What Exactly Does it Mean to Be a Millennial Muslim?

What Exactly Does it Mean to Be a Millennial Muslim?

It can make life a lot harder, but more rewarding at the same time.
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When we were younger, being Muslim was easy. We never questioned why Gabriella could wear miniskirts and we couldn’t, or why Jayden could eat chicken nuggets that were so forbidden to us. It was black and white, yes or no.

Occasionally, we’d get away with wearing a one-piece to the public pool, or eating gummy bears that very obviously had gelatin in them, but that was a different time. Nothing was a big deal. We were never exposed to other alternatives, the other type Muslims that we could be, the ones that brought beef jerky to school for their afternoon snack, who didn’t know how to pray in or read Arabic.

As we got older, we noticed changes in our own friends, whether it be Muslim or Non-Muslim. Appearances mattered more, and so did the opposite sex. Friday nights went from watching Disney Channel reruns to hanging out at the shady food court in the mall, and later, to house parties that always ended with the entire school buzzing about them.

You definitely lost some friends who didn’t want to be associated with someone so “boring.” Your closest friends, the ones who stuck around, never judged you for having a strict dress code, or an even stricter curfew. But, that didn’t mean you stopped feeling left out.

You started feeling like an outsider, and in your worst moments, you blamed it on your religion.

We all had a rebellious phase, whether it lasted weeks, months, or years. We turned away from the religion that had been ‘forced’ on us from such a young age. Why should we suffer for something that was never our decision, never our choice?

Most of us, the lucky ones, found our way back when we realized what being a Muslim truly means. Yes, it entails certain restrictions that aren’t always the most convenient. Yes, it makes you feel left out from time to time. Yes, it interrupts your life in ways you don’t expect. But, it gives you so much more.

It gives you the best morals to help you make the most important life decisions, paired with hope when the situation goes awry, and answers, when the world is being chaotic and confusing. Being a Muslim gives you an identity that you wouldn’t give up for the world. They key is to keep it close to your heart in a world that’s throwing curve balls at you on the daily, whether it be in person, or on social media.

The trick? Find a few good friends with the same halal-haram ratio as you. You’d be surprised how much fun being religious can be when you have the right friends to keep you company.

Cover Image Credit: Personal

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The Husband I'm Praying For

My future husband should be a mirror of the Lord.
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Growing up, we have all probably wondered about the man we will marry — what he looks like, what his voice sounds like, what color his eyes are, etc. We have all watched Disney's fairy tale movies like "Cinderella," "The Little Mermaid" and "Sleeping Beauty." The love stories that Disney creates can be merely fiction. Knowing this leads many people to believe that kind of love does not exist. As a kid, I always wanted to be Ariel and find my Prince Eric. The older I got, I realized that that kind of man does not exist without God. The Disney love story only exists through God. God writes a love story that we can not imagine. That is why we should be confident in His will for our lives. We should be confident in the love story God is writing for us.

I woke up this morning thinking about relationships and how hard it is to be in one at the age of 20. I'm not looking for a husband or a significant other right now, but I am praying for that special someone that God has planned for my life. Whether God places this special man in my life next week or in 20 years, I am going to be praying for him. I pray for the man that seeks God and His guidance. I just can't imagine being with someone who doesn't love God as much as I do. Honestly, I've decided that from this point on, I am going to let God guide my footsteps. I refuse to worry about all that is wrong with me when I should just be praying for the man God has in store for me.

Girls my age have been blinded to what a good boyfriend is and what a potential husband really looks like. I pray for the man who prays before each meal and thanks God for his simple blessings. I don't want to end up settling for less-I know what I deserve and I know that God has a plan. The husband I pray for is the man I want my daughters looking up to and being proud to have as a father. I want my children to know that their father loves Jesus and is not ashamed of it. A man who is ashamed of Jesus or only loves Jesus on Sundays is not husband material. I want my husband to be the man people associate Jesus with.

I pray that my husband is humble. I pray that my husband makes strangers feel his loving presence and know that Jesus is present in his life. I pray that my husband wants the same things I do, like 15 children — just kidding. But, I do pray that he has a sense of humor and that he understands my need for laughter and sunshine in my life. I pray that my husband seeks Jesus during hard times and understands when the answer to his prayers are no. I hope my husband understands that no matter what, God has a plan and an answer, even if it isn't what he wants. I want my husband to be understanding of my needs and what I want out of life. I want my husband to encourage me and my decisions. I want my husband to be the man that my children know is praying for them. I want my husband to be the man who cries the first time he sees me in my wedding dress walking down the aisle. I want my husband to be the man our kids can run to at 3:00 a.m because they had a bad dream and need him to hold them. I want my husband to have a loving and sincere heart. I pray that the man I am going to marry is praying for me, just like I'm praying for him.

Cover Image Credit: Alec Vanderboom

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From The Christian Girl Who Visited A Mosque And Had Her Perspective Changed

Getting to know your neighbor...

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In today's current political climate, it feels as though it's harder than ever before to understand our neighbors. We often cannot look beyond the headlines we read in the news and actually talk to each other: it is difficult to separate political propaganda from the people we encounter daily.

One group in America that faces particular discrimination is Muslims. Whenever ISIL commits horrific acts, people in the United States suggest extreme measures such as banning all Muslims from entering the country. While I understand the skepticism, I think that it is of the utmost importance that we all recognize that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and ISIL does not represent their beliefs.

The KKK calls itself a Christian group, but they represent the exact opposite of Biblical teachings; the same is true of Muslims and the Quran. ISIL has completely distorted the teachings of Islam and misrepresents Muslims around the world.

I am currently taking a class on the Middle East, Arabs, and Islam. Over the weekend, my class and I visited the local mosque in Waco. The people there were generous enough to let us partake in their breaking of the Ramadan fast along with other Christian churches and members of a Jewish temple. It was a moment where we were all able to come together and see each other as people who simply have different beliefs.

I identify as a Christian, so I obviously do not believe the same things as Muslims. However, I have discovered that many of our beliefs and teachings are similar to those in the Muslim faith. Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, Noah, and even Jesus are all mentioned in the Quran. There are striking differences between Christianity and Islam, but there are also several similarities.

At the end of the breaking of the Ramadan fast, I left with a feeling of peace and reconciliation. I realized that events like this that involve sharing our cultures and religions with each other is a start to ending bias. Our neighbors may not look like us, or even have the same beliefs as us, but we are all people in search of happiness and a better life. In the end, love will always trump hate.

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