By Umar Azam

I don’t really watch the news much anymore because it seems like every time I do, there is always some guy that makes the Islamic name and community look bad. On top of that it gets so much coverage that it is the only thing you see for days. As a result of that, Muslims have to deal with the backlash of actions they themselves would never even think of doing. Islam in reality, is a beautiful religion and I am happy to have been born into it. The following sub-topics are the reasons why I’m happy to be a Muslim.

Charity: Islam has a huge focus on charity. There is a big blessing and reward from helping anyone in their time of need whether it is through monetary means or more practical means (food, water, shelter, and clothes). During the month of Ramadan (which is currently underway) Muslims are encouraged to share their gloriously made food with the people who are less fortunate and usually have a hard time finding their own. And while they are your guests, open your home to them and give them a warm place to rest while they enjoy your food. We do this not because we hope to attain some personal gain from it, but rather because it is the right thing to do.

Fasting (Ramadan): Fasting is not just about not eating or drinking anything the whole day. It is more like a month-long test of your perseverance and your ability to resist temptation to indulge (or overly indulge) in things that seem attractive at first, but can actually hurt your mind and body. Fasting can also give you insight on the lives of the people who may not have the same luxuries as you ( food, water, etc). Ramadan is a test of your patience to see if you can get through a hardship with confidence and hope in your heart that you can get through it without effort.

Justice: The Qur’an (basically the rule book of Islam). Lays out very clearly how to deal with certain social situations. In some cases it even tells you forgive the people who have wronged you, making you the bigger and better person; and who knows maybe even win the respect and friendship of the same person. There are accounts that tell of the times when Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) handled such situations. One time, a Bedouin assassin was sent to him to make an attempt on his life. But as soon as Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) saw him, he was able to detect ill intent.  Then, Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) told him that if he was honest about why he was here, he would be allowed to live. This kind and just gesture eventually led the assassin to accept Islam.

These are some of the many reasons that make me proud to be a Muslim. In a world surrounded by blind and hasty generalizations, it is our job to spread the message of peace, to be the bigger person. It is up to us to spread more happiness, love, and brother/sisterhood in the world. That is exactly what my beautiful religion, Islam, aims to do.


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