Milk the cow, but at least don’t hurt it
Sikander Ziad Hashmi, sunniforum.com
“OK Kelly, let me 'splain you,” he begins in his typically desi (South Asian) accent. “You see, in my country, no economics. The Muslim is coming to America like fat cow that we milking. In this sense, Amreeka is best one.”
That’s the reason given by the character Uncle 'Letmesplainyou' to reporter John Kelly for his being in America despite his anti-American views in one of comedian Azhar Usman’s comedy skits.
In reality though, many new as well as not-so-new Canadian Muslims (among others) share the “milk the fat cow” sentiment about their new country. They’re hardly to blame though. After all, that’s why many choose to immigrate to Canada - because it is seen by many as a fat cow that's easy to milk.
As citizens and residents of the great white north (i.e. Canada), we all enjoy peace, security, (relative) financial stability, and the freedom to practice our religion and our culture. We’re free to earn our living as we wish, own as much property as we want, pursue any sort of education, express ourselves, build Masajid and Islamic schools, dress in any way we want - and the list goes on and on. Although we make take these rights and privileges for granted, fact remains that much of the world doesn’t enjoy the peace, security, and freedoms we do in Canada.
For that, we must first be grateful to Allah (SW) who has blessed us with the above. Yet at the same time, we cannot continue with the “milk the fat cow” mentality, as it is self-centeredness and selfishness in the true sense of the words.
That’s not to say that we must bring the fat cow into our homes, let her sleep in the guestroom, and offer her room service. But the least we can do is not hurt the poor fat cow.
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying the benefits we all enjoy as citizens and residents of Canada, at the very least, we should try to make some positive contributions to Canada and Canadian society.
The simplest positive contribution we can make is not make any negative contributions. In a way, our country is in our trust, and as Muslims, we’re commanded to uphold our trusts and tend to them.
This starts at the very basic level: not throwing candy wrappers out the car window and not cheating on automobile emission tests (pollution), staying away from tax evasion and frauds such welfare fraud (essentially stealing from the government), and not parking in other people’s driveways when the Masjid parking lot gets full (disorderly conduct), just to name a few.
The Prophet (SAW) was sent as a mercy to mankind, and was the perfect example of a kind, compassionate, orderly, polite, and upright individual. As his followers, we must try to adopt all his traits into our lives. This includes being just and truthful.
Simply because we find ourselves with a fat cow doesn’t mean that it’s a free pass to do with it whatever we wish. Any sort of fraud can never be tolerated by Islam, and tax evasion is a cowardly way to receive benefits but not give one’s fair share in return, which makes taking the benefits unlawful. Plus, to think that defrauding a government is permissible simply because it isn’t Muslim is a fallacy.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “The one who cheats is not of us.” (Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud)
He (SAW) also said, “The one who does not fulfill trusts has no faith, and the one who does not fulfill commitments has no religion.” (Ahmad)
Our negative actions have an effect on all citizens. Our pollution contributes to the decay of the environment, which affects all Canadians. Not paying our taxes not only deprives our fellow citizens of funding for needed programs and services, but deprives us of the same as well. We may not agree with all the policies of our governments, but it is a fact that our governments are the ones that provide us with and maintain many of the services we have become so accustomed to enjoying.
We can go one step further by making a truly positive contribution to our society by taking upon initiatives and programs that help others, directly or indirectly. Volunteering to help the needy and for other causes, taking part in social activism by speaking up for the rights of the oppressed and underprivileged, donating books to libraries, and providing public services are all ways to make positive contributions.
Of course, as Muslims, we should always attempt to make a positive contribution to society, regardless of which country we live in.
The fat cow can be milked for as long as it offers milk. But at the same time, we must take care of the cow and make sure we don’t end up hurting it. A hurt cow will give less milk, and worse yet, it may end up dying.
No fat cow, no milk.
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