One thing many of us can agree on is that 2016 has been a troublesome year. With havoc wreaked upon Aleppo, the tragedy in Berlin, and countless other hotbeds of violence worldwide, as a species we plummet further and further into the abyss. These tragedies exist even within our own communities locally. Rampant police brutality, close to a thousand cases of Islamophobia post-election, and the normalization of hate all plague American society.
The abundance of information in the age of technology seems to have cast an inescapable shadow of grief and anxiety. Facebook Live, Twitter trending, and hashtag movements all inundate us with the harsh reality of the injustices and despair that exist in this world, both locally and globally. Many lose their hope in humanity a little bit more with each tragedy.
And yet, we have come a long way as a human race – overcoming global wars, plagues, slavery and other plights of the past. That’s what we do: We persevere and strive to make the world better for the next generation, just as our ancestors have done for us.
For Muslims, it’s even greater than perseverance. It’s faith. To maintain hope in the divine mercy of God and not to despair is an essential pillar of our tradition. But to nurture hope we must every once in a while shut off the constant noise of doom and gloom, not to ignore the ugly realities of the world, but to better focus on all the good that surrounds us. Once we see it for ourselves, we can share it with others.
When we start seeking for others what we want for ourselves, the light most definitely will return like the sun that rises after every night. As a Muslim American, I want peace and dignity for my fellow people of all races, cultural backgrounds, genders and religious beliefs. Maybe I’ll get the same in return.
Chaudhry is Imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Charlotte.