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How to Maintain Confidence in Times of Fear

How to Maintain Confidence in Times of Fear
If it is God for whom we devote ourselves, then when people gather against us our faith would only increase.

You know when you’ve been accused of something you didn’t do, but defending yourself just makes you look guilty? The desperation, the fear, the feeling of helplessness – it’s hard to be calm and optimistic when you’ve been wrongly charged.

That’s kind of how it feels being a Muslim these days. You walk around every day knowing that your religion has already been indicted. According to a 2015 Sadat Chair Poll, 61% of Americans have an unfavorable view of Islam.

That means that in the USA, roughly 6 out of every 10 people you encounter think badly of your religion.

Maybe they think you’re crazy; I mean, “why on Earth would you subscribe to such a barbaric, violent religion?” Some probably feel sorry for you, “Oh, poor thing, doesn’t even know how awful that religion really is.”

Others might imagine that you are utterly oppressed, afraid for your very life – that if you apostate, it’s off with your head! Perhaps they imagine that behind your smile you are really crying inside.

I once read of a woman who said that no matter how happy Muslim women appear on the surface, she was able to see that their eyes were pleading for help, to be saved.

Most people who think this way will not approach you and tell you how they feel. More likely than not, they will keep their thoughts to themselves. At most, they may talk about you to someone else, or never say a word about it, allowing their misconceptions to proliferate and fester.

 

There are anti-Islam organizations that have put a ton of effort into compiling “evidence” from twisted and decontextualized source materials, to cherry-picked tafsir and commentary, and history of questionable authority such as the work of ibn Ishaq.1

Nonetheless, they present what appears to be a mountain of credible evidence that is particularly convincing to anyone lacking knowledge of Islam. Even some Muslims can be hit hard when confronted with their well-constructed, deceitful offensives. Undoing that damage takes more than a witty retort.

So what can we do? What do we do, right now, to protect ourselves from this negative influence, while also being an agent of positive change?

Well, let’s try to be like the Muslims Allah described in the Quran:

{Those to whom hypocrites said, “Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.” But it [merely] increased them in faith, and they said, “Sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.”} (Quran 3:173)

If it is God for whom we devote ourselves, then when people gather against us our faith would only increase. This happens because we revere our Creator more than we fear His creation. We realize that God’s creation cannot harm us without His will, that He is our protector, and that He is the best to settle any matter.

A side benefit to this is that the people gathering against us don’t realize that by doing so, they are only strengthening us! With the help of Allah, every time we are victims of any kind of onslaught, it will increase those of faith, in faith.

As we have seen over the past decade, thousands of people all over the world are entering Islam despite the negativity (NBC reported that around 20,000 Americans accept Islam per year). I am one of those people who received a negative message about Islam. It was the reason I thought to read the Quran. That turned out to be part of the path I was guided on towards Islam.

Consider the magicians who had opposed Moses, but then believed when they witnessed the miracles. Pharaoh vowed to torture and execute them in the most gruesome and painful way because they declared belief in the God of Moses and Aaron. Their response gets me every time:

{They said, “Never will we prefer you over what has come to us of clear proofs and [over] He who created us. So decree whatever you are to decree. You can only decree for this worldly life.”} (Quran 20:72)

That is the strength that comes with true conviction.

The anti-Islam think-tanks and personalities may seem crafty, but really the ones spreading lies about Islam are weak and have no power. Allah said:

{Indeed, those who disbelieved and averted [people] from the path of Allah and opposed the Messenger…never will they harm Allah at all, and He will render worthless their deeds.} (Quran 47:32)

Realize that you are the one with the treasure! How would you move through the world if you were a multi-billionaire? I’m pretty sure you would have an air of confidence about you that people could notice.

You’ve got Islam, which is far better than the entire Earth and everything contained within it. Better than if you were to own all the wealth of the world combined!

{The mercy of your Lord is better than whatever they accumulate.} (Quran 43:32)

But we don’t display arrogance. The fact that our Lord has blessed us with guidance is humbling; it is not our doing, but His mercy.

We should feel compassion for anyone who is missing out on the good we’ve been given. Remember the compassion and grief of the prophet over those who rejected the message God sent for them? Allah said in the Quran:

{Then perhaps you would kill yourself through grief over them, [O Muhammad], if they do not believe in this message, [and] out of sorrow.} (Quran 18:6)

He truly cared and hoped people would save themselves from the doom of rejecting their purpose. That they would know the bliss promised by the Most Merciful.

Some stares and even hateful words are nothing compared with the suffering and loss for those who turn away from the one who made them. Thank Allah that He guided you, enabled you to turn to Him each day, to communicate with Him in your prayers, to cry to Him, to plead with Him. If you think about it, life would be totally empty without Islam.

When the Prophet Muhammad was ridiculed, was oppressed, and threatened; his followers tortured and killed, he remained steadfast and patient. His character never changed. He remained the honest, mild mannered, and kind. When our focus in on attaining closeness to our Maker, and we sincerely seek the means most pleasing to Him according to His guidance, not only will we feel more at peace, the light of faith will emanate from within us.

We should indeed share the beautiful message of Islam, with wisdom, but our job is not to convince or manage anyone else. With faith, our Lord will strengthen us.

May Allah light us up with faith, strengthen us and guide us to be true examples of what it means to surrender oneself to God.

{Indeed, We sent down to you the Book for the people in truth. So whoever is guided – it is for [the benefit of] his soul; and whoever goes astray only goes astray to its detriment. And you are not a manager over them.} (Quran 39:41)

Reference:

1- Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmu’ Al Fataawa, Volume, 13, page 345


About Danielle LoDuca

Danielle LoDuca is a third generation American artist and author. Drawing inspiration from personal life experiences, her writings highlight the familiarity of Islam in a climate that increasingly portrays the Islamic faith as strange. She holds a BFA from Pratt Institute and has pursued postgraduate studies in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Foundation for Knowledge and Development. LoDuca’s work has been featured in media publications in the US and abroad and she is currently working on a book that offers a thought-provoking American Muslim perspective, in contrast to the negative narratives regarding Islam and Muslims prevalent in the media today


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