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Author Topic: Do we have enough Muslim role models in places like England/America etc?  (Read 2112 times)
Princess1983
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« on: Mar 28, 2008 05:51 PM »


 salamsmiley

I thought I would post this subject as its something that has been bugging me for a very long time. In the quiet part of the UK in which I live we hardly have any Muslims who could be classed as positive role models for Muslim children. As some of you will be able to imagine sometimes it is important for children to be able to relate to good Muslim role models to see how we can be good Muslims by following Islam and still be successful however this to me simply isn't happening.

I'm now 24 and cannot remember a single Muslim role model in England. Of course I can think of greats like boxer Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X but I cannot think of a single one in England.

Maybe I'm being silly but I recall being at school and writing about Mum as my role model (and shes a damn good role model and I am super thankful for the fact she is my mum). On a few occasions we'd be asked to write about our 'other' role models who we can relate to/may want to be like when we are older and I could never come up with one. i was bullied badly at school and had no brothers or sisters to turn to either. I didn't have an role models who I could look at and think 'that person is a modern day Muslim, stuck to their guns and is now mashallah a successful muslim who I may wish to be like one day (if Allah wills).

My cousin is 11 and he has the same problem. He says he sees Boxer Amir Khan as a positive role model as hes read that Amir reads the Quran every night before he goes bed but at the same time my cousin also wonders if the negative press in the media means Amir isn't so good afterall.

Are Muslims who are in the spotlight in countries like England simply not the type of role models we would want our kids to look at and think 'yup he/she is cool, a good Muslim and I'm proud to be able to call them my role model'?

I personally know one Muslim who is erm very very rich and is making money from a sort of 'entertainment' that is not allowed in Islam. He would class himself as a positive role model. I personally wouldn't as I think hes blurring the line between what is right and what is wrong for a Muslim. He gets tonnes of publicity however I find it scary  :'( that is a potential role model to Muslim children in the area.

I was once asked by a journalist how I felt about being a role model to young girls in my area. I found the question shocking as I was just embarking on the start of my career and never thought of myself as someone with 'power' to be called a role model. After being asked that question I often thought about it which made me realise that even though as Muslims we should all have our role model as Our Prophet (PBUH), our parents and our elders some of us are also effected by media and what they show us as role models.

I'm thinking about positive Muslim role models who have has press coverage lately and I can only think of the late former leader of Pakistan Ms Bhutto. To some she will be a negative role model to me she was a positive one (and before anyone asks I am not a political person).

What do you think? Do you know of a Muslim role model who is doing their bit to inspire our next generation to be good Muslim citizens? Do we give our role models enough praise and media coverage? What should be done to ensure our children have the right type of role models (e.g. sports players etc)?

I'm guessing a lot of people will not have an opinion on this  Lips Sealed but if you do please share it!

W/salam

Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) wasn't just sent to guide us Muslims, he is a unique, true example to EVERYONE.
This life is only a test-passing will equal Jannah, Inshallah!
Oh Muslim brothers and sisters-consider sponsoring an Orphan if Allah has blessed you with the finances to do so-Ameen.
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« Reply #1 on: Mar 28, 2008 11:18 PM »

As salaamu alaikum

I guess herein lies the problem.  A role model isn't (or shouldn't) be defined as someone who makes money or gets media attention because that just means the person is given attention.  A true role model is someone who goes about their daily life trying to do the right thing for the right reason and nothing more whether anyone ever articulates that they notice or not.  The problem with some youth is that they only pay attention to those who make a lot of money and not the ones who are consistent in what they do, caring enough to share what they have even if they only have a little bit and who won't compromise their convictions for the sake of material gains.

I often reference my mother and too considered her a role model.  Not so much that I would want to walk in her shoes, but rather because of her courage, strength, determination, love and compassion.  Her principles and morals are what made her a role model. 

In turn, I too don't consider myself a role model and wouldn't wish my life on anyone else.  Yet, no one can ever say that I have a cold heart, that I'm not there for my children, don't put them first above my own desires, wants nor dreams, that I don't persevere, that I don't keep learning and amazing people with what I know, I don't give of myself to others even in the face of personal hardship or exhaustion (ah the latter is my constant companion).  Still when my eldest graduated from junior high school and then high school, she brought tears to my eyes when she repeatedly and proudly said and wrote that I was her role model.  I've also inspired others to continue to pursue their educations although they were working mothers simply because I managed to do it and did it without the benefit of a husband.  More than a decade ago I took the leap and bought my house by myself and have managed to encourage others to take that leap not by my words but by my actions.  Recently, I was told that I had inspired someone to apply for a different job, one she hadn't cosidered before; not only did she try but she was successful in obtaining it.  Mind you I never set out to do any of these things for anyone else to take notice of it, but rather I did it out of necessity and determination.  Do I consider myself a role model?  Not hardly yet it is obvious that others do.

If I had been concerned only about making the duckets (which of course I would much prefer) I wouldn't be as tired I'm sure but I also wouldn't have the opportunity to strive to make positive change in the lives of others (so I wouldn't be an activist type), nor would I be the constant presence in my children's lives - I've only missed I think two activities that any of them have ever been in and I've got three of them.  (How many more cheesy plays or concerts can I sit through?  How many more sports games can I watch?  Yes sometimes it's a feeling of "insert kid here" because I've seen everything at least once and sometimes have no idea what the rules of a given sport is, but I'm always right there and anything I do my kids are there too.)

Now that I've rambled a bit on my feelings of what makes a true role model, I'll be quiet now - I need a nap because as I said exhaustion is my constant companion and I sleep when I can.

As salaamu alaikum

Fa'izah
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« Reply #2 on: Mar 29, 2008 12:35 AM »

As salaam alaikum.

A role model isn't (or shouldn't) be defined as someone who makes money or gets media attention because that just means the person is given attention. 

You said exactly what I was thinking! Thanks for saving me the exhaustion of writing out a response.

Ma'as salaama,
nuh ibn
saleem
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« Reply #3 on: Mar 29, 2008 09:10 PM »

AoA,

For some time I have come to the conclusion that, in these times, we have to separate the message from the  messenger. What I mean is that, we are dealing with the acts of human beings and will, by definition, be confronted with imperfection. So if we want to follow somebody in most things, let alone everything, we are bound to be disappointed. So, in looking for encouragement from the present times we need to look at individual actions and words that are praiseworthy and worthy of emulation: being kind or generous, pursuing legitimate career or personal achievement goals etc. While doing this we might want to follow the guideline to remember our own shortcoming before we criticize others. In short, look for the good aspects in the lives of successful people and try to avoid their shortcomings without seeking to pass judgment on them. I hope to follow this guideline to the best of my ability....
ume bilal
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« Reply #4 on: Mar 29, 2008 11:11 PM »

Assalamo Ailkum.
I can think of some role models in the Uk. Mona Siddique the Isalmic academic....Baroness Waris....Baroness Uddin..Ruqaya Waris Massood.
As muslims in the UK we need to raise our profile not only by working within our own community but also being part of the larger community. ...It is very important for us as muslims to reach out to anyone in need regardless of religion.
Salaams.
JJ
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« Reply #5 on: Mar 30, 2008 12:50 AM »

Salam again everyone,

indeed brothers and sisters becoming a role model or someone who gets a lot of media attention and is given the crown of a role model (even if they don't want it!) should not be based on success however to gain tabloid inches and get into papers and reach the masses (including our Muslim brothers, sisters, children etc) sadly success is measured that way.

Saleem-I agree with you however we can act on what you have said (e.g. basically avoid judgement of others) how would a small child do this?

Ume Bilal-they are highly successful (hats off to them) but when I was growing up there names rarely cropped up on the dinner table. I think you've hit the nail on the head in regards to working within the community. If we as Muslims can work in our communities we can also shed light onto the giving part of our religion.

For those in America, which Muslims get a lot of press coverage? Are they athletes? I'm just curious.

W/salam


Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) wasn't just sent to guide us Muslims, he is a unique, true example to EVERYONE.
This life is only a test-passing will equal Jannah, Inshallah!
Oh Muslim brothers and sisters-consider sponsoring an Orphan if Allah has blessed you with the finances to do so-Ameen.
ume bilal
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« Reply #6 on: Mar 31, 2008 12:08 AM »

Assalam Ailkum.
I respect what you say...I live in the UK and I know that when you were growing up it was hard as there were not any role models.. We have a lot to contribute to society in the Uk..I have been a muslim for 43 years, Allah led me to Islam through marriage and I am so thankful for that...I have adult children, and while they have in some areas strayed from the Islamic path they are muslim....however I make duah that there iman will become stronger...I do know how hard it was for them growing up....A lot of what we here today portrays a negative view of Islam Many of the muslims interviewed by the media do not pass on the beauty and essence of this wonderful religion...of course only inflamatory statements sell papers!!! So they often fall into the trap...Much good is edited out..

I discuss this with many sisters, how we can move forward and while many pay compliments regarding how much I have studied and read it always comes back to "sister why don't you wear the hijab?"..I  have  never dressed indecently and Insha Allah I  never will..I go about my affairs in this busy metrepolis trying to help anyone I can. When I can I try to explain to non muslims as much as I can about the message of Islam and refer them to scholars and books...I always say that if you want to really know seek  knowledge speak with those who are learned. I myself am stiill learning. Please sisters who wear hijab forgive me if you feel I have been direspectful it is not my intention..I admire you. May Allah reward you in this world and the hereafter ....what I want to say is let us move forward, we are here so it is our responsibility to create our role models we can be British and muslim. MashAllah we can practice our religion and dress Isalmically freely...there is halal food  available everywhere..Sorry if I am rambling on...I understand how you feel... You are in my duah.
Salaams.
JJ
Princess1983
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« Reply #7 on: Apr 11, 2008 06:29 PM »

Sister Ume Bilal,

I was chatting to a sister who is around the same age as me and she was saying pretty much the same thing. Muslims have contributed to todays British society however negative press outways the good press thus creating stereotypes we simply do not need.

Thank you for taking the time to respond with your mesage.


Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) wasn't just sent to guide us Muslims, he is a unique, true example to EVERYONE.
This life is only a test-passing will equal Jannah, Inshallah!
Oh Muslim brothers and sisters-consider sponsoring an Orphan if Allah has blessed you with the finances to do so-Ameen.
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