Nowadays we hear so many negative messages about Muslims. Media plays a large part in forming our opinions and impressions about Muslims and Islam. We often are not able to differentiate between Islam and Muslims. Recently I watched an Islamic teaching TV program where the guest speaker was responding to the backlash of opinions and impressions voiced by non-Muslims. I could pick it up that it is not easy to be a Muslim in the West right now. The guest speaker shared how many Muslims feel confused, hurt, angry, discouraged and frustrated because their religion is being equated with terrorism which she did not consider synonymous. Muslims and non-Muslims are becoming more polarized and keeping their distance from one another. I tried to put myself in the guest’s shoes. I was at least thankful that I have come to know many Muslims over the past four decades. It sure makes a difference when you know Muslims personally. I do not have to agree with the whole religion, which I don’t, but I can love the Muslims God has put on my path. Not everything I have observed is positive yet they have taught me some very good things.
My Muslim friends have taught me about:
· warm and generous hospitality especially to strangers.
· community probably more than anyone else.
· modesty in dress. I feel they carry it too far, nevertheless, they do uphold the virtue of modesty.
· the high value placed on virginity(at least for females) before marriage.
· a sacrificial lifestyle; especially in regards to caring for their children. I wish they could implement wiser boundaries in living sacrificially but nevertheless they do know how to sacrifice which is sometimes difficult for my culture to live out.
· femininity. My culture is losing sight of its mystique.
· being an independent woman is not everything it is made out to be. It is not 100% bad or wrong to be dependent on a husband – again, within wise boundaries.
· feeling comfortable speaking with all generations; not just my own age group.
· a few things about prayer even though there is need for them to understand the direct connection between Jesus and the Father. I am attracted to the way they kneel and raise their hands before God. It is noteworthy how they always worship before giving their requests; unlike us who usually have a long list of urgent needs.
· simple funerals and lamenting. They fully enter into grief and recover quicker I think.
If you would get to know Muslims the way I have you might be surprised you could actually learn something positive! It really helps in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ when I can see some good in them. For more on my thoughts check out the Discoveries page on my blog.
Dear heavenly Father, open my eyes to see the good in my Muslim friends and neighbors. In Jesus’ name, Amen.