“Assalamualaikum” or “Peace Be Upon You” – That’s the greeting that Muslims all around the world would be extremely familiar with. It is used when greeting anyone you meet and wishing them peace or mentioning to a person that you are coming in peace when you meet them.
Travel anywhere into a Muslim community anywhere around the world and opening a conversation with “Assalamualaikum” would instantly open up lines of conversation with any Muslim.
That’s how I’ve done it travelling abroad and it has never for once failed me from Asia to America.
And since Muslims come greeting someone with peace, it brings a lot of discomfort for me to say that I find it ironic with whatever that is happening around the world, especially so, when people who claim they are Muslims are committing acts of violence.
Think Syria and think of Al-Qaeda (if it even exists) and Taliban, who by itself, are Muslims but are committing acts of violence.
With what is happening in Syria, regardless whichever Islamic sect you belong to, if you are truly Muslim, it just doesn’t make sense for you to meet your fellow Muslim brothers and to greet them in peace with “Assalamualaikum”, and then only to proceed elsewhere with committing acts of violence in mind, killing another Muslim or any other innocent for that matter.
Have Muslims forgotten the story of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) of how he chose to act when he had a neighbour who would place faecal matter in front of his house every single day?
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) had chosen to only clean the faecal matter and had only reacted when he discovered that there was NO FAECAL MATTER placed in front of his house one fine day.
And what did he do?
He went to his neighbour’s house to find out what had happened because the routine had been changed.
Have Muslims who are committing acts of violence forgotten this?
The violence committed by Muslims anywhere around the world is not a representation of Islam and for whatever reason anyone for that matter chooses to act violently, is simply, reprehensible.
Which brings about the question, “Are these Muslims ignorant of their own religion? Ignorant of what Islam means and ignorant of the lessons taught by Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W)?”
Perhaps, there is a lack of religious education amongst these Muslims because of the lack of opportunity to do so. Perhaps, those in power, do not wish to educate those who do not have the means to do so because ‘Knowledge is Power’.
Knowledge is so powerful that the Taliban had to resort to shooting a 14year old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafvai, in her left head because she was advocating education for girls.
Alhamdullilah (All Praises to God), she has since recovered and now, at 16 years old, she has recently given a speech at United Nations to promote her cause.
Even in Islam, seeking knowledge is something that is recommended. Remember that when Angel Gabriel came down to send the first revelation to Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W),
“The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, “I do not know how to read. The Prophet added, “The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, ‘I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?’ Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said, ‘Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists) has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.”
Isn’t it obvious that Knowledge is something that is held in high regard in Islam and in living an Islamic life, a Muslim should be peaceful. At peace not just with humans but even to plants.
Recall that during one of the war, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) had asked the Muslims going to war to not injure the plants.
So, I pray to God as a Muslim, as a human, to open the hearts of all those Muslims who are involving such acts of violence to stop and to reflect on who they are and what their religion means because violence will not resolve any issues anywhere in the world.