21 Ways to Channel Righteous Rage
by Maryam Miller
This is the essence of all activism. All actions. All causes. We are spiritual beings in a material world. Yes, the suffering is material and psychological. When faced with the choice, it is wise to choose the spiritual solution. Get to the essence of things, and it will reveal everything you need. All of these will raise your energy which in turn will fuel your actions for further effect. It’s not what you say or do that people remember so much as how you make them feel; which can in turn fuel authentic transformation.
1. Dhikr (remember) Allah
“Oh believers! When you meet with a force, be firm, and call Allah in remembrance much (and often); that you may prosper.” (Translation of the Qur'an, The Bounties:45)
2. Send Divine Favor on the Prophet ﷺ
“Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect.” (Translation of the Qur'an, The Combined Forces:56)
3. Speak with/listen to an Imam or Sheikh
This is easy with podcasts, although nothing replaces sitting at their feet.
4. Never stop learning about the deen; textually and experientially
Tafisir.io, SeekersHub, Bayyinah, Quran Majeed, are all examples of great starting points.
Ways to Speak (Y)our Peace
Define what it is exactly you see as the issue for yourself. This can be a process, but before long you may have a good piece to submit to the community. Local and national news like The Muslim Journal are great for publishing opinion pieces on these types of things. Tell your story in a memoir. Make poetry. Any way to get your thoughts and/or inspirations onto paper, and pulling solutions from the masses is massive. See Muslim Writers Collective for a starting point.
6. Get out!
As Muslims, we need activists and leaders like Linda Sarsour who set agendas for rallies rather than willie nillie chants handed to you in these crowds that may even compromise spirituality. Muhammad ﷺ said "If one of you sees something wrong, let him change it with his hand; if he cannot, then with his tongue; if he cannot, then with his heart and this is the weakest faith.”(Muslim) There are too many of us not leading and participating in protests with our own narratives. This is inviting to Islam (dawah) defined.
7. Leverage technology
In the age of social media, mass communication and community inspiration for positive action is too accessible for excuses. Use them! Too many complain in a broad sense without offering alternatives. Be a maverick.
8. Get politically active/run for an office
Don’t get stuck on technology and talking. Muslim congressman Keith Ellison has represented a plethora of issues for the marginalized. There need to be folk both on the ground and in positions of material power to truly win this inward and outward war. There are simpler means, like writing letters, visiting representatives as well targeting tangible laws like “stand your ground” or gun rights.
9. Wear your cause
As Muslims we have a spiritual and material code demanding dignity and rebellion against the status quo when it comes to dress. Speak without opening your mouth for justice. Louella is a great example of clothing for a cause by a sister of color. 5pillars is a Muslim street wear company with a tee I personally love “Allah is the greatest”. Dope and dope.
This one is often messy. Imam Hamza Yusuf at ISNA 2013 called for a mass boycott of even companies judged by the mainstream as moderate, like Costco. I highly suggest watching his call to action. Moreover, consider societies such as SacredService which call for the creation of intentional communities. These are not limited to those explicitly confessing to be Muslim.
11. Make Art.
Not war. It’s already been created. Combat with the power of the pen. The paintbrush. The mixtape. Make conscious expression of resistance to injustice. Form societies. Wage Beauty is a great example of a firm and movement for this sort of thing.
12. Go on workplace strikes/walkouts
There’s not exploitation without participation. While you run the risk of losing mad material benefits, you have the world at your fingertips by detaching from it. The Holy Qur’an says “If we had decreed them to sacrifice their lives or to leave their homes, they would not do it except a few, but if they had done what they were (actually) advised, it would have been better for them and gone the furthest in strengthening.” (Translation of The Qur’an, The Woman:66).
13. Name Pain.
Keep the issues visible. Hold vigils/memorials. Participate in #SayHerName
14. Raise funds for families of the slain/suffering.
A la Muslim funded Launch Good. Baitul Salaam is an holistic example in our community.
15. Complete a petition to present to people in power.
These work when done right.
There are too many non-profits in need for you not to regularly lend yourself to. Get your friends together to show the sick kids, and elderly love, the ones closest to Allah, as Rasullulah ﷺ loved. You don’t need to buy a bunch of crap for these sorts of things- simple cards or handpicked flowers can work wonders for both of your iman. Money is just one piece of the abundance Allah grants. Everyone has the same choice in the equitable amount of time he’s given us. The best way to plan for the akhirah is to live as if it were tomorrow.
Start a study group. Book club. Docuseries discussions. Mentor kids. Teach. The first universities were founded by Muslims. Our American ancestors died trying to learn to write, which they were strictly forbidden from. Contemplate. Appreciate.
18. Join a network
We are blessed to have several current and emerging organizations of this sort. ARC (Muslim Anti-Racism Initiative), who say “Anti- racism is not just some sort of political activism. Real anti-racism is heart work, it’s soul work.”
19. Affirmative Action
Get creative! Creative Ummah, in collaboration with Al Jazeera, has a platform for empowering those empowering. Wage Beauty is a great creative example of a firm and movement for this sort of thing.
Aidah and her husband create representation and affirmation in their visibility. Home Free is a show with predominantly whites this season, and they (Aidah and her husband) represent us beautifully in a fun, out of the box way! She’s also teaching arts and crafts to kids and has a blog called Aidah’s Creative Life which is an awesome example of self-care through serving her calling.
20. Be a leader’s leader
Exhibit A: Ummah Wide highlights Muslim organizations highlighting Muslim movements. Alchemiya celebrates achievements of the Muslim world. The Color of Change by Rashad Robinson, Coming of Faith (for Muslim women of color), and Ethos International are other ones.
Recognize those doing what is right!
21. Start a support group or organization!
On an individual level uplift your brothers and sisters. Muslimah Consultation Group is an excellent example of this. Acknowledge your responses to news events and their cause. What you resist persists. You may use limited free choice to allow it to consume you, or you may transcend it by serving those suffering in the highest sense. Allah says “We do not change a condition of a people until they change that which is in their souls" (Translation of The Qur'an The Thunder:11). We can agree there is enough negativity in the world. Be the change you want to see.
Not only Black lives, but Black souls matter. As a mother peoples and a prototype for the oppressed, the well-being of humanity rests on holistic liberation of us. Our success rests on not allowing our voices to be silenced.
About the Author
Maryam Miller is a budding scholartist, spiritual activist, and Graduating Masters student at The University of Georgia. Moreover, she is the author of the recently published "Proceed to the Root and Love Letters" to be released May 2017. Connect with @Maryam_M_Miller.
The views expressed in this article are those of the guest contributor and do not necessarily express the views of Amara Collection LLC.