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Why I won’t fear so-called “Punish a Muslim Day”

I visited home after a while. They all know it’s me as soon as I get to the door, I have always knocked the door in a distinct way so my family inside can recognise that it’s me. I stepped inside and said my greetings to everyone. I looked for my little six-year-old sister, she is always excited to see me and, as usual, she was hiding behind the door, waiting to be found. I found her and gave her the chocolate I had saved her. Soon I was busy having a conversation with her. Within minutes she said to me “What are you doing tomorrow?” I replied, “What I always do.” “So, you are going to go outside?” “Yes, why?”

How did I forget, “It’s 3rd April tomorrow, it’s Punish a Muslim day.”

I was shocked, I was upset; my heart sank to hear these words from a 6-year-old child. Soon my 10-year-old brother also joined the conversation “Yes man, you have to be careful, why don’t you stay indoors tomorrow? Or why don’t you, like, carry something so if someone attacks you, you will be able to defend yourself.”

The idea of punishing a Muslim on a particular day had upset me, just like the guy who threatened to kill me whilst I was at work, but I shrugged it off, thinking this is just another day, another attack on me because of what I believe in. I have accepted that there are many challenges that myself and the Muslim community in the West will face now and in the future due to our religion.

But I did not think that these challenges would knock on our door. I did not think that a 6-year-old child would be living in fear for themselves and their relatives. I did not think that a 10-year-old child would be advising their elder sibling to take care and protect themselves. I did not think that my wife would give me her headscarf to wrap around my head and my face to protect myself from an acid attack.

I left for university as I always do, with a hat on my head and my wife’s headscarf wrapped around my face; trying not to draw attention to myself. I took a seat on the tube and continued my journey. I saw many Muslims board the train, I could sense fear in their faces. They all looked alert and looked around every now and then. I saw my Muslim sisters, still wearing the headscarf, not hiding.

I slowly removed the head scarf from my face, my sisters go through this every day and here I am scared. Here I am hiding my identity. I reminded myself of the hadīth of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam):

“The people will see a time of patience in which someone adhering to his religion will be as if he were grasping a hot coal.”(1)

And then I recalled the verses of Qur’ān that once used to be stuck on my bedroom wall,

“Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said, “When is the help of Allāh?” Unquestionably, the help of Allāh is near.”(2)

These struggles are not new. The earlier Muslims faced persecution by their own families; they were chained, beaten and killed for what they believed in. Even the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) himself was targeted, he too was beaten and abused by his own family members for promoting Islām. These episodes will continue. We will be tested again and again. Some of us will pass and others will fail. The companions of the Prophet and indeed the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) himself did not give up, they did not hide their Islām. The young shepherd ʿAbd Allāh b. Masʿūd who had no clan to protect him went out to recite the Qur’ān in front of the Quraysh’s polytheists despite being advised not to by his friends as they feared he would be beaten. His reply was “Let me alone, for God will protect me”. He returned, beaten and covered in blood and even then his response was “If you like I will go and do the same thing before them tomorrow.”(3)

If following Islām was not easy for the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and his companions, who said it will be easy for us in the West? No one said the road to Jannah is a straight line, without any struggles and obstacles. No one said we will not be tested, no one said that a distinction between strong and weak would not be made.

To my little sister and brother,

Don’t be scared for me or worry about me. I have angels that protect me, I have my Creator that can see and hear all. He knows what we are going through; He knows we can bear it. Trust in Him. Remember Alllāh knows, as He states in the Qur’ān,

“Indeed, they are planning a plan, But I am planning a plan. So allow time for the disbelievers. Leave them a while.” (4)

No harm will come to me from anyone except that Allāh has willed it and should harm come to me then I know I have the strength and ability to cope with it. Should I be hurt simply for being a Muslim then be proud that I have been chosen to be tested like the companions and pray that I passed this test like the companions of the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam).

Source: www.islam21c.com


1. Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2260 Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani

2. Quran Surah Al-Baqarah 214

3. Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad Translated by A. Guillaume, [Oxford University Press – Seventeenth Impression 2004], page 141 – 143

About Nabeel Akhtar


  1. What do you expect from the so called civilised Brits? Native Brits must learn to respect and tolerate those who are different. No one has any problem when: Jews keep beards and wear their traditional caps Christian priests and nuns wear their religious outfits Buddhist monks wear orange robes Sikhs keep beards and wear turbans Indian aunties wear Sarees (cross streets and hang out in Wal-Mart) Yeah but if any Muslim male keeps beard or if any Muslim girl wears hijab then everyone has problem. It’s Freedom when you go naked but it’s extremism when you wear hijab – just plain hypocrisy! Looking at the case of France, a major secular nation, I believe it is also not allowing women freedom by not letting her to wear her choice of clothing as it supposedly “clashes with French secular values”.

    Stop treating foreigners like garbage and they will stop ruining your precious country. Why did you let them in in the first place if you didn’t want them here? They left everything in their countries because of your promises. Are you so anxious to please that you can’t say “no”? I would love to see you go to a foreign land where you don’t have any friends, you don’t even know anyone and you don’t speak the language, and start from scratch.

    The shocking level of targeting of the Muslim community of Birmingham is indicative of the normalisation of the dehumanisation of the Muslims of Britain. Under the pretext of “extremism”, criminal undemocratic and unethical abuse of public institutions and the Muslims of the UK can occur without much accountability. This pervasive attitude, especially amongst officials like Michael Gove needs to change. Our schools are truly trying to develop our children to do well at schools so later in life they are able to stand on their own two feet, but if we stop our schools from doing this than our country will have up rise of unemployment, benefit issues, crime levels high, I think it’s time for you apologize and allow practitioners to do their job right.

    Muslim community in all western countries need Masajid, state funded Muslim schools , Halal meat and Muslim cemeteries. West must learn to respect and tolerate those who are different. Don’t these hypocrites idiots know what their ancestors did to Native American Indians they slaughtered 150 millions of Native American Indians! and also do they know that Great Britain invaded 80% countries around the world? They should call them terrorist first and as well call their ancestors terrorist! British did the same to Native American Indians and sadly they still treat Native American Indians badly! So Americans Indians know how you Muslims feel! They stolen Indian land and killed 150 millions of Indians the British did! They were forced to go to the white man’s school and learn the language, culture and faith of the white man. Inspite of that, they are still the under dogs of the American society.

    The native Brits must learn to respect and tolerate those who are different. You have failed to respect and tolerate Black community, who speaks your language, share your culture and faith. English, Irish, Welsh and Scott hate each other, sharing the same culture, faith and language. It is difficult for you to accept, respect and tolerate Muslims with different culture, languages and FAITH. You have no choice but to accept them for your own survival. The number of Muslims is on the increase because of immigration, high birth rate and conversion. By the end of this century, nearly 50% of British population would be Muslim.

  2. Julie Amal Rashid

    It is ridiculous to hide your identity?! Are we so easily intimidated? I wear a niqab and so what if some pathetic, cowardly, intellectually challenged people send letters / flyers giving a “punish a Muslim day”. It’s pathetic, I still wear my niqab, I go about my business. Yes I get abuse sometimes and I give it back, I won’t be intimidated.

    So what about our men? Maybe we are in this position, as our men are deficient? Just a thought….!! When Omar RA accepted Islam he announced it openly to the Quraish “Any one who wants to make his wife a widow and his children orphans, should come and meet me there behind that cliff.”

    Abu Dharr RA openly declared his conversion and was almost beaten to death, until the Quraish remembered what tribe he belonged to. These were MEN. Their situation with the Quraish was much more hostile than our situation in the West!!

    Yes be aware of your surroundings and that goes for every day. But hiding your Muslim identity, removing your hijab, this is not the adab of a Muslim. Are we so weak?

    May Allah Ta’ala give us all the tawfiq to have pride in being Muslim and have strength of character. Ameen

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