- Part One: ‘Izzah – Forgotten Concept, Lost Virtue
- Part Two: Literary Analysis, Islamic Understanding
- Part Three: Following the Path of the People Before Us?
- Part Four: The Iman Stimulus Package of Epic Proportions
- Part Five: Conclusion
We have gone through a brief journey regarding this concept of ‘izzah. Insha’Allah we now have a firmer grasp of what it is and how we may regain it. Basically, ‘izzah is a sense of honour and superiority, of strength and power, of spiritual fulfillment and confidence which comes only when we strive to obey Allah and fulfill His commands as He has ordered us to. ‘Izzah comes from Islam; to lose our Islam is to lose our ‘izzah; and the loss of ‘izzah leads to weakness and humiliation – both personal (on an individual level) and on a higher, broader scale (socially and politically).
This being said, a few questions and ideas remain – for example, in this day and age of “equality,” “tolerance,” and so on, how do we actually demonstrate ‘izzah in public? How are we supposed to abandon our position of a weak minority community and become the kind of Ummah we all dream about? Does being superior mean that we have to hold ourselves utterly away from others and not engage with them at all?
The answer is No! It is important to note that by emphasizing the ‘izzah of the Muslims, we are not calling for disengagement from society. We are not saying that we must be utterly aloof and removed from the communities we live in, that we should not cooperate with the non-Muslims at all.
Rather, the goal is to be more aware of who we are, as individuals and as an Ummah. The goal is to realize that the position Allah has given us over all of creation is not something to be taken lightly; indeed, it is something very serious and to be given due consideration. Nor is it a merely theoretical engagement Islam is a religion of practicality, and the concept of ‘izzah is also something which we must apply in our everyday lives.
Yes, be active in society. Yes, cooperate with others. Yes, be a force of positive change. This is something which Allah has commanded us to do everyday, in enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. But always remember that we are Muslims, we are different, we are special. So before you do anything, ask yourself: Is this befitting of the best of creation? Is this an action of honour or dignity, or of humility to other than Allah? Is this a respectable action, in a respectable place?
Furthermore, we have to change our outlook and understanding, of ourselves and our situation. Knowing what we do now about the honour that Allah has bestowed upon the true followers of al-Islam, we need to get over our inferiority complexes and show this ‘izzah to the world. We have delegated ourselves to the position of victims, and elevated others to a position of power, and we cannot allow this to continue.
On an individual level, this ‘izzah is projected in the confidence, the pride, and firm belief that we have in Islam and in implementing it in every aspect of our lives. Praying salaah on time even if it means in a parking lot? That’s ‘izzah. Observing hijaab, growing a beard, even when people actively discriminate against you? That’s ‘izzah. Daring to speak against the political authority, sticking to your principles, loving your fellow Muslims and supporting them even when the rest of the global community claims that they’re radicals, terrorists, and fundamentalists? That’s ‘izzah.
From local, we go global. In the political arena, we see that we are in a position of pathetic weakness that simply can’t be tolerated any longer. Rather than pleading for help, rather than asking others to intercede, we must place ourselves on equal footing “ if not higher “ and demand an end to the oppression and injustice, in Ghazzah and elsewhere. Rather than sitting back timidly and waiting for the approval and encouragement of others, we must stand up and stride forward, with strength and wisdom. Being defensive and apologetic will get us nowhere; the only way to get people to take us seriously is to take ourselves seriously. We need to demonstrate to the world that we are not a people who will accept oppression and humiliation; rather, we are a strong, principled, and honoured ummah, and we will stand up for ourselves.
With wisdom and strength, with knowledge and understanding, we can insha\’Allah strike the balance between outreach, Da\’wah, and maintaining the standard of the ghurabaa. It is imperative to note that we will never be able to make Islam more palatable to those who have already set themselves against it. As for the masses, then guidance comes from Allah alone, and our only role is to live al-Islaam the way we\’re supposed to “ because that alone is the best form of Da\’wah. No matter what the people say, this is our Deen, this is al-Islaam, and we will never be shy of it. This is the source of our ‘izzah, and we must never forget it.
The rest of the world may have money and physical power on their side, but we have something even better: we have Islam. We have Allah. And with that, we are unstoppable.
We need to wake up and smell the coffee. Remember that Allah has blessed us with al-Islam, and that by submitting ourselves to Him and Him alone, He has raised us in status above all other creation.
It\’s time we acted like it.
And to Allah belongs all honor, and to His Messenger, and to the believers, but the hypocrites know not (Al-Munafiqun 63/8).