by Zaid Kadir (British Columbia, Canada)
It’s no secret Muslims around the world are currently facing very difficult times. From stereotyping to harassment to even murder—the tests of today are surely taking their toll. In many cases, a Muslim’s very identity seems to attract negative attention.
Like everyone else in North America and the greater West, Muslims work and go to school, they shop and eat, and they go about their daily lives. The problems arise when Muslims can’t find jobs because of their names, when women in hijab face harassment, and other hate crimes rear their ugly heads. On top of all this, the media’s portrayal of Muslims based on an extreme minority certainly does not help.
However, the underlying question here is: What is the solution?
Generally speaking, hiding one’s identity is not the solution. Muslims should walk today with their faith at an all-time high. Indeed, Allah tests us. But with every test we pass, we will only get closer to Him, insha’Allah.
How do we pass a test that points accusatory fingers at our very identity? “Name” is usually the first blank we are all used to filling at the top of any exam—but when even our names seem to “pose a threat,” what do we do? No one said the tests would be easy, but here are some steps that may help:
1. Make Du`ah
This should always be No. 1 on a list like this. Ask the Almighty to increase your strength and help you remain steadfast. He is the One who tests us, and only He can remove the difficulties.
2. Go to the Masjid
Ah, your safe-haven! If you don’t already live close to the masjid, seriously consider moving near one. This is the place where all Muslims and non-Muslims should be able to learn about the real Islam. The masjid should ideally act like a community center for:
- The Youth: Our youngsters should feel comfortable in the masjid, where they can engage in recreational activities and have interactive discussions about how to implement Islam into their daily lives. This can help strengthen their own Muslim identity and bonds with other young members of the community.
- Social Services: The masajid need to offer services to help those in need. They should serve as the go-to place for members of the community who suffer abuse, harassment, discrimination, etc. The helping hands and advice offered from the leaders of our Muslim community in the masjid can assist in taking the individual to a higher-level authority should further action be needed.
- Educational Programs: The masjid should offer programs, such as da`wah initiatives for non-Muslims and dars to teach Muslims lessons from the Qur’an and Sunnah. This will help to eliminate confused members of the local Muslim and non-Muslim society opting for Shaykh Google and inevitably coming across false information.
3. Connect with an Imam
Reach out to a maulana or an imam to connect with your community if this is something your area lacks in. This leader should be:
- Able to interact with your community. This may require knowledge of a certain language other than English and Arabic.
- A graduate from a well-known school (madrasa) or learnt under respectable, knowledgable teachers to ensure he has a proper understanding of Islam, and therefore, is able to correctly teach others.
- Able to communicate with government officials and non-Muslims. This is especially important today. Community and government relations are necessary to express your needs, whether it be for da`wah, safety and security, or otherwise.
May Allah make it easy for all the Muslims around the world. Ameen.
Zaid Kadir was born and raised in Canada. He has finished four years of Marine engineering. Currently, he is finishing up a two year Islamic Comprehensive program with al-Ihsan. He has been active in the da`wah field and volunteers in his local community.