In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
This is going to be my first faith-related post and I hope I can express in words my feelings. InsyaAllah.
On my way home from work today, I was accompanied by a colleague from Spain. We were talking about our daily lives and what we were doing before we came to Frankfurt when he expressed his interest in learning about Islam.
He told me that he became interested in Islam when he visited Morocco. He fell in love with the people, culture, and religion. He also shared with me that he took a Qur’an that was given out along Zeil (a shopping district in Frankfurt). My immediate thoughts were, first, Morocco isn’t the best example of a Muslim nation nor are its people, and secondly, I hoped that the Qur’an he took while at Zeil wasn’t from the Ahmadiyya sect.
Now that I am sitting at home, having completed my Isya’ prayers, I am able to reflect on my thoughts and feelings. Who I am to judge our fellow Muslims – especially the Moroccans. Yes, they may not be the best Muslim but I am far from it either. In fact, I don’t think I am living up to my name, Nurulhuda – the guiding light.
Islam is supposed to be easy and yet we make it difficult. As Muslims we are supposed to be proud of our religion, yet we practise it only behind closed doors.
Coming from Singapore, we are taught to be mindful of practising our religion. Hoping to not offend other people and accommodate to their needs. But seriously, what is wrong in requesting Halal meat for a staff party? To keep a beard or wear a headscarf at work? Asking for prayer breaks? Letting the Azan (call to prayers) be heard by others? A friend from UK commented that if a call to prayers can’t be heard, what is the use of it then? In the international school here, people of other faiths admire and even state there is no harm in expressing one’s faith.
But still I will sneak out of my office for my prayers when it is time to perform solat Zuhr and Asr’. Other times it is on the pretext of having lunch – and during those times, I am usually fasting. I guess coming from a non-Muslim nation and currently living in one, it made me the person that I am.
The only time I felt that I could do my solat leisurely and openly was when I worked at Berita Harian (BH) in Singapore. Almost all of us, – there was a Chinese Malaysian working at BH during the time I was there, – in that newsroom are Muslims, cause by default, most Malays in Singapore are Muslims. So it was easy and less awkward for me to perform my duties. But it isn’t the same when I am out of a Muslim environment.
Here in Frankfurt, whenever I do my prayers, my mind is half hoping that no one opens the door. And I try to finish my prayers in under 10 minutes so that my boss doesn’t notice that I am away from my desk.
Muslims from Islamic nations have it easy. They can just stop whatever they are doing when it is time for prayers and perform their obligatory solat. I seriously envy them. And as Muslims, we all should be doing just that but we aren’t. I guess this is one of our challenges in this world. Learning how to prioritise between our duty with Allah and work. And most of us have it wrong. I, myself included.
I guess it is about time that we shouldn’t be shy of our religion. I am already wearing my faith on my head. Why not be proud of it as well, and start practising openly? InsyaAllah by watching us pray openly in the public, someone passing-by might be interested to know more about Islam.
We have to overcome our awkwardness and insecurities. Slowly but surely we can be better ambassadors for Islam. We also have to be prepared to answer tough questions like – do I have to convert if I want to marry a Muslim woman? Errrr… tough question brought up by my Spanish colleague. How does one answer that question without putting him off? All I could muster was:
“There is no compulsion in religion.” لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ – [Al-Baqarah 2:256]
And proceeded to tell him that whatever it is, he should learn more about the religion first before making any decision. Honestly, I was too afraid of telling him that a Muslim woman can’t marry a non-Muslim man. May Allah guide him to the correct path and this question will not be an issue anymore. 🙂
For now, I am looking forward to giving him my Qur’an with English tafseer. InsyaAllah.
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