X-Men, Mutants, Muslims, Surah 9:5 and Islamophobia

As a person who grew up in the USA since I was a year old, I have always been a fan of the X-Men comic series with Wolverine & Nightcrawler being my favorites of course.  However, as I have grown over the years and my childhood fantasies and ideas have become adult ones, I have more than once picked up a parallel between what the Mutants go through in the X-Men series and the American Muslim experience.  Just like the Mutants, we have normal or aka moderate leaders and scholars in the Muslim community that believe in co-existence and peace which remind me of  Cerebro and his school for Mutants, then you have Magneto and his Mutants who remind me of the intolerant and fundamentalist Muslims who out of fear of the same persecution decide to make the wrong choices.  At the same time, you have people who are trying to round up the Mutants and either destroy or cure them.  That again reminds me of the normal American community who have respect for Muslims vs. the right wing who is hateful and Islamophobic.  This parallel needs more reading into, because what the Mutants face in the comic series is what we as Muslims face in real life.  Comics are just like comedians a vehicle to discuss things that are not normally talked about freely due to political correctness and fear of misunderstanding.

Recently I was asked about Surah 9:5 in the Holy Qur'an and if I believe in co-existence in relation to Islam and other faiths.  The answer of course is that yes, I believe in co-existence, respect, understanding, tolerance, acceptance and more.  The Holy Qur'an also teaches the same, however Surah 9:5 refers to a specific circumstance where Muslims were being persecuted by some Pagan, Jewish, and Christian Arabs.  However, what most people fail to realize is that while this verse was revealed, there were also Jewish and Christian Arabs that were supporting the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  So, the  idea of "kill them where ever you find them" is not true of all Muslims, Pagans, Jews and Christians. It is refers to those Pagans, Jews, Christians, and Muslim Hypocrites that are trying to kill the Prophet and the Muslims of his time.  This verse speaks of "self defense" against an aggressor who will stop at nothing to kill and oppress.  What needs to be remembered is that the Meccan majority who were mostly Pagan Arabs had some Jewish and Christian Arab tribes mixed in that each had its own view of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the Muslims.

What is noteworthy is that when the aggressor has stopped, you must stop fighting them and make peace.  The majority of Muslims in history were at one point enemies of Islam, however they converted not due to the sword, but because of the peaceful teachings of Islam.  Take for example my own heritage...my ancestors were either Persian Zoroastrians or Christians from Northern Iran (Persian Hyrcania).  They became Muslim not due to the sword, but by words.  Northern Iranians (Hyrcanians/Taparis) became directly Shia Muslims due to the Prophet Muhammad's progeny migrating to the Caspian Sea area due to their own persecution by Arab Muslim Hypocrites.  Until the Imams came to Northern Iran, the Taparistanis (Hyrcanians) fought off every wave of Arabs that set foot in their region.  During the time of the Omayyad Dynasty, it was actually popular for them not to promote conversion among the nations they conquered.  The Omayyad’s would actually get the protection tax from Non-Muslims (Jizya from Dhimmis).  These taxes are similar to what we as Americans pay our government (armed forces) to protect us against Soviets, Al-Qaeda, etc.  In those times if you were Muslim, you were exempt from paying protection taxes, so people wanted to convert to Islam to bypass paying taxes to the government (armed forces).  You would have had to get an "Arab Sponsor" in order to join Islam under the Omayyad’s.  However, before the Omayyad’s during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and after the Omayyad’s during the Abbasid Dynasty it was promoted to teach and educate people about Islam through missionary work (tabliq).

Something that people may not be aware of is that Muslims consider the Holy Qur'an the "Final Testament" after the Old Testament and New Testament.  Also, we believe that Adam was our first Prophet and after 124,000 prophets Muhammad (pbuh) is the last and "Seal of the Prophets".  Meaning that no other prophet will come until the end of time.  However, this does not mean that there will not be rightly guided or saintly people that will help humanity in the way of God until the coming of the Mahdi & Jesus (Messiahs).  We as Muslims see "People of the Book" (Jews, Christians, and Sabians) as the old versions of ourselves.  We believe that we were at one time Jews then Christians, and now Muslims.  The message given to the previous groups is what Islam teaches...to believe in "There is only one God" (with many names/attributes).  The Islamic science of "tasawwuf" started with Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) which is similar to Christian Gnosticism, Jewish Kabbalah, and Buddhist Zen.  The idea that regardless of what we call God does not change the fact that there is only one God and we are all part of his creation.  When one of us is in pain, then all of us are in pain.  We must for the sake of ourselves let alone Allah (swt) live peacefully in co-existence with other faiths the way God has taught us.  Some fanatics of various religious groups claim that Islam teaches intolerance via Surah 9:5 in the Holy Qur'an, however that is not the case.  Ancient scriptures need to be read in context with the proper translations and interpretations by educated scholars who do not have evil intents.  I have read both Muslims and Non-Muslims who are fanatical write wrong interpretations of Islamic teachings and promoting it in their groups.

Ironically, I have recently discovered a new X-Men character developed called "Dust", Dust is an adolescent Sunni Muslim girl who possesses the mutant power to turn herself into a sand-like substance. Born in Afghanistan, Sooraya is kidnapped by a slave-trading ring after she is separated from her mother. While one of her slavers tries to remove her niqāb, she instinctively lashes out with her powers and flays them all alive with her dust form before passing out. She is subsequently discovered and rescued by Wolverine and Fantomex. Wolverine takes her to the X-Corps base in India. Sooraya hides herself from the X-Men stationed there by turning into sand and spreading herself around the complex. Phoenix senses Sooraya’s presence and telepathically convinces her to reveal herself to everyone present. Sooraya reforms and announces her presence by speaking a single word: Turaab (Arabic for dust).

One thing about the character "Dust", she is depicted having a full face veil that is cultural and not religious, however at the same time depicted having a form fitting abaya (loose fitting outfit), which defeats the purpose of one. 

There is another DC Comics character called "The Janissary" (Selma Tolon)...Selma Tolon was a Turkish doctor working with a Turkish relief group: The Red Crescent. When a terrible earthquake happened, she went to the disaster scene for help. Falling into a hole opened because of the earth-quake, she found the artifacts hidden by the wizard Merlin after the defeat of Sultan Suleiman the Great by a demon called Etrigan ages ago.

She carries the Eternity Book of the wizard Merlin, which helps her to cast magical spells, but she has not mastered the use of it yet. She also wields the mystical scimitar of the Sultan Suleiman the Great. (Kanuni Sultan Süleyman - an old Ottoman empire) These artifacts have given her great strength, stamina, fighting powers and ability to fly.

I wonder what other new characters there will be featuring Muslims.  


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