Get Over It
We Muslims are pretty good at getting mad. It doesn’t take much for us to firebomb embassies, burn world leaders in effigy, and shake our collective fists in the air. There was that whole Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) cartoon ordeal. About 200 were killed in the riots and after a few weeks, we all went back to our biryani and chai.
We seemed to have learned our lessons a bit and managed to only kill a few innocent diplomats when “The Innocence of Muslims” movie was put on YouTube.
And then there was the Pope Benedict foot-in-mouth comment about Islam back in 2006. He quoted some medieval text about how Islam was spread through violence. Some Muslims decided to prove this false by staging violent riots.
And how can we forget that crazy Florida preacher who wanted to burn a bunch of Qurans? We didn’t take too kindly to that one either. But maybe there are some things that we shouldn’t be getting so mad about.
In my humble opinion, we really need to stop getting mad about every little thing that pricks our fragile sensitivities. Perhaps some of these incidents are deliberate provocations meant to stir up the Muslim world and get someone a little face time on CNN or Fox or Sesame Street.
There are lots of things we Muslims do need to get angry about and raise the roof about. I personally would love to strangle the next guy who’s Nicki Minaj ringtone goes off during prayer. That’s really not cool. But these other things…it’s time we chill out about them.
1. The Start Of Ramadan
It happens every friggin’ year. Here in the U.S. it never fails, especially in the big cities (here’s looking at you New York). Half the Muslim population starts fasting on one day. The other half starts fasting on the next day.
Why does this happen? Because some folks want to follow the calendar back home or in Saudi Arabia or wherever. The other half wants to follow the moon sighting here in America.
First of all, I’ve been Muslim my entire life and have spent over 30 Ramadans in the United States. I have never, ever seen a Ramadan or Eid Al-Fitr moon sighting in the U.S. of A. Not one. I’ve lived in big cities like New York and Atlanta.
And I’ve lived in smaller cities like Birmingham, Alabama and Daytona Beach, Florida. Where the heck are people going in this country to “spot” the moon? Montana? The only time I’ve ever seen the hilal (new moon sighting) was in Trinidad as a student at Darul Uloom.
I’m willing to bet most other Muslims in this country haven’t seen the moon either. There are three reasons why it’s difficult and darn near impossible to spot the moon in most parts of America:
- The hilal is very, very slim and faint.
- When it does show, it is very low in the horizon. I get a kick every time I walk outside a Masjid just before Ramadan and see a bunch of brothers looking straight up into the night sky searching for the moon. Sigh…may Allah reward their effort.
- It only stays up for a short time. That little sliver shows itself, and then it’s gone after about an hour or so. So you’ve got to really know what you’re looking for, where to look for it, and when to expect it.
Since there’s little chance of Muslims ever reconciling this issue in the near future, perhaps it’s best we at least stop hating on the other half. So whether you prefer to start when the moon is (or isn’t) spotted in the U.S., or you prefer to start with the “international” community, chill out and take it easy.
2. Long Recitations In Prayer
A few months ago, I gave the Khutbah at a local Masjid here in Atlanta. My khutba was primarily about the message of Surah Al-Hadeed. After the khutbah was over, I led the prayer and recited about half of that same surah in the prayer.
The next day, there were a flood of complaints from people saying my recitation was too long. What? I recited what amounts to two pages in your standard Saudi Mushaf.
One page in the first rakaat.
One page in the second.
The prayer lasted all of ten minutes. People were complaining about having to stand up for five minutes at a time in each rakaat. There’s something seriously wrong there. So what did I do? Well, the next time I gave a khutbah at that same Masjid, I directly addressed that same issue.
I told them that the reason my recitation was kinda long (come one…ten minutes is not long) was because I was trying to follow the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to recite a great deal of remembrance, engage little in idle talk, make the prayer long and keep the khutbah short, and he would not refrain from walking with a widow or poor person and tending to their needs. Sunan An-Nasa’i
And after giving them this information, I guaranteed the prayer wouldn’t be longer than ten minutes and that there were chairs available for the sick and elderly. I also promised them I would cut the recitation short if a baby started crying, since that is part of the Sunnah also.
I stand in prayer, then I hear a child crying, so I make my prayer brief, because I do not want to cause hardship for his mother. Sunan An-Nasa’i
So I finished up the khutbah and went to lead the prayer. This time I recited Surah Al-Hujurat which is a total of about two and a half pages. That prayer was just a little over eight minutes long. And guess what?
The same people complained again about my recitation being too long! I gave up after that. If Muslims are going to get mad about a ten minute prayer, but have no problem waiting all day for the next iPhone, then we’ve got a long way to go.
Go on. Send in your hate mail. Write your flaming comments. I’ve seen and heard it all before. There’s no reason for me to argue about whether polygamy is right or wrong. I’ve made my position sufficiently clear already.
But I’m so darned tired of arguing about it. I don’t even bother to respond to most comments for or against polygamy.
Why are people still getting mad and arguing about this subject? Is this all there is to Muslim marriages? Is polygamy the biggest threat facing the Muslim world that we have to waste so much time fighting about it? Really, people. Get over it. Whatever your position is, that’s between you and your Lord.
4. U.S. Foreign Policy
No, I don’t work for the U.S. Government. Nor am I a stoolie for the FBI. And if I was, would I even tell you? I just think it’s high time we stop tearing our hair out about all the crap that America does overseas. All of your belly aching ain’t doing an ounce of good.
Yes, there are certainly many things that the U.S. has done in the Muslim world over the past decade that are truly heartbreaking and downright bad.
- Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Keeping Guantanamo open.
- Iraq and Afghanistan.
Certainly, these events are things we shouldn’t forget about and pretend they never happened. But should we get mad about them? Should we take to the streets and protest and hold mini-Quran’s and Kalashnikovs up in the air? If you really want to protest America’s actions in the Muslim world, here’s what you should do:
- Free your mind. Get your head out the television and off Facebook and leave those “Harlem Shake” videos alone.
- Study Islam. With all the free time you’ll have from step one, you can now spend your limited time in this life doing something beneficial.
- Talk about Islam. And now, with sufficient knowledge of Islam, you’ll be in a much better position to talk to the average American about the true beauty of Islam. Perhaps they’ll learn just how much better Islam is than any other way of life and how nice and kind, truly practicing Muslims should be.
Doing these things will do a lot more to change the nature of America’s foreign policy decision than all the protests and petitions the world can muster. Not to mention these things will go pretty far in getting Allah on our side.
Stop blaming Jews for everything. I’ve heard Muslims blame Jews for everything from 9/11 to Nicki Minaj (I’m not sure why her name appeared twice in this article…I bet it was them Jews).
Seriously, this needs to stop. I cringe every time I hear otherwise rational and intelligent Muslims blame Jews for the craziest things.
Now this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak out against the atrocities committed against Muslims in Palestine. But we need to make a clear distinction between “Jews” the people, and “Israel” the nation-state.
Not all Jews support Israel. In fact, there are many Jews who risk alienation from their families and community to side with the Palestinians. Israel as a nation, is wrong for the many crimes and virtual imprisonment of the Palestinians.
There’s no doubting that. But blaming all Jews for what happens in Israel is like blaming all Christians for America’s war in Iraq. Or all Muslims for 9/11. If you’re going to blame Jews for all the things wrong in today’s world, at the very least learn how to use “anti-Jew code.” Instead of saying the word “Jew” or “Jewish” say things like:
- Immoral Hollywood movie producers.
- Greedy record company executives.
- Zionist, AIPAC loving politicians.
Those are ambiguous phrases that prevent anyone from labeling you as antisemitic. Plus, they make you sound intelligent and well-read. There are many things going on this world that we Muslims legitimately have a right to get angry about.
Corrupt governments. Women’s rights abuses. The fact that Nicki Minaj is famous (there’s that name again…darned Jews!). But let’s give these other gripes a rest, shall we?