For some of the citizens of the US however, the Eid this year did not bring fond memories. Positive changes, unfortunately, are far from reality, whereas enforced contentment of their circumstances has long suppressed the will for gratitude.
Being grateful (Syukr) is not similar to being content (Qana’ah). Gratitude encourages growth, development and progress. Allah proclaims:
“If you are grateful, I will surely increase you (in favour).”
On the other hand, contentment is about feeling sufficient in whatever you have.
Certainly, the latter is not a favourable option if you are deliberately suppressed and discriminated against for so long.
Perhaps that is the case for George Floyd, who died a victim of police brutality in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, America when the Eid — a Muslim celebration of gratitude — was celebrated. People around the world are talking about it, and the nationwide protests are still ongoing as this piece is being written.
This incident is not the first of its kind. Previously, Eric Garner and Michael Brown, both of whom were also black, died in the hands of the police. Not to mention such violence and discrimination against the Muslims in the Middle East, Myanmar, and everywhere else in the world.
If you are wondering why a non-Muslim story is being fitted in our #EidStory, here are some of the reasons and lessons to which you may want to pay attention.
1. Ramadan advocates for Taqwa: a divine concept against racism and supremacy.
Whenever we are talking about the relationship between Taqwa and social status, there is an infamous verse in the Quran that clearly underlines the fundamentals of how a social system should be:
“Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous (Taqwa) of you.”
This verse emphasises that in the sight of Allah, — and in terms of how we should put it into practice — only the merit of Taqwa counts. No nobility, superiority or supremacy should be associated with a certain title, position, race, ethnicity, ancestry, wealth or even skin colour.
Such a pearl of great wisdom (Hikma) of Allah The All-knowing that a black, ex-slave yet respectful Sahaba named Bilal ibn Rabah and the other great black Sahabas such as Ummu ‘Aiman and Usamah ibn Zaid were destined to teach us that discrimination based on social status was a practice of Jahiliyya that must be shunned.
Realising that this issue would remain until the end of time Ar-Rasul SAW made a point of reminding the believers during his last sermon:
“An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab … a white person has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”
The prophet was emphasising what Allah had already stated in the Quran, that He purposely created mankind with various races and ethnicities.
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous (Taqwa) of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”
Thus, Islam teaches that in a world guided by divine system, the existence of a multiracial community is His intention and that Taqwa should eliminate any form of racism, supremacy, apartheid and ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude among mankind.
George Floyd’s last words were “I can’t breathe.” As a victim of the undivine system ruling the world today, do you feel as suffocated as Floyd did?
2. Worldly economy issues matter, not just the Hereafter issues
The issue of racial discrimination associated with George Floyd is only the tip of the iceberg.
The root cause was and has always been the deeper issues of the socio-economic gap, poverty and unemployment — the topics of this worldly life that are usually less cared for by a lot of Daies.
To make it so utterly complex these issues intertwine with various other issues: racial generalisation and stereotyping, statistical crime prevention, the presidential ideology of white supremacy, the disagreement of the right-wing whites against the policy of affirmative action, and the different ideological approaches of the Republicans and Democrats to the economics of the free market.
To make it worse, the US police forces are reported to be adopting the brutal Israeli militarisation modus operandi or ‘Israelification’ of the American police force as claimed by the reporter Max Blumenthal.
The road to solving the overarching economic issue is never easy. However, the convolution of it is not a ticket for you, the Daies, to ignore it.
Islam never put economic issues aside. In fact, it confronts them by instituting Zakat as one of its cardinals.
Going through the difficulties of not eating during the month of Ramadan and paying the Zakat should make your Eid more concerned with the economic issues of poverty and deprivation.
Believing that Islam is a comprehensive (Syumul) religion is all the more reason for the Daies to dedicate your time to study the problems with the existing world’s economic system and provide the Islamic way out.
An #EidStory of eye-opening tragedy
Eid should be a period of new changes after a month of divinely-inspired training: a new you equipped with Taqwa and being more concerned with the issues of racial discrimination and economy. And you the Daies should be able to showcase how Islamic economics would be the better alternative to the existing status quo.
As Malcolm X once said:
“America needs to understand Islam because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.”
The tragedy of George Floyd should make you realise that wherever you are in the world and whichever ethnicity or race you are born into, it is all God’s plan to be grateful for.
Once again, Eid should be about embracing change and expressing gratitude. Being grateful for who you are should encourage you to fight for a more just and blessed system as Allah desires it for this world.
What is your #EidStory of standing against injustice and discrimination?