Discrimination, Privilege and Accountability: A lesson by the Almighty

Assalam Alaikum my brothers and sisters,

First I would like to send blessing upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ,

“Allaahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad wa ‘ala aali Muhammad kama salayta ‘ala Ibraaheem wa ‘ala aali Ibraaheem, innaka hameedun majeed. Allaahumma baarik ‘ala Muhammad wa ‘ala aali Muhammad kama baarakta ‘ala Ibraaheem wa ‘ala aali Ibraaheem, innaka hameedun majeed”¹

It is very stressful and tense these days, as I am sure you already know. I pray that Allâh Subhānahu Wa Ta’Ala ease our struggles and bring us closer to Him.

I’m a Caucasian Muslim of Irish and British decent. Born and raised in Southern Virginia. Because of that, what I have to say about our country’s current situation doesn’t matter to many. I’ve decided to write from a more Religious perspective, because the words of The Almighty are never wrong. Subhan’Allâh³.

A small back story

We are beautiful just the way the Almighty made us

Throughout my time as a Muslim I have always had good relationships with my sister’s of faith. And in general I have never treated any person differently because of their skin color in my entire life. Astaghfirullah⁴! The Almighty has taught us better, Alhamdulillah⁵. And also my parents (who are of course also Caucasian) never raised me around that kind of environment and bigotry.

I know I’ve always stood out at the mosque. I enter the ladies area and remove my hijab to make Wudu and they see blonde hair and blue eyes. I sometimes get asked if I am visiting. Many times I get a “Hi” instead of “Assalam Alaikum“. I understand that being a Caucasian Female in Islam is not that common. And I have never taken it personally. I just smile 😊. Being surrounded by these beautiful women, Masha’Allâh⁷, I look around and take in all the serenity and being around my sisters in Faith, “How blessed we are! Alhamdulillah!”, I would say to myself.

But at this moment around the country, things seem to be very different. It breaks my heart. I haven’t had anyone flat out say anything to me in person or anything. Living in Hawaii right now has its advantages. There are no riots, no buildings be set on fire or people being killed. ALHAMDULILLAH!

But online is a whole different matter. I definitely feel the tension; and the posts I am seeing from other Muslims that I follow, are so incredibly hateful, that my heart drops into the pit of my stomach at the sight of these posts. There are different opinions and each side is getting defensive because they feel personally attacked.

I’m seeing posts about people being accused of having White Privilege and if they don’t admit to that or admit they are naturally more prone to racism because of their skin color, or accept blame because of past events, they are ridiculed and called racist, from blacks, whites, browns, . . . . everyone.

There was this one Meme where a man was holding a sign that had said,

*Black Lives Matter*

Treat Racism like COID-19

1. Assume you have it (What? Seriously?)

2. Listen to experts about it (the only human expert is Prophet Muhammad ﷺ)

3. Don’t spread it (obviously)

4. Be willing to change your life to end it. (Yes)

-If you can’t do 1-4, inject 1 bottle of Lysol or 2 of Bleach

I couldn’t believe what I was reading and people within the Muslim community had liked and shared it,
(Astaghfirullah). There is so much more, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time on that. Ya’ll have seen them. It’s unfathomable. It doesn’t matter what country, ethnicity or race someone is from. It shouldn’t be this way, especially among the Ummah⁶. My heart has ached and cried for the people in this country and for everyone.

So now I am going to dive in to what The Almighty and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ⁸ tells us to do and how we should treat people.

And among His wonders is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your tongues and colors. For in this, behold, there are messages indeed for all who are possessed of innate knowledge!” -Quran 30, 22

One of the best attributes that Islam teaches us, is to take responsibility for our actions and our situations. Blaming others is so often used as an excuse to avoid necessary self-improvement. Do not lead with emotions but with logic.

We cannot oppress people because of their skin color. Taking on the same behavior as the oppressors and directing it back at the people who are merely of the same color as the ones who oppressed you, is the work of Evil. That is Satan’s influence, to cause hate in our hearts and we must remember what Allâh has revealed to us.

The Prophet ﷺ Said:

“O people, your Lord is one and your father Adam is one. There is no favor of an Arab over a foreigner, nor a foreigner over an Arab, and neither white skin over black skin, nor black skin over white skin, except by righteousness. Have I not delivered the message?”

-Musnad Aḥmad 22978

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:

“Verily, Allah has removed from you the pride of the time of ignorance with its boasting of ancestors. Verily, one is only a righteous believer or a miserable sinner. All of the people are the children of Adam, and Adam was created from dust.”

-Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3955

Allâh Subhānahu Wa Ta’Ala says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ ۚ إِنْ يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقِيرًا فَاللَّهُ أَوْلَىٰ بِهِمَا ۖ فَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا الْهَوَىٰ أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا ۚ وَإِنْ تَلْوُوا أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.

Holy Qur’an 4:135

And also:

وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنْكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِنْ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ

“And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. 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.”

Holy Qur’an 5:48

وَأَنِ احْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ وَاحْذَرْهُمْ أَنْ يَفْتِنُوكَ عَنْ بَعْضِ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ ۖ فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ أَنْ يُصِيبَهُمْ بِبَعْضِ ذُنُوبِهِمْ ۗ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِنَ النَّاسِ لَفَاسِقُونَ

“And judge, [O Muhammad], between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations and beware of them, lest they tempt you away from some of what Allah has revealed to you. And if they turn away – then know that Allah only intends to afflict them with some of their [own] sins. And indeed, many among the people are defiantly disobedient.”

Holy Qur’an 5:49

NO ONE has the right to make you or anyone else feel guilty for how Allâh Subhānahu Wa Ta’Ala created you, or the life Allâh has willed for you, both in struggles and blessings.

NO ONE has the right to make you or others feel guilty because of the past history of oppression that you and others today had absolutely nothing to do with.

We need to remind ourselves for the sake of Allâh Subhānahu Wa Ta’Ala, that an individual is not responsible for the actions of others. Past, present or future. We cannot blame a whole community, Country, race, religion, etc, because of the evilness of others. Those evil doers do not represent everyone, they represent only themselves!

Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of Allâh ﷺ, said that Allâh the Exalted said:

يَا عِبَادِي إِنَّمَا هِيَ أَعْمَالُكُمْ أُحْصِيهَا لَكُمْ ثُمَّ أُوَفِّيكُمْ إِيَّاهَا فَمَنْ وَجَدَ خَيْرًا فَلْيَحْمَدْ اللَّهَ وَمَنْ وَجَدَ غَيْرَ ذَلِكَ فَلَا يَلُومَنَّ إِلَّا نَفْسَهُ

“O my servants, it is only your deeds that I record for you and then recompense for you, so let him who finds good praise Allah and let him who finds other than that blame no one but himself.”

Source: Sahih Muslim 2577, Grade: Sahih

Allâh Subhānahu Wa Ta’Ala said:

فَلَوْلَا إِذْ جَاءَهُم بَأْسُنَا تَضَرَّعُوا وَلَٰكِن قَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

“Then why, when Our punishment came to them, did they not humble themselves? But their hearts became hardened, and Satan made attractive to them that which they were doing.” Holy Qur’an 6:43

Evil exists due to the choices people make and the Free Will that Allâh gave all of mankind. Check out my other blog post (Who is the real enemy?)

Whenever something bad happens to us, even if it comes from others, it has only been decreed by Allâh as a trial or a punishment because of our sins. What we do and how we treat others will effect us. Non-Muslims call this Karma. The total outcome of someone’s deeds does not always happen in this life, but this is why there is divine judgment after death with perfect justice.

Allâh Subhānahu Wa Ta’Ala says:

فَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَرَهُ

وَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ

“So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.” [Qur’an 99:7-8]

And Allâh Subhānahu Wa Ta’Ala said:

اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ ثُمَّ رَزَقَكُمْ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ ۖ هَلْ مِنْ شُرَكَائِكُمْ مَنْ يَفْعَلُ مِنْ ذَٰلِكُمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

“Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].” Holy Qur’an 30:41

And also Allâh Subhānahu Wa Ta’Ala said:

وَمَا أَصَابَكُمْ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُو عَنْ كَثِيرٍ

“Whatever disaster strikes you is for what your hands have earned, yet He pardons much.” Holy Qur’an 42:30

My dear Brothers and Sisters of faith, we must expect to go through difficulties in this life and prepare ourselves by strengthening our faith and developing patience. Allâh warns us of such difficulties.

Allâh Subhānahu Wa Ta’Ala said:

أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ

Do people think that they will be left to say we believe, and they will not be tried?

Holy Qur’an 29:2

So, the righteous way is not to blame others for the trials decreed by Allâh! But instead respond to them with humbleness and humility. We must accept that these difficulties are sent to test our faith and bring us back to Allâh. Satan tempts us to react to trials with arrogance.

Allâh Subhānahu Wa Ta’Ala said:

فَلَوْلَا إِذْ جَاءَهُم بَأْسُنَا تَضَرَّعُوا وَلَٰكِن قَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

Then why, when Our punishment came to them, did they not humble themselves? But their hearts became hardened, and Satan made attractive to them that which they were doing. Holy Qur’an 6:43

Casting blame on others for our misfortune puts us in a state of denial so that we avoid personal accountability. This is Satan’s work to blind us from a true and rightious solution. Allâh will only improve our situation when start acknowledging and examining ourselves and purify our hearts and minds from spiritual diseases.

Allâh Subhānahu Wa Ta’Ala said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ

Verily, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. Holy Qur’an 13:11

In closing, be mindful of how you treat others for The Almighty is always watching and listening. We should fight for justice for the Ummah, no matter what color they are. Don’t oppress your white/black/brown/tan etc brothers and sisters who are innocent. Do not blame them for someone else’s actions.

There is so much to grieve these days for the situation of Muslims in many parts of the world. But blaming external factors is a dangerous distraction. Focusing too much on worldly causes while ignoring spiritual causes will prevent us from seeing the truth. The only way we can lift ourselves out of hardship is to lower ourselves before The Almighty, to repent to Him with humility and sincerity, to acknowledge our sins and to improve our inward and outward moral behavior.⁹

الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُمْ مُصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ

“Indeed we belong to Allâh, and indeed to Him we will return.” Holy Qur’an 2:156

“Oh men! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware” (Quran 49:13)

*NOTE*

As I was working on the last details of my blog post, I heard about this story. There was an incident involving NYC Police Officers who were patrolling a protest. They went into a Shake Shack to get something to eat and one of the employees put bleach in their drinks. They were rushed to hospital shortly after CLICK HERE for story. Ya’Allâh!¹⁰

Index:

1: “O Allâh, send prayers upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent prayers upon Ibraaheem and upon the family of Ibraaheem; You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory. O Allâh, send blessings upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad as You sent blessings upon Ibraaheem and upon the family of Ibraaheem; You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory” -Narrated by al-Bukhaari (3700) and Muslim (406) from the hadeeth of Ka‘b ibn ‘Ajrah

2: The Almighty, Glory and Exalted is He

3: Glory to the Almighty

4: I seek forgiveness from the Almighty

5: All praise and thanks are due to The Almighty

6. Muslim Community

7: To protect one from feeling envy

8: Peace and Blessings be upon him

10: Oh Lord, normally said while in distress.

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