Originally Posted by Ibn Syed
indeed, the site has great articles, here's one of them:
Growing Up in America:
A Blessing or A Misfortune
I am a female who was, alhamdulillah, born into a Muslim family. Despite my Arab lineage, however, I was not born in my country, Syria, but rather in Charleston, West Virginia, United States of America. Like myself, a majority of the youth today are not in America by choice, but rather because their parents immigrated here from their homelands. Whatever the reason behind this migration may have been, the outcome is the same: a vast number of Muslim youth living in the United States.
A commonly presented question regarding the influx of Muslim youth in America revolves around whether growing up in America is a blessing or a misfortune. On numerous occasions, I have heard this question answered by the parents of these youth. There are some who view the chance to live in America as a great advantage, while others despise the country and have a strong desire to leave, and each opinion tends to be backed with interesting stories and experiences.
Islam, however, is a median or universal religion, la sharquiyyah, wala gharbiyyah, and it teaches people to act with balance and wisdom. For that reason, I believe that in no situation should a person feel bound to acce one of two extreme views. On the contrary, in evaluating America one should recognize the advantages and the benefits, without overlooking the drawbacks and the disadvantages.
America today is a country full of fasad: evilness and corruptness. It is also, however, a country with abundant opportunities, especially from a religious perspective. Therefore, the answer to whether being raised in America is a blessing or a misfortune depends on the person and on one's strength in Faith. It also depends on a person's ability to look at the generation before us, our parent's generation, and learn from their successes and their mistakes, and choose one's own path for the future.
Despite my years, I have come across many (older) Muslims whose clothes and behavior were so Americanized that I would never have known they were Muslims if they had not told me. These are people who have been lured into the many traps of this society, and who do not heed the warnings of Allah (swt) that we should not be overcome with the pleasures of this life, for they are short-lived and temporary, as is our existence on this earth.
At the same time, I have met others who are strong in their Islam, but overly optimistic in their ambitions for the present and the future. An example of what I mean by overly optimistic may be a person to whom an excellent idea, such as building an Islamic homeless shelter, may occur, but, as a result of his or her excitement, the project is rushed without adequate organization and therefore will fail.
On the opposite side of the situation are some Brothers and Sisters who are pessimistic about the idea that Muslims can make a difference in the American society. They concentrate only on the negative aspects of this country, specifically the increasing immorality and deviation from what is good, and ignore the freedom we have to discuss and teach the religion of Allah (swt): al-Islam. They ignore the fact that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world — a fact that cannot be true without the effort of some people who hope to make the world a better place. These people are the realists. They look around them and their first thoughts are, How can we better this situation? And what are the obstacles we must overcome throughout our journey? They do not give up on the world, and more importantly, they do not give up on Allah (swt). They keep in mind that He (swt) has promised the Muslims victory, and acknowledge the fact that victory is not achieved without arduous labor. They keep in mind the famous quote, Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice, and so they choose to make a difference.
And so I return to the Muslim youth today. Similarly, whether living in America is viewed as a blessing or a misfortune is the choice of the individual. One has four options. One can choose to be like those who are commonly referred to as Muslim by name, but possess no Islamic characteristics except for the title of a Muslim.
And one can be a pessimist, and give up on everyone and everything.
Another option is the extreme optimist, who concentrates on the many advantages yet overlooks the barriers. And finally, there is the realist, who keeps in mind that if the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) gave up on everyone and everything, there would be no Islam today, and if he (pbuh) did not have a strategy to overcome the evil he faced throughout the long process of spreading the message of Islam, the religion would not have succeeded.
I ask Allah (swt) to make us be among the ones who see the good and follow it, and see the evil and leave it. I ask Him (swt) to make us be of those who support al-Islam with our words and our actions, and I ask Him to reward us for all our good actions, and to forgive and guide us for all our mistakes. Ameen.