My Struggle With Bullying Since I Started School in Chicago

AssalamuAlaikum brothers and sisters in Islam, I am a Muslimah born and raised in Chicago. I would like to share my story of winning the fight against hatred, in the hopes that InshaAllah it will shed light into the hearts of others out there that are being bullied.

I was teased and rejected ever since I started school, and that was my first exposure to society. I remember spending my break time in 2nd grade crawling on the floor on all fours acting as a horse while a girl sat on my back and used my pony tail as a whip. I didn’t really care being used like that because I didn’t know what it meant to have a friend, so as long as I was keeping someone happy, I didn’t mind.

But the more I was made fun of and isolated, the more I began to realize that something wasn’t right about being the only one that was always treated unfairly. I am a sophomore in college now, and the bullying continued throughout elementary school, middle school, high school and even my first year of college. For years on end I was faced with bully after bully, but after looking back I realize the brilliance behind Allah’s plan: I’ve learned from the experience of going through my hardships while heading down the straight path, and also the wrong one.

Throughout middle school, I was given the strength by Allah SWT to carry on through years of isolation and bullying after placing my trust in Him. Later on in high school though, things started changing. I began to slip away from Islam and the trust I had placed in Allah SWT after being pulled in by the temptations of this world, and soon after I was faced with depression. Those were no doubt the hardest days of my life.

But what had the biggest positive impact on me was being in the company of the scholars during my first experience at ISNA. SubhanAllah, the way they carried themselves with such humbleness, and the peace and contentment that was evident on their faces was enough to show me that Allah SWT is all they needed to overcome any obstacle in life. That’s when I realized that without having Tawakkul, or faith in Allah’s plan, my life would continue to be a nightmare. So Alhamdulillah after coming across this valuable lesson in life, I was not only able to bring myself back to the path of Allah, but I am also looking forward to head down an exciting road that will allow me to fulfill my dream of rising up to the level of the Scholars InshaAllah.

Every person has their own story, their own hardships. And what makes us unique is how we choose to deal with it. Do we give in to our temptations in this dunya and fall into Shaytaan’s trap? Or do we put our trust in our Creator and turn to Allah SWT to help us get through it? I learned that the hard way, and over the course of many years, my self-esteem was fading away from being bullied over and over again.

But in the end I’m grateful for what Allah SWT has destined for me because this journey I’ve been through has made me proud of who I am today. Bullying is real, and the worst part is that almost all the people that put me down after middle school were Muslim. For the Muslims that don’t think twice about hating, this is a time when we need to come together and look out for each other. Islamophobia is real too, so don’t group yourself with the same people that are hurting this Ummah.

And for those brothers and sisters being bullied, my heart goes out to you. The best thing you could possibly do is to put your trust in Allah SWT and ask Him for the strength to carry on. Once you have His support InshaAllah you will be able to overcome anything.

There’s a quote I just came across last week that I find absolutely stunning: “The suffering that reminds you of Allah is much better for your soul than the blessing that leads you to forget Him. And once you realize that, even your hardships can’t break you.”

I think it’s time we show our hardships who’s boss. Stay strong my friends! Peace and love to all.