“Everyone is from Adam and Adam is from dust” [hadith]
Everyone. This includes our neighbours, the girl behind the supermarket checkout, our fellow students and work colleagues. All of those who may not be Muslim but are a part of our brotherhood; the brotherhood of humanity. Being children of Adam (alayhi-salam) we have rights over each other, responsibilities incumbent upon us to fulfil. Allah (Subhanu-wa-ta’ala) referred to the people of A’ad as brothers of Prophet Hud (as) despite the fact they were disbelievers as they did not accept the blessed message brought to them. Through this we realise that whilst our brotherhood of Islam should be of love and eternal victory for one another, our brotherhood of humanity should allow us to be mindful of the fact that people are like one another, therefore we must be careful of how we treat them.
Nowadays when one integrates with the non-Muslims it can be perceived as one showing loyalty to the ‘kufaar’. A word many people misunderstand. A kaafir is one who Allah (swt) has decreed will be a disbeliever and this will not be clear until he dies- as he is a disbeliever in and of his essence. Are we, as struggling individuals able to judge the essence of ones belief whilst battling with the state of our own faith? The essence of the disbelief of a non-Muslim cannot be judged on this earth therefore it cannot be hated, as when he reads the shahadah he enters the fold of our Muslim brotherhood. He becomes a brother to us, so how is it possible to hate something that has the possibility of changing? These people who have the possibility of changing include leaders of first world countries, the politicians and those who may harbour harsh opinions about Islam itself. We do not hate them in of their essence but we may dislike certain traits and characteristics.
The desire of a Muslim for a non-Muslim should be the greatest of all desires; we should look with the eye of mercy rather than becoming a part of many who have lost their epitome to call people to Islam, those who live forgetting their duty allowing interaction with a non-Muslim to occur solely for a basic economic need. This does not mean we have to be out there knocking on doors and handing out unwanted leaflets to passers-by. We need to focus on showing people Islam, as people will learn about Islam through us. We are mirrors of Islam, the Holy Quran and the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him); people will look towards us as a means of understanding these. If our mirrors are clean and polished people will see this and through this see the realities of Islam. If our mirrors are spotted and dirty, people will see the mutation of what is before them. We are all as individuals responsible for the way Islam is viewed; therefore it is upon us all to clean our mirrors in order to remove the misconceptions of our religion of peace.
Often people are quick to shift the blame, this usually involves commenting on the media and its role in affecting the way Islam is understood, this media that all of us form. We need to concern ourselves with our responsibilities, and allow people to have sound first hand experiences of Islam, removing any erroneous beliefs born through secondary sources such as the media.
It is a time to reflect. What are our intentions of trying to better the condition and opinion of the West? Is it to better the condition of the East, a basic safety factor? Or do we want to show them mercy so they become victorious in this world and the next. The Holy Quran refers to the “saved people”, those to whom the message of Islam did not reach. Are people getting the true message of Islam through us? Or is Islam being portrayed in a distorted way. It will continue to be portrayed in this manner, whether that is because of the media or us as Muslims, unless we stop trying to change the opinions of the West for our selfish needs and recognise this sacred trust given to us by Allah (swt), being fearful of what we will be held accountable for. This blessing given to us which is not only a trust, but a door, a means in attaining closeness to Our Creator and His Blessed Messenger (pbuh).
We do not need to outwardly tell people but rather, we need to think about our relationship with them and the adaab (manners) we have in our interactions. These adaab do not only refer to the physical embodiment of these ways, but include the inner-self, the secret that lies within the spirit and the heart; this secret needs to love and encompass all of humanity in order to purify our hearts. When one takes on these adaab one no longer sees himself as part of the equation, everything becomes a part of our ibaadah, a way of worship. We simply become ambassadors of our faith, and everything becomes a part of worshipping Our Creator, Ar-Rahman (the Mercy full), Ar-Rahim (the Bestower of Mercy).
“The most perfect of believers, in the point of faith, is he, who is the best in manners.” (Hadith of Abu-Dawud)