Canadian? Muslim? Both?

How can you be a Canadian Muslim? Do you have to give up one for the other? Does it make you less Muslim if you are proud to be a Canadian? Does it make you less of a Canadian if you practice Islam? The question of what it means to be a “Canadian Muslim” has been posed to me a number of times. I hadn’t really given it much thought as it seemed a little ridiculous to me that I would ever question my ability, or my right to be both a Canadian and a Muslim. After coming across this question more than once, I started to think about how I; a proud Muslim and a proud Canadian; am able to “manage” being both Canadian and Muslim. I use “manage” as sometimes it feels like I am a juggler in a circus standing on a tightrope and everything is about to come tumbling down!

Here are 5 ways to SUCCESSFULLY be a Canadian Muslim

5. Balance

I go back again to the image of the juggler. It is very important to develop a sense of balance both as a juggler and as a Canadian Muslim. By this I mean that neither being a Canadian or a Muslim takes away from your ability to be the latter. Imagine this: You are watching the hockey game (apparently that’s a super Canadian activity) and you notice it is time for salat. Rather than miss your salat, you wait until a break, go pray and come back to continue enjoying the game. Did salat get in the way of showing your proud Canadianess? NO! Did the game get in the way of practicing Islam? NO!

4. Community

It is very important to surround yourself with other Muslims. By surrounding yourself with others who value the same things and live the same or similar lifestyle as you, you can keep yourself connected and rooted. Having Muslim “facebook friends” is not enough. Make an effort to get to know other Muslims, meet up for a meal, attend a halaqa together or do some online shopping for hijabs at your favorite online hijab store called Modern Hejab. Remember that we are One Ummah and that a Muslim is a brother to another Muslim. Take advantage of that!

3. Share Islam With Others

I personally do not believe in preaching the word of God to non-Muslims but I DO believe in sharing Allah’s teachings with others simply because I do not appreciate being preached at. I have found that by being open to having honest conversations with others about Islam that I have been able to develop and grow my own love for my deen and with that I am able to keep myself more steadfast. I have also found that by being open to answering questions causes others to be more accepting of my faith and my practices because they now understand it. Have fun with it and invite a friend to try fasting for a day. Play dress up and have a friend be a hijabi for a day. Anything to share the beauty and joy of being a Muslim with the world.

2. Educate Yourself

It is very important that you, as a Canadian Muslim understand fully the practices of Islam. It is nearly impossible to stay true to something you do not understand. What happens when someone is asking you to do something and it makes no sense to you why that task is important? You won’t do it and if you do you will not do it well. The same goes for practicing Islam. When you understand the beautiful words of Allah (swt) and you understand why he has commanded us to engage in certain practices, and then you can whole-heartedly, do them and you will do them well.

1. Be Proud

The single most important way to be a Canadian Muslim is to be proud. Be proud to be Canadian! Drink Tim Hortons, go crazy when Canadians do well in the Olympics, be a hockey fan, eat poutine, say “eh!” and do whatever else it means to you to be Canadian. At the same time be an equally proud Muslim. Practice your deen the way you know best. If you wear hijab, ROCK IT! Enjoy every moment you get to show that you are a Muslim. Make your deen your own and develop a personal and special relationship with Allah that nobody can shake. You have nothing to hide, so be proud and encourage other Muslims to be proud too!