Religion isn’t something you can easily read off people’s faces, culture on the other hand more likely is. And there’s an enormous line between those two. As a matter of fact, they often contradict with each other. Sure, our prophet was an Arab but we’re civilized enough to not judge a book by its cover, right?
Circa 1.6 billion of the people who walk on this earth surface carry Islam as a part of their identity. Quite a number if you consider that the total amount is 7 billion. Just imagine putting the world population together. You’d have a chance of 1/4th that the person you’re talking to is a Muslim but only a chance of 1/20th that you’d come across a Muslim who is also an Arab.
1.6 billion, we’re informed but not aware.
If we talk about Muslims, there’s this stereotype that pops into our heads. Not only a stereotype in behavior, but also in appearance. For example, what if I asked you to describe the appearance of a Muslim man? Close your eyes for a second and picture it. It’s most likely that you’ll imagine a man about six feet tall with dark brown eyes, black hair, a skin that looks like a mixture of caramel and milk chocolate and a beard that doesn’t go much further than the distance between his chin and his shoulders. Someone you can tolerate from sunrise to sunset, but who you’d rather not pass by in the dark somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
Now, what about a Muslim woman? Probably a woman down the road that doesn’t want to get noticed yet she’s the one that gets the most eye attention from strangers. Her long black robe, black shaped eyebrows that look like the wings of an eagle and a scarf that matches her eye color perfectly. Those visions are on the forefront of people’s minds, but aren’t realistic.
Did you know that the country with the biggest Muslim population, Indonesia, doesn’t even have the Arab language as its mother tongue? And what about people who have natural blonde hair and blue eyes, who are originated from the Balkan countries and get frequently asked if they are converts? Being a Muslim, or a member of any other religion, doesn’t come with external requirements.
Truth be told, the most common type of Muslim is the one you won’t notice.
The one that is struggling with their own life decisions. The ones who are too unsatisfied with their own progress to be minding the spirituality of others. Being a part of a religion requires falling and getting back up, making mistakes but trying to correct them, helping others but not abandoning yourself, being aware of the blessings that come with the little good deeds and making sure your own hands are clean before you start pointing.
This article was first published on Mvslim.com