Nostalgic Beauty

“Nostalgia is powerful. Instil good memories in your children of their religion, and they will forever look back at it and their faith with fondness. Just look at the Star Wars effect!”

“People who have never seen beauty can’t give it”

[Paraphrased, Sh. Idriss Watts​]

An awesome talk by Sh. Idriss yesterday, providing much food for thought. Two things in particular I’d never thought of before:

1) I’ve thought of it that way before. The experience we give our children will be the one they carry for the rest of their lives. Being creative and offering them memories and enjoyable moments attached to their faith is what they will forever look back on when things get dark.

2) When we witness a world so dark and things so bad, we forget that people need to be shown beauty before they can give it. Those with hate, phobia and bitterness can only be remedied by waging beauty against it.

It’s sad to see so many Muslims – perhaps justifiably – developing a tough crust around them in the midst of all the waves we face. The vitriol so many post on their facebook speaks of a people exhausted of the onslaught, but we have to rise above this. We have to realise that harshness will never solve the problem, as Allah narrates to the beloved Messenger ﷺ in the Qur’an:

وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ
“if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you” (3:159)

I wonder, if we all started giving food to our neighbours, sharing a smile to those around us and gifting presents to strangers, would they still feel the same way?

These things take time. The Prophet’s ﷺ call was for 23 year to demonstrate that, but they are fundamental to the solution. Without it, our engagement will continue to be seen with suspicion (entryism!), our practices strange and our religion with disdain.


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