Mohamad Jebara, PhD, is the chief Imam and resident scholar at the Cordova Spiritual Education Center in Ottawa
John, so you destroyed your Canadian passport. That passport symbolizes a culmination of rights, struggles and values, which Canadians have strived for for generations. In fact, holding a Canadian passport is a privilege and an honour, which many would dream of attaining.
I was raised in Ottawa. I skate, rollerblade, cycle, ski, canoe, hike and, yes, I enjoy classical music. I guess that makes me a typical Canadian. But, what is a "typical" Canadian anyways? I memorized the Islamic scriptures when I was 12, and have dedicated the past 22 years of my life to my faith; studying, teaching and defending it.
When you say you were one of us, which one of us do you mean? My Canadian identity has not infringed on my Islamic identity – in fact it has made it stronger.
Islam literally means a path that leads one to a state of completeness and wholeness, culminating in a state of social-awareness, self-awareness and divine awareness. True Islam nurtures vibrant minds and intellects, shapes inclusive and just societies and establishes progressive civilizations. The purpose of Islam is to unite, not divide; to nurture love, not breed hatred; to build, not destroy. Without justice and balance no civilization can thrive.
Likewise, Shari'ah connotes a number of easy paths leading one to the source of fresh water – the foundation of all life. The source takes one from a narrow outlet, and gradually expands, from stream to river, to sea then to the vastness of the ocean. Thus, Shari'ah literally takes one from a narrow mentality and outlook, to a broad, inclusive and vibrant mindset.
John, I'm sorry to have to break it to you, but you've been duped. You've been peddled an empty package.
I find it quite ironic that you would cast away the guitar – invented by Islamic Scholar Ziryab in 9th Century Islamic Spain as a soothing tool to help draw people closer to God – and replace it with a destructive weapon invented by what you would erroneously refer to as "the kuffar".
Perhaps no one ever told you that great Islamic scholars such as Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, Ibnu Sina, Ar-Razi, As-Sarakhsi, and Thabit Ibnu Qurrah greatly contributed to, and enhanced the field of music, using the Quran as their inspiration. Or perhaps "they" neglected to inform you that the Abbasid Caliph Harun Ar-Rashid had a chief court musician called Ibrahim Al-Mawsili.
You criticize Muslims for living among "non-Muslims"? Had the prophet of Islam not sent his disciples to the land of Abyssinia to seek refuge among the Christians of that land?
Hearing you speak, I cannot help but think the prophet Muhammad would have been a great disappointment to you, because everything he stood for is quite in contrast to what you believe.
For a nation barely 148 years old we are doing pretty well, I must say. Yes, I admit, we are not a perfect society – which society is? We try. We are willing to change, we have a democratic process that allows for positive change, nay, even encourages it.
I will not apologize for being a Canadian Muslim. In fact, my Canadian identity has helped me become a better Muslim. Since you claim to have "maintained a strong GPA", I'm sure you can "put two and two together." What you adopted is not Islam