HOW SHOULD WE REACT TO RACIST AND ABUSIVE INDIVIDUALS?
by Mufti Sufyan
An incident that I experienced
Recently, a vile individual hurled abuse and vehemently swore at me. I assume, my only “crime” was my attire and also my skin colour. No one deserves this. I was merely walking past him to get to my intended location and he just started using his foul mouth. I ignored him and carried on walking so that nothing escalates. I definitely wanted to capture him on camera in order to report him, so that no one else is ever on the receiving end of this vile individual. It wasn’t appropriate to capture his actions right in front of him as he would’ve, without doubt been intrigued to also physically harm me, hence, I never. However, on my way back, from a bit of a distance, I managed to capture him on camera, shamelessly swearing at me via his fingers. He then attempted to cover his face, but then realised that it’s too late to cover his face. Thereafter, he tried to come closer to me and said, “what’s up with you mate”, acting as if nothing had happened. Giving preference to my safety, I made an escape.
Unfortunately, this is the second time this has happened to me in a month. The first time, I was unable to capture anything on camera. I can’t believe how hard it’s becoming for us to even go out, without facing such disgusting individuals. And I have to confess, it’s completely a different story to be on the receiving end compared to listening to it happening to someone else. I’ve heard many incidents of such occurrences with others, but now that I’ve experienced it myself, I have to admit that it is mentally and emotionally damaging. If it wasn’t for the ‘hope’ and ‘positivity’ I receive from the teachings of my religion (Islam), I would probably be in the dark and gloomy depths of depression.
How should we react to such disgusting individuals?
Firstly, don’t respond to such individuals by swearing or using abusive language. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) states: “A believer is not he, who maligns, curses, is obscene or vulgar” (Tirmidhī). In fact, it comes with regards to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) that he was not foul-mouthed. We need to follow the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)’s footsteps at all times. The sign of man’s nobility and sublimity of his actions is that his tongue is pure and that he is well-mannered too. Whose conduct can clearly be more sublime than the Prophet Muhammads (peace and blessings be upon him). Through his conduct and way of speaking, he taught us not to say anything foul, absurd or bad, and that one should be devoid of any such type of filth.
Secondly, try your best to diffuse the situation and not let it escalate. This can be done by ignoring and going away from such vile individuals as soon as possible. Staying in their presence will only cause them to carry on with their disgusting behaviour. Remember! At such occasions, your own safety is of paramount importance; hence, paving way to exit the scene is the best cause of action.
Thirdly, recite Du’ās and verses of protection on such occasions, such as Āyāt al-Kursī etc.
Fourthly, when and if appropriate, coupled with reporting such incidents to the authorities, do try capturing such vile individuals via means of a camera etc. so that they can be clearly identified when reported, and countless other innocent individuals can potentially be saved from being on the receiving end in the future. These people are not just a threat to our safety, but also a threat in upholding a peaceful, just and fair society.
Fifthly, if possible, get someone such as a friend or family member to accompany you when walking outside. Avoid walking alone. In many cases that I’ve come across, these vile individuals tend to prey more on those that are on their own.
Lastly, don’t become too depressed over such situations. Remember that many of us face tough times in life. We go through some testing times. We face trials and tribulations. This is part and parcel of life. Eternal happiness is a specialty of the Hereafter. The problems of life will disappear at one point. Don’t live life in despair. Be brave and strong and embrace the challenges of life like a true warrior. Life’s a test, once passed, there is ultimate bliss awaiting us.
I pray no one faces such a distressing situation. I pray for a peaceful and respectful society. Everyone deserves respect, regardless of colour, attire, religion and race.