The thing about beheadings

The latest shockwave within the “Muslims in America” community was the killing of Aasiya Zubair Hassan. I know I’m a bit late blogging about this, but it really did take me a while to assimilate my thoughts. There are so many things about this case that jumped out at me:

  • The irony that the suspect being charged with second degree murder founded a TV station to help improve the image of Muslims in America.
  • The fact that this woman had a protective order against her husband, and still managed to be killed.
  • The idea that once again, Muslims must defend Islam for the actions of singular individuals.
  • How much anger does it take to commit such an atrocity on another human being?

The part that gets to me the most is the first and the last, though. First of all, should we not be more concerned with our image within our community more than we worry about our image without? Is it that days of looking inwards, solving family issues first, community issues second, and da’wah issues last are long gone? If this man had focussed more on his image before his wife, children, and family, he would have served the community image so much better. Nobody would know his name, nobody would know to praise him for his good deeds…but it would be one less huge stain on every Muslim in America. It brings to mind the concept we have in Islam that says: One person’s sins affects 40 people in the neighborhood. In the aftermath of such events, we can only realize the truth of that.

As for the idea of Muslims needing to defend Islam in times like this, I am of mixed thoughts. Do we require such a defensive posture from other minorities? Not really. Does Islam need defending against it’s myriad of detractors? I don’t know. I don’t really think so, though. For one, Islam is Allah’s, and He alone can defend it. On the other hand, these moments do reinforce the perception that Muslims are only all about beheadings and oppressing women. This makes life difficult for the Muslim men in our lives, who must face their non-Muslim colleagues and classmates, look them in the eye daily, and convince them that this is not the face of Islam. More than defending Islam, we just end up needing to defend ourselves even more, and pointlessly at that. This is time we could be better spending praying for the Muslims suffering not just in other countries, but even in our own families. Instead, we are once again back to square one: restoring our image. Such a vicious circle we spin around in!

And lastly, we see the wisdom of Islam’s insistence that we control our anger. I try to imagine what it would take for a man to behead another human being, and I can only think that it must have been an unthinking, all-consuming rage. We all have felt a taste of some sort of rage…you feel your head getting hot, the blood pumping through your veins. When you calm down, you realize that it was Shaytaan coursing through your blood. And this is just an everyday, basic type of anger where you might lose control of your tongue. There is a really good article on ways to control anger, from the perspective of the Sunnah that should be required reading for every Muslim. And there are more articles to be found at the same site. Even if you don’t think you need it, it makes for interesting reading, and might be of benefit to someone you know.

It’s so much harder to remember to say “audhu billahi minashaytan nirajim” rather than “Oh damn it!”…but so much more effective. May Allah protect us all from the ravages of Shaytaan. Ameen.

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5 Responses to The thing about beheadings

  1. realistic bird says:

    Salaam,

    Indeed if many Muslims follow their religion properly then we wouldn’t have incidents like this. I doubt it will be the last time Muslims will be looked at in a bad light, it has been like this even before they was anything called media in its present form.

    A fellow blogger the other day made a post that shows how the media always mentions the relgion of a criminal when it is Islam but doesn’t do that for any other ones.

    Ameen to the dua.

  2. Salaams 🙂 You know what, your points are so true, it’s not even funny. Sometimes, it feels like we just have to breathe to get people yelling about us. SubhanAllah. I know there are other persecuted people in the world, but this feels quite abnormally relentless.

  3. Pingback: in transit…. | It’s as simple as putting the biscuit in the basket

  4. biscuitinabasket says:

    Hey Salaams!
    From a personal perspective, I want to say 2 things 🙂

    As a far from perfect muslim, I try and educate people in as moderate a way as possible about Islam. I am glad to say that people around me seem to have a grounded view of our religion, and do understand that there are those crazy one or two which resort to lunacy to get their point across. However, what you say is correct – why should we be defending our religion when a lunatic performs an individual and selfish action, and gets branded as a mad muslim? Part of the problem is the people who report this news, and the other part is us as a group giving the world the opportunity to ridicule us.

    The second point – anger, crikey it’s an amazing thing! I’ve been thinking about this over the last 2 days, and did consider blogging about it; for whatever reason, I spent so much time last month losing my temper at minor things. Work drove me nuts, stuff at home drove me nuts, drivers on the road drove me nuts… a number of times I tried to hold myself back, but at times I snapped (very unlike me!). My take on anger is that the red mist descends when we dont think about our actions or decisions, we act without considering the consequences. Think about it – what is the reason for counting to 10 when one gets angry? So that you can reason with yourself as to why you should let it go…. unfortunately Muzzammil Hassan didnt.

  5. CM, yes, a lot of it is media–give them an opportunity, and they are going to run with it. Most media has been trying hold themselves back from being too virulent, maybe because all that hopey-changey stuff they’ve been banging on about for the last year has really sunk in. But the under-currents of Islamophobia are unmistakeable.

    I think what we don’t realize is that anger takes away our options. When we’re faced with trying times that seem over-whelming, it’s all we can do to try to find a solution. When drivers on the road are driving you nuts (I so feel you on this), then you know this is not rational and it’s probably misdirected anger. That’s when you really need to take stock of your life, look inside yourself and at your surroundings, and pin-point who or what is *really* the cause of these red-hot flashes.

    And, well, that advice is more for myself than anyone else. My God, but I’ve got a temper. 😳 I’m improving, though…slowly. I haven’t gotten ticked off in about 2 weeks now :p

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