Why hate me?

Why hate me?

Bismillah

Sister Raquel Cabistan hate Why hate me? Screen Shot 2017 03 07 at 10

Sister Raquel Cabistan

My intention for writing this is to understand why people harbor so much hate for me.  I’m asking basic-yet important questions before someone tells me to go back home, before I get my hijab ripped off my head, and definitely before I’m put into a concentration camp.  

When 9/11 happened I was not a Muslim, but for some time the news convinced me that I should fear and hate Muslims.  However, logic eventually kicked in and upon hearing how many Muslims there were in the world I concluded that if there were that many Muslims in the world and their aim was to kill us, we’d all be dead.  I went on with my life ignoring the hate and fear mongering of Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Michael Savage.  

Then I met Islam.  I fell in love with Allah, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), & Islam.  I felt as though a veil was lifted from my heart and my eyes.  So now I’m trying to figure out why the most important and beautiful decision of my life makes people want to register me, put me in a camp, deport me, hurt me, and even want to kill

I have a few questions:

Do you hate me  because I believe in Allah?  I believe in the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate, the Forgiver, the Provider, the Creator, and the only one worthy of worship.  The Allah that the Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews call upon in Arabic.

Do you hate me because I pray 5 times a day?  I have to pray 5 times a day because the Creator knows how forgetful I am of Him and how I depend on myself too much.  If I didn’t have to pray, I’d probably just pray when I need something; therefore, I’m grateful that I HAVE to pray 5 times a day.

Do you hate me because I fast in the month of Ramadan?  Jesus fasted for 40 days and fasting has been proven to be healthy; both spiritually and physically.   When I’m fasting and cannot have a sip of water, I realize how many gifts God has given us.  That sip of water becomes more valuable than a million dollars.  The first morsel of food feels like the best thing I’ve ever tasted and I vow never to take food and water for granted.  I become more grateful, more charitable, more empathetic to the suffering of mankind.

Do you hate me because I have to give 2.5% of my savings to the poor?   You would think that giving charity would decrease your wealth, but Allah tells us that charity NEVER decreases wealth.  Giving charity purifies the money.  Even modern-day life coaches (Zig Zigglar & Tony Robbins) encourage their listeners to regularly give.  

Do you hate me because I am encouraged to go to Mecca at least once in my lifetime?  It’s a pilgrimage focused on repentance and making new resolutions.   A place where every man is dressed in the same white sheet so not to be able to distinguish class.  The place that Malcolm X ate from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, slept on the same rug, and prayed to the same God with men with the bluest eyes, blondest hair, and the whitest of skin.  Transforming him from a black nationalist to accepting “the reality to the Oneness of man.”

Do you hate me because I don’t eat pork?  There’s always beef bacon!  Honestly, Islam encourages a diet of organic and sustainable foods and very little meat.  If you must eat meat there’s always lamb, chicken, goat, camel, and of course beef.  

Do you hate me because I eat halal meat?  Halal meat (also known as Zabiha meat) has to meet certain criteria to be considered halal.  The animal must be healthy and treated with respect.  It must be slaughtered with a very sharp knife.  The animal can not be killed in front of other animals, it can not see the knife coming, the knife must cut jugular vein, and the name of God should be pronounced on it before it is slaughtered.  

Do you hate me because I’m forbidden to involve myself with interest?  Interest is oppressive to people in need.  If someone comes to me because they are in need and have to borrow money, it’s certainly not fair to charge them extra money.  It’s not right that people put all their life savings for a deposit on their dream homes only to lose their savings, their homes, and their financial reputation.  Charging interest is oppressive because the loanee was originally in need and may not be able to afford the original loan amount let alone the added interest.  

Do you hate me because I’m forbidden to drink alcohol or gamble?  It’s forbidden because in alcohol and gambling there are benefits, but the harm outweighs the benefits in them.  So as much as I may miss a mimosa on Sunday, I’d rather not participate or support alcohol because of the harm that it does to so many.  

The following are some facts and statistics about alcohol use from the National Institute from Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism:

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in the United States:

  • Adults (ages 18+): 16.3 million adults ages 18 and older3 (6.8 percent of this age group4) had an AUD in 2014. This includes 10.6 million men3 (9.2 percent of men in this age group4) and 5.7 million women3 (4.6 percent of women in this age group4).
  • About 1.5 million adults received treatment for an AUD at a specialized facility in 2014 (8.9 percent of adults who needed treatment)5. This included 1.1 million men (9.8 percent of men in need) and 431,000 women (7.4 percent of women who needed treatment)5.
  • Youth (ages 12–17): In 2014, an estimated 679,000 adolescents ages 12–176 (2.7 percent of this age group7) had an AUD. This number includes 367,000 females6 (3.0 percent of females in this age group7) and 311,000 males6 (2.5 percent of males in this age group7).
  • An estimated 55,000 adolescents (18,000 males and 37,000 females) received treatment for an alcohol problem in a specialized facility in 2014.8

Alcohol-Related Deaths: 

  • Nearly 88,0009 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women9) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.1
  • In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 9,967 deaths (31 percent of overall driving fatalities).11

Economic Burden:

  • In 2010, alcohol misuse problems cost the United States $249.0 billion.12
  • Three-quarters of the total cost of alcohol misuse is related to binge drinking.12

Global Burden:

  • In 2012, 3.3 million deaths, or 5.9 percent of all global deaths (7.6 percent for men and 4.0 percent for women), were attributable to alcohol consumption.13
  • Alcohol contributes to over 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions, most notably alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis, cancers, and injuries.14 In 2012, 5.1 percent of the burden of disease and injury worldwide (139 million disability-adjusted life-years) was attributable to alcohol consumption.13
  • Globally, alcohol misuse is the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability; among people between the ages of 15 and 49, it is the first.15 In the age group 20–39 years, approximately 25 percent of the total deaths are alcohol attributable.16

So…

Do you hate me because Islam allows men to practice polygyny?
Newsflash!! most men practice polygyny, unlimited polygyny!   On the other hand, Islam has limits and responsibilities.  A muslim man can have four wives, BUT he must be able to support his wives and children both financially and emotionally.  He must treat them fairly and not openly prefer one over the other.  Polygyny preserves the existing family a man already has and will allow him to offer love and support to another woman.   My existence is the result of a non-Muslim man practicing polygyny.  I was a “bastard” child.  It’s possible if he had been Muslim I would have known him, maybe he would’ve been responsible for me, and maybe I would have known my paternal grandparents and family members.  I’ll never know, I just know that my biological father was polygynous just like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, JFK, Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, Tiger Woods, Arnold Schwarzneggar, Newt Gingrich, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, John Edwards, & Hugh Heffner to name a few.  Polygyny is not a pillar in Islam, but it has a place in Islam.  If done right, it serves many good purposes.

Do you hate me because I wear a hijab (head scarf)?  Modesty is the hallmark of a Muslim.  In a society where we are constantly bombarded with body image and looking young & attractive, modesty is meant to liberate the woman from being judged solely on her looks.  I’m Latina and being judged on my looks is rampant in my community.  Even the guy that makes my tacos had something to say about my looks!  The hijab is meant to preserve society by protecting men from their own weaknesses for women.  If women were more modest, it’s very possible that men would be less tempted to pursue other women and appreciate their wives.  If our society practiced more modesty we would probably have students who are more focused on studies, rather than the opposite sex and sex in general.  Our society would probably have a decrease in cases of adultery and as a result, less number of single parent homes (polygyny offers that too).  Our society would raise young people to appreciate character over looks.

Do you hate me because Islam elevates the status of women?  When the media speaks about Muslim women in lands where there is a Muslim majority, we hear stories about domestic violence, honor killing, misogyny, women not allowed to drive, women not allowed to work, and women not allowed to have an education.  I’m here to tell you plenty of these stories are true, but the source is not Islam.  Islam elevated women by granting them their rights to inheritance, land, wealth, and education.  It’s obligatory for EVERY muslim to seek knowledge.  The first verse that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “READ, in the name of your Lord.”  Islam also elevated the role of the mother referring to her as a school that educates a nation and one deserving of respect and care from their children.  So why are so many Muslim women oppressed?  Unfortunately, many people prefer their cultural ideas over the wisdom that Islam provides.  Unfortunately, many individuals and governments find it more convenient to keep the women ignorant and dependent; misogyny comes in many forms and transcends all cultures.  These oppressive ideas are not because of Islam, because God hates oppression and would never instruct us to behave in this way.

Do you hate me because I believe in Sharia Law?  I’m certainly not a scholar and definitely not a an expert, but what I do know about Sharia Law, I appreciate it.  Yes, the person that steals without good reason will lose one of their hands, but only after a proper investigation and trial.  This law applies to white collar crime as well.  There aren’t any special privileges for thieves who hide behind titles, degrees, corporations, and connections.  It is this law that prevents theft in Muslim majority lands, and it’s meant to be a deterrent.  If criminals knew that losing a limb would be the price for stealing, no doubt the rate of thefts would decrease.  A limb is priceless.  Adultery has to be proven by 4 witnesses who literally saw the “act.”  That’s really hard to prove, but the seriousness of the punishment-stoning to death, sends the message that adultery is not to be encouraged.  The rules of dress (modesty) and the conservative-respectful interaction amongst the opposite gender, limit people from getting near adultery.  

Capital punishment and blood money can be requested by the deceased victim’s family, but so can forgiveness.  And God says it’s better to forgive.

There are plenty more examples about Sharia law, but take comfort in knowing that the majority of the laws are compatible with decent human behavior and are designed to protect all of society.  Sharia law is like life, complex, deep, detailed, and vast.

Now that I’ve asked the questions, do you still hate me?  I don’t hate you.

One of the most beautiful things I learned when I first embraced Islam, was that we can’t look down on the creation because of race, class, developmental disadvantages, looks, and whatever else society uses to oppress people.  When we choose to look down on the creation, we are looking down on what the Creator created.  To Him we belong, and to Him we return.

Peace and Blessings be upon you.

Raquel Cabistan

Raquel Cabistan was born in Nicaragua and moved to Southern California when she was 7 years old, where she grew up in a multicultural family and community. She is interested in people, healthy yet tasty food, ideas that improve lives, healing the body and soul, and reading. Two of the best experiences in her life were becoming a mother and converting to Islam. She is a mother of 3 children who keep her young, adventurous, and informed about what’s cool these days. She converted to Islam in 2005 & describes her conversion to Islam like a “veil removed from her eyes and her heart.” She resides in the Bay Area.

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