By Shaykh Tameem Ahmadi
23rd Sha’bān 1438 / May 20th, 2017
A Drive To Jama Masjid (St. Michaels)
We passed through the border patrol and customs without any difficulty and waited for our ride outside the airport. As we stepped out of the building, we could feel the humid tropical climate and the ocean breeze blowing, and after 15 minutes of basking in the humid climate, a car approached and two young men stepped out with thawbs and kufīs on. They were very polite and we had some light chit-chat on the way to Mawlana ‘Āqil’s masjid. The two young men who were Hafiz of the Qur’an, were proudly telling us how they were born and bred “Bajans”(pronounced bey-jin) which is the name for people who are from Barbados. They also mentioned how happy they were and how the natives had good relations with the Muslims and that they had never seen any discrimination or Islamophobia as we commonly experience in the States.
As I listened to them speak of their homeland, I pondered to myself that in this vast earth of Allah, people choose for themselves, by their own free-will, where they want to work and live. People are constantly complaining of not being able to practice their religion, of discrimination and so on. Because of this, many lose their faith due to giving preference to the worldly benefits they acquire from the apparent worldly opportunities in the places they reside in. They sacrifice their faith and their ideals, just because they know they’re making good money. And the reality of it is, the excuse of simply telling Allah that you were oppressed and discriminated is not going to be accepted on the Day of Judgment.
Allah Ta’ala mentions,
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلائِكَةُ ظَالِمِي أَنفُسِهِمْ قَالُوا فِيمَ كُنتُمْ قَالُوا كُنَّا مُسْتَضْعَفِينَ فِي الأَرْضِ قَالُوا أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةً فَتُهَاجِرُوا فِيهَا فَأُوْلَئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا
“Indeed, those whom the angels take away while they were wronging themselves, they ask, ‘What state were you in?’ They reply, ‘We were oppressed in the land.’ They say, ‘Was not Allah’s earth vast enough so that you might migrate in it?’ The refuge of such shall be hell, and it is an evil destination.”
I do understand that there’s an attachment that every person has to their land and hometown, but when it comes to our faith and our Islamic ideals, preservation of that takes precedence over all else. The sublime examples of Sayyiduna Ibrahim, Lūt, Musa and our Master Muhammad (may Allah bless them all and grant them peace) boldly demonstrate this fact. For each one of them migrated for the sake of Allah to preserve the Dīn, and Allah not only preserved them and their followers, but made them flourish as well.
While I am pondering over this, I can see how happy and healthy these young men were despite the fact that they were sons of immigrants who constantly experience one culture in the public domain and a completely different one at home. And despite the fact that their religion, culture, and even language was unlike the Bajan people, they had a tremendous honor and you could even say patriotism for the land that they belonged to.
I was also thinking to myself about the concept that is commonly spewed out by the propaganda machine, that Islam and Muslims are at war with Western ideologies and they want to eradicate the lifestyle of non-Muslims. I do agree that the Islamic lifestyle is starkly divergent from the ultra-Liberal, laissez-faire type culture of the West, but this in no way means that Muslims are on a mission to actively annihilate all non-Muslim elements from the universe.
In actuality, Muslims do not even need to do that, nor are they commanded to do so. Islam, in and of itself, has such a light and brilliance, that it dispels all darknesses on its own. All Muslims need to do wherever they go is to simply be practicing Muslims. When the sun rises upon the earth, all the nocturnal creatures find their holes and disappear. The sun does not annihilate them, it simply dominates and encompasses every thing and place that its rays reach. It does not force itself or compel anything. It just shines.
I looked at these people who have been living in this caribbean island for more than half a century and as practical Muslims they are totally comfortable to identify with their native land but at the same time preserve their identity as Muslims. There is not even the slightest iota of devilish insinuation that may creep up in the mind that the Muslims there may have even the farthest intention to annihilate the non-Muslims and their way of life. If you were to ask them such a thing, I know for a fact that they would definitely be appalled by such a notion.
To be continued…