The letter I never sent to Mister Rogers!

The wooden door would open, and he would come in, smiling.

Singing, he would put his jacket away and put a sweater on--still smiling.

Every day my little brother and I would watch this routine. He was like a grandfather. He would talk to us, and we would go visit places.

He was like a kind friend. To two little boys (5 and 6 years old) who knew little English and were outcasts in the schoolyard, he always offered a comforting smile.

I remember rooting for Mister Rogers during a TV popularity contest between him and Big Bird (I was so sad when Big Bird won).

As I grew older and stopped watching his show, I always wondered how he was.

To me, he seemed like an example of what a good Muslim should be. He was kind, calm, principled, and never hesitated to smile.

So for the longest time, I wanted to write to him about Islam. I actually sat down and wrote a couple of letters. But I never sent them. Something would always come up. I would procrastinate. A close friend even gave me, as a gift, a book entitled "Dear Mister Rogers: Does it ever Rain in Your Neighborhood?"

The book came with a self-addressed envelope. All it needed was my letter. But I still never got around to sending him one.

Dozens of letters sent to him and his responses that were in this book. Questions like "Are You Real? " and expressions of grief for divorce and death were answered in such a caring and sincere way that it confirmed in me the belief that he was a good man. He was someone who was naturally connected with God.

A little boy's mother had written to him about his ill Ga-Ga (what the little boy called his grandmother) dying. The boy was upset because he felt that he hadn't prayed hard enough for her to survive her illness.

Mister Rogers gave a response that showed how much attention he gave to this.

... Most people--adults and children--who have lost a loved one often feel guilty, helpless and angry. That's only natural. Even if we have a sense that person who died is in the loving hands of God, there still can be painful and angry feelings because we miss that person.

This is a portion of the letter dated August 25, 2001 that I wrote (but didn't send)

-----------------

Dear Mr. Rogers

I love you. I have a special place in my heart for you. I don't wan to proselytize but I feel that it is my duty as a human being who cares about another to give a message that may be not only very beneficial but may also bring a person closer to God.

Very Sincerely,

P.S. .. please enclosed find a copy of the Quran...

------------------

I was looking at this letter a few days before he died. I decided to make a few changes before I sent it to him.

He died on February 26th.

Comments

Great Article! I have always admireed Mr. Rogers and so did my sister who is blind. She and I used to watch his show alot. she is very sadden about his death. Mr. Rogers and the Neighborhood of MakeBelieve has been her favorite since she was 5years old. He has been role model for many years.

Location

columbia, sc

As-Salaam-Alaikum:My dear brothers, and sisters at sound vision, the information that you have on your site is so vital, and supportive to those of us who need this. I was saddened upon hearing the news of Mr Rogers death.(from Allah we come, to Allah is our return) It just made me more aware that I need to be more aware of those who are still living, and how I should not procrastinate about telling those who are still alive, how much I appreciate them.There are people I have known, (who are no longer in this life) and I did not get the chance to tell them anything because I went about daily life as if other things were so much more important(which a lot of them were not) instead of taking a moment to either phone that person, or write them a letter. I thank Allah that now I pay more attention to what is important, (either when I visit your website, and read what other Muslims have to say about life matters, or coming in physical contact on a daily basis) and who is important to me. Al-Hamdillah, for Soundvison, and other Islamic sites like yours. Mya Allah continue to bless you, I pray that I am able to aid you in your efforts.Wa-Alaikum-Salaam.

Location

Yonkers, New York

Great article! Just proves that we Muslims can learn and improve ourselves so much from other non-muslims who are excellent role models. May Allah reward him for his work.

Location

IN

I remember watching Mr. Rogers as a child. Although my mother told us not to take seriously the make-believe stories he would tell, she still let us watch the show because it was one of the few decent programs for children. Mr. Rogers was a nice guy! He would have made a good Muslim!

Location

Atlanta, GA

As a child growing up in the late 60s Mr Rogers and his group, we also had Mr Dress-up in Canada, were the one constant in our lives. Though his passing saddens me (my son watches him in reruns...now my daughter who is an infant will most likely miss out) what I fnd saddens me most is this is a passing of an entire tv era. Gone are the days we could let out kids watch whatever they want. Even the children's channels that we find today have questionable content...even in toddler shows! Insha'Allah we will be able to find someone like Mr Rogers for the future generations!

Location

London

the letter I read concering Mr. Rogers is how I felt, and I know that many people feel the same way, if they decided to write a letter or not. My muslim son watched him as well, everyday he was on. I saw Goodness in this man, even though his puppets were not black, and his land was based on fanticies, make believe, he did deal with real issues. It was a peaceful program. I will miss the thought he is no longer on this earth, He lived and completed his misson from Allah. May he be pleased with his soul.

Location

New Jersey

I couldn't have said it any better. As an adult I often felt that Mr. Rogers was talking directly to me. He reached so many people.Thank you.

Location

Madison, WI

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