Catching up on things before the Super Bowl

Catching up on things before the Super Bowl February 6, 2016

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Peace be upon you, and the Mercy of Allah and His Blessings

Good morning everyone!  It is a cold but decent Saturday morning here in the ‘Burg.  The sun shines intermittently between the clouds, the dirty frosty remains of Snowzilla are gone from all but the shadiest corners of the neighborhood, the boys are off to Saturday Islamic school, and I sit here with my half-consumed cup of coffee.  The two smaller kids are home with me.  One is doing something on Minecraft and the other is voluntarily cleaning her room.  That girl is weird.  I’m going to teach her how to do laundry tomorrow….

So, my long-suffering editor gently prodded me to write something for my blog.  A polite but direct message in my Facebook inbox.  “Um, didn’t you say you were going to write a series of blog posts on a certain topic?  I checked the dictionary and sure enough, a series is more than one.”

Mea culpa.  I got all enthusiastic and then got whomped by an anxiety attack.  Gasp!  Discussing mental illness out loud?  Well, listen, if I told you I got a bad case of pneumonia, everyone would be sympathetic and offering me chicken soup and extra expired penicillin from their auntie’s medicine cabinet.  But to admit that I had a brain attack, to admit that chemicals in my brain went all wonky and caused me to not be able to think clearly or function well, to admit that is to open myself up for a whole bunch of criticism.  To heck with that.  I had a bad anxiety attack.  Not an acute panic attack that makes me faint or hyperventilate.  More like a rolling wave of ache-in-the-chest angst and mental and physical exhaustion that lasted for weeks and leaves me on the edge of tears every twenty minutes.  Is lasting for weeks. Ache in the chest is still there, but I’m fighting through it.  You do what you can until you do  more and then you do more until you can’t.  Having kids home sick since November hasn’t helped, as I’m naturally an introvert and NEED my alone time.  Love my kids, would happily accept to be taken hostage in a bank robbery.  As long as the bank has coffee.

Okay, now you know why I was gone.  I’m back, at least for today.  Tomorrow?  Definitely gone, it’s Super Bowl Sunday.  I have work and then I have chicken wings, chips, soda, and screaming at the television for three hours.  I’m rooting for both teams.

So, what does all this have to do with Islam?  Well, everything.  Perhaps getting a glimpse into my very real untidy life will help non-Muslims understand that we are messed up in the same way they are.  Seriously.  We have mental illness and drug abuse and domestic abuse and oh my God I am not kidding even a few Trump supporters (which come to think of it would probably fall under the mental illness category).  We are all essentially the same.

Which leads me to my topic for today, 500 words or so in.  Stay with me, I’ll keep it pretty short because I have to still make the bed, do a load of laundry, and clean the cats’ litterbox before I go to work.

Topic:  Are Muslims supposed to hate non-Muslims?

This is easy:  No.

Okay, I’ll go into detail a bit.  We are all human beings, all children of Aadam and Hawaa, peace be upon him, Adam and Eve.  As such, we are all related.  It’s wrong to hate your relatives.

“But the Qur’an says to kill all the non-Muslims.  And that you’re not supposed to take them as friends!”

No, no it does not.  The Qur’an says you can defend yourself when you are being oppressed and when someone is not allowing you to follow your faith.  And it does say that you are not allowed to take disbelievers as your intimate companions and awliya (mentors, advisers) in preference to Muslims.

Wow, that’s racist and exclusionary, you say.  No, it’s not.  It’s common sense.  I am a Muslim.  I don’t believe in drinking alcohol, premarital sex, using interest, and walking around half naked.  Now, if I want to be strong in my religion, I need to surround myself with people who have similar beliefs.  I mean, If I were a young Muslim man and I liked a girl, what would happen if I asked for dating advice from my non-Muslim secular buddies at school?  “Dude, take her on a date and and then take her back to your place!” So you can see that I would not want to take important advice from a non-Muslim who has values that are far different than mine.  That does NOT mean we can’t be friends.  That does not mean we can’t work together on a science project, or study together, or go bowling together.  We can interact on a humane, friendly basis, but our friendship has limits.  Allah sets those limits.

Now, in the real world there is a lot of overlap.  There are so many great non-Muslims who do share many of our values.  There are people of faith who believe deeply in chastity.  There are atheists who are extremely charitable.  There are Christians who do not believe in drinking alcohol.  There are Jews who are at the forefront of the struggle for social justice.  Where there is overlap, we meet.  We get together to feed the poor and clothe the naked and cure the addicted and clean up the planet.  We work together for the common good.  If someone asks, we are happy to talk about Islam, but we don’t beat people over the head with it.  We invite non-Muslims to open houses and lectures.  We do more than tolerate each other.  We celebrate the similarities.  And as Muslims, we always strive to serve as role models so non-Muslims will see what true Islam is all about.

And yeah, in our hearts we want you to convert to Islam.  We do.  There’s a meme that says something like, we want to show you Islam not because we think we’re better than you, but because we want to share something with you that will be better for you.  Or something like that.  We believe, first of all, that Islam is true.  We believe that it is the best way to live in this world.  So of course we want to share it.  Not by the sword, but by kind words and a good example.  If we hated you, we wouldn’t want you to be Muslim.  We’d just say to hell wit you.  But it is because we love you, our family members, our coworkers, our community members, our kids’ teachers, yes, even some of our politicians, it is because we love you that we want to share Islam with you.

So no, Muslims are not taught to hate non-Muslims.  When you see a Muslim behaving badly, know that he is acting on his own whims and desires and not according to the teachings of Islam.

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