We never know what impact, if any, we will ever have on the lives of others, and I was both blessed and surprised today to discover that a few kind words of mine helped to change another human being’s life.
2 years ago I used to frequent a Jamba Juice near my home in California. I would stop in briefly to get a fruit smoothie and generally strike up a short conversation with the person at the register. I just like being nice to people and honestly feel that it is just the best da’wa. Having a beard, wearing a kufi and telling them “Ibrahim” when they asked for my name, I would sometimes get asked about whether I was a Muslim and sometimes then about Islam. I loved it whenever they did, and welcomed any conversation about religion.
That summer I was also teaching an 11-week Introduction to Islam course. Whenever anyone brought up religion, whether at Jamba Juice or elsewhere, I was ready to mention to them “Hey, you might be interested in this class” and then hand them a flyer. I would tell them a little bit about all the topics we cover and then leave them to think about it with an open invitation. Most people don’t end up attending, but I always leave hoping that they do.
During a few of these brief encounters while picking up a smoothie a young woman seemed particularly interested in the faith. We had spoken a little about Islam and I gave her the flyer. Almost once a week (until the end of the course) I would encourage her to come. She did make it briefly, for the last class, but I never saw her since. Life continued.
Spending now again my summer in California I decided to teach a similar course. After the students had filed in I decided to have everyone introduce themselves; hoping to create some friendships among them. I began first, saying a few things about myself and my background. It then went around the room and each person shared a few things. It then came to one sister in hijab who I thought I had never met before.
When the question came to her she smiled and said, “don’t you recognize me?” Honestly I didn’t and I am pretty good with faces. She then told me that she was the “Jamba Juice girl”! SubhanAllah, I had no idea that after our brief encounters last summer she converted. I was so honored to hear that she considered my kindness to her an opening into the religion.
Shortly after we spoke last summer she accepted the faith, testifying that, “there in none worthy of worship but God, and Muhammad is His Messenger”.
AllahuAkbar! May Allah reward her and increase her in faith. Now she has her own Muslim blog alhumdulillah [you can check it out at http://hijabiwaitress.blogspot.com/], and insha’Allah it seems that she is doing well. I am honored to have played even this simple role in Allah’s calling her to His religion, but truly it was God who was calling her and I was only privileged to be a part of that message.
I was immediately reminded when she told me of the words of our beloved Prophet, upon whom be peace and blessings, “Indeed a servant may say a word from which Allah’s pleasure is gained and the servant does not realize it” [Sahih al-Bukhari]. Who knows how many people’s lives we affect, negatively or positively, that we may never see again. May God guide all of us, including our new sister in faith, to be the best examples of Islam wherever we are. Ameen.