Monday, May 2, 2011

Mocking Trial

Hoping to add experience to my nine-year-old's bookish knowledge, I let her play hooky last week to attend a hearing at our State Capitol. But instead of a simple civics lesson, she got a front row seat to her first live Islam-bashing performance.

By misquoting the Quran and misrepresenting Islamic concepts, one of our state representatives tried to degrade Islam and humiliate its followers. He did this while politicking for legislation formerly known as the anti-shariah bill.

The official, who said he had spent ten years studying Islam, must have missed the chapters on dignity (izzat in Arabic). Otherwise, he would have known that neither his rant nor the bill he helped pass could lower the dignity of those who believe in God and obey Him.

That's because "honor belongs to God and His Prophet and the believers." (Quran 63: 8)

"A person who has izzat never gets insulted," says scholar Abbas Ayleya. "When we are grabbing on to the rope of God and we are connected to God's Power no one can insult us because no one can insult God."

Those who believe in, obey and trust God are like the dictionary definition of izzat: unpenetrable earth, Ayleya adds.

Likened to a mountain, they are unmoved by the machinations of their opponents. Nothing can influence their spirituality nor erode their commitment to God and His principles of truth and justice.

Dignified women like Zainab, the daughter of Fatima (one of the four perfect women), set an example. She kept her head up though her hands and feet were shackled when brought to the court of tyrant Yazid.

Excerpt from her speech:

"God says:  'Then the end of those who do evil deeds is that they reject the verses of God and ridicule them.' (30:10)

Oh Yazid! Do you think that by making us have humiliated us in the sight of God and have earned respect for yourself?!

You feel that you have conquered the whole world and your affairs are organised and that our domain is now under you control… Are you forgetting that God says: 'Surely those who have bought unbelief at the price of faith shall do no harm at all to God, and they shall have a painful chastisement'?" (3:177)

Cowardice, apathy and dependence on others, on the other hand, is what truly humiliates a community or nation. It gives oppressors free reign to do as they will.

People who've tolerated oppression for decades are awakening to reclaim their honor through "Dignity Revolutions" all across the Middle East and Africa. One chant commonly heard during protests: "Disgrace is far away from us!"

To avoid similar humiliation, the rest of us must also keep opposing injustice and encourage our family and friends to do the same.

On the drive home from the hearing I asked my daughter if she was game for the next one. "Sure," she said with her nose back in a book. "Anything to skip school."


Sr. Tasneem said...

Great job, MashaAllah.
I was so proud to see you and your daughter at the hearing!
Yes, you are inded correct that All Praise and Honor belongs to Allah Alone. But as a Muslim, I felt so sad to witness that people who make laws in my state were so ignorant, arrogant and racists. Rep. Womick bashed Islam and our Holy Prophet (SAWS) with classic words of bigotry that are taught to some sects of Christian missionary as they venture out to the Muslim world.
The best way to fight ignorance is through knowledge. Therefore, I have decided to increase my love and dedication to the Quran a lot more. Thank you Rep. Womick for inspiring me to become a better Muslim.

Hooma said...

Hey Salina,
I actually met up with your sis - the Darling mary K on sunday and she told me about the anti-shariah bill and your efforts to prevent its passage (btw - props for your efforts). Also, I'm glad to hear you took your daughter - I think it is good to expose children to the workings of politics and lawmaking and public policy at an early age.

One of the things that you said struck me - about the speaker's ignorance about Islam. I think we as Muslims even have a higher duty to have a strong grasp on what our religion says. So many of us think we know what the Islamic perspective is and we often are wrong. The nonsense that this person was spewing should motivate us even more to educate ourselves so we can point out mistakes and get the right information out into the mainstream.

Your discussion on "izzat" was great. I never thought about it that way -- definitely a new angle to a wonderful topic.

Btw, I told my sister about this blog too. She is planning on studying radio and broadcast journalism when she starts college this fall and I told her you are a journalist too. She is super-duper impressed. ;-)