As I have always maintained, mine is a three-piece-suit Islam, even though the waistcoat has pretty much gone out of vogue these days.
Among other things, my Islam demands excellent working command of the English language, as I believe English to be Allah’s and Islam’s language, just like any other language in the world.
That is why I embrace Shakespeare, Milton and Keats with the same fervor I embrace Hafiz, Ghalib and Iqbal.
The Magic of Human Expression
It is all part of the same tantalizing magic Allah taught human beings: Wa ‘Allamahul Bayaan.
Remember the Hadith: Inna Minal Bayaani La-Sihra?
And the Muslim tradition has been the Muslims enriched and exalted any language they touched throughout history, whether it is Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Urdu or something else.
It Is Now the Turn of the English Language
It is now the turn of that most enchanting language called English to be so enhanced and enriched through the momentous magic of Islam and the contributions of Muslim minds and pens of the kind of Ibn Khaldoon, Al-Ghazali, Averroes, Khayyam, Rumi and Avicenna.
Obviously, Muslims are not there yet, but they will be, before anyone even realizes it, by the will and grace of Almighty Allah.
That is how these things happen in Allah’s world.
Home Away from Home
And the West is my home, away from home, which, of course, is Almighty Allah.
To the extent any human can refer to any part of their earthly exile from God’s presence and paradise as home.
That is why we all read and recite: Innaa Lillahi wa Innaa Ilaihi Raaji’oon. Meaning: We are all from God and to him we shall all return.
Life and Death: What an Amazing Paradox!
This indicates the perpetual cycle of life from and to God, the only source of all life.
Death in fact meaning separation from God, as Mevlana Rum will put it. And life being, for the deathless human soul to simply discard the bodily cage in which it is imprisoned to return to God.
The exact opposite of the way the world has it. What an amazing paradox of life and death it is.
For, that which the world calls death is for a believer and a knower the onset of life, real life.
Slaves of Territory and Geography
That is also why I usually give a one-word answer to the slaves of geography and earthly territory who so insistently ask me for my nationality, country and origin.
To them all I simply say: “God!”
Barring the Immigration People of course where I am required by Law to flash my travel documents such as the passport, issued by a certain country, and often a Visa, issued by yet another country.
Islam Means Law
Respecting the Law of the Land is axiomatic for me because more than anything else, Islam means law. That is precisely the meaning of the expression Shari’ah.
Shari’ah means a Legal Code.
Every society in every part of the world has a Legal Code. In other words, every society has a Shari’ah.
And Islam is a Legal Code from top to toe.
That is why a Muslim is a most law-abiding citizen on whichever part of the world he dwells and calls home.
Makers of Western Culture
And my culture is Western to the core. And it abhors and shuns all Mumbo-Jumbo in the name of Islam.
I am not in or of the West and Western Culture, I am the West. I am one of the makers and shapers of Western Culture to the core.
I am not an alien visiting or passing through Western Culture, and I am not just privileged to have membership in Western Culture, but rather I have full ownership of Western Culture.
Islam and the West
And my Islam is what makes Western Culture what it is and, in turn, Western Culture is what makes my Islam what it is.
The reciprocity between the two is near complete. The rest is all about negotiating the details specific to time and place.