Chapter One: Strength in Submission

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 14, 2016

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Submitted: August 14, 2016

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Waking up at the crack of dawn, Naif cannot help but feel blessed for the life he possesses. He knows elsewhere in the world others are suffering and would do anything to have the life he enjoys. And yet, he cannot help but suppress a grimace as he hears the daily radio chatter. Again, people engaging in “flame wars” on social media targeting Islam on the recent Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Naif has been following them, and trying to share on how Islamic teachings of the Qur’an are not to blame for terrorists’ actions. Because even as they say they are carrying out the work of Allah, he knows that the Qur’an does not endorse such actions. But his efforts online have led to effects in the real world as well. His own friends, classmates that once would spend hours on end with him having fun, suddenly seemed distant and cold.

He goes to school with a heavy heart, wanting simply to enjoy the time he had there, as he knows how fortunate he is to be able to receive an education. Allah has been kind to him, and he slips another quick prayer of thanks as he enters the school compound for the safe trip he has had there, as well as the life he has now. Ironically moments after this, he hears jeering sounds from behind him. His classmates, once his best friends, now treat him as disgusting, evil even.

He knows. The eyes of the students, all on him. The disgust in some, the fear in others, it makes him shudder. In class too, where everything is reduced to hushed whispers around him. He’s been ostracized, separated. He is no longer part of them, part of this community. They despise him; they fear him. They dare not touch him, and yet they want to push him out. Naif closes his eyes, and does his best to ignore the fleeting whispers he knows are about him.

Class starts, and even his teacher does not look him in the eye for longer than a few seconds. Naif can register his disapproval, hate even. But despite all this, Naif does his best to maintain a calm demeanor. He does not want to show his anger, his inner disappointment. For that is what he feels. A sense of disappointment in the world- that they cannot understand that Islam in fact does not promote war and hate.

But at the end of the day, over everything else, he feels lost. He knows the Qur’an says: respect all religons and people around you. Do not raise your hand against them. But, how can he do so, if other people are hating him, threatening him, hurting him. He himself begins doubting the logic of what he has been growing up with.

As his own mind reaches tension point, a voice full of hatred shouts his name. He turns around and is heartbroken to see his “best friend”, John looking at him with eyes burning, fists clenched. Rage and hate have consumed him, and Naif is powerless to do anything. He tries to run, but others hold him in place. He knows these people feel nothing but hate for him, his religion, his people. Even so, he does not fight back. He just curls into a ball, trying to defend himself. He feels punches, kicks, insults from all over.

One insult which stands out: “You and your religion can go to your great ISIS and kill each other there! How about that?” Naif cries not because of the bruises on my body, not because of the blood from so many different wounds, but that our great religion has been portrayed to that: a terror group. Going home, he scream at my mother, as he himself is full of rage. He questions the Qur’an, why it makes us weak, why we are viewed so badly.

She takes Naif into her arms, and calmly caresses me saying “In’sya Allah, this is all the Merciful One’s will, trust in his decisions.” And he remember that yes, it is the Merciful One’s will. He is a lucky one, receiving but a few punches and unkind looks. Elsewhere people are suffering, in much worse conditions than him. Thus he embraces his fate, and continues with life.

Others may still beat him, and they may insult him, but they will never break his belief. That one day they will realize their faults, and be forgiven. And then, he will embrace them as brothers once more. For what greater joy is there than regaining lost friends? He embraces peace within himself, and hopes for peace in the world.


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