Winners Essays 

“What Does It Mean To Be A Muslim In My Community?”


 Muslim; noun, adjective. A follower of the religion of Islam.  Being a Muslim is much, much more than just being a follower of Islam. Being a Muslim means to be a bundle of light in the darkest of the night, being a Muslim means to help others in need. I could go on and on, man I could write a book hahah. At times it may seem as though being a Muslim is hard, but oh the contrary it is a beautifully crafted test, from Allah (SWT) and he surely knows what is best for us. I am a proud Muslima and this is my heartfelt answer to “What It Means To Be A Muslim In My Community..”

“What Does It Mean To Be A Muslim In My Community..?” Hmmm, interesting question. Being a Muslim in our generation-- let alone our time of day, is an internal struggle of good vs bad and resisting wants from needs. Every day it is an battle to be a better Muslim than the day before. I am absolutely not perfect, trust me I am far from it. Yeah I on the outside I may not seem like a practicing Muslim. I am a boldly, outspoken person. I addressed all my deepest thoughts and feelings. Due to the fact that we tend to regret all the things we don’t say. Unlike any other person I say what's in my heart and ignore how others portray what I say.

 I smile and engage in conversations with everyone I cross paths with both male and female, and I hope to never disappoint-- I hope to  make everyone's day. I do it all out of the goodness of my heart and with pure intentions. But if you must know in the deepest of the night not only do I pour my heart out and pray, I lie awake and my eyes swell up like a well and I burst into tears. I ask myself “Why am I never good enough” as I pray.

 I tell myself to follow the righteous path of the Nabi Muhammad (SAW), but I know I’m not perfect and at times I am astray. “I sin but I am not the Devil, I do good but I am not and Angel..” Nobody is perfect and no one could ever get as close to perfect as the Nabi Muhammad (SAW) did. But constantly and on a daily basis, I repent. I repent. I repent.

            I live in a generation, in which social media is a big influencer tending to lead people astray and the community I live in is no better. Our community is broken and we have no strong form of unity or strength. We are all corrupted by not only the status and wealth of things but also the status of respect and wealth ones family has. Based conclusion the amount of wealth, or respect ones family has or is given is sadly more valued than that of the individual you are. It is already a struggle in search of our own voice and individuality and being judged by the status of your family just adds to that pressure.

            Being a Muslimah in my community, means to diligently working hard to be the best that I could possibly be. I am a role model to not only my little sister but to all of the younger generation that look up to me and to everyone around me. I must pave the way for them and be the best example of a striving hard working Muslimah because they are to be the leaders of our near future. Many people are uneducated as to What Islam is and what a Muslim is and are afraid to ask due to the fear of offending us. But little do they know that we are open to the teaching of Islam and to answer any questions that they may have.

            One day while hard at work, I had been approached by an elderly gentleman, whom had been eagerly wanting to ask me a question. He had said “ I have been observing you. You seem open minded, and very open to answering questions may I?” I had nodded with a warm welcoming smile as he had continued on. “My question is, is the outfit you are wearing for religious purposes? And what's the thing on your head, what's it called and what is the difference between the one on your head and the full face and body one?’ I had been optimistic, that people see me as open minded, and that this elderly man had so much kindness and respect.

 I had replied, “Yes this outfit I am wearing is for religious purposes (I had been wearing a black scarf, back baggy shirt and khaki skirt, nothing revealing my body, the colors are a part of the dress code atari where I work) and the thing on my head is called a hijab, but you could say scarf, if you’d like and its easier for you to say and remember as well. The outfit I am wearing is for the purpose of coving my body parts and to conceal my beauty and modesty. As for the full face one-- that is called a burgurg and it is another form of modesty I am not really sure of the real definition for it but if you'd like you could look it up, but it's always best to ask a main source who knows the reasoning for it and definition of it. Back in the day life had been simple and people tended to wear modest clothing and allowed their face to show unless told otherwise.”

“I appreciate you asking me your question directly, it is always best to go to the source and it is usually fact based. Unlike what the media tends to portray what our beliefs are. As for me I was raised as being told to dress modestly and to remain humble. In the Quran, which is like the Bible we are told to cover up our body parts and to dress modestly. There are many ways people analyze and portray that because not many people wear the scarf but they dress modestly and vise versa.”  He then took out his phone in search of what a Burgurg is and the proper reason why people wear it. He was so pleased with my warming smile, positivity and answer that he had thanked me numerous times and had said he had always wondered but never asked and after years of wanting to know he was finally pleased to have asked.

I had shocked myself with the amount of knowledge I have had and given him.

Honestly there had been so much beauty in explaining the teachings of Islam and why we do what we do. I had felt so amazing and blessed to have been guided to help guide another soul towards Islam, and you never know maybe this is the beginning for him, in shaa Allah he finds his way. Just knowing that I was able to educate the elderly gentleman, made me feel like I was doing right by Allah (SWT) and I had also made my mother proud. I had told her what occurred and she had been so proud with how I had carried myself and how beautifully I spoke about Islam, and that had been one of the most amazing feelings I could ever come across.

Being a Muslim not only in my Community but also in general means to be friendly and open minded to anything and anyone’s, thoughts questions or beliefs. You never know who’s watching you and you never know whose life you may impact and change for the better so always be the best that you can possibly be.


    Yours Truly, Iman Abuhamra

    11th Grade, Lackawanna High School

Yusha Sandid/ Universal school /7th grade

Nomads essay competition

Topic: What does it mean to be a Muslim in my community.


Assalamualaikum I am Yusha Sandid a 7th grader studying at Universal school, Buffalo, NY. I am a Muslim. The definition of a Muslim is the followers of Islam and our prophet is prophet Muhammed [Saw] the most righteous person that ever walked on the Earth. The prophet told us to be a role model to people who believe and that don't believe. People judge us wrong because of others who do bad and then the way we treat people. In present days Muslims try to modernize to fit in because they think religion is boring and they think they become cooler when they curse or do really bad stuff. That's why most non-believers think we're really bad .


A Muslim has a mission in life. Within the community he calls the people to Islam with good preaching and the best character. He teaches from what he learns and deals with the nonbelievers.

Wherever the Muslim is, he should be a beacon of guidance and a positive source of correction and education, through both his words and deeds.


A Muslim, as Islam meant him to be, is a unique and remarkable person in his attitude, conduct and relationships with others at all levels. A Muslim treats them well by being friendly with them, humble, gentle of speech and avoiding offence.

He likes others and is liked by them. He tries to follow the example of the Prophet(saw) as he was the best of people in his attitude towards others. He  said: “Nothing will weigh more heavily in the Balance of the believing slave on the Day of Resurrection than a good attitude towards others.”  [At-Tirmidhi]



Because Islam is based on truthfulness, a Muslim is always truthful with everyone. Truthfulness leads to goodness and goodness leads to Paradise. Therefore the Muslim strives to be true in all his words and deeds.
A Muslim never gives false statements, because this attitude is forbidden in the Quran. Allah, Says “And shun the word that is false.”[Quran 22: 30]When a Muslim seeks to offer sincere advice to everyone he comes in contact with them in a nice way. It’s not just the matter of volunteering to do good out of generosity; it is a duty enjoined by Islam. The Prophet  said “( The essence of) Religion is (offering sincere) advice.” [Muslim]

When a Muslim promises something, he must keep his promise. This attitude stems naturally from truthfulness, and indicates the high level of civility attained by the one who exhibits it. Allah Says  “And fulfill every engagement, for [every] engagement will be enquired into [on the Day of Reckoning].” [Quran 17: 34]



One of the worst characteristics that Islam prohibits is hypocrisy,  a Muslim can never be a hypocrite. He is frank and open in his words and opinions. The Prophet  said: “One of the worst people is a double-faced man, who comes to one group with one face and to another group with a totally different face.” [Al-Bukhari]


A Muslim never searches for people’s faults or slander their honor. He doesn’t slip into the error of pride, boasting and showing off. He judges fairly, is never unjust (even to those whom he does not like) and avoids suspicion. He does not rejoice in the misfortunes of anyone. He carefully avoids uttering any word of cursing,  gossip and foul language.
He does not make fun of people but is gentle, kind, compassionate and merciful, strives for people’s benefit and seeks to protect and help them.


A Muslim, who truly understands the teachings of his religion, is gentle, friendly, cheerful and warm. He mixes with people and gets along with them. He is humble and modest; and does not look down at other people. He is lighthearted and has a sense of humor and does not embarrass others. His jokes are distinguished by their  Islamic nature. He is  to brings  happiness to people. It is an effective means of conveying the message of truth to them, and exposing them to its moral values, because people only listen to those whom they like, trust and accept.


Allah Almighty Says  "Invite mankind to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious." [Quran 16:125] The Muslim is aware of his duty to call others to Islam, and does not spare any effort to do so. He enjoins what is good and forbids what is evil and mixes with righteous people. He visits the sick cheerfully.


It means alot to be a Muslim in our community and we must fulfill all our responsibilities and try not to do wrong. The Prophet (saw) was our role model and we must follow him in a path to succeed and establish a religion with a great future. Jazakallahu Khairan for reading my essay and I hope you liked it. Assalamualaikum