By: Sr. Nada Blassy
It seems as though not a week goes by without reading an article or hearing a news report about another “radical Muslim”. Without a doubt, these media reports may negatively influence how others see Islam and Muslims; they may also negatively influence our behavior and morale. Many of us may feel defeated and belittled. This should not be the case; it is our duty as Muslims to flip the picture around and be the ideal examples for everyone around us, because the example of one good Muslim could change someone’s outlook on Islam forever.
Islam is not just a religion, but a way of life. Allah (swt) and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught us how to act in every social interaction. Muslims should be mindful, caring people that can fit into society because of their peaceful, humble behavior. By people knowing Muslims, they will get to know Islam and its true beauty.
Muslims should excel in all they do, so that they are recognized for their accomplishments and achievements. Muslims should serve those around them, so that they are recognized for their voluntarism and their commitment to social service.
Muslims should not be ashamed of their Islam and should not try to fade away into the background. They should not change their names to more “socially acceptable” ones, thinking they can get better jobs; women should not wear immodest clothing and forsake their hijab, thinking they will move up higher on the career ladder.
Muslims should take pride in who they are, because Islam is the best and most perfect religion. Shying away from what Islam teaches will only confirm others' misconceptions of what Islam is truly about.
Muslims should stand up for what is right and do their part by being good citizens. By being true to their faith and by abiding by what Allah SWT and the Prophet SAWS have taught them, they will find that people treat them with respect and look at them with admiration; people will see the true side of Islam; people who were once Islamophobic may realize that they had misjudged both Islam and Muslims.
Life is not always easy, but we need to keep our heads held high and remain steadfast in both our faith and our actions. We need to not let the inaccurate portrayals of Islam in the media negatively affect us, because we know that Islam is not as they portray it. In times of difficulty, we need to turn to Allah SWT for support. As it teaches us in the Quran: "And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for Al-Khashiun” (2:45).