Last month, I was inspired by Saqib’s post on welcoming Ramadan with a chocolate cake. I wanted to enjoy some of the benefits of dawah in this world and decided to bring in a cake for my coworkers after Eid. My wife baked and decorated a lemon cake which I placed in our “cookie cube” and sent out an email similar to the one that Saqib did. Not long after, while most people complemented the cake itself, I also started to get several inquiries about Islam and Muslims.
Associate #1: “So how long did you fast for?” Well, Ramadan is a blessed period of time for Muslims which only lasts about thirty days. “Wait how do you survive without eating or drinking for a month?” Fasting is from dawn to sunset each day. We still eat in the early morning and in the evening. “Oh…ok.” It is also a time to improve our personal character by giving charity to the needy and helping our neighbors while getting rid of our bad habits by turning off the TV and spending less time in general on entertainment.
Associate #2: “So you’re celebrating because you can finally eat again?”. No this is an Islamic holiday that Muslims celebrate around the world. We set several personal goals for ourselves in the month and now we are collectively celebrating our achievements by the Grace of God. Muslims also strive to continue the good habits that we acquired for the rest of the year.
Associate #3 mentioned that she used to fast with her husband for three days regularly when they were younger. Intrigued, I asked what her reason was for doing this. She exclaimed that we “needed to get rid of all the toxins in our body from eating junk”.
Associate #4: “Do you support the building of the Ground Zero Mosque?”. First of all, that is a bit of a misnomer. It is not at Ground Zero, it’s in an area called Park 51, several blocks from Ground Zero. It is also not a mosque but a community center with basketball courts and stuff. And btw, that’s not really a lemon cake, it’s artificially flavored benzonate triglycoride. jk! 🙂
Associate #5: “Did you know that “eid” is “die” backwards?” You never cease to amaze me….”Eid” is actually an Arabic word that has no relation with its transliteration in English. If you want, you can think of it as the day where all the bad habits will die after 30 days of training and practicing self-restraint. Did you know that Oprah films her shows in Chicago’s Harpo Studios? Ever wonder where she got that name from?
Associate #6: “I heard Obama is a Muslim”. Well, he has stated several times that he is not. Although, even if he was it shouldn’t matter. Muslim Americans represent one of the most well-educated, affluent, and contributing members of society. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of incorrect information that many Americans believe.
Associate #7: An Indian consultant came up to me and said “Eid Mubarak! Cake was quite tasty and yummy!” He was probably exposed to the holiday through Muslim friends or neighbors back home.
At the end of the day, in addition to a chunk of lemon cake for my commute home, there was a lot of positive discussion with several misconceptions that were addressed. I would like to thank Saqib for inspiring me, and thanks to my wife for baking the “yummy” cake!