by Farah Mithani – Houston Baptist University Graduate
As a religious and ethnic minority, I have always been able to bring a different perspective. I understand how outward differences between people can hide important connections. I have felt the pressure of those around me and have been stuck in a muddle, on more than one occasion. Unwanted in the world of ignorance is a tough spot to be in, however we all must learn to be strong and know that we are not alone.
I remember sitting at the library café on campus one afternoon between classes with a few of my close friends, two Christians and a Hindu. They were curious on my Islamic views of heaven and hell. Religion is always a confusing and controversial topic, in my opinion. However, I have always been open-minded and love to experience different views, religions, and cultures. As we sat there discussing our opinions, a student at a near by table jumped into our conversation unexpectedly and said, “If you are a Muslim, you will definitely go to Hell,” and he turned back around to mind his own business.
I responded with a chuckle and said, “You have no right to judge me. Only God can judge you and me. That’s what I believe.” Being a Muslim girl that attended a Christian university, I learned to love religion and gain more knowledge. In other words, I am not ignorant. I understand the world now and do not judge others, but accept them.
Yet another incident occurred months later. I was walking around Town Center with a few of my friends after dinner and we came across a man handing out flyers. He asked us if we had a moment. I already knew what was about to happen and since I was the only Muslim within the group, I felt like it was my decision to answer. “Sure, why not.”
He asked us if everyone would go to heaven. I responded, “I think we are in hell right now because of all the struggles and obstacles and one day we will go back to heaven with God.”
“So do you think Hitler will go to heaven too? Do you think you will go to heaven?” He questioned me.
I gave the same answer that I have always believed in, “Honestly, I think God is the only one that can judge what happens to us on Judgment day.”
For some reason he kept addressing questions to me, and not the others. So I asked him, “Why do you keep asking me questions? Is it because you know I am Muslim and my friends are not?”
He hesitated and started asking the others questions, but suddenly came back to me. I got fed up and my friends could see it through my face expressions.
My friend asked me, “Are you ready to go?”
Yes, I was ready. I tried to put my point across, but some people just do not understand. However, others will understand and do want to learn. At my own University, which is Christian based, I was interviewed for a series of religious articles. The interviewer questioned me about my opinions, faith, and prayers. It was a great opportunity to help others understand and broaden their views of a different religion. I believe it is important for us to learn about other religions and cultures of the world. It is a strong held virtue that knowledge is essential to faith. One must be open to many ideas and practices in order for them to fully understand what they believe in. We live in a diverse world and should appreciate it, always.