02
May
09

Will somebody please put a stop to it!

There are times in your life when you know you have hit a wall, crossed a line, or done something irreparable or something has been done to you that you cannot nor will ever forget.

Ever since 911, I have turned a shade of grayer everyday of my life, all because I am Muslim. That sounds ridiculous, even as I write it…but it happens to be true.

It gets difficult at times to explain to people why you are Muslim; gosh it gets harder still explaining how you ever became one if you are a convert/revert. Well because, for one no one lives in a vacuum and everything around them influences their actions. Who you were yesterday is not the person you will be in ten or twenty years. And because your thoughts about your Faith and your level of religiosity have changed and fluctuated over time- normal in all humans.

Harder still is demonstrating that a Muslim is an ordinary person. For some reason the Abaya/Hijab/Niqab entanglement gives off an aura of otherness…some perpetuate that with the usual East vs. West- where that competition started is anyone’s guess…and we would all probably be wrong anyway. Non-Muslims then view us as beings from another planet let alone another century – more like 14 of them. Since some have a tendency to want to relive and keep alive that desert-camel-tribal-tent mentality to suit their purposes. So try telling a Non-Muslim that you are a hip (though religiously different) and very modern, 21st Century dweller…they usually will laugh in your face or not…but believe you they won’t.

Then comes the fact that many American Muslims have normal jobs. Live normal lives, don’t belong to any RAHRAH groups, and would rather be dead than be caught in a rally of some sort, let alone a parade…Those are invisible to the rest of society for the mere fact that the lives they lead don’t give them sound bites. Many don’t even go to the Masjid, and rather pray at home. The Men, of course being the expception (my husband is in and out as fast as he can)…usually becaue his shifts demand he be at the hospital at certain times…and traumas, surgeries and other such things don’t accommodate for hanging out at the Masjid.

 The other group is the perpetual Masjid hanger-on…No matter what time; in what weather; season or reason- there they are…investigating, gossiping; interrupting your prayers; and making a nuisance of themselves…they have no jobs; they beg all day  and are the in-house-scholars of the Masjid. They think they know everything- since they are in the Masjid all day you would think they were correct- but those books in the Masjid are not in their hands- and their view of Islam and the world at large is very, very narrow.

 I have started saying lately that my last three initials are H.S.S.- Homo Sapiens Sapien- because if I get asked one more time “sister where are you from”; I am going to commit verbal murder on someone! For goodness sake will you treat me better or worse depending on where I come from; will you consider me more or less knowledgeable; will you bow down to me or slap me? What difference does it make where we come from “originally”!!! It could well have been from Mars for all I care.

 Don’t get me wrong, I love to discuss diversity among Muslims. As mixed as I am in heritage I would be the last to talk or insinuate purity of background or pedigree. I celebrate our diversity in the foods I eat, the clothes I wear, and even the choices of places to visit. But we don’t have to draw lines in imaginary sands about what type of Muslim we are- Allah knows for sure which type each of us is, for sure.

 

For every beach-lover- there is a museum lover

For every rapper – there is a classical music lover

For every under dressed, “I believe I want to impress houchie”- there is a well dressed, usually conservatively, yet fashionable snob whose paid a pretty penny for what he/she has on and wears it because that’s what they like to wear.

For every person who curses, argues, forgets where his mama is and what she told him/her about manners- there is a quiet person of depth, integrity and calmness.

 

And for Heaven’s Sakes stop equating the Television shows with the people who live in the West- we love to entertain ourselves- sometimes to the point of nausea, true- but the choice to is up to us what we view and allow the message being transmitted to enter our system and become part of our psyche…or not!

 

·        Teach me- don’t preach- I am already a convert!

·        Respect me- I am as much a person as you!

·        Consider me- as consideration gives way for people to open up and see the other’s view, whether we agree or not is not the issue, or is it (back to the preaching part?)

·        Understand me – I will never be you; because Allah only made one of me, and only one of you.

 

There is a famous Buddhist Koan that I love and is appropo:

 

“There were once two monks walking down a road, and at one point on their journey the two monks encountered a woman who was on the other side of the road but could not pass because of a ditch of water.

One monk walked right up to her, picked her up and carried across the road to the other side. The woman thanked him and continued on her way.

The second monk started to reprimand the first monk as they resumed the rest of their journey. “You know it is forbidden for us to touch a woman, how could you do such a thing?” “Don’t you know its a sin of the worst kind?” and he went on, and on…

At one point the first monk turns to the second monk and says, “The problem here brother is that I picked her up, carried her across the road and she continued on her way. While you continue to carry her with you!”

 

Off my soapbox- yesterday and today have been those types of days!

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2 Responses to “Will somebody please put a stop to it!”


  1. May 4, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    That koan is profound.

  2. May 4, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    If only more people would hear it and understand what it means and the implications-but alas only those exposed to this kind of thinking or philosophy get to pounder it.

    Though am sure there is a Sufi Master that would have come up with something similar…

    AND PLEASE FORGIVE MY MANNERS- WELCOME- WOULD YOU LIKE A CUP OF CHAI- ITS RAINY AROUND THESE PARTS AT THE MOMENT!


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