Staying Strong after Boston Bombings

As we find out more about the Islamic connection that the suspects in the Boston Marathon Bombing had, Muslims across the nation are going through an array of emotions.

The news pundits keep bringing up Islam and how that might have been the motivating factor for the two brothers actions. The American Muslim community is beginning to brace for the backlash. Already we’re hearing stories of kids in schools being taunted, mosques with armed guards and harassment of women wearing the hijab.

Muslims are feeling vulnerable, tired and frustrated. We are asking “Why do we have to constantly explain our religion, be unfairly targeted and treated in a way that that other Americans are not?”

But we often forget that we are not the first generation of Muslims to feel this way. Neither is it a new phenomenon that Islam or Muslims have been attacked. From the first time the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) preached till present day and till Allah wills, there will continue to be challenges for the Muslim Ummah. However what has changed is the way Muslims respond to these challenges.

The Prophet (SAW) and the Sahaba’s were physically, emotionally and financially tortured and yet were patient. They were so steadfast in their beliefs and trusted that Allah (SWT) would guide them through their hardship. One example is of Sommaya RA who was tortured to death (the first female martyr of Islam) for simply believing in Allah SWT. The Prophet(SAW) was powerless and the only thing he could say to her was to be patient and that her reward was waiting for her in Jannah.

Our tests are like cake compared to theirs. We’re bugging out because some dude is staring at us in a grocery store or the media is bashing Islam. Muslims living in America find it difficult to deal with issues such as profiling, defending our beliefs and dealing with the ludicrous comments thrown by the media.

When we feel angry about the way the media is portraying Muslims we should read about the challenges that the Prophet (SAW) and his companions went through. The Prophet’s (SAW) own family threw sticks and stones on him till he would bleed. His own neighbors and friends drove him and his followers out of the city of Mecca.They were physically attacked, their properties were seized and they were economically marginalized. But these hardships did not wear them down, their faith in Allah was only strengthened by the challenges. Their faith also helped them in remaining optimistic about their future.

We must remember we are all ambassadors to our deen, the only way to change anyone’s perception of Islam is through our own actions. So lets practice the patience and optimism that the Prophet (SAW) and the sahabas practiced. Put on that smile and lend a helping hand to your neighbor, be the first in community service, give a compliment to the cashier and don’t forget that extra cheerful thank you to the waiter, sales clerk or whoever. Our best akhlaq (virtues) and adab (manners) is most needed right now.

Changing one person’s outlook may lead to changing an entire household. In addition to educate the masses, exemplify what you speak. Justifying the violence or comparing other countries does nothing but harm. Lives are lost and our empathy and mercy should be in the forefront.

These are days of trials and tribulations. We must hold on to our ideals and principles. May Allah (SWT) preserve our community and bless our Nation.

-The Biscuits and Banarsi Staff-

Three Wives and the Diamond Set

More than a half-century ago when there was no border between Pakistan and India, My great grandfather, a charismatic man had three wives. He presented his first wife with a beautiful diamond necklace and bracelet set.

When my great grandmother first saw the grand set she was delighted and marveled at the size of the diamonds in the necklace. However she said to my great grandfather that although she loved the necklace she thought the diamonds in the bracelet were small in comparison. She suggested to her husband that she should keep the necklace and that he could give the bracelet to his other wife.

My great grandfather, a connoisseur of fine jewelry and real estate, did not want to break up the set. He told my great grandmother that he would order her a new set with the bigger diamonds. He then went to his second wife and offered her the diamond set, she loved the set and put on the necklace and the bracelet but her wrist was a little large and the bracelet didn’t fit.

Again, my great grandfather was insistent that he didn’t want to break up the set. He then went to his third wife and showed her the exquisite set. She loved it and everything fit her perfectly.

As promised he went again to the same jeweler who had made the original set to pick up the bigger set for my great grandmother. While the jeweler displayed the necklace and bracelet set to him a merchant who was also at the store caught a glimpse of the pieces being displayed and insisted that he wanted that set for his daughter.

The jeweler explained to the merchant that he could not sell it to him because it was a custom order made for Mr. Quraeshi. The merchant then turned to my great grandfather and pleaded with him to let him buy the set. He explained that it was for his daughters wedding and he would be proud adorning his daughter with such an dazzling set on her wedding day.

My great grandfather agreed and for the third time placed an order for the brilliant diamond set. Sadly, my great grandmother never did get her diamond set. My great grandfather was never able to return to the jeweler because of the historic Partition between India and Pakistan.

My great grandmother had expressed her disappointment in not receiving the diamond set that she had been waiting for. She regretted not keeping the first set that her husband had first brought to her. This has always been an important lesson and it is a reminder to always accept gifts graciously and don’t be too picky about your lot in life, because you never know what the future holds.

I am thankful to my family for these stories. Although I have never met my great grandparents these stories allow me to catch a glimpse of what their lives were like. To this day I feel the disappointment that my great grandmother must have felt.

May Alllah (SWT) grant my great grandmother a beautiful diamond set in Jannah  and reunite her and her children in Jannat-ul-Firdaus – Ameen