Through My Lens: Observations from a Midwestern Muslimah
By Nadirah Angail
Your phone rings. Thereâ€™s some eerie heavy breathing on the other end.
â€œHello?â€ you say.
â€œIâ€™ll be robbing your house tonight around 8pm. Iâ€™ll come through the north window, which you never lock, and steal everything that isnâ€™t nailed down.â€ CLICK.
Silence. Before you get a chance to ask any questions, the mystery robber is gone. What do you do? No, I mean after you pinch yourself to see if youâ€™re dreaming. What would you do?
If youâ€™re anything like me, youâ€™d probably run to the north window and lock it. Youâ€™d also probably call the police and report a threatening call. Youâ€™d get your family together and check all the windows and doors. Youâ€™d turn on your alarm, if you have one. Youâ€™d get your gun, if you have one. Youâ€™d let your dog out, if you have one. You might even go stay with a relative for the night if youâ€™re scared enough. There are a lot of things you might do, but thereâ€™s one thing you wouldnâ€™t do: ignore it.
Security is one of the most important things to us all. Not much else matters if you donâ€™t feel safe, if youâ€™re worried that your life could be ruined at any moment. Itâ€™s even more of an issue if you have a family. There isnâ€™t a person reading this who wouldnâ€™t go to extreme lengths to protect the people they love. And shouldnâ€™t it be this way? Shouldnâ€™t we go into vigilante mode when it comes to the safety of our loved ones and things? When it comes to the safety of our ourselves?
Of course we should, but sometimes we donâ€™t. Even when we know beforehand and have been warned, sometimes, we donâ€™t take it seriously. The Rejected One wonâ€™t be calling any of our phones, but he did let us know:
He [Iblis] said: â€œBecause thou hast thrown me out of the way, lo! I will lie in wait for them on thy straight way: â€œThen will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: Nor wilt thou find, in most of them, gratitude (for thy mercies)â€ (7:16-17).
He made it crystal clear, just like the mystery robber, what he would be doing and how he would be doing it. Somehow, though, weâ€™re not as alarmed. Perhaps his lack of a physical presence allows us to forget about or underestimate him. Perhaps his inaudible voice isnâ€™t alarming enough to push us to guard our souls better. We get persuaded by ridiculous depictions of a short little red guy with horns and a pitch fork. â€œThis is what the devil looks like,â€ they say. We know this isnâ€™t true, but subconsciously, we keep that image in our minds. Subconsciously, we identify him this way. We should identify him in the images of magazines, TVs and the silver screen. We should identify him in the words of songs, celebrities, and friends (yes, friends) and in the dark thoughts we have and the evil deeds we do. We might not know the devilâ€™s physical description, but can see his work in any and everything that distracts us from the life Allah wants us to live. Having your house robbed would be pretty bad, but things can be replaced, most often with newer, better things. But, we only get one soul. We only get one life. Heed his warning. Call on your inner vigilante, and protect the one thing that is truly yours.
Nadirah Angail is a Kansas City-based blogger/author with an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has recently published her first book, entitled â€œOn All the Things That Make Me Beautiful: Short Inspirational Essays on Life, Love & Self.â€ Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her website www.nadirahangail.com.