In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
Last time, I wrote about how the Star Wars saga taught us the dangers of anger, especially when unrestrained and uncontrolled. Yet, as I said previously, it is not that we should never become angry. Rather, we should never let our anger get the best of us; we should never let our anger consume us.
Why, there are times when we are supposed to become angry. When someone maims and murders in the name of Islam, Muslims the world over should become angry. When a Muslim woman is unjustly sentenced to death in the name of the Shari’ah, Muslims should also become angry. When a Muslim declares all “infidels” are to be killed, once again, Muslims should become angry.
By the same token, when the United States illegally invaded another country on the basis of faulty intelligence – if not outright lies – and 1,700 U.S. soldiers and countless Iraqis are killed, we Americans should become angry. When the United States betrays her principles and way of life by imprisoning hundreds of people without charge or counsel, we Americans should become angry. When the United States sends people to other countries – our own “allies” – to get tortured, we Americans should become angry.
Now, as I said before, this anger must never get out of control. That anger at the sins of Muslims that smear all of Islam must never result in more violence. That anger at the actions of the United States should never translate into burning our flag, or cursing this country, or praying to God for America’s destruction. Absolutely not.
Rather, that anger should move us to work to make America better. That anger should motivate us to point out to the world that this is not who we are. That anger should inspire us to remind our own people of our pristine heritage and strive to have us return to that heritage. The same goes with the violence committed in Islam’s name. It must make us angry, but again, it must a righteous anger. It must be a controlled anger that motivates us to debunk the logic of the terrorists and show others – especially those that are not Muslim – that our faith is not one of violence and terror. And it should also motivate us to work to bring about global justice, so that the swamps in which terrorists breed are dried up forever.
Yes, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Do not become angry.” But, I believe he meant do not let your anger consume you and lead you to commit injustice. That is the essence of the verse in the Qur’an – a verse which, I believe, may be the most profound of all – that says:
“Believers, never let the hatred of a people toward you move you to commit injustice” (Qur’an 5:8).
It is the motto of this blog and of my life.
Yes, the hatred of others toward you may make you angry, but that anger should never allow you to transgress against others. The attack of September 11 made all Americans- including this American – extremely angry. That is natural. But, if – as many contend – the terrorists attacked us because of our freedom and way of life, and we respond in a manner that betrays those principles and abandons that way of life, then haven’t the terrorists already won? Can we ever, as a nation, afford to let that happen?