Throughout my years as a Muslim, I’ve never felt victimized when someone’s ignorance of Islam caused them to say or do something to me and/or my family. My husband and I will never forget these two instances:
First, a neighbor was arguing with my then 7-year-old-daughter. He insisted he was not lying, even though there were witnesses also debating with him. Out of anger, he ran to his house to get the Bible and started yelling at her: “I’m a Catholic! I’m putting my hand on the Bible…I didn’t lie! I’m not lying!” and trying to force her to do the same to “Swear to God!” he was shouting at her.
In her innocence, she said matter of factly (not defensively or in raised tones like him, “That’s not my book, and I will not put my right hand on it to swear to God. I am a Muslim, my book is the Qur’an, and I didn’t tell the lie.” My husband and I were SO proud of her, we rewarded her handsomely because when his mother came yelling, “How DARE you let your daughter bring religion to our children’s friendship! X-name came in the house crying, telling me what YOUR daughter said.”
All we had to do is pull my daughter and ask her to share what happened to Mrs. X, since we didn’t even know the details. But, given my daughter’s confidence and nonchalant attitude, as she was already paying other games, we knew something was not right. All the kids defended my daughter’s side of the story.
Mrs. X started yelling and screaming at her son for “bringing religion into their friendship.” Our families and the kids were never close again simply because trust, honor, and respect was broken–and the lies caused them to jump to conclusion that we were at fault. To this day, my daughter still asks, how could he be so sure of his lie, and still put his hand and swear on his book…our only reply, “People practice differently.”
The second time, two years later, the same daughter was called a “terrorist” by a public-school kid, the day before they were supposed to enroll into classes.
Needless to say, the experiences we had from Muslims regarding our strong practice of Islam were actually FAR worse than these two instances. Our response again is, “People practice differently.”
There’s no need to share right and wrong because it’s so blatantly honest, but we always take time to discuss all instances, feelings, and consequences as they result. We also remind our daughters that:
Say, I seek refuge in Allah. (Then you should desist from doing what you are in doubt about.)
Say, I believe in Allah and His Messenger.
Recite the ayat, “He is the First and the Last, the Most High and the Most Near. And He is the Knower of All Things. (in Arabic) [Qur’an 57:3]
I wholeheartedly believe maintaining a strong tight relationship with children, in which you can discuss anything and everything openly, is the key to creating devout servants of Allah, subhanahu wa Ta’ala. Do you agree?
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