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More on Writerly Courage: Malala Yousafzai

October 14, 2012

In her CNN interview, Malala was asked what she would say to a girl who’s doesn’t have the kind of courage she does, who is too frightened to speak up and wants to stay in her room.

Don’t stay in your room because God will ask you on the Day of Judgment: where were you when your people were asking you, when your school fellows were asking you, and when your school was asking you that I am being blown up? When your people need you, you should come up . . . and you should stand up for their rights.

I’ve met more than my fair share of educated Pakistanis who are so disgusted by groups like the Taliban that they fault religion as a whole, and as a result commit some terrible version of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

This beautiful, brave girl tells us that it is just not possible to condemn the Taliban while being a Muslim: it’s necessary. She is effectively reminding us of the following saying by the Prophet Muhammad:

Whomever among you sees an evil, then let him stop it with his hand. Whomever is not able, then with his tongue, and whomever is not able, then with his heart. And that is the weakest of faith.

Maybe this is another manifestation of faith in strange times: that we, ironically enough, find ourselves having to fight faith with faith.

May Allah grant Malala a complete recovery and a long, fruitful, and blessed life. May He keep our hearts from becoming heedless because of seeing those who commit atrocities in the name of religion.

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