Shifat Salam: Gratitude and Empathy

Shifat Salam is a Bengali-American who lives in New York City. He is a graduate of Brooklyn College and works as a Software Engineer.

 
This story is part of “American Muslims”, a photo series created by Carlos Khalil Guzman, a photographer and activist based in NYC. The project is dedicated to capturing the diversity of the Muslim community in the United States. We will not only be sharing the images from the project, but each image will be accompanied by a personal and unique story to show our shared humanity. To read more about Shifat and the rest of the faces from “American Muslims” click here.

 
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
I would say my mother may Allah bless her. She has done a lot for me from taking care of me to show me what’s right and wrong. I learned how to be giving and respectful to others through her. She made me understand the meaning of what it means to be elegant and polite. I used to be a blunt person and people who met me for the first time thought I lacked empathy but my mother showed me how to be courteous and show empathy to others.

 
When did you feel the most alone?
Sometimes I feel alone in the midst of people. It seems that everybody is carrying on and there is no way to connect with them. But then I remember that I have Allah and things make sense. I also feel alone in this society, which doesn’t always teach the right values to people and so it makes creating connections with other very difficult.

 
What are the most important lessons you have learned in life?
To be more persistent. Sometimes I give up too fast and don’t try but it’s good to be more persistent in order to get what you want. Always think about your actions before committing them. The biggest regrets I have are not thinking through my problems or doing actions rashly. Lastly, always be grateful. Being grateful is very hard in this life since we have worldly desires. In order to keep what you have you need to be grateful.

 

 

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