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Love Don’t Cost A Thing – But Everything Else Does

May 31, 2010

Over the past few months, buses have been carrying a sillier-than-normal advert, which causes me a great amount of personal chagrin. Everytime I see it it makes me want to claw out my eyeballs, and then claw out the eyeballs of anyone else who might see it. And trust me, this is a reaction shared by pretty much every Muslim I know. Maybe not the eyeball-clawing part, but, you know, the chagrin part.

‘Muslims for
Loyalty, Freedom & Peace.’

It screams of crying for validation. It’s telling everyone who passes, whether they give a toss or not (they don’t), ‘I’m not an axe-murderer! I’m sane! I’M A GOOD PERSON!’

Guys. Have some self-respect. You don’t need to do an ad campaign to tell people you love them. If they hate you, they’re still going to hate you. If they don’t, they probably don’t care either way. Waste of money. At least the atheist ads were somewhat amusing. This one just embarrasses me.

That’s the other thing. It claims to speak for Muslims, but as most informed Muslims know, the Ahmadiyya community is universally understood to be outside of authentic Islam – therefore, not considered Muslim* – and their identification with the rest of the body of Muslims has long been a source of great controversy. So even more than the aggravation of obsequious fawning is the doubled aggravation of someone speaking for me without my authority, as part of a group I identify myself with, without itself being a member of that group but claiming to be. Messy, messy.

Also, what a stupid sentiment. ‘Love for all, hatred for none’?

In six words, it invalidates the right every Muslim citizen has to object to their government’s activities. Civic responsibility is a part of Islam: loyalty doesn’t entail backing people whatever they do. Moreover, I don’t think there is any question of loyalty without it being preceded by having your rights fulfilled as a citizen: that is, reasonable freedom and security.**

We have a hadith of Muhammad (peace be upon him), that he said: ‘Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is oppressed.’ The Prophet was asked: ‘It is right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?’ He replied: ‘By preventing him from oppressing others.’ (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 3, no. 624)

That is what Muslim ‘loyalty’ means. It means having a social conscience, not blindly supporting the activities of a government or authority that may or may not be acting in an ethical way.*** It means objecting to human rights abuses, the breaking of international law and miscarriages of justice, refusing to pander to apologist sentiment for the sake of acceptance, and exercising your democratic right to be heard by those people who represent you in Parliament. It means doing everything in your power with the means you have available to change your condition, and to change the conditions of other people.

This bugs me more than I can adequately express:

‘Love for all…’

No, no, NO.

I do not love everyone! (Ew!) I believe I have a human commitment to my fellows, certainly, but I’m not a hippie-free-love numpty singing ‘all you need is love‘. It’s not true. It’s a great line for people to push because ‘love don’t cost a thing’, but love is never the whole story. Sure, it is good and useful, but in the grand scheme of things, say the world is a car. Love is like, the carburettor.

‘…hatred for none.’

This whole silly slogan is an insubstantial, half-headed romanticism that will never find its way into any serious discussion (ergo, this is not a serious discussion XD) – which then begs the question of what is really meant to be achieved by it.

Loving-not-hating is nice in principle, but just try and find someone (who isn’t inclined to illegal activities) who will tell you they love Hitler (his mother doesn’t count, and not only because she’s dead), or at the least, have ambivalent feelings about him. Go. Find someone. The idea that you love everyone and hate no one might sound attractive (if you like that kind of thing, which I don’t) but it is quite plainly RIDICULOUS. All-embracing indiscriminate feelings are up there on the list of things that are just dumb (along with minds so open your brains fall out, admiring an idiot for their perseverance in attaining further idiocy, etc.).

Also, the URL is too long. If you want someone to visit your website, make it short and snappy and memorable. And easy to type. And less annoying.

A few years ago, this advert appeared on some major billboards in the City, which to my mind, does the job – or at least does a job since it isn’t clear what job exactly the bus ads are doing – of disabusing people’s misconceptions of Islam much better:

I know this won’t be to everybody’s taste, but it has 4 things going for it:

1. Purposive (i.e. it had a point)
2. Correct content
3. FREE! product
4. Website URL that is short, snappy and memorable.

Final Thought:

I know we’ve been strongly indoctrinated to believe discrimination is a rude word and a bad thing, but trust me, some discrimination is good and necessary. Discriminating the silly from the less silly is an important skill. They even teach you it if you stay in school long enough and pay a lot of money.

Discriminate. One day, it might save your life.****

* A Muslim, by definition, is a person who a) believes that there is no other God except the One God, and b) accepts that Muhammad (saas) is his final Messenger. This marks entry into Islam. Ahmadiyyans (?) believe that someone else came after Muhammad (saas), so they do not accept the second part of the ‘entry requirement’, therefore, by definition, they cannot be Muslim, no matter what they call themselves.
** Politicised because this is clearly a reactionary contribution versus the ‘Muslims r trrrstz’-hysteria.
*** Oh dearie me, did I just put the word ‘ethical’ in the same sentence as the word ‘government’? Surely not.
**** For instance, say you are doing this hippie-love thing. You’re on a bus one day, and this psycho drunk high person is shooting his mouth off at you and at everyone else. But you are all ‘love for all and all for love!’ and you go and hug him. He breaks his bottle**** over your head and you die. Do not worry about the mechanism of your death: the upshot is the same. You die.
Now see, if you had shown a little discrimination, you would have thought, ‘oh look, there’s a verbally-abusive psycho drunk high guy with an illegally-open container of alcohol. I’m not going to hug him because I don’t want to die. I’ll just love him from here, kthxbai.’ And voilà, you aren’t dead. Good, innit?
***** Also note that it is illegal to carry open containers of alcohol on public transport.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2010 4:44 pm

    Oh Saya, how I wish there wasn’t an ocean between us.

    Yes, that bus advert screams pathetically of, “Love us please! We are just like you!” Harrumph. Dignity, people, dignity! I don’t feel the need to validate my beliefs to anyone. Why should I? Because I have a different and much maligned label than you? We don’t ask all white men between the ages of blank and blank to be constantly contrite and apologetic simply because the vast majority of serial killers are male, youngish, and white. We have to just stay cool at the social street level, that is where the difference is made, not in the media. Just like how research discovered that racism was considerably lessened by working and living with other “flavours” so too will it be for Muslims.

    I grew up with hippie free -lovers, and I live amongst the aging ones now. All of this is totally against my will, I might add. I have to say that some of the most vicious people I have known are the ones constantly extolling peace, love, and unity. Perhaps by talking about it all the time, they have boxed themselves into such a corner of supposed light and goodness that when they explode, it isn’t very pretty. My most recent experience with this is the attachment parenting forums. Apparently all the things women don’t say in public about the moms who use strollers, bottle feed, don’t co-sleep or practice child led parenting becomes giant piles of poop to be slung will-nilly everywhere online. I think this is pretty common in most groups, so I’m not knocking AP in particular, but it does come off as especially disconcerting in a group that claims to be gentle and mindful. I guess my point is twofold, 1) my experience with the gentle loving types isn’t so gentle and loving (I think if you have to keep saying you are something, there is a problem) and 2) I think people need to be taught to discriminate appropriately. I despair of this ever becoming the case because humans are naturally clique-ish over the stupidest things, so of course we are going to be arguing over something totally idiotic, like some desperately poor people doing jobs we hate like cleaning our toilets and cutting our grass for peanuts while BP HAS BEEN LEFT IN CONTROL OF A MASSIVE ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECOLOGICAL DISASTER THAT THEY THEMSELVES CREATED. We discriminate Saya, just not very well.

    Love is not free. I hate this concept. People’s sacrifices for love can be major and lifelong. These didn’t cost anything monetarily, but these people might be paying for the rest of their life. In our consumer society, we are taught that if something doesn’t have a monetary value, it’s free. This is a lie. And suddenly I’m exhausted and realise I don’t have a clue as to whether this novel I’ve written makes any sense. I apologise ahead of time, I’m completely out of it!

    • May 31, 2010 11:47 pm

      I wish for a boat and sea-legs! Or alternatively, a plane ticket. One day insha-Allah!

      Perhaps we should ask all white men of a certain age and hair colour to condemn serial killers and/or rapists. It will make me feel better and more secure.

      Oh no, wait, we don’t need to do something as silly as that because of course IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING that any person in their right mind would not justify serial killings.

      Oh wait, except for Muslims. Because they are a hive mind, and what one Muslim does in Zimbabwe is clearly the responsibility of another Muslim in New Zealand, and OMG HE DIDN’T CONDEMN IT THAT MEANS HE IS A TRRRST.


      Anyway, this football-analogy was brought to you by an Englishman. You might need to substitute Man Utd and Chelsea with Yankees and Red Sox, and football (soccer) for baseball XD

      The free-love antipathy was brought on in force by watching this video:

      Initially, I found it heartwarming, but then it went on, and I thought, wait, so…if all of these people think the US shouldn’t bomb anybody, and they don’t hate anyone, and they want to tell Muslims in the Middle East that they love them…what do they actually do? Do they write to their senators/other representatives to object to US foreign policies and activities? Are they taking their love and love of pacifism and doing something with it?

      Maybe they are, and I hope they are, but to this day, I have never heard of communities outside the major cities organising any large-scale opposition or systematic effective protest against the things they don’t support. That’s the beauty of aggressive foreign policies: their outcomes don’t occur at home so it’s easier to sweep it under the carpet, particularly in a massive country like the US where there must undoubtedly be a million other things people want to talk about that are much closer to home – on the same continent, for a start.

      And the question, really, is what is their love – your love, anyone’s love – worth? If any love you claim or feel doesn’t change you, and it doesn’t impel you to do something, then it’s meaningless and purposeless, because yes, love, too, must be purposive. Love’s value isn’t in having an object, but in having a subject: it’s the giving aspect – the sacrifice – that has that immense and legendary power of alchemy.

      You’re right – we do discriminate, but we do it somewhat indiscriminately. We need to meta-discriminate, maybe: discriminate what it’s important to discriminate about.

  2. Bran permalink
    May 31, 2010 11:44 pm

    I enjoyed this entry! …But I don’t really have much intelligent to say on the subject.

    • May 31, 2010 11:47 pm

      That’s me all the time, don’t worry! As long as you use long words, most people don’t notice. >_>

  3. June 1, 2010 12:12 am

    Also, just because I’m naturally crazy and have been made even more so by sleep deprivation, don’t you just loathe when the media wants an Islamic perspective and the “Muslims” they chose are either some radical nutter or Ayaan Hirsi Ali? As if they couldn’t find normal Muslims. This might just be the US, though. Here the media eats up Ayaan Hisi Ali because they see her as an evolved Muslim, i.e. someone who IS no longer Muslim (her words, not mine).

    I hate flying and I barf on boats. There has to be some more land oriented way to see each other. Perhaps a 6 month long jaunt up through Canada, a skip across the channel to Russia, and the long, long, LONG train ride to London. Hmmm. Doesn’t sound too bad.

    • June 1, 2010 12:17 am

      Oh man, I meant Alaska, not Canada. I’m rereading LM books and Canada is on my brain:)

    • June 1, 2010 12:29 am

      OH THAT WOMAN THAT AWFUL WOMAN. My sister made up a whole new name for her because she didn’t want to ruin perfectly good names by their association with a nutter. I could write a book about Stupid Assumptions as Applied to Muslims by Other People except it would eventually lead to a myocardial infarction and I can’t give them (the Stupid People) the satisfaction of dying of apoplectic frustration.

      What I loathe is that when they look for the ‘Muslim perspective’, they either grab a nutter of the street (seriously, they are all nutters, made famous by the news), or they pick somebody nobody has ever heard of anywhere EVER and style them as ‘experts’. And we are all like, what? Or they pick up sell-outs like Yasmin Alibhai Brown – doesn’t believe in a thing about Islam, but she is adamant that she is Muslim. And we are like, no you’re not. You don’t even believe in God. But because she says it, and she is what the media want Muslims to be, she claims the right to speak for Muslims, too, and is considered the ideal model for every ‘moderate’.

      What they will never, ever do is pick someone with strong Islamic convictions, who is intelligent and balanced, and moreover, informed about the subject under discussion. Even when those people put themselves forward, they are only heard by the people who’ve already heard them before, not in any mainstream platform because they are not media-favoured. God forbid that a sensible reasonable Muslim should appear on TV and ruin the nation’s dearly-loved conception of those evil bloodthirsty foreigners.

      This is exactly why ‘love for all, hatred for none’ is silly. Stupid people determined never to allow information to interfere with their ignorance are prime candidates for being unloved.

      I DON’T LOVE YOU, STUPID PEOPLE. I know you don’t care, but I just wanted to get that out there.

      (Don’t hate flying! Flying is good providing you’ve slept enough beforehand and don’t have a problem with recycled air or a fear of heights or claustrophobia or anything!)

    • June 1, 2010 10:48 am

      ohhhh and this: Irshad Manji, another nutter –

      (Yay LMM reading! I want to go to PEI.)

      • Allumer permalink
        June 1, 2010 11:21 am

        Google Asra Q. Nomani.

        She’s a real delight. Never was religious until she wrote a book and realised she could gain a lot of attention by trying to pray, sans hijab, with men at the front of the mosque. Makes sure there are always cameras and says that there is nothing Islamically wrong with her having her son outside of marriage. These people want Islam to change, saying it needs to evolve, I say, WHAT IN THE HELL? Do these people actually believe that Allah SWT didn’t know what the future held when he sent Muhammad (PBUH) with the message of Islam? Ironically, these changes always coincide with their own desires. People want to change religion, any religion, to make themselves feel comfortable. There is not such thing as sacrifice anymore. Do I chafe against certain things in Islam? Uh, yes, but if Allah SWT says to do it, I don’t really think that my “feeling” come into it. I’m not going to refashion my religion to make myself into something that feeds my nafs.

        I think you just might be a combination of The Story Girl and Anne Shirley.

      • June 1, 2010 11:56 am

        I had to stop reading your link (comparing her to Rosa Parks?! GET REAL. Disrespecting a great woman like that /disgust)(also, she teaches at Georgetown? That’s where John Esposito is, too – surely he must have pointed out to her she was being a nitwit?) because I was doing the eyeball-clawing thing again.


        This is what I mean about media-made self-styled experts.

        Anne! That’s a compliment! I would giggle and blush and smile but my inner-Anne would be more likely to look for a slate to break over someone’s head. I have yet to read the Story Girl >_>

  4. June 1, 2010 12:50 am

    something tells me i shouldn’t get in on this conversation…

  5. June 1, 2010 12:50 am

    and yet…

    • June 1, 2010 12:54 am

      …now you’ve got me checking to see whether I sound like a lunatic XD

    • June 1, 2010 12:58 am

      WAIT it’s because I said hippie, right? I thought of you but the kind of hippieness you claim is totally not the kind of hippieness I’m talking about. Because there’re lots of types of hippieness.

      If you squint and do other weird and painful things to your eyes, that almost looks like ‘happiness’.

      Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
      Cyanide & Happiness @

  6. June 1, 2010 12:16 pm

    oh i’m sorry for those posts. i actually wrote an entire long thing and decided to sit on it and look at it again today. part of me believes people (you) are free to rant and i don’t have to always put my foot in it to discuss the other side. rant on my dear.

    ps–none of my comments were about the bus, ironically, or islam. sorry again, if i’d noticed that i’d already posted those and then not posted my long post i’d have taken them out. i should install some kind of delay on my computer, where nothing goes through for 24 hours. or 3 days, like a marriage in some states.

  7. June 1, 2010 12:30 pm

    ‘i don’t have to always put my foot in it to discuss the other side.’

    No, you do! That’s the point! If you withhold your views, how will the discussion be counterbalanced? It is your GRAVEN DUTY to moderate the immoderate! Or something. Or Bunny-chan up there in that picture will eat you.

    On a serious note, though: I do know the rants appear one-sided, but have faith in me! I enjoy the occasional abandon of an immoderate rage-against-the-machine, but when it comes down to business and real situations, I put the sarcasm away. I really do. I just don’t feel like the Internetz has rights over me to demand honest sincerity and so on like a friend or a spouse might. I choose what to make public property, and I choose not to splatter my heart and soul over my keyboard like I’ve seen some people do. (IT’S NOT PRETTY.)

  8. June 2, 2010 1:27 am

    yuck, that sounds messy. my partner spilled juice on my keyboard once, and it took 2 years for the juice to get sticky. then i lost the entire bottom row of letters and invented words like impossigle to avoid cutting and pasting obsessively. it was actually really really fun!

    um, my graven duty. hm. i’ll think about that… because in some parts of my life it has been suggested that i’m too passionate for my own good. but i tell myself if more people would just CARE ABOUT STUFF we’d all be better off. there must be some balance between me with my head spinning clean off and other people who can’t seem to care about anything.

    • June 2, 2010 7:22 am

      but i tell myself if more people would just CARE ABOUT STUFF we’d all be better off.

      You are probably right, the only problem is getting everyone to care about the stuff you care about. People care about a lot of stuff, they just don’t care about the SAME stuff, and most likely never will because their world view, morals, and values all differ. Now having people respect that you care about something might be more achievable, but the other? No way, believe me, I’ve tried 🙂

      • June 2, 2010 11:55 pm

        Do or do not, there is no try >_>

      • Maryam permalink
        June 29, 2010 10:40 am

        simplepoppy, i’m finally back to respond! better late than never, unless never is better because it’s not worth saying. hm.

        i really think people don’t *care* but are often blindly and ignorantly repeating what they’ve been taught or how they’ve been treated. i think so much “action” or “opinion” comes out of some pain the person has had to (and failed to) deal with. if people could work through the pain of life and how they were treated, think a little more clearly, and look at themselves and their families and their town and the world with some compassion (compassion!!!), then there would be people caring about stuff. it might not be the same issues i care about, and that’s okay. there are tons of people i know personally and distantly that do things differently than me in ways i still think are very positive. i just don’t consider racism to be caring. or religious separations caring. or child neglect. or the rabid fear that reading harry potter books and “tango makes three” will damage children forever. so, to me, caring isn’t about just about making life choices (because it’s very easy to do that on authopilot), it’s about stopping to think and compare how life has been so far and how it could be different and better.

        i hope that makes sense, since i’ve been thinking about it for over 3 weeks!

  9. June 29, 2010 12:05 pm

    Better than 9 months! I totally forgot about this post.

    I agree that a lot of people are on auto-pilot, probably through most of their lives. It can be difficult not to be. But I do have to say that I don’t feel qualified to say whether other people aren’t stopping to think about their actions or not, or whether they are on auto-pilot due to past feelings, upbringing or trauma. Also, different people have very different views of things, obviously. I have heard and actually know some people who feel that it is child neglect to “make” your baby sleep in a crib in their own room. That’s an extreme view in my opinion, but it doesn’t change the fact that that makes all crib-parents neglectful in their eyes. Or not wishing your child to read a book where the author openly admits to having an agenda for introducing same sex relationships to children. While I wouldn’t be upset if my kid read it, I wouldn’t “allow” it because I prefer to introduce those subjects myself and I don’t need my kids reading stuff with a political or sexual agenda attached to them. I guess I just believe that a lot of people are stopping to think about things, possibly even to make things better, but it’s from their own POV, whether we believe in that way or not. Which, frankly, is why I think that there is benefit in religion. It can sometimes be good to have one authority on something. Now if people could just agree as to what that authority is actually saying. But I do understand your point!

    • June 29, 2010 12:10 pm

      And actually, since I can never stop talking – I think Asra Nomani is a great example of this. I can’t stand her – I think she is dead wrong on almost every point in her quest to change Islam. But I DO believe she thinks what she is doing is right and better than, you know, the way Allah said to do things. Or they way things were done when the Prophet (PBUH) was alive and in charge. I think she HAS thought things through. Anyway, now I’m blathering, but I guess my point was I think people can still think through their actions and have compassion and still do the wrong thing in someone’s opinion.

  10. Kaimalino permalink
    June 30, 2010 2:23 am

    my point was I think people can still think through their actions and have compassion and still do the wrong thing in someone’s opinion.

    Ohhhh, so horribly true.
    I remember feeling sick for a week because the trophy-hunting husband of a friend of mine told me he found an abandoned litter of kittens near his work by the trainyard and left them to starve. He felt that, or shooting them to avoid prolonging suffering, were the only ethical things to do. But what of bringing them to me, I squawked, being well-known as that sort of bleeding heart. What of offering a new life as a neutered pet to would-be feral germ-spreaders? There was an option besides slow suffering and quick death, but my logic only got an eyeroll–I would be dragging out suffering and further spreading it by involving other people and agencies. “Compassion” means vastly different things to different people, even in the same faith background.

  11. Kaimalino permalink
    June 30, 2010 2:36 am

    Just to add a super-simplistic comment to this thread. I know it’s not really about kitties. 😉

    • June 30, 2010 10:17 am

      No, it’s not simplistic at all! It’s illustrates exactly what I’m talking about. This kind of thing is just very, very subjective.

  12. panda permalink
    February 14, 2011 5:44 am

    shallow mind is bad you know, how can you tell someone is right or wrong if you don’t learn about them 😛

    Put aside radicals muslim, Ahmadiyya teach peace around the world.

    If you have free time, visit just to know Ahmadiiya, not to learn.

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