Isn’t Islam about shaping one’s character to guide humanity to be responsible citizens?
Muhammad Ali and several great men have converted to Islam in character; they did not see the need for the beard, burqa, and garb to be considered Muslims.
When I see Muslims wearing the external symbols to be recognized as Muslims, I wonder the need for such a change.
I respect their wish to emulate the Prophets’ appearance, but the prophet may appreciate it if we emulate his character first, the foundational Sunnah – the Amin.
Which would require us to be caring, kind, just, truthful, and trustworthy to all humanity without exception? When Jesus embraced the socially rejected at his time, he showed us how to embrace all humanity without prejudice. Being Amin may be an answer to our problems to regain respect, trust, and dignity.
Our Christian friends also believe following Jesus means belief in him to be the savior, while Jesus may have meant for them to follow his character to become a blessed peacemaker to fellow humans.
I believe Islam is not about externalities or physical expression, it is about inner transformation. Islam does not permit God to be limited to images, nor has Muhammad wanted his paintings to be carved or made.
One of the most powerful values of Islam is “free will” it is emphasized from the story of Adam to enshrined in the Quran, and the Prophet practiced it. There is no such thing as forced conversion in Islam, however, the power-hungry men in history have compelled people to convert, subjugate, or oppress against their will. It is certainly not Islamic but the men who did really did not follow their religion but wore the fake cloak of a Muslim. As thoughtful people, we need to separate the rascals from Muslims. Free will is a chapter in the Book American Muslim Agenda available at Amazon.
God created everything in balance/ harmony and spread the entire universe for humans (56:8-11). All he wants for us to do is continually restore peace so all of his creation can live securely and in harmony.
If it is not common sense, then it is not Islam.
Mike Ghouse is the author of the book American Muslim Agenda, more about him at www.TheGhouseDiary.com.