Tag Archives: diversity

Videos? Love em’! XXXV

Peace!

I absolutely missed posting about my favourite videos every week. So I’d like to give it a go again, but this time in a slightly different fashion, which hopefully explains a bit more why these are the videos that I picked out of the slew of other videos I’ve consumed and what they mean to me.

Knowledge is Power.

The first thing, that I identify myself with is my being Muslim. It shapes me, who I am and my actions more than anything else. Being a Muslim however is highly racialized, people assume that only Arabs are and can be Muslims. That a third of all Muslims live in Africa or that the most Muslim populated country is Indonesia is often forgotten. Not only am I a Muslim, but also black. Black in a society, which sees whiteness as normality and blackness as an oddity. Growing up in Germany as a Muslim and a child of parents of Nigerian roots, this video, part of the strolling series, reflects pretty well some of the experiences and frustrations that I have had too.

While I have had brush ins with racist individuals and discrimination before, it is only since coming to University that I really saw and learned of racism as an institution. Decolonise our institutions and our education!

Being a non-Arab Muslim however also brings with it a slight barrier to my interaction with the religion and that is language. While I grew up in a household that valued knowledge and knowledge of Islam, none of us are fluent Arabic speakers and so understanding the sources of our religion came through the use of secondary sources, translations. Translations, which are already infused with the understanding and biases of the person translating the text. An understanding of the Arabic language is therefore something that I am striving for because it is important to know these things.

But what is a Muslim? Is anyone who calls him or herself a “Muslim”, a Muslim or are there certain criteria that you have to meet to be considered a Muslim and who defines those?

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, ”

Islam is that you should testify that there is no deity except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, that you should perform salah, pay the Zakah, fast during Ramadan, and perform Hajj to the House, if you are able to do so.”

That and the 6 tenets of faith, are what it means to be a Muslim at the most basic. Yes, there are things that take you out of the religion, but the majority of scholars agree that sins, small or big do not take you outside of the fold of Islam. To rule someone excommunicated is not up to us, but to God alone as set in the Quran and the Sunnah.

I hate when Muslims call themselves or others bad Muslims because they commit sins, we all commit sins and paradise will be full of sinners. Sinners who repented and the door for repentance is open until we breathe our last, so don’t judge people. We are all on a journey to come closer to God, and on that way we will stumble, we will hit roadblocks and delays. That is something I have had to remind myself of constantly with the BBC Documentary: Muslims Like us. Which I have had, as most did, a mixed reaction to. While definitely not among my favourite videos, the documentary gave me a lot to think about. It created conversations within and outside of the Muslim Community in Britain and so find it important enough to include it anyway.

Muslims are tuly diverse there is no question about that, and no video I have recently seen showed that as much and as best as A-Z of Beni. Shot in the style of the A-Z videos on i-D, Beni.space catalogues the diversity of Muslims.

One of my particular interests has been sidelined quite a bit in my life due to various reasons, I do however want to get back into it, so what way better than the way I first got into it. By watching videos of it being practiced.

Well, that was fun!

Knowledge is power and that is what makes us comfortable with how and where we are and to constantly strive for excellence, the ideal of a Muslim is in the Prophet (saw.) we constantly strive to be like him.

Hope you liked this format of my listing my favourite videos in recent months.

videolovin’

Abdur-Rahman

Love of Islam

Salam Alaykum,

Last week I wrote a post about my love for the mosque and the film unmosqued. The film is about people that are disconnected from their local mosques and Muslim communities. I recounted how in my childhood by the will of Allah I had the blessings of a good community, of uncles and aunts in the community as well as brothers, who certainly shaped my perspective on Islam and also what an ideal community to me may look like. We were a colourful mix of different people, languages, ethnicities and origin, but what bound us was Islam and the German language.

I love them, even though, as to my utter sadness, I hear that in the last few years it has been getting less diverse and participation is waning, with a number of families such as mine moving away and other families retreating into their shells. My feelings haven’t changed and I miss them and pray that Allah returns the old vibe to the community. I pray that everyone could experience such a community, as I had.

They and most importantly my parents fed my love for Islam, as I saw it in their actions but with age that love matures. When you’re young, you try to imitate all that your parents do you follow the motions of prayer, imitate the recitation of the Qur’an etc. it all affects you. But what do you do, when you are suddenly on your own? When you decide what you want to do and not your parents? When you are miles away at university? When you are asked out by your classmate? When you are invited to go clubbing, to a party or the pub?

Your parents aren’t there to guide or force you. No one needs to tell you that it is haram you most likely already know that, so what would prevent you from doing the above mentioned, if not the love for God and the way of life (Deen) that He (swt.) gifted you with?

I personally can not express how much I love Islam. I’m often asked about Islam, most of the people that I know, know that I’m Muslim. They notice that whenever there are girls or alcohol  involved in a party that I’m usually not available. So whenever something happens that had some Muslims involved they talk to me. We do have discussions, sometimes we agree with each other, sometimes we agree to disagree.

In an online discussion on the caricatures of our Prophet Muhammad saw. I was once asked what it was that attracts me so much to Islam. Back then I answered that the way I was brought up certainly had a big role to play, but above all it was the Qur’an, its meaning and its recitation draws me nearer. Today, older hopefully wiser, that is truer than ever. With my continued study of Arabic and the resources that are available today, my loving the Qur’an and the depth in it, is increasing daily. With every single action I learn of the Prophet saw. I get to know him and love him more. Knowing that he cried for me in the darkness of the night, worried that I may not make it to Jannah. I love him.

Every single lecture I attend, every single seminary, every single video and every single book, every single morsel of knowledge causes me to understand more and more and love more and more. My love for Islam has matured, it isn’t based any more on my love for my parents, or my love of the community. It is based on my own love for God and His prophets.

This love will, God willing, continue to mature and evolve, as this life is a journey and with every leg of the journey, the experience of it will shape and increase my understanding. InshaAllah. This journey will be filled with setbacks, I will fall (into sin) and hope and pray (for forgiveness) and stand up and return to Him and inshaAllah draw nearer to Him than before I fell.

Abu Huraira (ra.) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that Allah (glorified and exalted be He), the Exalted and Glorious said, “I am near to the thought of My servant as he thinks about Me, and I am with him as he remembers Me. And if he remembers Me in his heart, I also remember him in My heart, and if he remembers Me in assembly I remember him in assembly, better than his (remembrance), and if he draws near Me by the span of a palm, I draw near him by the cubit, and if he draws near me by the cubit I draw near him by the space (covered by) two hands. And if he walks towards Me, I rush towards him.”

[Sahih Muslim]

May Allah cause every pitfall, every slip up every setback that we may have to be a means to draw closer to Him, to repent to Him. May He help us increase our love for Islam, our thirst of knowledge as the Prophet saw. said that: “The seeking knowledge is the obligation of every Muslim.” [At-Tirmidhi] May Allah (swt.) increase our beneficial knowledge. Amin.

Wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman