Treatment of the Other: Everyone’s Responsibility
When I was living in the US, my friends used to avoid going anywhere with me because of what they said was a reckless habit. They thought when I indulged myself; I put everyone around me at risk.
Yes—I admit, I couldn’t help myself. I spent part of my youth living at a Quaker boarding school. The Quakers, in giving me a zeal for learning and sharing knowledge had also infused into my psyche a belief in living by a code of conduct; a righteousness very similar to the Islamic credo of taking moral responsibility for what goes on in the world around me.
Both my Christian roots and my current Islamic faith impressed upon me that I had a moral responsibility to help when people were in need.
If a man was beating a woman, I tried to stop him; if someone was injured, I made getting assistance my business. This belief that is an inseparable part of Islamic morality was one of the things that attracted me the most when I embraced Islam.
In the early days of my conversion I was under the impression that what all Arabs do is Islam. My experience over the years has taught me that this is no more truer than what any American does these days is indicative of democracy.
The tendency of people in the oil rich countries to victimize imported workers with their laws that protect nationals but not others is wrong according to whatever faith the Arabs purport to practice, whether Islam or Christianity (with the possible exception of Saudi Arabia, there are a fair amount of Christians in Arab speaking countries) .
Though Islam was brought to the world by an Arab prophet, it was by no means just for the Arabs. Attesting to this fact are the one billion and counting Muslims in the world; most of which are not Arab.
In this regard, Islam is for the Arabs the greatest of blessings in that the best who practice (when practiced) are the Arabs. Unfortunatelythe worst (and therefore the most damned) are the Arabs that don’t practice it (as predicted by Muhammed, SAW himself) .
Although everyone labels the poor treatment of foreign workers ‘slavery’, in Islam denying a person his life without taking his life is a greater sin than killing a man in the eyes of the creator.
The Islam I practice says that if you don’t stand against it, you are part of it.
Still fuming over the viral video of the Ethiopian woman being pulled by the hair by her Lebanese employer, screaming into a waiting car (a maid who later committed suicide) while others just stood and watched, I talked to my colleagues about the incident.
“I do not and would not do this,”everyone I have talked to has said.
“What can I do – this is the life. I am not the prime minister or the king.”
But do you need the formal authority of being a King or Prime Minister to stand up for what you know is right? Jesus, Gandhi, Mandela… and the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), those we admire and look to most for inspiration, certainly did not.