Once again Islam is in the news as a major kerfluffle is underway due to Lowe’s decision to pull advertising from the TLC reality show “All-American Muslim”. Islamophobes opine about creeping sharia law, while Muslims try to reassure them that, no, we don’t want sharia, we are perfectly content with American law and we are fully integrated in society. Well, time for me to confess. For religious Muslims, that’s a load of horse hockey. We want sharia law. We want Islamic law to be the law of the land, the law of the planet, the law of the universe. May as well just put it out there. It’s the truth, and no amount of pandering to non-Muslims will change that fact.
I would love to have laws against drinking alcohol. Yeah, yeah, I know, we tried that years ago with Prohibition and it didn’t work. But if I could have a world without booze, trust me, I’d take it. No drunk drivers crashing into minivans full of innocent children? No hepatic livers taking their owners to an early grave? No men getting stinking drunk and using their significant others for punching bags? Yeah, I’d give up my cocktail hour or nightcap for that.
I’d love laws against fornication. I’m so old-fashioned, I know. But we keep not dealing with this issue and then we have to deal with the consequences. It’s like leaving a bunch of sharp knives in a room full of toddlers and thinking that slapping band aids on when they cut themselves is the cure. Put the dang knives away! Everyone is wringing their hands over single teenage moms, abortion, child abuse, disease. Would AIDS ever have been able to take hold in a chaste society? Herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis? What would our abortion statistics look like if we could just about wipe out unwanted pregnancies? I know it’s not fashionable to “save it for marriage”, but if we did, a huge number of social ills would simply disappear. Not to mention the emotional devastation of our hookup culture.
I would really love Islamic banking laws. If we had laws against usury, interest, there would have been no Wall Street crash because there would be no predatory practices of charging people money for money. People would engage in trade and business rather than short sales and credit default swaps, whatever the heck those are.
I would love to see people deal with their fellow human beings in a true Islamic manner. Children would love an honor parents and never say even one disparaging word to them. Parents would cherish and nurture their children, sons and daughters, and raise them to be strong, self-sufficient, and humble. Neighbors would treat each other so well that you’d think they were family. People would work together to help the less fortunate and lift each other up.
Wait, you say. What does this utopic vision have to do with Islam? I thought Islam was oppression of women, and ignorance, and shooting guns and explosive vests and hatred and narrow-mindedness and everything bad in the world? Well, perhaps you’ve been looking at Muslims, or those who call themselves Muslim, and have been mistaking that for Islam. It’s a common mistake. We Muslims do it all the time. It’s unfortunate that so many who are supposed to carry the banner of Islam don’t really live according to its tenets, and that makes it harder for people like me to share the truth of Islam, the wisdom of Islam, the commonsense-ness of Islam, the beauty of Islam. The media doesn’t help when it ignores the millions of “normal” Muslims going about their day and focuses on the deviants. It would take a lot of courage and intellectual curiosity for the average non-Muslim to set aside all preconceived notions about what Islam is and to actually learn what Islam IS. And that’s what I’m asking you to do.
Essentially, Islam is a religion that believes in One God, the same God of the Torah of Moses and the Gospel of Jesus, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them. If you can get that far and ignore those who say the Muslim God is a moon god or an idol or something, then we have a place to begin our dialogue. Once we start there, I think any non-Muslim will be so surprised to see how similar our faiths are. I mean, really, doesn’t Christianity call for chastity? Doesn’t Judaism expect Jews to adhere to certain behaviors? We’re not so far apart that we can’t have a discussion and come to an understanding. And in my heart, I’ll be rooting for you to be so impressed by the truth and beauty of Islam that you’ll be compelled to learn more about it, compelled to read the Qur’an and listen to Muslims and search the internet and then become Muslim yourself. Do I have an agenda to convert you? Absolutely. Not because I want to dominate you or oppress you, but because I truly want you to have what I have. I want you to know what I know about Islam. Not what you see on CNN or Fox or read on conservative blogs or even what you might see being practiced by your Muslim neighbor or the guy in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia. But the pure Islam as preached by Prophet Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. Now, I don’t have any power to convert you, that’s true. I can only tell you what I believe and what I’ve learned over twenty years of learning about Islam. If that’s not enough, well, it’s in Allah’s hands. If you are willing to listen, I’m willing to talk.