I can’t even. So I won’t.

I can’t even. So I won’t. February 16, 2015

I can’t. I just can’t anymore.

WHAM. Three Muslims murdered in North Carolina. WHAM. Masjid burned in Houston. WHAM. 200 women raped in Darfur. WHAM. 50 Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya. WHAM. Palestine. WHAM. Syria and Iraq. WHAM. WHAM. WHAM.

Trying to answer each and every outrage is impossible. Trying to keep up with each and every outrage is impossible. I didn’t mention the racist graffiti spray painted on a masjid in Rhode Island or the murders in Denmark. I didn’t mention the invective on Facebook or Twitter or side eyes and nasty looks at the grocery store. I didn’t mention the bumper stickers with crosshairs centered over a face with a turban. I didn’t mention the right-wing abuse that is daily fare. I didn’t mention the personal tragedies of Muslim women in abusive marriages or families with kids on drugs, or dangerous innovations in the religion that misguide so many, or any of the other tragedies in the headlines.

I can’t, so I won’t. I am not going to succumb to the urge to turn my blog, my Facebook, my personal space, my brain, into a font of reactive negativity. I refuse to make my blog a place for apologetics and weepy disassociation from deviants and thugs. I’m going to get back to the business of being a teacher of Islam. I don’t know much, but I’ve gathered a few bits of knowledge over the twenty-plus years I’ve been a Muslim, and I want to continue to share it with my brothers and sisters in Islam and interested non-Muslims.

Remember, this violence is part and parcel of the world in which we live. People naively keep expecting mankind to evolve into some higher form that no longer uses violence as a means to an end, but really, that’s just not going to happen. Murder entered the world after only one generation when Cain became jealous of his brother Abel and killed him. The rest of history has simply been a variation on that theme.

Wow, way to be a Debby downer, Nancy. Thanks for that. I’m going to go hide in the corner of my closet now, bye.

Don’t take it like that. All I’m asking is that you be realistic. The truth of our existence is that ease and harmony are exceptions to the rule. In modern times, many of us live a relatively soft life and then when violence and mayhem happen we can’t handle it and act like we’re the first people to ever suffer harm. We have to toughen up and soften up. Huh? We have to toughen up and not give up in the face of all the stuff I mentioned above, but we can’t let it make us hard and harsh.

It’s important for us to remember that we were not made for this world. This world has always been a place of striving. It is a testing ground for us, preparation for the next world, the “real” world. We are here to do a job and we have to do that job no matter what the world throws at us.

So do your job. Learn what Allah wants of you. I can guarantee you this, it ain’t going to see “Fifty Shades of Grey”. It’s learning your religion and then putting those lessons to work in your life. It’s prayer and fasting, and charity. It’s speaking out against injustice but doing so with pride in your deen, not being an apologist because Muslims espouse charity and modesty and traditional families and the world thinks that’s “quaint”. It’s creating a strong Muslim community but not isolating yourself if you live in a non-Muslim country. It’s being a good role model of Islam by dressing and carrying yourself in a dignified manner. It’s holding the door for a lady. It’s smiling at a stressed mom at the grocery store. It’s checking on your neighbors in inclement weather. It’s being kind to animals. It’s being gracious in the face of ignorance or hate. It’s finding that balance between demanding justice and turning the other cheek. It’s living a full life but always working towards the next life. It’s being a good Muslim.

Don’t think that you have to keep the TV on all day and absorb the horrible news. It’s not a duty for Muslims to be preternaturally aware of what is going on. Unplug, do life. Go to the park if it’s not ten degrees like it is here. Make dinner, or order pizza. Play with the kids. Remember, having a life even in the midst of all that is going on is not a sin. It’s not a sin to laugh at a funny joke. It’s not a sin to enjoy dinner. It’s not a sin to buy a car, or remodel the bathroom, or do henna just because, or buy a nice oil for your beard. It’s not a sin to live and enjoy the blessings of what Allah has provided. It’s all about balance. Eat, but share. Buy, but donate. Have fun, but do charitable acts. Enjoy your family, but help someone else’s.

This world has always been a hard, harsh place. It’s getting harsher, and that will probably continue in the runup to Judgment Day. But it will always be our task to live in the world, so let’s make the best of it and try to make it a bit better for our fellow human beings. Cry when you must, but remember the final destination of all of us is the grave, and after that, I wish for you Jannah inshaAllah.

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