When I practiced law in a large firm, a mentor told me that death and divorce reveal a person’s ‘true colors’. I found this to be the case more often than not. Some people are magnanimous in the face of tragedy, thinking of others before themselves. Other people use the opportunity to vent their hatred and resentment, as if pain is an excuse to say or do as one wants. Recent events suggest that a third category can be added—namely, the deen.
Muslims refer to Islam as a “deen” not a religion. Deen is a broader term and has been translated as a “way of life,” based on submission and obedience to our Creator. Like death and divorce, the deen, or Islam, triggers a response in many. The mere mention of Islam today can reveal a person’s true colors.
Take for instance the now infamous and ongoing controversy over Park51, the proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan. It has allowed many closet Islam-haters to come out, believing that they now have a legitimate excuse to express their hatred, even if couched in what they believe are socially-acceptable arguments. Across this nation, mosques and other Islamic centers are being challenged, encouraged by the vocal and sometimes prominent opponents of the project. The controversy surrounding Park51 also has provided the impetus for hate crimes.
Yet, look at all the non-Muslims supporting the rights of Muslims to be guaranteed to the same rights as every other American. I personally have been contacted by several friends to let me know how “appalled” and “dismayed” they are over recent events. Many can’t believe this is America. Many do not like where the conversation is heading.
Where does the expression “true colors” come from? The answer may be found in the Qur’an. Several verses in the Qur’an mention the various colors of creation. For example,
And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors: verily in that are Signs for those who know. (30:22)
Seest thou not that Allah sends down rain from the sky? With it We then bring out produce of various colors. And in the mountains are tracts white and red, of various shades of color, and black intense in hue. And so amongst men and crawling creatures and cattle, are they of various colors. Those truly fear Allah, among His Servants, who have knowledge: for Allah is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving. (35:27-28)
Islam teaches that God (swt) is unique and one but reveals Himself through His many names and attributes. And just as a rainbow reveals the many colors of light from the sun, each part of creation reveals aspects of our Creator and ourselves. In other words, although we originate from pure light, we each display our own true colors.