For some time I have been thinking of something that was said to me on a forum, by a non-Muslim, telling me that a specific Middle-Eastern country would not be the “Muslim Nirvana” that I was hoping it to be. Apart from the fact that they used the term “nirvana” rather than “heaven,” what I found most offensive was that this sentiment was coming from an individual who did not share a religious background with me, so, it was rather arrogant and presumptive for them to assume that they had any sort of authority to tell me anything regarding my being a Muslim, and happily living anywhere.
It really does seem to be a running theme these days, with non-Muslims blatantly telling Muslims how and where to live their lives. Some of these self-proclaimed “experts” think that because they are living (as non-Muslims) in a Muslim society, they know completely all there is to know about that society. They ignore the fact that they are living a parallel life, which oftentimes involves ignoring the Muslims around them, in an effort to make it somehow more “bearable” for them. Due to the fact that they are so immeasurably unhappy living in such a society, they feel that no one will be happy there.
In their view, cultural differences or idiosyncrasies become examples of great ignorance or hypocrisy. They become hypersensitive, and overtly judgmental of everyone and everything around them that they deem “foreign” (failing to bear in mind, of course, that they are the ones who are foreign). If someone cuts them off in traffic, it becomes the subject of much ranting and raving on forums and blogs, going on for days and days about how people in that region are such horrible drivers. Had the same thing happened to them in their country of origin, surely they would have done nothing more than get upset for the moment, and then later forget it entirely. I cannot imagine that they would waste days obsessing over it, and condemning every driver that resembles the one soul that crossed them.
There is not a single place on this great, wide earth that is “perfect.” Not even the holiest cities of Makkah and Madinah are perfect, and they each have their own, unique issues. There are some places better than others, but no place can truthfully hold the title of “perfect.” It just doesn’t exist on this world. Muslims who read the Quran can tell you that only Jannah is perfect, and when we strive to live in a perfect place, we should be striving for Jannah (heaven).
The fact that some places are better than others, especially for certain ethnic or religious groups is what has drawn my husband and I to seriously consider making hijrah. We know that where we are currently residing is far from being the ideal place for us to raise our children, especially if we want to instill certain moral and religious views in them.
Whereas I will not be so bold as to tell my fellow Muslims who desire to continue living here, likewise, I do not wish to have someone, especially a non-Muslim, to tell me that I am a fool for wanting what I want. We each have different wants and needs. This world does not offer cookie-cutter results for every single person who resides here. My family happens to be Muslim, and we are not “progressive,” or “liberal,” or any other word that would denote having a more “modern” view of religion (the title of my blog “Musings of a Modern Muslim” has more to do with the fact that I live in this “modern,” or current time, and not that I am a modernist. I am far from it).
We have very particular views on how our children should be raised, and what their priorities in life should be. We do not desire for them to grow up in a society where “unwed mother” has become “single mom,” and is now something that is openly celebrated (rather than being seen as the horrible cultural epidemic that it truly is). We also have strict views on what constitutes as a marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman, and we have every right to tell our children that two men or two women do not get married. We have the right to teach them to always be kind and respectful to people, but to understand that simply being respectful to a person does not mean that you are approving of, or encouraging their lifestyle.
I am not a fool, and I clearly know that each and every place on this planet has its pros and cons. However, I am ready and willing to trade the pros and cons of this place for the pros and cons of another place. Someplace where I and my family are adherents of the majority religion, and where our religion is used as a guideline for all laws and public policies. It may not be perfect, but at least it’s an attempt.
And I would kindly appreciate if the non-Muslims and the more secular Muslims would keep their opinions to themselves. In order to offer good advice, you must share some common goals and views. Otherwise, much of what you are thinking and feeling simply doesn’t apply. Hearing the adhan five times a day irritates you? For me, it makes my heart sing when I hear it! Being asked to not wear nightclub clothes to the grocery store offends you? For me, it is offensive when you do wear it to the grocery store! You think that Muslims are a bunch of stupid, uncivilized brutes? Well, I am a Muslim!