Published in Feb 2010 – I had some good reactions to this one…
An Invitation to Adab
By Eugenia Flynn
I spoke to a colleague and friend recently and she commented on my writing style; the way I tend to ‘invite’ people to change their point of view or to think about things in a different manner. Alhumdilillah, a greater compliment I could not have a received. See, it got me thinking about invitations. The first time I encountered invitations as a social grace and formal mechanism was in Islam – not that this happened to me in an explicit way – but Muslims will often ‘invite’ non-Muslims to our faith.
Never before had I encountered such a formal mechanism that is so simple in its structure and so coordinately used by a people. And yet, despite being the height of good manners – inviting someone to Islam neither pushes them nor commands them – the mechanism is nonetheless a propagation method, anchored in a religious imperative.
I think my initial encounters with the invitation to Islam had a profound subconscious effect on me. As the invitation is a social grace, a propagation method, the height of good manners and a religious imperative, it is no wonder that I have developed a fond attachment to a concept that is, in its essence, true Islamic Adab.
It is with great displeasure then, that I wonder what is the Islamic imperative, the proper Adab, by which Muslims in Australia can appropriately deal with the legacies of colonisation in this country.
For me, the biggest invitation which has lacked since the day that Australia was invaded has been the invitation from Australia’s First Peoples, my people, to come in to our country and share in our land and wealth. As this invitation has never been extended, nor has there ever been a mere asking from the majority, Australia as it is today is a stolen wealth, a stolen land. Muslims in this country are no different to the rest in this: they have had no invitations extended to them, in general they have not asked to enter and yet every day Muslims enjoy the benefits of stolen wealth and land.
Muslims in Australia, although being people of colour as well, enjoy the fruits of colonisation in what is now called Australia. As stated many times before by me, unless you are fighting for what is just and right for my people in this country, you continue to be complicit in the ongoing oppression of us. Put more simply, Muslims in Australia continue to lack the ultimate proper Adab.
It is with all this in mind, that I invite you to think about another type of invitation – I invite you to the proper Adab of living on stolen land.