I came across this post on FB the other day..I have no words though… hatred, racism, anger, forgiveness, peace and love.. all within one post..Read on…
“I grew up in a village where we were the only non whites and only Muslims within a 50 mile radius, we might as well have been green aliens for that was my welcome to a new place at the age of 5. I started primary school and on the first day was beaten up, and then again at lunch time and had to be sent home cos of the injuries……..yes at age 5!
My mother was my rock and nursed me to health and also kept telling me stories of the prophet Muhammed (pbuh) and why we should never hate the ones who simply do not know us, but educate and show them our own beauty, culture and religion.
I was angry inside, I did not know or have the skills to not hate those who had hurt me, but I trusted my mother. I went back to school and now it was worse, the beatings were given 3 times a day now, during morning break, lunch and afternoon break, I would be chased to and from school, my school bags were stolen and damaged and my parents would replace them and my school uniform everytime, my father was a quiet man, not many words and prayed a lot and I know he also prayed for Allah to protect me and my brother.
As I progressed through primary school the beatings got worse and I also noticed the teachers would turn away and act like they were not aware of the world of pain I was living in, in primary 4 at the age of 9, I saw a new low as far as how humans or should I say kids can be to one another, some of the kids had planned and organised filling water balloons filled with urine to throw at me, later on excrement was also rubbed into my hair…………..this was too much and I broke……….I broke as a child………..I broke down in tears at the injustice I faced and felt no one cared a damn about me……..my parents came to school and matters got very serious with the police now also being involved and I still remember my mothers tears as she bathed me that night…………I heard my parents arguing that night, my mother asking my father why did he bring us to the middle of nowhere so that her children would suffer like this, were there no other Muslims or even Asians to run to for assistance and support?
I cried myself to sleep another night……………but this night I vowed never to trouble my parents again and to never be a victim ever again, the next day at school, the first person to shout “Paki” at me, I punched square in the face and practically knocked him out…………..WOW! I could never have imagined the shock and horror on the faces of the entire playground, and had I known then that a simple punch would have fixed so many problems, maybe I would have done so at 5, but I was an innocent child not prepared for the harshness of the world but I was learning.
The bullying continued and I put my head down and either ignored it or on really bad days would curl up in a ball and take the hate and beatings and quietly take myself home and say not a word to anyone, I kept all that pain and hurt inside of me so that my mother would not weep for me or feel pain. She continued to share great stories of Gandhi, and other people who defeated hate with love and I was also attending a mosque that my father helped to build as more Muslims were now moving into our area and the next city near to us, this was my introduction to islam :)
I now decided to study very hard for one simple reason, the more the other kids said “Go home”, “You are inferior to us”, “Monkey boy” etc. etc., the more I felt inspired to beat them all mentally, physically and every way possible and my mother also encouraged me saying “If they say you are less than them, show them you are better”. I took up jogging at nights, starting boxing and also studied into the early hours all to achieve my goal of greatness, to show them who was indeed inferior and weaker, come sports day I won every event apart from the sack race, in tests I scored the highest results and surpassed all, but this just grew the resentment towards me from the other kids.
It was at age 11, I remember hearing about the civil rights movement in america, the struggle for equality and people like Mohammed Ali and black panthers.
I guess you could say I was being radicalised and polarised into them and us mentality, for it was me against this evil world that hated my very being!
I started high school and sadly the beatings got worse as more kids would attack me in groups and even with boxing skills and all my bravery I could not defeat 10, 20 kids on my own. On one such occasion I was kicked in the face and head so much and so hard, they broke my front teeth, my nose, I had two swollen black eyes and many broken bones in my body………..the police were called and the kids were arrested………..I guess enough was enough for everyone now.
My parents decided to move me to another school and before the move, my father also decided we would all go to Hajj. I left that school with so much anger and hate that I never would have thought I could be friends with a white person ever again……but Allah taught me a beautiful lesson and one that shaped my life to this day………..
It was on Hajj that I saw the beauty of all of Allah’s creation, black, white, and every shade of brown, all dressed in the white robes, no distinction between rich or poor, east or west, and I was in awe at this magnificent sight, I was in love with Islam, for me it was like seeing the whole world united in one place, having one direction, one love :)
I was still angry, I was young after all and one day a white Texan (I knew this from his accent, having watched Dallas) sat next to me just before prayer and his foot touched mine and I pulled away as if the devil had touched me and he noticed and said “I am sorry my little brother” and smiled at me. I did not care much for the apology and just glared at him………then he softly said to me “What is wrong little guy, why are you so angry in the holiest of places”. My father heard this and looked at me and said, “What is wrong”, I explained what had happened and my father said “So what, it was a simple touch”. I just burst into tears on the spot and my father hugged me and said let us pray first and then let us talk.
After prayers myself, my father and this Texan all went and sat down and I explained how I felt and the anger inside. After a very long discussion the Texan Muslim hugged me so tight like my mother had always done when I was younger and wept, he wept and said please do not fill your heart with the same hate that these people had been trained by their parents to do to you. My father also explained to me that there is no place for racism in Islam, we are one Ummah and are all Allah’s creation, even the non believers………Hajj changed my life, in everyway that a person can change.
I returned home and started my new school, life was better and I learned to make new friends and fought the ones who would try to bully me, and after leaving school, I decided to devote my life to fighting injustice, no matter where it was, to fight fascists, to spread love, kindness and knowledge for these were the tools that saved me, and saved me from turning into an angry vile person only full of hate and to get even………..life is not about tit-for-tat abuse or pain, and we as Muslims have a duty especially in these times to show the world why Islam means peace.
I hope my tale will help other young Muslims see that there are always others who have it worse, I did not have the large communities to rely on like Birmingham or Manchester. I grew up fighting alone and it taught me that the tongue and mind are greater than the fist, so please young Muslims do not judge me nor take my words of criticism as a personal attack on you, I love you all too much and its cos of my love I want you to be better Muslims and better humans too.
I grew up to treat all people as equals and to show love and respect untill they showed me proof that they did not deserve it and even then, I try not to let anger rule my actions…….anger is ego and it means we no longer act for the sake of Islam but seek revenge for ourselves…..so for me it is also a form of self pity and I do not do self pity!
Our fight against injustice and fascists can only be won with our minds. If the system has failed you, then drop your sympathy and join the system. We can all only change things from within. Angry at the police? Become a cop. Feel like politicians do not care about Muslims? Become a politician. We are part of this society and we can only bring about positive change from within the system, not sitting outside of it……..follow not the EDL in your actions and words………..please…..follow our beautiful prophet Muhammed(pbuh), the greatest and wisest man ever to live……the man who saved me from suicide, from giving up and to keep believing in humanity, as a child to become the man I am today……….Islam is more than just a way to paradise……….Islam is the way out of your life too, please embrace Islam and act like a Muslim.
I posted this to share with others, do not compete with others to say look at the misery in my life etc., society has left me out or I do not fit in………don’t you dare wait for your invite to be part of society……you grab it and make yourself a part of it, and do not ever think your life is the worst, I have learned that even mine is better than many others in this world, I thank Allah everyday for the lessons I was given as a child, the things that made me the man I am today………..I feel blessed! And so should you all too :)”– Sid Akbar
The first half of the article made me cry. In the second half, I was still crying, but smiling! Sometimes, Allah (swt) sends amazing reminders about the beauty of this deen through His creation..this post being one such reminder…lets practice what we preach inshaAllah!! ♥
[Photo credit: Google]