Austrolabe: Are We Victims of Our Own Abstinence?
November 8, 2006 § 7 Comments
Amir of Austrolabe has posted his comments on an ABC interview with Steven Crittenden and Tanveer Ahmed entitled, “Are We Victims of Our Own Abstinence“, where Crittenden suggests,
“I’d want to argue that Islam is what makes people poor, and it doesn’t have any solution either, to the problem of poverty, but even in the oil-rich societies of the Middle East, the real economic activity is peripheral, so that I guess all the Muslims who’ve come to live in the West have done so in a sense, because Islamic societies don’t work, and they’re really chasing Western success.”
while Ahmad replies,
“I’ve got my own theories on this, and I think it’s partly related they have more trouble integrating, they don’t drink, they won’t maybe participate in active social life with the wider society, and this makes it hard for you if you’re in business, doing deals, if you’re in a whole range of things.”
Ahmad actually makes a great point, let me explain why before I arouse disappointment in my Muslim readers. You see I once worked for a “fortune 100” media company which shall remain nameless. I worked in a very obscure division of this mega-media house which was a bottom feeding profit center for the firm. Essentially, the division bartered, sold and placed print ads, cable and network television slots and other media related products for the acquisition of value in the form of partly cash and other under-performing staples.
During the summer of 2001 (just prior to 9/11) there was a downward trend in consumer spending, the outlook was seemingly a bearish fall from grace for the U.S. economy. And the company I worked for was really feeling the pains of poor sales and breeched contracts. So as a result the CEO of the company, whom I have since abandoned a lawsuit against, came up with a brilliant plan to bring in a consultant to clean up the loose ends of the company. The consultant a shrewd businessman from London flew in and assumed a the position of President.
It wasn’t long until layoffs occurred and the company began to achieve some of its goals. Then it happened, I scored big time! The consultant and new President who also shall remain nameless, and I closed a very large deal with a major cosmetic retailer. After flying from San Francisco with a multi-million dollar contract it was time to celebrate so we all went out to a local restaurant. After dinner the President asked everyone to gather for a toast and that is when the waiters started bringing out loads of champagne and liquor for our table. Discretely, I prepared to leave, but first I would toast with everyone even though I was not happy about being in the company of my colleagues while they were cheering and toasting and consuming large quantities of something that I consider haram, prohibited.
The President knowing that I was a Muslim pressed me to drink and I declined, he then gave a scowl and made a slick comment about my manhood in a very inauspicious and condescending British vernacular. I ignored him and toasted everyone with a cranberry juice then I said my goodbyes.
Consequently, when I arrived for work the next Monday I was surprised (and then not surprised) to see to security guards who were commissioned to escort me to the Vice President of Operation’s office immediately. All records of the transactions I had worked on were confiscated. The copies of contracts I negotiated were removed and all that was left were a few personal belongings. After I had my one-on-one with the VP of Ops he told me that he didn’t have any part of this and that he was really sorry. I was escorted out to the street of midtown Manhattan to make the lonely ride to the Bronx to tell my pregnant wife that I had just lost my job.
In conclusion, this is the reason I would agree with Ahmad… because it is true, integrating is troubling, but it is not troubling for the Muslim rather more troubling for the insecurities of hedonistic non-Muslims who know deep down that their hedonistic behaviors are not praiseworthy. These insecurities are often exposed when they come face-to-face with someone who obstains from these behaviors and as a natural response their nafs (ego) take offense. But it is a natural response to get upset when ones unrighteousness or immorality is exposed, its embarrasing. Therefore, naive as it may seem I would much rather a struggle for the sake of Allah subhana wa ta ‘ala than to compromise that which I know brings rewards in Heaven. This is a true story and a major turning point in the life and livelihood of my Muslim family.
Update: The original post has been removed from the Austrolabe site due to extreme and dishonorable comments which included profanity and uneccessary aggression.