My Muslim brother or sister in Canada, I know you’re scared right now. You’re worried about going outside. Concerned about keeping your family safe. Maybe you’re looking over your shoulder when you’re outdoors. Perhaps you’re wondering how to explain what’s going on to your child.
The last few weeks have weighed heavily on our hearts. A family, out for a walk on a beautiful evening. Their lives snuffed out, just like that. A grandmother. A husband and wife. A child. They leave behind a little boy, 9 years old, who must be asking, where are my parents? Where’s my sister? Where’s Grandma? What did they do to deserve this? And how can I go on living without them?
You can’t help but think, it could have been you on that sidewalk. It could have been you and your family taking a walk.
You may be hated. You may be feared. You may be told you don’t belong. There are some who may want to kill you. There are some who may go so far as to try. But you will not cower or live in fear. God is the ultimate Protector and Master Planner. God alone can bestow mercy and remove from us the greatest of harms. So rely on God, not human beings. Trust that God will take care of you and provide for you. Have faith that God has a plan for you greater than anyone can imagine, and rest assured that the best way to fulfill that plan is through prayer and action.
Political leaders may put you down. They may treat you as if you don’t matter to get ahead. The media may portray you as a terrorist, as sexist, as uncivilized. Your teachers may underestimate you. Police officers may do you more harm than good. You may be passed over for job promotions, rejected when you apply to rent or buy a home.
While you should do everything in your power to fight against these injustices, ultimately you should remember that it doesn’t matter what others think or do to you. Your worth is not dependent on human beings. The greatest people in our past, our beloved prophets, were reviled and mocked. People tried to kill them. But they didn’t attach their sense of self to what others did or said. They were confident that what really matters is what God thinks of us. And they always found ways to rise above their circumstances, to be good and stand for good despite what was thrown at them.
Know who you are and what you stand for and don’t give in or give up. You are a Muslim. You have been blessed with Islam. It’s a beautiful faith that requires you to live a morally upright life, one that is in balance with your environment.
It commands you to show kindness and respect and love for other human beings. It teaches you discipline. It tells you to be patient and steadfast. It encourages you to reason and seek knowledge. It advises you to use your wealth to help people and communities around you. These teachings are not things to be ashamed of, they’re reasons for you to stand tall. This is a moment to seek comfort and strength in Islam and dedicate yourself to being a better Muslim.
You will grow strong and persevere in the face of adversity. And these experiences will inspire you to build on the foundations laid by your ancestors and great leaders and rise against racism and hate in all its forms, in Canada and beyond. You will shoulder the responsibility to uplift others as we uplift yourself. Other people may be cruel, they may be unjust and unfair. But that is not what you stand for. And it won’t affect how you behave. You will be the best person you can be, even when no one sees or hears you, because that is what God calls you to do and be.
I pray that God protects you and your loved one and blesses you with the very best always. May God grant you success in all that you do and give you the wisdom and patience and power to shape this world for the better.