Muslim Living Ainít So Easy
By Waleed Ahmed

July 2006
As a Muslim living here isnít so easy, always bombarded with obstacles which make it so difficult to practice being a Muslim, you intend to bend religious beliefs to meet your own desires. Even knowing all this itís still isnít easy. Imagine people surrounding you that are drinking, smoking, kissing and doing stuff which isnít at all allowed in your religion. This can really influence you to do things that are against your beliefs, even though you know theyíre wrong.
In religious months such as Ramadan, when Muslims fast, itís difficult to maintain your fast for about 12 hours when living here. All different races and religions who arenít obligated to fast are eating around you, which can get to you when having to fast from sunrise to sunset everyday for 30 days. This society is very multicultural and is not an Islamic society, which makes it difficult for Muslims to effectively practice their religion. This is why itís so hard for Muslims living here to practice being a Muslim and not a ďMuslimĒ. People think we use other Muslims doing un-Muslim stuff as an excuse to do the same. This might be true for some people but it isnít true generally. Most people are influenced by people surrounding us doing all this stuff. Eventually it takes a toll on you and it seems like itís OK to do, so you start doing it also. This isnít unnatural at all, but being a Muslim it should be taken into consideration that we have to be strong and strive to survive in this un Islamic world.

I have also come across times where my being a Muslim was becoming really difficult and I also started to drift away from the pale of Islam. I was young and I was foolish and I fell in love, or so I thought. I started liking girls and started to act different, thinking differently and that person would always be on my mind. I couldnít focus or even think. They would somehow always find their way to me and this eventually took a toll and I stopped practicing my religion and didnít work. Its amazing how one person can have such an effect on you. Well, I was young and itís something I couldnít control. As the years went on, I became stronger, was able to overcome all this and continued my religious practices. Now I have learned to balance my life: talk to girls and have fun, and still have the ability and desire to practice my religion. I'm not at all proud, and nor will I ever be, until my heart is satisfied that what Iím doing is right. I wonít lie; itís hard. And Iím sure a lot of people my age will agree with me on this.
Living in this day and age, itís extremely hard to be committed to one cause, in this case being Islam, because there are so many attractions and distractions, which cause you to fall so far and so deep into something, that getting out becomes almost impossible. I understand this as being a Muslim living here, but this shouldnít give us the excuse to abide by this western culture. Sure, obviously where you are living will cause you to have a change in lifestyle to adapt to your surroundings. However, religious beliefs shouldnít be bent to meet your desires, in the hope that God will understand your arrogance when you show no effort to change. I understand the Muslims who have a hard time balance the two together, because I have also the same hardships all the time. But I admit that I know what is right and what is wrong and I wonít deny it. I do a lot of the same stuff that Muslims do nowadays, but I try hard to cope with that as best as possible instead of being arrogant and stubborn, and using other peopleís mistakes as an excuse to cover up my own. Itís difficult, but admitting your mistakes is the first step. Understanding them and not walking on blindly. Itís not easy living here. And Iím not saying this to show ourselves pity because of where we live, but to project the fact that living in an un-Islamic environment influences your beliefs. Some of us do try hard to continue following our beliefs, but some of us just donít care because of where we live.

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