What does Islam do? I know it sooths pain and mends hearts. I’ve been told it heals all manner of wounds, hurts and injuries. I have felt it give purpose and meaning to every aspect of my life, both the good and the bad, heard it explain the inexplicable and seen it bring joy and comfort where none was to be found. I believe that Islam works miracles every day.
That’s not the image of Islam in most peoples’ minds today. For many non-Muslims the religion of Islam has become a symbol of fear and terror- a maelstrom of rage fueled by self-righteous hatred. Some leaders around the world have learned to use that fear to rally their people behind them, and they’re leading us all into a downhill spiral of war. Their actions anger Muslims in turn, feeding the flames of destruction, but are non-Muslims really the one’s we should blame? They may have learned how to use our religion as a tool, but tragically, they learned it from us: Around the world Islam is a rallying cry, uniting Muslims in truly laudable efforts like the pursuit of freedom and equality in different parts of the world, but Muslims have used it for lesser purposes as well. In Muslim nations today, Islam is hijacked for political gain, tweaked to promote a specific point of view, manipulated for personal profit and power and even warped to encourage war or justify oppression. In non-Muslim countries Muslims have done the same things in our smaller communities on a smaller scale. The abuse of Islam and Muslims is despicable, no matter who’s doing it.
What should Islam be? Our beloved religion of Islam, as revealed through the prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), is nothing less than the True Path leading to Peace through Submission to God’s Will. The Holy Quran proclaims:
“The Religion before Allah is Submission to His Will” Chap. 2 V. 19
“Verily, this is My Way Leading straight: Follow it!” Chap. 6 V. 153
Islam is Allah’s tool, to make us His servants. Islam does not serve Muslims. Muslims serve God. If we truly intend to reclaim Islam and return it to what it once was, we must stop striving to make Islam serve our ambitions, live our lives according to the commands of the Quran and the Prophet of Islam (Peace be upon him) and make our submission to Allah real, like it was when the Ummah began.
Today, some Muslims are striving to reclaim Islam by proclaiming that Islam and the Quran are only for Muslims. We read in Chapter 81 V. 27-29:
“Verily this is no less than a Message to all the Worlds: With profit to whoever among you will to go straight: But ye shall not will except as Allah wills- The Cherisher of all the Worlds.”
Allah revealed the Quran to guide anyone from anywhere. The Quran promises us that Allah has chosen everyone who seeks the straight path, no matter where they begin. Allah calls His servants from where we are, not from where others want us to be. When Muslims try to re-make the Path of Submission into the Path we think it should be, or when we allow it to be used to separate us, divide us, or to cause conflict, suffering or war, we’re serving only ourselves, to our own destruction. Whenever we proclaim the truth that Islam brings Peace to everyone, everywhere, we’re serving God.