Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), for the first three years after receiving prophethood, spread the message to close friends and relatives. Right before the pagans of Mecca could mobilize a campaign against the spread of Islam (now called Islamophobia), Allah revealed the verse:
“O, you who is wrapped, Rise and Warn”
Immediately after the revelation of this verse, the Prophet (pbuh) went to mount Safa and gathered the clans of Mecca and asked them, “If I were to tell you that there was an army of enemies on the other side ready to attack you, would you believe me?” A resounding answer was, “We have never seen you lie”. He (pbuh) said, “Then know that I am a warner for you before the severe punishment comes over you.”
In today’s environment of Islamophobia, we have indeed some lessons to be learned from this historical event. We need to be honest and truthful in our dealings and establish a firm footing in the communities at large. We must reclaim our narrative. If there will be a discussion about our community and our faith, we are the ones speaking.
It is not a time to be silent bystanders. Our response to the negative propaganda about our faith and community should be a positive one. We need to engage in discussions with our neighbors, coworkers, friends and family about the exemplary status of us as Muslims in the USA.
Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), a research organization, works for a better understanding of Muslims in USA and has the following track record that we need to proudly promote:
· 1/3rd of our community (African-Americans) have been here as early as anyone.
· Muslims are statistically the most diverse faith group in the US.
· Muslim-American women surpass their male counterparts in education.
In Michigan, Muslims are 2.5% of the population, yet account for:
· 15% of the state’s doctors
· 10% percent of the state’s pharmacists
· 4-5% of small business (over 35K business owned, over 103K employed)
· $117 million donated to local and international charities in 2015
In NYC, Muslims are 9% of the population, yet account for more than:
· 9% of the city’s medical doctors, serving over 5 million patients annually
· 2% of the state’s pharmacists, filling over 9.5 million scripts annually
· 11% of NYC’s engineers, 40% of taxi-drivers, 57% of street-food vendors
· 1,000 of NYC’s police officers and firefighters
· 10,000 of NYC’s teachers, educating ~250,000 kids K-12
· 95,000 small businesses owned, employed over 250,000 people
· $608 million donated to local and international charities in 2016
This article was inspired by a khutba, I heard from Sheikh Omar Sulaiman.