Muslims are generally not represented well in mainstream media. That’s far from a newsflash—and it’s quite the understatement. We’re shown to be violent, oppressive, barbaric, backwards….the sad, sad list goes on. When I read the skewed headlines and hear the non-experts talk for us, I often wonder how can anyone believe this nonsense?
But I’m sort of spoiled—fortunate, actually. I live on a street surrounded by my Muslim family members and a musallah. At prayer times, I see my uncle in his kurta and topi walk diagonally across his front lawn, then across our shared street to go pray in jamaah with my dad, my other uncle, and anyone else who happens to stop by for prayer.
I went to an Islamic school for the bulk of my middle and high school years. All of my classmates and teachers were Muslim. I went to a college that boasts diversity. I had a number of Muslims in a number of my classes. Some of my professors were Muslim, and there were plenty of organizations with Muslim students serving as president and other board members. So yeah, Alhamdulillah—very fortunate.
Most people I come across throughout my life agree with me regarding the biased news spewed from the stations. I can’t help but feel sort of bad for those who believe what they hear on there is the truth. It seems the headlines get worse every day—”Man Admits to Plotting to Massacre Muslims, Judge Sets Him Free Anyway” and “Radical Islam is Running Wild”—to name a couple.
But despite the headlines, the non-experts talking garbage, and the groups who kill their own in the name of Islam itself…despite all of it—people still find peace in this deen. People who identified as Muslim all their life and people who may have never thought they’d come near it.
Last week, a young man accepted Islam at a masjid in New Jersey—a masjid that shares the town with my alma mater that boasts that diversity and open-mindedness.
It was really beautiful to witness actually. The ugliness thrown left and right about Islam by those who want everyone to hate it can’t stop Allah from allowing light to enter the hearts in this month of Ramadan. Matthew mentioned chance in the video up top…but it’s something far greater than chance. That’s Allah’s guidance. Like the Imam quoted from the Qur’an:
لَّيْسَ عَلَيْكَ هُدَاهُمْ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ
“Not upon you, [O Muhammad], is [responsibility for] their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills.” —Qur’an 2:272