One of our members has shared his insightful reflections on being a Muslim biker:
When I was asked to write about biking from a Muslim’s point of view, my initial reaction was “Huh? Errrr…”, because I couldn’t think of a way to relate the two. So I did the only thing I could think of to try and get some inspiration: I went for a ride.
Biking is a lot more ‘interactive’ than travelling by car or by train. You’re not protected from the elements as you are in a car, but that’s what makes it more exhilarating: the feel of the wind rushing past you, the engine growling underneath you, the lift of the front suspension as you open the throttle, and of course the fun of going through curves at any angle other than upright.
But this exhilaration isn’t just about speed (I’m not the sort of guy who wants to be doing 200mph while he barely manages to hang on to the handlebars – his feet flying around behind him); it’s the increased awareness of your surroundings. It’s taking the time to notice how amazing and intricate and beautiful and immense these creations of Allah actually are. It’s having your breath taken away by such beauty and wondering how ANYONE can genuinely believe that all of this happened by chance. It’s about being thankful that you know and believe the truth and realising that the Hereafter is so much more than this. This point, I believe, is missed when you’re in a car. So next time you’re out on a journey and you come across a beautiful view, do yourself a favour: stop the car, get out, and look – really look at what is there. And be thankful that you’re on the right path.
My second observation needs to be started with a tale of woe.
About 5 weeks ago I got a phone call from my garage telling me that my bike was finally MOT’d and ready to go. So I jumped on the bus in my full bike gear (and yes I did get some strange looks) to go and pick it up. I felt a mixture of elation and nervousness when I first swung my leg over the seat and hit the starter. At the time that nervousness was more to do with the fact that I hadn’t ridden a bike of this size for a couple of years, and I was trying to run as much of my training as I could remember through my head before I pulled away onto the main road.
Anyway, I digress. As I started to feel slightly comfortable to actually ride the thing, I felt the engine die underneath me. I managed to get to the side of the road, but I was unable to manage to get it started again. So I ended up having to push it home about a mile. In full bike gear. Including helmet. In the summer heat. Uphill for some of it.
Now you’re probably wondering why I’m mentioning this story, and my observation is this. During the time I was pushing the bike back I had 4 or 5 other bikers, people who I had never met or seen before, slowing down, asking me if I was ok and if I needed help. Just think about that for a minute: total strangers taking the time out of their day to check that I was alright. How often do you see this nowadays? And yet such a small gesture can make such a big difference to that person’s day.
Even now, when I’m riding around minding my own business, bikers acknowledge each other. It’s a small gesture but warming. It makes you feel part of a close-knit family. And it brings a smile to my face each time it happens.
In Islam we are advised to take care of each other; to treat your Muslim brothers the way you would want to be treated yourself. Imagine how life could be if all Muslims were looking out for each other, giving salam when they meet – whether it be a stranger or someone you know. Just that small gesture can lift a person’s heart more that you could imagine.
So try it brothers and sisters: if you see another Muslim, whether it be someone you know or not, just give them a smile and your salam; you could bring joy to their day and make them happy. After all, in a time of such hardship – especially for Muslims – isn’t that something we all could do with?