It’s probably just me. Me, I’m the one who thought Muslims were all fanatics, extremists, people who will hurt you if you make fun of Mohammed. Who will threaten anybody who draws a cartoon about Islam, who will build a mosque wherever you don’t want it the most, and who don’t care if you have to sit at an intersection for an hour while they block the street praying. Probably thoughts like that never crossed anybody’s mind but mine.
But then I had never heard anything good about Muslims. I thought they all dressed funny and kept their women in hiding. I would hear Islam is a “religion of peace” about the same time I heard about another suicide bomber. That’s all I had to go by, because of course, I never actually knew or even met any real, actual Muslims.
God has a way of smooshing me right up against my ignorance, and making my mistaken assumptions abundantly clear. So He brought a Muslim family into my life, and we actually became friends. A charming, polite family of beautiful people, inside and out. Kind and warm. Lighthearted and amusing. Talented and smart. Well spoken, well dressed, well educated, and with the kind of intense devotion to family and extended family that makes you feel good just being around them.
These are my favorite Muslims. The Dad is a doctor, the Mom is an executive, the children, both boys and girls, are all in gifted programs, but more importantly they are well behaved, and respectful of adults. They don’t know how to ask without a “please.” They don’t know how to receive without a “thank you.” They are so disciplined they study at least an hour a day, even in the summer, before any TV, or computer time. Yet, you might look out your window and see them doing cartwheels in the yard, shooting hoops, practicing dance moves or roller blading. Although the girls won’t be wearing short shorts, or bare midriffs.
The grandmother and grandfather, here on an extended visit from Pakistan, speak perfect English. She wears flowing Pakistani clothes and once in a while wraps a shawl around her head if she goes out to get the mail on a windy day. She loves showing me picture albums from their family weddings where people are having the time of their lives and wearing the most ornate and lovely finery you can imagine. In her melodic accent Grandmother says “Oh how we enjoy our weddings. We dance for days.”
Like Christianity, like the Jewish faith, Islam was born as an Abrahamic religion. I believe the gentle and miraculous life of Jesus, the love, provision and healing He modeled, and His transcendence over physical law brings Christians farther up the road to a more glorious realm than the Jews who wait for their Messiah, or the Muslims who don’t think there will be one. But that’s me.
I also believe that an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing God is well able to show Himself strong and real in the dreams and thoughts and prayers of yearning hearts, of any religion. And I’m going to let Him.
You would like my favorite Muslims.