Islam is: beginning right from where you are. It is finding Peace, finally, amid all of tumultuous Dunya’s numerous tribulations.
It is Ultimate, life-giving, life-restoring,
And — Islam is not solely for the man for whom the Arabic language is his native tongue. It is also for… the Bengali woman. Malaysian, Nigerian, French, Argentinian. And for kings and nobles, and for their sons, and for seamstresses and chai-walas, and for their daughters.
Islam is for the ones who grew up going to — some call it Fora, others call it Maktab; some call it Dugsee — every weekend. And it is also for the ones for whom the words of the Qur’an are, at present, wholly indecipherable.
For the ones who grew up in Roman Catholic households. Or Hindu ones, or otherwise.
The truth is, we do not know, and we are truly not aware of
which of us truly are the Best of us.
How can one look at another and be convinced that we know what their intentions are? How can we look at another and be sure of where they stand, at present, before God?
Islam is also for the heroin user whose family chose to disown him, for his one fatal error. It is for the chronically sick, and it is for the young, and well, and wealthy, too. It is for the ones who know the most, and it is also for the ones who simply cannot wait to learn.
When I say that Islam is Universal, I mean: everything that exists — everything, of which we are a part:
We come from One. Are loved, and nurtured, primarily and ultimately, by One. Are being Tested by One. And it is to One, that we return.
When Allah explains to us that we are human, He means, necessarily, that we can choose between Good and Evil, based on the knowledge that we, individually, subjectively, possess, and have access to.
And that we are, all of us, fundamentally flawed — and that many people are stitched up with Good intentions, while others destroy themselves, through arrogance. But for the most part, these things remain invisible to the fallible human eye.
Fundamentally, goodness is something that must be shared. Trying to meet people where they are; trying to love them, as they are: these things are Sunnah. There is no room for violent tribalisms, where there is true Islam.
Islam is for anybody who, even in the slightest, cares — enough to seek forgiveness; to ask for Help; to try. In your own time; in your own beautiful ways.
Islam is for the human being who is uncertain, in himself, or as herself. We are not Necessary Beings; we forget and we make blunders.
We struggle, and we fall; we can come, crawling, or walking. If we are able, we can come running.
Islam is for the one who has “always felt a little bit Muslim at heart”. Who, eventually, started carrying a prayer scarf around, in her bag. Used the prayer room at Westfield, once, and amassed the courage to say Salaam to an auntie, a different time, outside the mosque.
For the man who is consciously trying to “lower [his] gaze” when it comes to women, contrary to the pullings of his Nafs (loosely translatable as ‘inner-self’). For the one who feels broken, breaking, alone. Trying to speak to his Creator, under the soul-baring covers of good night.
Islam is Meaning, and it is Purpose. It is Love, and it is Comfort. Beauty, Truth, and Goodness, concerning the Mind, the Heart; our Bodies and our Souls. Beginning: fusing together. And Ending: coming apart (for a while). The centre of the Universe, and the very fabric of our being.
Ever-a-continuation: a personal story, journey. And, always, a beginning-again, too. Right from where we are.
[Allah knows, while we do not.]
And every good thing that we (endeavour to) do, here, in submission to Al-Rahman
is growing into something Unspeakably Beautiful (we hope,) over There.
With Salaam, Sadia, 2021.