by laypeople for laypeople.
A few weeks ago, I was in a medical office and several of the staff members working there happened to be Muslim women. None of them covered and most of them were dressed in medical scrubs. They said salaam to me and I returned their salaams. Then as I sat in the waiting room, one of the Muslim staff came and sat down next to me. She asked me if we as Muslims celebrate Mother’s Day because she had been told that we were not supposed to celebrate the holiday.
I said, that I do not celebrate the holiday myself but that there is a difference of opinion. I follow the opinion that we have two eids and that is sufficient for me and I leave off all other holidays. Then the sister mentioned that some people say it is ok because they do not consider it a religious holiday and others believe that it has religious connotations. I agreed and said that there is no real significance attached to that day in our religion and that we should honor and be good to our mothers everyday. She agreed and went back to work.
Shaking Hands with Opposite Gender:
One of my co-workers came to work with her out-of-work former pastor and introduced him to us. He went around greeting everyone and shaking their hands. I kind of just hung out in the background working and keeping busy. Then he came up to me and asked me my name. I told him and then he offered his hand and I told him that I do not shake hands with men.
My colleague that came with her former pastor then came up to us and said, “You don’t shake hands because of your religion?” and I said yes. Then the pastor asked, which verse in the Quran mentions that? And I said, it’s not in the Quran, it’s a hadeeth. The pastor replied, oh a hadeeth and as he walked away said under his breath no rather I think it’s your husband. And I offered that I was not married.
Afterward, I thought to myself the former pastor displayed rather poor adab (manners) with me. And of course, I could have mentioned the many verses in the Quran that mention following the example of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and the hadeeth relevant to issue of shaking hands with the opposite gender but our interaction only lasted for a few seconds.
Last week, while standing in a townhouse parking lot visiting someone that was about to travel overseas to Nigeria, a woman sitting in her car asked me if I remembered her and I said that I did not. She then proceeded to tell me that 5 years ago we worked together one weekend and she tried to convince me to leave Islam and I explained to her about Islam and the reasons I became Muslim. Five years ago, I was a new convert and had only been in Islam for a couple of months and didn’t know any Muslims.
I don’t really remember anything of our conversation but the woman said it left a lasting impression on her and had we kept talking she might have become Muslim. I was amazed and humbled that a few words offered in the moment without much reflection in my new Muslim days had affected her so much so that she would remember me without having seen me in between and our conversation almost 5 years later. It made me think of the potential power and importance of our words and re-enforced to me the lie of people that say they do not know enough to perform dawah to others.
I’ve taken a lot of seminars and workshops and classes and listened to lectures and attended conferences and read books about Islamic issues and how to live Islam and convey it to others in the best manner but really I had enough information right after my shahadah to call others to Islam.
Allah is our Creator and Sustainer. He is One, All-Merciful, All-Knowledgeable, All-Powerful, and not in need of any assistants or intermediaries. He sent prophets and messengers from among mankind like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon all of them) to guide us and instruct us how to live upright and moral lives and to worship Him alone. He sent scriptures like the Torah, Gospel, Psalms of David, and the Quran through the angel Gabriel to some of these prophets. All of the prophets submitted to Allah and this submission is called Islam and those that submit themselves to Allah are called Muslims. What are you waiting for?