When I Didn’t Let Fear Stop Me From Talking To A Muslim

Fear is the result of not knowing, or not believing truth. This fear can be both paralyzing and imprisoning. When something is different or unknown, we oftentimes are gripped by fear. The effect of fear goes beyond being scared of something. It enters the depths of personality and intention. Fear may be subtle, imperceptible, but it could be the reason you do not do what you wish. It could be the reason you are not who you want to be. It could be the reason you cannot transcend circumstance or deep-seated propensities.

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The other day I was coming out of my place of work on a break when I noticed a small table set up in an alcove between the shops. The scene struck me as unique from the moment the three bearded men behind the stand cried, “Everything on the table is free! Please, take one!” Furthering my interest were the contents neatly piled on the table, books and literature representing and describing the religion of Islam. I nodded to the men and began to pass quickly by. But I stopped in my tracks because it occurred to me that I was being perhaps dismissive out of an aversion to a sect I knew nothing about. Curiosity overcame my internalized trepidation, and I stepped back toward the stand to greet the Muslims.

What transpired then was a polite discussion about what they believed and a few of the tenants of Islam. I was impressed by their character and openness, which was a novel experience for me as I had never spoken to a Muslim about their religion before. I took a book of the Quran and thanked them for the information, leaving with the feeling of satisfaction that is the residue of every positive exchange. As I strode back to work, I thought about my experience compared with those of the individuals who looked the other way out of fear or nervousness or even rudeness. I cannot imagine they came out of the opportunity as filled as I.

This is a simple example of overcoming a nervousness of the unknown. You may laugh at its simplicity, for indeed the story is practical. But hopefully it promotes you to be more curious than you are afraid.

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Fear is battled by truth, by learning truth, and having the curiosity and drive to discover it. Hold on to the truth that there is little to lose.

Some fear comes from lack of confidence. Again, confidence may be mustered by knowing truth. So look at a circumstance, analyze the factors, and renew your courage. Approach the people you are hesitant to interact with, do that extraordinary thing you have been too complacent to venture toward, and consider your every moment an opportunity to overcome. Who knows whether you will initiate a friendship or gain a little knowledge or have a life changing experience.

Photos by @salembellahphotography

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