Reflections of a Muslim Outreach Worker (part 2)
“You will never understand a man until you walk a mile in his shoes.”
Many times we get blind-sided by our negative emotions: fear, disappointment, anger, resentment, etc. We become intolerant of the shortcomings we see in others, but we don’t look closely at ourselves. You will find that some of the best people you know are people of other faiths, and by “best people” I mean people who are ethical, caring, and altruistic; people who are civil and well-mannered.
The Prophet’s (pbuh) trademark in dealing with ignorance was mercy. At no point should Muslims have our noses in the air. We should focus on keeping a soft heart towards everyone because this is what our Prophet taught. While it is true that many of today’s Muslims are full of hate and rage, I would argue that MANY MORE, in fact, the majority, are not this way.
They are quietly and humbly trying to live a God-conscious life and keep their families fed, educated, and raised. That is why we always remind people that we must look to what Islam teaches at its source (Qur’an and Hadith) in order to judge, not what the followers of Islam do.
Humans make mistakes, often even critical and chronic ones, but the final arbiter is Allah, not people. It is for this reason we see the wisdom of constant reminders and returning to the Book of Allah for spiritual renewal and rejuvenation. The rituals and worship of Islam are cyclical, in that every day, week, month, and year there is a reminder to bring those who have become negligent or heedless of Allah can refresh their relationship with the Creator and become aware and grateful to Allah. On the daily basis, we have the ritual prayers and supplications. On the weekly basis, we have the Friday sermon and the recommended fasting. On the monthly basis, we have another set of recommended fasting and recommended night prayers. And on the yearly basis, we have the month of Ramadan and the month of Hajj. This is how individual Muslims can polish their personality and reconnect with their Creator. As the Qur’an says: So remind, perhaps it will benefit the reminded. (87:9)
About the Author
Ahmed Lotfy Rashed was born in Egypt and raised in Maryland. Since coming to Boston in 2004, he has been an active volunteer at several mosques in the Greater Boston Area. He has been the head instructor for the local Islam101 class since 2006. Also, he has been a volunteer for WhyIslam.org since 2009. He has presented Islam at schools and churches, and he has hosted visits to several major mosques in the area.
Ahmed’s debut book, What Would a Muslim Say: Conversations, Questions, and Answers About Islam, is available on Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N7V28AK.
You can find more samples of the author’s work — plus free presentations, lecture notes, and resource guides — at http://www.whatwouldamuslimsay.net.