Right, I suppose it's up to me to write as complete an explanation of what a muslim is in this space as possible with the limited time available. There is general information floating about in the media, however Islam is a rather complex and beautiful subject, and much of this beauty is lost in the emotionally stunted, and highly filtered smaltzy world of TV, so perhaps a little more is required to touch the subject.

Muslims are practicioners of Islam. And the word means "one who submits", however it useful to know that the "one" that we submit to is Allah. To those who believe that Allah is God, I would say that you are partially right. A God is just something that you worship, it can be an idol, money, fame, or anything else that you devote time, attention and effort to. Allah isn't just that. Allah is the Creator, the Destroyer, The Absolute, he is Omnipotent, All Knowing, and is responsible for all that exists, and ever has existed and ever will exist. I think you get the idea.

This notion of Allah as Supreme Being isn't complete without understanding that Allah is One. Not Three (like Christians believe) and Not Many (like Hindus and tribal societies believe).

When you understand this concept of Allah you are a long way to understanding a Muslim. For instance a Muslim's belief in Allah as One give him a wonderful sense of logic, purpose, and strength in himself and his relation to the universe. Muslims believe in absolute justice, in truth, and in love. There is no contradiction between this idea and his view of the world, and what he know about himself and others. Allah is infallible, and he knows that whatever happens is His Will, which means that most Muslims are blessed with a kind of contentment that really ticks off other peoples.

"I know that no matter whatever happens to me or my family, justice will prevail". Is a common islamic Quote.

In complement to this, Muslims are judged on their actions as well as their thoughts, and feelings. So they feel the need to take direct action against those things they feel are evil. This concept is known as Jihad, which means Holy War. There is the Great War (The struggle within oneself) and the Lesser War (the struggle with the outside world).

Muslims believe in Heaven and Hell, and they believe they get there through their own efforts and by the guidance of Allah, who will judge them when they die. This means they take a responsible view to life, as everything matters.

Muslims believe in the family, in a father and mother, and children, and that older family members should be looked after in the home instead of being sent away at the end of their lives to die alone in some whitepainted room while a strangers watch them dispassionately. Family is important, as they teach them who they are in the world, and show them to be kind. Kindness is seen as an expression of the soul in Islam, and requires nothing in return. A good act should be done for it's own sake, and never for reward.

Muslims believe in Justice, and peace, and love and harmony.

Muslim women were the first women in the world to be given rights of property and inheritance and given the right to divorce their men. Divorce only reached the west around 1900AD.

Most Muslims know and understand the Quran, which is their Holy Book, and is seen as the Sacred Word of Allah. It is unalterable.

Muslims dont drink, and they don't eat pork.

Muslims are supposed to defend their families and their faith to the death. This is called loyalty.

Muslims aren't supposed to lie.

Muslims pray five times a day.

Muslims don't usually listen to Music

Muslims usually have excellent memories

Muslims have significantly longer than average lives. This is due to the moderation with which they live.

I've had, on occasion, the most pleasant and wonderful opportunity to ask myself why so many people hate Muslims and Islam so much in general. I thought to myself, do those people hate Islam because they've been oppressed under centuries, nay, millenia of hardline, rigid, militant Islamic rule? Most of the 'oppression' I see that's been going around is from frustrated young people unable to fulfill their sexual wants and mores and/or to express and articulate their deepest thoughts and emotions. Of course, everyone (everyone being, in this case, mature, responsible adults worldwide) understands that life is a series of gives and takes, with the 'give' part being slightly more prominent. But to, in any way, implicate Islam or Muslims in somehow being responsible for this; is like blaming trees for giving us carbon dioxide.

Okay, Islam, or rather, Muslims have been responsible for decades of strife and bloodshed in the Middle East, and the way the female population is treated there has been the subject of much derision. This does not explain the hate and antagonism reserved for all Muslims. Many prominent Muslims have publicly spoken out against the violence, hate and ignorance that stirs in the swirling, tumultous Middle East. Respected, intelligent thoughts have been surfaced by respected, intelligent people; like Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia or Amina Wadud, a passionate and devoted champion of women's rights in Islam. The Quran itself gives views which are decidedly anti-sexist:

Sûrah Al-Baqarah 2. 230
‘And women have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable.’

Sûrah 9:71
"And the believers, both men and women - they are friends and protectors of one another: they enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and are constant in prayer, and render the purifying dues, and pay heed unto God and His apostle. It is they upon whom God will bestow His Grace: verily, God is Almighty, Wise

Sûrah Al-Baqarah 2. 231
‘Do not retain them against their will in order to hurt…’

Sûrah An Nisa 4:19
‘It is not lawful for you to try to hold your wives against their will, and neither shall you keep them under constraint with a view to taking away anything of what you may have given them, unless it be that they have become guilty of immoral conduct in an obvious manner. Consort with wives in goodly manner; for if you dislike them, it may well be that you dislike something which God might yet make a source of abundant good.’

Sûrah al Nisa 4.128
"And if a woman has reason to fear ill-treatment from her husband, or that he might turn away from her, it shall not be wrong for the two to set things peacefully to rights between themselves, for peace is best, and selfishness is ever-present in human souls..."

and anti-violence and aggresion:

Sûrah al Nisa 4.77
"Art thou not aware of those who have been told, 'Curb your hands'...."

Sûrah al Imran 3.134
"... and hold in check their anger..."

Sûrah 42.41-42
But indeed if any do help and defend themselves after a wrong (done) to them, against such there is no cause of blame. The blame is only against those who oppress in wrongdoing and insolently transgress beyond bounds, defying right and justice: for such there will be a penalty grievous.

Sûrah al Baqarah 2.217
Oppression is worse than killing.

Surah Al-An`am 151
“…take not life, which God hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.”

Surah Al-Ma’idah 32
“… if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.”

And the prophet Mohammed has been reported to have said:

"Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman.”

and:

"Do not kill the monks in monasteries"

Most normal Muslims, including the little that are here on everything, disapprove and condemn these acts of ignorance and/or hate and aggresion. If all Muslims were like the ones you read about in the newspaper or see on television, the world would, in all probability, be a vastly different place.

Or, maybe it's because Muslims and Islam have been regarded as being boring and staid and uninteresting. This, I believe, is not a problem that is confined to the Islamic community alone, but rather a cross-cultural, multi-racial, global problem. In fact, it could be said that being boring is one of the most universal traits of humanity as a whole. And besides, to hate someone or something because they were boring would be wrong anyway. IMHO.

Maybe it's even because Muslims are regarded as smart-ass know-it-alls, unwilling to see reason beyond their own blinded prejudices and trapped within their own anal, claustrophobic, narrow-minded views and opinions, always believing themselves to be right and not giving a rat's ass about other people. Some Muslims are like that. But then again, so are some politicians. And yeah, some politicians are Muslims too.

So, ultimately, I can't figure out a reason why, logically, anyone should hate Muslims in principle and Islam as well. Maybe, it's just me. If so, I must be living in a world of hate and not been aware of it. That, to me, would indeed be a sad revelation and one that would make living and going on in this world much harder than it has already been.

Thank you for reading.

Mus"lim (?), n.

See Moslem.

 

© Webster 1913.

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