Dear Mia

You are Catholic, and I am Muslim. We practice two different religions. We pray differently, but our beliefs came from just one spiritual source.

You and I pray to only one God. Your God is my Allah. We both have been ordered follow the 10 Commandments that God gave through Moses. We both believe that Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed are great prophets and messengers of God. We respect and love them. We both believe in angels. We both believe and respect the books of God: the Torah, the Bible, and the Quran (I will tell you the similarities and differences some other time.) We both believe in the day of judgement. We both believe in the supreme power of God, and believe that whatever He gives us is good for us. We both respect and love Mary, the mother of Jesus.

In as much as I want you to share the beliefs and practices I have, I will not force you to revert to Islam (my religion.) This is something that you will have to decide for yourself. Rest assured, when you are curious or have questions about Islam, I will help you find the answers.

You have already been introduced to Catholicism; you may remain Catholic. My only request is that you follow these reminders that you may not have learned yet from church or from your elders, or things you may have learned but have forgotten.

1. Follow the 10 commandments. 

Number 5 extends to your grand parents, darling.

2. Show God respect. Prepare your surroundings and yourself before praying to God. Before praying, make sure that your surroundings are clean. Fix the bed, sweep or wipe the floor where you will be kneeling or bowing. Wash your mouth, your face, and your hands; or better yet, take a bath. Change to more decent clothing: no tight and sleeveless nor very short shorts and skirts when you pray or go to Church for mass. Remove the distractions before you pray. No cellphones, no iPads, no looking around, no talking with seatmates. When you pray or hear mass, focus on God.

3. Remember your ACTS (Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, Supplication). Praying to God is not only about asking for guidance and requesting for things. It should be mostly adoring and worshiping God, and acknowledging His greatness, His mercy, and His graciousness/generosity. Ask for forgiveness for your and your parent*s sins. Thank Him for all the blessings. After all that, then you may start asking Him for the things you need and want.

4. Pray often… 5 times at least, and go hear mass on Sundays. You should know by now that I pray 5 times, and it is when the athan is played on my computer. I pray at dawn, noon, afternoon, during sunset, and at night. I remember Him in all my actions. You should too. Worship and remember God all the time. Being busy is not an excuse. We all owe God our lives: if not for His greatness, kindness, and generosity, we will not be here.

5. Do things with out of love for God, our brothers and sisters in humanity, and yourself. Never ever forget the real message of Jesus is about love. He said to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Mark 12 : 30 to 31.) Just as when we love our parents or our friends, we do things that will please them and keep them from getting upset, behave well and act to please God. Show charity to others by sharing your blessings, helping others, being kind to others especially your parents, etc. Lastly, do not forget to love yourself by taking care of your body, mind, and spirit.

6. Dress conservatively and give yourself respect. No shorts, no mini skirts, and no tank tops, especially when you are outside the house or if there are guests at home. When you respect yourself, and it shows on the way you dress and handle yourself, others will recognize it and give you even more respect.

7. Read the Desiderata. My mom has quoted from it so many times. 

8. Never stop learning about God and what pleases Him. Keeping good grades at school, mastering new languages, acquiring skills through experience and developing them through practice are all good, landing on good universities and on great jobs, are all good. But we should never neglect learning about God through His prophets. You already know some things about the life of the prophet Mohammed and the life of Jesus. It does not just end there. You are still young and your understanding of the world and God is still very limited.  I encourage you to think, ask questions, and search for answers. Do not believe what others say (Catholics, Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc. or not as not everything they say may not be true.) Search for answers from reputable sources. Read and learn from the holy books and the biographies of the great prophets. Read and learn about your religion and my religion. Read and learn about what pleases God.

Mia, I love you.

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