Thursday, November 19, 2015

What It Means to Be a Muslim?

This is why it is important to clarify what it really means to be a Muslim.

I and countless other Muslims, have been taught from our earliest years that our religion demanded respect and caring for others. The Prophet Mohammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “None of you has faith until you love for your neighbour what you love for yourself.

This is what it means to be a Muslim.

Among the very names of God, we hear: The Compassionate, The All-Merciful. All my life, every day, I have heard and used the greeting, Assalamu aleikum — a wish for the other to be blessed with peace.

This is what it means to be a Muslim.

More than a thousand years before the Geneva Conventions, Muslim soldiers were ordered not to kill a child, a woman or an old person, not to destroy a tree, not to harm a priest, not to destroy a church.

These are the same values of Islam we were taught in school as children: not to destroy or desecrate a place where God is worshipped, not a mosque, not a church, not a synagogue.

This is what it means to be a Muslim. These are the values I teach my children and they will hand on to theirs.

This is a fragment from the speech delivered by His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France on 10 March 2015. Here the link for video and script.

In the inevitable emerging of Islamophobia since the Paris attacks, the compassionate and holistic reminder delivered by His Majesty is the best antidote to the poison of false ideas about Islam.