Re: Glad to be an American

I received a comment on my blog in regards to my Glad to Be an American post, so I wanted to elaborate/clarify a few things in case someone else felt the same as the person who commented/was offended.

A comment was made about surprise being shown that I was glad to be born in a kuffar country:

My reason for writing the “Glad to be an American” post was to simply state that this is the will of Allah that I was born in the United States and that I am not going to deny the benefits that He allowed me to have by virtue of being born there. As I said in the post, I was not encouraging Muslims not to live in a Muslim country, but rather think about the blessings that they had in America and enjoy them while they are in America and one day, insha Allah, Allah would allow them to make hijrah.
A comment was made that I think that I am “better than the Muslims I live with.”
Allah knows best, but I do not think that I am better than anyone else based upon my nationality (or upon anything else for that matter). I was simply trying to show some of the ways that I had benefitted because I was American. I made mentioned of the fact that people at first assumed we were Somalians but once they found out we were American, we received better treatment. I did not mention this because I think that I am better than Somalians, but to show that racism exists outside of the United States. People sometimes think that all Muslims will be treated better (or equal) in a Muslim country and I was also trying to show that that was not necessarily the case.

I also mentioned some of the things that I have seen here in Yemen and was not trying to put down the people or say that I was above this, I was just trying to illustrate some of the conditions that I have seen and was glad that I had not grown up in such impoverished conditions. I am keenfully aware that one or more bad turn of events (authu billah) could turn my life around so that I might find myself possibly in the same conditions or worse regardless of my nationality or financial status.
I apologize if I offended anyone with that post, as that was not my intention, but I do still thank Allah for allowing me to be born in America and not to have had to experience a lot of the hardships that other Muslims around the world may have had to endure.
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Glad to be American

 I ran across a blog the other day written by an American Muslimah who was desperate to get out of the US. She wrote about how it just made her sick to be there. I admit, when I left the US 5 years ago, I was ecstatic to leave the land of kufr and head for a Muslim country.  To this day, I am very happy, despite the frustrations from time to time, to live in a Muslim country and I truly do not have a desire to go back to the US, other than to see my family.

But within the last few years, my talk has gone from bashing the US to actually being glad that Allah had allowed me to be born and live in such a rich, powerful, and advanced country as the US. I realized that being an American over here has been more beneficial than a hindrance. Of course many people over here think that Amreekis are money bags and will try to squeeze extra out of you in the suqs or in taxis, but I have found that once people find out that you are American, their whole demeanor changes and you are treated with respect no matter what your color.  We are African American and most of the time people assume we are Somalian. When they find out we are American, they begin chatting and become super friendly and helpful and that has come in handy so many times.

One example of how helpful it has been to be American is that it is typically easy for us to rent apartments.  People have actually told us that had we been Yemeni, there would have been a higher security deposit and one Yemeni owner told us that he preferred to rent to Americans over Yemenis. (I think a lot of Yemenis may get behind on their rent payments and since many Yemenis don’t make a lot of money, it is hard to catch up).

I also feel blessed that Allah allowed me to be born into a wealthy, advanced country as opposed to a third world country. I see such poverty here that was unthinkable to me when I was living in the states. Of course there are homeless people in the United States, but from what I saw of the homeless situation in the states, it was nothing like this, not so prolific and severe.  I see little children half clothed running in the street and squatting down to defecate.  Even along one of the main streets here, you can see grown men stopping at a wall to urinate in public and I have seen people here and there sleeping out on the cold, concrete sidewalk or on the dirt in the hot blazing sun.  Some have makeshift homes made out of blankets.  Some families live in small storefronts with no windows, no running water, or electricity.  Sometimes when we throw our trash away, children and grown ups descend upon our trash picking through it. When we come out the next time, we see the bag torn up and the contents that were not taken lying spread out in the street or on the sidewalk.

I remember reading a local English paper here and the reporter interviewed a little shepherd girl who lived in the mountains with her family and she had never heard the words “play” or “education.”  For me, despite the ills of the Western world, this seemed like not much of a fulfilling life, a life that I would myself not want to live.  Things like this make me happy that I grew up in the suburbs of California and lived a very different life that what I have witnessed for some in Yemen.

Note: Although severe poverty is a lifestyle for many Yemenis, I have seen the opposite end as well—affluence (fancy cars, big mansion houses, etc). Insha Allah I plan to write about that as well in the future.

I hope that for those Muslims that are anxious to get out of the states, that Allah makes this easy for them to do so soon.  My purpose for writing is not to advocate Muslims to stay in a non Muslim country, but just encourage others who might still be there to take advantage of all the benefits of being there while they are there (for example, libraries;  it can be hard to find homeschooling materials here and also more difficult to get them through the mail (there is no house to house mail delivery here), its dirtier here and common diseases that have nearly been eradicated in the US are prevalent here, just to name a few things) and as a reminder that there can be some blessings in things we think are bad.

Overall, I love living in a Muslim country, but I am still glad to be a Muslim from America.