Alhamdulillah, I’ve had a lot of good days in a row. Every Sunday I go to a weekly class, and today’s was very interesting. We had a guest teacher and he gave a really good, refreshing talk. Basically, he talked about being Muslim in the United States and how we face a different environment from Muslims in other countries and from earlier times. He talked about how the message of only one God, which was such a profound message back in the Prophet’s (S) day, isn’t a big issue here. Instead of trying to preach about God and our beliefs, in order for Muslims to really grow and become a “normal” part of American society, we just need to live our lives, communicate normally with our neighbors, and stop trying to desperately defend ourselves against every person who says something negative about Islam. (This isn’t word for word what he said, and he said a lot of other things along with it, but this is just one of the ideas I got from his talk.)
Going off of that sentiment, I want to share one of the reasons why I started blogging. Lately, in the past couple years, while I haven’t been personally attacked for being Muslim, I’ve seen an increasing amount of interviews and online memes and comments by angry online people saying very negative and closed-minded things about Muslims. When I initially started noticing this, I became so angry and wanted to reply to every single comment about why they are wrong. I kept trying to go out of my way to demonstrate that Muslims are “just like you” and possibly even better, but nothing very positive came out of that. To the people I was arguing with, it was just more argument and no actual listening was taking place. I would see other people angrily reply to anti-Islam comments only to gain even more hate from even more angry people. Over the past few years, I’ve developed a new stand and way to respond to the “anti-Islam” issue that seems to be plaguing every single Islam-related youtube video, news article, or interview: Just stop with the arguing. We shouldn’t have to change the way we act, go out of our way to make a point, or get so emotional over little arguments with strangers on the internet. If we just live our lives using the Prophet Muhammad (S) as our model, that in and of itself will be a message to anyone and everyone that we don’t need their arguments. If these “haters” want to accuse us of being violent or oppressive or whatever, when they see us living normal lives, enjoying life, and being good-natured people, they will have no grounds for hate and the larger, more silent population of the people will see the truth for what it is instead of angry, overly-emotional, unproductive arguments online.
I’m not trying to start any movements, or “right the wrongs” with this blog. I just want to share my life – not just my religion but my life, which I call Islam – with whoever will listen. My response to the haters is no longer arguing; it’s moving on with my life so that the haters will have one less person to yell at. When you read this, I want you to take in who I am: an American Muslim girl just trying to live my life. You’d be surprised at the difference between trying to appear normal and actually being normal. We shouldn’t have to try to show everyone how great we are. We should just be. That is what I am attempting to do.
(Side note: When I say “haters”, I mean anyone who doesn’t like “Muslims” as a population. “Haters” does not mean “non-Muslims”. It does not mean “Americans.” It means any person from any culture with any beliefs who uses the internet to share hateful words against Muslims as a whole. Just as we don’t want to haters to think all Muslims are alike, we can’t say that all Americans are alike. In both groups of people, there are the angry haters (who are just a small fraction of the population) and the greater majority who become a victim of stereotypes. Everyone loses when we give fuel to the fire of hatred.)
Now I will end with a beautiful ayah I read today. I read the translation of all of Surah Muhammad (Surah 47) today, and let me just say that so far that is my favorite surah in the Qur’an. Remember the pep talk set of ayahs from Surah An-Nahl on Day 2? This whole surah is like a pep talk. I’m not 100% sure if that is why it is called Surah Muhammad, but as I was reading it, it felt like the words were being directed to the Prophet himself and his companions as they were being attacked by the Meccans. Anyway, I found in it a really vivid description of Heaven which is always nice to share :). Ayah 15 says, “(Here is) a story about the Paradise which the righteous are promised: In it are rivers of water made pure and clean; Rivers of milk whose taste never changes; Rivers of wine, joy to those who drink; And rivers of honey, pure and clear. In it, there are for them all kinds of fruits; And forgiveness (and grace) from their Lord. (Can those in these Gardens) be compared to those who shall live, forever in the Fire, and be given, to drink, boiling water, so that it cuts up their stomachs (to pieces)?”
Whenever you are struggling with doing the right or wrong thing, just think of this ayah. Pure, delicious flowing rivers or boiling stomach-cutting water? It’s up to you and how you choose to live your life.
*IFTAR PICTURE OF THE DAY*
Fruit Salad and Hot Dog Biscuits made by my aunts
For dinner, Chicken Kheema made by my aunt, Lasagna made by my mom, and Lamb Nihari made by one of the students in the class (with Naan Bread)