Racism: a sign of weak faith

Racism: a sign of weak faith
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Allah Almighty Says what means: "You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah. If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient." [Quran 3:110]

Islam is the best tool for relieving humankind of its ills. When we look at one another as individual beings with our diverse capacities and ideas we should be able to see the beauty of Allah's handiwork. But too often we fall into the trap laid by Iblees (Satan) when Allah created Adam. Iblees (Satan) became haughty and arrogant and felt that he was the best of creation. Allah Almighty Says what means: {And [mention] when We said to the angels, "Prostrate before Adam"; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers.} [Quran 2: 34] Here Allah Almighty mentions that rejection of faith lies in refusal to obey Allah's command through haughtiness. Many of us are haughty due to having pride in our accomplishments, our acquisitions and our positions in comparison to our fellow human beings. But is this what Allah placed us on earth to do?
 
He, Almighty, tells us in Quran (what means): {…Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.} [Quran 5:48] Obviously, His plan was to make us different types of people so that we could realize our diversity and put forth every effort to lead one another to the Almighty. Being different only obliged us to work as one people to promote the good and forbid the wrong.
 
To work as one people striving to Allah we must overcome our desire to use our ethnicity or race as a means to divide us. Every race struggles to hold on to, their inherited identity but in so doing, in the long run, we may encounter the risk of eliminating an aspect of our lives that will make us better people. 
 
Poverty syndrome
 
Poverty separates people. At times we look to display our accomplishments in ways that glamorize and tickle the fancy of others. Everything looks well put together and organized, but when we take an in-depth look behind the scene, we may have overlooked some critical factors. Why aren't there more people of color present at the event? Were they included in the planning stages? Was every effort made to get their input? As an observer of this phenomenon, all too often, I notice that more times than necessary, poverty is a factor. The fees to attend many programs are out of the scale for poor Muslims. Also, location plays a pivotal role in attendance. Every Muslim does not have a car and many rely on public transportation to get around. And, in a predominant white America, how does this apply to Muslims? The reality is that many Muslims of fair complexion are more comfortable being recognized as Caucasian rather than people of color.
 
Consciously, our brethren don't use this as a factor but subconsciously it is used in the workplace, in the public sphere and in the most sacred place for the Muslim, the Mosque. If one grew up in America during the 50s, 60s and 70s, it was emphasized that the one with the lighter skin complexion would have a better chance of being mainstreamed in with their Caucasian counterpart and therefore apportioned some of the fruits of that community. The stigma that was placed on the darkness of ones' skin became synonymous with failure. This was also taught to people of other countries before they came to America. The mantra was "stay away from the black Americans”.
Unfortunately, people of color tend to be among the poorest around the world. Their struggle has been documented throughout history. But, the one theme among this impoverished group has been to strive in the fact of adversity.
 
If you can read you can learn and if you can learn you can succeed. Yet the opportunities for success do not always be within the reach of all.
 
A community that is largely Caucasian has a greater chance of opening the door to advancement for its residents than a community wherein the population is primarily African-American. But, it doesn't have to be that way. If the prosperous community took their ideas into a seemingly hopeless community as a means to inform them of the potential for success rather than deride them for their lack of motivation, working with them and pushing them to see that they too can thrive, a step toward equality can begin.
 
Now, let us substitute Muslim for prosperous and look at ourselves to see how some of us have neglected the less-fortunate in our midst and we will see where the genuine work of a believer belongs.
 
Knowledge
 
"What you don't know can kill you" is a saying attributed to ignorance. Allah, the Almighty, tells us in the Quran (what means): {And [mention O Mohammad] when your Lord said to the angels, "Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority." They said, "Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?" Allah said, "Indeed, I know that which you do not know." And He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, "Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful." They said, "Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise."} [Quran 2:30-32]
 
Clearly, without a true understanding of why we do something we will continue to have impoverished souls. The example of Adam before the angels can be compared to the truly intelligent and the analytical among us. A scholar made the point that the intelligent one is aware of Allah's mercy to His creation, submits to it and obeys wherein the analytical one has not yet grasped the glory of Allah and still questions His Omnipotence seemingly looking for a way out. Knowledge enlightens the soul and nurtures humility. Taking the position of slave/servant to Allah broadens our perspective and invokes in us the will to submit willingly to His commands. Acknowledging our similarities and differences as assets rather than losses will bring us closer to Allah and closer to one another.
 
In order to remove subtle racism there has to be an admission that it exists. Then steps must be made to heal and rekindle a relationship that predates modern man. Our community can regain its place as leaders of the world, but only if we accept our destiny as a unit of one Ummah (Islamic Nation) in a race towards the everlasting bounties of Allah.

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