Thursday, September 20, 2012
THE EPIDEMIC OF ALCOHOL AND THE MUSLIMS WHO HELP TO SPREAD IT
It was a normal day at my new found job of delivering cookies and acquiring new stores for the sale of Mrs. Ahmed's homemade handmade Halal cookies. I remember that the day had been a beautiful one! It was mid-afternoon, and the world was rolling on as it usually did in Memphis, TN. The difference today was that it was in the mid-50's, with a nice cool breeze, and I was working! For every $100 of cookies I sold, I got $20 in my pocket. A thousand packs times $.60 equals $600.00, and I was to make around $120.00 for my 4 hours of work......
I was a new convert to Islam, well, a few years into my new and amazing life of living and learning Al-Islam. I had a zest and zeal that is often found in people, when they find something that changes their life for the better and brings them a soft warm fuzzy feeling in their heart! The sweetness of faith! Yes, I think that is what the preacher called it, as he had explained in a recent lecture I attended. I was tasting the sweetness of Iman (Faith)! But, it wasn't long before I realized something that brought me to my knees! (Others who claimed to believe and act as I did, well... they did not feel the same! In fact, they seemed to take Islam as some sort of a joke. Their is a difference you know, between struggling with your desires and sinfulness and just flat out not giving a hoot.
One event for ever stained my brain. It's there, somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain, where electrical impulses meets synapsis and produces a permanent memory, and I wish that I could plug up to some sort of technologically sound memory removing device and have it swiped away for good! Yes.. I have many of those type of memories that I would systematically seek out and destroy, because some things that we see and experience in life have a way of turning against you. It's kind of like a parasitic invasion, only it eats at your faith and your emotional stability.
On that beautiful breezy day, I walked into a convenient store and waited in line to approach the workers and solicit their business. The Budweiser sign flickered on and off as if it had been dipping into its own stash of booze. The old lady in front of me was nervously looking back at her car to see if the 5 year old boy was behaving, or was she scared the police would drive by and see she was endangering her child? Who knows, but it wasn't her or anyone else that I was paying attention to. I was watching, with great interest I might add, the two men behind the counter, specifically the one arguing with an older African American man at the point of purchase. "You stupid motherf****, what did I tell you last time!!?? He said in an accurate thug like voice. "You want this Sh**, then you need to pay up you old ugly man!". When I heard it, my eyes opened up wide, and I almost dropped my basket of cookies. He caught me off guard and sort of spooked me. I thought to myself, "where are these guys behind the counter from?".
It wasn't long before I had my answer. A few more curse words and having had looked past the sagging pants, the cocked sideways hat, and the gangster attitude, I saw what I was looking for. They were two Yemeni brothers. I saw a Quran nearby, but it was what I heard in the distance that began to make my stomach feel as if it were about to reject my most recent meal. I heard, over all the curse words and the music that was playing from behind the counter, "Fabiyy a-ya-llah... ee-rabee-kum-a too-kathy-ban...." (which of these [from your Lord] will you deny...). My blood began to boil, and I knew I was about to lose everything dear to me. My freedom, new job and several other things were about to be snatched from me in a shorter time than it takes to say " Salaam"! I was going to snatch one of these brothers and beat him to death! (It is a problem I have been dealing with for a while now. I rarely get mad, but when I do, I usually go all the way and for a good reason.)
I ran out the store and threw the cookies in the car, and I grabbed my prayer rug and laid it out on the door step of this store. I prayed to rakaah and left it at that...
I have seen a brother incarcerated for shooting at a man who was stealing his alcohol, and once I saw two brothers flipping coins to see who would be fasting the month of Ramadan. Others have told me that they like an occasional drink after breaking their fast, and another time a brother heard my conversion story and closed his store to run to the Masjid and pray. This was something he had not done in over 10 years, so he told me....
I don't claim to know the reasons behind all of these actions, nor do I judge them. I simply say this: My fellow brothers and sisters in Islam. If you are one of these people, or you are close to them, then Allah will surely ask you about what you did or did not do. We have to find some way somehow to lessen the amount of Muslims that participate in the destruction of humanity here and abroad. The next time a person is killed, raped or beaten, because their mother, father, brother, sister or husband has allowed the sale of alcohol, you will be judged by The Almighty for your part you had to play.... Imagine that your bests friend sales a bottle of alcohol to a man who ends up abusing your daughter or mother! Would you not kill him??!! How is it that we say, "Killing one human being is like killing all of humanity, and to save one human being is as if you saved all of humanity....", and then we go to work and sale the very thing that destroys and kills thousands of human beings daily??? It is hypocrisy!!!
I saw a man once. He bought several bottles of alcohol from a Muslims brother, and on the way out the door he fell down. The brothers were laughing at him so hard! The man gave the keys to his 11 year old daughter, who was crying and screaming, "I can't drive papa! Please don't! I can't drive papa, please!" He smacked her and told her to get in the truck... she drove away, but not before banging into some concrete protective barriers.
I have a dozen or more stories like it, and I'm sure others do as well. It is my opinion that the problem is not from a lack of clarity in our beliefs as Muslims. Well, it is not a high percentage of the problem, but it does account for the many excuses that one hears from those whom we are discussing. I have heard, "It is less than stealing, Yusuf! You have to ask forgiveness from the one who is the victim, and if I sale Khamir (intoxicants), it is between me and Allah only!"
Others say, "If I were to stop selling alcohol akhi,"I would lose my business and have to cease working. It is a Muslims duty to support his family; It is an act of worship Yusuf!" These statements and more like it do show a clear lack of understanding of some ore principals in Islamic Aqeedah us-sahiah ul-Islamiyyah (Sound / Authentic Islamic beliefs) So, How do we handle it, as laymen (non-scholars) in Islam??? A question I now pose to the reader. i.e. You!
Another opinion I purpose is this: The problem lies in gravity of culture influences on the migrant Muslims who arrive here. The cultures often clash with Islam, provide excuses for evil behavior, deemphasize the importence of many elements in islam, cause undue and unfounded hatred, and in many cases can ruin a revert or converts understanding of the religion and cause them to go astray. So, we can see that culture playes a big part in the problems we are discussing here, today, in this much needed note to all of you, especially to myself.....
I hope and I pray that we find a way to tackle this problem, because it is doing damage in multiple areas and in multiple ways. It is an issue that has been delt with by those who know better than me and you. Yet, it is gaining more and more speed as it works its' magic accorss the lands. And, as we know well, the faster something goes, the more damage it usually causes.....
Thank you for allowing me to vent, and I pray that it changes someones life, somewhere, someway, and somehow.... "guide us to the Strait Path, the path of those who have earned Your Mercy, not the path of those who earned anger or those who went astray." Quran: 1:1-7