Finding the Muslim Batman

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Finding the Muslim Batman MIST ID: 11-1095 Feeling extremely excited about this year’s topic for MIST, I quickly rushed to an old friend of mine to discuss the theme hardly realizing what I was getting myself into. The heated discussion quickly turned into a convoluted debate. My acquaintance was just as amused as I was about the quote he had just read, but had completely different views on the matter then me, “There are no heroes,” he appallingly blurted out to my dissatisfaction. After inten
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  Finding the MuslimBatman MIST ID: 11-1095  Feeling extremely excited about this year’s topic for MIST, I quickly rushed to anold friend of mine to discuss the theme hardly realizing what I was getting myself into. Theheated discussion quickly turned into a convoluted debate. My acquaintance was just asamused as I was about the quote he had just read, but had completely different views on thematter then me, “There are no heroes,” he appallingly blurted out to my dissatisfaction.After intense discussion, we came to a decision: despite the need for many heroes in timesof tribulation in all parts of the world, but specifically among the Muslim Ummah, todaythere are very few out there. It is the duty and obligation of the North American MuslimCommunity to fill this void, due to the unique blending of religious, cultural, and economic backgrounds we embody.To understand how our dialogue came to such a conclusion, one must first analyzethe quotation that sparked the debate, and the source material from which it came. “Youeither die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain,” spoke HarveyDent so eloquently in an attempt to have some sort of impact on the psyche of Batman, inthe recent 2008 release of  The Dark Knight  . The film itself was an international success,scoring surprisingly high among the critics, nominated for over 150 awards, and grossingnearly one billion dollars worldwide, and it is no mystery why. One only needs to look atthe story’s hero: Batman himself. Why, of all the heroes to have surfaced the big screen, ishe up top? It’s simple really, everyone can see a little bit of Bruce Wayne within them – afairly innocent young man that suffers a crisis and is forced to confront it. And unlikeSuperman who was born with his powers, or Spiderman who underwent a freak accident,Batman has no actual powers – he is a human being that has to use his own wit,intelligence, and the resources he has at his disposal to solve his community’s toughest  challenges. Furthermore, it only takes a second to look at Gotham City to see that  something  is certainly up – a bustling, polluted metropolis, with crooks and thugs runningthe show, and an inefficient government that is unable to support its own people due towidespread corruption, leading to deteriorating conditions. It is not that the citizens do nothave the potential to stand up to these wrongdoings; there is simply no effort or desire to doso. Gotham’s residents expect others to solve their problems for them, or willingly accepttheir situation. Sound familiar? Why yes, Gotham city is a lot like our present day Earth, nomatter where one lives, from Chicago to Jakarta, from London to Islamabad! But where isour Batman; who is going to stand up for our world’s injustices, and take the blame if he or she fails? Where can one find our modern day hero?One only needs to turn to the teachings of the Prophet (ملسو هيلع ا ىلص) to find thatanswer, “The Muslims (the Ummah) are like the limbs of a man, where if the eye hurts thewhole body feels pain and if the head hurts, the whole body feels pain and suffering.” Well,there is a lot of suffering to go around, and it is time we, as an Ummah, address that.Batman, central to today’s pop culture, and thus a reflection of the modern world, is a tale based heavily on ideals and the good will of man overcoming evils and ailing the world.These ideals are likewise reflected within the Deen of Islam, which teaches of helpingothers and continuous charity to the community. Folks, we’ve found our potential Hero!Sadly, one major issue remains: Much of the Ummah, particularly those in Muslimnations, is unable to help out, as they themselves are the ones that need aid. In fact, Muslimnations in general are today lagging behind their international counterparts. For example,not a single majority Muslim nation is a part of the G7 or G8, an organization of the mostwealthy, industrialized and influential States in the world. Nor is a Muslim country in  consideration for the organization’s expansion to include five more countries, despite thefact that Muslims represent one-fifth of the world’s population, they are not represented inan organization of up to 13 of the top nations. This is likewise true for other institutions,such as within the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.Muslim economies drastically lag due to political instability, which hinders growth (thefastest growing being Turkey, which is still only number seventeen when ranked amongother countries, followed by Indonesia at number twenty). Literacy, a hallmark of learnedsocieties, is lowest in South Asia and Africa: Islamic countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan,Mali, and Chad. Muslim countries do not enjoy all the liberties others do: For examplefreedom of speech and press are not high held virtues and there are many parts of the worldwhere young girls are still not allowed to go to school due to ideological views. The mostdangerous hotspots of the world, locations that need the most aid, are usually predominantly Muslim: Chechnya, Gaza, Darfur, Kashmir, the list goes on.Some conservative thinkers might argue that things like economic prosperity andeducation are worldly matters and pleasures that are not important in the long run.However, these theorists fail to understand the benefit these things have brought. Our deencommands us to learn, read, explore, and be educated, both about the faith itself as well asour world and how it was created. In fact, education played a huge role in the growth of Islam, and benefited the world at large, as sciences developed by Muslims spread. TheMuslim Caliphate was at the heart of the world due to the work of Muslim doctors,scientists, mathematicians, writers, artists, and theologians. The strength of the Caliphateallowed for the cultural expansion of Islam, as people from all over the world flocked tocities like Baghdad and Damascus, thoroughly impressed with the advancements of the
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