Faith: My Life Not My Label

Born and bred a British, Shamima, 16, is all about creativity and self-expression. She wishes to pursue a career in Medicine and pursue her interests in poetry, fashion, writing and maybe in the distant future, property development.

I am a Muslim and I believe that there is one God, Allah, and in His Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh). I believe that I can turn to Him when in need and He will help me one way or another. I also believe that everything happens for a reason and that I will be answerable for my deeds on the Day of Judgement, to name a few.

To follow a religion means to base your entire life around it, it gives me an identity and it gives me a purpose. It is who I am.

1. So, how far does my religion help me through teenage life and help me to be a better person?

I believe that my body is a gift from God and that it must be returned when I die.

To harm it, a divine gift, is sinful and shows utmost disrespect to our Creator. Therefore, I refrain from any form of self harm and substance such as alcohol, cigarettes and drugs, which will cause great infliction upon my body because to do so will only achieve God’s displeasure.

2. I believe that all humans came from a single pair of human beings, Adam and Eve.

And so we should look after each other and be kind to our neighbours and generally not be a nuisance to others.

Furthermore, I believe that God ‘Looks not at how you look but what is in your heart’.

This encourages me to be friendly and kind towards others, to treat everyone fairly and equally regardless of where they come from, their looks, their beliefs etc, because everyone is equal in the eyes of God, it is only deed that can raise a person. I know that I have no right to judge anyone because I could not possibly know what is in their hearts and as I, myself, am imperfect.

3I believe that everything, from the smallest ant to the largest elephant, from the icecaps of the north to our underappreciated country side, is Gods creation.

Having being made stewards of the Earth we must look after them and preserve them and certainly not damage them. I feel inclined to be green and eco-friendly and to regard animal welfare even if it is a small insect.

4. Islam says that it is the duty upon each and every Muslim to attain knowledge about Islam and about the world and if we cannot then we must seek it.

It is also mentioned that all the ink every used in the way of God will be weighed up and added to your good deed. Islam greatly emphasises on the importance of education and so I feel blessed that I am able to go to school and learn and aspire to be something in life when there are so many children across the world who are too poor to go to school or do not have a school in their village to go to.

Idleness is disliked in Islam and God said that we must strive to help people and make the earth a better place to live. God had also said that He had laid down every opportunity; it is up to us to work towards and achieve what we want. Thus I feel inclined to do well in school so that I may achieve my goal, to become a doctor, a career that will, by helping individuals, aid in making the country (and possibly other, underdeveloped areas of the world) a healthier, happier place to live for millions of people.

5 .In Islam parents have been given an incredibly high ranking.

Closely following Allah and then His prophet in rank of importance, the mother is mentioned thrice and then the father. This shows just how much we ought to respect our parents. It is mentioned that heaven lies under the feet of the mother and that the father is the key to heaven. We must always be kind to our parents and we must always treat them with respect for they are older and wiser than us and because they love us and everything they ever say or do is for us. We must love and care for them even into old age however difficult because as they had sacrificed so much for us and never stopped loving us through our turbulent years of ‘growing up’. Even when at time they make us so angry and upset (they are human after all) we should never answer back or behave rudely towards them. To hurt a mother is the worst possible act you could do. So before we do anything we should always ask ourselves ‘would what I am about to do hurt, upset or disappoint my parents in any way?’

6. I believe that God is merciful; He will forgive those who repent.

We are not perfect and we are bound to make mistakes however hard we try. But we must not give up trying. It is said that ‘a true Muslim is not one who never makes mistakes, it is one who makes a mistake once, learns from it and does not make the same mistake again.

Everyone is working at their own level, and God does not look at how much we have achieved, rather He looks at how hard we have struggled or are struggling.

7. I believe that God is All Knowing and All Seeing.

God is everywhere, He sees and knows everything so we must never try hiding anything from God nor should we ever lose hope that He is with us.

During hard times when we feel no one understands, we should remember that God can see into the depth our hearts and that He knows that you are going through, He understands the personal battles that you are facing and He is always with you. If you have faith and have patience, God will help you directly or indirectly, sooner or later. You may even come to realise that what you are facing is in someway good for you.

Young Muslims today are facing all sorts of challenges. We live in a society that has different laws and different customs to our religion and although we are growing up in this society, we are trying to hold on to our religion and our beliefs.

Our friends and people around us do things that we do not or cannot do because of our beliefs and we do things our friends may find unusual. It is difficult to remain firm in our beliefs, its would be much easier to leave it all and be try to fit in with the media created society, and that is where the struggle lies.

To make things worse, 9/11 left the world in devastation. And from then on all Muslims were to be labelled as ‘terrorists’. Young Muslims have to live with the terrible image that they, themselves, cannot understand. From the Islamic point of view, hurting others is completely wrong and to kill a single person is like killing the whole community, killing God’s creation. The only and only time it is permissible is when it is used as self defence and even then it should be as a last resort.

‘Jihad’. Those who do not understand Islam think that Muslim’s are all about fighting and war and violence. ‘Jihad’ is an Arabic term which people use to describe Muslim’s wars yet the literal meaning of ‘Jihad’ is ‘struggle towards faith’. 9/11, through the view point of a large majority of Muslims, was not Jihad, it was cold blooded murder. The Muslim society is outraged that they must suffer as a result of the cruel and selfish acts of a small minority who call themselves Muslim’s. Now the rest of the Muslim community have to live in difficulty, being attacked by the media and by those who hold everything against all Muslims. The struggle these Muslims face, the mature Muslims and the younger generation is what you would call ‘Jihad’.

All young Muslims are faced with these challenges in life, and yet if we stay strong, have faith and have patience, God will help us through. Islam need not be a negative label that us slapped across our foreheads, but something that will help us shine in the world.

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