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Youth and Faith - Islam

By Hatice Ucan, High School Junior

As a junior in high school, I am still learning about my religion, Islam. The one thing Islam has taught me is humility. Humans are inferior to only their creator, not to one another; they are all created. I was taught by the Muslim society and our holy book, Quran, that we must treat and view others equally and strive to help out anyone in need. This is important in our current situation with all the racism, bigotry, and injustice we all see in the news or even witness personally. During this challenging, divided time, having strong faith in Islam has helped me combat the negativity and help others going through challenging situations. Because sometimes, you think your problems are significant, but when you undertake a humility-oriented approach, you realize how small they are.

The Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammed in pieces over 23 years. The Quran covers the fundamentals of faith, stories of earlier prophets and nations, guidelines for social and personal lives. The earliest verses were revealed during 13 years of persecution, discrimination, and social challenges in Mecca, where the number of followers was very few.

A precursory look at those verses would reveal that they are about feeding the hungry, caring for orphans, and reaching out to others. When prophet Muhammed fled the persecution and migrated to Medina, a transformative moment in the history of Islam, he spoke to people who welcomed him to their city ceremoniously. In his speech, he recommended to his followers three things: feed the hungry, spread greetings of peace among yourselves, and pray at night while others asleep- a personal connection with your creator. With these universal messages, both Quran and prophet Muhammed established the cornerstones of the Islamic faith; recognizing your creator, establishing a better society, and respecting every created being because of their creator. If God created someone or something, including animals, plans, and the inanimate, we could only treat it with respect and dignity.

To put that in context, I would like to share an example. If you are given a painting by Van Gogh, you will not treat it as something your high school son or daughter painted in an art class. They may be equal materialistically-canvas, oil paint, etc. However, because of who the artist is, one may be stored in a museum with maximum protection, while the other in a basement, among other things of no sentimental value. Therefore, Islam has taught me not to live selfishly and not judge anyone or be prejudiced because it is not my place to judge. Everyone else and everything that God created has equal value to me and hence deserves my respect and treatment with dignity. It is important to me to recognize God's blessings and utilize them to help others and not see them as inferior since everyone is equal in the eyes of the creator. This has impacted me and changed my outlook on others. To reach out and help others or to embody a positive outlook and spread love is something I value and strive to include in my life. I am, like everyone else, a humble servant to God. Rather than clouding my thoughts of what other people are doing, I should do whatever I can to spread positivity and brighten someone's day.

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