Living with a Muslim Roomate

Non-Muslim Roommate?

Living with a Muslim Roomate

Growing up in Los Angeles, I had only met a few Muslims but I never imagined that I would be living with one. As a freshman in college, I was very excited to dorm and meet new people, but it was a little frightening not knowing my roommates and most importantly, not knowing if we were going to get along.

Before registering to dorm at UCLA, I agreed to room with a high school classmate thinking that it would be less difficult to adjust to a new place. The only thing that I did not know was that my classmate, Michelle, was Muslim.

The first day we moved in, my roommates and I sat together to get to know each other. That is when Michelle told us that she was Muslim. My other roommate and I stared at each other for a second. I was surprised because she did not look like what I initially thought Muslims looked like.

The next thought that came to my mind was how living together would turn out. My worry was whether our cultures were going to clash and cause a problem with our living situation. After speaking for a while, my roommate and I reassured her that we would try our best to make her feel comfortable by respecting her beliefs and her religion.

At first, I was a bit scared that Islam was significantly different from Catholicism. I thought that her religion was going to be made up of radical ideas like sacrificing other people and oneself for God. Everything that I knew about Islam came from the media. In the news, I would always hear about terrorist attacks associated with Islamic teachings or about Muslims engaging in terrorism. Because of this, my image about Muslims was unclear. Even though the media portrayed them as terrorists, I had met nice Muslims before and Michelle was very friendly.

As I got to learn more about Islam, I learned that it was different from what the media portrayed. Michelle taught me that true Muslims did not believe in engaging in violence and murdering people. I learned that the media only created negative images of Muslims and failed to show the true teaching of Islam. While sharing her beliefs, I also learned that there were some similarities between Islam and Christianity like how we both believed in one God. We would spend hours talking about our cultures and surprisingly, we found out that we had many similarities. This made me realize that living together was not going to be a bad idea after all.

Muslim Roommate

It has been three years since I attended the lecture, and I know that I will never forget this question. I continue to think about it, and realized that there are so many answers to this question and each time I think about it, my answer changes. One particular scenario that I once heard in an Islamic lecture really helped me think about the existence of God. The speaker told us to imagine being alone in a desert, and then spotting a cell phone on the sand. You then ask yourself: could that cellphone somehow randomly appear on its own? Did all the parts somehow magically come together? No, someone had to design the phone, make the chip, etc. The wind did not just bring all the parts together creating this phone; there had to be a creator. Similarly, the human body, system and organs could not have randomly come together to form a human being. Just looking at the details of the human eye and heart alone, I know Allah (SWT) is the only plausible explanation.

I want to share this experience because the question may sound simple, but we sometimes forget to just pause and think about it. The answer is difficult because the response is different for each of us. Having this thought in the back of my mind has helped me become more God conscious and feel closer to my creator. Take a few minutes and try to answer it: How do you know God exists? Feel free to comment so we may all benefit insha’Allah. May Allah (SWT) strengthen our relationship with him.

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