Monday, December 31, 2012

The Muslim Guide to Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse

One of the handful of shows that I have fallen in love with recently is The Walking Dead on AMC. I'm sure some of you have already heard of the hit show--which is based off of a popular comic book with the same name--but for those who haven't it's a pretty basic premise cut from the same cloth of those countless George A. Romero "Land of The Dead"  films in the zombie horror movie sub-genre. It's been done to death, but that hasn't stopped people from eating it up (no pun intended).

Basically a man wakes up from a coma to find that the world has been overrun with flesh-eating walkers or zombies. (sidenote: It's funny how the show NEVER says zombies but instead coins new terms like "biters", "walkers", "geeks" as if the word doesn't exist in the English lexicon) The series follows the path of the man and other survivors as they try to adjust to the reality of being in a zombie apocalypse. For those who don't really know what a zombie is look at the definition below and a sweet picture of one :) .

zom·bie [zom-bee]

the body of a dead person given the semblance of life, but mute and will-less, by a supernatural force, usually for some evil purpose. ie The Walking Dead.

That clear enough for ya? Yeesh! 

The zombies who lurk around have lost their human uniqueness. The faculty of emotion, feeling, intellect and reason are gone. They are reduced to only having carnal desires and the ability of speaking is now relegated to grunts and growls. They are simply animals now whose sole objective is to find and eat human flesh. 

People have gone bananas for this show and it's become a viral phenomenon. I mean it is ridiculous! There are thousands of fan pages, blogs and internet memes dedicated to the show. Forums and message boards have been created just for people to revel in the sheer awesomeness of the show and discuss the story, the characters and even the possibility of a zombie apocalypse really happening and what they would do if they were in one.

Thankfully, people can all rest easy knowing that those ugly things are just pretend and that people really don't turn into brainless, soulless carcasses who stagger through the world with no beneficial purpose. It's preposterous. Those things aren't real. Or are they? 

I don't mean to sound like Haley Joel Osmont from The Sixth Sense but yeah, I've seen dead people. I see them all the time, actually. I've even played basketball with some! And quite frankly, it's an epidemic that's not slowing down anytime soon. I wouldn't say that we're on the brink of a Zombie apocalypse, but we're getting pretty close.

Of course I'm not talking about zombies of the flesh eating type, but the ones I speak of are just as dangerous (though apparently there are some of those out there too) I'm talking about people who possess the intellectual traits of the walking dead. You know, the lack of brain function? Inability to communicate? Obliviousness to the surrounding world? Now it's becoming clear to you. Ah! Yes, zombies do exist. Some are our friends, some are even in our family and at our workplace and schools. Heck, we ourselves can even be zombies!

Picture this: You walk into a house and there's 6 to 8 people there. They are all in one room sitting together. No one is saying a word. All of their eyes are fixated toward a wall on one side of the room and their faces are glowing, mouths agape and pupils dilated. Scary huh? That's enough to make me hightail it out there and never look back. What were those people doing? Oh, just Watching TV. Zombie style!

Finally, something good's on!

We live in a day and age where people could be meeting together and a person (or two, or three or all) are present in body but are not really there. They are looking at a 4 inch screen, texting and surfing away. Zombies. Someone is on their phone, walking down the street texting, unaware there's a pole about to hit them in the face, or a construction man hole that they're about to fall into or a bus about to knock them into the next life. Zombies. 

Remember when I said above that I played pick-up basketball with a zombie? Yeah, I did. He was on my team. He chunked up ridiculous shots, would barely pass, absolutely sucked on defense, and couldn't hear a single word my other teammates or I said. Why? He had headphones in his ear and was jamming to something on his MP3 player on full blast. Every time we tried to talk to him, it was a: **remove one ear plug** "Huh?" Horrible teammate? No. Zombie.

The above examples are bad but they aren't even the worst. Lastly we have those who have the blessing of a loving family, people who care for them, a roof over their heads, a bed to sleep in, food on the table, a nice job, success in life, a working car, a bank account with money in it,  a healthy body and all of their limbs working, the faculty of sight, smell, taste, hearing YET not a single ounce of gratitude or thankfulness. There are those who breeze through life and pridefully boast that it was them and their hard work and skill alone which brought them to their high status.

There are those who have all of the above and simply just fail to take a couple of minutes out of their life to thank their Creator and use every excuse in the book to justify it. There are people out there who see the magnificent beauty of the world around them and just shrug their shoulders and go "Meh." and go on about their business. People who don't ponder about life and death because that "stuff is depressing" and then go back to entertaining themselves around the clock with their gadgets. These are the true walking dead. They are zombies to the fullest extent. And the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) even stated this himself.

The Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) said:
 "The comparison of the one who remembers Allah to the one who does not remember Allah is like that of the living and the dead"
To all of those still convinced that zombies aren't real or there isn't any walking dead among us, there's your proof right before your eyes in black and white. Through this chilling statement, it's clear that all of us can potentially be of the walking dead. Unlike The Walking Dead TV show where once you have been infected, you're pretty much doomed, there is a cure and remedy to break us out of that zombie state.

It's as simple as reading a book, looking at the world around you and pondering life. The Qur'an is the ultimate de-zombifier. Non-Muslim self-help gurus and life coaches stress the importance of meditation and taking time out for self-reflection and evaluation at least once a day. Muslims call this Salat and do it at least 5 times a day. On top of that you make Dhikr (litanies and words of remembering God) and make sure that in everything you do, Allah is remembered, thanked and praised. Toning down the usage of electronic entertainment and setting limits and boundaries by taking "gadget breaks" also do a world of good to remove the dead within us.

In The Walking Dead, the key to surviving the zombie apocalypse means to equip yourself with guns, a ton of ammo and machetes and going buckwild. In real life, our ammo to weed off  being infected by zombies is Islam and the Qur'an--the guidance for all of mankind. This was actually brilliantly illustrated in a song by Native Deen member Abdul-Malik Ahmad titled "Jihad of the Nafs" where he spoke metaphorically of weapons used to ward off the negative influences and whispers of Satan.

I got my uzi of Iman (religious faith and adherance), bazooka of Qur'an
My M-16 is my deen
(religion) of Islam,
Dropping bombs on Shaytan with Islam as my main gun,
He telling me to do wrong, I say "aint gonna have none of that"
Grenades, yo, of Taqwa (God-awareness and consciousness) on my back,
Bayonet of regret, if I ever get trapped.
I got the Sunnah (practices) of the Prophet as my fully automatic. 

I've been beaten by the devil many times and I've had it.

Application of these principles in your life will make it harder to become that intellectual zombie which we see all too often every day. So 'til next time, this is the PhilAsifer reminding myself first and then all of you just in case you forgot. Keep staying alive, folks.

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