We as human beings are most likely to give into the pressures of the society and perform deeds just to please the Nafs. Why do we give in? So that someone else can approve of our actions? Our own Nafs can give us some form of appreciation? Surely appreciation makes one feel excellent about oneself and feel motivated to do things with a robust energy. But the question is: Do we tend to bask too long in this “feel good” moment? And the answer comes in positive from within!
Islam is often emphasized as a religion of peace and brotherhood (which surely it is), whereas it also obligates that we follow its injunctions properly in order to enter the fold of Islam completely – as mentioned in the Quran. However many of us cling on to the part of maintaining brotherly ties and goodness way too tightly; when it comes to take a stance and do what is right, we find ourselves agonizing over the reactions of the people: What will my aunt’s cousin say? How will I show my face to the community?
Very conveniently we assume that Allah (swt) will understand and so we beneficially choose a path that is more compliant with the norms of society and our family’s expectations.
Well, do we see something wrong in this picture? Yes, of course! We aren’t worrying about Allah (swt). We really don’t care about Allah’s (swt) approval. Very conveniently we assume that Allah (swt) will understand and so we beneficially choose a path that is more compliant with the norms of society and our family’s expectations. Everything else seems to take precedence over our obligations as Muslims and we become more complacent in the matters of our Deen rather than pondering as to what can be healthy for our Iman.
This complacency results in a lower self-esteem and confidence as Muslims. There is a negative aspect to everything associated with the word “Islam”; Islamic teachings: my parents don’t agree with them. Islamic dress code: I will be ridiculed. An Islamic lifestyle: Oh! It’s too difficult to adopt; I’d rather live comfortably the way the society expects me to. Hence, we slowly edge away from the actions that boost our Iman .We start convincing ourselves unconsciously that our Deen is not good enough and as a Muslim, we are unable to function as a “normal” human being. However, in reality, this is far from the truth. Islam enables us to move beyond the cultural hang up and petty disputes that come with being a “normal” human being. It liberates us from the chains of ignorance gifted to us by our society.
While many elements convince the masses (Muslims included) that Muslim women are oppressed and Muslim men are complete savages, I strongly feel that we as Muslims are buying the stories they concoct about us. Whenever some negative image is portrayed about us, we tell ourselves: “Islam is the religion of peace”. Inwardly, we feel afraid as if someone is pointing at us and our confidence abandons us to openly proclaim our identity.
when someone calls us strange and outdated, instead of feeling ashamed or hurt; ask Allah (swt) to give you the ability to enlighten others with the spark of your Deen and prove yourself to be a blessing in disguise for the humanity
It is true that being the “strange” one in the crowd can be intimidating and we want someone to relate to us. But let’s not become complacent as Muslims, searching for some form of appreciation or comfort from the people. It does not mean that we break ties and turn into hermits. Rather ask Allah (swt) to make His Ordinance our foremost priority. Ask Him to fill our heart with the concern to uplift the plight of this Ummah and give us the strength and confidence to carry out our identity proudly like the companions of the Holy Prophet (sa) and some contemporary examples we find in the form of scholars and some legendary Muslimeen. Lastly, when someone calls us strange and outdated, instead of feeling ashamed or hurt; ask Allah (swt) to give you the ability to enlighten others with the spark of your Deen and prove yourself to be a blessing in disguise for the humanity. May Allah (swt) accept our prayers. Ameen.
In the end, I would like to quote this Hadeeth:
Narrated Abu Hurairah (ra), the Messenger of Allah (swt) said: “Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers.” (Muslim)