Ramadan Reflections: Day Twenty-Six — Sharing is Caring

I blame my friends. They have been so kind to me that when other people are less than kind, it is difficult for me to understand. I have experienced kindness at work in the world. I have trouble comprehending why anyone would choose anything other than kindness. If I had bad friends, I would be better prepared for a world that can be cold and cruel. It’s my friends’ fault, all of them.

When the Muslim ban was instated, I received some offensive comments from one of my Facebook friends. It was honestly more bizarre to me than anything else. It always confuses me when people gain confidence from hiding behind a computer screen, but are silent in reality.

Before I could reply to the comments, several of my friends (the real kind of friends, those who are there for you in the non-virtual world) responded. They had my back; they came to my rescue.

A few days later, one of my friends told me that she cried when she heard about the Muslim ban because she thought of my family and all the Muslim families she knows, who have been nothing but kind to her.

I could fill a book with all of the kind things people in my life have done. This is absolutely one of my greatest blessings. It is something for which I am infinitely grateful. My friends do not view me as their Muslim friend, but as their friend who happens to be Muslim. That distinction makes a difference. I am a person first.

People are often blinded by what they think being a Muslim means that they never get to know someone as a person first. People have told me that they are surprised to discover I am Muslim or that I was not what they expected. Muslims are so misrepresented that I somehow look like an anomaly. I am not. I am in the vast majority.

I mentioned yesterday that I considered ending this series. I have to admit that a part of why I did not is because Muslim voices are too often silenced. We are given a narrative by those who do not represent us. I have to continue to write. Sharing stories and experiences humanizes people of all groups. It helps us understand the world a little better.

This is another reason why my friends are so great. They take the time to listen to the stories of others — not only my stories or those from other Muslims, but stories from everyone and anyone.

Lesson of the day: fill your life with stories. I am convinced that this will make us better friends and better people. People don’t realize a voice is missing until it sounds. It’s up to all of us to create a space for all voices to be heard authentically. Share your experiences and seek out experiences from others.

Lesson from Kindergarten: Sharing is caring.