Mehol K. Sadain
“Phobia” is defined as an extreme or irrational fear of, or aversion to, something, even if it is unlikely to cause harm. Medically, it is considered a type of anxiety disorder. According to the internet link Healthline, a phobic person experiences intense fear of a certain object or situation. The fear is different from regular fears because it causes significant distress that can interfere with one’s life.
This mental and psychological phenomenon has given rise to as many references as there are things to be afraid of. Thus, we have “claustrophobia” or fear of confined or constricted places; “agoraphobia” or fear of huge open spaces and crowds; “acrophobia” or fear of heights; “hydrophobia” or fear of water; “aerophobia” or fear of flying; “arachnophobia” or fear of spiders, and many more.
Recently, the West coined a word that signifies aversion to a religion: “Islamophobia”. As far as I know, this aversion has not yet been categorized as a mental illness that needs treatment, but it has given an identity to a long-standing enmity between the West and Islam. This enmity dates back to the Muslim conquest of the Byzantine Empire and the ensuing crusades, that have reincarnated into the protracted violence in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, metamorphosing in contemporary times into a militant extremism that has recently been called “Islamophobia”.
This inordinate “fear of Islam and Muslims” reeks of prejudice, which the questionable activities of some radical quarters calling themselves Muslim have abetted. It is in this light, that I recently posted in social media a call to my Muslim brothers and sisters to take things calmly if the attacks on Islam and Muslims are merely confined to malicious imputations and errant allegations that are not even popularly supported: like the baseless recycled criticisms and imputations against our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
In that post, I wrote that the attacks against our Holy Prophet (SAW) should not agitate us. Instead, we should just focus on becoming good Muslims. Do you think the Prophet can be destroyed by mere insults and humiliations, now that Islam has over 1.7 billion adherents globally, and is considered as the world’s fastest growing religion, when the Prophet’s early detractors did not even succeed in stopping him from preaching when there was only a handful of Muslims in Mecca? Do you think those insults and humiliations can change the minds of the Prophet’s followers and prod them to leave Islam en masse?
These detractors will eventually perish, just like the Quraish of the early days of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) did; but the esteemed personality of the Prophet will remain, and his followers will continue to love and honor him, and ALLAH will still lift the Prophet’s light to light a world darkened by the prejudices and bigotry of misguided people.
We should, therefore, continue to live contented as good Muslims, and just let the ones who hate Islam and the Prophet wallow in the quagmire of their hatred, and probably die from the hate in their hearts. We let them be, as there is much to appreciate around us, and there is much to do with the life ALLAH gave us. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) will always be the Final Prophet, and the Message he was tasked to relay will still be relayed by Muslims like us who remain unperturbed by the useless talks against us.
One of the comments in the post mentioned the physical violence being inflicted on our brother Muslims in other parts of the world, like Myanmar and Palestine. I say that being peaceful does not always mean that we should be silent at all times, especially when Muslims are being oppressed. As ALLAH (SWT) in the Qur’an says: “Wa l-fitnatu akbaru mina l-qatli,” or “Tumult and oppression are worse than killing.” [2:217] This means that there are times when Muslims should fight for their rights when they fear that fitnah is about to engulf their ummah or community.
Islam, after all, is still a moderate religion of submission to the Will of ALLAH. Unlike the “other side” which has converted their extreme reaction against Islam to the level of a deleterious “phobia”, we the Muslim majority, have remain grounded, and must be always alert and watchful over our Islamic communities, guarding them against those who wish to destroy Islam and the Muslim Ummah. (MKS)