Just a few days before Ramadhan, I received a comment regarding certain practices of a certain someone that I had mentioned briefly on my blog before. The contents of the comments got me really down for several days and thus prompted me to write this.
To be honest, it was not the comment per se, but rather, the way the commenter (he or she did not leave a name, how typical) phrased his/her words and the tone that I picked up from his/her words. Ever watched a random YouTube video that had to do with Islam and then scrolled down to see the comments? Well, this was a perfect carbon-copy of what you would see. I would call these commenters the YouTube-scholars.
Here’s an example of such:
Rest assured the comment I had received was not as extreme (nor has as many spelling and grammatical errors) as those above, although the infamous words of “bid’ah”, “salafi”, “wahhabi” and “sufi” did appear.
My main concern is not about what these terms mean and about classifying groups of people and then deciding who gets entry into Jannah and who doesn’t. My concern is the way we treat matters of khilaf and people who hold a different opinion from us.
As always, and I will never, ever fail to bring this up – WWRD? What Would Rasulullah SAW Do?
Has he ever put anyone to shame even if he saw them doing something wrong? Would he threaten people about their entry into Jannah just to get his point across? Did he ever hurt anyone’s feelings while trying to make them see the light and to be on the straight path?
In a book by Muhammad Ali al-Hashimi, he writes:
“Interactions between individuals in an Islamic society that is founded on brotherhood of faith are not based on an attitude of watching for and counting mistakes, or the desire for revenge, or defensiveness; they are based on brotherhood, overlooking errors and tolerance. This is what Islam and the brotherhood of faith call for.
Allah SWT says:
Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal. Repel [Evil] with what is better: then will he between whom and you was hatred becomes as it were your friend and intimate! - Surah Fussilat 41:34
If evil is always repaid with evil, the result will be intense hatred and bitter grudges. But if evil is repaid with good, it will extinguish the fires of hatred, calm people down, and remove their grudges.
The Prophet SAW was a unique example of this sublime attitude. When the tribe of Daws rebelled an refused to follow the commands of Allah SWT and His Messenger, At-Tufayl ibn ‘Amr ad-Dawsi came to the Prophet SAW and said, “Daws have rebelled, so pray to Allah against them.” The Prophet faced the qiblah and raised his hands, and the people said, “They are finished!” But the Prophet SAW, who was merciful and tolerant, and did not want to see the punishment of Allah befall people, prayed for Daws, saying,
“O Allah, guide Daws and bring them here: O Allah, guide Daws and bring them here; O Allah, guide Daws and bring them here.”
It is all about adab and about doing dakwah properly. Going on YouTube or blogs and posting questions and then expecting the right answers is definitely NOT the way. Am I discouraging discussion? No. What I’m saying is, get your answers from the right sources. There are countless books written on issues that you want answers for, countless scholars in your mosque or elsewhere that you could physically meet up with and ask and have your doubts cleared. Hiding behind an anonymous identity online does no good for your credibility or does anything to show your sincerity in seeking for the Truth.
The message of Islam is one, but the ways to live it are many.
Do you think that matters of khilaf are present without reason? Definitely not. Khilaf in issues (excluding the Oneness of God, Tawheed) are a blessing. It provides avenue for ijtihad, and the numerous opinions of Ulama’ helps when one finds a situation too tricky at times. Again, I’m not saying that Islam is self-serving and that you only take and obey what you want and discard the rest. My point is that there is wisdom in all these. At the bottom of it all, keep your goal in sight.
In the words of Shaykh Khalil Moore (or to be precise, a line from the poem that his Spiritual Comrade, Harun Sellars wrote) said “Don’t get caught in the name and lose the aim”. Sunni, Shia, Sufi, Wahhabi; the list is endless. But the aim is one. We are all to return to Him, the Lord of the Worlds, and only then will we know if we will be in bliss or utter despair.
Surah Luqman 31:15
“In the End the return of you all is to Me, and I will tell you the truth (and meaning) of all that you used to do.”
The problem with us is that when we see a ‘mistake’ done by a fellow Muslim or a scholar for that matter, we rule that person out as being a ‘believer’. It is as if they have to be maqsum before we would ever lay eyes on them. A mistake does not negate all the good things this person has done. Always have a good opinion of everyone, because only Allah SWT knows the station and the closeness this person is to Allah SWT, while we are aware of our distance from Him.
We also need to be aware of mistreating people because they might be one of those referred to in this Hadith Qudsi:
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Allah (mighty and sublime be He) said: Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him.”
Surely being at war with Allah Most High is the worst state to be in. Let’s not subject ourselves to that possibility even.
The root of all these is being suspicious of another’s belief or iman. In Surah al-Hujurat 49:12, Allah SWT says,
“O you who believe! Avoid suspicion as much as possible: for suspicion is some cases is a sin..”
Muhammad Ali al-Hashimi also wrote:
“The Prophet SAW issued a stern warning against suspicion and speculation that has no foundation in reality. He said:
“Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the falsest of speech.”
-Bukhari & Muslim, See Sharh as-Sunnah, 13/109, Kitaab al-Birr was-Silah, baab maa laa yajooz min az-zann. “
Read widely, ask around, meet people, widen your horizon.
The one important thing I tell myself when I see someone doing something I don’t understand is this: “He/She must have read something somewhere or know of something that I never came across before.”
Point the finger inwards, not outwards. People are adverse to things they do not understand. Does this mean everything unfamiliar is wrong? No. It just means we are still lacking in knowledge, that there’s much more out there to learn and to read and to find out. Just because you don’t understand something does not make it wrong. How many books have you memorized (no, not just read) or written? How many years of your life have you dedicated to learning the secrets of this world and this deen? How qualified are you to decide who is right and who is wrong? And the mother of all accusations; who deserves Jannah and who doesn’t?
Instead of spending your time blaming and accusing others, why not spend it on removing diseases of the heart like pride, jealousy, greed and envy? Why not spend it by building new bonds and repairing relationships? Aren’t we all going the same way? Isn’t our destination the same? Why push people off the boat when you can help them in and row together?
Please, in the light of it being Ramadhan, lets stop this once and for all. If ever you see a fellow Muslim doing something you do not understand, attempt to understand first before imposing your opinion on him. Keep that smile on your face, your finger in your pocket and a good opinion in your heart always. May Allah forgive me if I have said something wrong. Surely, all good comes from Him and any mistake is from me and my lack of knowledge and adab. I apologise if I had offended anyone. There is much for me to learn and if there is anything I should know, you can leave a comment or email me directly.
Wa billahi taufiq wal hidayah, Assalammualaikum Warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
|Written by: AmeeraOccupation: Student