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Lessons from Ignorance: Part 2

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“Why don’t you come to the masjid with me, we’ll pray with everyone there and come back,” said brother Waseem.

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“Er, but I don’t know how to pray,” I said.

“That’s ok, just follow along with everyone else.”

I was 15 at that time, and prayer was not something I had done regularly to the point that I had it down pat. Here and there, I did it because my understanding was prayer was just an optional thing Muslims could do if they wanted to.

Salaah? Optional Thing?!

Yeah, optional.

So anyway, we arrived at the masjid, prayed (I didn’t really recite anything, just followed everyone else’s motions), and soon after, we started filing out of the masjid to the shoe area. As we were in the process of walking out, it happened.

My life changed forever.

There it was – a generic one-page double-sided masjid newsletter, printed in some generic green ink, as ghetto a publication as you can imagine.

I picked up it up and read it on the way home. Then I read it again. And again. And again. By the end of it, I was like, “Maaawwwwwmm! You have to teach me how to praaaay! And faast!”

The Super Secret Daw’ah Technique

For all of us I believe, there are critical junctures we can point to and say, yeah, that was a moment or period of time where I was pushed to the next level and there was no turning back. Converts / Reverts / Inverts (my new variation, bringing the fitrah out :) ) are perhaps better known for this because a spotlight is shone on them by the community due to the change being so obvious (goodbye jaahil ideology x, hello Islam!).

In my own life, one particular turning point, an immediate system overload, braincrashing, I-need-to-change-now moment, came because of that newsletter.

So what was in it?

You could say it was kinda like MTV Cribs, but for people living in Casa de Jahannum. It was very descriptive, speaking about the explosively high temperatures, the throat and gut-ripping foods available, the corroded and corrupted drinks of pus and sweat to sate one’s thirst, and the various forms of torture awaiting Hell’s residents. To say it was an eye-opener would be an understatement.

My immediate reaction upon reading the first page was, “Good thing I’m not doing anything that’ll land me in Hell, I’m one of the good guys ;) ”

Then I turned to the back page, and that’s when I freaked.

The article concluded by stating that if you don’t affirm the shahadah, and if you don’t pray five times daily, and if you don’t fast during Ramadan, and if you don’t pay zakaah, and if you don’t go on Hajj, you could expect to reside in Hell. Forever. Drinking pus and sweat. And burning. Did I mention forever?

My first thought? Take the shahadah now! The author was kind enough to transliterate it (I couldn’t read the Arabic), and so just to be safe, I took my shahadah a multiple times to make sure I had done it right. Then I asked my mother to teach me how to pray (I only wish the author would have added “on time” in the article, it was a few years before anyone told me about that), and for the first year ever, I fasted all 30 days of Ramadan (known to me then as Ramzan, and I knew nothing of moonfighting smackdowns, alhamdulillaah).

So the Super Secret Daw’ah Technique must be fear, right? Don’t scare the hell outta them – scare the hell into them!

Well, kinda, but not quite – the first person to use the Super Secret Daw’ah technique on me was good old Mom.

Makkah to Madinah

There were a lot of things Mom didn’t know and simply could not teach me about Islam. As I mentioned in the last article, my father was and is Christian, and I was prevented from attending Islamic Sunday school, so I missed out on amazing classes like “Aqeedah 101: Avoiding Non-Zabiha Meat”, “Urdabic 201: Shamelessly Mangle Urdu and Arabic Even When You Know Better”, and “Fiqh 401: The Importance of the Turbans, Topi’s, and Leather Socks.” :D

Important as those topics were (and seem to be even today), Mom taught me something even more important which I believe separated me from the rest of my peers.

What was that?

She taught me to have taqwa (God-consciousness) of Allah subhaana wa ta’aala by the age of five and she would read me the stories of the Prophets, their mission, and explain why so many people were destroyed (disbelief).

With these two together, she taught me to have Emaan in Allah subhaana wa ta’aala, to be aware of Him, to know that if I did good, He knew it and would reward and take care of me, and love me, and that if I did wrong, he would know that as well, and that I would be punished for it.

My understanding of halaal and haraam may have been off the mark for much of my childhood due to ignorance, but with what little I had, I believe I had what was most important of all – a positive relationship with my Creator.

If I ever wanted the latest Transformer toy (we’re talking Generation 1 here people, 1980s), despite my family’s financial status at the time (poor and broke), I’d pray for it, and I’d get it. If I was in trouble at school, I’d ask Allah subhaana wa ta’aala for help. My relationship with Allah subhaana wa ta’aala was based on a firm belief that if I asked, He would be there for me. I didn’t always get what I wanted, of course, but that didn’t change my belief in Him. Sometimes my parents didn’t give me what I wanted either – kids can’t always have what they want :D

It was because of this relationship with Allah subhaana wa ta’aala, because I wanted to please Him and make Him happy, that when I was presented for the first time in my life with this new idea that I wasn’t doing enough, I changed my practices to realign with my new understanding. I was ready for it, and no one had to force me into it. Over time, I learned more, and while the changes were not as instantaneous each time (eg dropping music and movies), I was able to overcome those and other challenges because of that closeness and relationship my mother had taught me to have with my Creator, alhamdulillaah.

Aisha (ra) was the one who basically said that if what the Muslims were first called to was leaving zina and alcohol, then the people would have basically said (in layman’s terms), forget you, are you crazy? But the daw’ah didn’t start that way – it started with issues of Eman, establishing belief in Allah subhaana wa ta’aala, and then, once people’s hearts were tied to the love, the fear, the hope, and the obedience to Allah subhaana wa ta’aala, then the verses forbidding or commanding this, that, and the other thing, the fiqh details, came about.

You ever get the feeling we sometimes put the cart before the horse these days?

From the Root to the Fruit

My mother had made it clear to me that she didn’t have detailed knowledge of what I would later come to know as the nuances of fiqh. She did, however, tell me that I should go out and learn more on my own. So knowing that I didn’t know anything, I took the practice of other Muslims throughout high school for granted – I was ignorant, and they went to Sunday School, so they probably knew better.

Then college happened, and the brothers there, may Allah subhaana wa ta’aala reward them, took an interest in me and spent time giving me books and teaching me various aspects of Islam that I had been unaware of (Hadeeth? What are hadeeth?).

Years later with a fresh perspective, I took a look at the Muslims around me and realized, y’know what, people didn’t really know or practice Islam as much as I thought they did. Sure, they knew some aspects of Islam like taking a siesta nap during the Friday prayer khutbah, getting decked out for Eid in the gaudiest of clothes, and debating the moonfighting issues tri-annually, yet something was definitely wrong.

People were not practicing Islam. Brothers were clean-shaven like girls, girls couldn’t meet the modesty standards set for men let alone themselves, pants were dragging below the ankles, everyone was flirting (at ISNA and MSA events), and I couldn’t tell if the people praying next to me at times were performing aerobics or just trying to start a new dance trend. And many Muslims from overseas were taking their newfound freedom from mom and dad as an opportunity to party, drink, and chase the opposite sex into the bedroom. And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all the student loans and mortgages Muslim students and families alike got themselves into.

Why couldn’t people just fear Allah subhaana wa ta’aala and not do these things? In many cases, it was ignorance, but in others, that was not the case, so what was going on?

As you may have noticed, for many “born” Muslims, Islam is not a belief in Allah subhaana wa ta’aala so much as it is a cultural thing with a set of optional dos and don’ts, and in many ways just more restrictive than other religions. The people probably the most baffled by this the most initially are converts / reverts.

Is it any wonder, when you consider what many of us are first taught about Islam? Islam is reading the Qur’aan all the way through once in Arabic and having a party (and never looking at it after that), or its a Friday sermon which we don’t understand the purpose of so we just go and space out, or its “Islam means peace” like the stuff we do is our form of yoga.

For many Muslims, it’s all very ritualistic and mechanical. In the last article, we mentioned trying to figure out where others are in knowledge and understanding before going forward and helping them – the mind. In this article, I’d like to offer one particular place to start diagnosing the problem – start with the person’s heart, with their eman, with their attachment to Allah subhaana wa ta’aala, and not with their external behaviors and mistakes which we can all see.

I’ve known of brothers who try coming to the masjid, and they don’t look like great representatives of Islam, but they’re taking their first step forward, and someone comes to them and says, “Don’t you know that silver necklaces for men is haraam! Astagfirillaah!” and then because of that bad experience, they don’t return.

Or a sister walks into the masjid, again, not representing Islam at all in her dress, and the establishment hijaabis go on an all-out red-alert shock-and-awe ballistic attack about not wearing a hijaab in the masjid, and she leaves with the impression that those sisters all look down their noses at her like she’s inferior.

I know of people who will spend hours debating and discussing fiqh issues. I know of uncles who practice just a bit who will go on and on during Ramadan and Dhul Hijjah about the Moonfighting issue, and I know of people whose first concern before all else is whether or not you eat zabiha meat before whether you pray five times daily. In some particularly disturbing cases, I’ve known of people to go clubbing, dating, drinking, and the whole nine yards, but God help you if those people found out you ate non-zabiha!

And this also extends to our daw’ah towards nonMuslims – go online and check out the debates between Muslims and nonMuslims – what’s discussed? Your religion oppresses women, your religion is fascism, your people are terrorists, and on and on. And us? We fall for it and spend a lot of time trying to convince people of the justice of Islamic Law in terms the West can understand.

I recall Shaykh Yasir Qadhi stating in one lecture that when he was in college, he had convinced one of his nonMuslim friends about the justice in the way women are treated in Islam, and this person acknowledged Shaykh Yasir was correct, but accepting this point did not change his belief to Islam.

I believe that once we collectively focus on our attention on first establishing a strong foundation and bond of Eman, of taqwa, of loyalty, of love and respect of Allah subhaana wa ta’aala in the hearts and minds of the Muslims, and likewise if we refocus our daw’ah efforts to nonMuslims on placing Eman and belief in Allah subhaana wa ta’aala, and give lower priority initially (but not forever) to fiqh, that’s when I believe we’ll start to see exponential rather than incremental change in all the external problems we see among ourselves. I believe that focusing on building strong Eman in the heart is the 80/20 rule of daw’ah – it’s the 20% of work you do that will drive 80% of your results (Pareto Rule).

Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki did a great job illustrating this point in his Hereafter series by contrasting the prohibition of alcohol during the time of the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallim vs the Prohibition of alcohol in America a little less than 100 years ago. When the ayaat were revealed forbidding alcohol in Madinah, the people immediately stopped, spit out, vomited, and cast out all the alcohol due to their Eman in Allah subhaana wa ta’aala. They were ready for anything. America, on the other hand, increased its consumption during the Prohibition Era. The law of the land and the penalties for violating the law were not enough of a deterrent to prevent bootlegging. In the end, America repealed Prohibition, the Muslims of that era did not.

What Can I Do?

We like to talk about what we know the most, and often, because fiqh issues are the hot button issues, we spend a lot of time reading up on some aspects of them and then discussing and debating it back and forth with people who are likely as ignorant or perhaps a bit more so as we are on the totality of the matter.

How about taking the time not just to study Aqeedah, but committing to mastering it and then spending your time talking about that with others instead. True, there’s plenty of room to debate there as well, but how often does that debate spill out to the general masses? Fiqh issues tend to go to everyone (think moonfighting) vs does yad mean hand or power (huh?).

If you run an MSA, how about committing to programs that focus on relationship-building with Allah subhaana wa ta’aala?

Got kids? While teaching them about how to pray and memorize Qur’aan, how about taking the time to talk to them about Allah subhaana wa ta’aala not just with the stick, but emphasizing a positive relationship in terms of the carrot, if you get my meaning? Or teaching them what they’re saying during salaah, and to really feel the conversation they are having with their Creator?

These are a few suggestions that came to my mind, but I’d really like to know from a lot of you, what have your experiences been in this, and what are different ways or contexts we can realign that focus back on Allah subhaana wa ta’aala?

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

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Siraaj is the Operations Director of MuslimMatters as well as its new lead web developer. He's spent nearly two decades working in dawah organizations, starting with his chapter MSA in Purdue University, and leading efforts with AlMaghrib Institute, MuslimMatters, and AlJumuah magazine. Somewhere in there, he finds time for his full-time profession as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. He holds a bachelor's in Computer Science from Purdue University and a Master's certificate from UC Berkeley. He's very married and has 5 wonderful children

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. SaqibSaab

    April 23, 2008 at 1:25 AM

    Two things:

    1. Focus on Emany Issues
    Like you said, remind one another about Paradise and Hellfire as much as possible. It takes time for them to accept it (and they may even reject it), but after a while it can soften the heart.

    Before I got into listening to lectures, my brother would play Awlaki whenever our family drove anywhere. I used to fall asleep and had trouble paying attention. After a while, I got hooked and next thing I know I’m addicted to listening to Islamic audio, all because my brother, jazaAllah khair, played The Hereafter and Lives Of The Prophets over and over, again and again. Alhumdulillah.

    2. About the Khoran Khatam Party

    Islam is reading the Qur’aan all the way through once in Arabic and having a party (and never looking at it after that)

    You made a good point about them, but in the process forgot some key critical elements. Firstly, it’s not finishing the Qur’an, but doing Khoran Khatam, better known as KHATAM-E-KHORAN. The makharij of the term is essential.

    Secondly, the party requires that you wear the finest kurta shalwar or shalwar kameez you’ve ever worn in your life as a kid. For boys, it’s preferable to wear Bonanza brand, over which a black vest with Ka’ba gold lining and dozens of tiny circular mirrors are present. I’m sure Imam Suhaib Webb knows what I’m talkin’ about. :P

    Looking forward to part 3…

  2. Asim

    April 23, 2008 at 1:28 AM

    Imam Suhaib’s Purification of the soul is an awesome supplement :P

    But anyway jak for this. Really insightful.

  3. Hassan

    April 23, 2008 at 10:00 AM

    I know it would be a personal question, and I would understand if you totally ignore this message and I would not repeat the question again. Your mother seems very nice muslimah, I am just curious what circumstances led her to marry a Christian man?

  4. Siraaj Muhammad

    April 23, 2008 at 11:53 AM

    I know it would be a personal question, and I would understand if you totally ignore this message and I would not repeat the question again. Your mother seems very nice muslimah, I am just curious what circumstances led her to marry a Christian man?

    Very interesting circumstances, but without getting too detailed, they fell in love in India when teenagers (dad 16, mom 17), and decided to marry 5 years later on their own. My grandfather (father’s side) may have had some influence here, as he kept all Muslim friends, really liked Islam, and could not make sense of Christianity (he was a highly ranked judge in India), and he often told my dad that he should stay with my mom and marry her. My mom told me my paternal grandfather would often talk with her about Islam when they were in India.

    Unfortunately, he passed away before I was born, and most likely without Islam.

    Siraaj

  5. AnonyMouse

    April 23, 2008 at 12:29 PM

    GREAT post, jazakAllahu khair! Awesome stuff… can’t wait for part 3!

  6. Shawna

    April 23, 2008 at 1:54 PM

    We actually suffer from this issue in my family (two members are non-practicing) and they are exposed to all sorts of food rulings they’re expected to uphold, and I think a reason they aren’t praying is because they don’t understand that there are rewards. All they ever seem to be told is don’t eat that, don’t wear that, don’t say that, and if you don’t pray you’ll go to hell, but somehow all the other stuff is rated as just as important as praying. For one person I know, the issue with prayer begins with wudu. If someone would have just told her pray, then once she did that, teach her about wudu, she would likely pray now. As it is, she refuses altogether. So frustrating–and all because the focus is in the wrong place. The relationship with Allah is its own reward. If only people were being shown how the mercy extends immediately. Don’t know where I’d be without that warm embrace. . .

  7. Faraz

    April 23, 2008 at 4:26 PM

    I think this approach is gaining traction in much of the Muslim world – calling people towards loving and fearing Allah, appreciating His Divine Attributes, and focusing on matters of the heart. People will get into the details when they’re ready, but too often I see people who begin their da’wah with delicate matters of ‘aqeedah that they themselves don’t understand properly. Arguing about the meaning “istawa” or, as you cited in your example, the meaning of “yad”, does little to strengthen the imaan a person has in his/her heart – it just confuses them even more.

    People often ask of the tablighi brothers in Canada, “why don’t you teach ‘aqeedah? how can you call people towards Allah without teaching the minhaj of so-and-so?” (the so-and-so being different every time). I think they realize, however, that most of us are a long way from appreciating those subtle differences – we’re still struggling to grasp the most basic fundamentals. When people get into the details before they are ready for them, they are usually overwhelmed anyway, and fail to grasp those concepts before falling into frustration and giving up.

    I think our culture in North America lends itself, however, to focusing on minutiae while losing the big picture. We all want to be perceived as intellectuals, and we sometimes look down at that simple and humble servant of Allah who has not studied the books of fiqh but has a deep-rooted, unshakeable faith. That old man we see in the mosque in India, who perhaps struggles with tajweed and has never heard of Shaikh so-and-so or attended the latest and greatest “deen intensive program”, is probably much better than any of us, but our hearts remain hard to the simplicity and conviction of his faith due to our intellectual bias.

    Good article, overall, masha-Allah.

  8. Pingback: Lessons From Ignorance Part Dos! « Browngurl’s Web Rant

  9. Shirien

    April 23, 2008 at 8:23 PM

    subhanallah, who knew how effective a masjid newsletter could be. A lot of times we do things and not know the fruits of our efforts. Yet, subhanallah It just goes to show you that if you do something sincerely, Allah will put barakah into your work and make you an avenue in which people are guided to the truth.

    May Allah put barakah in all our dawah. ameen.

  10. Faiez

    April 24, 2008 at 1:41 AM

    Dang Siraaj, this post was long as chutney.

    My comment: Give everything its due proportion. Strengthen Eman along with doses of basic Fiqh (what is needed to do ‘ibaadah). Eman needs to be strengthened, but it needs an outlet of physical ‘ibaadah to practice with, that is where the fiqh comes in.

    Good paste, I look foward to paste 3.

  11. Nirgaz

    April 24, 2008 at 9:29 AM

    Mash’Allah, Great article!
    You summed up my feeling on alot of these issues.
    I have always felt as a mother that if I encouraged a love of Allah in my children from a young age, in my stomach still even :), that even if there were kinks along the way that it would work it out because you can never underestimate a good foundation in eman. And central to that is a love of Allah.
    Besides lectures which I love to listen to as well, don’t underestimate Nasheeds, especially the impact they can have on youth(and us adults). Groups like Native Deen and 3ilm or artists such as Dawud, Zain, Yusuf Islam,Talib al-Habib, Sami Yusuf, etc.

  12. Siraaj Muhammad

    April 24, 2008 at 12:00 PM

    Shawna
    My own personal experience with gaining knowledge caused me to start talking fiqh – do this and do that – when I didn’t see people practicing. But that relationship and devotion has to be there, or its just meaningless motion and ritual.

    Faraz
    I think our brothers from Tableeghi Jamaat have done well in serving as a bridge to take brothers from non-practicing or very little practicing over to having that relationship. One reason I think they are successful is because they pull people away from dunya and really make people focus on their ibaadah and relationship with Allah subhaana wa ta’aala. It’s a good time for reflection and spiritual recalibration.

    Shirien
    Yes, it is amazing how one masjid newsletter can make such a huge difference – in fact, even with the small efforts we do, we never know who or how it will impact someone else. That person, whoever wrote that letter, will get the reward of what I’ve done and insha’Allah, more than that.

    Faiez
    How long is chutney? :) Yes, I agree with what you’re saying. I’m calling for more Eman type learning to go with the fiqh issues.

    Nirgaz
    The awesome thing about kids is that if you start them off with Qur’aan, then they love that and don’t even care about nasheeds and music, alhamdulillaah. Our kids love listening to the qur’aan because we only rarely put on nasheeds (if they have no music in them) and we don’t have them in front of television sets (we have no tv, in fact).

    But yeah, definitely, the love before the fear in my case was crucial. Not that there was no fear, but both sides were presented to me.

    Siraaj

  13. Jibran

    April 24, 2008 at 12:20 PM

    assalamualykum
    nice posting mA.
    Great advice to future/current parents
    assalamualykum

  14. Amy

    April 25, 2008 at 2:11 AM

    As-salaamu Alaikum

    MaashaaAllah!! That was really wonderful to read. Subhanallah, it was interesting, informative, encouraging, uplifting, and funny. Demonstrated a problem, offered a solution. I really love how you touched on the importance of a person’s friends gently instructing and guiding someone. Because if people start pushing anything then a person isn’t likely to want to accept it. Really, you told a great story, may Allah reward you immensely and grant you success in your da’wah, and success in the akhira.

    I’m a convert to Islam myself, and I have seen some people welcomed into the mosque by Muslims despite how they are dressed, and others who might never go back because just one person went super-righteous on them and told them they didn’t belong and weren’t welcome. Remember when a man urinated in the masjid of the Prophet (saws), and how can we act this way!?

    I also know that I wasn’t too keen on really practicing Islam even after I converted, especially that scarf part which I particularly loathed… but NOBODY pushed it on me. When I wore it they said I looked good and they praised me for “practicing” wearing it until I just kept it on. And never said anything rude about not wearing it, either.

    And I think that’s what it takes. Da’wah should be partly to inspire fear of Allah, but also hope in Allah’s Mercy, and at the same time really show a person how to love Allah, and that is their Eman.

    So jazakumallahu khairan for sharing your lessons. I pray that everyone who reads your post learns something that they can use in their own interactions with Muslims or non-Muslims who are waiting to convert, revert, or invert. ;-)
    Salaam
    -Amy

  15. S.S

    April 25, 2008 at 2:51 PM

    Assalamualykum

    You have a good point..

    But I have one question.. Was ur dad ever interested in learning about Islam ?

  16. Mezaan

    April 25, 2008 at 3:18 PM

    A well-written article. You good talents there bro, keep up the writing.

    On the same note, I see similar experience faced by a step-niece. Unfortunately, I see her struggling everyday, and as I write this, it’s not looking too good. But I have faith, and inshallah something “inspiring” comes along her path, just as you faced with a simple “newsletter”. Only Allah knows and decides when the heart turns towards his path. Until then, we should keep believers and “potential believers” in mind, and in our prayers. Too much time is lost damning or confusing people and not asking Allah to guide them, and relieve them of Iblis and his whispers.

  17. anjum

    April 25, 2008 at 9:18 PM

    You said earlier that your grandfather persuaded your dad to marry your mom. Just out of curiosity, is your dad still faithful to your mom?

  18. Ammar

    April 26, 2008 at 12:02 AM

    Asalamu Alikum,

    Its a very well written article masha’llah, and I hope more people (including me) start to think along similar lines. Its not that the “other” issues aren’t important, its simply that they’ll follow when the relationship is strong enough.

    Waiting for the next part.

  19. Siraaj Muhammad

    April 26, 2008 at 2:59 PM

    Salaam alaykum all,

    Amy,
    Thanks for the compliments, and I’m glad to hear you’re in a really nice community, masha’Allah. A good Muslim community that properly supports converts / reverts / inverts is hard to find. My wife also became Muslim when she was 16, and she hates the talking and shoes everywhere too ;)

    S.S
    My dad knows more than enough about Islam and Muslims, but for now, he has no desire to change.

    Mezaan
    One thing I’d recommend, make that du’aa for her, but tie the camel too – don’t wait for a newsletter to fall into her hands, but be the one to give her the newsletter (or whatever you think can have an effect).

    Anjum
    They’re still married, and haven’t had those types of marriage issues (faithfulness). Most difficulties in our family was either from religious differences and family differences.

    Ammar
    Exactly, well put. I think people may not know fiqh in depth necessarily, but generally speaking they receive it out of balance in relation to building a relationship with Allah subhaana wa ta’aala. I believe starting with one (eman) and then bringing in the other part (the fiqh) is what will bring true and meaningful change.

    Wallaahu a’lam.

    Siraaj

  20. Anisa

    April 28, 2008 at 8:13 PM

    Asalaamu Alaaikum wa Rahmatullah
    TabarakALLAH. Very good article! A very important point about imaan, subhanAllah…
    Sometimes I focus all my energy on scolding my younger siblings on music being haraam, and other things…. that should come second after aqeedah, not that I should stop, but like you said we should give aqeedah a higher priority. Insha’Allah
    I agree about that part where you said Muslims literally get chased out of the masjid, subhanAllah. Muslims are quick to judge, once after salatul jumuah, I was sitting and listening to the announcements. This sister she got up, took of this covering she had around her (I’m not sure what to call it) and she had jeans on underneath. She also took of her scarf to reveal this very tight bandana wrap thing that covered all of her hair, she then put both of them (scarf and covering) aside on the masjid shelf and left. I noticed this elderly woman sitting next to me observing her the whole time. She was giving her the most the evil look! I was afraid the sister would get harmed from such an evil eye!! SubhanAllah. And I was frustrated, angry at the intensity of hate in the sister’s eyes, what happened to sincere advice!?! What happened to not judging?!
    May Allah guide us, ameen
    Another point: in many of our cultures, we are not taught consciousness, fear, respect, love and obedience of Allah SWT rather we are taught extreme fear and obedience of our parents and elders. This is why some sisters and brothers ‘turn ‘bad’ when parents aren’t there. They don’t realize it is really Allah SWT that is observing and recording every deed…
    Wa’alaykum Asalaam wa Rahmatullah

  21. Siraaj Muhammad

    April 30, 2008 at 1:02 PM

    Walaykum as salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu sister Anisa,

    Yes, that’s a very good point about Muslims raised “back home”, so to speak. I recall one desi uncle at my job came to me and said he was happy to see that the youth of America are engaging Islam intellectually, questioning issues, and trying to have a proper understanding of Islam.

    He mentioned that where he grew up (pakistan), he could never do something like that – were he to ask questions of the imams, scholars, teachers, etc, he’d be roundly smacked right in the face and told, “And who are you to be asking us questions?” so they never asked questions, they just did as they were told.

    And in some cases, i believe they escaped to the west and thereafter did as they wanted :(

    Siraaj

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