Will we…should we Muslims grow up to be like our Jewish cousins?
The admirable thing about Jews of today is that even while they might dislike each other between groups, there are some issues over which they come together like a solid rock and thus scare the devil out of self-promoting politicians who in turn, make sure that Anti-Semitism or, even a shadow thereof is caught and fought before it ever raises its ugly head.
The discouraging thing about us Muslims is that we are ever split into antagonistic or, isolated groups that are broken according to sects and even ethnicities. We seldom agree on much, we hardly ever agree on religious observances and we never agree on what issues are important to us Muslims living in the US or, in the West.
Jews hold Israel to be almost their Deity, they are willing to give up everything to support Israel, to the point where so many Jews regard Muslims as an existential threat to Israel and thus, to Jewry itself; these Jews are allied with each other, spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year, to support Israel, to fight Muslims and to oppose Islam. Point an unfriendly finger at Israel and dozens of Jewish organizations leap to break off the finger; the reason for pointing the finger is irrelevant…they are very effective! Most Jews consider themselves to be spiritual, moral and/or political representatives of Israel.
Muslims as a whole, hold nothing sacred except for their narrow sect and in some cases, their country of origin. In the West, Muslims for the most part, shun “Politics”, preferring to practice their faith in their own isolated confines. Yet “Politics” is exactly what aims such great hate, fear and resulting persecution against Islam and Muslims in the West, led by the US! Still, Muslims Mosques, the single greatest mechanism to connect with Muslims in America, remain buried in their fear of unknown consequences if they should ever permit “Politics” to become a discourse within their confines. Most Muslims bury themselves deeper in their Mosque, their Islam and their God, ignoring the fact that God tells them He will not change anything unless they move to make the changes first.
Jews have integrated in every aspect of business, industry, administration and government thus, making certain they maintain an influence over whatever might have an impact on their fates. On top of that, Jews make sure that as many young Jews as possible, are deeply connected to Israel, they even encourage their children to joining Israeli military instead of the militaries of their birth country. they send their children on subsidized trips to Israel where the idea of a Jewish-Israeli nationhood is etched into their brains and hearts; each generation ensures total commitment to Jewry and to Israel.
Muslims for the most part, appear to favor pushing their children into the sciences or, to digging ever deeper into narrow versions of Islam. Muslims overwhelmingly disapprove of their children getting involved in administrations and government. Consequently, the anti-Muslim groups gain effective influence in the same areas that are aimed at persecuting Muslims.
Jews discovered to their horror, that staying uninvolved in “Politics” can have disastrous consequences; Muslims are as of yet, blissfully and stubbornly unaware of and remain allergic to “Politics”.
If we Muslims allow ourselves a chance to grow up, maybe we can share a measure of the activism of the Jews of today…I pray it will not take a disaster for us to awaken from the materialistic stupor we find ourselves in.
Question from a Reader:
br. Jafar, I noticed the over-use of absolute terms such as “never”, “seldom”, “hardly ever” in your email. Are you sure this is the state of Muslims? Have you never seen Muslims who have voted? have you never seen Muslims who agreed on something? I find that hard to believe. What I have seen is a few people who call out “we’re not united” or “we are all disagreeing” when no one seems to be agreeing to their opinion.
I think what is worst is being negative, pessimistic and dismissive of our strengths and progress. There is so much that’s going on, that we’re doing, that we’re being acknowledged for alhamdolillah. We will do much better by playing on that rather than our shortcomings.
and we’re not going to get anywhere by following the Jews, we’ll only get somewhere by following the Prophet AS’s sunnah.
Thank you for challenging my thoughts, that is how we can help each other learn better…But you did catch me by surprise! Did I actually overuse the words? Man! I need to be more aware of my words! So I checked the e-mail I wrote (above) and it turns out that I used the words you pointed out (“never”, “seldom”, “hardly ever”) exactly ONCE each. Not to nit-pick, but this hardly qualifies as “overuse”. I also believe that except for the word “Never” these words are far from being absolute because they leave a lot of room for exceptions to the statements I made.
Of course, it would be highly irresponsible if I start making statements that I don’t believe in so yes, I am sure this is the state of Muslims, at least, the ones I have come across or, heard of, in Washington State.
We ARE split apart, but we deny it loudly, perhaps we do so in order to make ourselves feel that we are doing the right things….we are split even AFTER we die!!! Even our graveyards are segregated where Shia are not allowed to be buried in Sunni graveyards. What is the fear there? that the presence of Shia among the Most Pious Sunni will somehow send all the Sunni dead to Hell?
Since you are part of MAPS, let me ask you, when was the last time MAPS invited a Shia scholar to discuss Shia beliefs so that Sunnis can listen and learn that Shia are not the un-Islamic demons so many Sunnis appear to believe.
How about Sufis, has any Sufi scholar been invited to a major lecture at MAPS?
I am willing to bet that MAPS has expended more effort into the so-called, “Inter-faith”, than in INTRA-faith”…as have almost every other Muslim organization in the Puget Sound Area.
The standard answer of course, is along the lines, “We do not discriminate, our doors are always open etc., etc.,…”
I am not picking on MAPS, I believe MAPS is one of the more progressive Muslim organizations in Puget Sound, but even there, the splits are visible for those who wish to see them.
We can of course, take the path of least resistance and say “Alhamdolillah! what a wonderful organization we have!” Unfortunately, such self-congratulatory positions seldom improve a situation.
Of course, Muslims vote, many if not most do and I don’t believe I have ever said they don’t. What I have said is that we are fragmented in our voting. We live in different areas so we have different candidates that we vote for and when we vote, we draw our lines on the ballot and send it off in the mail.
I am sorry but such silent voting is for the majority population, NOT for a minority such as ours, especially when we are the main target of every political leader (okay, almost every political leader). We NEED to tell our political leaders that we are Muslims and we ARE concerned about what is happening to Muslims in this country and that we expect our political leaders to ACT against the general persecution of Muslims. Instead, we invite them to our functions and introduce them with great hoopla, but we NEVER (yes, this is an absolute statement) bring up the issue of the anti-Muslim hostilities that surround us and we NEVER (Oops! another absolute statement) ask them to take assertive measures to protect us.
As a result, our political leaders believe they are doing all the right things and they pander instead, to the more powerful and assertive anti-Muslim bigots…and the shower of jackboots on our collective behinds gets heavier!
Look at Rob McKenna. He signed a statement of unreserved support for Israel on its murderous attacks on Palestinians in Gaza and he is still proud of it!
What do Muslims do? We invite him as an honored guest and we NEVER bring up the issue so, he believes it must not be important to us.
Look at Maria Cantwell. She has been on the Senate Transportation sub-committee for years, she has been the chair of the sub-committee every time Democrats have Senate Majority. Yet, she has never spoken out against the arbitrary removal of Muslims from flights, she has never even acknowledged any letters written to her on the subject.
What do Muslims do? We hold large fund-raisers for her and extoll her virtues and we never ask her, even in private, to take a stand against the discrimination against Muslims on airlines.
Look at ever Senator and every House Representative (Congressperson
) except for Jim McDermott
. EVERY single one of them signed on to NDAA 2012
which authorizes the military to “detain” Muslims suspected (by whom?) of supporting “terrorism”…forever (until the “War!” against “terror is over
What do Muslims do? Sweet nothing.
I am NOT “negative, pessimistic and dismissive of our strengths“, in fact, it is my deep confidence in our strength, that makes me say all the things I do…because we have the strength and the capability to do MUCH better!
Just look. In the past decades, especially in the past eleven years (post 9-11), Muslims have built so many mosques, so many other things…but we have done extremely little in taking control of our political position. As a result, about TWO MILLION Muslims have been killed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan and they are getting ready to do more in Iran even as the killing continues in the first five countries.
I believe strongly, that none of this would have happened if Muslims had asserted their collective political power. Instead, we frittered it away by raising funds for George Bush…twice!
I am also not so foolish as to call for “Muslim unity” because such “Unity” ceased to exist almost immediately after the prophet died. I am saying again and again, that we should feel free to not work with each other as groups and we may, if we are so desperate for it, actually hate each other’s groups. But on a few major issues that affect us all, we Muslims need to come together and act together. Only then, will our enemies find resistance and only then, will our political leaders listen less to our enemies and more to us.
The call to focus on our good points is well-taken, but that is not quite relevant when one is focusing on the wasted efforts of Muslims; when one sees a Lamborghini being used to haul cement and lumber, it is hard to focus on the wonderful car.
I find your closing statement (“and we’re not going to get anywhere by following the Jews, we’ll only get somewhere by following the Prophet AS’s sunnah.”) rather breath-taking and I fail to understand it.
I did not realize that it was a matter of choosing one or the other; the Sunnah or learning from others (Jews), I thought our strength lay in doing the best of what we find before us. Look at past Muslim history, the very peak of Muslim achievement was when Muslims gathered knowledge from every corner of the world and improved upon it. What were the prophet Mohammed’s (saw) acts, the “Sunnah”? were they not based on the paths beaten down by others, by Jews, Christians and even Pagans?
The Jews are doing some things very right and very effective, we Muslims would be foolish to dismiss their work and not learn from them.
I AM actually, focusing on our strengths and the positives! Just imagine how much we can improve the lives of Muslims…of our future generations and across the world… if we start to recognize what we should be doing!