Photo credit: Flickr / Hartwig HKD

A letter to my Muslim brothers and sisters

Fighting injustice begins within our own communities. It is true: one person can change the world. It begins with you and your surroundings. It’s time to take a stand for what you believe in and allow your voice to be heard. My dear brothers and sisters, we are living in a world amongst bloodshed. Communities are focused on the moon sighting, or how the hijab is supposed to be worn, or which is the real Islam; Sunni or Shia, rather than considering the issues that impact us globally as human beings.

I cannot state how much pain it brings me to watch my brothers and sisters tear each other apart over the things that, when you look at the greater picture, are minor matters. We are all very passionate about the things we grew fond of as we grew up. We have a love for our beliefs, and hence we feel the need to protect them. But we are wasting our time and energy on the wrong things. What we should be doing is using this energy towards the right goals: the fight against any injustices happening throughout the world – starting with our own homes and communities.

It is time to stand up against things that create bloodshed, not small things which you and I may disagree on. I’ve seen families split apart, refusing to celebrate Eid together due to the moon sighting issue. There is something severely wrong with this. I’ve seen women torn apart for the way they dress, or the way they speak. Society would rather break a woman’s spirit instead of allowing her to think for herself, or to embrace happiness and liberation on her own terms. There’s something deeply disturbing with that. The division that the political division between Sunni and Shias has created between us is very disheartening. And yes, I did say political: because it has nothing to do with Islam. We all believe in what our Prophet Muhammed Rasul SAW taught us. I am a Sunni and I pray at a Shi’ite mosque and I have nothing but respect and love for my fellow worshippers. Do you want know why? Because they show nothing but love and respect for my Beloved who is Allah swt and our Rasul SAW.

Brothers and sisters, I am sorry to say that this energy you bear toward each other could be used in such a beautiful manner to fight against all unjust acts that are occurring throughout the nation. We need to start fighting for the people that need it most. Let us take our energy and use it against systematic racism, blatant oppression, unnecessary violence and hate. It is time we understand BlackLivesMatter; it’s time we understand why anti-Muslim incidents have increased by 57% since 2016, it’s time we fight for women who are oppressed. It’s time we stand together for justice.

At a lecture I attended, Yasir Qadhi mentioned that scholars in Islamic history had believed that coffee was haram. Coffee was banned for 500 years. Scholars felt it to be something that alters the state of mind, until they tried it for themselves, and researched and evaluated the effects of coffee on a person’s physical and spiritual state. Scholars are human beings, and they make mistakes. We need to start making choices for ourselves rather than blindly following what we were taught. Allow yourself the liberation of understanding why you believe what you believe in. Islam teaches us to be curious and to question things. It is not blasphemy to question why you pray the way you do; it is not blasphemy to ask yourself if you truly believe in things you were taught by word-of-mouth. Read, research, and seek the truth.

I chose to stay on my path of Islam, because it brings me nothing but serenity and peace to know that my Raab, my Lord, is with me no matter what happens in life. I do not care for divisions. I do not care if you are black or white. I do not care if you are Sunni or Shi’ite. I do not care if you are a woman or man. I do not care if you are Muslim or if you have another faith, or no faith at all. I have love for you all because at the end of the day I believe that the Creator created us all. Let us encourage each other, and support each other as long as we are speaking of the beauty of The Most High. It is our duty to honour Him who created us, to share His light, and to allow our hearts to be open – even if we disagree. We must understand that no one has the authority to deem us to Hell because our teachings and thoughts differ. Let us open our hearts and minds. Let us use this energy for a greater good, as our Creator intended.

From your fellow sister,

Ruma Begum