Imagine falling in love with your religion because it makes sense to you, and you believe it guides you to being a better person, and because it gives purpose to your life.
Your purpose being to strive to be the best person you can be, to please God. As a result, you see the harmonious order it brings to your life, relationships and dealings with others.
Then imagine your disbelief and horror at the worst atrocities being committed in the name of your religion.
You are horrified at the brutality, and you struggle to reconcile the actions with the alleged ideology behind them, because the Islam you follow emphasises peace and holds human life as sacred.
Nevertheless, for some reason everyone suddenly thinks that killing innocent people is what your religion actually teaches!
Consequently, people begin hating you and your religion. To top off matters, they start viewing YOU with suspicion!
How would you feel? Saddened, hurt, exasperated, scared, eager to change public perception?
The key message of Islam is to worship and obey only one entity alone. The Being that made and sustains the Universe – Allah.
We believe we are followers of the message of all of the Prophets including Abraham, Moses and Jesus, as we believe they all brought the same simple message – to worship the Creator of the Universe alone and to do good deeds.
Unfortunately, there is so much negativity about Islam everywhere these days. From broadsheets to tabloids to social media, the story is that ‘Islam is an abhorrent and evil religion’.
The sad reality is that people now probably immediately link ‘Islam’ with ‘ISIS’ or ‘terrorists’.
In a series of articles to follow, I hope to give a brief view of the messages of Islam, to show that it teaches love, peace and harmony – not brutality and hatred.
Hafsah Qureshi was born and raised in Lincoln. She went to Washingborough Primary School and then Priory LSST and is now a doctor working at Lincoln County Hospital. Hasfah lives in Lincoln with her husband and one-year-old son.
In a series of articles, Hasfah will look to share some positive stories about being a Muslim woman living in Lincoln, and will try to dispel some common misunderstandings about her faith.