Where Do We Go From Here?

Last night, Paris was hit with the worst attacks of terrorism since World War II. As suspected, ISIS claimed responsibility for these attacks as if it’s their own sick badge of honour. My prayers go out to the families of the deceased and to the injured. May they find a measure of peace in these difficult times. And also to the people of France as well; I pray that this cowardly act of barbarism doesn’t blind them to the humanity present in each and every one of us; I pray that they do not seek revenge against Muslims that, with them, denounce these radicals. Continue reading “Where Do We Go From Here?”

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Much Ado About Death

Dead roses in a vase

 

I remember the first time death touched my life.

It was my seventh or eighth birthday when Stevie, the family cat, died. Prior to that, death was just a minor inconvenience in a video game, or something that happened in movies. I knew what death was, but I didn’t fully grasp what it meant until that day. I lay in bed crying because I had finally realized the finality of death: Stevie was gone, and he wasn’t coming back.

Death came into my life many times after that.

Continue reading “Much Ado About Death”

Before you go and join ISIS…

A short letter to potential recruits

 

Salam alaikum,

Peace be with you, whoever you are. You may be a young Muslim, anywhere between 18 to 30, most likely male. Perhaps you’re a convert, swept up in the religious zeal of your newfound faith. You’re angry at the injustice going on in the world. You’re distraught by the discrimination you face as a Muslim.

Regardless, you have been drawn into the ISIS war machine by their promise of adventure and the romance of restoring the glory of Islam. Maybe your bags are already packed and you’re ready to go.

But before you board your flight to Syria or Iraq or wherever, ask yourself this simple question:

Are they merciful?

Continue reading “Before you go and join ISIS…”

Check-ins with God | Part 3

People sitting in a prayer hall for Friday Prayer.

Author Willow G. Wilson said it best in her memoir, The Butterfly Mosque: “The line levels everyone. No Muslim is exempt from it; a saint must stand shoulder to shoulder with a murderer if a murderer is who he finds to his right.”

Every Friday, Muslims gather in mosques and musallahs for congregational prayer (jum’ah). Following a brief spiritual reminder, they all condense into lines, shoulder to shoulder, foot to foot, and pray together in unison. Everyone is on equal ground before God. Continue reading “Check-ins with God | Part 3”

A Heavy Light | Part 1

How I felt when I became a Muslim.

A thick candle.

People sometimes ask me, “What was it like when you converted?” and they must be expecting some kind of rapturous event where I saw the light and felt a huge burden lift off my shoulders and my heart set free. But my conversion to Islam wasn’t so much about seeing the light, but rather realizing that the light was always there. I just didn’t realize it.

And let’s be straight: that light was heavy. Continue reading “A Heavy Light | Part 1”

Chapel Hill, Islamophobia and The Future

A man lighting candles at a vigil

It’s a sad fact that sometimes it takes death for us to spur on change. So for the Muslim students murdered in Chapel Hill—for Deah, Yusor and Razan—your deaths have not been in vain.

They were murdered execution style in their home, and if mainstream media is to be believe, it was over a parking dispute. I suppose it’s also worth mentioning that the killer was abrasively atheistic, but one’s personal beliefs shouldn’t factor into their motives, should it? I mean, if it was one zealous Muslim shooter killing three atheists the story wouldn’t be any different, right?

Right? Continue reading “Chapel Hill, Islamophobia and The Future”