Compliments and Communities: Thoughts On Solidarity

For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. (94:5, Sahih International)

At first, I didn’t see a thread running through these past few days. School, work, and current events were three distinct and isolated spheres. But looking back makes everything look different, and pieces come together.

One of my dear friends took the time to send messages of support, gratitude, and reassurance after Trump’s travel ban and the aftermath. She attributes to me strength and identities that seemed like just part of my daily routine, and she sent a sequel after the events in Quebec. I read it gratefully, and rationalized the kindness as part of her generous soul.

Those same events in Quebec compelled a stranger on the bus to hesitantly compliment my coat, and then explain to me how her cultural Judaism pushed her to stand in solidarity and compassion with the Muslim community. I thanked her profusely and attempted to explain to her the value of her tentative outreach in the short few stops we had left.

I watched the doors to the MSA office at University of Toronto receive strength in doses of post-it notes, ISNA accepting letters of encouragement, students across campuses rallying for services and vigils, and campaigns launching and succeeding in supporting the Quebec communities and families. Words between friends and strangers alike are edged with a bit more kindness in asking, “How have you been?”

The world seems increasingly turbulent and fragmented, and we tend to respond with isolation. I didn’t pay attention to the fact that I was doing the same thing until I saw others reaching out. For me, it came in the form of a text, a stranger’s compliment, and witnessing anonymous community love.

These actions seem ordinary and significant at the same time. But there are times when you feel like you’re watching the world interact and acting as an observer to the chain of events, and this was one of them.

These events will impact everyone differently, and your response is just as legitimate as any other. Your ‘timeline’ of processing will go its own pace, and you will have your own means of getting there. You have more support than you think, from people who genuinely hope to help. Whether you’re seeking help or helping others, your actions have courage. And there is comfort in knowing that as ever; with every hardship will be ease.

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ISNA Canada is an Islamic organization committed to the mission and movement of Islam: nurturing a way of life in the light of the guidance from the Qur’an and Sunnah for establishing a vibrant presence of Muslims in Canada. ISNA exists as a platform for all Muslims who share its mission and are dedicated to serving the needs of Muslims and Muslim communities.

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