Bismillah Hir Rahman Ir Raheem
Peace and blessings be upon you all
“Everyone, take a step back! There’s a peculiar state of events happening. Who’s going to save us?! Well, think no longer! Make way for the Haram Brigade; the rescue team that demands perfection in faith and condemns anything and everything less! Hear their slogans rumble in your eardrums, ‘Haram! Haram! Haram!'”
This wouldn’t be a pleasant sight, don’t you think? Achieving perfection or even a bit of improvement in one’s faith or Imaan is a difficult challenge and usually a lifelong struggle. One of the reasons for this is that there is always a group of Muslims around us who condemn our small efforts as ‘not good enough’ while considering themselves better, whereas arrogance is a terrible sin. We may be a victim of such Muslims, or one of these Muslims.
Let’s see what Azra Rahman has to say about this:
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Imagine this scenario: a person; young, old, any age imaginable; starts his/her journey back to Deen. Now, as would happen with a newbie in any arena of life, they would start by taking small steps. Maybe the girl would begin with starting to cover her head lightly. The boy might start by offering Salah once a day.
What happens next?
Enter the Haram Brigade!
What is the Haram Brigade you ask?
It is an organization which actively seeks to push the newly practicing Muslims back into ignorance, sometimes into an even worse state than they were in.
How, you ask?
‘Astaghfirullah the hypocrisy! Why do you offer even one Salah if you don’t intend to offer the rest! Offer all five or don’t offer them at all!’
‘What’s the use of hijab if you don’t wear an abaya with it? Just take it off if you don’t intend to follow the proper norms! You’ll go into Jahannam I tell you! Jahannam!’
If this sounds familiar…dear person reading this, I feel you.
If this sounds alien to your ears…the blessed person reading this, I envy you…but only slightly.
All jokes apart, this is quite a simmering issue in our community, where we tend to come down so hard on people who have just begun their journey towards Faith that they leave faster than they had arrived.
Imagine people, what are we doing?
Literally telling someone to stop praying even that one imperfect Salah that might lead to many more perfect ones in the future?
Pushing someone to take off their hijab (men and women both)?
Yes, ignorant minds…both are required to conceal their awrah.
Are you wary of your words when you speak to them in a way that might be too harsh for their renewed Imaan?
What if they actually stop their journey? Would you then take up the responsibility of turning them away? Or would you, again on your moral horse, declare that you always knew that ‘they didn’t have it in them’.
We profess to follow the life and teachings of Our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) but refuse to emulate his personality in our personalities. He was a Mercy to Mankind. Why can’t we just be a source of mercy and encouragement to the people we meet?
I realize that in the end, we just want the best for our brothers and sisters in Deen. Maybe the realization that lives are so unpredictable, make some of us harsher than the others. Or maybe we have just reached a point ourselves, where we feel satisfied spiritually and want others to feel it so.
But, but, but…you took 15, 20, maybe 30 years to reach that stage. How do you expect someone to become perfect within days?
Or maybe you did make leaps and bounds of progress in merely a few days, but how do you expect everyone to have the same journey? The same level of faith as yours? Or even better?
Trust me, I was also from the Haram Brigade once.
It took me quite a lot of hard work to undo the prejudice, learn and unlearn, and practice seeing people as flawed humans as myself, not to mention the constant reminder of my own journey, to make another journey towards surrendering that membership.
I had to make efforts to remember all those times that people had actually pushed me away with forceful comments, snide remarks, or downright declarations on the uselessness of whatever little efforts I was taking.
Do you know where I ended up after that?
With people with no knowledge of Deen. The people who couldn’t guide me towards betterment but support me and sympathize with me because they didn’t know any better. Not their fault, really!
Consequently, did those Brigade people realize what they had done? And maybe what they might still be doing to other people like myself?
I doubt it.
To revamp myself into becoming someone less judgmental, more accepting and trying to be encouraging about the do’s and subtly guiding away from the don’ts, is a work still in progress.
To hear young people say ‘It is too hard! I can’t do it!’ breaks my heart into pieces. So, I tell them to not give up. And that I am proud of them.
If you are also among them, I say to you as well…
“Don’t give up. I am proud of you without even knowing you.“
Does that not make you special?
I also say to you, that the people who are piling their own narrative, their own expectations on you, are not your enemy. They do want the best for you. They want you to excel and that is why they are harsh many a times. And maybe, that is the only way they know to communicate. If they can’t be understanding, you be that person who presents the best of mannerism to even the hardest of people.
Of course, it’s a tough path to take my dears…but so so worth it! Trust me!
Maybe this is a test from your Creator. You pass it, and you will be blessed beyond your expectations.
Maybe this is a boon in disguise… to make you the person you are set to become.
Maybe…just maybe…it is to give you that experience needed so that when someone like yourself needs you, you can be encouraging and inspiring rather than being difficult.
Don’t give up…you are capable of this and much more.
Find someone who will guide you well, to talk to. It always helps.
Read good translations of the Qur’an and the Seerat-un-Nabi. They will prove to be the guiding lights you never knew you needed. My personal favorites are ‘English translations of the Qur’an’ by ‘Muhammad Farooq-i-Azam Malik’.
For studying the life of Our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), I found ‘Sealed Nectar’ by ‘Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri’ and ‘Muhammad’ by ‘Martin Lings’ to be excellent reads.
Try them. You will not regret it.
It takes time and patience, first with yourself, and then with others, to help even your own self.
Be consistent, always willing and trying to take yourself to the next level and make Dua. Lots and lots of Dua.
The One is whose hands are the heavens and the earth and everything in between and beyond…the one who holds our lives and our destinies…the Creator of all things seen and unseen…the One who is the Most Merciful, the Beneficent…the Turner of hearts…Al-Fattah…Ar-Razzaq…the One by whose Mercy you have been guided back to Him…do you not think he loves you?
If He didn’t, why would He guide you?
He is not in want of our worship, but we are always in want of His favors.
The fact that He has showed you the way back, is a testimony to how much He loves you. What then makes you think that you are not special?
Continue on the path that you have started upon. For Him.
Because in the end, all that will matter, is you and Him.”
And to the Haram Brigade I say:
“I was one of you, once. If a person like me can undergo a change, anyone can. Make people feel encouraged to follow the Deen. Some of the best in Faith are the ones with the worst past. What then makes you think that this person in front of you will fail?“
Remember dear people, Ego is the easiest fire to willingly burn in.
Don’t let it consume you.”
“This day let no reproach be (cast) on you: Allah will forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!Surah Yusuf, Verse 92
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*Azra Rahman is a novice blogger, a proud wife and an out-of-depth mom of two. She has recently found her knack of dealing with almost everything sour in life with a dash of humor. Check out her writings on the blogs she maintains. Apart from writing, she enjoys cooking and creating new dishes, baking and making desserts, arts and craft with her kids, drawing and painting, and reading lots and lots of books. Traveling and until recently, hiking have also found their way into her list of favorite things. Yet, the most favorite of the lot remain a hot cup of chai and discussions with her hubby, Mr. A.
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