Be The Change
To My Babies,
Today we went for Jummuah. The khutbah was short and sweet and as usual, a refreshing reminder. The imam spoke of the arrival of Syrian refugees and encouraged us to be supportive in helping the newcomers settle.
You know about the refugees coming here. You even made and collected cards to welcome them to Canada. You know there’s a war. You know people are being killed, misplaced and suffering. Your little hearts desire to help and your eyes look at me searching for answers to why this is happening. But the nature of childhood allows you to forget. So we do what we can, whether it be donating or making dua, and life kinda just goes on.
There was another part of the khutbah and I’m not really sure if caught it your attention or not. The imam made reference to the tests and trials many of our brothers and sisters are going through ‘south of the boarder.’ Their test doesn’t involve weapons (for the most part) or war, or displacement. But there is an attack, and this one hits a little closer to home, and is not exclusive to those south of us.
Without a doubt, the atrocities happening in war torn countries far surpass the attack on Islam in the West, but for some reason, I have a much easier time discussing the former with you. It seems more painful, but it seems more simpler. Does that mean my judgement is skewed? It seems kind of ironic and to be honest, I really don’t know why.
I haven’t told you that here, in your home country, people are hating others just because of the way they look. Because the people they hate, look like you, like your mother, like your father. I haven’t told you that here, where you, your mother, your grandparents, and even your great grandparents we born, people are screaming ‘go home’ to people like you. I haven’t told you how hate has blinded people to insult and fear the religion you follow, and the God that you worship.
You have no idea that when I take you to the library, I can’t help but wonder if the sour face on the woman that passes us is because she’s simply had a bad day, or she has something against Muslims. You don’t see the nervous smile I flash at the man beside me when we’re stopped at a red light as I also wonder about him.
I haven’t told you. I don’t want to tell you. But I know one day I will have to. We have briefly spoken about slavery, racism, and discrimination. But that all seems like something long ago and far away. But this is here and now.
One day you will turn on the news, see the hijabi that was beaten up or the mesjid that was burned down and you will make the connection. You will realize that you are linked to that misdirected hate. And it will hurt.
After we hurt and cry and look aimlessly for answers, we must pick ourselves up and get out there. We must not let hate win. We need to be representatives for our beautiful religion and show the world what being Muslim means. We can and may be scared, but it can’t stop us.
We must remember that Jannah is our ultimate goal. Allah has promised and sworn to us that we will be tested in this life, and this is all part of that. We should be part of the good taking place. Just as there are people hating, people are also loving. People who possibly know very little about Islam are stretching out their hands in support. Mesjids may be burned down, but Churches and Synagogues are opening their doors to accommodate their Muslim neighbours.
In a few years, you will open whatever form of social media you have and you may be bombarded with negativity. Bad news spreads like wild fire. But I want you to always look for the good. Yes, Allah has created both good and evil as a test for us in this world, but remember, there will always be good and love will prevail.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
– Mr. Rogers
For now, please stay in your innocent bubble. Live in a world where you will be a basketball player, a doctor, a fire fighter and a ice-cream-taste-tester when you grow up. Stay there where Baba is the strongest and Momma is the best cook. And when the day finally comes when racism and hatred rears its ugly head into your world, and you need help navigating through the rough waters of life, we will be here for you. When you feel like the darkness is overwhelming, look inside yourself, be the change you want to see, and I promise everything will be okay.
Love you to the moon and back,
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