My Town is Like a Date
Growing up in a town that has an air of seclusion and narrow mindedness around it is not noticeable until you begin to venture out of it, not to the extremes of the Western world but simply to people we consider who are exactly as we are: Muslims.
We come from a lineage of immigrants from the Indian sub continent, and the problem with this is you arrive at a new land and implement elements from your previous land which do not always fit in with the new haven you are adopting. Why? Because we only ever feel comfortable with what we know and change is the factor we resist.
Back to the story, at certain points in the year it becomes a necessity to travel to different towns around the UK and a few of my experiences have opened my eyes to the contrasting way in which I, behind my wall live, compared to my fellow Muslims.
I visited 3 establishments and found them to be ‘shabby’ in their aesthetics, I judged this building based on the crooked walls, the threadbare carpet and the clothing of the those who inhabited it, another establishment I visited, I turned my nose up the area and so on…
Come iftaar time I hung my head in shame though, in one place I truly felt accepted and was fed a small bowl of food that filled me more than any feast that even my mother cooks me. In another, the Imam himself cooked the food and served it to me, imagine that and lastly I was sat in the corridor and the committee called me, a youth, into their chambers for nothing but a chat.
Now all the above doesn’t seem so mind boggling until I describe my town. From the out, its a place where you have the finest mosques, the deepest of carpet and the whitest of marble, displaced only by the crisp, white throbs we adorn. Step outside and a prayer hall can be find every 2-3 minutes and the adhan can be heard from most street corners.
Why is it then, in a place where Islam is practised so rigorously, where wealth has given the opportunity to practice so freely, Islam is practised very weakly, the love for your fellow man exists nowhere, one doesn’t smile at the mosque, one definitely shouldn’t touch shoulders when praying. Them things are lost but the knowledge we have has increased, we know every saying of our elders and those long ago scholars in our previous haunts, we know how many rakat should be in the taraweeh, we know how to argue over the moon and we can argue all night about which sect is is rightly guided…. so why then do I say we practice Islam so weakly if we have the knowledge?
My opinion is that we have forgot the true value of what it means to be a real Muslim. Either that or we never knew/ were never taught how to be members of the greatest club on earth. The essence of being a Muslim is evident when I escape my town, the creed of brother has escaped my town so why do I still live in my town? Why do I write about my town? Surely I am part of this hypocrisy if I find peace in my town and only feel uncomfortable overtime I leave my town, shouldn’t it be the other way round.