Muslim and...proud?

>> Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Is it a bad thing that a lot of my friends do not know that I am Muslim. I never really mention it.

Assalam-o-alaykum wa rahmatullah hee wa barakatahu sister! :)

Your question, unfortunately, is a reflection of many a youth's dilemma today-that of an identity crisis. We've all at some stage gone through it, in one form or another. Sadly, the Muslim youth today is being targeted at so many levels through the media, social networks and many other things that is not balanced by a thorough knowledge of Islam.
Before I answer your question specifically, let me just quote a very well-known hadith:
It is narrated on the authority of Amirul Mu'minin, Abu Hafs 'Umar bin al-Khattab, radiyallahu 'anhu, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, say:
"Actions are (judged) by motives (niyyah), so each man will have what he intended. Thus, he whose migration (hijrah) was to Allah and His Messenger, his migration is to Allah and His Messenger; but he whose migration was for some worldly thing he might gain, or for a wife he might marry, his migration is to that for which he migrated."[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

Keeping this in mind, let's tackle issue number 1-not mentioning that you're Muslim and if that's a bad thing, or not. Let me first ask you, is there a specific reason for you to not mention to your friends that you're Muslim? Are you ashamed of being a Muslim in light of all the anti-Muslim media coverage? Are you unsure of whether it's a good thing to be Muslim? Are you afraid of how your friends might react to the news? Are you afraid of being shunned by everyone or even bullied?

You see the answer to your question lies in the hadith. If you refrain from mentioning it because you live in a place with high anti-Muslim sentiments (more than normal) and might be target of not only mental but physical bullying then in my humble opinion, it’s okay, and the answer for you finishes here.
However, if nothing like that is going to happen, and you're just afraid of getting 'weird looks' or being 'looked down upon for being backward' then I am afraid you need to read on.

*puts on serious people glasses*
(^Sorry for that, but being 'in the mode' helps me answer better :D )

I am just going to say one thing, straight and simple (and really, there is no other way to say this)-be proud of who you are and be thankful and grateful for it. You could've been born a non-Muslim and then where would you be? By not being proud of Islam, you're being ungrateful instead of thankful for the HUGE favour conferred upon you by Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala).

Allah(subhanahu wa ta'ala) mentions in Surah Maidah:
This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) tells us in the Quran that not only is Islam perfect, but it is His favour upon us and He Himself approved (or chosen according to some translations) Islam for us. Should we not be prouder than proud of something given to us by Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) when we are so proud of worldly achievements? He gave us a way of life, all gift wrapped in shiny wrapping paper, we didn't even have to wander blindly for ages or to search for it and then spent time learning it, unlike people who revert so we should be even more grateful!

Now you might ask, how exactly is one proud of Islam? One might feel proud about something in their heart. After all, it’s what's in the heart that counts, right? Welll...yes. And no. (Oops, veering off of topic here-more about this later in a more relevant post). For now, suffice it to say that when something is inside you, is present within every beat of your heart, is a strong strong emotion, it generally shows itself in some way or another. Hands up all people who've been embarrassed (a tiny bit, during teenage) by their parents who were 'bursting due to pride' when you aced a test, or won a race, or came first in class-small achievements but very big for the parents. *raises hand* They go around telling people about it. They walk around with a proud smile. They thump your back a dozen times a day. Trust me, it shows. Thus if we are proud of Islam, it shows in our every action. It shows in our following of Sunnah of the Prophet (salallahu alayhee wasallam). It shows in our character, when we refrain from things like lying and backbiting because Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) has forbidden them for us. It shows when we stay away from activities which might be the norm, just because it's not the way of the Salaf. It shows when we leave whatever we're doing, and rush towards salah when the Muezzin makes adhaan. It shows when we tell our friends that we're Muslims, and tell them about this special religion.

Not only this, but Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) has also mandated certain guidelines in dress for women, just so they could be recognized as Muslim women:
O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.

Therefore, Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) wants us to be recognized as Muslim women (and men). And if Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) wants that for us, then it must be a good thing and we should want it for ourselves too!

Before I finish, let me highlight some benefits of telling your friends you're Muslim:

1) Peace of mind- you're obviously disturbed/uneasy about the fact that most of your friends don't know that you're Muslim. Well, once you tell them, that unease shall be gone forever! *poof*

2) You'll find out who your true friends are. If this hesitation stems from the fact that you feel that these people won't be your friends anymore or distance themselves once they know you're Muslim, then so be it! The ones that stick by will be the ones who are your real friends. Really, your friends can't be real friends until they know your basic structure and for a Muslim, Islam IS the basic structure. It's our identity. It defines our choices in life. It is our Deen-our way of life. So if someone isn't comfortable with your way of life-would you really want to be friends with them? I know I can only be good friends with people I'm entirely comfortable and at ease with, people around whom I can be myself.

3) It's an opportunity for dawah! Might be that some of the people in your friends circle are looking to 
know more about Islam but want to turn towards a Muslim rather than the media, which many people are now realizing can be misleading. Or can be that someone's curiosity gets sparked and they get interested in Islam once they find out you're Muslim. Or could be that someone is depressed or sad-as research tells us most people are unless they have a purpose in life (and what greater purpose than the purpose we were made for?!)-and they hear you tell something about Islam and they come towards it and finally find peace! The opportunities are endless!

So here's what I need you to do. Think hard about why you don't mention it (be truthful!), once you've realized the root cause, work towards eradicating it. Listen to lectures where speakers talk about the beauty of Islam, about Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala), about the Prophet (sallalahu alayhee wasallam) and how he (sallalahu alayhee wasallam) used to cry and make dua for his Ummah (yes that's you and me!), about the Sahaba and the Muslims of the past who went through trials for Islam (we consider people who accepted the faith of the past Prophet's (alayhee salaam) as Muslims too!), who walked proud on earth as Muslims, even when they were humiliated and tortured. Listen to conversion stories, a lot of reverts speak about how they used to know some Muslims and they never told them about the beauty of Islam and they went through a lot of struggle to eventually discover it. Let it all sink in. Take a deep breath. Smile. And let the change begin!

I make dua that Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) makes it easy for you and others in a similar situation, and that others benefit from you and us. Ameen! 

Love and hugs,

5 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Anonymous,  February 26, 2014 at 3:01 AM  

Dear Different Yet Similar,
Thank you very much for anwering my question. I'm the one who sent it in and your answer was really helpful. I really appreciate the time you took it in to answer it. You are right that Allah has favored us with Islam. And right about the other things, too! Jazakyillah khayran =)

Zooney Looney March 4, 2014 at 8:19 AM  

How can we send questions?? Thanks!

Little Auntie March 9, 2014 at 4:34 AM  

Zooney, we actually have a contact page on the blog which we put up when we are accepting questions (so that readers can send in their questions anonymously). Unfortunately, right now we're already swamped with questions and are no longer receiving any new ones (so we've taken the page down). Do try checking our database, though. You may find a similar question, inshaAllah.
May Allah make things easier for you <3

Umm Shareef,  March 15, 2014 at 1:44 PM  

Asalamu aleykum,

I think it is very important that we identify ourselves to other people as Muslims and our dress code has a very important part to play in this. We should all familiarize ourselves and do our best to follow what Allah subhanahu wa ta'alaa has ordained in the way we dress, as with everything else. Alhumdulillah I have recently started to wear the niqaab and not only does it provide additional protection, but it has the benefit of clearly identifying the wearer as a Muslimah, providing numerous dawah opportunities.

Owais June 6, 2014 at 5:11 AM  

MA SHAA ALLAH May Allah reward you very nice blog
May Allah give us health in Ramadan

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Asalamu aialkum!
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