Most of us are born Muslims. We didn’t leave another religion for Islam, but rather were already born into it. Have we thought, what if we weren’t born into a Muslim family, would we still find Islam? What if we were born in a different time and a different society, would we be brave enough to leave the religion of our own parents for the truth of Islam? Would we be brave enough to choose Islam, even if it meant the whole society turned on us?

If we’re only Muslim because everyone else is, then are we really any different from those who are Christian because everyone else is? Or those who are Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist and so on? Have we decided to be Muslim? Have we made a conscious decision, followed by consistent effort?

Islam is a gift from Allah upon all of us, but sometimes we forget to recognize it as that. Allah says in the Quran:

وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّـهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ مَا زَكَىٰ مِنكُم مِّنْ أَحَدٍ أَبَدًا وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُزَكِّي مَن يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

And if not for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy, not one of you would have been pure, ever, but Allah purifies whom He wills, and Allah is Hearing and Knowing. (24:21)

Islam is a gift Allah has given us. The least we can do is appreciate that gift. If we don’t then we’re denying the generosity of Allah. And how can we not appreciate this gift of Islam, when people have fought and died for it. In the past and in the present.

If Allah had not guided us, then we would not have been guided, not have given zakah, not have prayed, not have believed.

إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided. (28:56)

As people who were born into Islam, can you think, “well it’s my good blessing that I was born into Islam. Now I don’t have to worry about anything. Just take it easy.” While someone else who wasn’t born into Islam must suffer and struggle to find, what we were already born with. Is it really like that? One person is struggling to enter paradise, and the other person will just lazily enter paradise too? No It’s not. Allah says:

 أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ﴿٢﴾ وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۖ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّـهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ

Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried?(2) But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars. (29:2-3)

Have you wondered how much Prophet PBUH wanted Abu Talib to be a believer? Have you thought how much Prophet Ibrahim wanted guidance for his father? And what about Nuh’s family and Lut’s family? Here we are we have been blessed with that guidance that they wanted so much for their own relatives. We must be willing to sacrifice everything, just like they did, in order to keep the blessing that Allah has given us.

Even the Prophet PBUH who is the best of all of mankind and creation. Even he is reminded by Allah, that Allah blessed him with Islam.

وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَىٰ

And He found you lost and guided [you],  (93:7)

مَا كُنتَ تَدْرِي مَا الْكِتَابُ وَلَا الْإِيمَانُ وَلَـٰكِن جَعَلْنَاهُ نُورًا نَّهْدِي بِهِ مَن نَّشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا

You did not know what is the Book or [what is] faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants.  (42:52)

Even the Prophet is reminded of the blessing of Islam. He was not found on guidance. Allah guided him. So what more for us? I pray we can be reminded of the great blessing Allah has given us. I pray we can appreciate it and be sincere in practicing it.

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