What Are You?: I AM A MUSLIM
by, Dr. Halim Naeem, Ph.D
So I start off another day taking Sufyan to school and have another interesting conversation:
Soof: Dad what’s the difference between Black Magic and doing simple tricks. Because I have this cool trick to show you but I dont want to do Black Magic.
Me: Black magic (as we believe) involves other dark forces in order to get material gain. It usually involves hurting someone or taking something (that isn’t yours) for your own benefit. Also you rely on a created power other than the Creator’s power.
Soof: oh okay, I see. Can I show you the trick?
Soof: (Takes a dollar right side up, folds it a few times, snaps 3 times, unfolds it and the dollar is ‘magically’ upside down)
Soof: So, was that Black Magic?
Me: No, that was physics (then I showed him what happened).
Soof: Was Ali (Prophet Muhammad’s (S) 1st paternal cousin and 4th successor) a Shiite or Sunni after the Prophet (S) died? Like what would he call himself?
Me: He would not call himself a Sunni or a Shiite. He would call himself the same thing that Muhammad (S) called himself… A Muslim.
Soof: Ok, salaam dad.
Me: Salaam, have a good day at school!
Later in the day, I see a client. He grew up Muslim, but the divisions in the community pushed him away from his spiritual heritage. He could not reconcile ‘people of God’ killing each other and doing countless other atrocities to other humans.
He was searching looking and hungry to revitalize an interest and a spirit into… What is He? :
Client: Dr. Naeem, I hate how the Sunni’s and Shiites kill each other and hate each other all over the world. Honestly, it’s what pushed me away from everything! But something… Something keeps pushing me back to answer, What am I? I cannot explain it.
Me: Sounds like something very special inside of you is trying to reveal itself to you.
Client: Do you think I have something really special inside of me? Like more than the average person??? (his eyes were wide open with almost childlike curiosity waiting to hear the response).
Me: As a matter of fact, I do, and I am not just “saying that.” But if you do not know What You Are, and your Purpose, that special thing is pretty useless.
Client: I know the Sunni and Shiites are divided, and I hate that but I need to know… (he sits up straight, leans in, his eyes looking at mine with a laser focus…then the question comes): What Are You???
( I knew this was a pivotal, life changing moment for him. He thinks highly of his therapist so I KNEW the next thing that came out my mouth would have a significant impact on his heart. It’s moments like these, why I got into Psychology.)
So things were floating through my head, do I say this or that? What do I say? Then an internal question came to my heart: If you had everything EVERYTHING taken away from you, your Family, property, Doctorate, accomplishments, your heritage, your body, knowledge, experiences, your mind and even your soul… Then… What Are You?)
Me: (I leaned forward in my chair, and looked through his eyes and spoke from my heart into his heart and I told him): I Am… A Muslim.
Client: (peace came over his eyes and a calm smile came to his face, and he said): “I like how you said that”
Me: It’s the truth. That’s what I am.
You see, hatred and spiritual division are like magic. Some people get tricked with the manipulation of information and facts like the dollar bill trick soof did for me and then, there is the Black Magic spell of hate that we put over people’s minds and souls. No matter how many facts of truth are presented to us, we still deny, because some of us are under the spell and our hearts give hate so much power and we lean on it for “strength.” Show me who benefits most from the spell and I will show you the Magician.
Nonetheless we may get a moment of clarity and an opportunity to… Break the spell.
I pray that one day my son and this young man (my client) are presented with the opportunity to change people’s lives by simply answering the question: What Are You? And they give the answer that the Spell of hatered has no power over and they say the same thing the Prophet (S) taught His cousin Ali (R) to say when questioned… What Are You? And that is:
I Am A Muslim.