Thursday, December 3, 2009
(Disclaimer: This article of mine was first published by "www.readingislam.com" on Dec. the 2nd, 2009)
"Well, believe it or not, I owe my being a Muslim today to a simple warm smile", said Stacey, an Australian friend of mine who had just become Muslim a couple of years ago.
She explained that the reason that made her interested to know about Islam was a very optimistic and cheerful young lady named Sarah, who used to work with her at the same company.
"I did not know her well, but I always felt there was something unique about her", added Stacey.
She explained how Sarah used to help everyone, looked cheerful and optimistic, and her mind always seemed free of troubles. Stacey wanted to know the secret, so she decided to get in direct contact with Sarah.
One day, Stacey decided to directly ask the young lady about the secret of her being always positive and optimistic.
"My religion helps me apply that! I'm a Muslim, you know," replied Sarah. She then started explaining how being a Muslim affects how you think, act, and feel towards yourself and towards others around you.
That was when Stacey decided to learn more about this wonderful religion that does not only address a person's spiritual relationship with God, but also, their communication skills when dealing with others around them.
A lot of people wrongly believe that in order to look respectable, they have to have a serious frown on their faces, so that others would feel that seriousness, and consequently respect them. Well, not in Islam. Islam always encourages Muslims to be optimistic and cheerful. That is basically because they believe in destiny.
Muslims believe that whatever happens in their lives only happens for their best, and that Allah is always watching over them wherever they are. Even when things seem really complicated, true Muslims believe deep down inside them that Allah's wisdom is behind all of that, and that soon enough, everything will turn to be just fine.
Muslims try not to worry so much about the future and what lies ahead. That does not mean that they do not always think about it; they definitely do, but they set clear goals, and plan for the steps they need to take in order to achieve these goals. However, after that, they stop worrying and put their full trust in Allah, leaving everything to His wisdom and mercy.
Prophet Muhammad himself was always said to have been cheerful, optimistic, and smiling. His face used to shine with the light of gratefulness to Allah, even though he faced so many hardships that no other human being could have ever endured. He was sure deep inside him that Allah is always there, looking over him, and changing his life to the better.
He (peace be upon him) also taught us to do the same. He even said that when a Muslim smiles to another Muslim, it's as if he or she has done a charitable action. (Al-Bukhari)
While practicing Islam, each one of us has the responsibility of showing the real Muslim character to others around us. It has been always said that actions speak louder than words, so the way we interact with others leaves a more profound effect than the actual content of the words we speak.
Believe it or not, body language does have a huge effect in communicating with others; "It’s not what you say, it's how you say it."
What is interesting about the smile is its power. It is surprisingly contagious among all people from different backgrounds, cultures, genders, ethnicities, and ages. It is the kind of language everyone understands. It has the power of making people feel special and appreciated, as it spreads positive energy all around the place.
Even according to psychology, smiling is considered a very healthy thing to do every now and then. Try it yourself: can you look at someone who is smiling at you and not smile back? I doubt that! I guess it is part of human nature just to smile back at someone who's smiling at you. We do it without even thinking.
To sum all that up, there is only one statement that I keep on reminding myself with; "I am a Muslim, and I have the most merciful God ever, so why should I even worry about anything, when I know deep down inside that everything happening to me is for my best interest?"
I encourage everyone out there to start practicing this healthy habit, spread positive energy all around, and get lots and lots of reward from Allah because of the charity being performed while smiling.