If and when you choose to contact me, I promise to keep myself humble. I can promise this only because I know how it feels to contact someone you admire and have them be rude back to you. I had it happen to me today and it made me so upset - not for myself, but for the other people who I am sure have a similar experience and it is so discouraging to them that it throws them off track.
So there is a girl on Snapchat - I won't say her name or try to give too much away - but she speaks Arabic very well mashaAllah. She's been learning for years and years and is able to write and read completely in Arabic as well. MashaAllah, this is what I hope to someday be able to do myself. While my speaking is actually not that bad and my reading has drastically improved, I still am FAR from where I ever hope to be - especially when writing.
I have contacted her once mentioning that if she needed anything on her American travels that I would be happy to help. I explained I'm also a blogger and American with fascination in Arab culture and she was polite. We spoke mostly in Arabic at that time.
Today I planned my trip to Dubai for the coming weeks and thought I should reach out to her to invite her to lunch when I go just to be friendly and also to see if she had any experiences to share with me.
So I reached out and invited her typing in English but with Arabic words. She immediately cut me off and said, in Arabic, I should only write to her in Arabic. I reminded her I'm American and still learning. She said "I'm American, too..." I said, "I know, love, but I'm not as good as you are yet." She said, "it's not that hard" (in Arabic) and I said "inshaAllah."
This little conversation made me realize the importance of humility in encouraging people. I try really hard to learn Arabic. I spoke my first word of Arabic five years ago and I did not take it that seriously until the last three years. I'm FAR from fluent, but I shock people quite often with how much I know, especially seeing I've only been living in a Muslim country for a short period of time. I'm not proud of myself, because I know I can do more, but I also do not expect everyone that talks to me to live up to the standards I have achieved for myself.
I am not the best Muslim. I'm not the best American Muslim. I'm not the best at really anything in this world. But I'm pretty compassionate Alhamdulilah. I work incredibly hard to achieve my goals. And I don't expect ANY SINGLE ONE OF YOU to meet these impossible standards I have set on myself and I promise I never will.
If you need anything, please contact me. And I promise not to treat you like I am any better than you at ANYTHING. I'm honored people ask me for advice and I take it seriously.
If you feel like I would ever think you're not good enough, you're wrong. You're probably better than I am, in fact. I'm happy to give you anything I can in terms of encouragement. If your English isn't perfect, we'll figure it out. If you aren't praying, we can encourage each other. If you get high and drunk every day but you love Islam, you can still talk to me. I'm not judging you and I'm NO ONE to judge.
Prophet Muhammad (saws) did not expect those who came to Islam to be perfect, but he expected them to try. And that's all I expect.
And to think of a contemporary example, I'm reminded of how encouraging, warm and kind Nicole Hunter Mostafa was when I reached out to her. I actually had no idea how big her following was until I saw her followers on Facebook recently and mashaAllah she should have never responded to someone as insignificant as me. She's such an amazing example of humility in a person. May Allah be pleased with her ya Rb.
When I responded to the message today, I said the following, and I hope any other bloggers who perhaps think that they are too busy or perhaps "too famous" to be bothered with other people would consider the same: "Remember how you felt when you were just learning. Remember those who encouraged you. And be humble enough to encourage others instead of demanding they meet the standards you impose on yourself."
<3 Love you all. You're all celebrities in my mind.
May Allah keep us all humble and kind. After all, there is no power except for Him.