We go to the park almost everyday as the weather is awesome, after 8 months of below 0 weather we are enjoying 14 degrees in the sun. There are many people who come with their kids to the park, and we chat. I have realised a few things:
1. It is better to be kind, helpful and pleasant than insist that your way is the right way – improvise.
2. Talking about spirituality and peace – everyone wants it – is the best way to introduce people to your point of view and beliefs. Do not enforce them, introduce them. Open the mind to future conversations.
3. Teach your kids to share, give up the swing for a younger person, they will get their turn and create an everlasting impression about their character.
4. My knowledge, what I have learnt at school and in books will always help me – no one can destroy my mind but me.
5. A sense of humour is essential.
6. Teach your kids not to start fights, but also not to back away from someone who is doing them an injustice – not to argue for the sake of argument, walk away you do not need to defend yourself to the ignorant.
7. Always say thank you, please and smile.
I wear hijab, and so my kids and I are easily identifiable in any public area as Muslims. At first I felt that I had to defend everything we did, be super careful not to offend, but I came to the realisation that I should follow the Prophet’s example.
My first task was to get to know my neighbours, they are the ones who will vouch for me. They are the ones I need to be able to depend on in emergencies and vice versa. This is did with a simple greeting as we all go off to work/school in the morning. I now know most of my neighbours, and they know my kids. We have a relationship that we can build on, Alhamdulillah. I thought of baking for them…but my husband says that would amount to warfare as they are certain to get sick from my cooking, I beg to differ 🙂
Next, I will not let people distort Islamic teachings, just because someone is mentally deranged, understands a verse (ayah) out of context or feels betrayed and commits a reprehensible act, I will not condone it. I will not feel guilty, I will feel as much pain for a person who suffers far away as I feel for a person wronged close to home. The prophet never told us that only Muslims deserved our empathy, kindness and prayers. He was sent to guide all humanity, and we should also be examples to all humanity. If we hate someone, or feel they are inferior how can we empathise or leave the channels of communication open? The Quran says in Surah Isra (17:70)
We have honoured the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favours, above a great part of our creation.
Allah has honoured all of mankind, so I will follow that. All life is sacred.
Lastly, I will not be insensitive. Imagine yourself in a situation where people are that way, so learn from that. Always walk away from a person who does no know any better instead of stooping to their level. That is the Sunnah. So do not get caught up in distortions of the our faith, study it, in context and learn how to apply it in your life – after all it is the way to live.