This was the kind of post I was hoping never to write.
Its also the kind of post that I avoid and loathe reading on other blogs! Still, there is a time and a need for it; and sadly, that time for me, is right now!
When I started this blog, I had no specific direction or identity in mind for it. the blog would be as odd, disjointed and eclectic as I think I am personality wise! The blog began very person-centred, then became quite Islamic. There were posts about Pakistan, disability activism and random stuff. Then, when MR Iran came in to my world, my posts took on yet another dimension. All of these different shades, flavours, call them what you will! All of them matter to me and all of them will continue to be a feature! I like to think people read the blog because they enjoy one, or all, of these strands! I’m not stupid enough to think or assume that every one would, or should, agree with me; I’m open to debate and disagreement; and in either case; I hope people take something away with them; whether it is a smile, a new perspective; or an reaffirming that their chosen path works for them! (that’s why I read diverse blogs at any rate!).
So, Imagine my shock when I started receiving piles of hate mail; Emails, and comments on the blog, messages via the google profile etc; all talking about the problems people have with the Islamic, (no, actually the shia), nature of this blog! The comments range from “why do you have to write ‘Shia all the time?” (mild), to “you are a filthy shia kafir and you are going straight to hell!).
Now, It saddens me that people feel the need to be inflammatory, but that’s not what is annoying me, my question is; why care? Seriously! What does my hell bound destiny (or lack of it), have to do with you?
Do I write about being shia over here? You bet!
Do I have a problem with that? Obviously not!
Am I emphasising difference? Hmm, depends how you look at it! I don’t believe I emphasise difference to alienate others; and If I do, I am truly sorry for that; and I will accept any constructive guidance people wish to give in order to rectify it. I read blogs from all over the world; from Muslims of different schools and people of other faiths; and frankly, I read those blogs because of the differences they write about! It’s the difference that interests, educates and entertains me; If I want generic, I can turn on any diluted TV channel or documentary or a badly written tabloid article! Difference is what draws me in; and I hope I do the same for others.
Do I want people to agree with me? I don’t really care!
Of course; I do hope that if one of my readers has a hard time with shias, with disabled people or with other aspects of diversity that reading my words opens their mind and changes their point of view! But I’m not egotistical enough to regard myself as some sort of saviour for the ignorant! People will think what they will; and I have no problem with that; if they respect me, and I respect them, we’ll get along just fine regardless of our views and differences!
Do I have to use the word shia? Well yes! For me personally, yes I do! The word shia, literally translated means one who follows! The word is found in the bible and in the qur’an its self! It is found in other religious texts; when talking about the students, disciples or followers of a Prophet, teacher, guru etc, so a person might describe himself as a shia of Mohammed (PBUH), or of Ali (A.S), or of Umar and so on. Of course, the word has come to be synonymous with the sect, or worse, with sectarianism, and that is why you’ll often find me talking about the school of the Ahlulbayt (A.S), that is to say, those who follow the direct descendents, or the house, of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Being a shia, and describing myself as the same is, I believe, pivotally important to defining my identity! Just in the same way that I talk about being blind, being a female, being married etc; being shia underpins all of these different elements and holds them together, creating the unique blend that is me! As previously stated, I don’t use the term to define difference or separation from other Muslims, however this is my faith and my direction of choice. People may wish to know about how I came to that decision. They may want to know about what kind of a Muslim I am; and I cannot talk about that without using this word, so sorry; no changes are going to happen there any time soon.
Do I think I am superior because of it?
Absolutely not! Who am I to think so! And here in I return to the original question; if I do not consider myself superior, what gives others the right to judge me as inferior? As I said before; I adopted this path, this particular school of thought after research, study and reflection. I chose it because I believe it is where Allah (SWT) wanted me to be, and the path I was rightly guided to. I am only a student and it is not for me to judge others or to pronounce some one’s Islam valid or invalid. If I question or debate with you, it is either because I am gaining more knowledge by doing so, or because I wish to clearly define my own viewpoint for your understanding. I know that many debate on the pretext of proving another wrong, which is fundamentally unbalanced from the outset. If I am in error, that is for me to answer to Allah (SWT), and similarly, if another is in error, I may offer advice as is offered to me, but I may not judge, nor make any sort of pronouncement about him/her. This is why I find these comments most hurtful. Why accuse me of fuelling sectarianism when you yourselves single me out as being a Non-Muslim because of my beliefs? Is it really an Islamicly just thing to do, to waste time Emailing another sister with vile obscenities and made-up fatwas of your own?
When all is said and done, we are all Muslims; servants of Allah (SWT) and only he (SWT) will decide between us based on our own hearts. As none know the secrets of another’s heart, (let alone the deviations within our own), its best that we keep our judgements to ourselves!
I apologise to those readers who are nothing to do with this, as well as to my non-Muslim readers who are doubtless wondering just how petty Muslims really are based on the above!
Let me conclude by reiterating once again; you are welcome to Email, to comment, to leave messages on the blog that contradict or disagree with me; I do not require my ego to be massaged and for the world to subscribe to Rosher’s revelations! All I ask is that we keep it clean, dignified and respectful each to the other; if your comments aren’t published here, it should stand to reason that they are indecent and not befitting a Muslim; whatever your sect! As Jesus (A.S) said, let he who is without sin cast the first stone!
OK; rant over, perhaps we could return to something more interesting now?