SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- Beyond any shadow of doubt, people judge others by their behavior not by their faith. So, who is a Muslim? A Muslim is any individual who proclaims Shahadah. He testifies that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His messenger.
That is the first stage to enter the fold of Islam. Now come the basic traits of a Muslim. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) has defined a Muslim as a person from whose hands and tongues other people remain safe. Simply put, a true Muslim is not supposed to harm any individual (Muslim or non-Muslim) either physically or verbally. If one carefully studies Islam, it would dawn on him/her that the five pillars of Islam are kind of dealing between the Creator and the creation. Islam has laid great emphasis on interpersonal relations and how its followers deal with others regardless of their faiths.
Most of the Islamic teachings are concerned with an individual’s behavior toward society, his parents, children, spouse, the environment, the needy and so on. Ideally being Muslim is all about being nice to others. Our blessed prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Religion is the way you treat others.”
So, why aren’t many Muslims not following these simple teachings of Islam? For the past few years, some people (apparently Muslims) have been trying to hijack Islam and are committing monstrous atrocities in the name of Islam. They claim to be staunch followers of Islam but in reality they are committing acts, which are in sharp contrast with the teachings of Islam. They are in fact bringing a bad name to Islam and its followers.
These elements are not only targeting non-Muslims but also Muslims who refuse to submit to their skewed interpretation of Islam. They don’t appear to understand that being a good Muslim is very simple. Unfortunately, certain demagogues are hell bent on preparing a new breed of Muslims who consider Islam only as a religion of revenge.
It is sad to read about sectarian clashes across the Muslim world. Why don’t we stop this brutality? Islam teaches us to coexist. We are supposed to live in harmony with people of other faiths. Unfortunately, we are not even ready to set aside our petty differences and live together peacefully as one Ummah. This is not true Islam.
During the zenith of the Islamic empire, Muslim scholars used to work with scholars and scientists of other faiths without any problem. Perhaps, that was why cities like Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo were known as the seats of learning. Non-Muslims were protected under Muslim rule in accordance with the teachings of Islam.
It is important that Muslims living outside the Muslim world should adapt. They can live easily and become part of their host society without having any negative impact on their religious beliefs. A Muslim can pray in the mosque, at home, office or at any public place. A Muslim can fast during the month of Ramadan and no one will know he or she is fasting. And he can pay Zakat without any hassle.
In other words, Islam is not a religion that hampers an individual movement in a social setup. We have to acknowledge that all places East or West are very tolerant of religious freedom and Muslim behavior plays an important factor of how non-Muslims view Islam. The killings taking place in various parts of the region in the name of Islam have nothing to do with our religion. These are the actions of misguided individuals who are trying to impose their wrong ideology on others and are in fact not only a threat to non-Muslims but also to Muslims across the world. During the past few days, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has spoken candidly on this issue. He has openly condemned the brutality of those terrorists. A good Muslim should learn how to be a good person.