Does Your Culture Define You?

Do you define yourself via your culture or do you define yourself via the aspects of the religion you practice? By which I mean, do you wear the hijab and you celebrate feminism? Do you wear the Abaya but love and validate nationalism?

Having experienced many aspects of my own culture mainly, I had come to an age where I became exposed to what the Somali culture entailed.

Thus having a thirst to quench and a burning curiosity. I went on a journey to discover my culture from supporting projects helping to build Somalia, to being around Somali women that were redefining activism.

Alhamdulillah at the same time I also started researching into Islam. I started looking deeper into my religion and realised that culture is celebrated but it is not used to define who we are, rather Islam defines us.

My identity comes from the beauty of Islam (the Quran and Sunnah, the way in which the Sahaba lived), the rich history Islam offers, and the rights in being a female not a feminist. Islam is a complete way of life that I am truly grateful for. I am truly grateful that Allah opened up a different path in which culture did not have to define me.

In the Quran it states:

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (49:13)

I can be with a Muslim woman from any country and we can be sisters because Islam is what brings us together. Islam is what ties us. Islam is what brings out the beauty in all of us, whereas culture is there to differentiate us but also to bring us together to celebrate the differences we have. I may eat halwa but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy samosa as well.

I want to help Somalis not because I am Somali but because I am Muslim, thereby I want to help all Muslims. I leave you with this.

It was related on the authority of Abu Hurairah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said: 
“Whosoever relieves from a believer some grief pertaining to this world, Allah will relieve from him some grief pertaining to the Hereafter. Whosoever alleviates the difficulties of a needy person who cannot pay his debt, Allah will alleviate his difficulties in both this world and the Hereafter. Whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and the Hereafter. Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother. Whosoever follows a path to seek knowledge therein, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise. No people gather together in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy covers them, the angels surround them, and Allah makes mention of them amongst those who are in His presence. Whosoever is slowed down by his deeds will not be hastened forward by his lineage.” 


By Sweet Sister

Edited By Copywriter: Sawiya Ali


  1. I dislike this type of mentality. No abaayo, I'm not only Muslim and I don't help Somalis because I'm muslim... that's so weird. You know so well that if we don't care for our own people, no one will. And I came to conclusion based on experience. Non Somali/non black Muslims don't have as much regards for Somali/black lives and social issues. When we used to suggest findings for Somalis, our pleas were always ignored, but mention an Arab or a Desi cause and you'll find them all becoming generous all of a sudden.
    It's extremely important to know and be proud of who you are in this world. You can't just pretend like culture/skin colour/ethnicity don't matter in this world or don't affect how you're perceived. Many young people abandon the community and go and work on other causes, while the Somali community is drowning in problems and is in dire need of the energy and effort of these youth. It's important to show up for Somali people, not only because "you're muslim" but also because we ARE your people and we need you more than those other ethnic groups.
    Sorry if this seemed harsh, but wallahi I find the attitudes similar to the expressed here upsetting... it's naïve and doesn't take into consideration the fact that Islam also says "al aqraboon awla bil ma3roof". Islam isn't against nationalism or even culture, he prophet loved his culture and he loved Mecca (his home town) and was so sad when he left and extremely happy when he came back to it. Loving your country isn't a sin. What Allah doesn't want us to do is being arrogant, looking down on other cultures and God doesn't want us to devalue other people's origin and cultures.
    I can't identify with this post....

  2. Yes well i do think every culture definies the person i mean i had academic papers and from it what i gathered it does define a lot of people !!

  3. I don't think it's worth arguing about religion. For many of us this is very personal and, as it were, science did not explain everything that happens, we all perceive the higher forces in our own way.

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