There is a superhero lurking within us all. A superhero that desires to protect, save, and improve lives. This is the story of how one girl found her hero.

“BREAKING NEWS!” the TV blares, “Another bomb has exploded in Syria!” Zara looks up from her homework and then continues. “Why is it even breaking news anymore?” she thinks sadly. She wishes she could do something, but she can’t go fight the Syrian military. At dinner, her parents are talking about how sad it is that people are killed mercilessly. With her prayers and thoughts for Syrians, she goes to bed. Zara’s inner hero has been alerted.

Zara gets up the next morning. It’s Valentine’s day, but instead of her Facebook and Instagram being bombarded with ‘Happy Valentines Day!’ and kiss emojis, it’s filled with condolences and prayers. Confused, Zara starts doing her research and finds out that there has been a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, only a few hours away from her. She posts her condolences as well, then starts to get ready for school. On the bus, she imagines a child just like her, their whole life ahead of them, their family, friends, opportunities, everything. Just gone. With one bullet. At school she talks to her friends. “Yeah, I get what you’re saying and all, but really you couldn’t have gone and taken the gun out of his hand or stopped him,” says Allie. “What has happened is done.”

Zara returns home to her sister Hana telling her mom about an older girl who was bullying her at school.

“And then she said that I was really short and that my shoes were weird and that I should leave the earth because I’m so ugly!” she manages to say between sobs. Hana went to sleep crying that night.

Zara feels anxiety building up inside her. “What kind of world do we live in? Why is there so much hunger for power, revenge, and oppression?” Was all this injustice going to suffocate her? Zara picks up the Quran, and a few words catch her attention:

“…Whoever takes a life – unless as a punishment for murder or corruption in the land – it will be as if they killed all of humanity; and whoever saves a life, it will be as if they saved all of humanity…” (5:32)

 Zara’s inner hero has now been activated! She realizes it’s not enough to just feel bad about a situation. Allah (SWT) promises the huge reward for saving all of humanity by making the effort to save one life. “I might not be able to change the past, but rescuing the future doesn’t need a Hulk!” Zara snaps out of her anxiety bubble and decides to stand up and rescue herself, her family, community, and the world one step at a time.

She holds Hana’s hand and makes her feel secure and confident. Hana is now ready to face the bully and report her to the principal. Zara gets word that there is going to be a march against gun violence this weekend. She and Allie had plans to go to the movies, but she convinces Allie to go to the march with her instead. They make #guncontrolnow posters to participate. Zara and her friends work on raising awareness about the Syrian crisis and how the Quran condemns taking the life of an innocent person. They set up a fundraiser to benefit the Syrian people. Zara is now working as a full time superhero, thanks to this Quranic gem.

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