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Last week, we focused on what we are that makes us who we are and following on from that it can also be our actions that identify who we may be. This is especially important when years to come, we ponder what are we leaving, what pieces of ourselves is there to leave, for the following generation to hold on to.

Weren’t the best of people known for their unique identities yet firmly held onto their Islamic values, even when times were tough? Whether that’s the prophets or companions, they each had something that stood out through their character and actions that helped form their identity, and also allowed us later generations to identify with and learn from their experiences.

Our identities can impact our wellbeing so the development of a strong and stable sense of self (e.g. positive self-conceptions, high self-esteem and/or the possession of valued social identities) is important so that there is less confusion and conflict – easier said than done we know, especially nowadays whereby Muslims seem to be surrounded with negativity in encompassing Islamic behaviour.

We were created to be different so that our differences could not only be appreciated, but can also be a means of identity, to acknowledge someone that may not be the same as you,

 “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.”

Qur’an 49:13

The beauty of Islam is that accounts for these differences yet it can unite us through having the same Deen (faith) regardless of colour or languages.

Without a doubt for Muslims, Islamic values help formulate one’s mind-set and construction of identity. Most of these beliefs and principles are shared universally with people of other faiths and even morally with those who do not have a faith e.g. value of knowledge, mercy, brotherhood/kinship. This universality of Islam allows its teaching to fit in easily in different cultures and ethnicities.

Therefore, Islam allows us to play to our individual differences, within reason, provided that it does not go against the orders of Allah and His messenger ﷺ.

Rather than stuffing ourselves into society’s box of identities we can be flexible because Allah has made us all different, however, it is up to us to protect our Islamic identity through seeking more knowledge and incorporating Islamic conduct in our daily lives, what better way is there to build our personal and social life through His guidance?

It can be a minefield to know your own self let alone dealing with other individuals, especially getting that balance of focusing on Islam, yourself and others (i.e. society) right!

Next month it is Islamophobia Awareness Month, join in and let us know your experiences and the effect it had on your mental health (or of someone close to you) through #IAM2017 and tag @inspiritedminds to be featured; those wanting to remain anonymous, you can simply privately message us on our social media and we will post your story anonymously!

Hamida Moulvi

Hamida has a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree, having studied modules concerning Emotions and Mental Health. She is passionate about giving back to the community as it is important to benefit others - every little helps, in inspiring changes and raising awareness, especially within Muslim communities where many cultures can believe mental health isn't a real problem. She has a love for the way Islam guides, inspires and heals (HasbunAllahu w ni'mal wakeel) and is also interested in languages, being multilingual. She believes words have a powerful impact whether that be in written or spoken form, and that we are all here to learn, implement and share so helping write articles would achieve this also.

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