In the placidity of the night, enveloped in the manifest darkness of midnight. Amidst crickets speaking and the gentle snores of sleepers, the sincere Believer stands, heart in hand, blinded by tears, conversing with their Lord.
“Ya Rabb, Ya Mujib, O my Lord, the One who responds, I call upon You and only You. Ya Mujib, please make it easy for me to wear the hijab, so that I may attain your pleasure and gain nearness to You, give me the strength to adorn the hijab, to remain consistent, and to honor it. And forgive me when I transgress, Ya Rabb ul Alamin.”
A dua, I believe to be quite common. Perhaps the arrangement of words differs, or perhaps in a different language. Nonetheless, the essence of it remains intact. How many of us in our solitude, somnolent, desperately supplicated for strength, for mercy, for understanding? I think most people would answer, they have.
I appeal to all my Muslim brothers and sisters who have a tendency to look down upon others. To those who leave hateful, discouraging comments on Instagram, youtube, facebook, etc, I urge you to stop. Right now, after you pray your salah, do not get off from that prayer mat. Just for a few moments and search within your own heart. Try to recall those moments when you made a similar dua. Be honest with yourself, no matter how the world sees you, despite your own denials, Allah is Al-Basir, the All-seeing, so at the very least be honest with yourself. I guarantee if you make this a habit and reflect often, your egotism will disintegrate.
It requires little effort to look at a sister, and criticize her hijab, or come across a brother without a beard and form assumptions. We MUST humble ourselves. This is a reminder to tread carefully in our speech lest we should discourage someone from the straight path or incur Allah ta’ala’s wrath. The tendency to judge and slander has become incredibly frequent within our community. As an ummah, we should be alarmed, as this is very far from the teachings of Islam. We need to take a step back and reflect upon ourselves.
We claim to be upon the Sunnah and testify to our love for the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Let me remind you, the Sunnah is not simply eating with your hands, it is not only drinking water while sitting down or adding a few extra steps to your wudu, nor is it only wearing new clothes on Eid. While these are all beautiful deeds full of rewards (in sha Allah), the Sunnah of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (PBUH), is so much more profound. The Sunnah is kindness and gentleness, it is soft and merciful, it is humbleness and humility, it is brotherhood and family, it is love.
If the Islam and Sunnah you follow, is teaching you opposing values, then you are not following Islam. The Sunnah of imparting sincere advice and loving one another is receding into oblivion and must be revived. So the next time you choose to “advise” someone on their sins, I implore you to keep in mind the following points:
Check your intentions
The Arabic word for advice is Nasihah. Nasihah can be translated to mean, sincerity or sincere advice. When you feel the urge to “guide” your brother or sister, ask yourself if your intentions are pure. Are you compelled by a sense of brotherhood or by your pride? Your intentions must be to seek the pleasure of Allah ta’ala and nothing less than that. Offering nasihah should be an act that strengthens the bond that is supposed to exist between believers. You give nasihah out of love, so that you may ease their path to Jannah. Remember the words of the Prophet (PBUH):
If the reasons behind your decision to give nasihah and your plan of execution to impart this nasihah are NOT how you would prefer someone else to treat you, then there needs to be a pause. If your intentions are anything less than seeking the pleasure of Allah, then take a step back.
In Public or In secret?
“A believer covers up and gives nasihah, whereas an evildoer exposes and humiliates.” – Fudayl ibn Ayadh
Once you have purified your intentions and concluded yourself to be a sincere advisor, contemplate on how you plan to carry out of your nasihah. Shedding light on someone’s sin in public is not sincere nasihah. It is scolding and slander. Advising in private will assure the one on the receiving end, that your intentions are not malicious, only honorable. That you are not concerned with demeaning them or sullying their image. After you have a made apparent to them the error of their ways, your duties are complete. Whether they choose to take heed to your advice or not, is solely on them. Your next step is to keep them in your duas.
Graciousness and Gentleness in Speech
Your interactions with others must be soft and tender, especially in cases of nasihah. When addressing each other there should be compassion and love. Our beloved Prophet (PBUH) taught us nothing less than this. There are innumerable ahadith attesting to his sweet-natured temperament. He was abused at the hands of the disbelievers and still, he displayed stunning tolerance and respect towards them. So as believers, how dare we have the audacity to be injurious in our speech to one another? Bear in mind that nasihah does not include making promises of eternal damnation. It is not within the rights of humans to cast such judgments. Rather only stress the mercy of Allah.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: The Compassionate One has mercy on those who are merciful. If you show mercy to those who are on the earth, He Who is in the heaven will show mercy to you.
“The more you look into and understand yourself, the less judgmental you become towards others.” ― Tariq Ramadan
Never give nasihah, without scrutinizing your own self first. Search in the depths of your soul. In order for you to recollect all your sins, and vices that the world is oblivious to. There is not a human free from transgression. Remind yourself of your own humanness. Recall every moment, every dua, and all the battles with yourself. Whatever point you are at in your faith do not lose sight of the path that brought you there. Humble yourself before you endeavor to humiliate another soul.
Outer garments do not necessarily allude to piety. Nor does “incorrect” hijab or lack of hijab or a lack of beard reflect faithlessness. I recognize that hijab and modesty is a command of Allah and I am not taking away from the magnitude and importance of following these commands. What I am saying is this, Humans are very idiosyncratic beings, every journey to Allah and every relationship with Allah is infinitely different. We are ALL tarnished with flaws, it is only due to the Mercy of Allah that our flaws and sins are veiled. We will be held accountable for every word uttered. So make certain all your communication comprises of only amiability and encouragement. Our obligations constitute only of forbearance and mercy towards one another. Allah ta’ala has trusted us with a copious amount of rights. However, those rights don’t include passing verdicts on another’s character.