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Extremely British or Extremely Scared?

By Na’ima B. Robert

As Muslims, we are very good at ignoring our wounds. We like to pretend they don’t exist; we explain them away, we blame others, we run, as far as we possibly can, from any notion of accountability or acceptance.



But the fact of the matter is this: we are hurting as an Ummah. We are wounded. And the only way to heal wounds is to acknowledge that they exist in the first place. Only then can you start to heal.

It’s time we recognised our wounds. There are too many Muslims out there who are just limping along, whose stories remain untold, who do not hold hope of support or healing in this life.




We do not expect this life to be perfect; freedom from cares and everlasting happiness are reserved for Jannah, after all. But I do believe that our deen offers us a roadmap, a guide through life’s many hills and valleys. I believe that Islam offers us solutions, both spiritual and practical. I believe that Islam offers us the opportunity to live a life of honour, of dignity, of ethics and good character. I believe that Islam invites us all to be healers and social revolutionaries.




Allah (SWT) says: “Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong.” [Al Imran: 104]




For if we simply turn a blind eye to the challenges facing our communities – disillusionment, depression, unhappiness, violence, exploitation, oppression and cruelty – we have given up on our role as guardians on this earth. Instead of stepping up to the Qur’anic challenge,“And the believers, men and women, as awliyyaa’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another: they enjoin good and forbid evil; they establish Salah, they pay the Zakah, and they obey Allah and His Messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Verily, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.[At-Taubah: 71], we have succumbed to the tyranny of our heedlessness and cowardice. We have agreed to be ruled by that which is less that worthy. We have agreed to be only a fraction of who we really could be.

The Prophet (SAW) said, “Whoever sees an evil [being practised] must change it with his hand. If he cannot do so, then with his tongue. If he [still] cannot do so, then with his heart, which is the weakest form if faith.” [Bukhari and Muslim]




Who will stand up for the truth? Who will stand up for the rights of the downtrodden and neglected, those whose voices are marginalised and ignored? Who will remind us of our higher selves, hold us to account, call us to a better standard? The answer is: anyone who cares. Anyone who has the heart to feel the pain of another, to walk in the shoes of another, to believe that Islam offers us all the chance to be supported, to be encouraged and welcomed as part of the Ummah of Muhammad (SAW).




I’m talking about the poor, the disadvantaged, the orphans. I’m talking about the refugees, the asylum seekers, the outcasts. I’m talking about the disabled, the divorced, the abandoned. I’m talking about the misunderstood, the judged and the condemned.




If we cannot find it in our hearts to understand the pain our brothers and sisters are feeling, in our masajid, in our schools, in our homes, then calling us to feel the pain of those who suffer in far-flung parts of the world is almost meaningless. What do we do? Collect some money and return to our cocoons, secure in the knowledge that we’ve ‘done our part’. But while there are Muslims who cannot eat, who cannot feed their children, who cannot feel safe in their own homes, who cannot seek refuge in the masjid, who cannot learn the basics of their religion, who cut themselves, who starve themselves, who sell themselves, those Muslims who cannot believe that Allah SWT will forgive them for the hundreds, thousands of sins that they have committed while lost in the world, we have not done our bit.

May Allah SWT open our eyes to the realities around us and galvanise us: this is not a cause for lamentation, it is a call to action.