Hashtags Are Not Enough

Our last days of Ramadan is bittersweet, more bitter than sweet, as the news of our brothers and sisters (in faith and in humanity) are attacked by a group claiming to represent Islam, but couldn't be further from its teachings.

Just because you have the word "Islam" in the group name, it doesn't necessarily mean that you represent it. Call it whatever you want. Use whatever label you want, be it an Arabic one. At the end of the day, it is not Islam.

But when you say that, a question arises, "If that's not Islam, then what is?" It is a fair question that needs answering, not with words but with actions. People need to see Islam because so far, they haven't seen enough of it to drown out the hate.

It is on the shoulder of every Muslim men and women to show Islam. Hiding away in our comfort zones is not an option. Complaining is a luxury we can no longer afford. Pointing fingers is a pointless act we shouldn't engage in anymore.

Either we are a part of the solution or a part of the problem - there is no in between. We cannot speak of peace without being a source of peace for people. We cannot speak of peace but at the same time, chasing people away with our presence. We should not be a walking and talking contradiction.

There are many difficult questions we need to ask ourselves. Among them:

  • How are we on social media? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we on the road? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we in our workplace? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we in our business dealings? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we in our studies? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we with our families? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we with our friends? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we with the animals? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we with the environment? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we with Muslims? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we with non-Muslims? Do they see Islam?
  • How are we with people? Do they see Islam?

Do they see Islam, or something else with Islam's clothing on?

Hashtags are good, but they are not enough. We cannot simply respond to tragedies in the Muslim world with temporary emotional outburst, temporary profile picture change, and temporary trends. It is a good start, but it should not be the end.

If these incidents don't provoke self-reflection and self-transformation, then what's the point? If we don't wake up and become better representations of Islam, then Islam will continue to be (mis)represented by others.

Obviously, it would be ideal for people to learn about Islam from the original sources: Quran and Sunnah. But to expect that of people would be unrealistic, because not everybody will pick up a Quran and read it. The source of Islamic education, in their mind, is the Muslims.

So, we have to be their walking and talking Quran. If not us, who else?

No exceptions. No excuses.

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