By Shariffa Carlo- A revert Muslim Sister
While Islam is a faith that has never, alhamdulillah, disappointed me, Muslims never ceases to amaze me. One of the many qualities that I have so often admired in Muslims has been the unwavering devotion to, at the very least, the title of Muslim. We have Muslims at all levels of faith. We have Muslims who don’t pray, arrest, beat, mutilate or kill other Muslims. We have Muslims who hold to some concepts like salat and halal meat, but date, drink or committ some other major sins. We have Muslims who cling solely to the mandatory five. We have Muslims who permeate their entire existance with Islam, and we have all the permutations within these limits. Yet, the one strong bond has always connected them all — La ilaha il Allah, Muhammadur Rasool Allah. This one statement, so short, so sweet, and so simple, has always been our glue. We demand it for ourselves and for those we love because we know that
Your ilah is One ilah; there is no ilah save Him, (Allah) the Beneficent, the Merciful. (2:163).
Your ilah is only Allah, there is no ilah but He; He comprehends all things in (His) knowledge. (20:98).
and we know from our beloved Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam),
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and His Apostle, offers prayer perfectly and fasts the month of Ramadan, will rightfully be granted Paradise by Allah, no matter whether he fights in Allah’s Cause or remains in the land where he is born.” The people said, “O Allah’s Apostle ! Shall we acquaint the people with the is good news?” He said, “Paradise has one-hundred grades which Allah has reserved for the Mujahidin who fight in His Cause, and the distance between each of two grades is like the distance between the Heaven and the Earth. So, when you ask Allah (for something), ask for Al-firdaus which is the best and highest part of Paradise.” (i.e. The sub-narrator added, “I think the Prophet also said, ‘Above it (i.e. Al-Firdaus) is the Throne of Beneficent (i.e. Allah), and from it originate the rivers of Paradise.”) Sahih Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 52, Number 48.
Allah is one. There is no diety that deserves worship except Allah. We all know this. We all believe this. We all cling tight to it. Or so I thought. Rasool Allah said,
Narrated Anas(R.A.), “The Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, “None of you will have faith till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself.” Sahih Bukhari: Volume 1, Book 2, Number 12.
I had believed in this bond still strongly remained because I have personally been the recipient of many examples of this behavior from the very good Muslim to the very bad Muslim.
Once, when I experienced need, a great sister showed me true love. This sister was in a bad situation herself. Her husband was ill. She had many children, and not enough resources to fully care for herself and them. Regardless of this difficult situation, this sister came to me in private and said, “I do not have any money to help you my sister, but I have a few food stamps. Please take them.” Alhamdulillah, my situation was not so bad that I needed to accept this act of great love for the sake of Allah, but I went home and cried for this sister. May Allah give her and her family Firdaus.
On another occasion, I had a chance to benefit from love for the sake of Allah from a brother who was far from the straight path. This was a man who openly smoked, drank and ran around with women during Ramadhan. I had witnissed it myself, but regardless of his many sins, he not only never denied that he was a Muslim. He would prouldly proclaim it to all. He used to say, “I am a great sinner, but I am a Muslim. I do not deny Allah, nor do I deny that I sin” I did not approve of his other activities, but I greatly admired this quality. This man, so far from the path, never the less, showed me an act of great love for the sake of Allah. He and I both taught at the same university. His office was a few doors down from mine. It turns out that there was a lab technician who worked for me who had deep feelings against Islam. This man, on more than one occasion, had prevoked me with anti-Islamic (anti -Allah) sentiments. On one occasion, this man made one comment too many (one I could not let go unchallenged), and I finally reacted. We were in the hallway, arguing, when the brother heard the commotion and opened his office door. He saw that it was me in trouble. He did not hesitate or even question. He simply moved me from the way and protected me from this man who was on the verge of physically assaulting me. He did this in spite of the fact that he was not a practicing Muslim, in spite of the fact that he did not follow Allah’s commands, but I believe that he still loved Allah and Islam. He risked his job to protect a Muslim sister, for the sake of Allah. This has to be admired. May Allah guide him and forgive him and make him from the best of Muslims.
Why am I going into all of this. It is because of a few incidents which happened to me this week. These previous experiences had led me into a false sense of security about the deep down nature of the Muslim. From the best to the worst, we always seemed to stick to one point for each other – La ilaha il Allah. And we used to care about our brothers and sisters. This I had seen. Also, I had seen that great as the love was for each other, more than we cared for our fellow Muslims, we cared for and loved our family. Our families have always been more precious to us than anything in this world. For some of us, the family was the beginning and the end. Some Muslims actually placed their families above Allah and His messenger – in spite of the fact that Rasool Allah had warned us about this,
Narrated Abu Huraira(R.A.), “Allah’s Apostle(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, “By Him in Whose Hands my life is, none of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father and his children.” Sahih Bukhari: Volume 1, Book 2, Number 13.
The best of Muslims, loved their families and obeyed Allah and His messenger, placing them first. The others while they may have placed their priorities in the wrong place, at least never denied Allah or allowed it for their families.
Finally, I reach to my point. This week, I was at USC doing a dawaa event, and had this been one or two incidents, I would have attributed it to rare exceptions, but what I witnessed was more than a few incidents. People, men and women, came to the table saying, “I want to learn more about Islam. My parents are Muslim. I was raised here,” (here there was variation) “but I am a Christian” or “but I do not know anything about their religion” (most common) or “and I am not and I want to learn about it.”
every time it happened, I grew sadder and sadder, and I thought, “Have we forgotten that we are responsible for our family?”
O you who believe! save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones; over it are angels stern and strong, they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them, and do as they are commanded. (66:6).
Narrated ‘Abdullah, Allah’s Apostle said, “Everyone of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges. The ruler who has authority over people, is a guardian and is responsible for them, a man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for them; a woman is a guardian of her husband’s house and children and is responsible for them; a slave (‘Abu) is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it; so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your charges.” Sahih Bukhari: Volume 3, Book 46, Number 730.
It was not one or two isolated incidents. It was a growing trend. This scared me. I have always been a great defender of the idea that we should not raise our children here. At the very least, we should not send them to the public schools. Now, I am truely scared for our children. We seem to have lost so many. These men and women were clearly not the children of converts. They were Arab, Persian, and Indo-Pakistani. Their families had come from a long line of Muslims, and they had allowed the line to die with them. How can a Muslim allow this to happen? I say allow because we all know that the decisions that they made over the years led to this. We are supposed to protect ourselves from this. We are not supposed to be in a Non-Muslim country unless we meet cetain criteria: We must be here for dawaa. We must be able to openly practice our religion — all aspects. We must be able to protect ourselves and our families from Kufer. If we can not do this — we must leave — or at the very least isolate ourseves from them within the society.
Allah warns us:
Surely (as for) those whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their souls, they shall say: In what state were you? They shall say: We were weak in the earth. They shall say: Was not Allah’s earth spacious, so that you should have migrated therein? So these it is whose abode is hell, and it is an evil resort (4:97).
What has happened to our determination, the holding firm to the last thread — the name Muslim. Have we become so ensnarled in the trap of the West that we only care about ourselves, even our children are expendable? Have we bought the propaganda that as long as they believe in some God it is acceptable, that we are all going to the same destination using different paths? Have we just stopped caring about our children? Or is it that we have traded our children for a few gold coins? What has happened to us?
When I converted to Islam, I knew that I never wanted to raise children in this country. I knew that I did not want my children to live as I did, in a society that had no moral foundation. I wanted and still want them to be surrounded by Muslims. I am not naive. I have been to the “Muslim” countries. I know it is not Jannah. I know that all the sins that exist here also exist there, but I also know something else. I have two choices. I can raise my children in a cesspool or a mudpool. These are the choices. The mudpool may feel just as dirty, but it is at least tahir.
The prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) warned us about associations with the non-Muslims.
” Anybody (from among the Muslims) who meets, gathers together, lives, and stays with a Mushrik, and agrees to his ways, opinions, etc. and enjoys his living with him (Mushrik) then he (that Muslim) is like him (Mushrik)” [Sunan Abu Dawud – The Book of Jihad]
The sins are there, but they are more underground. If my child wants them, he will find them, but I pray that those few extra steps he has to take to get to them will be enough to dissuade him. Also, I know that if my child sins, he is still surrounded by Muslims. The path back to Allah is wider. In America, the path is narrow. If he wants to return, he has to go looking for Islam. he is not surrounded by it. Instead, he is surrounded by transgression and evil. The guidance is with Allah, but it is my duty to go out and seek the bounty of Allah, using the best means available. The bird goes out to seek his provision, and he comes back full. I must also go out to seek my provision and my children’s provision. I can not sit back, surround my children with temptation, send them to the manufacturers of sin and temptation for eight hours a day, invite the temptation into my home- in the form of TV, radio, etc…, and then say — “Oh, Allah will guide them.?” You know, He just may, but He placed on me the reponsibility of teaching them, of protecting them, of raising them. I have a role in the process, and I am shirking this responsibility. Allah guides whom He wills. I know this, and the Qadr is in Allah’s hands. but this does not relieve the murderer from his responsibility. Neither the murderer of a soul nor the murderer of a deen is exempt from punishment. Think about it.
We make choices. We choose our mates. We choose our homes. We choose our strategies for raising our children. In a food famine we search for any morsal of food to save our children. In a spiritual famine we owe our children no less. We must protect our children. Their physical well being is not more important than their siritual well-being. It is actual lesser in importance. Allah will care for them, if not here then in Jannah. We have to feed our children Islam, a steady balanced diet, and we have to eliminate that which harms them. If you raise your child on beer and wine, he will probably become an alcoholic. If you raise him on kufer and sin, he will probably become a kafir. And if you raise him on Allah and Islam, he will probably become a Muslim.
We do as much as we can, and leave the guidance to Allah, trusting He will help us in our quest to worship Him with our lives, our property and our families.
Ya Allah! I beg you to open the eyes of the Muslims. Let us see the danger of melting into the Western melting pot. Ya Allah! Protect our children. Ya Allah! Protect our children. Ya Allah! Protect our children. Ya Allah! Protect our future. Ameen.