American Muslims in 2011: The Year We Start Looking in the Mirror


The overwhelming majority of Muslim Americans are hard working, law abiding, and peaceful. human beings. I think that most Americans are aware of this despite the efforts of those who are convinced of the opposite and are hell bent upon demonizing our faith and playing upon the fears and misunderstandings many Americans have about Islam and Muslims.
It’s quite natural for adherents of any faith to wish that they are viewed favorably by others. After all, who wants to be vilified and looked upon with suspicion, even if it’s only by a few? Perhaps once we understand that the opposition that one encounters to ones faith is one of the tests if faith, we’ll not put so much stock in people’s perceptions.
I’m of the opinion that no matter how much we engage in interfaith dialogue, high profile public relations campaigns or civil umbrage, we will not be able to convince everyone to look upon Islam and Muslims favorably. I’m not saying that there’s no value in any of these activities, what I am saying is that we should aspire to much more than merely gaining public favor. This is not an electoral campaign, this is our salvation that’s at stake.
So in the interest of what’s beneficial for us as Muslims in the long run, I am suggesting that we re-examine our motives in seeking to gain favorable sentiments of Muslims and Islam. We should make sure that we apply godly purpose to our actions, and that our deeds are in agreement with our sacred Scriptures . By doing so, we ensure that whatever ranking we find ourselves and our faith in public opinion polls, we are in good standing with the Almighty Lord that we prostrate our heads to.
According to prophetic tradition, deeds are reckoned by the intention. For the Muslim, in order for a deed to have spiritual reward (thawaab), it must have amongst other things, godly purpose.
If we want to convince the world that Muslims are a peaceful people, then we should commit ourselves to peace and become peacemakers. Not for the sake of public opinion, but for the sake of our own souls and doing what is right. If we want to convince others that we are tolerant, then we should demonstrate tolerance to each other as well as to those who wrong us. Not for the sake of our own ego and popularity, but for sake of Allah be He Exalted and Glorified.
We should begin with ourselves and within our own faith. There is more than enough Muslim on Muslim fighting, killing, intolerance, and hostility going on to keep us busy for a long time to come. Let this year be the year we start worrying about our own souls first. Myself included. May Allah guide us and show mercy. Wal Allahu Al-Musta’aan
Imam Luqman Ahmad

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