By Paul Salahuddin Armstrong

Many Muslims are suffering in our time. We are living in very testing times, both because of the geopolitical situation and the state of many Muslim communities around the world.

Ignorance prevails, in spite of more access to knowledge and wisdom than ever before in recorded history, and not infrequently that ignorance comes dressed up as “Islam”.

We live in times where few have pondered on Islam deeply, seeking to live by its true spirit and essential teachings as they apply to modern times and circumstances. While many, including many imams and mullahs portray Islam in ways that are deeply out of touch with the times and challenges people face in their day to day lives.

Patriarchy predominates in many Muslim communities, though it’s clear the Prophet sought to liberate and empower women. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him’s, first wife was a business woman, while another was one of the first scholars of Islam.

When Muslims feel oppressed by their own communities, while simultaneously facing anti-Muslim hatred, it’s not surprising many are saying enough is enough, distancing themselves from Islam.

I know ex-Muslims who remain theists, with the same belief in Allah as a Muslim, but they no longer believe in the religion.

Others were raised by their parents as Muslims, but never really believed in Islam. Belief comes from the heart, and no matter how much sense Islam makes to you or me, that doesn’t mean everyone will see or understand things the way we do…

We cannot make our children Muslims by telling them we are a Muslim family, visiting the mosque, reading Quran, sending them to madrassahs etc. Ultimately, there will come a time when they will decide for themselves what they believe. No matter how well-meaning, the more parents push a religion on their children, the more likely their children will push back and perhaps one day reject the religion their parents hold so sacred.

We need to understand Muslims are only Human, and there’s only so much anyone can take.

So if you know or encounter someone who leaves Islam, remember our way is a path of Rahmah (Compassion), that’s why we say Bismillah Al Rahman Al Raheem (In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Kind) all the time to remind us of Allah’s chief attributes of compassion, kindness and mercy. Trust Allah and just be a friend to them. Do not judge. At least through you, they might then perhaps see a true expression of Islam.

Everyone is still our brother and sister regardless of their beliefs, if not in faith, then in humanity.

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