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Muslims: Citizens of the World

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“Read in the name of your Lord Who has created, He has created man from a clot of blood. Read and your Lord is the Most Generous, Who has taught by the pen, He has taught man that which he knew not.” (The Holy ’Qura~n, Chapter of Al‘ala’q, verses 1-5)

These are the first words of ’Qura~n revealed to Prophet Mu’hammad (May Allaah’s peace and blessings be upon him). They began a tradition that became embedded in Islaam. Read, seek knowledge, and know your Creator.

Islaam urges people to open their minds and broaden their horizons. Throughout Islaamic history Muslims made advances in medicine and science, constructed and provided hospitals, built libraries and schools, planted tree and gardens and generally advanced the name of Islaam with humility, grace and generosity.

Education was universal. Muslims, Christians and Jews studied side by side at some of the most famous universities in the known world. Unfortunately some Muslims are now far removed from the true nature of Islaam, as it was practiced by the early Islaamic generations. Those early generations established truth and justice on earth. Islaam has in the 21st century erroneously become synonymous with terror and this is not the case.

Islaam comes from the Arabic verb salama and means peace, security, and safety. The word also means submission to the One God and thus achieving peace, security and safety. Islaam encourages diversity and tolerance and has created no barriers to knowledge because of ethnicity, race or religion. Today we, collectively as a planet are in dire need of unity in the face of adversity and mutual respect.

Muslims were, and by the grace of Allaah still are global citizens, because we believe ourselves to be part of a universe created specifically for the worship of our Creator. We are all different but our purpose is the same. “And I (Allaah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone).” (The Holy ’Qura~n, Chapter of Azaariat, verse 56)

One way of fulfillingourobligationtoworship Allaah is to take seriously the guidelines He has given us – His words, the ’Qura~n and the Sunnah of His Prophet Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H.) Allaah Almighty says in the ’Qura~n:
“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another.” (Chapter of Al’hujuraat, verse 13) Here, in the simplicity that characterises Islaam, we have the essence of Muslims as global citizens. Worship Allaah Alone and know one another. In 2005, during a speech delivered in Abu Dhabi, Yusuf Islaam (previously Cat Stevens), prominent Muslim lecturer and songwriter referred to the Muslim Ummah (nation) as the world community that was most prepared to live in a global village.

Trials and tribulations are inflictingsocieties all over the world today. Pain and suffering is all around us. We, as Muslims, must use our unique knowledge and understanding to devise strategies and formulate plans that will benefitallofhumanity.
The Prophet Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H.) said, “Every one of you is a shepherd of those things under your care”.
In the past we have proven that we are a people capable of building a society based on a humane and moderate belief system. Islaam is eminently capable of fulfillingthe needs of mankind. Islaam is capable of integrating all the distinguishing features of the various nations and tribes.

Since the time of Prophet Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H.) and his ’Sa’haabah (companions) Muslims have been searching for knowledge and spreading out beyond known horizons in an effort to perfect their worship of Allaah.
Now in 2007 it has become imperative that Muslims once again assert themselves as truly global citizens. No longer is it ok to live quiet lives in non descript suburban homes.

Muslims are now being watched and scrutinised more than ever before in our history. Our every move is being observed, by governments and their agencies, and by our neighbours and fellow citizens in the communities in which we reside.
Far from being a reason to be afraid and hide our Islaam it is a cause for celebration. Each and every one of us now has the opportunity to show the world the reality and beauty of Islaam. Identifying ourselves as worshippers of the One God is essential. Doing good deeds, giving charity and spreading Islaam’s message of peace is of crucial importance in our everyday lives.

It has become a collective responsibility for Muslims to correct the false ideas and misconceptions about Islaam that abound today. According to Hammudah Abd Al-Ati [’Hamoodah Abd Al‘aa’ti] noted Islaamic author, the role of the Islaamic community is to be the embodiment of all that is virtuous, noble and wholesome.
Islaam is a religion of tolerance, Muslims from all corners of the globe must show this tolerance and love for all humanity through their deeds and actions.

In this modern era of mass communication and technological advances it is possible to communicate the true beauty and grace of Islaam and our Creator Allaah Almighty, to millions of people at one time. Muslims today must assure that the airwaves and television screens are filled with examples of our exemplary behaviour. Most of what the average non Muslim citizen knows about Islaam is based on the inaccurate representations of Islaam and Muslims. As Muslims, each and every one of us are ambassadors for our faith. It is our responsibility to provide accurate information and to assure that we practice the true teaching of Islaam in our daily lives.

Muslims behaving in an anti Islaamic fashion could be the reason a person sees Islaam but turns away. This responsibility before Allaah is one that no person should bare. Allaah Almighty says in the ’Qura~n:
“Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good and forbidding all that is evil. And it is they who are successful.” (Chapter of A~l ‘Imraan, verse 104) The Islaamic principles of family values and social cohesion could easily be demonstrated through our charitable works and good deeds within our respective communities. A Muslim must be seen to be ready and eager to come to the assistance of those in need. Small deeds and true humbleness demonstrate the simplicity and peacefulness of Islaam. Every time we smile at the person packing our groceries or help our elderly neighbour to bring in the garbage bins we are demonstrating the reality of Islaam.

Each time we say a cheery good morning to the people around us or deliver a meal to the lonely widow living across the road we are demonstrating the Sunnah of the Prophet Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H.). Muslims today shoulder a huge responsibility. We are global citizens, Islaam is a religion that considers all men and women equal. In the words our Prophet (P.B.U.H.) uttered in his farewell sermon an Arab is not better than a non Arab, a black person is not better than a white person. What makes one person better than another is ta’qwa (piety).

Aboo Hurayrah tells us in a hadeeth found in Bu’kaary that Prophet Mu’hammad (P.B.U.H.) said, “Anybody who believes in Allaah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbour, and anybody who believes in Allaah and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously and anybody who believes in Allaah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet.” And in another ’hadeeth, “the two feet of a slave will not move on the Day of Judgement until he is asked about his life - how he spent it; about his knowledge and what he did with it, about his wealth - how he acquired it and how he spent it, and his body and what he did with it.”

Muslims are global citizens who believe in Allaah and the Last Day.

Aisha Stacey -
Aisha Stacey is an Australian revert to Islam currently residing in Doha Qatar.Read More >>

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