Evolution of a Canadian Muslim

Imagine for a second, that you walk into a Masjid for Salah, and the people look at you with a surprised look as though you are not supposed to be there.

Imagine that you show up to an MSA event for the first time, and one of the brothers approaches you to give YOU dawah.

Imagine you are with your Muslim friends and you bump into one of their parents for the first time and are greeted with a ‘Hi’. And when you give them Salam, they think it’s cute that you tried to learn.

For me, that’s real life.

For so many years I had trouble fitting in as a Muslim in the Muslim community. I would find myself regarded as a convert, or that weird child who seemed to have a lot of Muslim friends. After a while I began to find humor in the way Muslim people acted with me before realizing I was Muslim; born and raised just like them with the values of Islam instilled at a young age- except for the fact that we didn’t look alike.

Despite the fact that I would joke about it with my friends, I often felt like an outsider. Someone who would never really fit in with the Ummah. Being a visible minority in the non-Muslim world is bad enough, but when you are treated as such within your own community, it can be close to unbearable.

I eventually came to a conclusion. I realized that if I wanted to be accepted and recognized in the Ummah I would have to also do my part. Become the undeniable CANADIAN MUSLIM. That transformation doesn’t mean that I traded in my winter boots for a pair of leather sandals, or my canada goose for a kamis (I don’t actually own a canada goose).  Rather it meant pulling up my jeans so that they sat on my waist, and growing out my beard so that instead of just being a normal thug wearing an Expos hat, I became the guy with the beard wearing an Expos hat.

I wasn’t sure these changes would make a difference, but what I knew was that I wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror, and recognize myself as a Muslim, even if no one else would.

There are a lot of Muslims who throw aside the importance of the beard in Islam, without realizing that it is our gift. The Prophet saws ordered us to grow a beard so that we could be different from the others. By Allah, I never understood the wisdom of this until people began to greet me with Salam during my everyday activities. At the gym, at work, at the grocery store, walking down the street. I was even recognized as a Muslim when I walked into a Halal store 2 hours away from home.

I had wanted to be recognized as a Muslim for so long and for years I had placed the blame solely on my community, only to realize that I too had my part to play. Once I did my part, Allah put the rest in motion for me.

Little do those strangers know, that every Assalamu alaikum (Peace be unto you) touches my soul, and brings peace to my heart.

May peace be unto you and the Mercy and Blessings of Allah.

The Canadian Muslim.


About thecanadianmuslim08

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem Assalamu Alaikoum, I am the definition of a North American-Canadian-Québecois Muslim. I play football, watch hockey, can't understand cricket, enjoy the occasional poutine and I the only two languages I speak fluently are English and French- because those are MY languages. If you were to pass me on the street or in the metro you would never guess that I might be a Muslim, maybe just some guy with a beard. I am THE Canadian Muslim.

Posted on February 20, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 50 Comments.

  1. I am not a muslim but I am christian and I understand what you means. Great post really 😉

  2. Nevertheless, I’m glad you have this strong religion conviction…no matter community affect on you out there! This is what Islam community need.

    Alsalamu alaikum wa rahmatu Allah wa barakatu.


  3. I’m glad that these days more people are recognizing you and your religion and not treating you strangely. Insha Allah, this will only continue. Assalam Ailakum to you and good luck in the future.

  4. Asalamualaikum, Muslim brother 🙂

  5. loved your post man, seems like your doing a great job. and haha loved the EXPOS hast 😀

  6. Great post, really glad you have found peace in your heart! I felt the same way before I started wearing hijab : )

  7. Ahh, salaam and good evening to you! That is great! I’m a Presbyterian in a charasmatic church; I totally feel you. Blessings!!

  8. As long as following the traditional Muslim appearence feels good to you, it is good to hear that you found your way. On the other hand: I am still sceptical whether looking like a true Muslim is what you really wanted, or that you simply realized that it is neccessary for you to fit into society. I do not think that one has to follow all of a religions traditions in order to be a “real” Muslim, or a “real” Christian. I do not think that a Muslim man needs a beard and that a Muslim woman needs to cover up her whole body. It is the belief that matters.

    In Indonesia I think that it is very impressive how tolerant the Muslim society (in urban areas) is towards moderate Muslims, meaning that they do belief in Muslim beliefs, but at the same time they are free to wear whatever clothing they wish, how often they want to pray and generally whether or not they want to practise the traditions.

  9. As long as following the traditional Muslim clothing feels good to you, its good to hear that you found your way. On the other hand: I am still skeptical whether looking like a “true” Muslim is what you really want, or that you do really do this only to find your place in society. I do not think that one has to follow all of a religions traditions in order to be a “good Muslim”, or a “good Christian”. It is still the belief that matters.

    I live in Indonesia and I think that it is really impressive how tolerant the Muslim society is towards moderate Muslims (in urban areas!). These moderate Muslims do belief in a Muslim god, but they dress up however they want (be it a headscarf or miniskirt), they pray whenever they want. Generally speaking: they follow the Muslims traditions that they feel are right for THEMSELVES.

    Out of topic: its quite funny because Indonesians generally only grow a very small beard, meaning that they basically let their hair grow their whole life and there is still not much to see. But pssssh. I didn’t say that.

  10. I am a muslim, and muslim is mayority in my country..

  11. umm not aware bout d words i mean urdu wrds bt can guess d meanin being n indian..

  12. I understand you dearly. I am a Roman Catholic born and raised in a community where both Christians and Muslims settle and share and my place is so at peace. I was also exposed to the diversity of my community especially when I studied in a public grade school where one-fourth of my classmates were Muslims, the other one-fourth was of different other religions as the remaining half was of Christians. I am a versatile individual…

  13. MashALLAH such a nice post. May Allah help you.

  14. That’s really great! keep it up. May Allah help you and keep you motivated in al -Islam. May Allah make you a model for so many other “Westerners”.

  15. May i ask if you do not see anything fundamentally wrong with a religion that treats you as a lesser being and as an outsider regardless of your devotion to Allah and Muhammed, your knowledge of the Quran or the life of the prophet.
    (forgive me for not doing the appropriate peace be with him at the appropriate place, i am not a muslim but i mean no disrespect i assure you)

    Shouldn’t those treats and your total submission to Allah be the values by which you should be regarded in your religion and community?

    I understand the feeling you get when you finally get accepted into the community you felt yourself part of as long as you can remember. I also know that in the end the feeling turns bad when that acceptance is not for the values that are at the core of that community but the way you look. At least that is my experience.

    Hope yours is different but i’d like to know your thoughts on this.

    Many regards and thank you for this blogs insight into the so called “moderat muslm majority”

    Christ van Silfhout.
    (the Netherlands)

  16. It seems like Islam should be about what is inside, not outside–although there are some outside things that some people do believe to be important. I know it’s uncomfortable to be seen as an outsider, but can’t you just think of yourself as a force for getting people to open up their tiny little minds?

  17. you can’t even imagine how happy i’m when finished reading your article .. i’m so happy for you brother in islam .. and may ALLAH blessing you Salamo Alaikom 🙂

  18. السلام علیکم يا أخي 🙂

    Interesting experience, I think I have a similar experience when Kurdish people do not recognize or realize that I am an actual pure Kurdish because I am not looking alike as them.

    I would like to clarify about your reversion, you considered yourself as a convert not revert? Is it right?

  19. O the feeling of being “identified” as a Muslim! Glad you took the step and realized we too need to do our part 🙂

  20. Mash Allah a lovely post full of feeling. I love the way you write!

  21. Alhamdulilah. I don’t know what it’d feel like for my muslim sisters who don’t wear a hijab. I don’t recognise them until I see them put one on for salah…. :\

  22. Asalamnulaikum, brother 🙂

  23. Wow, crazy that it can mean so much. I also think it meant something that you saw yourself in a different light, but the beard definitely did the difference.
    Too bad there are a lot of muslim words I don’t know in this post x)

  24. Having been laughed at upon walking out of a prayer room in a public building by people waiting to enter, I totally relate. Asalaamu alaikum

  25. hit
    it up, waalaikum salam

  26. keep your way of it. follow your heart saying, though many people knows the right ways but they were denied it. May peace be unto you and the Mercy and Blessings of Allah. Happy a good day

  27. Nice post!

    I’m a muslim too and i live in Indonesia. If you don’t know, Indonesia is a country with the biggest muslim population in the world. I’m surprised how muslims outside our country value the importance of growing beard. I’m already 25 and no one ever teach me that.

  28. I’m really glad you were featured on the “Just Pressed” section, because you’re a great writer with an insightful point of view. You don’t strike me as the kind of person who’d let the ‘convert’ status get you down, but if it ever does, remember that it actually gives you a unique flare. Not only do you see the world differently, but you can help others to as well 🙂 JazakAllahu Khair!

  29. I appreciate your concern about wanting everyone around you to know that you are a Muslim, which is very good msA. But in my opinion as a Muslim Arab, appearances aren’t important as much as manners and how we treat the people around us. We can tell everyone around us that we are Muslims by imitating the holy Prophet Muhammad SAWS in his good manners as well as his appearance. Because in the Arab world, a large amount of people take Islam as growing beards and shortening pants, while neglecting the core value which is the manners. I hope we succeed in being an honorable presentation of our Islam, always isA.
    May Allah be with us all

  30. Very insightful. And the results bring joy to my heart. 🙂 Allah be praised.

  31. Assalam Alikom….. even though I’m a Muslim and live in Jordan (Muslim country) , beard still have great effect….If you are young man who have beard and you are well known as a person who respect others you’ll be called Shaikh …..it seems that you are doing great job in Canada ….so keep doing the good work

  32. Reblogged this on airwangi84's Blog and commented:

  33. It is a shame that you were not recognized as a Muslim due to your acts of faith and professed belief. Expressed faith is not an outward appearance, but it is based on your entire countenance. Anyway, I am happy you were accepted.

  34. alhamdulillah, this post is good info!

  35. I hope you’re finding more acceptance these days. Regardless of religion, many people feel estranged in their respective communities. It’s important for all of us to read posts like this one because sometimes we don’t realize who we’re ignoring or passing by or more so who we’re ostracizing. Thanks for the thought provoking post.

  36. It’s great to know your story as a muallaf. I hope you will enjoy your day better than before. Allaahu ma’aka.

  37. May Allah give you eases 🙂 Allahu Akbar 🙂

  38. I am an Egyptian Muslim. I dont know, but I tend to have a different view. I dont want to be recognized as a Muslim because of my attire, I want to be recognized as a person who became better because of her relation with Allah within Islam

    Probably my view is caused by where I live, In Egypt, everybody grows a beard, all women wear scarves, but you seldom find honest people, or hardowrkers, or people with good manners and integrity, or free of descrimination, or fair, or accept differences. Actually, we have the opposite of all of that – People hide behind the beard and try to control others and monopolize the society. I really have lost the sense of connection and belonging because I dont want to belong to this mess.

    I want to belong to people who are truly Muslims in heart and soul, who really make an impact on how my religion is presented. I travel alot as part of my job, and I strive to be the best I can in my job and in my relationships and follow guidance of our dear Prophet, such that after sometime, people would say, did you know that she is a Muslim? and someone else would respond, oh really?????

    Just a different angle for a topic that really tortures me! M

  39. Assalam alaikum brother !
    from an Indian Muslim. 🙂

  40. However I realise that, too much emphasis on CANADIAN Muslim or Indian Muslim or any other Muslim is against the teachings of the Prophet sal lal lahu alaihi wasallam.
    He called us just, Muslims.

    “If you were to pass me on the street or in the metro you would never guess that I might be a Muslim, maybe just some guy with a beard.”

    If this is the case then my brother, this goes contrary to, the Prophet’s (peace be upon him), emphasis on the appearance a Muslim, such that he be recognisable from his appearance.

  41. As a Buddhist in Canada, I encounter similar reactions. I’ll stop in from time to time and perhaps we can learn from each other.

  42. It must have been upsetting feeling like that as you grew up, but Alhamdulliah you now get the recognition you deserve, in-shaa-Allah you will always be seen this way 🙂

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