Bismillahir-Rahmanir-RaheemDuring conversation with a friend last week I was asked whether I saw myself as being British or Muslim?
Such a question itself is absurd, it’s like asking: are you a husband, or a father, or a son? Obviously, one can be all these, without any conflict.
The truth is that being Muslim is not a national identity, it’s a belief identity. A Muslim can be Turkish, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Egyptian by birth, British by nationality and at the same time be an obedient son, a loving father, a devoted husband as well as a helpful neighbour and a loyal and upright citizen. One can be all this at the same time, with absolutely no contradictions.
Note the following:
“O mankind, I have created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may know and respect one another and not despise one another”
(Surah Hujuraat 49:13).
To know and to respect other people of different cultures, languages and ethnicity is a moral and spiritual imperative, decreed by Allah.
In these current times, people feel both uncertain and insecure about their own national identity. Muslims must understand this and must reassure friends and neighbours in the wider community that they have nothing to fear from our presence in their midst. We have to do this by earning their respect and trust by following the role-model of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
We need to show others the beauty of Islam, through our practical living example, through big and small acts of kindness, generosity and mercy. We will have to join others in improving our neighbourhoods, reducing crime, drug abuse and social exclusion.
Every Muslim must be involved in at least one activity that promotes social cohesion, human welfare and good citizenship. It’s a long road ahead, but this is what Allah (SWT) has decreed for us, and at the end of this road, Insha'Allah, awaits the Ridwaan, the Good Pleasure of our Lord.
Contributed by: Yusuf Ahmet *edited (British-> Malay)