In the name of Allah (God), the compassionate and the merciful.
Dear editor, I'm writing you this letter to explain many things about being a Muslim.
I was as shocked as anyone here in U.S. about what happened this week in Boston. I couldn't believe the news that again some Muslims acted selfishly and did such a crime. I felt sick and sad and upset that those two people with their twisted minds and radical ideas decided to take someone's life in the name of Islam.
"If anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind." - Quran 5:32
It hurt to see a little kid, just watching the marathon with his mom and sister, get killed. It hurt to see a grown man suddenly lose his legs, to see fear in every human soul trying to run away and stay alive, and everyone having the same thought: Muslim terrorists again. For me, being a Muslim, I said, "This is wrong." It's time for me to take a stand and come to you and try to clear Islam from all these accusations.
One day my boss asked me, if I did jihad, will I get the seven virgins. I said, "It depends what jihad you are talking about." So let me tell you what jihad is really about: The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) said, "The greatest jihad is jihad of Al nafs (soul)," meaning to fight the temptations and desires within and try to focus on being a good person in front of your God and your people. The Prophet also said, "One of the greatest jihads is taking care of your parents." He NEVER said go kill little babies with their moms, or to bomb people in the street. One of the prophet's commandments is, "Fight who is fighting you, fight who is attempting to harm you or your family, do not kill old men, do not kill kids, do not cut a tree, do not kill someone worshipping."
Islam teaches us how to be nice to others and how to be respectful to other religions. Sometimes it is good to disagree with each other because it gives us opportunities to know more about each other, but again, in a PEACEFUL way. You have your religion, and I have mine. It is your choice to be bad or good. The only thing I will do is teach you and invite you to Islam, but it is your choice to be Muslim or not.
Being a Muslim is about how grateful you are and appreciating the life, the wealth, the health, the family that Allah (God) gives you. Being a Muslim is about following Allah's (God's) rules and surrendering yourself to Him and the destiny He made for you. Being a Muslim follows the right path and sets a good example of a human being, kind, sweet, understanding, generous, loving and appreciating. We have five pillars that we live by:
1. Shahada - There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his messenger.
2. Salah - prayer five times a day
3. Zakkat - giving charity
4. Sawn - fasting
5. Hajj - the pilgrimage to Mecca.
These five pillars indicate the Muslim life, and as you see, they are all about worshipping God, believing in Him, praying for Him, giving charity, taking refuge in Him - this is Islam. Our teaching is about life but not this life, but how to prepare yourself for the day you go to meet your God and what deeds you do, and did you play your part of being Muslim?
We believe when you work hard for your end, you deserve heaven, but if you sin and you sin, Allah is merciful and He is the one who will judge you. There is no reason or excuse, even if you are a sinner, to go kill innocents and then say, "I did that for Allah." Allah never asked for that; he made it clear in the Quran you can't kill innocent people.
Being part of this community for seven years, I think I changed a lot of thoughts about Muslims and Islam, and it is my duty to tell the truth and do the right thing. If I saw an injustice happen to another person, even a non-Muslim, I will take a stand against that. This is my second home, and I will do my best to be a good person and keep showing people how wonderful Islam is. Even when some don't agree with me, I will keep teaching, giving my time to anybody who wants to know what it is like being a Muslim.
Hicham Hamadi lives in Vermontville, married to Carla Hamadi.