Musings: I am only human.

I was talking to my brother-friend, S, earlier today, and something brought us to the topic that led to the quote and the musings that follow. It is only a chunk of my entire thought process, but I thought I would share this angle anyway– because I have experienced it a good number of times to make an issue of it.

It’s not what we eat or don’t eat that makes us good people; it’s how we treat one another. As you grow older, you’ll find that people of every religion think they’re the best, but that’s not true. There are good and bad people in every religion. Just because someone is Muslim, Jewish, or Christian doesn’t mean a thing. You have to look and see what’s in their hearts. That’s the only thing that matters, and that’s the only detail God cares about.”
― Firoozeh Dumas

I am a Muslim, and I am very pleased to be one. Alhamdulilah. I try not to impose my religion or faith or beliefs on other people, I really do. I have a number of Christian friends, and I consider it a privilege… I simply enjoy being around them and spending time with them, because of who they are, wholesomely, and that is that. So, I find it rather rude, disrespectful and self-indulgent when a Christian tells me “you look like a Christian, or act/talk like a Christian, or you will do better as a Christian” when I as much as say “Lord”, or “Bless you” or smile, or just pretty much do nice stuff! Really? What does that even mean? Who are you to know? How can you tell?

I think it is wrong. I think that we are people (good/ bad), before we become Muslims, Christians and people of other faiths. Religion does not (in itself) make us tolerable or less tolerable, it is our own tendencies as humans to read, and understand (or not understand), assimilate, reflect upon and then live by all the knowledge and experiences that we have acquired, that makes us who we are. I think that when it comes down to it, no one is superior to the other—except as The Maker decides. He is the Judge of all things, and we should accord Him the sole right to do what only He does best.

I understand that it is almost natural that we would feel superior about certain of our beliefs and notions, and our ability to abstain from certain kinds of pleasure that other people would rather indulge in; however, these days, as I attempt to grow into understanding life through the depths of its rich diversity, I am mostly of the opinion that we strive to respect our differences as much as we can or stay away from it altogether. No one is perfect; I doubt that we were even made to be perfect. I think we are simply here on earth to be the best version of ourselves– and we alone can honestly decide what that best version is.

So maybe we should focus less on the ills of other people and how they are practicing right or wrong, or how we are better than or more superior to them, and focus more on how to be better by, for and in our own selves so that we can show people rather than tell them how to do better. In the end, it is the heart that matters; the intentions, the desires to want better for others as much as you want for yourself, the tendency to look out for a neighbor or a stranger as though s/he were family, the little simple things—like saying “hello” with a smile, and feeling a person’s sorrow as if it were yours. And if by doing these things the way that I know how makes me look like someone of a particular faith rather than someone who is just trying to be humane, maybe we do not know the true meaning of humanity after all.

*

© The Short Black Girl, 2017.

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9 thoughts on “Musings: I am only human.

  1. Hmmm, yes o… Makes a lot of sense. Sadly, it is the conditioning with which most of us have been created. We just want others to be like us and to also follow those things which we hold to be true. I told you, it goes all the way to other forms, not just religion – ethnic group, class, parentage. I know I have been told a number of times: ‘You behave so well, you should have been the child of…’ or ‘Whose child are you?’ ‘I am the son of Agema.’ ‘Hmmm, kai, you behave more like…’
    My dear, you go wanda o! It is not a small something. Any ways, na so we see am o. What to do now? What to do… Hmmm.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rofiah dear, I am really inspired by this piece! You are the first Muslim friend I have, and I never feel that we are set apart by our different religions. Instead I feel we have many similarities as a person. And sometimes our differences have driven me to discover beyond the realms of my cultural and religious comfort zone. I think if I hadn’t known you, I may not have been so curious about Islam, and I might not have been so interested in Yoruba or the Nigerian culture. In fact I am reading a children’s novel set in Nigeria at the moment! I read of the sparkling lights of the Murtala Muhammed Airport thinking that it may be the very airport where you got on the plane to the UK 2 years ago! And that thought makes me more amazed in (and thankful for) the serendipitous power of friendship and encounter.
    LOTS of love
    Zoe

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Zoe, you warm my heart with your comment. Thank you for being so un-judging, and understanding. Your love is kind.

      And about that book? Really? I am excited to hear about it! What book is it? (Although I doubt that i will know the book. Haha). I am mildly surprised that a children’ s book will talk about Murtala Muhammed airport (which is in fact, as you imagined, the airport I took off from and returned to on my journey to and from the UK). I envy your reading appetite though! Haha.

      I hope you are well Zoe? Thank you for your enduring friendship. ♡♡

      Like

      1. Dear Rofiah,thanks for your kind words 🙂 –I am still learning to be more tolerant and understanding when it comes to getting to know new cultures and new things, and I feel grateful for the precious chances of culture encounter. The book is called ‘The other side of truth’ by Beverley Naidoo. It is about two Nigerian children fleeing the country because their father got into trouble with the military government. It was on our reading list and I really enjoyed the story–only that I wish I knew more about the political background while reading (I think the story was set in the mid-1990s).

        Which reminds me of another story (also a children’s book) set in Haiti–all those details about the Voodoo religion and the author’s use of Creole to tell the story…I had to google all the places and names before I could keep up with the narrative! But then reading about something I am not familiar with is always an exhilarating and humbling experience.

        I am preparing to leave for the UK! I will send you pictures on Facebook when I get there 🙂

        Hope you are well too 🙂
        Zoe

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I do not know any of the books, what a shame!
        Maybe I will acquaint myself with the author and book titles, and grab a book or two…
        I will be looking forward to the pictures darling. I am sure you will have a swell time there and make the best use of everyday, as always!
        Take good care. ❤

        Like

  3. We have been raised to think in categories, and to ourselves, not as humans, but by our category. We do not know – and frankly uninterested to know or warned against knowing- about the other categories, and this ignorance breeds prejudice, arrogance- that false sense of being better than – and hatred sometimes.

    Sometimes, the air of superiority is a defense: against feelings of being incomplete (even with all the trappings of our category), against the yearning for more and the curiosity to know what else is outside our little world. We try to convince ourselves that nothing out there can be better than what we are and know, and thus not worth exploring or getting acquainted with.

    At other times it’s the fear of being “corrupted” or even the fear of discovering the shallowness of our world that makes us hide under the all comfortable umbrella of superiority.

    They say: he who hasn’t left his father’s farm thinks it’s the largest in the world. Ignorance breeds fear, prejudice and arrogance.

    Perhaps, it’s envy. Someone so good should belong with us, so we tell them they would be much better with us. If they would be, how come they are already better without us? Ah!

    There are few absolute truths in this world, if only we knew that. We wouldn’t hate or kill each other or wound each other based on these artificial categories: race, gender, religion, class.

    Nice work Ma’am !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is really just apt doc!

      While reading through your comment, I could see myself having felt those different things you pointed out, at different times in my early life (and maybe even now). I think that insecurity with ourselves and beliefs come almost naturally to everyone. There is always the tendency to want nothing to do with anything outside the familiar known grounds of our comfort zones; so anything that seems to threaten that safeness, or the lies our parents and forefathers plagued us with to keep us untainted and simplistic, we either run away from it or attack it. It is sad… and I think that only the ones curious enough to break free from these ties really find the truth about what lies in the unknown, which usually is an experience that leaves us better off than we could ever imagine.

      Beyond the rivalry that these notional categories breed, I think there lies a chance for mutual kinship, good, growth, knowledge, fun and love, if we will see beyond our differences.

      Thank you for always doctor! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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