"WHEN THE WORLD GOES SILENT: REFLECTING ON LOSS"
28 February 2020
Dr. Abou El Fadl begins with the reason for the previous jumu'a’s cancellation - the loss of his hearing. He sees it as both a challenge and a blessing, as we should view everything we are dealt in life. If we reflect upon ourselves, we will see that everything that we enjoy, even the most minor coordination, the simplest thought, the way that we interpret every desire is a clear indication of God’s existence. However, the nature of human beings often is to not reflect until we experience loss, taking blessings for granted. Our ability to speak, to see, to perceive the world around us are experiences we engage in constantly but never pause to reflect upon the miraculousness of the act.
It is immoral to take God out of our lives to enjoy our existence as if we owe nothing, as if we are not interconnectedly an extension of God. Seeing, hearing, thinking, and tasting are all divine marvels, but what is critical is how we choose to navigate those marvels, whether we navigate towards a fulfillment of the Divine or navigate away, towards the ungodly. Humans are masters of distraction, diverting our attention to avoid reflecting upon the constant marvels of divinity that we are intimately involved in.
Your hearing stops, the world goes silent, and suddenly you notice what has been taken away from your life. The sound of the adhan is missed, and you reflect upon the times you were busy, so you turned off the adhan. You ponder, if your hearing returns, will you be more attentive to the adhan? Will it be given priority, or will old habits return and the adhan will once again be taken for granted? You miss your family calling for you. If your hearing returns, will you be more attentive to your family?
When something is taken from us, we are willing to promise God the world, if only God would give us back what has been taken. But we must be honest with ourselves to avoid being liars, as many of us will fail to uphold our promises, ultimately breaching whatever commitments were expressed at a time of need. A wise person does not need to experience loss to reflect upon their relationship with Allah, but much of humanity exists in a state of oblivion.
Every challenge is a blessing, because every blessing is an opportunity to think, reflect, reform, change and grow. Many people when struck by a challenge ask God, ‘Why?’. Instead of asking 'why', we should use the opportunity to reflect upon the ways that we may have failed ourselves and consider that loss as a moment to grow before time runs out and we have no more opportunities to work with. We should ask God to grant us the strength of consistency and to steer us away from hypocrisy, because our own hubris gives us a false strength of immunity. Sincerity reminds us that there are losses that we may be unable to bear, but God will stand by us as we persevere through any challenge or loss. We are in a constant state of grace and blessings, yet we are often not cognizant of it until something is drastically taken away from us.
Last week, there was a massacre in Germany, where a man shot Muslims sitting in a hookah bar. Prior to the attack, he released a deeply racist manifesto, referencing inferior and superior races. This manifesto reflects the re-emergence of racist ideology in the Western world that views humanity as fundamentally unequal. Referring to Islam as a race, not a religion, this man believed the world must rid itself of the Islamic race. He also expressed anti-Semitic viewpoints, wanting to rid the world of Jews.
Despite just a week passing, this story has already become old news. If the attacker was Muslim, articles about Islamic radicalism and Islamic violence would be headlining news for weeks. Trump, who has Muslims supporters like those in Zaytuna, and who creates a commission to re-examine human rights, does not condemn this terrorist act as such, because the victims are Muslim. Racism is the most lethal social disease, responsible for genocides, colonialism, and unfettered imperialism. Muslims should be at the forefront fighting the war against racism, but we are not. This racist, clearly Islamophobic attack occurs, and no one talks about the Western philosophies responsible because the most Islamophobic statements no longer just come from evangelists and right-wing Zionists, but are believed and repeated by Muslims themselves.
It has become common belief among some Muslims that Islam is defective, and that Muslims must be ashamed of our faith. Many public figure Muslims who fight this narrative have been punished by corrupt Muslim governments, either ending up in prison, like Salman Al-Ouda, or becoming discredited, isolated, demonized and muted, like Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and Tareq Al-Suwaidan. The hypocrisy of this world is that the same people who claimed Islam does not support the principle of free speech are now silent regarding these unjust arrests, choosing to align with corrupt, powerful governments instead of fighting for Muslims who used their free speech to defend Islam.
Those who have the wealth should find the most competent intellects and fund them so we can create a momentum against racism, Islamophobia and unjust imprisonment, torture and denial of due process. If this happens, Muslims can become a force against the abuses of power, injustice and oppression, following the message of Islam.