Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Muslim Identity

I'll be honest with you, I don't have a clue as to what constitutes a Muslim identity. Forget about discussions around the Muslim female identity and Muslim male identity and the Muslim Father Identity and the Muslim Mother Identity. I guess though in a world where sex and gender becomes the centrepiece for discussion for how Muslims fit into a world that is not Muslim, some would find it important to understand how to fit in.

My interpretation of Islam is disfigured by my own surreal experiences and won't necessarily become ear milk to those with their heads buried in the deep dark orifices of ignorance. But here goes. Islam has always been a system, a way of life that challenged the status quo. It was revealed in a place and at a time when the Arabs had yet to be elevated to levels of barbarism. It was meant to be a peace to humanity. But it challenged the status quo and it antagonised the hierarchy at the time. In modern times we find Muslims wrestling with themselves to "fit in" when the history has been quite the contrary. Nations and tribes have shed blood, boundary lines have drawn lines and conflict seems to follow us like a well fitting shadow.

We're always at pains to distance ourselves from those lunatics who would sever the head of some transgressor and and record it on their cellphone so that the rest of the world knows we're not unreasonable. Why do we believe that being a Muslim makes us unreasonable? I believe that if you have to go to great lengths to tell people you're not a terrorist then it is merely a reflection of your own limited understanding and perspective. Christians don't go to any great lengths to say that they're not those fundamentalist doctor killers outside abortion clinics or bombers etc. But we as Muslims keep trying to find the definition that will reduce us to a neat little label on a box. We want to fit in without pissing off God but that takes a back seat to making sure people don't talk about us.

It drives me insane. That's my personal opinion. Why should we have to define ourselves to some standard. We forget that as much as Muslims pray to one God, we all have gods we worship based on what is important to us. If you're a Muslim woman who has a job and a family do you deserve more recognition than say a non-Muslim woman with a job and family? I think there is this obsession to separate the special ones from the very special ones and the not so special ones. We're obsessed with superficial standards of Muslimness. We want to be celebrated for mediocrity and we want to be lauded for being ordinary. In one breath we celebrate the amazing gift of Islam and in the next we're just a bunch of sheep with no insight. Obviously this is not aimed at everyone. But looking at the updates today online one would think that Islam is made up of schizophrenic morons.

But we're not morons. Most Muslims are just normal people trying to make a living dealing with same crap that most working class people do. It's the desire to be relevant types, the ones with time and money on their hands that come up with irrelevant and pointless "academic debates" in order to feel... relevant.

Get a life.

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