It is currently National Hate Crime Awareness Week (HCAW): an annual event that raises awareness about hate crime in the UK and hosts events and initiatives to help put an end to it.
At this point, you may be wondering why we’re telling you about this somber-sounding date in the calendar. We all know anti-Muslim attacks exist, so we wanted pay homage to this year’s theme #SpreadLoveNotHate by spending this week showcasing all that we love about Islam and Muslims.
Here at Ummahsonic, we’ll never pass up an opportunity to showcase how great our faith is. So on that note, we need to tell you about our new favourite Instagram account, Muslims of the World (@muslimsoftheworld1).
Muslims of the World is an IG beast (265k followers[!]) that shares photos and stories of Muslims from around the world.
Some posts show men and women at work, in lots of different jobs. For example…
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“When first starting as an ophthalmologist, I was definitely nervous about a number of things—as most doctors can attest to. This was a new and challenging position; for the first time I was essentially on my own as an attending. Given the landscape that lay before me, I was a bit on edge, any number of factors could have caused my confidence to waver some. Walking into the hospital as a Muslim women in hijab would it become this enormous elephant in the room? Would that somehow lessen patients’ faith in me? Would they not see me for who I was, for the skills that I had worked so hard over the course of 13 years to acquire and master?.. Many near me even some of my own closest family members suggested that I remove my hijab or somehow modify it and wear it like a hat, making it appear less “Muslim-looking.” Perhaps then I would fit in better and gain patients’ acceptance. …But I stayed strong and remained true to who I was in my identity with each new placement and each new position as my career advanced. Looking back now as an accomplished physician.. My hijab is who I am, and I would never change who I am for anyone. I truly believe God has blessed me further for putting my trust in Him. And to all of you just beginning your journey, just navigating those waters and feeling your way, know that you are not alone in what you might be experiencing and in those doubts that you may have; also know that you are both uniquely you and part of a something so much bigger at the same time. I just hope that my posts help give you some strength. When searching for a voice that perhaps has been in your shoes in order to gain courage from it—I pray that mine might somehow show you that while at times the odds may not be in your favor, the struggle is definitely worth it. We live in an amazing time, largely because we do have the opportunity to share our stories, and through this medium, encourage, support and cheer one another on. You may feel alone sometimes—but trust me, you are not. And above all know that God is with you and He has power over all things.” @eyegirlmd #muslimsoftheworld1
Some recognise academic achievements:
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A story: I remember first coming back to London in 2007 and not really knowing what to expect. Not knowing how to write or read in English was difficult especially at the age of 9. It frustrated me that everyone was about to take their SATS tests the year after and they had already been way ahead. I sat on a chair on my first day in year 5 and I was given a pen and paper. I couldn't write so I drew a house with windows and leaves falling from a shabby looking tree I drew next to the house. I was proud of it. I started to look around the classroom and felt different. All the girls were drawing cartoon girls and adding colour to the lips for the effect of lipstick. I wished I was in that house i drew with the door locked, away from this new country, yet the country I was born in. After, I managed to make some friends and started to learn that people have different accents, and slang words were a thing. I remember a girl 'kissing' her teeth at her friend, so the next day I did it too and got an immediate "why you kissing your teeth at me for?". I was confused and told her "I have something stuck in my tooth"… Its funny looking back at that now. A year later year 7 started and I met some incredible people I'm still friends with today. I was put in 7M, which was a register group essentially. It still was hard but I managed somehow work on my reading and writing. I was taken out of classes and had additional English taught to me by a woman called Ms Thomas. It's called EAL. Fastforeward to year 10 and i had some troubles with confidence and many chances I was given to present or go on trips where we would do presentations I rejected and made sure my teachers knew I refused to go. It's something I regret.I don't know what happened when I turned 16 but something in me told me I just had to change.My English was great and I could speak and write it fluently.I just needed to boost my morale somehow. I can't tell you exactly how it all happened but I told myself its time to change.And I did. Today I can say that I graduated from a London University with a BA Hons in English Literature.And I have the confidence to find myself in this complex world ? #muslimsoftheworld1
While others salute major political gains:
And many more deliver the message we all wanna spread this week…LOVE.
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“Everyone says the first two years of marriage are the most difficult. Well, no one tells you they could also be the happiest two years of your life! People ask about my marriage life and for advices. I am by no means qualified to give any marriage or relationship advice, and my marriage is by no means perfect in fact it's far from it. But to me, marriage is all about the little things and how those little things define love. It's making me a pb&j sandwiches late at night and cutting the crust off, it's giving me a kiss before he puts his book bag down when he gets home from school everyday (his kisses still give me butterflies☺) , it's praying together ( at least 3 if not all 5), it's eating dinner with me every night, it's taking time out of his extremely busy schedule to make food the days I have to work, it's studying at the dining table while I cook and keeping me company, then cleaning up the kitchen and washing the dishes there after (Lord knows how much I hate washing dishes!), it's taking time out of his day to watch a show with me, it's eating the food I disliked (although he dislikes it as well) after ordering it at a restaurant and giving me his because I liked his, it's making dua for protection every night and rubbing it on me, it's the great extent he goes to see my smile and to make sure that I am happy, it's staying up until fajr to paint the living room because I was hell bent on finishing it, its taking time out of his day to call and check on me even if the conversation lasts a minute, it's making me feel like I am the absolute most beautiful woman he has ever came across every time he looks at me, it's not taking my love for him for granted, it's making me breakfast in bed, it's tying my shoes for me, it's bringing me charms blow pop gum lollipops because he knows how much I love them, it's not eating meat for months at a time because I'm vegetarian and I barely cook any meat, it's kissing my hands and forehead in public knowing I don't like PDA and out of respect for me, it's helping me with every single diy project, because he knows it makes me happy. This is marriage to me.” @forever_muslim #muslimsoftheworld1
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“For those who realized, we’ve changed our instagram name a little while ago to « YourTypicalCouple » Why? We often receive messages with people idealizing our marriage. Messages filled with assumptions that our marriage is perfect and that they wish to find it for themselves one day. Although we are flattered, that isn’t always the case. Social media at times portrays this unrealistic, filtered vision and sense of perfection that is unattainable and unhealthy to pursue and that is why we will do our best to share content that is realistic and helpful. We are literally your typical couple.. there’s really NOTHING SPECIAL ABOUT US…we love, argue, make up and repeat…. Getting married is easy, making it last is hard.” @yourtypicalcouple #muslimsoftheworld1
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“Ramadan is a beautiful and holy month. A time where Muslims become the best version of ourselves and strive to become better spiritually, mentally and physically. My friends and I wanted to share this special time and experience to non-Muslims and as such we opened our doors to people for an inter-faith iftaar. The turn out was absolutely amazing, we hosted over 45 people over to break iftaar in our apartment including ~20 non Muslims to share the beauty of Ramadan. We had an open forum about what Ramadan meant to Muslims and turned the discussion to see why fellow neighbors wanted to learn more about Islam and Ramadan. It was a such an amazing experience and am blessed to have be part of such a night. Below are some of the great responses from Muslims and non Muslims. “.. In Ramadan is when you realize we’re not bodies with a soul but rather we are souls with a body attached. During the rest of the year we feed our bodies. Now in Ramadan is when we feed our souls” “Our fast may look different – they eat after sundown while They eat after sunrise- but the reasons we fast are the same…. we fast to ground ourselves, be grateful for what we have and how we can be more compassionate towards people less fortunate than us” “Fasting teach us self restraint and control. We can control and suppress some of our most basic humanly needs for a greater good” “I fasted today to see how you guys do it and wow was I blown away. I fasted one day and was exhausted by 5 pm. Somehow you guys fast day in and out and still manage to be productive and excel at work and normal life” “The blessing and beauty is within the struggle. I gain so much during Ramadan because everything I gained is through sacrifice and struggle” @instaneemz #muslimsoftheworld1
The Instagram page has been so successful that its founder, Sajjad Shah, recently released a Muslims of the World book. Check out the blurb:
“The book’s mission is to tell the diverse stories of Muslims living in the US and around the world. Illustrated throughout with moving photographs, each chapter will focus on different aspects of the Islamic faith and the many varying cultures it encompasses, offering tales of love, family, and faith while empowering Muslim women, refugees, and people of color.”
While we doubt Muslims of the World will put an end to hate, it’s certainly making us feel a whole lot of love.
If you haven’t done so already be sure to go ahead and smash that follow button on the Muslims of the World (@muslimsoftheworld1) Instagram now.