Posted July 29, 2007on:
In the West many people are afraid of Muslims. They think muslims are dangerous people who follow a traditional religion that teaches them to kill the infidels. As you all know, after the tradegy of 9/11 Islam has been more famous than ever in the Western society, everyone wants to know more about Islam. They keep asking themselves what kind of religion that thaught the terrorists to hijack some airplanes and crash them into World Trade Center building in New York. And when they started to realize that there was an oppressive regime called Taliban in Afghanistan they were amazed, they just could not believe what they were seeing on the news: women had to wear clothes that covered all their bodies and some of them had to even wear burqas to hide their faces. All the sudden women in the West held their breath and thanked God that they had not been born as muslims.
Now, all they know that Islam is an-anti-peace religion.
I am a muslim and I am proud of the religion that I believe in. I think that Islam is a religion that teaches love, peace, and tolerance. Islam that I believe teaches me how to respect differences from other people who are not Muslims and differences from Muslims themselves. That is why I am not a fan of Osama bin Laden although he is considered a big hero in some places for his efforts in fighting America, the so-called devil.
How Islam teaches peace to its followers can be seen from the very simplest activities that every Muslim should do in his or her daily life. See how Islam tells its followers to greet others. A Muslim is encouraged to say a greeting every time he or she meets other people or Muslims. It is said in The Qur’an that when the faithful enter paradise, they will be greeted by angels saying, “As-salamu ‘alaykum,” (‘Peace be upon you’) (7:46; 13:23-4; 16:32). Muslims all around the world have the obligation to spread love and messages of peace that when one Muslim meets another Muslim he or she should say the greeting just like the greeting that the angels would say, “As-salamu ‘alaykum.” This greeting should be responded with, “Wa-‘alaykum as-salam,” (‘And upon you, too, be peace’). The return greeting can be lengthened into, “Wa-‘alaykum as-salam wa-rahmatullahi wa-barakatuhu,” (‘And on you be peace, and (also) God’s mercy and (also) His blessing’). The concept of giving a longer return greeting is commanded by God in The Qu’ran:
And when you are greeted with a greeting,
greet with one fairer than it, or return it. (4:86)
Giving a peaceful greeting is not only to other Muslims because non-Muslims have the same right to be treated the same or even better. I once attended an Islamic lecture explaining how Muslims have to help other people who are the closest to them (geographically and emotionally) whether they are Muslims or not, and I agree with that while some Muslims may argue that other Muslims have to be always the number one priorities although they are not closely located or emotionally attached. We may not want to use the standardized-Islamic-greeting words to non-Muslims but we can still use other words in any languanges or body gestures just to express our peaceful minds towards other people. This should be done by Muslims because Islam is a religion of rahmatan lil ‘alamin or blessings for everyone.
As Islam is rahmatan lil ‘alamin, being a true Muslim is to be a bless for anyone: other Muslims or non-Muslims. Being a bless in life can be started simply by saying good words or greetings to others, show them that we respect them as God’s creations and that we want nothing but peace from having relations with them. So if you are a Muslim and you meet someone, you might want to say this in your heart and mind, “I know we may not have the same thoughts and opinions, but I still respect you as a God’s creation and I wish you the best in life. May peace be upon you.” As-salamu ‘alaykum.