Changing Perceptions of Islam
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The way you interact and behave with non-Muslims has a huge impact on the way they think about Islam.
At the workplace, there are many non-Muslims who live in areas where Muslims aren't seen, and thus the only Muslims they see and interact with are ourselves.
Of the handful of incidents we've experienced first-hand, one happened today.
A colleague approached me whilst I was walking down the corridor, and asked if I could spare a few minutes. He then went on to tell me that his son, who was at college, had told him the other day that Muslims were xyz, and that they were to blame for ISIS and terrorism. He found this very disturbing, and objected to his comments, saying that he had Muslim colleagues at work who he knew well, and they were ‘nothing like that’, so Islam could never be the problem. After that discussion, he had gone online and searched for content that refuted terrorist ideologies, with references from the Qur’an and Hadith. This is what he wanted to run past me, to see whether it would be appropriate to pass onto his son.
This episode took me aback, for a couple of reasons. The first being that my colleague knew little about Islam, so his only reference was us. Our actions have effects and consequences, whether we like it or not. It’s scary to wonder what the negative repercussions of our actions could have been! Imagine someone being put off Islam because you never smiled, said hello or never tried cracking a joke?
The second reason was that he actually felt so strongly about the negative attitude of his son towards Islam, that he went out of his way to defend the faith. Despite all the bad press Islam gets, there are genuine people out there who contemplate and stick up for the truth.
Allah says in the Qur’ān:
يُرِيدُونَ أَن يُطۡفِـُٔواْ نُورَ ٱللّٰهِ بِأَفۡوٰهِهِمۡ وَيَأۡبَى ٱللّٰهُ إِلَّآ أَن يُتِمَّ نُورَهُ ۥ وَلَوۡ كَرِهَ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرُونَ
‘They intend to extinguish the light of Allah, but Allah insists that His light will remain complete despite the dislike of the rejecters’ (9:32)