These are the days

These are the days when we need to express love for one another. The nations are gathering around to devour our ummah just as people share a plate of food. First came the European states with their pens and rulers in the days of Empire, dividing up the Muslim world into bite-sized portions. These days it’s war on weapons of mass destruction, war for democracy, war on dictatorship and war on terrorism. In the name of human rights, human rights are abused. In the name of freedom, innocent men and women are incarcerated. In the name of civilisation, vacuum bombs, cluster bombs and cruise missiles are rained down on far-off lands. These are the days when we need to express love for one another. But we don’t.

For a month or so I was a member of a large group for Muslim writers, but I have left now primarily because I was irritated by the contempt with which some members approached others. There was the hard character who chastised those with whom he disagreed as feminists, sufis and worthless inter-faithers. There was the self-characterised liberal who wrote off the rest of us. There was the ‘traditionalist’ who condemned the ‘salafi’ and the ‘salafi’ who denounced the ‘sufis’. I am just a simple Muslim, neither ‘Salafi’ or ‘Sufi’, but I try to deal with people whatever their persuasion in as gentle and polite manner as possible. Unfortunately, whenever I do so I am then condemned as one or the other. Yes, I am a worthless inter-faither, not worthy of a salam.

These are the days when we need to express love for one another, but we don’t. Instead we are salafis, sufis, traditionalists, modernists, converts, Pakistanis, Arabs, Englishis; all trampling down our own unique path, critical of all who fall without. Meanwhile, just as our noble Prophet warned us that they would, the nations continue to summon each other upon us as we call guests to eat from a plate of food – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. We cannot respond, because we are suspicious of one another. Having categorised ourselves, we categorise others and find ourselves easily able to write off the suffering of those outside. It is all wrong. This brotherhood of yours is one brotherhood.

These are the days when we need to express love for one another. These are the days.

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