Spreading Dawa: How to Implement It in Our Daily Lives
by Ayah Chehade Universal School
Islamophobia is generally defined as fear and prejudice towards Islam and Muslims. If you were to ask a random person on the street what Islam meant in one word they’d probably come up with millions of possibilities, some rather ridiculous. Now why is this? The answer is clear; Although Americans are eager to learn about Islam, they also rely heavily on the media to answer their questions about our religion due to the decreased involvement of Muslim Youth in society.
We can easily announce for all Muslims to scream out what our religion is all about, but is it really that simple? The problem isn’t only that we neglect spreading dawa, but that we neglect simply knowing our religion. For Muslim youth, educating ourselves about our Islamic values and implementing them has become less and less important and more of an extra credit assignment. We fail to realize that to be examples of the simplicity and peace of our religion we must first understand it ourselves. Modern society has delved Young Youth under into a world of superficiality and materialism, when in truth we should be understanding our limits and balancing our duties as Muslims. Living in a world where the hottest debate topic is Islam and wearing the hijab is a sign of so-called oppression, interaction with non-muslims is difficult for some. Knowing more about our religion and realizing how beautiful it is builds self-assurance and prepares us for the world outside of our homes where we will be faced with questions from college students and beyond.
There are many simple and easy ways to better understand our roles as Muslims:
1. Get involved with the masjid and socialize with Muslims living in a similar society, this will help you relate with them and build pride for your religion. Create a Muslim group and meet often. Read Quran together or discuss its translation. Pick an Islamic teen book to discuss and share stories of your shortcomings and successes in the matter of dawa, etc.
2. Many non-Muslims are actually rather eager to learn about Islam and who Muslims really are, so interfaith programs are a great way to brush up on your speaking skills and learn to answer questions about your own religion. Plus, you can easily change people’s views on Islam since the media tends to distort it and exaggerate unimportant aspects.
3. We can spread dawa by simply going to the mall. How is this? If we perform casual tasks in a respectful and civil manner we portray Islam in a peaceful approach. The way we treat people, the way we dress, the things we do, and what we say all append to create our reputation which is ultimately what creates the opinions non-Muslims have about Muslims. If non-Muslims solely rely on the media and what they see at casual locations, it is our duty to uphold our religion and be examples of Islam.
4. The internet: The internet serves as an immense part of our society, and anti-islamic sites and blogs are increasingly popular. With censorship and propaganda creeping into the news and magazines discreetly, people tend to receive the wrong idea about Islam. Start a blog, or comment on Islamaphobic websites respectfully explaining and correcting false accusations directed toward Muslims. Get involved in the media because it ultimately formulates the opinions people have.
5. Last but certainly not least, be proud of who you are as a Muslim. It really is a privilege to understand this beautiful religion at such a young age. Recognize this and speak out with confidence. Most importantly, recognize that Islam is a way of life. It isn’t part of our life, it is our life.
The degree of involvement of Muslim adults is evident, but we also need Muslim teens to step out and portray our religion in a good manner as a part of our daily schedules. If we do this we show that we can be normal, respectful American citizens while upholding Islam as our way of life.
Determination and How it Affects Society Today
by Khadija Snowber 8th Grade Aqsa School
What do we think when we hear determination? We think of goals, intention, motivation, and drive. Determination is defined as firmness of purpose, will, or intention. It is also defined as the process of deciding on or establishing a course of action; and a fixed purpose or resolution. If we take a deeper perspective on determination, we will connect this word to our faith and religion, Islam. Who can we relate this virtue to? The prophets; they were all determined to spread Islam and be obedient slaves to Allah (SWAT).
If none of the prophets were determined to spread the message from Allah (SWAT), then where would we be today? If the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) was not determined, the message of Islam would have never reached all over the world, and ignorance would be greater than it already is today. All the prophets were either driven out of their homes, lost their families or had people refuse to accept the message that there is only one God. Despite all of the harassment, abuse, and suffering, the prophets still stood strong and were determined to continue being good, faithful Muslims, and spread the Message of Islam from Allah(SWAT).
Determination is what it takes to be a better Muslim. If all Muslims were determined to follow Islam to the best of their ability, the Ummah wouldn’t be the way it is today. By having the determination to amend the Ummah, we can strive for something positive. We would accept what is halal without doubts, and we would keep far away from haram. We would agree and work together, and there would be peace among us the way it was originally planned out to be. The word Ummah literally means one whole Muslim nation, not 20 different nations/ countries that are split. No, Ummah means one and only one whole Muslim nation. Think about how if we set goals as an Ummah, we can achieve the biggest goal, to be better united because we are working together through all of the smaller goals and achievements.
As we have seen, the prophets (SAWS) all have struggled to spread the message of Islam; however, they were determined to keep trying and not quit because they didn’t feel like it. From a small goal like turning homework in on time, to a larger goal like uniting the Ummah; if we are really determined, we can successfully fulfill our goals and dreams.