How To Be a Muslim: An American Story

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In today’s society, secularism has come to the forefront causing religion to take a step back in many people’s lives. For many religious parents this is a big problem as every generations strays further and further from religion. Especially in western society, society has become more and more secular because of the ideologies present in society.

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Monetary focus has driven people away from religion making it harder for parents to help their children focus on religion. In the book “How to Be a Muslim, An American story” written by Haroon Moghul, Moghul writes about the struggle of growing in America, drove him away from faith, and his struggle with mental illness, depression, society, and religion; And finding the correct balance.

The book is a social criticism of society as it states how society as a whole is too focused on tangible items and let go of faith and mental health. The author Haroon Moghul reiterates the lack of proper mental health and faith present in western civilization and the improper focus on the tangible. The book recalls Haroon Moghuls life from being a muslim and running away from Islam and coming back to faith. It’s an interesting tale as it relates to many youth here, in America, who struggle with faith and constantly go away from Islam, who lack a strong footing with faith. Individuals are too focused on their own lives and leave faith in the backseat. Also in western society, people see Islam as something to be feared, and muslims themselves fear their own religion. Haroon Moghul mentions this ideal by stating “to be a muslim is to be an insomniac.” The quote reiterates how muslims have to sleep with one eye open.

Western society sometimes paints Islam in a negative viewpoint generalizing muslims with extremist, causing people to fear muslims. Haroon Moghul talks about his lack of faith of being muslim and saw it as a shackle for society. Many muslim kids see Islam like that in today’s society, failing to see Islam at its true colors. In western society many non muslim kids drink, smoke, have relationships, somethings that Islam prevents us from doing. Everyone in society wants to fit in, therefore Islam in many teenagers perspective is preventing them from fitting in, messing with their minds of how they should fit in. The book is a social criticism of society, focusing on how alot of muslims have trouble fitting into society. However, the book also takes an interesting twist on how we don’t truly know what Islam is. The reason why Haroon Moghul considers himself a certified muslim, although questionable. Haroon learned what Islam truly was in his time being away from islam, and ran toward it not away from it. Haroon Moghul begins to fight for Islam, during the dark age of 9/11, Haroon Moghul fought people who were arguing that Islam was bad, he fought for the knowledge he had, for he believed that Islam was not a religion of terrorism but a religion of peace. He kept fighting and fighting, even though he still wasn’t in his opinion, a muslim. It shows people are willing to fight for what they believe in, and he believed in Islam, although he didn’t follow it, he still believed in Islam. That’s how much of the youth is in today’s society. They believe in Islam, but don’t follow it thoroughly because they want to fit in.

However, Haroon Moghul soon begins to fall in love with Islam, and begins practicing Islam again. Haroon began to explore Islam from his own perspective and this allowed him to learn about the beauty of Islam. Haroon states “ Islam no longer was a straightjacket into which I forced myself, nor a nonnative language I learned from around me, but a grammar through which I vowed to write my own stories.” The quote exemplifies how Haroon fell in love with Islam by learning it from his own perspective. He argues that people go away from Islam because they don’t want to learn it but are forced into it, not seeing the beauty. If one sees Islam from their own perspective, and strives to learn it themself, they will fall in love with Islam rather than seeing it as oppressive. The social criticism is how parents force children to learn Islam, but fail to teach them the beauty of Islam. Young children see Islam as a class, rather than an opportunity. When the author began to learn Islam on his own, he realised how in love he is with it. Haroon Moghul uses the book to explain that to truly fall in love with Islam, one needs to learn it on itself. That one needs to not see the limitations but the explanations of limitations. In addition he also states that not everything that is let go of should be forgotten, since some things that are let go, are the best things for us.

In conclusion, the book “How to Be a Muslim, An American story” is a very relatable book including to myself. As I was growing up in an American society I always felt like I was left out due to the fact that I am a Muslim who wasn’t able to do other things that my friends were able to do like go to parties, drink, date, dress a certain way and so on. I always felt left out even though I knew that I was doing the right thing. As I grew up I started to look more into Islam because I wanted to learn more about it. In doing that, I realised how much more sense it made and how much more I fell in love with it. I really enjoyed reading this book because it gives hope to muslims worldwide that other people are in their same shoes and that they are not fighting through that battle alone.

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