkah, it was a bloodless conquest… despite the fact that he and his followers were tortured and thrown out of Makkah by the people therein, and despite the fact that now, years later, the Prophet had power and people and could take revenge and killed the people who tortured them in Makkah, the opening of Makkah was a bloodless conquest. any Islamic history book will document this fact, and that alone proves that a Muslims can coexist with non muslims and be a good citizen of those respective countries. now… on to your points.
Theologically, Muslim allegiance is to Allah (as Christian allegiance is to Jesus) — but that doesn’t stop me from being a good citizen. I obey Allah, and worship Him and adhere to His words in the same exact way that a devout Christian or Jew would adhere to their books and beliefs. This doesn’t make the Christian or Jew unable to be a good American, and likewise with the Muslim — our allegiance is to Allah, which means we obey His rules — we pray, we fast, we help the needy and poor, we don’t commit adultery, we don’t drink alcohol, we don’t steal, and we don’t kill innocent people and so on — none of these things go against being a good American.
Religiously – even if Islam is the only accepted religion in the eyes of Allah, that doesn’t mean that we as Muslims have the right to judge others. ask a devout Christian about Christianity — he’ll tell you that Jesus Christ’s way is the only way. likewise, Muslims will tell you that Islam is the only way — that doesn’t mean that we’re going to judge non Muslims as going to Hell, because no one knows the future and no one knows, even a great enemy to Islam might become a Muslim and we have to embrace him as our brother the next day. Judging is left to God, so its not for us to judge; thus, this doesn’t affect us being good Muslims.
Scriptually – I can follow the 5 Pillers of Islam (belief in God, praying my 5 prayers, fasting Ramadan, paying my charity (zakah), doing Hajj once in a lifetime), along with following the rules in the Quran (not stealing, not killing innocent people, doing good things, etc) without affecting me being a good American.  A Muslim who adheres to God’s rules IS a good American because he treats others with kindness even when treated poorly by others.

Socially – the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to interact normally with the non Muslims of Makkah and Madinah — there’s nothing that prevents a Muslim from interacting and being nice to people around them – in fact, if a Muslim doesn’t do that, how is he going to spread his religion? The spreading of religion comes by others seeing the way we act in accordance to our religion, thus they see the beauty of it and accept it.

Politically – Muslim allegiance is to God.  America is not Satan, neither is Israel — there are people in America and Israel (especially in the government) who want the destruction and demise of Islam and Muslims, but that doesn’t mean the general populace of these countries also want that, that any people should be destroyed.  Our job as Muslims is to follow the teachings of the true Islam, after which people will see the beauty of our religion. When people see the beauty of Islam, many people will accept it. the problem today is that there are some extremists (terrorists exist in all religions) who do things in the name of Islam, and people have come to associate their actions with the actions of every Muslim. Over 20% of the world’s population is Muslim, and those terrorists do not even make up 1% of the number of Muslims — it is ridiculous to generalize about 1.3+ billion people based on what 200 terrorists do or say.

Domestically – Do you know why it was allowed for men to marry 4 women?  How many people do you know have married four women? You may hear of “Muslims with 4 wives” – and you change it to “he is instructed to marry 4 women” — that’s not the case (wait, i am coming to the beating part, patience) — a man *can* marry 4 women under very strict situations and circumstances which basically are very hard to fulfill these days.  Most men do not marry more than one woman. It is not an instruction or an order in any way.  When you look into the reason behind it, maybe you’ll understand why it is allowed.

Regarding the beating part – the problem is, you are taking an English translation out of context (the same thing with the bible).  I advise you to look at the verse’s translation in an Arabic Tafseer book where it will be explained. suffice it to say that the Prophet, who is the example for all mankind, never hit his wives, and whenever he did, he hit them with a straw. yes, a straw. its not meant as beating.  (perhaps we need to let the terrorists know this.  Spare the rod spoil the child types and stoning folks for misdoings)

I would also like to point out that Islam is the first religion to give rights to women. (this might be a stretch)  the Prophet implemented this in his time – he opened the first Islamic hospital and put a woman in charge of it to cure both men and women – some of the greatest teachers of Islam were women. the Prophet even took advice in crucial matters from his wives. Don’t be afraid to learn the teachings of Islam rather than take things that you hear without looking them through.

Intellectually – the Bible is the book of God. We believe it has been altered, but nothing in the constitution goes against my day to day religious practices or beliefs. notice it says “in God we trust” – “one nation under God” – these statements don’t go against Islam in any way. if it had said “in Jesus we trust” or “one nation under Jesus,” then maybe you’d be right, but it doesn’t.

 Philosophically – Islam is the first democracy.  (really?!) As a matter of fact, to the extent of the fact that if one person complained about a person the Prophet or one of the caliph’s put in charge, even if that person was a liar, they had the person replaced with someone that everyone consented and agreed with. Islam brought democracy, long before the idea ever was brought by western civilization. The prophet took the opinion and expression of his companions, even women.

Christians and Muslims worship the same God.  Christians believe that Jesus is part of that God and the Holy Spirit is part of that God. We believe that God is 1, not in a trinity.  Allah not referred to as loving and kind? as a matter of fact, the first verse of the Quran says “in the name of God, the Beneficient, the Merciful” — the very FIRST verse. in every chapter, God talks about His mercy and kindness.

My views are not liberal; they are the views of any mainstream Muslim. I’ve lived in this country, I’ve helped this country (by contributing my knowledge, ideas, time and effort to its schools, universities, corporate environments, and volunteer environments) – as have the majority of other Muslims.

 

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