“Muslims of America” is a photo series dedicated to capturing the diversity of the Muslim community in the United States and bringing to light the beauty and truthfulness of Islam while countering Islamophobia. Mainstream media has and continues to spread a culture of fear and intolerance against Muslims all across the country. This project was born to change that and more, to give Muslims a voice and reclaim our narrative. One of the goals of this project is to show that we, Muslims have been an integral part of American society since the beginning with African slaves being some of the first Muslims to reach this land. We are your neighbors, coworkers and classmates. We come in all shapes and colors. We are teachers, artists, athletes, doctors, librarians, and every other profession you can think of. But more importantly we are human beings; we have dreams and aspirations and we are as much “American” (for lack of a better word) as every other person living here.
The project consists of portraits of Muslim Americans accompanied by their favorite ayah –verse- from the Qur’an or a hadith -recorded sayings of the Prophet Muhammad- (Peace be upon him) along with a short reflection as to how Islam has helped them become better human beings. It features Muslims from all walks of life, women, men and gender non-conforming folks. Muslims across all 50 states from different ethnic backgrounds and professions reflecting the diversity and history of Turtle Island now known as The United States.
I invite you to explore our community's diversity and get to know us and Islam through our stories.
If you are Muslim and would like to be part of this project email me using the form on my contact page OR direct message me on instagram: carloskhalilguzman for more details. Feel free to tag family and friends.
Mussab - College Student/Jersey City Board of Education Trustee - New Jersey
“Allah does not change the condition of a people until they first change what is in themselves.” Qur’an Chapter 13 / Verse 11
In Islam, we acknowledge an ongoing jihad within ourselves, a battle of self-purification. Surah Ar-Ra’d verse 11 states: “Allah does not change the condition of a people until they first change what is in themselves” in other words, if we want to impart a change in the world, we must first start with ourselves.
On November 21, 2015, when then Republican party hopeful Donald Trump said, “I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down, and I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering,” As a loyal son of Jersey City and a Muslim American, I felt I had to stand up for my hometown and all Americans who lived there. That’s when I decided to run for office. Running for office, at 19 years old, I didn’t recognize all the obstacles I would face that deterred me from getting elected. Many oppressive forces worked collectively to make me feel as though I was not fit to be in office. I was too young, too dark, too inexperienced, and too Muslim. While I fought externally against these pressures, I also fought internally, wrestling with the idea that I hadn’t earned the right to even have my name on the ballot. I was torn between where to focus my energy. In those moments, I returned to this verse and realized that I had to focus on battling myself and the rest would work itself out.
While I didn’t win my first election, the experience gave me a greater sense of self. But I didn’t stop there. I continued on my quest to give a voice to those who were marginalized in the politics of Jersey City. With a strengthened resolve, I worked to organize my community. I worked hard, acutely aware that the final result was in Allah’s hands. My victory on election day, by 68 votes allowed me to become the youngest — and the first Muslim — elected official in Jersey City history. In this role, I have worked to reform our school dress code, acquire halal food, pass resolutions recognizing several holidays and helped organize a local “March for our Lives” with high school students across our city. - Mussab
Ala - Filmmaker - Louisiana
"Even if the end of time is upon you and you have a seedling in your hand, plant it” - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him)
This hadith has significance to me because it encourages us to always do our best, and never stop giving. Be open about finding solutions and about wanting to grow even when things get hard and you feel like the world is crashing. Always be the positive change you wish to see growing around the world. Be the change, the light and the hope when everything becomes dark. - Ala
Part of my series “Muslims of America” a project dedicated to capturing the diversity of the Muslim community in the United States and bringing to light the beauty and truthfulness of Islam while countering Islamophobia.
Want to be part of it, DM me and follow me on IG: carloskhalilguzman to see the project as it unfolds.
Nida - Freelance Photographer/Activist - Texas
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient” - Qur'an Chapter 2 /Verse 155
Sometimes we can feel like were just walking through a never ending dark tunnel. I know, I’ve been through it. My father is one of the HLF (Holy Land Foundation) 5. He was wrongfully imprisoned when I was just 13 years old and is serving 65 years in a Maximum Security Federal prison. For what? For sheltering and feeding orphans all over the world. Fast forward 5 years, my 26 year old sister, Sanabel, suddenly passes away. One year later, my paternal grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. A few months later, he dies.
There is no point in talking about how hard my life has been when I know there are people out there going through something worse. If I think my life is tough, I can’t imagine how tough it is for my father. How tough it is having to deal with his daughter and father’s death, having to deal with the birth of his first grandchild, having to deal with his daughter getting married without him. Having to deal with this all, while sitting all alone in a cell. A cell he does not deserve to be in. A cell hundreds of miles away from his loved ones. He has gone through so much yet he has the brightest smile I have ever seen. He has the laugh that can make even the most serious person start laughing. He has Positivity. He has hope. He has faith. Without positivity, hope, and faith, It is easy to drown in your own thoughts and tears… Its okay to cry. Its okay to let everything out. We are human. Just be sure to pick yourself up. We can sit and cry all day, but crying wont get us anywhere.
Always remember that God is with you. God is with you everywhere you go. God can hear you. God can hear you even when you feel like you cannot speak anymore. I don’t want you to feel like nothing is worth it anymore. Because trust me, every single hardship is worth it. Pass this life’s test, and you earn paradise. All you have to do is Keep your trust in Allah. Ive been through that dark tunnel. I thought I was never going to make it out. However, I kept praying. Slowly, I realized that God was already answering my prayers. I realized that I already have so much to be thankful for. Allah has blessed me with a beautiful, extraordinarily patient family, an incredible fiancé, and Allah blessed me to be the daughter of Shukri Abu-Baker. All I can say is Alhamdullilah for the life Allah has given me. Don’t be scared. Don’t give up.
Remember that happiness comes from within, and from Allah. Remember that this dunya (world) is only temporary. The afterlife is eternity. You can’t run away from your hardships, but you can climb through it. Keep your head up high, for God does not burden a soul beyond it can bear. Remember, Remember, Remember. Ithkur Allah. Remember God, and God will Remember you. - Nida
For more information about Nida's father's case please visit https://notesfromshukri.wordpress.com
Part of my series “Muslims of America” a project dedicated to capturing the diversity of the Muslim community in the United States and bringing to light the beauty and truthfulness of Islam while countering Islamophobia.
Want to be part of it, DM me and follow me on IG: carloskhalilguzman to see the project as it unfolds.
Sara - Storyteller/Techie - Missouri
“He who is deprived of kindness/gentleness is deprived of goodness.” - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
When it comes to my journey in faith, the greatest struggle I’ve had to come to terms with is the fact that outward religiosity in others does not equal a great moral high ground. I struggle so deeply to understand how some who have deep love and devotion to God and faith can sometimes be amongst those who lack compassion for their fellow brethren the most.
I turn to this hadith as a reminder that my character is what defines me. I may miss prayer. I may slip on my other Islamic duties. But my faith, and its teachings, is ultimately why I prioritize acts of kindness, compassion and civic duties. Because it’s caring for others that not only keeps my faith in humanity alive, but maintains my resilient hope in faith. - Sara
Part of my series “Muslims of America” a project dedicated to capturing the diversity of the Muslim community in the United States and bringing to light the beauty and truthfulness of Islam while countering Islamophobia.
Want to be part of it, DM me and follow me on IG: carloskhalilguzman to see the project as it unfolds.
Adam - Graduate Student - New York
“And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way.” - Qur’an Chapter 2 / Verse 186
This verse means a lot to me because in the Qur'an every time Allah mentions a "specific matter," it follows by Allah telling Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to deliver the response. However in this verse Allah says "if they ask about me, I am indeed near" Allah removed Prophet Muhammad as the middle messenger between God and us as an indication that when making duaa (prayer) or any sort of prayer, we don't need to go to a middle man, we can just raise our hands and ask Allah. This is really important to me, because duaa is a vital part of Islam, and I feel at ease knowing that I can go straight to Allah without a human connection like a sheikh, a father, or any religious leader. - Adam
Ahlam - Entrepreneur - Michigan
“And We certainly gave David from Us bounty. [We said], "O mountains, repeat [Our] praises with him, and the birds [as well]." And We made pliable for him iron” - Qur’an Chapter 34 / Verse 10
The day I left Damascus, Syria while not knowing when I would go back, I felt like a grain of sand in a world ready to swallow me whole. It was in this moment that I remembered this verse from the Qur’an and I felt God was speaking to me. I then realized that God is the only one who can give your eyes light to guide you when all you see is darkness and loneliness; God is the only one who can soften the hearts of the people for you. He’s the only one who can give you what you want whenever he desires. - Ahlam
Salma - College Student - Connecticut
“Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.” - Qur’an Chapter 5 / Verse 32
As a Syrian this verse is very relevant to me since it has become the motto for self sacrifice in order to save others. The White Helmets, an organization of volunteer rescue workers in Syria, risk their lives everyday to save people caught in the crossfire and buried under rubble. This verse serves as a constant reminder to myself to be kind, give charity, and respect others because as Muslims Allah (swt) asked us to respect the sanctity of life and limit the harm and damage we cause. As a pre-med student it also motivates me to push through the obstacles I face in order to gain the knowledge I need to save lives and heal others in the future. - Salma
Dana - Journalist - Michigan
"Part of the perfection of one's Islam is his leaving that which does not concern him." - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
This hadith has meaning to me because as a journalist, I am constantly exposed to different people, situations etc and I’ve noticed that society competes to the point where many follow others' social media accounts to stay updated on their lives and to find a way to outdo them or because they are more curious about them. It's unhealthy and more often than not, we don't realize people curate social media around the glamorous things in life. We're all guilty of it. Each person goes through struggles that may be evident or completely hidden. Regardless, it's important to keep our minds open to others while respecting their lifestyles but more importantly, ensuring ours are halal and healthy. The more we immerse ourselves into private matters, the less credible, trusted and admired we become, and the more we struggle internally. The more we compare ourselves to someone else, the less satisfied we are with ourselves. Their business won't better ours. Our lives are just as important and we must focus on our priorities and purpose to live a fulfilling life. - Dana
Mariam - College Student - Mississippi
“So be patient. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth. And let them not disquiet you who are not certain [in faith]” - Qur’an Chapter 30 / Verse 60
People have often said to me that I am very patient, and I, myself, have pointed out that it is one of my best qualities. In the Qur'an, it is noted that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a very patient man. He is the best of mankind and I am only trying to follow in his footsteps. Being an international student in the US, especially in South Mississippi - the Bible belt, - has definitely made me a lot more patient in my ways. This very verse reminds me that there is something better that Allah has promised so my being patient is not in vain. My father passed away when I was thirteen years old and things have not always been the same. I know and believe that it would get better someday in the future for me and my family so I am patient. Back home in Nigeria, I attended Christian schools, Muslim schools, and schools that are not particularly affiliated with one religion. For these reasons and because of the way Nigeria is, I have both Muslim friends and non-Muslim friends and I see both Muslim and non-Muslim strangers around me. It was weird coming here to see that I am the only person with my head covered in class, or on the days where I use the hijab, I would get obvious stares from people. I am still patient. I never knew what it meant to be "black" until I got here. Apparently, I found out there is a way to behave or speak "black." It is upsetting to know that people already have a predisposed notion of you before you even say a word. And when I do open my mouth to speak, and my accent shows itself, they still have a very distorted idea of what it means to be "African." I would always continue to be patient. The U.S. has made me an even more patient person who believes that the future holds a lot of possibilities. Islam has taught me to have faith and patience. - Mariam
Rana - Founder/Executive Director at Women's Initiative for Self Empowerment (WISE) - New York
“Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
As a young Muslim American, growing up post 9/11 in Queens, I find confidence in my Islam through history. Often times my identity as a Muslim-American seemed paradoxical. But, I remember finding a black and white film about Malcolm X amongst the many VHS tapes my dad kept stashed in the basement of our house and feeling so much relief in recognizing that Muslim America has such a powerful history. The way he, and many other, Black Muslims used Islam as a liberation theology that rooted the civil rights struggle gave me so much personal power and voice. It formed my understanding of social justice and gave me grounding in my identity as a young Muslim woman organizer. I chose this quote because I truly believe that justice is inherently in the essence of Islam. As an activist and gender justice organizer, the election has made my work more and more challenging. I teach self-defense to Muslim women so that they can confront anti-Muslim violence and hate-crime rates have been higher than ever. It’s really hard to think about the insecurity that so many minorities are feeling right now. When the work gets rough, I find so much comfort and inspiration in knowing that there is a legacy of black Muslim activism that has paved the way. And I find motivation and reassurance in recognizing that elevating kindness, empathy and human rights in the face of violence, is an obligation, as directed by this Prophetic quote. - Rana
Rand - News Producer - North Carolina
“None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself” - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
This hadith is very dear to me because it shows the love, mercy and equality Islam encompasses. It teaches us to treat our brothers and sisters, not only in faith, but also in humanity, the way we would like to be treated. The narration essentially highlights the importance of character, by showing that to even be considered a believer, one must treat others kindly. Practicing this golden rule ensures we are always mindful of what we say or do. It's taught me to be happy for other people's successes. It's taught me to support and empower my fellow sisters. It's taught me to give the best from what I eat and wear to others in need. It's taught me to respect my elders and be an ally to marginalized communities. It's taught me to always put myself in someone else's shoes. - Rand
Buthiana - Interfaith Community Organizer - Oklahoma
“And He found you lost and guided you” - Qur’an Chapter 93 / Verse 7
Throughout my life, there have been plenty of ups and downs. But perhaps the lowest points of all were the days that Islam was barely a part of my life. However, like Allah (swt) says in this verse, “And He found me lost and guided you.” God brought me closer to Islam and strengthened my faith in a way that no one else could have done for me. Anytime I feel down or encounter some sort of worldly hurdle, this verse is a stark reminder that there was once a time in my life where I was in such incomprehensible darkness and yet Allah (swt) didn't forget about me. He didn't leave me or give up on me the way most people did or would have. He is the only unwavering support that I can depend on and put my trust in. And so this verse plays a huge role in uplifting my spirits and getting me through day to day life. - Buthiana
Rowaida - Journalist - New Jersey
"Be mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, then ask Allah [alone]; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allah [alone]. And know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allah had already prescribed for you. And if they were to gather together to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what Allah had already prescribed against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried." - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
This hadith (recorded sayings of Prophet Muhammad) has been with me through thick and thin. It’s one that I keep close to my heart as a reminder that no matter how much I may plan, stress or obsess over things, what is written for me is what will occur and that I should have faith in God’s plan. Not too long ago, I was experiencing a hardship in my life where I was grappling with feeling very empty and lonely internally. I couldn’t find the words to describe what I was going through, nor could I find the person who I felt could truly understand me, let alone help me. It was this particular hadith that gave me the hope and reassurance of Allah’s (swt) decree. God is The Hearer of All and Knower of all. I didn’t need to relive the emotional turmoil of attempting to describe what I was going through over and over again in hopes of finding answers. The fact was, I couldn’t find relief through people and worldly things because the relief I was looking for was never there to begin with. It was in my relationship with God all along. Acknowledging this gave me the inner strength and peace I desperately needed. As the hadith says, if I am mindful of myself and of God, everything would fall into place, even if I couldn’t see it or understand it in that moment. No forces in the world could have helped me or harmed me. Finding this peace however was anything but a conclusion. It taught me that, as cliche as it is, that the journey of faith and spirituality, has its ups and downs, and that’s okay. As long as I’m mindful, the world won’t break or make me. It’s all in my faith in God’s plan. - Rowaida
Iman - Organizer for New York Civil Liberties Union - New York
"There is a Sadaqa (charitable gift) to be given for every joint of the human body; and for every day on which the sun rises there is a reward of a Sadaqa for the one who establishes justice among people." - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
This hadith touches on what we constantly encourage one another to do. It states that we must establish equity and rid ourselves of vice, in order to establish justice and respect among each other. I always believed that if you were to wake up and change one person's life for the better through acts of charity, the world would be that much more balanced and harmonious. Allah (God) teaches us to always encourage each other to pray for others to have what we want for ourselves. - Iman
Nooran - College Student - New Hampshire
“And Yunus (Jonah), when he went off in anger and thought that We would not decree anything upon him. And he called out within the darknesses, "There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers." - Qur’an Chapter 21 / Verse 87
I think it's the story and context of that verse that makes it my favorite. It is a prayer said by the Prophet Yunus (Jonah), who is swallowed by a whale and seems in a hopeless situation stuck in its belly. He makes this prayer when he realizes he has disobeyed God, and continues to repeat it so often that all the fish in the sea can hear him reciting it. God spares Yunus and he is spit out by the whale. This verse teaches me two very important things that I try to apply to my daily life. The first is that when a situation seems hopeless, put all your faith in God and rely on Him to make things better. The second is that self critique is necessary even in hard times. The Prophet Yunus could not understand why God was doing this to him until he reflected and realized that he had been of the wrong doers. In that very same way, we should strive to always reflect and better ourselves even in the hardest of times instead of being frustrated or angry at God. - Nooran
Kendyl - Modest Fashion Model - New York
“Allah - there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.” - Qur’an Chapter 2 / Verse 255
Sara - Future Doctor - California
“Then We placed him as a sperm-drop in a firm lodging. Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allah, the best of creators.” - Qur’an Chapter 23 / Verses 13-14
I am filled with awe when I read Quranic descriptions about human development because they are a testament to the divine wisdom revealed in this text. These lines, among others in the Qur’an, describe the embryology of human development. Science had not yet discovered the details of human development when these verses of the Qur’an were revealed. The world of science today has now confirmed every stage and detail of human development revealed in the Qur’an centuries ago. Having studied science my entire life, the perfections of the human body have always astounded me. Only a divine Creator could create such mechanical perfection. Embryology itself is so complex that many of the mechanisms that govern it are not fully yet understood. The more I continue to learn about the human body, the more humble I feel in front of our Creator, the only one capable of making a human being out of a tiny clot. - Sara
Yousef - High School Student - Illinois
“Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and His messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for” - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
This hadith has had a great impact in my life. When i was a little younger, I loved to give charity to others in front of people. I wanted to be seen in the public eye as a good kid; It mattered what people thought of me. Little did I know I was only looking to gain the pleasure of the people around me and not the pleasure of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala). I was not thinking whether or not what I was doing made Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) be pleased with me. Then one day I heard this hadith and I knew I had to change the way I did things and my intentions towards doing them. I realized that the way I thought was wrong and that if I wanted to do a good deed, I needed to do it for the sake of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) only. I understood that only through the pleasure and love of Allah I can gain the love of the people. - Yousef
Fida - Librarian Aide - Oregon
“In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. [All] praise is [due] to Allah, Lord of the worlds. The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful, Sovereign of the Day of Recompense. It is You we worship and You we ask for help. Guide us to the straight path. The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.” – Qur’an Chapter 1 / Verses 1-7
I chose the verses from the first chapter (Al-Fatiha) of the Qur’an. These verses remind me of my childhood. My sisters and I would all gather together and we would recite it together or one by one. We were so proud of ourselves when we memorized it and we could see our parents were proud of us too. This surah (chapter) is the first in the Qur’an and I have always said it in times of fear, when I would think a ghost was in the room or if I was walking home late. I knew Allah (God) was watching and helping me. These words are powerful and they have helped me feel and be protected. - Fida
Melanie - Founder of HauteHijab - Michigan
“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.” - Qur’an Chapter 4 / Verse 135
If I were asked, "Describe Islam in one word," I would most likely say, "Justice." Islam demands justice in every aspect of life whether it be our dealings with others, the way we treat people or even being just with our own selves. It's the reason Allah (God) reminds us to be firm when standing for justice be it against ourselves, or those closest to us. Seeking justice is not always popular and it may not be easy but it's the path to righteousness. Today, injustice is all around us, in the West where I live and in Muslim majority countries where I once lived. The importance of vehemently demanding justice wherever you find yourself and in whatever capacity you can is an integral and crucial part of our role as Muslims here in the United States and abroad. - Melanie
Eman - College Student - Georgia
Elhum – Online Fitness Coach – Oregon
“Verily, with every hardship comes ease” – Qur’an Chapter 94 / Verse 6
I believe Allah (God) puts hardship in our lives to help us grow and become stronger souls. Our ultimate goal as Muslims is to grow spiritually and reflect on our experiences. Honestly I am not someone that went through too much hardship. I have had it very easy compared to other people around the world Alhamdulillah. But the minimal struggles I have been through have helped me change the way I look at certain aspects of life and helped me grow mentally and spiritually.
My goal and a Muslim’s are to empower my fellow Muslim sisters to take charge of themselves while remaining modest and humble. Health and fitness has brought so much happiness into my life and I want to encourage other people to do the same.
As a Muslim we should take the best care of our bodies. Allah bestowed us with good health so we must take the best care of these bodies that we where blessed with. – Elhum
Zarin - College Student - South Dakota
“And a sign for them is the night. We remove from it [the light of] day, so they are [left] in darkness. And the sun runs [on course] toward its stopping point. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing. And (as for) the moon, We have ordained for it stages till it becomes again as an old dry palm branch. It is not allowable for the sun to reach the moon, nor does the night overtake the day, but each, in an orbit, is swimming.” - Qur’an Chapter 36 / Verses 37-40
The reason I love these verses so much is that they are almost a reiteration of the age-old saying, and my personal favorite calming mechanism, that Allah does everything for a reason. If we ever look up to the sky to ask why the sun acts the way it does and why the moon acts the way it does, we can see that He has created a relationship between the two celestial bodies so that they work in harmony and makes sure that neither overpowers the other. It is also a beautiful image and representation and model of how we as humans should work, in harmony, never overtaking each other to benefit and "over show" our power, but to work together and cooperate in peace as well as we can. - Zarin
Kenneth - College Student - California
“...And whoever fears God - He will make a way out for him. And will provide for him from where he never expected. Whoever relies on God - He will suffice him. God will accomplish His purpose. God has set a measure to all things.” - Qur’an Chapter 65 / Verses 2-3
These verses remind me to always place my trust in God, no matter how hard things get. I have had lots of ups and downs in my life in terms of mental health. During my downs, I remember this verse and it motivates me to keep hope in the future, and to keep hope in myself. It reminds me of the power of prayer, as God can turn any situation around. When we have faith in God, He will set things moving for us in ways that we cannot even imagine. - Kenneth
Noor - Journalist - Washington DC
“...And my success is not but through Allah . Upon him I have relied, and to Him I return.” - Qur’an Chapter 11 / Verse 88
Too often we are immersed into our own reality and focus solely on our education, careers and goals. As we succeed and continue to succeed, sometimes we forget to take a step back and say, "Alhamdullilah" We want to take credit for our hard work but in reality, nothing could have been possible without Allah's will.
Sometimes we are faced with difficulties, challenges and moments where we feel that things are not going the way we want them to be. But as I think about every issue, I realize that the problem was caused or exacerbated because I did not follow the formula for success. For me the formula is do your part, be patient and rely on God - or tawakkul. I find it most comforting that my plans and life is in the hands of the Best Planner. If Allah wills for me to succeed, then only by Allah will I succeed. - Noor
Sadiya - College Student - California
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Surely Allah is Knowing, Aware” - Qur’an Chapter 49 / Verse 13
This is a special ayah (verse) of mine. I chose this verse because even within my own community, racism still shows its face. I am an African-Arab born Muslim woman from California and if I choose to marry a white revert, all I should be hearing is people being happy and congratulating me. And If I choose to hangout with a Palestinian Muslim for example, I should not have to feel judged by their family members when I enter their home. Islam discourages people from feeling like they are better than someone else. We were all created the same way by the same creator and for people to belittle one another because of their ethnicity, nationality, country, etc is just ridiculous. How can I pray next to you in public if you hate me in secret. Allah has created us all equal. I was meant to be the woman with many ethnicities so that I can teach my brothers and sisters about me and my cultures and vice versa. Islam is against racism and if we take the time to read it and analyze it with an open heart and mind we can all be not just better Muslims, but better human beings. - Sadiya
Hana - College Student - Georgia
[Moses] said, "No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me." – Qur’an Chapter 26 / Verse 62
An ayah (verse) so simple and powerful, yet can be difficult to recollect when we allow this reality and this world to cloud our own visions. When I thought I was capable of carrying and dealing with everything on my own, I found myself lost, hurt, and misguided. I allowed myself to forget that Allah (swt) can heal all my wounds and guide me, if I just called on Him. I had willingly clouded my own vision.
No doubt, this life can be difficult at times. Hardship, confusion, pain, and doubt are inevitable. All of humanity, believers and atheists, experience suffering and aching, however, the ones who truly believe and call on Allah (swt) will be at ease. Despite any circumstances, they rest knowing The Lord of Heavens, Earth, and everything in between is in charge. They trust His plan and allow their hearts to focus. They know they are not capable of everything; they are simply imperfect humans. Humans who don’t allow this reality to cloud their visions. A human I strive to be. - Hana
Myree – Medical Assistant - California
“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.” – Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
The hadith I chose states " All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action” Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) This is so important to me not only as a Muslim but also as an AfroLatina. This states that Islam is against racism and discrimination. All humans are created equal. All that matters to God is the good a person does and the devotion we have for our creator. - Myree
Stiz - Model - New York
“Those are the ones (parents) from whom We will accept the best of what they did and overlook their misdeeds, (they shall be) among the companions of Paradise. (that is) the promise of truth which they had been promised.” - Qur’an Chapter 46 / Verse 16
I am human, I have made mistakes, and it is inevitable that I will make some more. But all I can offer is prayer and hope that my parents will be okay and know that I appreciate all that they have done for me. Your family is here on this earth for a very short time in the grand scheme of things so I believe it is important to pray for our parents whenever possible. They deserve it. - Stiz
Samah Safi Bayazid - Filmmaker - Washington DC
“Have you not considered how Allah sets forth a parable of a good word (being) like a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches are in heaven.” - Qur’an Chapter 14 / Verse 24
This is one of my favorite verses in the Holy Quran. It really touches my heart. so I can relate to it in my life. “Good Word” and “Good Work” is what I try to spread through my social media where I’m very blessed and honored to have over 200 thousand followers. As a filmmaker, some of our works like the American drama series “Inspiration” got millions of views and cleared many misconceptions about Islam and American Muslims.
Many people tell me that my words/works have inspired them and touched their hearts and lives. This always makes me think about the power of sincere words and actions, and how words can really be like “a good tree whose roots are firm and whose branches are in heaven.” I hope that some of my words and works can become like a good tree in my lifetime and after I leave this world too. - Samah
Abdullah - Youth Director - Illinois
“Let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day speak good, or keep silent; and let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day be generous to his neighbor; and let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day be generous to his guest” - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
This hadith teaches us that if we believe in Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) and the Day of Judgement, then we must learn to control our speech and be generous and kind to our neighbors. Through this hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is telling us that to be a true believer, we must not only speak the truth and refrain from speaking bad or ill about others but also be kind to our neighbors and guests. It is important to take this as a foundation of our belief; and it is just as important for us to allow our beliefs to manifest in our actions. Imagine all Muslims adhere to this, and speak truth and good about others and are kind to all of their neighbors despite the behavior they might receive from them. This will help negate any bad impressions people might have about Muslims based on what they hear and read in mainstream media. This hadith provides the tools we need to bring about social change and improve people’s characters in Muslims and non-Muslims alike; creating a society where every American including American Muslims not only coexist but work together as a community. - Abdullah
Linda - College Student - Massachusetts
“Be kind, for whenever kindness becomes part of something, it beautifies it. Whenever it is taken from something, it leaves it tarnished.” - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
This hadith holds significant value to me because I’ve always been told that kindness is a weakness. This may have been true for me when I was younger, where I’d get taken advantage of for my kindness but as I got older I realized it is a blessing. A blessing that should have a limit when it interferes with your self worth. Being raised as humble and soft hearted as I was, this kindness I have in my heart is what has brought some of the greatest people into my life.
It has also opened the eyes of a lot of people who know little to nothing about Islam. As I grew older I came to the conclusion that kindness is such a pure and beautiful thing to share with others. Even the thought of making someone happy through your kindness amazes me. Kindness is a beautiful trait to possess that should be part of everyone’s character. I often remind myself that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was always kind and encouraged everyone regardless of faith to be kind to each other. - Linda
Sayara – Graphic Designer – New York
“And make yourself submissively gentle to them with compassion, and say: O my lord! Have compassion on them, as they brought me up (when I was) little” - Qur’an Chapter 17 / Verse 24
We never really realize the struggles our parents went through to raise us, not until we have taken on the same responsibilities. On the days we get angry with them or annoyed by them, we must always remember to be thankful for having them and with that, smile, forget the petty arguments and love them. If there is anything in the world I could ask for, it would be that my parents find the happiness they have made sure I have grown up with, that Allah forgive them for anything they could have done wrong and keep them in Allah’s presence. My parents’ happiness is my world. - Sayara
Ronya - Pre Med Student - Illinois
“And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him” - Qur’an Chapter 22 / Verse 78
When the term Jihad is mentioned in conversation or in any other situation, people especially in the west automatically misunderstand it as fighting in a war or going to war (which is another topic of discussion and which term needs its own clarification.) But Islamically, there is so much more to the meaning of Jihad. Jihad means to strive; strive in every way possible to become a better person. This Ayah from the Qur’an personally speaks to me because it helps me understand that Islam is a way of life. Islam is not only completing my mandatory prayers and fasts, but it is striving to perfect my character, control my anger, donate and help the needy without worrying as to whether or not my own sustenance will decrease, respect my parents, finish my education regardless of how difficult the content might be, etc. This is the bigger picture of Jihad. This is the meaning of Jihad. - Ronya
Sarah - High School Student - Massachusetts
“You do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness,” - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
This hadith has a very special meaning to me. I can relate to this hadith on a spiritual level because i myself am a very forgiving person. It has come to a point where my own mother tells me that I forgive too easy and too often and my father sees it as a weakness. I ,on the other hand think it’s a beautiful blessing to have such a big heart. One that makes me feel especial. Not everyone has the courage to forgive. I feel like even the strongest of people have a hard time forgiving. Especially when it comes to things that hurt them the most. The only thing that keeps me forgiving time and time again is knowing that I do it for myself and for God. The Prophet did not do things just to be a model to his Ummah (nation), he did them to feel proud to be Muslim and for the sake of God. - Sarah
Rula – College Student - Louisiana
“And never say of anything, "Indeed, I will do that tomorrow, without adding, "If Allah wills." And remember your Lord when you forget and say, "Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct." - Qur’an Chapter 18 / Verses 23-24
This verse, to me, is a significant reminder of Allah (God). Remembering to say “Insh’Allah”, if God wills, before speaking about plans is acknowledgement that as humans, we are not in control of everything. In a sense it is reassuring and personal because it relates to everybody. Growing up, it’s common that parents tell their kids “InshAllah” as a way to brush off their requests, as in “okay okay, -if- God wills” I know my parents did. But as I grew older, I understood the value in relying on God and the love bestowed upon us. It’s a reminder of our humanity, and how not everything is in our control. To see God in all things is to also see God in our daily lives in the smallest plans we make, such as studying for a test, or even getting coffee. God is so great, and it is a reminder not to stress with all the free will we have. - Rula
Dalia - Psychotherapist - New York
“Read in the name of your Lord Who created. He created man from a clot. Read and your Lord is Most Honorable. Who taught (to write) by the pen.” - Qur’an Chapter 96 / Verses 1-4
These ayat (verses) mean a lot to me because God started the first revelation down to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) by telling him to educate himself and be aware of who created him. The first word God mentioned to the prophet was “Read.” That in itself says so much about our religion and what our religion consists of. We as Muslims should never follow blindly. We always have to read more, learn more and educate ourselves to improve ourselves physically, mentally, academically, spiritually and emotionally. Striving to learn, influencing others in a positive way and being grateful for what I have are the three main components of how I live my life, which is why these particular ayat mean so much to me. - Dalia
Shadi - College Student - Massachusetts
“Heaven lies under the feet of your mother” - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
This hadith is one of my favorites because it talks about being mindful of our parents. In today's world, a lot of people do not respect their parents and treat them as if they are nothing. Of course there are times when our parents get on our nerves but before I even think or dare to say anything to them, I remember this hadith and it brings me back to reality. It allows me to do good instead of bad and this has helped me build a stronger relationship with my parents. - Shadi
Nihal - Co-Founder of MissMuslim.nyc - New York
“…But perhaps you dislike a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows while you know not” - Qur’an Chapter 2 / Verse 216
This ayah (verse) gets to me every time. Whenever I reflect back on things that have happened in my life, whether it was people I have interacted with, choices I have made, or experiences I have endured - this ayah almost always makes an appearance. It applies to so many aspects of our lives, no matter how big or how small they may seem. We have all been there. We plan, we expect, we predict - but in the end, it is all written, or maktoob. And whatever Allah has planned by Allah’s will and only Allah’s will, it will happen. On top of that, we humans are so fragile. We think we know ourselves better than anyone but that is not the case, and this ayah proves that. It proves that no one knows you better than our creator. And that is a really important self-realization/reality check that has helped me grow as an individual. This ayah gives me relief more than anything else. Like a sense of reassurance almost; that indeed everything happens for a reason and there is always a hikma behind every experience, including the moments where you don’t get exactly what you want or you feel like your duahs haven’t been answered. God hears you, and God is planning something bigger for you. And this has been proven to me over and over again, and for that I say…Thank you God. - Nihal
Anwar - Special Ed Science Teacher - Illinois
“Do not regard any good deed as insignificant, even meeting your brother with a cheerful face” - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
This beautiful hadith shows the importance and significance of every individual and every action. Whether we think we have made an impact or not; and whether we are leaders in our communities or students going to college and doing our duties. This hadith shows that every person is important and every little thing that we do and say is significant. Something as simple as smiling towards others and picking up trash, or as big as donating money to sponsor orphans or building wells, nothing goes unnoticed to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) the All-Knowing. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said that we do not need to only aspire for big things and think “oh well, I can’t do much so I am not going to do anything at all” Instead he taught us that even the smallest actions can have the highest values. - Anwar
Adna - College Student - Massachusetts
"And with Him are the keys of the unseen treasures, none knows them but He; and He knows what is in the land and the sea, and there falls not a leaf but He knows it, nor a grain in the darkness of the earth, nor anything green nor dry but (it is all) in a clear book." – Qur’an Chapter 6 / Verse 59
This verse has such a huge impact on my understanding of Allah (God) and his infinite power. It is simple, yet very telling. It is impossible to dispute Allah’s supreme power. Allah, all Glory to Him, controls every aspect of life that even the slightest fall of a leaf is left solely to His permission.
As everything in life happens through His absolute and immeasurable power, I've realized how immense Allah is, it is absolutely mind-blowing that He is behind everything in life from the slightest speck of dust and everything in between. Allah can see the most intimate thoughts on our minds, while simultaneously create a new life, and other uncountable things. God is truly comprehensive and all encompassing. This is what truly makes me a believer. - Adna
Imanie - Psychology Student - Illinois
“Allah the Almighty said: I am as my servant thinks of Me. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. If he comes to Me walking. I come to him running” - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
Life is tough, indeed that is the nature of dunya (life on earth). But even being aware of this fact never really prepares us for the blow; when life hits it still hurts. Even with a loving and caring support system that Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) bless us with, humans are still limited and flawed and know little of what our hearts hold. We soon realize that we only have ourselves at the end of the day; ourselves and Allah - if we allow that to be the case.
I welcome problems left and right because I know Allah is near, because that is how near I allow Allah to be; how close I need God to be. I stop, close my eyes and make God’s presence felt in my heart, mind and soul. It is the only way to get through this life, knowing that the One who brought us to this trial has already found a way out for us. Knowing the creator of our hearts has created for it its cure as well. When I make Allah the closest thing to me, Allah’s mercy, pleasure, protection, blessings and help are also near.
Alone we can never do it but with Allah we can get through it all. I promise. Wait! scratch that, I am flawed remember? Allah promises. - Imanie
Zainab - College Student - Kentucky
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.” - Qur’an Chapter 24 / Verse 35
I am always searching for sources of light, from the light that emanates my friends’ faces when they are doing something that they love to the Light of Allah (S) which transcends in various forms. This search for light in my life has made me more cognizant of how and where I spend my energy and my spiritual capital. - Zainab
Valeria - Product Marketer - New York
“Do not disregard the words of Allah, and do not seek guidance from other than him, for then (surely) you will go astray” - Imam Ali Ibn Musa al-Ridha
Whenever I am going through a difficult time in my life or i have something to thank Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) for. I pray to Allah and ask for guidance and it is from Allah that i get the most rewarding answer. Allah might not speak to me with words per se but i understand and see the signs of Allah’s wisdom all around me. Never has Allah let me alone. - Valeria
Leila - Future Mental Health Counselor - Maryland
“Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah ] from that which you love. And whatever you spend - indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” - Qur’an Chapter 3 / Verse 92
These days we are constantly seeking instant gratification for the smallest of things. We have started to find ways to maximize benefit and feelings of accomplishment, while doing the least possible. It has become individualized and selfish and often we find ourselves losing touch with what really matters: Our relationship with our Creator. I love this verse for two reasons. One because Allah is letting us know that He is All-Knowing and that whatever we do to please him, pictures taken or not, He will always know and reward. And secondly, because He is urging and pushing us to be selfless and spend in His name. Not just spend whatever is convenient, but to spend what we love and don't want to give up. To really do it solely for the sake of Him and Him alone. For me, my most precious asset is time. So when I think of this verse I think about how Allah wants me to spend my time in His way. As a busy graduate student juggling multiple responsibilities, time is the last thing I have to spend, and yet I am reminded that it is what Allah would love the most from me. There are many ways I can spend my time in the way of Allah, but perhaps how I best love to serve Him is by serving His people. I am currently a mental health counselor in training and helping others through therapy and providing support is the best way to serve my Creator. And in the process I plan to give up lots of my time, because I know that whatever I spend - indeed, Allah is Knowing of it. - Leila
Shifat - Software Engineer - New York
“Surely (as for) those who love that scandal should circulate respecting those who believe, they shall have a grievous chastisement in this world and the hereafter, and Allah knows, while you do not know” - Qur’an Chapter 24 / Verse 19
Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) teaches us to never be okay with spreading rumors or slander anyone under any circumstances. The reputation and character of the believers is so important to Allah that creating a positive and supportive community is a must within Islam. - Shifat
Fatema - Future Occupational Therapist - New York
“Those who believe and whose hearts are set at rest by the remembrance of Allah; now surely by Allah’s remembrance are the hearts set at rest.” - Qur’an Chapter 13 / Verse 28
Life can get pretty overwhelming at times and I often found myself in distress. It was only when I truly understood this ayah (verse), that I was able to put myself at ease. Life often times has us longing to take rest in material ease and pleasure. Problem is, these things only take care of the mind and body, but leave the heart out of the equation. So when I read and understood this verse, it changed my life. I realized then that true happiness can only be found with the remembrance of God. - Fatema
Israa - Writer/Activist - New York
“And for your Lord, be patient” - Qur’an Chapter 74 / Verse 7
I used to be ashamed of admitting that I used to question my faith more than I was “supposed” to. For the majority of my life, I grew up understanding religion through the lens of those who surrounded me; almost to the point of being told, rather than being taught. Being in an Islamic School for seven years made it easier to avoid questions like “what’s that on your head?” and “why do you pray five times a day?”, or “what’s an Allah?”, and “do you believe in Jesus, too?”. It wasn’t so much the lack of exposure that made it less likely for me to answer such questions; rather, it was a silent similarity that was shared amongst my peers and I. I didn’t realize how little I knew about both, myself, and religion, until I grew into my own shoes during my academic and professional careers.
The difference of exposures caused me to question more than just my faith, but my sense of individualism, or lack thereof, as well. Being introduced to aspects that didn’t rely on religion as heavily as I was used to left me in a constant state of limbo. When questioned about my religion by non-Muslims, I felt as though I was reciting answers out of my 10th grade Islamic Studies book. I, too, was telling, and not teaching. It almost felt robotic. I wasn’t surrounded by those of similar faiths, let alone the fundamental ideologies that I’ve depended on for so long, and that induced a false need to distance myself from what I’ve held onto most. Others’ lack of understanding caused me to doubt what I thought I understood. I soon lost my sense of tawwakul (trusting in God’s plan/full reliance on Him), and that is when matters began to spiral into an unyielding series of doubt.
It wasn’t until I was jolted into reconsidering the essence of what it meant to have faith, when I realized how lost I had been in the midst of my struggles. Once one loses hope in what they claim to love, simply because it is no longer as tangible as it used to be, one’s honesty becomes of question. It took time for me to realize and understand that the greatest aspect of my deen (religion) is the concept behind how to hold onto it: Faith. Trusting that my sense of hope stems out of the very root of believing in the unknown. Faith means love. Faith means reliance. Faith means patience.
And for my Lord, I became patient. - Israa
Aber - Community Organizer - New York
“There lies within the body a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the whole body is sound; and if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted. Verily this piece is the heart” - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
This is my favorite hadith because whenever I am feeling down, confused, or out of balance I remember the first thing that I have to do is check into my heart. I love that in Islam the heart and the soul are a part of our essence and have an integral role in helping us to navigate our lives. This is a concept of spirituality that I feel is missing in a society where we are not taught to be introspective and people are constantly busy distracting and numbing themselves with external things because we are not taught to find peace within our internal selves. I believe that when we learn to look inside that will help us manage a healthy mental, physical, and spiritual self. - Aber
Osoul - Nursing Student - New Jersey
“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear” - Qur’an Chapter 2 / Verse 286
This specific ayah has gotten me through so much in my life, Alhamdulillah. I have had to deal with a lot growing up, whether it was family, illnesses or loss. In a way I was forced to mature at an early age and growing up I always wondered why! You know, like why things happened the way they happened but once I started getting closer to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala), I realized that asking why things happen the way they do is the wrong approach to life. Instead we should ask Allah to make us strong enough to handle any obstacles thrown our way. Now every time something happens, I read this ayah and I remember that Allah will not burden me with anything I cannot handle. Allah won’t burden me with something that will destroy me, it will only make me stronger for what is ahead inshaAllah. It is kind of like a little hope, you know, the light at the end of the tunnel. - Osoul
Raya - Freelance Journalist - Pennsylvania
“O you who believe! answer (the call of) Allah and His Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life; and know that Allah comes in between a person and his heart” - Qur’an Chapter 8 / Verse 24
I'm going to answer this as honestly as I can. When I first read this verse, I interpreted the verse as Allah coming between what the heart wants and allowing that person to go to what he needs. The interpretation, in reality, talks about how Allah opens hearts to religion and faith, but not all people are guided through that path. I found the original interpretation much more beautiful. To me, that's what Allah is saying, it's okay if someone does not believe because he has guided them that way. We cannot be upset when someone does not believe or does not have the will of faith because that is what Allah wants. To me, Allah takes the blame from that person and informs the believers, not to be upset because this is a part of the plan. This life is all a part of the journey. Believing this gives me security, and puts my heart in the right place.
I was asked, was there a time that I felt alone and the answer is yes, all throughout my life, until recently. Allah found me at my lowest point and guided me. I hit a wall during my short 23 years, and I was suddenly faced with the thought that I had nothing and that I was nothing. I decided at that moment that I needed to pray; I wasn't even sure if it would work. You see, I never had a full grasp on Islam, but I regularly searched for a person/place to fill the void. Through prayer, I found the void became occupied by the essence of developing a relationship with Allah. This is the most beautiful journey in Islam, Allah brings us to our lowest points to guide us to the light. So we can indeed discover the best version of ourselves through the vibrations that he sends our way. - Raya
Bushra - College Student - Texas
“And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination.” - Qur’an Chapter 31 / Verse 14
No religion puts greater emphasis on the status of parents in society than that which Islam puts. We always hear that a 'mother knows best,' but sometimes in life we get carried away by our own faults, forgetting to turn to those who know us the most. I'm always terrified that a day will come in which I can no longer write my mother's name and number as my emergency contact, whether it be for school or any other endeavor of mine. This verse keeps me grounded; it reminds me that life is short, so short, too short, and that one should never, ever take the lives of one's parents for granted. - Bushra
Naseema - Grad Student - New York
“Those who commit unlawful sexual intercourse of your women - bring against them four [witnesses] from among you. And if they testify, confine the guilty women to houses until death takes them or Allah ordains for them [another] way. And the two who commit it among you, dishonor them both. But if they repent and correct themselves, leave them alone. Indeed, Allah is ever Accepting of repentance and Merciful. The repentance accepted by Allah is only for those who do wrong in ignorance [or carelessness] and then repent soon after. It is those to whom Allah will turn in forgiveness, and Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. But repentance is not [accepted] of those who [continue to] do evil deeds up until, when death comes to one of them, he says, "Indeed, I have repented now," or of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful punishment.” Qur’an Chapter 4 / Verses 16-18
From teen pregnancy to exposed sins, it seems like every negative thing that has been said against Muslim women in accordance to their sins is justifiable, when in reality, Allah could’ve forgave them for the very sins that people are constantly shaming women for because a person’s sins are between them and their Lord, and no one else. We are all humans, we all sin, but it is our Creator’s judgment that we should only worry about, and not His creations’. My dislike for the sexist parts of my parents’ culture is actually what helped me embrace Islam more and I learned that our Creator is merciful and He does not turn away anyone who wants to get closer to Him. When we make mistakes, and it feels like there’s no one we can turn to, we can turn to our Lord for guidance. - Naseema
Faria - Education Consultant - New York
“The life of this world compared to the hereafter is as if one of you were to put his finger in the ocean and take it out again then compare the water that remains on his finger to the water that remains in the ocean” - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
Iman has a rare genetic disorder called Nicolaides-Baraitser Syndrome. There are less than 100 diagnosed cases in the world, yes I said world. Along with this diagnosis, he is on the autistic spectrum and has a seizure disorder. There are many daily struggles and very scary/bleak things that keep us awake at night, but one thing that carries us through is that children with this diagnosis have a positive disposition. They are truly happy and very rarely get upset. Iman is always smiling, mashAllah. He has seen more doctors than Asif and I combined, yet he remains such a strong and exuberant spirit. No matter how many difficulties arise, he manages to thwart them with a smile. He is our only child and many of our hopes and dreams are wrapped up in him and so some days we can’t help but feel crushed and discouraged but God through his infinite mercy and wisdom has given us a boy that heals and in his presence, I do.
As Muslims we believe in life after death. We believe this life is a test and the way we respond to obstacles and trials is a reflection of how much faith we have in God and his divine will. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “The life of this world compared to the hereafter is as if one of you were to put his finger in the ocean and take it out again then compare the water that remains on his finger to the water that remains in the ocean.” The life of this world is short-lived and, like travelers, we are just passing through to our ultimate destination, of endless peace and tranquility amongst purified souls once yearned to be together. It is said that the greatest reward comes with the greatest trial and when God loves a people He tests them. Isn't it true that when we are given the things we ask God for we tend to forget his presence? It is in our tests that we are most closest to God because we become hopeful of his mercy. It gives us comfort to know Iman might not have all the things we wish for him here, but eventually he will God-willing dwell in heaven and there he will have perfect form both in body and speech. The path of special needs parents is lined with thorns but we pray one day God-willing Iman, my husband Asif and I will gather in heaven and exchange the most loving dialogue with an eternity of ease to make up for our short earthly lifetime of hardship. - Faria
Abeer - Science Teacher - Michigan
“Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your free time before your work, and your life before your death.” - Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
This Hadith provides a much needed reminder to make the most of the present before losing it. My goal is to live a meaningful, purposeful life while working towards the ultimate goal of securing a pleasant future. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, it’s that I’ve spent so much of my life looking forward to the future that I’ve missed out on appreciating certain moments. It’s very easy to take this life for granted. Sometimes you really need to relax, reflect, and redirect yourself to the life you want and need. At the end of the day, to Allah we belong and to Him we return. Take care of your body, take care of your mind, take care of yourself in the best way possible and do your best. Everybody serves a different purpose and each person’s purpose is equally as special. The difference is how much each of us is willing to find our purpose and carry it out. Now is the time to do it. No more tomorrow. No more later. Now - Abeer