The biweekly posts don’t seem to be working. My last post was a month ago. I’m sorry, I really am… Uni is taking over my life BUT I’m going to try a little harder to be more consistent.
Today’s post is going to be quite short. A couple of weeks ago, while having a conversation with my housemate in the kitchen, my prayer alarm rang on my phone. I excused myself and left to go observe my prayer. When I was done with my prayer, I went back down to the kitchen. When she saw me come down, she called me a ‘good Muslim’. She compared me to her friend who was not a ‘good Muslim’. Her friend, who is a Muslim, doesn’t wear the hijab like I do and she does not excuse herself to go pray as soon as the prayer is called.
My first instinct was to say ‘thank you’ or the usual ‘I try y’know’, but then I thought about it again. Yes, I do wear the hijab and I do try to pray as soon as the prayer has been called but these are only two out of several obligations that we have as Muslims. So, how can one say that I am a ‘good Muslim’ based on two things that they have seen me do? And how can it be implied that a person who doesn’t do these two things is a ‘bad Muslim’? Having thought about this, I started to tell my housemate that she shouldn’t brand people solely based on the acts that her apparent to her. We do not know what happens behind closed doors.
There are people who might not appear to be the best of Muslims but their struggle to gain the love of their Maker is far greater than those who may appear to be the best of Muslims- Mufti Menk.
Later that evening, I reflected on my conversation with my housemate. I realised that my housemate only did what we all tend to do. We judge. There is a lot of shaming in the Muslim community these days. I guess my friend could be excused as she isn’t a Muslim. Not that non-Muslims should be judging. But what excuse do we have, as Muslims? Shouldn’t we know better? The world already makes it difficult to practice our religion, why do we make it harder for ourselves? Who are we to decide who a ‘good Muslim’ is? Who are we to brand someone a ‘bad Muslim?’ What right do anyone of us have?
Several Muslims have told me that they feel isolated from their Islamic communities because of the way they have been treated by other ‘religious’ people in the community. These acts are not necessarily verbal or physical. Sometimes, all they have to do is look at you. You know that look- the one that makes you want to put your head down in shame. The one that makes you avoid going to the masjid. I think it is important that we realise how our actions affect other people. There is a huge difference between encouraging and judging. Wearing your hijab and staring down at someone for not wearing it is not encouragement. Wearing your hijab and talking down to a person for not wearing it is not encouragement. Wearing your hijab and rolling your eyes in disgust, is not encouragement. Deciding to not acknowledge a person because they are not on the same ‘level’ as you, is not encouragement. It does not make you a ‘good Muslim’. In fact, I think it says otherwise. We each have our own struggles. It might be a good idea to focus on yours rather than pointing out everyone else’s.
Yes, my housemate’s friend does not cover. But her relationship with Allah is between herself and Allah. It’s not my housemate’s place to judge and it most definitely isn’t mine. We either encourage each other or we mind our business.
Remember that actions are always judged according to intentions. What are your intentions?
Till next time