10 Ways American Muslims Can Help Save the World

By Junaid Subzwari

The world, it appears, has completely lost its mind.  It seems that our tiny planet is staged for a complete disaster with the West and Muslim world as the co-stars.  What’s sad is that all of these problems are based on misunderstandings and lies spread by hate mongers with one interest: growing their bank accounts.  To add insult to injury, citizens from the West and the Muslim world are starting to detest each because they feel the other side is this Great Evil trying to enslave them.  Then there are those caught in the middle: the American Muslims, aka, you and I.  We’re blessed with the conundrum of being, both, Muslims and Americans.  We know that Islam is not about killing the innocent, but, also know that reality tv is not the reality of Western culture.  So what’s a brother/sister to do?

A crucial problem American Muslims should understand is that the people in this country are learning Islam from the evening news.  Those profiting from spreading hate have hijacked the media and stifled the truth.  The result is that people listen to Mike Savage and never our side of the story. Hence, it becomes our job as American Muslims to pick up the slack. Because many of us are born here or have lived here since childhood, we know the language and culture of our communities.  With the help of knowledge, technology, and personality, we can touch the people around us and show that Islam prescribes many of the same values the West cherishes. Here are a few simple things that every American Muslim can do to help save the world.

1. Practice your Islam: Continue to pray, make dua, wear hijab, fast, etc.  Only by staying close to Allah (swt) and asking for His help can we accomplish anything.

2. Educate yourself: Spend time learning about Islam especially the most misunderstood parts.  You’ll be surprised how much you don’t know and you’ll be better prepared to help others understand.  People can sense whether you know what you’re talking about.  So spend time with your Imam and local scholars learning more about this deen.

3. Smile: The Prophet (saw) said that even a smile is charity.  By being polite and smiling, people will feel more comfortable around you even when your sporting a hijab or a 1 ft. beard. So when FOX news reports that Muslims are blood thirsty murderers, the image of your award winning smile will make them think twice.

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4. Be friendly with your neighbors: Make friends with your neighbors and coworkers/classmates and talk to them like normal human beings about everyday stuff.  It can be from spending a few minutes talking on the driveway to being involved with them in the school’s PTA.  By making friends with them, you’ve bridged the gaps of communication.  So when they hear lies against Islam, they’ll feel more comfortable to come talk to you about it.

5. Stand up for others: If you hear someone dropping the N-bomb or any other racial slurs about any racial/ethnic/religious group, don’t be afraid to stand up for what’s right.  Many people complain that Muslims (and other minority groups) only care about themselves.  Islam demands from us to defend the rights of everybody, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.  If we stand up for others, our neighbors will be more likely stand up for us.

6. Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer: The best way to show people the mercy of Islam is to help others around you.  There are plenty of homeless shelters, safehouses, foodbanks, etc to get involved in.  Volunteer with non-Muslims and show them that Muslims do care about problems in this society.  If you can, start a Muslim-based organization that addresses a problem in your community. It could be anything from distributing blankets in the winter to standing outside your local grocer and collecting cans for a food pantry.  There are no shortages of problems this society has and no shortages of answers in Islam.  Show people that Muslims care.

7. Highlight the good things about the West: Sure this country has many problems.  What country doesn’t?  The fact is that Western culture has many good things about it.  So don’t be afraid to tell your family and friends back on the farm about the good things of this society.  Our brothers and sisters across the ocean need to understand that the majority of Americans are not blood thirsty adulterers but are peace loving individuals that share many of the values we cherish.

8. Be active on the internet: Internet technology has enabled us to communicate with others around the globe in more ways then we can imagine.  There are tons of websites, blogs, etc., out there that promote Islam and defame it.  Get involved in the internet community and spread the truth.  Go to a newspaper website and comment on all articles there, whether it’s Muslim related or not.  The internet can be our biggest advantage and our biggest threat.  What it becomes depends on how we use it.

9. Be a model citizen: Follow the law, clean up after yourselves, don’t speed in a school zone, etc.  By being a role model citizen, you show everyone around you that Muslims do respect the law of the land and can live peacefully within its boundaries, with the assumption that none of those laws contradict the laws of Islam.

10.  Be a human being: If you see a mother of 5 struggling to get her groceries to the car, help her with the bags.  When you’re coming off a plane, help the old lady ahead of you find her way to the baggage claim.  Show compassion for others and they’ll be more likely to show compassion towards you.  The hatemongers have tried to demonize Muslims as bomb carrying barbarians.  By showing our Non-Muslim friends otherwise, we help to dispel that image.

Easy enough?  Some of the naysayers might be snickering about how could a smile save the world.  Remember the problem statement.  The West see Muslims only as what is shown in the media.  They see “Muslims” blowing up innocent civilians and the “scholars” justifying the attacks with Islam.  By us living within the manners and values of Islam, we have the unique ability to help stop the violence and show this country’s citizens that Islam truly is a beautiful way of life that cherishes equal rights, justice, and mercy for all humanity. With knowledge comes compassion and understanding.  These are the key elements to help end the bloodshed.  We just need to lead the way.

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19 responses to “10 Ways American Muslims Can Help Save the World”

  1. Shuaib Mansoori says:

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    Very poignant and relevant. Even though these things are mentioned frequently at Masjids and events organized at both the local and national levels, they cannot be emphasized enough.

    JazakAllah Khair.

  2. abdullah says:

    This is the most useful article i have read in a looong time!

  3. FearAllah says:

    Very beneficial action points masha’Allah. BarakAllahu feek for compiling these.

  4. Amatullah says:

    Jazaak Allahu khayran!

    I think this advice is general for all Muslims living in Non-Muslim societies. Not only in America, but in Canada, UK, Australia etc.

  5. Halima says:

    Assalamu Allaykum,

    Really good article, jazaak. I was just reading about the Muslims/ Chrisitian fighting in Nigeria on Yahoo, and some of the comments were really defaming Islam as you mentioned. Then I came here and found this article. Thanks!

  6. ummabdullah says:

    A great article mash’allah. We definitely need that kind of positive outlook.

    One little teensy weensy thing I did not like was the reference to your family on the ‘farm’. I moved overseas to Egypt and i’m originally from pakistan and believe me overseas is not always a ‘farm’. In fact, what I knew before and know now is that Americans are the ones who sort of live in a black box. That sadly often includes Muslim Americans as well.

    The muslim world is a super diverse world. and even though there is tons of poverty, believe me when I tell you this that around here where I live in egypt..there’s -good- things here in terms of techonology, service, education, entertainment (halal) that do not exist in the US.

    Anyhow, keep up the good work. Insh’alah if we can just focus on our circle of influence, we can make a difference :-)

    Ummabdullah

    • Junaid Subzwari says:

      Asalaamwa’alaikum,

      Jazakhallahkhairun for your positive feedback. Please forgive my farm reference but it was nothing more then a little American colloquialism. I didn’t mean it in a derogatory way, but just to keep a serious topic a little more light hearted.

  7. TheSussist says:

    How lovely.

    JazakAllahu Khairan

  8. Abd- Allah says:

    JazakumAllah khayr for this article! These are things that every Muslim should do, regardless of where they live! However, we should do them because they are important parts of Islam and regardless of whether they really have a positive influence on the way non-Muslims view Islam or not.

  9. Haytham says:

    I think I will try to turn this post in to my next khutbah…

    Jazakom Allahu khayran brother Junaid

  10. Excellent advice. Throughout the article, I was reminded of the Prophet [صلى الله عليه Ùˆ سلم] and his conduct that won him everyone’s love, and turned his enemies into his friends.
    Gaining knowledge of Islam, having a voice on the Internet, and putting faith into public practice (e.g. praying on time, even in public) are ways that Muslims (real-life, good Muslims) will be noticed for who they are.
    Jazak Allahu khair!

  11. Muhammad Sheikh says:

    “8. Be active on the internet: Internet technology has enabled us to communicate with others around the globe in more ways then we can imagine. There are tons of websites, blogs, etc., out there that promote Islam and defame it. Get involved in the internet community and spread the truth. Go to a newspaper website and comment on all articles there, whether it’s Muslim related or not. The internet can be our biggest advantage and our biggest threat. What it becomes depends on how we use it.”

    Salaam,

    Great article, but this point is 1/2 of a double sided coin.

    I see many Muslims making the mistake of attempting to defend Islam without a proper understanding of the issue at hand.

    If we recall the “Pledge of Mutual Respect and Cooperation Between Sunni Muslim Scholars, Organizations, and Students of Sacred Knowledge,” it states:

    -Urge Muslims in the West, especially our youth, to leave off unproductive and divisive discussions of involved theological issues that are the proper domain of trained specialists, and we especially discourage participation in those internet chat rooms, campus discussion groups, and other forums that only serve to create ill-will among many Muslims, while fostering a divisive, sectarian spirit;

  12. Anon Sister says:

    Assalamalaikum,

    I think that number 7 is an important point, but should be taken with a grain of salt. I understand and am quite appreciative of the rights I enjoy as a Canadian citizen in a fairly well-to-do part of Ontario. However, I feel that Muslims in the West shouldn’t be afraid to speak out or criticize. Just looking at the increased use of racial profiling and surveillance /specific/ to the Muslim demographic, is troublesome. Furthermore, current policies in the Middle East are horrifying and unjust and as Muslims, have the onus to challenge this.

    All the best,
    Sister Anon

  13. Very well said brother. Excellent thoughts. I think my favorite just might be to smile more often :)

    Jazakallah for posting this article.

  14. want to know says:

    Thank you for your article. I am a Canadian trying to understand the muslim culture in the west. Like many before me wrote this is relevant to all human beings of the world. I am afraid of my muslim country men and women as I don’t know them or understand them. I don’t know if I should share a smile because I don’t wear a hijab or that it may be misinterpreted as something wrong. I would like to reach out to my muslim neighbours for better understanding of them. I have a new daughter and I would like her to grow up in peace with my muslim country men. Your article gave me courage to reach out.

  15. Abdulhaqq says:

    It’s nice to remind Muslims how they should be Muslims. However the Internet remark is a big mistake on the authors part. Online discussions by unqualified individuals can be counter productive leading to confusion and even get you into some real trouble with the FBI. If you want a good advice stay off Internet discussions.
    I don’t think that is right to call one self such and such Muslim we are Muslims period.
    One last thing to mention is that no matter what we do the prophecy of our Rasool swa will come true. Those battles will have to fought no matter how much we scream PEACE. Every human being needs to find peace within themseves in order for the world to be at peace.
    As’salamu alaykum

  16. Sindh human Rights Organization says:

    As you all aware that flood and rain destroyed everything in
    Sind,.Pakistan Millions of the people are affectees by flood and high
    rains of the monsoon and they left their villages, cities, towns, and
    districts and now them living in relief camps, in every district about
    500 to 700 villages are underwater and shifted in camps and they are
    getting only food from civil societies, government, other authorities.
    When we visit the camps lot the children were without clothes, and
    affected by different diseases, as Lot of the families living left
    their villages, cities and towns at middle of night and not able to
    take any wearing clothes and other things for the him selves,
    children. At Camp those families got lot of the diseases such as
    diarrhea, malaria, cough and skin diseases open their face and their
    livestock also die due to hungry.

    So our organization needs your help to donate ready made clothes,
    Blanket, warm clothes, tents medicines and something for the
    livestock.
    Please do not send cash and only send material. Your help will save
    the lives of the women and children.
    Thanks
    Zulfiqar Ali Soomro
    Executive Director
    Sindh Human Rights Organization
    Ghaghrani Street Inside Lakhi Gate
    Shikarpur
    Sindh
    Pakistan
    92-331-2694636
    Sindhhro@gmail.com

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