Wednesday, September 19, 2012

20-Minute Mile.

Thanks to the magic of Google Maps and the Paintbrush tool in Photoshop, I have artfully illustrated here the route of my lunchtime walk today. There's more about it in the exercise section of the post but I didn't have anything pithy to lead off with today. Shocking, right?

Ok so maybe it wasn't really a mile, but since I don't have one of those awesome wheel-distance-measuring thingamajiggers my dad used when he worked for the street department, who can say with real accuracy how much I ever walk on these meandering journeys I take? Oh, he would just die if he realized I have no idea what that thing is called. It will confirm his constant assertions that we were in fact never listening to him!

Anyschnitzel, this isn't about walking certain distances or not disappointing your dad. It's about taking pictures and then showing them to people on the Internets to prove you actually walked.

I posted yesterday about how depressing the area around my new workplace's building can seem due to all of the duder shops and noise they produce. The other side of the neighborhood could be described as "quaint", but that's just a nice way of saying kind of old and weird in this case.

To bring more positive energy to this blog, I decided today I would try to find some beauty in my surroundings because we bought the building and I don't have any other job or life prospects lined up right now so if I'm going to be in Columbia Heights for the long haul, I guess I'll have to enjoy it.

These houses look like they're enjoying themselves! Actually, the pink and blue makes me think of an old couple who live next-door to each other to maintain their privacy and sanity. What's more enjoyable than having someone to grow old with but you don't have to pick up his dirty socks? 

She's got her mouth open and he's hiding from her. Sounds about right.

This Catholic school was apparently built in 1939, at the end of the Depression. Maybe the Muslim community will get its act together as we end the Great Recession and we'll build big, beautiful schools with awesome U.S. maps on the playgrounds.

Of course it's called Immaculate Conception!

I propose a giant game of Twister just to rile the Headmaster!

Or we could just buy this abandoned tabernacle and replace the bell in the tower with a Mu'adhan:

Allahu Akbar!


Tonight's Midweek Halaqa veered off the topic of the book we're studying and we ended up talking about the anti-American protests happening all over the "Muslim World". Now I don't want to pretend I can condense the many very wise words of our teacher into a quick little synopsis, so I will encourage you to check out the recording from the session at when it's available.

However, I will try to wrap it up as best I can and say that he basically said that while we certainly have a right to be angry about the insults against our Prophet (and we should assess our faith if we aren't), we have to stop totally botching our response to them.

First, because what these people are doing is against Islam: 

In an authentic hadith reported by Abu Dawood, the Prophet ﷺ said (I am paraphrasing here):

"I do not break covenants and I do not hold back ambassadors." 

He said this when a delegate of the Quraysh (tribe fighting the Muslims) said he wanted to accept Islam and leave his mission as an ambassador. The Prophet refused and asked him to return and complete his assignment for his leader. If he still felt the same way when he got back home, he could resign there and return to take his shahada (testimony of faith), which he did.

This amazing example of diplomacy and correct application of Islamic law should be an example for people everywhere. It was also very strategic if you think about it. If the man had left his mission and joined the Muslims on their land, it would have been said that he were forced. But since he fulfilled his obligations and left openly and willingly, no one could accuse the Muslims of coercion.

In another hadith reported by Bukhari and Muslim (again, paraphrasing) he ﷺ said:

"Anyone who wrongly kills the one with a contract (meaning non-Muslims protected by Shariah law) will never even smell the scent of Paradise."

So really, killing the ambassador is like shooting yourself in the foot only much, much worse.

And second, it is ineffective. Our dear teacher said it best tonight when he gave us this advice:

"Peaceful protests defending Islam are the best way to wear yourself out. You yell and scream and wave a sign around all day and then you stop by Kentucky Fried Chicken on the way home and go on about your life."

He wasn't saying that protests were never useful (however he did mention that they are most useful to so-called "democratic" governments because they let people give off steam so they won't explode, but that's for another post/blog). He was saying that our inaction before and after the demonstration is the problem. If we were really that angry, we wouldn't be satisfied with these short-term outbursts of "rage" that lead to nowhere. It really struck me when he said, "True anger is measured by how hard you are willing to work for a long-term solution to the problem."

Why not work on ourselves first? We are personally responsible for what is happening because of our collective weakness. If the Muslims had been leading lives in the example of the Prophet  all along, we would never be in a position to be mocked and ridiculed. We would be strong, united, and respected by all for our exemplary character.

I for one am going to work on following this advice from today forward. I'm going to try to come up with some tangible and achievable ways to improve myself inwardly and outwardly. I am going to work on my attitude and how I react to adversity. I'm also going to try harder to be more sympathetic to the people around me and treat them accordingly.

Any other suggestions or ideas (other than to write shorter posts)?

No comments:

Post a Comment