Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Nationalistic Muslim Women

One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God isn’t ushered in with visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is among you.”

Islam is both a political ideology and a spirituality. Some of my Muslim women friends are quite politically minded but not much into spirituality.

Fatima is a single woman who received her PhD in a western nation.  She is proud of her parents' homeland, Islam and her hijab. Uppermost in her mind is a strong admiration of the historic golden era(kingdom/empire) of Islam which she desperately works towards bringing back into being by educating westerners about Islam’s past glories and its global excellence today. She defends her belief that Islam promotes women’s rights and equality; even giving lectures or publishing articles on the subject. Injustices or violations of human rights against Muslims are passionately talked about. She experiences hurt and shame with the bad publicity about Muslims or Islam and may deny certain atrocities committed by Muslims. Those are usually justified. There will be conspiracy theories. Often strong anti-colonial views are expressed. I have discovered that a nationalistic or politically wired Muslim woman like Fatima is often educated and vocal about her strong feelings. She frequently blogs or writes books.  She may hold an influential post in an university or institution which promotes Islam. She is a zealous activist. If directed the right way she can be an agent of change. 

Fatima is frustrated and sometimes angry about the role and power western nations wield in the Muslim world. She participates in protests and joins marches to promote the Palestinian cause. The subject of Israel  usually causes tension and may end a friendship.  She desperately wants to see Islam dominate the world. Then all will be peaceful and work properly as it did in Islam’s golden era. The university campus proves to be an ideal platform to promote Islam and its religion, culture, and history. 

When Fatima meets a Christian woman who patiently tries to understand her hurt, shame, confusion, and convictions she begins to melt and feel hope. We may be surprised that she is impressed with Christians who are devoted to their faith and passionate – “real” Christians,  as she refers to them.   Some of Jesus’ closest disciples were  nationalistic and had misconceptions and confusion about what the Kingdom of God should look like. Some were even described as zealots! It is interesting that Jesus intentionally chose some zealots to be His apostolic disciples. Their understanding of a political ideology and a spirituality needed a major transformation. Jesus knew that, of course. God is still looking for nationalistic Muslim women whom He can transform and be useful to Him in the Kingdom of heaven.  It is helpful to talk much about the kingdoms of heaven and earth with nationalistic Muslim women.  

Dear heavenly Father, please give me a clearer understanding of the differences of the Kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.