What happened?

Do Muslims really exist? I often find myself pondering this question. Do they exist in the workplace? Where are they? Whenever a new member of staff with a Muslim-sounding name joins the team, there is a momentary, fleeting sense of gladness: company at last. But, alas, such glee is always quickly spirited away when they head to the pub each Friday lunchtime instead of to the mosque, and when they dive into the birthday cakes half-way through Ramadan. So do Muslims really exist, except online, where they teem in great numbers, safe in the knowledge that the keyboard is mightier than the sword? Alhamdulilah, I just spent the day with real, breathing Muslims; I know my question, in reality, is really rather foolish.

But something has happened. I wonder what became of all those zealous companions of mine, who championed the hijab and ilm and the ummah when we were students 15 years ago. Where are they now? What became of those bold realities? Why did we disappear? Yes, something has happened. Five years ago, the interwebs teemed with ardent voices, upholding the toughest of stances on this, that and the other. They were critical of those they deemed to have fallen short: orthodoxy was the order of the day. But now? While we were away there was a great exodus. Old homes have been left abandoned. Words scattered like dust. The hot embers have been cast aside.

Who is left who will walk with us? Where now are our companions? Will we grow old and grey and wise together, or will we each cast out on our own path, to wander on alone, chasing after whichever new cause takes our fancy? Will the generation that replaces us fare any better, or are we set to degenerate, to promulgate a faith that blooms momentarily, only to wither away and become dirt under foot? Is there any hope in longevity for our faith? Or will we forever repeat the cycle of zealotry and mockery, turning back on the early days of faith in favour of this ugly cynicism that we have now adopted. Now we are the enlightened: those that come after us are the fools we once were! Really? Or is it just that once we were sincere and passionate and true, and now we are just jaded, compromised and fake?

These are troubled times. A beautiful elixir tastes mostly bitter. The world calls out to us, and we call out for it. We go whichever way the crowd goes. We have learned to laugh much, and to make comedy of our beliefs. We have replaced our heart with virtual spaces, where we speak all, sell all. We have replaced the inward gaze with the outward performance. Where is all that polish we once sought? Where that mission to refine and reform and to be reformed? Where has that desire to be better people gone? What is left of us? What happened?

2 thoughts on “What happened?”

  1. May Allah bless you ameen.

    With what heart felt poetic fourish you strive to illuminate the dusty recesses of lives darkened by the reality of spiritual regression and emotional handicap that has overwhelmed rational faith and camaraderie devoid of spiritual growth?! Amongst the departers, apologetics and confused, still remain lovers of Allah and His friends. They are still out there, learning to juggle; perhaps quietened by the hubbub of family life, the business of tending to future generations, or the unremitting chores of daily life whither to masjid or daily bread. Some yet still, having migrated to the company of the Rememberers of Allah, others working in some way in His cause… Perhaps some have also realised that the need to work deeds of real substance and value, rather than pen endless rejoinders to endless diatribes maketh a hu-man and musal-man.

    JazakAllahu khair for pointing out, as usual, an important issue that certainly needs to be reflected upon.

    Warmest regards and it’s great to have back your sincere and objective reflections! Wassalamu alaikum

    Someera

  2. Al-salaamu alaikum
    So true, I remember feeling light with faith and the passion for faith. Now I am so heavy and I don’t know how I became so heavy when I thought all this time that I was progressing, I thought somehow I was getting lighter. .. what to do? How do you wrench yourself from your self? I have often thought of escape, of going on a physical journey in search of spiritual meanings. I argue that my family are in need of me so I cannot leave but I think in truth I have become too heavy and I cannot drag myself away.

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