Islam Made Me A Better Citizen
Islam made me a better citizen and patriot. The Prophet Muhammad's teachings strengthened my belief in freedom and democracy. Independence Day once meant nothing more to me than an excuse to party. Prior to my acceptance of Islam, my personal behavior demonstrated all too well why July 4th ranks as the holiday most associated with alcohol-related deaths. When I first read the Quran, Islam's revealed text, and the traditions (hadith) of the Prophet Muhammad I expected to find something totally alien to American ideals. Instead, I found many of the same democratic principles that emerged from the Continental Congress in that summer of 1776. Democracy - The Quran promises rewards for those "who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation." (Quran, 42:38) Political Activism - The Prophet Muhammad said, "The best jihad in the path of God is (to speak) a word of justice to an oppressive ruler." (Sunan of Abu-Dawood) Justice - "O believers! Stand firm for justice and bear true witness for the sake of God, even though it be against yourselves, your parents or your relatives. It does not matter whether the party is rich or poor - God is well wisher of both. So let not your selfish desires swerve you from justice.
If you distort your testimony or decline to give it, then you should remember that God is fully aware of your actions." (Quran, 4:135) The Burden of Political Authority - The Prophet Muhammad said, "He who has been ruler over (even) ten people will be brought shackled on the Day of Resurrection until justice loosens his chains or tyranny brings him to destruction." (Sahih Muslim) Islam's lifestyle of self-restraint, abstinence from drugs and alcohol, respect for the institution of marriage, concern for neighbors regardless of their faith, duty to parents, and respect for the rule of law resulted in my becoming a better person and a better American. Thomas Jefferson once said, "Dissent is the greatest form of patriotism." On July 4th, we celebrate one of history's great acts of dissent: the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The men who put their signature on that document literally put their lives and property on the line to voice their disagreement with British government policies that they believed to be tyrannical. This July 4th offers an opportunity to renew our commitment to the patriotic nature of political dissent. I and many other Americans are deeply disturbed by events in Iraq, by reports of torture and desecration of the Quran in Guantanamo Bay, by Patriot Act abuses, by the rising tide of anti-Muslim rhetoric in our society, and by domestic and international policies that seem to create more problems than they solve.
But my love for America is not diminished because it is sometimes flawed. I love my nation because, despite its flaws, the majority of its people remain committed to tolerance and respect for one another, whatever their faith or viewpoint. After the 9/11 attacks, my neighbors could have turned their anger on me as a Muslim. They did not. They came to me and offered both support and their horror that someone would twist my faith in such an evil manner. But of greatest inspiration to me are the words written in 1998 by a Muslim 10th grader living in California. Following the attack on the USS Cole, he wrote a letter to Osama bin Laden. In that letter he wrote: "If you are keen to murder Americans, kill us before you kill non-Muslim Americans. Bomb our mosques and Islamic Centers. We are Americans as much as others." This July 4th, let us all remember that we love this nation and will heed Jefferson's advice by offering a word of justice to any of our representatives who stray from the ideals set forth in that revolutionary document signed 231 years ago in Philadelphia.
Corey Saylor is an expert on political communications, media relations and anti-Islam prejudice in the United States with over two decades of experience. The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post have sought his opinions. He has appeared on outlets ranging from Fox News to CNN, the BBC, and Al Jazeera.
This article was originally published on July 3, 2011.
Topics: Independence, Islam, United States Of America Values: Justice
brother Corey Saylor your views are par excellence. spread this idea as much as you could and make a community/ organization to spread the same message through out the world as it the need of the hour. the majority of nonmuslims specially American and European miunderstand Islam and Muslims. rather i should say that they are guided in a wrong mannar by some selfish peoples to gain their political benifits.
May allah help you spread the message
I too agree, that we must identify ourselves as Muslims first and then worry about the nationalistic obligations;
For all its imperfections, America is still a good place to raise a family. As a hijab wearing woman, I know what it is to feel like a second class American because of hostile glares. I also know of the basic goodness of the american people. Some people approach me and are kinder because I identify myself as a muslimah
Yes, many black americans were not freed on independence day. But the black man was freed from tyranny long before the american woman. You got the right to vote before we did, and could own property when we couldn't. We still aren't equal. And the native americans have lost more than anyone. I pray you will learn to put your hatred aside and love your fellow man and follow the advice of our Prophet in his last sermon. That is true freedom!
Islam is freeing!
Hungry pilgrims came to America from Europe. They were fed & taken care of by the Native Americans. These pilgrims expressed their 'gratefulness' by comitting genocide & eventually snatching away the land of the very people who gave them shelter, pretty much the same thing is being done today by the Zionists to Palestinians. And it is no wonder why the American support goes towards the Zionists. This runs in the American blood.
I agree with Abu Fatima's post's that July 4th is a symbol of wrong that was comitted to the Native Americans.
July 4th - American freedom & democracy has no appeal to me. In the name of freedom & tolerance America has legalised "horrible sins" & encourages its people to remain consumed in it. And democracy ? You will become unpatriot if you question your government. Depending on the situation, American defintion of freedom & democracy varies from time to time & place to place.
We muslims are also partially responsible for the instability in the world today. We have deviated so much from the teaching of the Quran & Sunnah that we ourselves remain ineffective in almost every phase of our life. And because of that we are electing or selecting our leaders from those group of people, who after assuming leadership merrily sits on Wine, Women & Wealth & provides lip service here & there. Until we muslim preach, practice & live with our religion, more & more of our land & wealth will go into the hands of non-muslims.
You are also right & as a muslim you are required to obey the law of the land you live in as long as it does not compromises the laws of Allah. I understand your patriotism & I support it.
But we were supoosed to be one nation & muslim first & not the other way around.
Yes Islam will make you a better citizen Of wherever country you live, anytime!
An expression of ones viewpoints in a forum such as this, whether agreed with or not is an opportune time to share Alhudulilah. There is value in this for those of us who truly want to learn or those of us who have knowledge or Hikmah. No written/recorded piece is perfect except the Quran.
Viewpoints are just that: points of view, when others bring into focus another "view" particularly bearing facts to consider, ponder and seek further knowledge that is to be appreciated! Allah (swt) created all mankind. The ability do have this exchange comes from Allah (swt); how we engage in this dialogue is up to us. We are to steer clear of Allah's admonitions, acceptance of them on the basis that those carrying out the acts are non-muslims is not acceptable. May Allah guide us.
and agree with what you say
"Francisco Pizarro was a man fond of his hound dogs. In his campaign through the lands of the Inca his resources went out. Game was scarce or too difficult to spot through the thick lush. Pizarro was especially concern of his dogs, far more than his own motley troops made up mainly of pirates and unassigned sailors. He order that the native captives that he had them in chains to be baptized. The bishop that was accompanying him on behalf of the Catholic church of Spain happily performed the ceremonials. After having them baptized, Pizarro ordered his men to slash their naked bodies, so that they shouild bleed vigorously but not to kill them. Then he released his hound dogs on the wounded natives and all were watching in a sort of euphoric trance as the beasts tore apart the poor natives. Only the bishop approached Pizarro and asked out of sheer curiosity:'Why did you baptize them first?' Pizarro looked at the bishop in disbelief:'Well, padre, did you expect me to feed my precious dogs pagan meat? Besides, I gave them the chance to go in front of our lord Jesus as Christians. In fact, I did them the greatest favour."
I believe that no comment would describe better the state of the natives and their plight more than this piece of history.
Salam to you native and keep up the awareness of your peoples' plight. If you cease talking, who is there to talk for you my brother?
Umm Iman is a typical apologist for the "United States" --- yeah OK the slaughter of Native people's are all plan of Allah's plan --- OK sure, and forget about what happened. And maybe you need to look into Native spiritual heritage a bit deeper - instead of making nonsensical statements that are not true. Monothiesm is part of Native spirituality - so don't talk nonsense. Or are you one of the Muslim equivelents of Christian missionaries out to "save" the Natives -No thank you - keep your crap to yourself - we are doing perfectly OK without your missionary zeal - we've had enough of that putting us in boarding schools to brainwash us (maybe you are one of those kinds).
Native people want to keep our heritage - and not all of us want to become nice sweet Apples like yourself - who are more interested in becoming American as Apple Pie.
"Dare I also make mention that Native Americans are keeping casinos"
And so why not? Why don't you, instead of harping on Native Peoples - advocate prohibition? Are you doing that for the United States? And how about cutting off the hands of the corporate criminals? You are not going to do any of that - 'cause you are nothing more than an apologist for American crimes. Native peoples have a right to earn a living legally - it is not part of non-Muslim Natives to not run casinos. Yeah, maybe we should all die off - the few of us that are still here... Maybe then your kind will be happy to not be confronted with the real truth.
I urge majority of progressive muslim to speak out aginst minute fanatic muslim.We can not be silent any more. They very small in numbers but very loud in voice.They want to hijacked the true meaning of Islam(Peace) to Violence,hatred, racism, intolerance.
It's time to speak up against our own. To achieve justice we must have speak the truth about ourselve.
I am trully puzzled with sanity of people like "Native", with their lame argument of "Indian suffering", or inner city's racial descrimination. No body is claiming America is a perfect country, my question is show me a better country on the earth today? There is old saying when you point a finger to other, three finger pointed toward you.
Unfortunately certain immigrant muslim still intoxicated with old glory and holicinating the present reality. Let's get real. We have the best religion. But we muslim are not the best example today. Let use the advise of Dr. Murad Hoffman, " Not just perform Islam,START LIVING.
God bless all of us, Guide us in the right path.
Peace be with you all.
Allah says: "to the hypocrits give the glad tidings that for them is a grevious punishment. Those who take friends and protectors disbelievers rather than believers; is it honor they seek among them? All honor is with Allah." (4:138-139)
Bismillah ar Rahman Ir Rahim
In pondering my last statement, i realized that the last paragraph might feel harsh upon reading...specifically the reference I make to there being an alcoholism problem amongst many Native-Americans. For the sake of Allah, I must clarify: Whatever the reason for the use of that which is prohibited, InshaAllah there is hope, hope of ridding this illness from the Native-American communities as we need Heroin removed. I would hope that there are AA and Al-Anon groups available for both the users of Alcohol and their families and there should be since these groups run nationwide programs. And yes, I stand corrected, people are still suffering..and will until the end of this life. Each and everyone of us has hardship, for do we not think Allah (SWT) will bring us hardship to bear, InshaAllah it will cleanse our souls and our sins and make us stronger. During the hardship though we experience suffering and InshaAllah we turn to Allah. "For those who reject Tagut and turn to Allah, those have taken the most trustworthy handhold". "With every hardship comes relief, with every hardship comes relief". Have you heard about Bill Cosby, though imperfect, he's going into African American communities stating, pick yourselves up! If you haven't heard about it, check it out on the web. Allah (SWT) has stated in the Quran, "Have I not made the Earth vast that you may travel upon it". There are times many of us in this nation, esp those who have travelled overseas have thought of relocating, leaving what at times is a God
forsaken land; for some who have left, it works for them...Someone once said to me, you don't see people risking their lives on rafts (by choice) to go to any other country. But as Khan pointed out, since when has nationalism become a part of Islam. He's right, it's not/ it shouldn't be, however we live here & what goes on here is important, even those who want to be apathetic can't. May Allah SWT gui
It is pathethic how people practice Islam in this country - you immigrate here, and then completely ignore the Native peoples - as if 1421 or whatever was the "discovery" of America --- what a big fat lie! Remember that this land is deeply sacred - baitul muqaddus! And until you learn to respect the sacred, respect the Native Americans, recognize the horrendous holocaust that the Euro-White-Anglos comitted on this land - you are going to just be a pawn in the hands of the Anglos who are out to conquer the planet - and will not rest until you become one of them.
Read the Qur'an, it teaches you to learn from history - the history of this land is soaked in the blood of Native peoples (and Black people also - who were forced to do the building of Anglos, and are now act as cannon fodders).
To Brother Khan, your point regarding land is well taken, All of the Earth/Allah's creation are in his dominion. There is a reality though, and that is that man has divided up the land and has done so with Allah's permission as nothing happens without his permission. If I am mis-understanding this ayat, please inform me.
How can the people of the earth not recognize borders. Do you mean spiritually? Anyone who travels is forced to view borders as reality. Am I over simplifying your point when you say you don't recognize borders?
To brother or sister NATIVE may Allah forgive any ignorant comments. I grew up in New York City so crime and poverty in the US are not unfamiliar to me. The plight of poor people of color is not unfamiliar to me by any means including the dumping of drugs in our neighborhoods to destroy "minority" communities.
With respect to Native-American communities I am very ignorant, my exposure to the Native American
plight comes through my listening to Pacifica and NPR radio and PBS specials but you are correct, I've never been to a reservation.
My mother's ancestory includes Cherokee Indian and African American. They integrated into mainstream society. While I do not wish to diminish in anyway the suffering of Native Americans, I do not believe it would be a mis-statement to say they are not relegated to the reservations, they have the chose to enter American society. I understand that may not seem like a good choice at all to many Native Americans. Dare I note that this is all part of Allah's (swt) plan. Native Americans have a deeply rooted history in spirituality; this is not inclusive of monotheism, or belief in one God, Allah. Dare I also make mention that Native Americans are keeping casinos and do not have to pay taxes on the revenues raised. Dare I say that there is a problem with Alcoholism on many reservations. Should I be expressing untruths or half truths, May Allah (SWT) forgive me.
Human worth is quite high.
Therefore Justice for everyone.
Is a must. For any Nation.
Bads deeds gives bad fruits.
Now you want your fruit to be sweet.
I dont see how.
Maybe giving all the stolen land back to the Natives and asking for their forgivenss, just a thought...
Maybe Umm Iman might wanna visit any of the big cities and go into the poorest areas - and see the incredible level of poverty here. And then read a few books about how the United States pushed drugs into South Central Los Angeles --- go read Dark Alliance by Gary Webb and get some education instead of pointificating about the ridiculous notion of "greatness" of this "nation."
Dissnet? You are allowed little or no dissent in this country - a Muslim who speaks the truth is liable to be watched very closely - check out what the FBI did in Lodi, California - arrested an Imam 'cause he spoke out against the American nation's war on the Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq.
If you wanna follow the path of submission to Allah, Inshallah - you need to leave your Uncle/Auntie Tomism at the door!
As a muslim i do not recognise borders or that one people or nation is better than the other as all land belongs to Allah and muslims need not lick anyones boots.
Alhumdulilah for brother Corey's article, may Allah reward you for sharing both your viewpoint and your time during which you work with CAIR. Let's all remember that CAIR is an organization that works to bring justice through the guidance of Allah, InshaAllah,to Muslims in America who face injustice. Brother Corey like many of us in America who've been given the blessings from Allah of sight, hearing and speech have an understanding that this country was indeed built upon a wicked foundation of theft of the worse kind: theft of humans and theft of land but, Allah , SWT, knows best, nothing happens without Allah's permission. We've come along way since Pilgrims set foot on this land. I agree with brother Corey that the USA does allow for political dissent where one finds injustice. Try dissenting in the mid-east or the horn of Africa and see where the dissident ends up. Let's look at brothers in our deen who were killed in Egypt who died fighting for the cause of Islam; I'm not talking about people who bombed buildings but rather writers. We know that African-Americans suffered, no doubt, we know that native Americans suffered, no doubt, but let's not lose sight of the fact that we are here today, through Allah's infinite mercy and will, with the ability to speak truth, to seek justice and are able to do so within the existing framework of the US Constitution. Jefferson himself was a victim of his time, he sought justice yet was unjust most of all to himself, just look at the woman he spent time with, a slave; true, we don't know the context of his relationship because he lived a lie. However, the founders of this country (by the will of Allah)opened the door to a place where (though not inclusive of all people at the time of it's inception) voices could be heard, and justice and freedom, mainly religious freedom could be sought. One can emigrate. Actually, this forum is a reminder to keep Native/ African Americans in our prayers
BUT I do know better, while Uncle and Auntie Tomsias are running around licking peoples boots - we are educating ourselves, many people are becoming educated about Islam. Not this sanitized/Americanized Uncle Sam bootlicking version you got in your article.
Inshallah, we shall overcome slavery, and a day will come when the Native peoples of this land will be rightfully recognized.
islam, but these is not the same as the universal principles of the Faith. It will be exciting to see a truly american Islam emerge that is true to the teaching of Islam, if not to the cultural traditions of the middle-east.
I recently visited Washington's estate in Mt. Vernon, VA. It mentioned that he really was 'oppposed to slavery'. Where was his convictions when he increased the number of slaves he owned from 10 to nearly 300? Or could only manage 1 pair of shoes for his slaves for a year instead of 2? If these 'moral convictions' were so strong to fight for the freedom of some (themselves)where was it for others? There was actually a number of people opposed to slavery who stood against it, even risking their lives. Most of the 'founding fathers' did not.
One area in which people have gone wrong is to love the nation-state more then Allah. This creats false boundaries between peoples'. An 'us vs. 'them' mentality. When I tell people I have visited places like Pakistan that sort of gasp..and I tell them people like there are generally like us.. most people are decent trying to take care of their families, find a job and survive. No better or worse. Just a product of our environment.
Alhamdulillah on your conversion. I think in Iraq and Afghanistan, the problems are not their people, It is their leaders. But why must the Americans came and kill the innocents so freely and twist the facts in the news that they are killing militants and want to make us believe. They may fool some people some time, but they cannot fool all the people all the time. We know very well how the Americans supports the Israels to rob the Palestinians land and still blinds it. Osama is merely retaliating what the Americans did to the Palestinians. And here we are, being fooled by the American(Bush) to feel so much sympathetic to the Sept 11 victims. (which I did for your info.) But what happen to the daily killings of the Muslims in Iraq and Palestine by the Americans..does people like you and the rest in America talks about it and lobby the whole world to stop it??!! No, they only talk about 9/11..But person like Osama at least have the guts to retaliate on behalf of these oppressed people. Just like the Americans said, accidental deaths ...oooopppss collateral damage! their favorite statement. Oh yes, one more thing, tell the American leaders to also stop supporting the Arab dictators i.e Hosni Mubarak, Libya if they are sincere in changing the democratic process, Not only when it suits them!