I have been discovering more each day how much I love Muslim people. They are beautiful, warm people, yet we are afraid of them because of misconceptions based on our stereotypes of their race.
I have friends who were living in the Middle East for four years and were sharing about how amazing they find Muslim people. Through my own encounters and my friend’s experiences, here’s what muslim people have taught me.
- Hospitality is valuable.
If you are visiting a Muslim country, you will find they are extremely hospitable. They will invite you into their home, even if they don’t know you. Daily visits are a normality, giving them authentic friendships not based from a screen. A normal visit is at least three hours, which means they reserve a large chunk of their day to be with one another. This community living doesn’t leave a lot of room for loneliness. What if we had time for one another here in North America? What if Facebook and online dating weren’t the way we decided to involve ourselves in community? Would there be room for isolation?
- It’s a normal family affair to take care of the poor.
They involve their children in caring for the less fortunate. They don’t announce their efforts, but go about using their own family funds to resource the poor. They go above and beyond in generosity. Imagine if our Western world adopted this value? What pressure would this take off our government's budgets? What a dent this could make in poverty reduction and quality of life for all! What would it do to our kids; to raise them to believe that caring for the less fortunate is a right and a responsibility we have as a citizen of our country? Imagine this was normal?
- It is important to take time throughout the day to pause and pray.
They are devoted to their prayer times. When the scheduled time to pray comes, everyone drops what they are doing; business meetings, lunch, shopping, etc., and they all take a moment to pause and pray. What good must this do for them! Imagine we stopped to pause and pray throughout the day instead of rushing around like mad men? How inconvenienced would we feel? Doesn’t that speak of how imbalanced we’ve become? Perhaps worry wouldn’t grip our hearts as much as it does? Maybe we would gain perspective we could never gain on our own. There’s something about “being still …”
Muslim people give me a picture of many things we miss in North America: community, going back to simple things like caring for neighbors and the poor, and restoring faith back as the main principle in our lives. We may judge them, but there are many things to learn and glean from them. To be friends with them is to be blessed.
Connie Jakab is the author of the blog, Culture Rebel, which is also be her first book title released in 2012 with others such as Mommy Culture Rebel, Church Culture Rebel and Raising Culture Rebels to follow. Connie is passionate about rebelling against status quo living and encouraging others to branch out. The founder of WILD (women impacting lives daily) as well as Mpact, a dance company that produces shows based on social justice issues, Connie drives her passion outward into the arms of those wanting something more radical and meaningful in life. Connie is an active speaker and worship leader, and lives with her husband and two boys in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She can be found on Facebook and on twitter @ConnieJakab. You can read much more about Arloa’s story and her ministry in her book, The Invisible, (which I read in two hours. It was that good.)
Muslim woman praying, wong yu liang / Shutterstock.com