Words Zahabiyah H.
Zahabiya ben currently lives in Sri Lanka and works in research for an ethical think tank. Her interests include writing, chocolate, walking, travel, chocolate, harry potter, legal philosophy, art and chocolate.
My Twitter feed was strewn with many humorous references to Thanksgiving over the last couple of days – references usually quipping on the idea that when families get together, it gets awkward and the best way to get things awkward is to get them political. If this is the truth, both in the US and in the UK the holidays are probably going to be pretty awkward, because we’re living in incredibly political times. By that I mean, simply that, no longer are politics something the average person is ignoring – everybody has an opinion.
Needless to say, things are getting extreme and one way in which this is happening, one way that is causing the most comment, heartache and concern is that people are pulling away from one another. This can be through fear, anxiety, hate, intolerance or ignorance but make no mistake – it’s growing, like lava. Lava spreads, it burns and then it sets. Fear might be preventing you from expressing your ethnicity or belief, ignorance might be driving your neighbours to detach themselves from you, anxiety might be causing divisions even amongst liberal peers as it becomes difficult to bear the words “yeah, but look at it from their/my/his/her point of view…”. But these feelings cannot be allowed to set in, to become the norm.
Mumineen are uniquely placed to do some extraordinary things that really look ordinary. We have been taught intensively over the last few years by our beloved Maula TUS to follow Maulana Ali’s AS lead – do good unto those who have wronged you. This is not just about forgiveness, it’s about kindness. We have also, ever since you or I or anyone took breath, been taught how to function as a community, giving no regard whatsoever to factors that others would simply call barriers – distance, language, even time. If anything, we intensify our actions and get closer to each other. Now, it is plainly erroneous to attribute any credit for any of this to ourselves; we have what we have and are what we are because of our Maulas. So it is time to represent.
We have to use our skills and faith to fight for the well being of our non-mumin communities. Rasulallah said that to love one’s country is a part of one’s faith. Countries are the people that make them, and the people of the world need us. Our Maula has made us so expert at practicing kindness, at functioning for not just within a community, at loving. So go and show the world some love – and don’t make the mistake of assuming this has to fall into accepted paradigms. Yes, there are tested ways of making a difference – donating to the causes you believe in, volunteering, engaging with other faiths. But the list is as creative as you are because every little helps. And remember, in everything we do, Maula TUS makes our little into a lot.
Have a bake sale in your garden but don’t sell the stuff, give it away to anyone who will have a conversation with you or send Christmas cards to everyone in your street. Just be active, because the mistake is to assume you can’t make a difference, to assume that this isn’t our cause. It is. It is our cause because Maula TUS has spoken to us of becoming valued members of our nations, of bringing benefit to our people. It is our cause because we have too much to offer to shy away and let others do the heavy lifting. So carry Him with you and do a little, do a lot, but know that the benefit you will bring, no one else could.