Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|[OASIS] Being raised in America|
|08/18/01 at 03:56:57|
I hope that you are in the highest of Iman and the best of health.
Well, I was raised in America and my parents are Muslim immigants. I had a difficult time in elementary school & especially high school. Kids (cause they saw my mother in hijab) would call me "towel-head" and other pretty cruel names. Of course, I went to a public school (only recently in my area has the Muslim Community established private schools) and I feel that this has had a huge impact on my life even though, I am a fully practicing Muslima, alhamdullillah. I see the kids in Muslim schools now and I think to myself that their so lucky to be able to fully identify themselves with their full time peers-I was never able to do that and I think because of that, is why I faced alot of challenges growing up.
Anyways, I'm just thinking about all my experiences and wondering about what those who were also raised in a non-Muslim society have been through and how it's affected them. Do you think it could have been better if you were raised in a Muslim society? Do you think it's made you a stronger Muslim to be raised in a non-Muslim society?
These are just my random thoughts and I'm interested in hearing random thoughts from others, insha'Allah.
Its an interesting random thought and I was pondering as to how my life would have been different if brought up in a muslim society. Well firstly I am not sure if I could categorize the society I was brought up in as being Islamic, rather the country could be considered that. I was raised in Africa and the country had its share of muslim regions and non-muslim areas and I lived and grew up amongst both flavors. I never felt any hardship at all as regards my religion. Everyone went about their own things in life, tolerant and respective of what one believed in. Now if I had lived in a muslim country, I dont think it would have made much difference or had any different impact because there wasnt any impact to start with. Living in that society was like living in your own mini "space", a sub society where the outside forces didnt hardly matter. I remember one skirmish as regards my sister where the school dress code was not in total agreement Islamically. But then that issue was resolved after blowing some steam and conversations with the principal. Perhaps the point being that if something was not in agreement, things could be resolved. Which leads to a random thought regarding genders. Does growing up in a non-muslim socitey like over here
affect the sisters more than the brothers? Because usually its the sisters that I've heard that feel impact? Are there any brothers that feel the same way to be specific I am referring to school life and the tauntings and things like that.
Asalaam alaikum wrt wb,
I too went to public schools here in California
growing up. It wasn't easy. Even the Muslims
I was around weren't very strong. I'm sure we
all know the Muslims I am talking about. Those
that are lazy and don't pray, don't fast, don't
pay zakat, don't remember Allah (SWT), don't
seek Islamic knowledge, do all sorts of haraam
acts. It seemed to me that these people thought
Islam was just something their parents did. If
you haven't already read Huma's speech to the
parents of students at the Islamic school, you
should read it:
Actually what really made me stronger, was getting
to know some really incredible Muslims that were
"down with the deen". I also remember reading
some of the attacks by the Christian missionaries
and saying to myself, I can't answer these, I don't
know the answer to these questions. Then I did
research and started learning more and more, and
pretty soon I could answer them completely,
alhumdullilah, then when I asked them about their
beliefs they were the ones that couldn't answer.
A friend of mine in high school, attends at least
5 or 6 Islamic classes/discussions a week. I
emphasize AT LEAST. When I hear about how much
effort this person has made, I feel really fortunate
to know such people that can encourage me to do
good insha'Allah and to seek knowledge. Its
important to be around good practicing Muslims so
they can encourage you to do good, insha'Allah.
From the age of five I have spent the majority of my life around non-Muslims. I have grown up with them, learned with them, laughed with them, befriended them, and pretty much lived my life in their circle. I would be one of them, if not for the mercy of Allah (swt).
Growing up here, going to public school my entire life, I can tell you with no exaggeration or over emphasis: There is NO WAY I would EVER force my children to go to a non-Muslim, public, secular school. NEVER.
Not to even mention the constant bombardment of haraam and kuffr-istic ideologies implanted in our minds continuously, being around people who are lost and disillusioned by their own misdeeds, but being taught by them. Having everything you have ever believed in undermined is the most difficult thing to have to deal with, especially if you are young and you don't know any better. It doesn't matter how many times you've been taugh to say LailahaillAllah when the science teacher has cold hard fact that Allah doesn't exist. Being around this mentality effects you, effects the way you think, it plants the seed of doubt in your heart about whether what you believe is right or not. How can the majority of people be wrong? That's the true danger of public school: not in its shameless complacency to wrong, not in its advocacy of sex and drugs, not in its implementation of teaching evolution and secular-humanism, but in its inculcation in the heart of young believers that it doesn't matter whether you do right or wrong. In it's influence over us, the young generation, and its ability to make us question and underestimate the truth of Islam.
The danger of non-muslim school is not only the people but the education as well. The great history of America and the west are glorified, and the "eastern" religions of psuedo-spirituality we are taught to respect. Islam is taught off handedly, with little knowledge, and leaves the students with even less knowledge of any mark Islam has left on the world. If as a muslim, what I was taught in the social studies classes in school was all I knew about history, Muhammad (saws) and the Golden Age of Islam, the spread of Islam from the Great Wall of China to the Pyrenees of northern Spain, would be seen as an obscure irrelevant fact of the distant past, unimportant to the nature of the world in modern day, and prevalent in only the spreading of ignorance and barbarism by the sword in the hands of disillusioned arabs. Islam in itself would be seen as an offshoot of Christianity, subjugating women and advocating violence. We never see an unbiased view of the history of Islam, nor do we see teachers enlightened and respectful to it.
How do we expect the young generation to be able to stand up as Muslims, acknowledging the truth of Islam and abiding by, it if we don't teach them that islam is right? How do we expect this from us when we are not even taught about the beauty of the Quran, or the ennobled scholars of our past? How can you expect this from us, to carry on this deen and defend it if we are constantly belittled at school and we have no foundation to turn to for support? When we are not even told, that we have the ability to turn to our Lord for guidance and aid? How can you expect this from us? It's our right upon you: teach us, instill in us belief, and we will inshaAllah try our best to uphold it, if it is clearly truth. There is no reason why we should be disseminating at such a rate I can't even discern a Muslim from a non Muslim in my school. There's no reason for it, except our own ignorance, and our failure to convey Islam to our youth.
Parents don't realize what they do when they send their kids to school everyday. They don't realize that it is a struggle, everyday, to BE Muslim. It is a struggle everyday, to keep from doing wrong and abiding by the very basic tenets of Islam. It is a struggle everyday, to acknowledge that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His messenger, that Islam is the truth, and no matter how distracting everything around us is, its worth it to suffer, to "miss out". If they only knew what it would have been like for many of us to be told at a young age, that with Allah we would never be lonely, that there are others struggling to uphold the deen, and that we would be rewarded for it despite the obstacles. If parents only knew what they make their children suffer through at the hands of non Muslims because they're too lazy or too foolish to teach them and guide them to Islam. If they only knew what they make us go through.
Make duah that those who are striving in Allah's way obey Him, are guided to the straight path, are strengthened in eman, forgiven their sins, and granted Allah's mercy. That they are able to uphold their deen and live and die in a state of Islam, and that they are, inshaAllah, rewarded for their deeds and struggle with Jannatil Firdous.
"We relate to thee their story in truth: they were youth who believed in their Lord, and We advanced them in guidance: We gave strength to their hearts: Behold, they stood up and said: 'Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and of the earth: never shall we call upon any god other than Him: if we did, we should indeed have uttered an enormity! These our people have taken for worship gods other than Him: why do they not bring forward an authority clear (and convincing) for what they do? Who doth more wrong than such as invent a falsehood against Allah?"
(Suratul Kahf, ayahs 13-15)
i grew up pretty much everywhere but idnetify very much with my home country pakistan
you asked whether growing up in a "muslim" coutnry is any different..to tell you the truth i don't know
i have always met good practising muslims, and strong muslim communities...ironically in non muslim countries
pakistan may have "islamic" in its name but generally speaking religion is not emphaisised much there has been a revival and it is mashallah gradually gaining strenght but...we pakis still have a long way to go
everything i feel is soo secular there
eg. the only time the boys in my school were "religious" was on fridays when they would go to the masjid...and on the whole ramzan was the month when everyone sudden;y became pious apart from that islam was just taken to a given something there
as if the being part of an "islamic republic" automatically saves you from everything
so no one (generally speaking) makes an effort
there are religious people who are respected buy some and looked down upon by others (looked down upon basically by peopel who view islam as a 'backward' religion) what lacks in pakistan is education..on ageneral scale but more imporatntly education on the religious scale they need teachers who know islam who have studies it and understand it and they do not have them
it may sound funny ot you people who have been raised in america or other western countries but when i look at you guys i can't believe how lucky you have been..as most of you i have come across have the light of islam shining from them..they have had access to deeni education and more importantly they understand the deen and make an effort to practice it and educate themselves more about it.
maybe it is when people are put into positions where they feel threatened that they will lose their identity that they start learnign more about it and maintain it and protect it....
just a thought
anyway for all you muslims raised in america
i envy you :)
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