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The Reality of the Muslim Identity

            Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney These are just some of the names of our soccer heroes. That's not to mention the many singers, musicians and actors, whom we have lifted to stardom. These are names which many of us would be able to rattle off easily, which we are familiar with. These are the heroes who we have chosen to love and follow. These are our role models, our idols, our stars. But what have we done to the true stars? Those people, regarding whom our Noble Master, Nabi (SAW), said, كانجوم أصحابي, my Companions are shining stars. How many of us know the names and, more importantly, the stories, of Sayyidina Ja'far ibn Abi Talib, Mus'ab bin 'Umair, Usamah bin Zaid, and Julaybib (RA)? I ask you, my fellow colleagues, do we know the true stars, the Sahaba (RA), as well as we know the pop-stars of today?.
             Assalamu'alaykum Wa Rahmatullah.
             Nabi (SAW) is reported to have said, 'This religion, Islam, began strange. One day, it will return to being strange. لالغرباء فتوبا So glad-tidings, to the Strangers.' Living in the fifteenth century of Islam, we need to look at this particular Hadith, and do an urgent re-evaluation of ourselves. Are we those who have received the glad-tidings of Nabi (SAW)? Are we the Strangers? Are we the Flag Bearers of Islam? Or are we merely Muslim by name? Are we merely 'birthright' Muslims? Have we forgotten our identity as Muslims?.
             Imagine an era, of darkness and oppression. Of widespread evil and cruelty. An era, wherein drinking, gambling and adultery were the order of the day. When even the most sacred spot on this Earth, the Ka'bah, was surrounded by idols and blanketed in Shirk. Now imagine, just for a second, the amount of courage it would have taken, for a man to stand up and proclaim, 'There is no Deity but Allah, and Muhammad is his Messenger'. Imagine the courage it would have taken, for a man to shun the evil of society, and in turned, be shunned by society.

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