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Turning Our Negatives Into Positives

“A burning ball of fire, an electric shock that conquers all, a darkness, a mania, an explosion, a ripping of one’s heart. There are many expressions that we use to describe one of the most primal and controlling emotions that humans experience—anger. One of the reasons why I am addressing anger is because as Muslims experience more pain and oppression, the accumulation of unresolved anger has the potential of becoming harmful to the person harboring it and to others,” said psychotherapist Layla Asamarai in Anger in the Family. As we struggle to find balance in our families and daily lives, what choices do we have to make?

Toward Understanding and Transforming Hate “Why do they hate us?” is the ten-million-dollar question since the September 11 bombings four years ago. As friends and loved ones face an unprecedented level of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bias, we increasingly ask the same question: Why do they hate us?

For Muslims who tend to see ourselves as perpetual victims in a world seemingly dominated and dictated by Western powers, the situation seems to keep getting worse. With every suicide bombing, with every mention of a terrorist threat, Muslims living in the West are put on the defensive. However, there are many positive signs and indications that things are changing for the better. For example, the historical fatwa passed in both the United Kingdom and the United States condemning suicide bombing and terrorism in all their forms was monumental in the way it drew wide support from across the Muslim world. The psychological value of such a message also helped Westerners to see that the vast majority within Islam believe that it is truly and unequivocally a religion of peace and justice, and not one of tribalism. Sheikh Sidi Karamali writes,

What Is Allah Trying to Show Us?

To determine the appropriate way to respond to rising levels of hatred and intolerance, we must first understand hatred in the light of truth. As the age-old adage tells us, much of what human beings fear is due to ignorance. In the present case, however, I would argue that the query “Why do they hate us?” is posed, not so much out of ignorance of “the other,” as much as it is from ignorance of ourselves and how our shadow-self is perceived by “the other.” This is, perhaps, one important reason as to why Allah constantly asks us to engage in self-examination and to take stock of ourselves and our deeds. Perhaps we do not understand how we are perceived by those that hate us, and how they are perceived by us. Though we may see ourselves—in our own minds—living lives of peace and dedication to God, others may perceive us (whether true or not) as living exclusionary, backward lives of self-segregation and even violence and oppression. That is why we must always examine ourselves, our hearts, and be tuned in to our intentions. Furthermore, until the walls of miscommunication and misunderstanding are broken down, we can never know the truth of the matter in regard to how we are truly perceived by “the other.” There is no substitute for communication, particularly in times of tension and trial.

Don’t Cope – Transform!

Resilience is the unique ability to cope with hardship and trial. The prophets of Allah, however, were not examples of resilience. They did not merely cope with the arduous tasks and trials that they were given. They did not merely survive, they transformed. Transformation, not resilience, is what we need today as Muslims. We need not only the ability, skills, and knowledge to cope with what is happening around and to us, but we must use our resources to improve ourselves as well as those around us for universal betterment. This is the true Prophetic example.

A wise man once said, “If you can see it in your heart you can transform it. If you can do that, you offer hope and mercy for those that hate instead of more hatred.” You cannot simply hate haters; the result becomes an endless cycle of hatred resulting in endless human misery and suffering. And it is a choice that Allah gives us whether to take that route or not. The decision to hate back is not forced upon us. We are given the choice whether to hate or not; thus, the above ayah from the Qur’an is about repelling evil with goodness.


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Tarikh Input: 28/03/2023 | Kemaskini: 28/04/2023 | aslamiah


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