Surrender

I can’t help but feel some closure from Usama bin Laden’s death…
I can’t help but feel some closure from Usama bin Laden’s death. I am not rejoicing, nor am I shedding a tear; that is not my place as a human being or as a Muslim. I am not hailing him a martyr nor as an enemy (although, it may be obvious that I am by the end). But that is the job of a higher being. I however, will make a judgment stemming from heart-felt emotions of those who lost their innocent family members. What does warrant my opinion is truth: he did not represent me nor did he represent my Islam.

I have fought a large part of my life dispelling notions about Islam, and visiting interfaith sessions on days when I was too tired, but felt it was a duty. I felt compelled at times, and it didn’t always come from a happy place, but a place I resented. I didn’t think it was worth my time to be angry at this being, this media-fixated mythological creature I suspected was dead long ago in God’s eyes; but he kept re-emerging as a leader for so many lost souls, who picked up guns, grew their beards and looked for a belonging in their regressing countries tortured by joblessness. I became resentful because I was forced to talk about the unclear war-related text of Islam that said ’70 virgins’ and rewards for martyrs, and defining the term jihad in terms that I could not comprehend myself… why? The Islam I could have been talking about was terms Islam left CLEAR (deliberately, because that was the universal version): requirement to give a percentage of your income to the poor; 5-time daily prayers to separate from the world and reflect; the feet of the mother was the doorway to heaven; perform the pilgrimage in clothes that brought the kings and the poor in the same white garbs so they may perform the same rituals and be reminded we are all equals under God, and the list goes on. But I never got that chance— because, more importantly, I was asked: Was it 70 virgins really, and did every Muslim want to commit this ‘jihad’ thing?

It is not my place to hate Usama, but it is my place to remember that if I ever lost my husband/child/mother/father to a hateful rhetoric that blindly led hundreds of men to leave their religion and their families and their souls to fight a jihad, I’d have questions too. My answer as it always has been: Muhammad (S)’s jihad was that of defensive measures, to protect their homes, families and a faith that was being threatened. Jihad was in the name of protection and to keep the name of their faith alive, but ironically, Usama was destroying Islam under the same ‘jihad’ banner.

This is our time to make sense of our American Islam, and speak about the future in peace. My jihad (struggle) is to give Islam its real name of Peace and Surrender.

You, Usama, surrendered to the troops, but my entire generation has put up a fight trying to bring back the Islam that you surrendered in 2011.

Now it’s my turn to rest in peace. In the metaphoric sense! I’m ready for my new beginning… and to be an American-Muslim without remorse, regret or attachment to a being I was involuntarily shackled to.

You can read more from Nadia on her blog, “The Muslim ‘Seinfeld’ Blog: A lil’ bit of Nothing & Everything”

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