It’s safe to say that most Americans don’t understand Islam. Many Americans see Islam as a strict, humorless religion. Some far-right politicians and chain-email-sending senior citizens unfairly associate all of Islam with terrorism. It’s a topic many Americans just don’t understand, not necessarily out of deliberate ignorance; there just haven’t been accessible ways to learn about Islam and its followers. I guess there was that TV show on TLC, All-American Muslim, but based on the reviews I read, that show should have been called Hey Racists, Muslims Aren’t Monsters: P.S. This Show Isn’t Very Good Anyway So Don’t Bother.
On Reddit, there’s a subreddit for sharing rage comics. Rage comics are little crudely drawn stories using a set of evolving but common faces to express common emotions. They’re easy to make and they’re an effective way to tell a story, so they’ve gotten popular in the last couple years.
Recently I discovered the subreddit The Daily Muslim Rage. It describes itself as “rage comics about the every day trials faceing (sic) a Muslim.” And guess what? It’s adorable. It’s an endearing way to be introduced to the problems that Muslims deal with.
Here’s a comic a Muslim made about his cat sitting on his prayer blanket:
That’s charming, right? The guy wants to pray, but his cat claims the blanket, and he prays next to his jerk cat. I like this. It’s quick, it’s relatable, and it’s about a culture I’m not familiar with.
Here’s a comic about a Muslim woman dealing with a common question about her headscarf.
There are comics that encouraged me to learn about Islam on my own, too. Here’s another comic. This one’s about an Islamic ablution ritual. And farting.
I didn’t understand this one at first. Clearly the guy farted, so I already know it’s hilarious (because of farts). But what’s wudu? Well, when I went into the comments, people were discussing it.
The user Sunmonkey asked:
Why do you have to redo your wudu if you pass gas?
When performing wudu you don’t wash anything in the area affected by passing gas.
It doesn’t make any sense!
Mofasa13, the person who posted the comic, replied:
I was taught that you are supposed to wash “the area affected” if you have passed gas since your last wudu. It has to do with taharah (purification), but I am not an expert on the subject. Maybe someone else here will have a better answer.
An honest question, a friendly answer. This is the way strangers on the internet should behave. And you guys, I just learned about another culture via a fart comic. Amazing.
If you think about it, rage comics are the perfect way to learn about another culture. In most rage comics, the main character in a rage comic experiences an injustice or an awkward moment, and by the end of the comic you’re relating with them about it. In this case, that person is a Muslim, and in comics where I didn’t understand the situations being described, I read the comments or went on Wikipedia until I got the joke. I wanted to relate, because that’s how the format works, so I did what I needed to to fill in the blanks.
Rage comics taught me a lot about Islam today, and I’m sure their potential doesn’t stop there. Teachers, take note.
Want to read more rage comics like the ones above? Check out The Daily Muslim Rage subreddit.