Islam is a religion that celebrates diversity and embraces differences, both in terms of cultural and ethnic backgrounds and in the diversity of thought and perspectives within the Muslim community. This diversity is a strength, and when we learn to appreciate and celebrate it, we can create a more inclusive and welcoming community for all Muslims.
However, many Muslims feel unwelcome in the community. Especially when they are looked as outsiders. We tend to not realize our words and actions do cause harm and hurt towards others. I’ve heard countless stories of other Muslims feeling unwelcome many time people tried so hard to get out of their comfort zone to attend an event to only feel more loneliness, to be criticized and questioned for things out of my control.
Community and a sense of belonging is need that we have. We want to live life the best we can surrounded by Muslims who we can practice our faith with, sisters and brother reminding us of Allah and influence us to be better, but we end up falling short. A simple greet of Asalam' Alaikom can create the sense of belong for others.
When we choose to get closer to Allah, we tend to leave behind those who do not understand us friends, family and colleagues. We tend to become strangers to our past. We take on a new initiative to find a sense of belonging in an unknown space. As a community, we can ease the struggle of our sisters and brothers by creating a welcoming space.
Welcoming others into the community on an individual level is a great way to promote inclusivity, and sisterhood/brotherhood. It builds good morals and character. Here are some ways we can do this:
Introduce yourself: If you see someone new in the community, take the initiative to introduce yourself. This simple gesture can make someone feel welcomed and valued. Notice things or similar interest. Coming into a new community is difficult. People tend to have their own groups and know each other already. When you speak with others include all of those around you to be in the conversion.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "When you are three persons sitting together, then no two of you should hold secret counsel excluding the third person until you are with some other people too, for that would grieve him." (Sahih Al-Bukhari 6290)
Offer help: If you notice someone struggling, offer help. Whether it's giving greeting or offering directions, small acts of kindness can go a long way in making someone feel welcomed and supported.
Invite them to events: If you are attending a community event, consider inviting someone new to come along. This can provide an opportunity for them to socialize and make new connections.
Listen to their experiences: Everyone has a unique story and perspective. Take the time to listen to someone new and learn about their experiences and background.
Be open-minded: It is essential to be open-minded when welcoming others into the community. Avoid making assumptions or judgments based on appearances or stereotypes, and embrace differences with curiosity and respect.
Follow up: After meeting someone new, follow up with them to see how they are doing and if they need further support or guidance. By embracing differences, building bridges, and promoting unity, we can create a welcoming and inclusive community for all Muslims.
By welcoming others individually, we can promote a culture of inclusivity and diversity within our community. Let us all strive to be welcoming, supportive, and accepting of everyone we meet.
Being part of a Muslim community can have numerous benefits for individuals. Even if we do not know others Muslims attending event, gathering, the masjid can have benefits. The benefits outweighs the loneliness. Encouage yourself to attend for the sake of Allah.
Here are some of the key benefits of being apart of the Muslim Community
- Spiritual growth: Being part of a Muslim community provides opportunities for spiritual growth through regular prayer, attending religious events, and engaging in spiritual practices.
- Support system: The Muslim community provides a support system for individuals during times of need, such as illness, loss, or personal struggles. The community can offer emotional and practical support, guidance, and advice.
- Social connections: The Muslim community provides opportunities for socializing and building connections with others with similar beliefs and values. This can help individuals feel a sense of belongingdont be sad and reduce feelings of isolation.
- Learning opportunities: The Muslim community offers opportunities for individuals to learn more about their faith through classes, workshops, and discussions. This can deepen their understanding of Islam and its teachings.
- Service opportunities: Being part of a Muslim community allows individuals to serve others and contribute to the greater good. This can include volunteering at a local mosque, participating in community service projects, or supporting charitable causes.
- A sense of purpose: Being part of a Muslim community can provide individuals with a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, as they can live out their faith and contribute to a greater cause.
Overall, being part of a Muslim community can provide numerous benefits for individuals, including spiritual growth, social connections, and a sense of purpose. It is important to actively engage with the community and take advantage of the opportunities it provides in order to fully experience these benefits. Never be afraid when you take a step towards Allah.
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
Allah the Almighty said: I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw near to him a cubit, and if he draws near to Me a cubit, I draw near to him a fathom. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed. Another possible rendering of the Arabic is: "I am as My servant expects Me to be". The meaning is that forgiveness and acceptance of repentance by the Almighty is subject to His servant truly believing that He is forgiving and merciful. However, not to accompany such belief with right action would be to mock the Almighty. It was related by al-Buhkari (also by Muslim, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn-Majah).
Welcoming Muslims into the Islamic community is not only a responsibility but a rewarding experience. By providing sisterhood/brotherhood we create a welcoming and supportive environment for Muslims.
Creating an inclusive Muslim community can have numerous benefits for individuals and the community as a whole. By fostering a sense of belonging, promoting understanding and acceptance, and encouraging innovation and growth, an inclusive community can be a powerful force for positive change within the community and on an individual level.