Take Pride in Islam
Reprinted from Al-Jumuah Magazine, Vol V, No. 6, Nov/94
Such apologetic attitudes should be put behind. Islam is a way of life given to us by Allah. It cannot be put on the same level as other man-made ideologies or corrupted revelations. Muslims should have enough confidence in themselves to go on the offensive rather than stay on the defensive like accused persons. When Quraysh accused the Muslims of violating the sanctity of the sacred months on the occasion of the fight between the Muslim brigade of Abdullah bin Jahsh and the disbelievers, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala revealed:
They ask you concerning fighting in the Sacred Months (these are the 1st, 7th, 11th and 12th months of the Islamic calendar). Say: Fighting therein is a great transgression but a greater transgression in the Sight of Allah is to prevent mankind from following the Way of Allah, to disbelieve in Him, to prevent access to al-Masjid al-Haram (Makkah), and to drive out its inhabitants, and polytheism is worse than killing. And they will never cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion if they can. And whosoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will be the dwellers of the Fire. They will abide therein forever.(Quran 2:217)
This is how the Quran argues with the disbelievers. The Quran starts by attacking them on their greatest crime: their disbelief in Allah and their association of partners with Him. One should not present a false interpretation of our religion for the purpose of pleasing the disbelievers.
Some Muslims try to hide their Islamic identity for fear of being labeled as fundamentalists. Men are shaving their beards and women are trying to make their hijab look like the latest fall fashions. If presented with food or drink that is haram, they say we are full at the moment, or they say we do not like the particular food. Only few say that they cannot eat it because it is unlawful in Islam. This is not the way of the companions of the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, behaved. When the companions accepted Islam, they became proud of it and felt that all other ideologies and ways of life are inferior to what has been revealed to them from above the seven heavens.
In the battle between the Muslims and the Persians, Rostom, the leader of the Persian army, asked to negotiate with the Muslims. Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, the Muslim leader in that battle, sent a group of companions among which was Rabi`e ibn Amir. The Persian leader prepared a magnificent reception in order to impress those Bedouins and weaken their position. The Persians asked Rabi`e to enter without his arms. He refused and entered with his arms and his horse, and tied his horse next to Rostom.
Rstom asked: What brings you?
Rabi`e said: Allah has sent us to convert mankind from the worship of people to the worship of Allah; and from the narrowness of this life to the wideness of the hereafter; and from the oppression of the religions to the justice of Islam. Allah has sent us to His creatures with His religion. Whoever accepts it, we accept him and whoever refuses, we fight him until we get the Promise of Allah.
And what is His Promise? asked Rostom.
Paradise for those who die and victory for those who survive answered Rabi`e.
Rostom said: Can you delay this matter until we think about it?
Rabi`e answered: Yes. How many days do you need, one or two?
Rostom said: More. Until I write to my people. Rabi`e said:
We cannot. Our Prophet does not authorize us to delay our enemies more than three days. So make up your mind."
This companion came from a society which was materially far behind the Persian empire. Nevertheless he had in himself the seed of Truth and righteousness that allowed him not to be distracted or impressed with the glamour surrounding the Disbelievers. Civilization begins with the correct belief and faith. The material aspects of civilization will come later as a by-product. On the other hand, the disbeliever, no matter how materially advanced he might be, is an uncivilized person and bears in his soul the germs of his own destruction. This is why you should take pride in your religion. This is why you should take pride in Islam.