A few days ago, I was reading the second chapter of the Quran–Surat Albaqarah–a chapter that I have been intensively studying and one that I have read many times. In verse 18 of this chapter, God says:
صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لَا يَرْجِعُونَ
Deaf, dumb and blind – so they will not return [to the right path].
For some reason, reading this verse a few days ago, for the umpteenth time, something finally clicked. In his interpretation of this verse, Ibn Kathir discusses that God is describing the hypocrites who chose deviation over guidance. He explains that the hypocrites could not hear or speak, and that even if there was light, they still could still not see.
When reading this, I felt a direct correlation with this verse and social injustice. I posted the image below on my personal instagram account
Before posting, I began to write a long caption about social injustices, and how people nowadays are deaf, dumb, and blind to injustices occurring worldwide. I began to get frustrated, and so I stopped. I decided that instagram was not the medium meant for this type of post–for these types of feelings. So I simply captioned it with a citation and three monkey emojis that I think fit well with the way I was feeling about these injustices. And that was the end of it.
But it’s never the end. Everytime I hear of another injustice, I get all worked up again. A few days ago I heard of the recent happenings at University of Missouri. One of the students said that when she got on the shuttle buses at the school, the whites would be at the front of the bus, and the blacks would have no where to sit except the back. Similarly, members of Students for Justice in Palestine at UIC received death threats after their recent “die in” demonstration in the quad.
As we are in the midst of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and the pique of Islamophobia, I am finding that racism and ways to counter racism are more prominent than I ever remember in my lifetime (or maybe I am more aware of it now than in the past), and it makes me question just how much we have progressed as a nation since the civil rights movement. Our forefathers fought for our freedom, yet here we are again with the same problems Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X were faced with decades ago. Here we are with people verbally and physically abusing Muslims like they did centuries ago to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Here we are with history repeating itself. Here we are with injustices happening every single day and people turning a blind eye to them. It saddens me that we live in a world in need of peace, yet world peace seems so far away because the number of people working towards it are few and far between. So many are focusing their energy on less pressing issues like red coffee cups at Starbucks, or determining whether the dress was blue or white.
Despite one’s religion or lack thereof, it’s a moral obligation for each and every one of us to be fair and just in the way we deal with others. Being just also means dispelling injustices, no matter how small they may be. This is our role as humanity, because at the end of the day we are all people and we are working towards the same things: to be loved and accepted.