Just a few things to discuss. The more we grow, the more we learn (if we open ourselves to new knowledge) and the more we learn, the more we want to learn because the more knowledge we have, the more we begin to realise that we know very little. About ourselves, about others, about this world, about a lot of things. The more we learn, the more we are able to be honest with ourselves and the people around us. In the past few months, I have been thinking about a lot of things and I have come to realise that humans are very complex creatures; we can very much be the real definition of walking contradiction. We want to be loved but we spread hate, we want to eat, yet we starve others, we want to be treated fairly yet we pounce on others, we want to be successful but wont provide others with the same opportunity. We spread so much negative energy through lies, greed, deception, envy and yet we complain, and I guess that is why the world is in such turmoil. To be honest, after observing the world, people, events, myself, life for a while now, I have realised that I am fed up with everyone’s bullshit, including my own, and it is high time to make that change, that positive change.
Because I am Muslim, I will be talking about this part from an Islamic point of view as I am not qualified to speak for other religions or beliefs, however, I am sure some of the things I will mention here resonate with these other religions and beliefs. First things first, Islam is a religion that promotes peace, honesty, respect, good leadership and interpersonal skills, among many other good things and the two things I want to elaborate on are HONESTY and RESPECT. Both are very important in terms of self, and with regards to other people. True to what people say, “only God can judge me” but if what you are doing is wrong, and you are using this statement to dismiss someone who tries to correct you, then as a believer of God, you should know that God’s judgement is nothing to be played with. Now, only God can really judge you and God reads your intentions and not your actions therefore it is very important for you to be honest with yourself to begin with. Imagine a world where everyone was honest with him or herself, who will need to correct the other person? None, because everyone will be who he should be and the world will move forward in peace. Obviously this is not the case and we find ourselves judging others all the time, yet when people judge us, we take offence. We have to be honest with ourselves. The example I want to use to make my point is dressing modestly. Truly, iman (faith) is in the heart and just because a person’s dress does not meet Islam’s standards does not automatically make him faithless, or a bad person. That might be the only thing that person does that fails to meet Islam’s standards, and that person may be someone who is trying to honestly fix himself, therefore you shouldn’t judge. Instead speak to him about it, try to understand his reasoning behind it, if it is something you can help with, help… That simple, because like him, you have areas in your life that need fixing too. Now, to the girl that does not cover up her hair, or dresses indecently for example, I am not judging at all, but I want you to be honest and critical with yourself, ask yourself if you think what you are doing is wrong or right, ask yourself why you do the things you do because no matter what you say, or how you try to justify your actions, only you and God know if you are being true to yourself or not. I read a very interesting quote which goes something like “If one truly loves and believes in Allah, then it will start from the heart and carry on to other parts of that person” Basically if you wholehearted believe, love and worship Allah, naturally you will drop a lot and pick up a lot as well. So, bringing us back to honesty, you have to be honest with yourself first, to really make a change. It is not about posting religious quotes online, or covering up when your parents are around, it is about sitting down and telling yourself, I need to change myself for good, and acting accordingly, not for anyone’s entertainment but for your own sake.
The next thing is respect. Again, like with honesty, you have to respect yourself, and you have to respect others. Respect yourself enough to know what you deserve as a human being and also respect people and do not cross the line. Respect people’s lives, respect their privacy, respect their right to live and practise whatever it is they want to practise. I bring this issue up because recently I have seen and heard a lot of talk about LGTB rights and homophobia. First thing I want to say is that everyone has the right as a human being to live as he wants and both ends should understand and acknowledge this. This means a person is allowed to be gay and a person is also allow to not support gay people, it is that simple. What these two people need to do is establish respect and understanding between them and not cross each other’s lines, it is that simple. You have no right as a human being to go on a witch hunt for gay people and kill them, the same way a gay person has no right to insist someone acknowledge his sexual orientation. Not accepting a person’s way of life does not equate to not accepting that person at all. Different people have different beliefs and we should come together for our similarities and not fight over differences. Now, it is important to understand that the way we live, our lifestyle, things we do is informed by our personal beliefs, among other things, therefore as human beings it is impossible for us all to agree on everything. You cannot expect an atheist who does not believe in God to believe in the afterlife the way a believer does and therefore you cannot expect that person to live life as you do. Because I am Muslim, I am going to talk about respect from a Muslim’s point of view. First of all, there is no in-between, homosexuality is harram (forbidden) in Islam. No in-between. That is how it is. So, whatever your personal beliefs are, you cannot expect a Muslim to support homosexuality. He practises a religion and therefore abides by the rules of that religion and by definition; he cannot take part in or support anything the religion forbids. Now, that said, this does not give him a right to take violent action against you, because it is not in his power to do so*. He can talk to you about it, he can explain to you why his religion forbids it, he can tell you stories about Lut and all that but he does not have the right to kill you or hate you or whatever it is that people do. There are rules put in place by his religion, and that is what he should follow. As homosexuality is forbidden in Islam, so is fornication. Should he who abstains from sex kill he who has sex before marriage? These things are not to be handled by individual men or women, these things are affairs of the court*. Again, all I am trying to say here is that there are rules and regulations that apply to us all and there are rules and regulations that apply to some but not all and what we need to do is identify those rules and honor those rules, respect one another, and live in accordance with our religion and or our personal beliefs and not impose ourselves on one another. We should not take action on things we lack proper knowledge of. You do not have to attend any LGTB rights movement, you have the right to not support it, but it does not mean you have to hate them those who. If you believe what they are doing is wrong, the right thing to do is pray for guidance and try to correct them and not judge and take drastic action against them. The same applies to gay people. If you want people to be more accepting of you, do not force it on people, rather talk to them about it. Try to understand each other but look for justice when your fundamental human rights are violated, and this does not include a person’s right to refuse or acknowledge your personal preferences in life.
*(If you want to know more about homosexuality and other subjects discussed in Islam, please read the Qur’an and converse with a good number of Islamic scholars so you can get a better understanding. As you should with anything that needs clarity)
UNDERSTANDING PEOPLE & BEING TRUE TO YOURSELF
Read, converse, and understand. That is what we all need to be doing. Do not rely on the news, TV, entertainment to define who someone is or a group of people are to you. No, go out, read read read, and talk to people, engage with people and try to understand people. You know, I believe the media has successfully made insignificant human differences a tool to separate people and this has diverted us all from the real issues of the world. The same way media has painted your average Arab or Muslim a terrorist is the same way it has bread hatred for the white man in the Arab world. You know, people don’t really care about differences once they get together and understand each other. That said, know that because you live a certain lifestyle does not make it right, it also does not mean that everyone must or should live like that, it also means you have no right to judge people who choose not to live like that. Because everyone is doing something, if it is wrong, it will never be right and same applies to something good, even if only one person on earth does it, right will forever be right.
Also, it has become very disturbing that the concept of honestly and politeness is steadily dying, while disrespect and deception is becoming more prominent. Men these days are marginalised to think they have to be aggressive, they have to disrespect women, they have to block all emotion and must not care for others, they have to have swag and a playboy persona, and God forbid should they remain loyal to what they truly love. And for those who are brave enough to break out of the crowd, they will be tagged “sissy” And women as well, they have been marginalised into thinking they are worth nothing more than sex objects for men to satisfy themselves. They have been marginalised into thinking they must sell themselves to earn something, that they cannot earn for themselves that they must whore themselves to move up in the world, that if they do not look like Beyonce or have a husband as rich as Jay-Z, their life is over… The truth is far from that and what people need to understand is that both happiness and love are relative. Every single person has what makes him happy and no human being has the right to dictate what others must do for themselves. If you are a girl, and you love tailoring, why not. If you are dark skinned, so what? If as a guy and you like wearing orange shirts and trousers with sandals, do it. Who is to say you cannot. Let me tell you something, people will prevent you from excelling in life if you abide by their definition normal. If you are a man that loves a woman dearly and honestly, no matter what your friends do, or say to you, treat that woman right because you love her and because you deserve each other. Same applies to women, do not watch too much drunk in love and decide that is what it will take for you to be happy. Do not compare yourselves to others. If as a couple, you enjoy farming for fresh tomatoes in the evenings and reading Harry Potter books throughout the day, do that, because that is what makes you happy. Nobody has the right to define you for you. The simple thing to ask is not what “others think about me” but “this thing I love, does it go against my beliefs or ethics or cause trouble for me and the people around” if it does not, let people talk, they are good at it, just do you. Let me tell you something, if you want to impress people, you will never be happy because your best will never be good enough for them and you will forever be haunted by the pain of suppressing the real you.
This now brings me to the real issues we should be discussing, lack of jobs, poverty, the huge rich-poor divide, war, hunger, and corruption in our society. These are the actual issues, the real issues we should be talking about. If you are gay and the other person is a homophobe and you are fighting, but you both live in poverty and have no jobs because of corruption, what are you guys really doing? Irrespective of our differences as people (something that can be addressed less violently than we currently do) we have common problems, which we must tackle together as PEOPLE so we can make life better for everyone. Is it not sad how the poor continue to fight the poor while the rich get richer? We are all people, created equally and we all deserve a shot at a better life and the good things in life but arguing about our differences in life will not put food in our tables. By now, we should accept that certain things we just will never agree on. The things we do agree on however, we can work together to achieve. I am not here today to support or denounce anything, I am just here to speak my mind, and encourage people to understand each other better, and better yet, be honest with themselves as best they can.
This is an opinion, meaning you are welcome to speak your mind. If there is anything you want me to clarify, I will be happy to. And if you want to discuss it further, we can.