Comfortably Muslim

December 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment

Comfortably Muslim
We are only human, sometimes we give into the pressures of society and other times we do things just to please the Nafs. Why do we give in? So someone else can approve of our actions, even if it be our own Nafs and give us some form of appreciation. Appreciation that no doubt feels good. Appreciation is no doubt necessary for a common person to feel motivated to do things and have that “feel good” moment. But I question, do we tend to bask too long in this “feel good” moment? I think, yes!
Islam is often emphasized as a religion of peace and brotherhood which no doubt it is. But at the same time, it stresses that we follow its injunctions properly so as to enter the fold of Islam completely as mentioned in the Quran. I find that many of us cling on to the part of brotherly ties and goodness way too tightly so that 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 in the community?
Is there something wrong with this picture? I think you will agree, there is: we aren’t worrying about Allah. Yes, we really don’t worry about Allah’s approval and think “Allah samjh jaey ga” (Allah will understand) and 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 find that at times we become more complacent in matters of our Deen than what can be deemed healthy for our emaan.
This complacency results in us losing our self-esteem and confidence as Muslims because of the negative association we have with everything that has to do with the word “Islam”; Islamic teachings: my parents don’t agree to them. Islamic dress code: I will be ridiculed. An Islamic lifestyle: Uff! It’s too difficult to adopt, I’d rather live comfortably the way the society expects me to. It is no surprise then that we slowly edge away from the actions that boost our emaan because we start convincing ourselves unconsciously that our Deen is not good enough; that my being a Muslim is hazardous to my being able to function as “normal” human being. When 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 chains that are blessed by the society.
While many elements are busy convincing the masses (Muslims included) that Muslim women are oppressed and Muslim men are complete savages, I do strongly feel that we as Muslims are buying the stories they concoct about us. While every time some negative image is portrayed, we tell ourselves: “Islam is the religion of peace”. Inwardly, we feel afraid as if someone is pointing at us and our confidence to openly proclaim our identity continues to vane.
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 in search of some form of appreciation or comfort from the people. I don’t mean to say that we break ties and turn into hermits but what I do mean is let’s ask Allah to make Him our number one priority. Ask Him to fill our heart with concern to uplift the plight of this Ummah and give us the strength and confidence to carry our identity proudly like the companions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and some contemporary examples we find in the form of scholars and some exemplary but average Muslimeen. And lastly, pray that when someone calls us strange and outdated, we always remember the hadith that says:

Narrated by Abu Hurayrah (ra) who said: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers.”
(Sahih Muslim #145)
and not for one second feel ashamed or hurt. Ameen.

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