For Deah, Yusor, and Razan.

They were going to change the world.

This past week has been extremely emotional. I am still in disbelief, that someone can go into another persons home and shoot them, execution style over a “parking dispute.” It doesn’t sit well with me. To even mention it is trivializing their deaths, which I do not want to do. It is clear that there is indeed hatred in the world. My heart hurts, my heart is heavy thinking of those three incredible people. What a tragic loss for their families..for humanity.

What we cover on the news tells us what matters to us, how we cover that news tells who matters to us. I am still sickened by our media on how they reported this heinous crime, but I want to shift focus on how this atrocity has affected me, and how it has affected humanity.

I was not fortunate enough to meet Razan or Yusor and for that my heart also hurts, because clearly they were amazing. I only met Deah a couple of times. My brother was fortunate enough to go to school with him, to be friends with him, and from what Bilal always told me, he was indeed a sweet, generous, and a humble human being. As a Muslim, it is hard not to focus on the controversy of all of this. The hate Muslims are feeling, the fear that is completely valid. Being an American, I have never really felt fear living in this country. Even after 9/11, I always felt protected… because you always think, first and foremost I am American. For the first time, I have felt fear, I am AWARE of the fact that I am hated on because I am Muslim. It is not something I can explain. When your parents lecture you to not be so feisty about your passions or views, because you don’t know how someone else is going to react, is when you know there is something bigger going on. Islamophobia is REAL.

What Deah, Yusor, and Razan’s sudden deaths have taught me, is that life still has to go on.. sadly. As hard as it has been to focus on the good in the world, I want to change the perspective. I want to celebrate their love, their life, their incredible legacy – not just now but always. I want everyone to remember the good they started. It is crucial we focus on who they are and what they wanted to accomplish. Their wonderful lives were inspirational. It truly makes me want to be a better person. I want to live better, do better. I keep thinking what have I offered the universe? What have people gained from me? Why haven’t I done more? These questions are important, and we need to ask ourselves, what is it that we want people to remember us by. I see how they’ve inspired so many individuals. From Step Curry honoring Deah, to all these drives, and vigils in their names, in their legacies. It hurts, when I think of their lives taken too soon, in a senseless act but seeing the strength and patience their families and friends have exhibited is also very inspirational. It is EXACTLY what Islam teaches.

They indeed changed the world.

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Surely, to Him we belong, and to Him we shall return.

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the real sacrifice.

Eid is such an exciting time for me. It consists of my¬†favorite things all in one day, family, food, and getting to dress up. I aways feel different on Eid ul Adha though. There’s consistently something deeper pulling on me, perhaps for what this Eid stands for. Undoubtedly, Eid in it’s glory is amazing, but it is essential to actually reflect on what it all means.

Eid ul Adha or the festival of sacrifice is celebrated in the honor of prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, at God’s command. As prophet Ibrahim struggled with this, when he told his son, Ismail didn’t even hesitate. His answer was simple, if that is what Allah wills. As the day approached, God of course, intervened and provided prophet Ibrahim with a lamb to sacrifice instead, hence the importance of all Muslims to slaughter a lamb.

Allah never intended for Ibrahim to slaughter his son. The idea behind the command, was to slaughter his attachment and to trust what God intends. Sacrifice. It means different things to different people. How many of us really understand the concept of sacrifice? How many of us sacrifice daily?

I see my father sacrifice everyday. His precious time, his precious health, to provide for my siblings and me. My mother, despite being ill, makes sure we are fed before she eats. I see the way my sister is raising her children, without her husband physically being there with them. Sacrifice. We see sacrifice, in its purest form, everyday, in our parents.

Hug them, thank them, and hug them again. For they have sacrificed the most. And for who? For us, to have a comfortable life. For those who are parents, having children really teaches you unconditional love. To love someone, and not want anything in return, is exactly how we should love. Think about what we sacrifice. For God, for your husband/wife, for your children, for those you love… for anyone. To sacrifice means to love.

You can be anything you want in this world, just don’t be ungrateful.

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