So recently I came across this article “Islam offers student new life in the UAE” that talks about how a student called Luis Garcia reverted to Islam while he was studying in University of Houston, then his parents cut him off and stopped sending him money. As the reporter wrote, “Just as he was beginning to despair, a friend called him and told him to meet an Emirati man at the local mosque. One week later, the Emirati told him everything had been arranged for him to move to the American University of Sharjah, where he would be fully sponsored by a sheikh.”
Reading such stories always make me think about how we take this religion for granted. We take it for granted that growing up, our parents might knock on the door every day, calling, “Salaah, Salaah.” We take it for granted that we live in a place where we don’t have to worry about the food that we eat. We take it for granted that when we go out, we don’t have to worry about where we’re going to pray. Even Mawaqif, the parking company who gave me a parking ticket as Eidiya this year, and who are known for being brutal when it comes to illegal parking cut you some slack during prayer time.
So I guess today’s reminder is to take the time to truly appreciate being a born Muslim in a Muslim country, and saying alhamdullilah for the blessing of Islam. A lot of self-help books flood bookstores nowadays because people suffer this void in their lives which they cannot fill using the materialistic things they have gained. This void is what we would call “a hungry soul”. By inundating themselves with materialistic things, people tend to starve their spiritual side, and that’s when the sales for Prozac start hitting the roof; the same roof that some people might decide to jump off.
Also, the way the opportunity came to Luis to come to AUS reminded me of how whenever the concept of wasta (was6a) comes up, like when someone says, “I can’t find a job because I don’t have was6a,” my parents would always say that you may not have was6a but you do have the power of duaa and that’s more powerful.
So I would conclude with a message from Luis Garcia (now known as Luis Abd Al-Rahman) to the Muslim youth, ”I find really sad that many Muslims forget their values and principles as they actually want to stay as far as possible from them. Many young Muslims nowadays are anxious to live the life Hollywood has promoted for so many years, forgetting who they are, where they come from, and where they should be heading. Now, it isn’t my intentions to judge anyone. In fact, I’m totally against judging people’s behavior or decisions. The relationship between a Muslim and Allah is totally personal. However, I would like those people to remember that, unfortunately, every time they call themselves Muslims, they don’t only represent themselves, but Muslims in general. Very often, people who have no idea what Islam is, only have two sources to understand it from: what media shows, and what we, Muslims, show. So, would they like to show their religion?”
You can visit his website at http://abdalrahman.net/