Sometimes I wonder...

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

Sometimes I feel like I just have to pause my involvement in the world so that I can take a look at what's going on around me. Each person is for himself, and yet the actions of others inevitably affect us all.

Sometimes I wonder if my optimism in facing the crises of this world of ours would be diminished if I had children to raise. But I guess part of the urgency in change is to make the world more manageable for the world's children. And yet as I say this, I fully recognize that there is no equilibrium in their conditions. I guess this is the nature of the world, and when the appetites of power and privilege in men are not curbed, the conditions only worsen.

There is good in the society that I live in, but sometimes I wonder if the good outweighs the bad. The thousand and one pros and cons, ambitions and fears, and realities and illusions play in my mind. They sometimes keep me awake at night as I wonder what my role is in this chaotic world.

I am not an apologist for who I am, nor for where I came from, nor for where I stand now. But for many, all these realities are seemingly incompatible. In a recent discussion about racism and discrimination, I realized that it takes me a while to recall situations in which I've been discriminated against. My logic for this was that such acts are sourced in ignorance (and often arrogance), and by storing such incidents in my "easy recall" memory (the official term of this memory store is beyond me) I would be giving them value in my life. I don't value such things, but I value the need to change. Thus, it's necessary to examine the areas of error in order to find suitable solutions.

What am I talking about you wonder? Ah, I wish I could simplify it, but it's the complication of the world that we live in. We cannot wash our hands off of this world, and we must know that there are pockets of beauty in all this chaos. But I still find it difficult to witness greed when I know that poverty exists. I cannot accept unearned advantage where injustice exists. I cannot accept lies where morality is at stake. I cannot. And yet, what can I do about it?

From where does our world's degeneration stem? SubhanAllah... Ya Rab...

In this year's Eid ul Fitr khutba, Shaykh Ramzy Ajem mentioned that we live in a time when extreme opposites are easily visible. Perhaps in previous generations these dichotomies were discreet and only apparent to those of keen insight, but today, it defies blindness to not notice. And as I find myself reimmersed in these competing ideologies, I know that I have only one thing keeping me sane. He, the Almighty, placed me in this, and as uncomfortable as it may be sometimes, I submit to His plan for me.

I must remind myself that while the ways of this world continue and our challenges for establishing morality and justice increase, God's plan is in effect. My greatest challenge then is not to try to save myself from getting sucked into the tornado of chaos but instead it is to embrace the clarity of indisputable truth and let it be my strength. By God's grace, I know that at this point I have the means to survive this chaos where many others may not. While my thoughts walk along spiralling paths, eventually He will show me the light of balance. Praise be to God for every condition.

The following is a very enlightening lecture by Tim Wise entitled "The Pathology of White Privilege." He articulates the interconnectedness of power, privilege, and responsibility very well and I believe that many of us, regardless of our race, need to understand the systems at work including those of divide and conquer.

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"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]



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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]