Published On:02 June 2013
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

The exercise of restraint by a devotee

By Tariq A. Al-Maeena

Islam is not simply about being born into the religion, saying one’s prayers five times a day, performing the month of fasting once a year, and ignoring everything else. It is unfortunate that some Saudis treat it exactly like that.

The following encounter took place in a restaurant in Riyadh, and was witnessed by an American lady who had converted to Islam because of its values and principles. She sacrificed many of the privileges of the West in her journey to a new spiritual horizon and her faith has often been tested by the ignorant among us.

She writes: “Many of us have learned that living in a non-native country can bring a lot of surprises as well as challenges. Saudi Arabia is no different. But as a foreigner who has lived in Riyadh for 16 wonderful years, I am beginning to wonder what the future of this fast changing, dynamic country will be. There seems to be an ever increasing number of stories where people are treated with disrespect, rudeness and sometimes violence. While many Saudis also face harassment from these younger generations, foreigners seem to carry the brunt of this behavior.”

“We recently went to one of our favorite restaurants on a whim to enjoy their delicious caramel cinnamon apple pie. We love this restaurant not only for their delicious food, but also for the excellent service, which is always provided with a smile. We may go only every few weeks because of economic or transportation limitations, yet the staff treat us like old friends. My children know many of the waiters and managers by name so you can imagine the level of professionalism the staff exemplifies!

“Tonight, as we were enjoying a wonderful, laughter-filled evening in the relaxed environment, when suddenly dishes broke and items clattered to the floor. Initially we thought a child had spilled a plate, but as shouting erupted we realized that it was not a child, but rather an adult who was disgruntled over a late order. The shouting and verbal abuse was only surpassed when the man threw the whole tray of food onto the server, crashing plates and food all over the floor.

“Anxiety rose among the other patrons; many stood up to see what the huge commotion was about. My son expressed disgust and anger when he heard the man shout, "I am Saudi and you treat ME this way?" Immediately I thought about Prophet Muhammad's last sermon in which he taught us that, "All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety (taqwa) and good action."

“It saddened me greatly to witness this poor behavior from a fellow Muslim and I was embarrassed on his behalf. Little did he realize that many of the waiters in this restaurant had recently converted to Islam and may in fact be accepted according to their faith and deeds to be better than this rude man, although he surely must have felt that he alone was granted paradise just because he was a Saudi.

“Although I was taking a risk, the urge to stand up for what was right compelled me to risk confrontation with such an obnoxious and obviously violent character. I quietly approached him and asked him if this is how the Prophet (pbuh) would have handled the situation; “where was the patience?” He was startled by my questions and after muttering something to the manager, he turned around, not being able to reply, and quickly left the establishment. I am sure that the rest of the waiters were insulted as well and surely, this was the opposite example of how educated and moral people should behave.

“So while my children and I try to process the confrontation that took place tonight, I can only hope that more of us as conscientious residents set good examples and refuse to engage when provoked. I greatly admire the restaurant manager and waiters; for as they were being insulted, abused and slapped, they upheld the highest of dignity and returned the blows with smiles. I still have hope that this wonderful country will return to its Islamic roots and uphold the rules of hospitality and tradition, which in the past had set it apart from the rest of the world. I still have hope that more of us will be models of what Islam teaches, and remember that our actions speak louder than words ever will. Sincerely, K.J.”

K.J. did indeed take a brave step in approaching this individual and is perhaps more forgiving than some of us who have no tolerance for loud-mouthed rude individuals who think that they are superior on the basis of their nationality or religion. Such people think that Islam is the proprietorship of Saudis alone. Those assumptions might be even forgiven if they adopt the true sprit of Islam in their every day actions.

But these so-called Muslims are no better than street thugs or bullies and are usually armed with similar principles.

[The writer can be contacted at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @Talmaeena]

(Courtesy: Saudi Gazette)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on June 02, 2013. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on June 02, 2013. Filed under , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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