I don’t usually get very ‘religious’ on my blog, ironically it seems to be ‘bad form’, but I think I want to talk about what faith is actually good for.

Yesterday was July 7th and I happened across a very infamous video of Philando Castile’s girlfriend documenting his shooting and eventual death as her four year old daughter sat in the back seat. They were pulled over for a tail light.

Then later, during a protest in Dallas, some army vet or vets, it’s not absolutely clear yet, decided to snipe white policeman who were at the protest, and as a result five police officers were killed and about eight were wounded.

After seeing the video of Castile’s girlfriend documenting the horror she was going through, it’s hard to describe the emotions that went through me. Anger, disbelief, sadness, horror and a bunch of other emotions and then eventually guilt. Because I doubt I’d ever be treated that way in the same circumstances and it breaks my heart that people live their lives in fear of police.

And then when I saw police men, who’d had nothing directly to do with the killings of black men, gunned down I tried to summon as much sympathy as I could but it wasn’t as easy because I hadn’t seen a video of them being shot and I didn’t know anything about them like I knew about the black victim, and I was still angry at Castile’s death.

Intellectually I knew the murder of the policemen was just as wrong, but somehow I wasn’t feeling it.

And I found myself stepping back and knowing that my thinking was wrong and flawed. It’s totally wrong to be less outraged at the police killing. Both deserve equal condemnation so I did what I often do, I decided to ignore my inclinations and recognize that yes, both were victims and both must be condemned.

That’s what religion can do for you. It can bi pass our prejudices and emotions, and anchor itself in what we know to be right and wrong irregardless of the circumstances, how much we know about the victims and our emotional state at the time.

And I remembered my own dealings with black people, which at times has been less than perfect. It’s easy to be against prejudice and racism until you meet someone from a race that really ticks you off and being human and the way we’re wired, we look for commonalities and that’s how stereotypes and prejudice are born. And these are things we must consciously resist! And having faith helps with that.

I remember encountering this black kid, probably about fourteen, who’d gone into the handicapped washroom in the library ahead of me and pissed all over the toilet seat, and strolled back outside, blase, like it was no big deal. I wanted to call him back and tell him to wipe up! But I got scared. You just never know how a young kid like that will react.

And I remember getting so angry at his behaviour, who maybe had been taught better but on his own decided to be a jerk and how there was nothing I could do about it but wipe up the seat so that I and the people after me, could make use of the washroom, and even though I knew it was a little sadaqa (an act of charity) it was still completely disgusting!!! And it got me mad. And I thought no wonder people react to black people sometimes, but then I checked myself again, and tried to remember this was just this one stupid kid! And he could have been any ethnicity. And it was wrong to let my anger at his actions color my view of all black people (pardon the pun).

And I remember a while ago, when I saw some Canadian police dealing with a noise violation, two o’clock in the morning and some people were partying. The police pulled up and ever so quietly, calmly and most of all politely, they asked them to quiet down.

No guns.

No altercations.

And I remember being surprised at how polite the officers had been.

And then I thought of my own experiences dealing with young people in schools. It’s such a cliche but you really do catch ‘more flies with honey than with vinegar’.

My approach in schools, especially schools where there are a lot of jaded and ‘violent’  and yes a lot of black teens is to be polite and respectful. You’d be surprised at how well the kids will respond. I’ve done presentations in schools with terrible reputations! And yet the kids were nothing shy of wonderful with me!

Anyway, when I see such horrible things happening in the world, and it just feels like it’s getting worse and worse, that’s when I fall back on my faith the most.

In this day and age when it’s not ‘fashionable’ to believe in God, I’m going to come out and say what my belief in God really does for me.

Ultimately it gives me hope, it calms me and it gives me peace.

I do believe that justice will not and cannot be served in this life. People will get away with things. But I also believe that there will be a hereafter and a judgment day where everyone that may have gotten away with anything will face the Creator and have to answer for it. Every single thing!

And I will have to answer too. For every single thing I do, whether public or private, and because God can read the intentions of every person He created, there will be no injustice that day.

And that is very comforting.

It is also pretty scary! I fear the day I will be laid bare in front of all humanity, and every sin and every foible will be exposed for people to gawk at. And that means I try to minimize my bad deeds and sins. I try not to do them. I restrain myself.

And when I get angry, really really angry at the injustice in the world, unlike some people, I do not lash out.

Instead I pray.

And prayer is good for the soul.

It’s basically a turning over of every injustice and every frustration that I fear to God’s hands. Let Him deal with it, because I can’t.

And then, after a while, I can breathe again, and I can get back to the task of being the change I’d like to see in the world. Trying to be patient and trying to do a bit of good.

That’s all that’s within my purview. I know my limitations and although sometimes I chafe at them, on the whole I accept them and try to stay humble.

So I don’t feel the need to take revenge. I don’t feel the need to lash out.

But I understand that some people do.

Nietzsche said, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. But I have found that isn’t always true.

Sometimes people face things that are so difficult, so trying, it tips them over the edge. They might physically survive, but mentally perhaps they were fragile, or maybe they didn’t have the moral conditioning that many religions and belief in God gives you, so that they cross the edge and they do things that are wrong.


That they wouldn’t resort to, if they hadn’t been pushed beyond all reasonable limits.

In that case, even though what they experienced didn’t ‘kill them’, it seems it killed something within them, maybe they’re humanity, and they do the unthinkable.

Maybe if people have strong religious beliefs they basically have an inviolable moral code that some actions are just not even possibilities.

Like murder, like assassination.

For example, when I was a teenager and I was being persecuted by my classmates, I thought of death and suicide, but it wasn’t an option because of my belief. I had no idea my life would change. I just knew I would never kill myself because again, I feared God and the punishment in Islam for suicide is not only hellfire, but basically repeating the way you killed yourself over and over again till Judgment day.

Yikes! No thanks!

There are plenty of people who refer to belief in very derogatory terms. But for me, it’s what has kept me going. It’s what has kept me sane.

And insha Allah, it will keep me good, on the side of right, in this life and the hereafter.

But right now, it’s time to pray.