This I Believe.
I believe in One God and His last Prophet, Muhammad. I believe in prayer, giving of alms to those in need, fasting to build character, and pilgrimage to join others in the worship of God. Yes, I am a Muslim. I believe in the religion that praises one God and worships no other.
I believe that peace is the most important factor of a person’s life- peace of mind, peace between a husband and wife, between individuals and groups or countries. I believe that to kill innocent people, civilians and children is a great sin no matter what the reason or ideology. Moreover, I believe that Islam teaches that very concept. In his actions and sayings, the Prophet Muhammad refrained from such acts as an example for all of mankind. His ways should be followed and if they were, there would be peace.
To kill ones self is also a great sin and as it says in the Qur’an: “And do not kill yourselves”. Killing ones self is not a ticket to paradise, one does not become a martyr-on the contrary. Suicide deprives the family of a loved one, a brother or sister from the love of family and most of all kills the spirit of struggle which is an action toward peace. It lays waste to a person who could be the giver of peace in other ways that are constructive, not destructive. Suicide is sinful and is hated by the God who gives us life. The life He gives has always been based upon struggle. We real Muslims know that the struggle for a good life is the real Jihad, not vengeance against our enemies; it is the struggle inside each of us to always do the right, and eschew the wrong. It is the struggle to overcome our desires and do what is sometimes a harder action to take. It is not just a war against our enemies, especially if we have created those enemies by doing what is wrong. Jihad is not flying airplanes into office buildings, bombing commuter trains as it carries innocents to work. It is not bombing restaurants of the tyrants who deprive us of our peace. We must learn to negotiate and to find peaceful leverage to warrant our lands free from tyranny. If we cannot, then we must align ourselves with accomplices who will help us fight a direct war with oppressors against their army, not their civilians.
These beliefs are commensurate with the Religion of Islam not contrary. Those who call themselves “martyrs” are none. They are murderers for a cause they contend is just however, Justice is not won at the hands of death, but at the hands of negotiation and a mutual struggle to do what is right. God alone determines what is Just and what is right, not a crazed man or woman, filled with hate and revenge. A man who kills for revenge is taking away the right given only to God for He alone has the vengeance.
We are taught that Islam is a simple religion, not a difficult and austere faith that demands of a person to be a certain way. God tells us what is better for us and asks us to follow that way. He makes no demands. It is our choice to follow what is best for us and He tells us that it is better for us because to do wrong, wrongs our own soul and if we wrong our own soul, it hurts Him in no way.
Islam admonishes us to be humble, modest and reverent. It commands us to fit in quietly with society, especially if we are in foreign lands. Following local laws and abiding by them are empirical. Islam does not teach us to cover our faces or to hide behind our clothing, but only to be modest in our dress and lower our gaze.
Islam is submission to the will of God and through it, we learn to bring peace to and within ourselves, our community and our progeny.
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