Dear Mazzin the Moose,
I am the best Muslim in my class but I don’t have any friends. Help!
Do thank Allah for inspiring you to be the best Muslim you can be! (Qur’an Check! 3:110) We build our Islam through the raw materials provided to each of us by Allah. Would you still be the best Muslim in your class without a big heart, a motivated spirit, a creative mind and a strong soul full of willpower to do the good and leave the bad? The best Muslims of all know everything is a present from Allah and they appreciate what’s under the gift-wrapping paper!
Do always work harder to be even better! (Qur’an Check! 4:95) Only Allah is Al-‘Azeem, The Great One! Are you a good Muslim? Become better. Already better? Become the best. Been the best for a while? Find ways you can become the bestest (is that a word? Hmm…don’t use it in English class, okay?) You’ll be so busy working to improve, there won’t be time to worry about who’s doing what—unless it’s you!
Do smile! Not only is it charity, it opens doors for friends to walk through. Make sure you’re able to hear them knocking—listen more than you talk and you’ll soon have invitations to play “Tickle the Squirrel” ringing in your ears.
Don’t preach… teach! It’s boring when a lesson drags on, isn’t it? Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used to lead by example, why not follow his? Instead of telling your friends, “Hey, don’t do that! Hey, that’s haraam! Hey, you’re not a good Muslim!” show them how to be one by being one yourself.
Don’t-Know-It-All! Everyone has a special talent—yours may be understanding Islam. But, even people with special talents need to keep learning in order to stay on top of their game. A Hafiz-ul-Qur’an will continue to read, study and practice Allah’s Words even though he or she has already memorized them. Speak what you know but be careful not to speak out of turn. It is impossible to be an expert on everything in Islam, which is why it’s exciting to wake up every day and learn more!
Don’t be a Jumping Bean! Leaping to conclusions about others is a hop the best of Muslims skip over! (Qur’an Check! 49:12) Najat’s not wearing a scarf? Maybe she doesn’t have one. Ahmed isn’t reading the Qur’an every day? Maybe he can’t understand the Arabic alphabet. AbdulSalaam wants to be called Sam instead of his Muslim name? Maybe he’s new to the neighborhood and feels nervous about finding friends. We are taught to offer seventy excuses for our brothers and sisters in Islam. Don’t just offer them reasons, however, offer them your compassionate help—and your very best friendship! Maybe then you’ll have someone to share lunch grass… er, sandwiches with!
Did I ever tell you I won the Monster Moose Spelling Bee three seasons in a row? Yep! Li’l ol’ Mazzin the Moose was a superstar (at least, in the galaxy of my own mind). I was Number-o Un-o and I let everyone know it. Pretty soon, however, I was Number-o So-lo. My friends got tired of hearing how s-m-a-r-t I was and they began to eat their lunch grass on the other side of the schoolyard. They also stopped inviting me to play “Tickle the Squirrel” with them. Instead of a shining star, I was a falling one.
My dad suggested I take a look at myself. “After all, Mazzin,” he said, “you control you.” I nibbled that thought the same way I nibble my mom’s Spider Dough Cookies (my dad’s words and my mom’s treats are both hard to swallow at first but after chewing a while, they go down easy). I control me. Whatever is happening around me, I’m only responsible for what I do and how I act and how I feel about it (Qur’an Check! 39:7). Maybe I didn’t have any friends because of something I did or didn’t do. And maybe I could fix that by doing or not doing something different!
Maybe you can, too! Start by truly being a good Muslim and ask Allah to forgive you (Qur’an Check! 3:17). Our Prophet (pbuh) asked Al-Ghaffaar, The Forgiving One, for forgiveness 100 times a day—good advice and here’s some more from one superstar Muslim to another, insha’Allah!
Mazzin the Moose