I am sitting in a restaurant ordering some lunch, overhearing peoples plans for Memorial Day and watching images on CNN of military graveyards and flag-draped coffins, widows receiving flags, while my fellow diners are discussing how they are going to enjoy Memorial Day. My waitress said, “Well, for most people it’s just a day for barbecuing and drinking”. Although, commented that she is not much of a drinker, that is what the day has become.
The day is really about remembering those who died at war. Muslims are no different when it come to the great battles of Islamic history. I think Muslims talk too much about the battlefield victories of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his companions. In my reading of the life The Prophet, peace be upon him, I see a man who spent most of his life and most of his time avoiding conflict and who fought only when necessary and only as much as required to establish peace.
As humans, not just Muslims, we have a culture that seems to glorify war and fighting. The movies, toys, those violent video games…video games that are now played in the cockpit of planes, or on the joysticks of drones or on the monitors in armored vehicles with the music blasting only to find not the remains of the enemy but the arms of children……game over.
I don’t generally think of myself as a pacifist. I do think there comes a time when enough-is-enough. One of my teachers, Muhammad Al-Hanooti, said that the word of God in the Qur’an informs us that Allah is the owner of the earth and that Allah establishes whom ever Allah chooses in administration over it. Therefore, let us stop fighting over land. Malcolm X said, “War is bloody…..” the nature of war….., “The landless against the landlord”. Those who call us to war and those who engage in it do so at a great risk to their heart, their souls and their minds.
I am taking a moment to grieve for all those who have lost their lives to war. We as a species must find another way resolve our differences and to realize that there are things not worth dying for and others that are. May Allah grant us the wisdom to know the difference and then to make one.