By Valeid Sheikh
I’ve lived my whole life here in the United States of America and Alhamdulillah, I feel very lucky to be where I am right now. For the most part, I’ve received help from Muslims and non-Muslims alike when I was faced with stress and difficulty. My non-Muslim friends helped me out in more ways than one. I am grateful for what they have done to help me grow into the man I am today, despite them having a belief that is different from my own. Though there may be some disagreements that we encounter with non-Muslims in our lives here in the states, almost all non-Muslims can still be reasoned with in a good and proper manner.
With the current events going on today, there are likely to be manifestations of heated debate and argument with non-muslims. Some people will completely ignore what you have to say on a certain matter while others may be more inclined to listen to your words. The best thing to do is to be patient with your non-muslims friends and colleagues whenever there is a disagreement on a political or religious topic. At times we may feel emotional about things that go on around the world and although it can be hard at times, we have to see things from more than just one perspective. What you perceive on a certain matter may not be the only answer and non-muslims could have a perspective that actually makes sense to the certain situation going on. It may be tempting to turn away from someone who doesn’t share your beliefs, but in the end if you just listen to what someone has to say, you could see the bigger picture and it may be worthwhile.
Now in reality there are many differences between Muslims and non-Muslims. We have different religious customs such as Salah, Hajj, and Zakat that distinguish us from people of other beliefs. Christians believe in the Holy Trinity, Buddhists believe in the aspect of Nirvana, Hindus believe in societal norms based on karma, and the list goes on and on. However, there are similarities that all of these belief systems have with each other. The desire for peace, the application of the golden rule (treat others the way you want to be treated), respect for the Earth, respect for humanity, the need to help the poor, and as I say again, the list goes on and on. Compared to non-Muslims we might seem like completely different people in the way we dress, pray, and talk, but in the end, our morals are the same and we intend to reach the same goals.
While in college, I personally interact with non-Muslims all the time. Even my roommate is non-Muslim. Still, he is one of my great friends and I am grateful to be spending my college years with him. He once told me that if a religion promotes the destruction of other beliefs, then it is not a religion to begin with. A religion must emphasize a sense of respect for other beliefs in order for it to exist in this world. Sure, we may believe that our way of life is the only truth that has been bestowed upon us by God, but non-muslims of other religious beliefs think the same thing too don’t they? That’s why we have to accept others views. The reality is everyone in this world thinks their answer to life is right, so the only thing we can do in order to accommodate all people is to respect their answer as it is.
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