Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I’m of Middle Eastern descent and currently living in Quebec, a very Islamophobic province of Canada. Before I was a Muslim, the people in high school treated me like a terrorist and did horrible stuff just because I spoke Arabic. I think they’ll insult and attack me more now that I’m Muslim. What can I do?
Thank you for your question. May Allah grant you patience, endurance, and courage in the face of ignorant cowards. I urge you not to fear them but to fear Allah.
Racism is a harsh reality that many people face. People attack and insult others based on their color, religion, and other characteristics, not realizing they only demean themselves. The bottom line is that these people probably hate themselves and have been inadequately raised by their parents. I pray they all learn to spread peace, love, and respect. Unfortunately, many, even Muslims, have a bit of racism in their hearts, even if they don’t realize it. See how we can first battle this within ourselves.
Imam Zaid Shakir mentions in his article:
The Prophet took concrete measures to ensure that social practices that displayed racist attitudes were broken down by public policy. One of the largely unmentioned examples is his active work to undermine the stigma that many aristocratic Arabs in his time attached to marrying black men: he ordered several Arab families to allow the marriage of their daughters to black companions.
Please see the rest of this inspiring article here: Race to the Top – Imam Zaid Shakir
It is imperative that you don’t treat these offenders badly. Think of the patience of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), his perfect character, and his tolerance of bad behavior toward himself. I also urge you not to develop a sense of arrogance, thinking that you are better than them. Instead, remember that their current state is disbelief, but they could change at any time and become better believers than you. Hate their actions, not them. Show fortitude and grace.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “He who has, in his heart, an atom’s weight of arrogance will not enter Paradise.” Someone said: “A man likes to wear beautiful clothes and shoes.” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Allah is Beautiful; He loves beauty. Arrogance means denying the truth and holding people in contempt.” [Muslim]
I urge you to go on with your life in the same way you always do and not fear the people around you. Know that Allah is the defender of the believers, and He is with truthful people. You don’t need to put yourself in a dangerous or foolish position, but also no reason for you to deviate from your routines and worship because of racist people. Find solace in Allah’s words.
Allah Most High says in His book, “Indeed, Allah defends those who believe. Surely Allah does not like whoever is deceitful, ungrateful.” [Quran, 22:38]
And He Most High says, “They are those who have been expelled from their homes for no reason other than proclaiming: ‘Our Lord is Allah.’ Had Allah not repelled (the aggression of) some people by means of others, destruction would have surely claimed monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which Allah’s Name is often mentioned. Allah will certainly help those who stand up for Him. Allah is truly All-Powerful, Almighty.” [Quran, 22:40]
I recommend this dua for you from the Quran, “So he cried out to his Lord, “I am helpless, so help (me)!’” [Quran, 54:10] (The last three words of the verse)
“فَدَعَا رَبَّهُ أَنِّي مَغْلُوبٌ فَانْتَصِرْ”
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin and completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.