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3 Things To Do When You Start You Mentally Start Judging People

I used to exhibit a certain reactionary pattern that seemed to arise whenever I entered a Masjid or Muslim gathering.  It was this pesky little habit of immediately taking in my surroundings and making a mental note of everything wrong that I could perceive.  I turned from one unknowing victim to another, ticking off all of the Islamic violations they were committing according to my personal pedestal of judgment.

“She is not wearing hijab, tsk! tsk!”

“He is laughing with that woman who is most certainly not his wife or family member, shame!”

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“How can she possibly show up here with her clothing so tight?! Scandalous!”

“I know she does not buy Zabiha so I am sure she is serving people non-halal food!”

“Does his mom see how he is behaving…where is the Islamic upbringing?  That’s what happens when you send your kid to public school!”

And the list went on and on.

Upon acknowledging the “sin” of others, I would begin to plan how I would correct them.

Then one day after becoming aware of the habit, I began to ask myself, “Why am I always looking for the wrong in others?”  Why did my natural inclination drift towards seeing the proverbial half-filled glass, looking for the “haram” in everything around me?  What purpose did this mental activity serve?

As I tried to understand my motives, I began my descent through several layers of mental awareness.  First, I excused myself by claiming I merely wanted to enjoin the good and forbid the evil.  Well, the argument went, I had to first recognize the evil in order to correct it, right?  So I sat smugly, glowing in my new found moral elitism.  Then why did I feel so guilty and ugly?

I probed deeper, asking again, why?  I came up with the wonderful excuse that I must merely hate what Allah hates. I would witness other’s “IstaghfirAllah” actions, causing my blood to boil, until I felt the impulse to walk over and let the perpetrator have a piece of my mind.  So why did I stop myself from attacking?

My self awareness plunged deeper.  I began to think of my reaction when I had been attacked by self-righteous “enjoiners of the good”.  At first I would become embarrassed and question the fallacy of my actions.  Then I would realize that the method in which I was advised angered me and made me want to strike back.   Finally I would conclude that it really had nothing to do with me and more to do with the ego and insecurity of the attacker.

So was I guilty of the same thing?  I tended to think of myself as self-confident and secure, yet some recent experiences had shown me otherwise.  I had attended an Islamic class in which the instructor kept asking the class questions.  Each time I would answer out loud, sure of my knowledge.  And almost every time I was wrong.  It infuriated and embarrassed me.  I was overtaken by a strong desire to prove my correctness.

Another time I was leading a weekly halaqa.  Over time, I began to enjoy the respect I received from many of the new Muslims in the class.  Then one day a couple of Arab ladies sat in.  They spent the entire time overshadowing my talk by attempting to give the lecture themselves.   Then one recited a Quranic Ayah in Arabic and looked to me to translate, of which I could not do.  It was very embarrassing, and I feared it ruined the credibility I had in front of the regular attendees.  My anger raged and my wrath turned towards the Arab women.  I felt the need to show them up as they had done to me.  Alhumdulilah, I held my tongue.

From these and other experiences, I realized that my desire to put others down in order to lift myself up seemed just as strong as with those who enjoyed striking me down.

Alas, I began to understand the ugly inner nafs, the self-preserving nafs that will do just about anything to protect itself unless forcibly regulated.  The nafs that wants to justify itself and refuse change at all cost.

As my mind achieved this level of self awareness and was faced with the ugliness of my thoughts, my immediate tendency was to deny or excuse my findings, quickly crawl out of the depths of the inner pit, and continue along the same incorrect path.  But that was not my purpose, not the reason I began the exercise.  So I forced myself to face the conclusions and deal with them.

After accepting my flaws and subverting my ego, I began to derive a formula for changing my inner thinking.

I knew that I loved my brothers and sisters in Islam and truly wanted the best for all of them. I also realized from my own experiences of being corrected in a harsh, public, condescending way that this manner of “advising” is rarely accepted and pushes the person into another spiral of sin (backbiting against the attacker, mental lists of all of the sins of the attacker, and possibly a verbal backlash).

I had to determine how to change my thinking and natural response system to see the good and positive in my fellow Muslims, rather than immediately seeing their so called shortcomings. I wanted to force myself to look inward rather than outward for flaws and weaknesses. I also needed to find ways to be motivational, affecting positive change in the community, rather than coming off as ill-mannered, degrading, or unapproachable.

So I committed myself to practicing the following steps each time the habit began to boil up from deep inside:

1.  Say something nice.

I would force myself to walk over to the unknowing target and immediately praise them for something good I found in them.  This challenged me to see the positives in each person and vocalize them.  It also increased the love between us.

2. Walk in their shoes.

I would recall the past times in my life, prior to committing myself to the study and application of Islam, when I was in that person’s shoes, following a culture-based Islam that I inherited from my parents rather than from the authentic sources.  I remembered the split personality I had growing up, acting one way with the Muslims, and another with my friends.  I would realize that just as my Islamic knowledge is limited, so is theirs, and that many people follow their best understanding without purposely doing the wrong.  I also recalled the many times I sought to correct someone only to find out I was the one with incorrect knowledge.  This led to a true sense of humility, and I would thank Allah for opening my eyes to the truth and giving me even a small taste of the sweetness of Iman. Then I would make duaa for the person.

3. Remember what works for me.

I would remind myself that it was the people in my life who practiced Islam in a consistent, welcoming, non-judgmental way that opened the door for me to ask questions, accept the answers, and evoke change in my life.  This challenged me to be patient and further work on myself in an effort to be that example for others.

The key to truly changing my thinking was when I finally understood that the point of correcting others was supposed to be to help them change to the good.  When this was done in an unsolicited way by someone who had not taken the time to get to know the person or their particular circumstances and to gain their trust and respect, it usually did the opposite.  It upset the person and made them think ill of me and all others who they began to consider “extreme”.  They assumed I was constantly judging them and mentally criticizing everything they did.  They avoided my company, and their heart closed to anything positive I did or said.  Rather than enjoin them to the good, I had turned them totally away.

Although I still have my “negative” days, I have committed to trying to hold my tongue from giving unwanted advice. Instead, I am deliberate in creating an environment where people ask and push to be corrected.  I realize that this is exactly how I best improve; by asking those more knowledgeable than me who never make me feel inferior for asking, and do not have expectations of me after they reply to my inquiries.

As a result, I have learned to become more oblivious and simply stop caring about what everyone else is doing or not doing.  I now see each individual as a work in progress, including myself.  Just because I happen upon a person at a singular point in their journey does not mean they have stopped progressing nor are they waiting for my unwelcome intervention.  If they ask me to join them on their path, I will do so insofar as I am able, or I simply refer them to someone who can.

The reactions from those around me prove that when I show, through beautiful manners and actions, that Allah’s Way is the way that leads to inner and outer peace, I no longer have to shove people, kicking and screaming, to that Way.  Instead, they flock to it.

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Hebah is a Muslim American with a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from UIUC. She was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee to Egyptian immigrants. She currently resides in Albuquerque, NM with her husband and two children. Hebah is a social activist who works to dispel the myths about Islam and Women in Islam through community presentations and panel discussions. She also heads Daughterz of Eve, a local Muslim girls youth group.

56 Comments

56 Comments

  1. Avatar

    naureen

    July 12, 2010 at 12:32 AM

    awesome. mash’allah

  2. Avatar

    Sayf

    July 12, 2010 at 1:11 AM

    Mash’Allah, one of the best articles I have ever read. Self-critique and honesty is a beautiful thing, insh’Allah it serves as encouragement for each and every one of us to continually search our hearts and hold ourselves accountable.

  3. Avatar

    Hassan Adnan

    July 12, 2010 at 1:27 AM

    JazakAllah sister.

  4. Avatar

    Sara

    July 12, 2010 at 1:28 AM

    Assalaam Alaikum sister Hebah,

    Excellent article, MashaAllah. We need to be often reminded that we should be focusing on our own flaws before pointing out those of others, even if we may have positive intentions. Reminds me a of a post on my own blog titled, A Believer is like a Mirror for a Believer, based on the following two Ahadith by the Prophet (SAW):

    “The believer is a mirror for the believer, and the believer is the brother of the believer. He safeguards his property for him and defends him from behind.”

    And also,

    “The believer conceals one’s faults and gives a person advice, and the hypocrite exposes and humiliates.”

    Insha’Allah, please keep up the great posts. =)

    • Avatar

      Hebah Ahmed

      July 12, 2010 at 7:49 PM

      Jazak Allahu Khair…love the ahadith, so true!

      • Avatar

        Sara

        July 13, 2010 at 12:20 AM

        You are most welcome sister Hebah. =)

        Just wanted to clarify something (I also wrote this below, but think this may be a better place).

        Thank you to someone for pointing this out — the statement “the believer conceals one’s faults and gives a person advice, and the hypocrite exposes and humiliates” which I had read somewhere as being derived from Abu Dawud’s Sunan, is in actuality not a hadith of Prophet (SWT), but was said by one of the early scholars of Islam, Al-Fudayl Ibn `Iyad (may Allah be pleased with him).

        I apologize for any confusion.

  5. Avatar

    muslimah

    July 12, 2010 at 5:33 AM

    great post! jazakAllah khayr. i hope some writers here take note..pls dont judge others for their choices, you haven”t lived the life they live.

    • Avatar

      Hebah Ahmed

      July 12, 2010 at 8:00 PM

      We Ayakum! I think one of the hardest things is to accept the different choices people make. Rather we like (me included!) to project incorrect intentions and our choices onto others. I think each writer here is writing from the experiences and choices they have had/made and that is to be expected. What other perpective can we write from? I think the key is for the writers not to be judgemental in their tone and for the readers to accept the piece for what it is…one person’s perpective and experiences. Take the good, leave what you think is incorrect, and ignore it if it is not applicable.

      Allah knows best.

      From your past comments I just want you to know I can relate to much of what you have said and what you are going through. Each new stage in life makes you rethink the stage before and it is quite humbling!

      Keep up the comments…you keep us on our toes! :)

      Your sister,
      Hebah

      • Avatar

        muslimah

        July 13, 2010 at 11:11 AM

        I am not sure exactly what past comments you are talking about..but if im right..yeah i guess. your past shapes your present and future. You can cut down the influence, but from experience, it still lingers on..it modifies the way you react to situations. you can try and forget..but something, somewhere will always remind you of the past..

  6. Avatar

    Ahmed

    July 12, 2010 at 6:02 AM

    Very nice Masha Allah may Allah reward you.

  7. Avatar

    Ahmed

    July 12, 2010 at 6:03 AM

    Very nice Masha Allah

  8. Avatar

    Another Ahmed

    July 12, 2010 at 7:51 AM

    Love it. For some time now, I’ve had similar incidents where I would mentally cast judgment on my brothers and sisters in Islam who I perceived as inferior or lacking in some manner. Stepping back, I cannot help but realize I’ve been in their shoes before and likely done worse than they have. I think it’s Shaitaan trying to pump us up, inflate our egos and sense of self-worth as compared to other people. It’s an ugly thing, this mental process of jumping to conclusions on others, and I am working to nullify it inshaAllah.

    Some things I find helpful to do:
    1. Like sis. Hebah said, make du’a for others. Try it; you’ll have a very hard time harboring negative feelings towards that person afterward!
    2. Again, like sis. Hebah said, talk to them. When you get to know them you’ll likely find common interests and be able to identify with them. This will help in stemming any ill emotions you hold regarding the person. SubhanAllah, how many people I would pre-judge, only to find such wonderful people when I began to speak to them!
    3. When the urge to judge comes, remind yourself of your own faults and sins. Doing so will stem the judging and allow you to more effectively help a brother/sister who you wish to help/aid.

  9. Avatar

    Siraaj

    July 12, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    Excellent post, can totally relate :)

    Siraaj

  10. Avatar

    quraysha

    July 12, 2010 at 9:40 AM

    excellent!

  11. Avatar

    Yasin Alam

    July 12, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    May Allah Almighty bless you and grant you increase in your Iman and understanding of Islam. This illness is a very dangerous deception of the nafs, as mentioned it can destroy lifes, may Allah Almighty grant us all the ability to look within ourselfs and purify our intentions, as every action is according to intention.
    Thank you Sister.

  12. Avatar

    Noor

    July 12, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    Jazakalakheir for this article. Excellent. MashAllah.

  13. Avatar

    AbuMarjan

    July 12, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    Assalam alaikum,

    Thought of quoting a forwarded mail received on the same topic
    ———————————————————————–

    Give your brothers and sisters action the best interpretation

    Sa’eed bin Al-Musayyab was reported to have said:

    “Some of my brothers among the Companions of the Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa sallam, wrote me the following message:

    “Give your brother’s action the best interpretation you could find as long as you have not seen any proof that would make you think otherwise. Do not ever give the word uttered by a Muslim bad interpretation as long as you can find better interpretation for it.
    But he who makes himself vulnerable to suspicion should blame only himself. He who conceals his secrets has the options in his hand.
    The best reward you can give someone who disobeys Allah through you is to obey Allah through him. Be always truthful even if truth is going to kill you. Do not envy anyone except in regard to something for which the dead person is envied.
    And consult, in respect to your affairs, only those who fear Allah in their privacy

    The Leader of the Believers, ‘Umar bin al-Khattab, may Allaah be pleased with him, said, “Think only well of a word that leaves your believing brother so long as you find a way of understanding it in a good way.” [Quoted by ibn Kathir in the commentary of 49:12]

    Abu Qilabah ‘Abdullah bin Zayd bin al-Jurmi said, as quoted in Abu Nu’aym’s al-Hilyah,

    “If something of your brother is conveyed to you that you dislike, expend all your efforts in finding an excuse for him’ even then, if you cannot find an excuse say to yourself: perhaps he has an excuse that I am not aware of.”

  14. Avatar

    SA

    July 12, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    I went through the same judging pattern as you Hebah.Its still an ongoing battle for me but what has proved most effective for me apart from making duas for the person I am judging is what you mentioned in your post “creating an environment where people ask and push to be corrected”.I personally hate it when people tell me what is wrong with me deen-wise.I prefer knowing people who do a certain deed and impress you so much that you want to know why/how they did it. Actions do speak louder than words!

    • Avatar

      Hebah Ahmed

      July 12, 2010 at 8:04 PM

      Glad to hear its not just me! :) May Allah heal all of our hearts from their diseases. Ameen.

  15. Avatar

    Sara

    July 12, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    Assalaam Alaikum,

    Thank you to someone having mentioned this — I wanted to clarify a mistake I made in my previous comment where I erroneously quoted a statement, attributing it to the Prophet (SAW). Thank you to brother Omar for pointing this out in a very respectful manner.

    The statement “the believer conceals one’s faults and gives a person advice, and the hypocrite exposes and humiliates” which I had read somewhere as being derived from Abu Dawud’s Sunan, is in actuality not a hadith of Prophet (SWT), but was made by one of the early scholars of Islam, Al-Fudayl Ibn `Iyad (may Allah be pleased with him).

    I apologize for any confusion.

  16. Avatar

    Perspective

    July 12, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    mA excellent article, thank you for writing such an honest piece. We should always remember to leave the judging to Allah (swt), and instead focus on improving ourselves.

  17. Avatar

    ummmanar

    July 12, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    jazakallahu kairan sis for pointing this out and been honest. I go through the same thing then when I go to bed I bet my self up for thinking ill and judgemental.I always thought I am the only one and I donot know how to fix it I am afraid that I will abide in hell fire.may allah guid us all. this is very good advice how to solve your inner nafas.barakallahufiki.

    • Avatar

      Hebah Ahmed

      July 12, 2010 at 8:10 PM

      We Ayakum. Masha Allah the fact that you lose sleep over your daily thoughts (this is actually what pushed me to write the post!) is a very good sign. It is truly the fear of the hellfire that is sometimes the most effective means of pushing us to change. May Allah protect us all and help us to change before it is too late! Ameen.

  18. Avatar

    Abu Zakariya

    July 12, 2010 at 9:25 PM

    As salaamu alaikum,

    What do you think of this:

    I believe this process is a tarbiya direct from Allah. It could potentially in fact be His response to the dua “ihdinas siratal mustaqeem”. The fact that sr. Heba was able to change the way she thinks did not come from her, it was a tawfique from Allah. Allahu akbar!

    Imagine of the hundreds of thousands of people who have similar experiences but are “stuck” in the same self-righteous spot for their entire life? Subhan ar-Rahman! What a mercy from He, who enabled us to identify this and correct it. May Allah grant us all wisdom, ameen.

    Yasser

    • Avatar

      Hebah Ahmed

      July 14, 2010 at 11:29 AM

      Jazak Allahu Khair and I could not agree more. This brings up probably the most important aspect of change and the first step I should have mentioned, making duaa for Allah to take pride and envy from our hearts and give us the humility and ability to change. Only Allah can change our hearts and give us the strength to stick to it.

      Thanks for the reminder!

  19. Avatar

    Sally

    July 12, 2010 at 10:11 PM

    masha’Allah.. taking us all the way into the deep pit of your mind ;) Interesting, and brave of you to reveal this! I had an awakening of my own, and have compensated so much that I dont feel I have any right to judge. I struggle with the bit of judging required in religious matters for “forbidding evil and enjoining good” b/c i’ve learned that eventually things work themselves out..Only Allah knows why people do what they do, and when guidance will find them.

    I’m surprised Imam Shafie’s poem hasn’t been quoted:

    لسانك لا تذكر به عورة امرئ * فكلّـك عورات وللناس ألسـن
    وعينك إن أبدت إليك معايباً * فدعها وقل : يا عين للناس أعينُ

    Let not your tongue mention the shame of another
    For you yourself are covered in shame and all men have tongues.

    If your eye falls upon the sins of your brother
    Shield them and say: “O my eye! All men have eyes!”
    Imam Shafi’ee

    • Avatar

      abez

      July 13, 2010 at 12:38 AM

      MashaAllah- A very honest article, and loved that poem by Imam Shafiée

  20. Pingback: Abez sez Assalamualaikum! » Blog Archive » A Judgment about Judgments

  21. Avatar

    Muhammad Aiman Azlan

    July 13, 2010 at 5:29 AM

    Astaghfirullah, this is exactly how I feel and behave. I want to write about it but I can’t find the words to describe it. You’ve put it so well for me. Jazakallah.

  22. Avatar

    Middle Ground

    July 13, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    Salam

    Been there, done that, and ultimately suffered for it. I have observed a number of things about this.

    * Before judging anyone, think of a sin which you have done and no-one else knows about. Something very shameful (everyone has some secret like this). And assume that the person you are judging has not done this. Then rejudge that person. You may see things in a different light.
    * If Allah has guided you to do better than the person you are judging, you should remember that guidance, like wealth, is a gift from Allah, which He gives to people according to His wisdom. It’s NOT that Allah has favored you, in fact Allah has given you a responsibility for which you may be more accountable than the next person.
    * When we have a LITTLE knowledge, it’s so easy to start beating on someone who doesn’t. This is arrogance, and a common result of this is to turn people away from Islam. I remember when I got a little ‘religious’, along with a female cousin of mine and her friend, and how all three of us used to beat on my cousin’s brother. Fat lot of good that did…. 20 years later, he marries a Hindu girl (may Allah guide him and us).

    And Allah knows best.

  23. Avatar

    muslimah

    July 13, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    im confused. If you see a sister let’s say flirting w/ guys, should you find excuses for her? At first i was under the impression you are talking about things we personally dislike and not necessarily haram. How does enjoining good and forbidding evil fit in all this? I mean it’s true we should first look at ourselves but the one who sees good and silently disagrees with it in his heart is the one with the lowest of eman.

    • Avatar

      abez

      July 13, 2010 at 2:21 PM

      Hate the sin, not the sinner?

      • Avatar

        ehlam

        July 13, 2010 at 8:02 PM

        Salamualaikum,

        Isn’t that a christian concept (read it somewhere), but not saying we should hate the sinner. Somehow this is going into al wala’ wal baraa’, I’d still like to also know what the answer to Muslimah’s query is, because when I see a Muslim doing something un-islamic in public or infront of people like non-muslims I feel it makes Muslims look like hypocrites-not doing what they preach- and that it affects dawah negatively. I was finding it hard to relate to the article itself because often I find myself making excuses for them like: they started to practice/they grew up in a non-islamic environment/they’re having personal problems etc etc. Living in the West I just feel like we are not only harming ourselves but preventing potential converts from accepting Islam when they see us not being true to our identity.

        Sister Hebah,Jazakillahu khairan for your thought-provoking article and this approach of teaching by action is great method thats effective.

        • Avatar

          Hebah Ahmed

          July 14, 2010 at 11:54 AM

          We Alikum Asalam,

          I did actually mean seeing things that are haram. Yes, we are suppose to forbid the evil but I guess the easiest (and sometimes more harmful route) is to simply go up to the person and tell them what they are doing is wrong. I believe this is harmful if you do not already have a personal relationship with the person and the person is not open to hearing about their sin.

          I think it takes a lot of wisdom and patience to correct others. The point of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil with someone is to do it in a way that the person will accept it and not resent you for it (the example of the young boys who taught the older man how to make wudu without directly confronting him or telling him he is wrong).

          Rarely do people appreciate being corrected by someone who has not earned their respect and developed a personal relationship with them. This shows them that you care to speak to them all the time, not just when you see them doing something wrong. I also think personal behavior goes very far in correcting people without ever having to say a word to them. If non-Muslims question the actions of others that contradict Islam, we should explain the right way and say that everyone is at different stages and different levels of their practice. Islam is perfect but the followers are not.

          Additionally, you will find in many instances (including the example of a girl flirting with the guys) that people already know the right from wrong…you will not be telling them anything new and probably will turn them even more away from being around other Muslims. Usually this stems from low Iman. So I think we should prioritize the advice we give people. I mean if someone does not even pray or has never been exposed to the beauty of Islam in a way that has strengthened their iman or does not know how to get knowledge from authentic source, then advice is pointless and perhaps harmful as one should be focusing on the bigger issue of Iman and Tawheed and pursuing knowledge.

          That’s why I said I strive to create an environment where people ask and push to be corrected. When they see you acting in a way that is different from them AND they see you as a well mannered, easily approachable person AND they have a personal relationship with them, then they will ask you to explain the behavior or avoidance of certain behaviors. In this context the person is most likely to accept the advice and evoke change in thier life, which is the entire purpose of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. Of course this process takes a lot of time (patience) and effort (to create a personal relationship with the person).

          Allah knows best!

          (Sorry for alot of “I think”s…someone please correct me if I am misunderstanding this issue or if there is evidence in contradication)

          • Avatar

            muslimah

            July 14, 2010 at 12:10 PM

            but what about this hadith?

            “Whoever among you witnesses a bad thing, it is necessary for him to bring that to a halt with his hands, and if he does not have the potential for that; then he should stop him through his tongue, And if he does not have the ability to stop that with his tongue, then by his heart; he should think bad of this sin and that is the lowest level of Iman.”

            so you mean we should first develop a personal relationship with the person (of course of the same gender lol) and gain their respect before giving them out any advice? I guess that is hikmah but somehow from the abv hadith i get the message a muslim should hasten to correct any evil they come across.
            but ‘i think’ you are right. after all we are asked to use hikmah and be gentle. and it is hikmah to gain the person’s trust and respect. wallahu’alam

          • Avatar

            elham

            July 14, 2010 at 7:16 PM

            Sister this was exactly what I would tell my friend, that if a person does not do salah then telling them to wear hijab should come after they have increased Iman.
            I can agree on developing a somewhat personal relationship with a person by striking up a conversation before subtly correcting or informing them in way that is respectful and humble, such that the person would not feel that you are undermining them or the intelligence that Allah has given them. You start by greeting them and then praising their good qualities and then adding that it would be better if they had done ‘xyz’ . I think it is a Prophetic method of giving advice wallahu’Alam.

            SubhanAllah I am reminded by the beauitful manner in which Shekih Al Arefe would give da’wah and advice even on a plane!

            Sheikh al-Arifi Advises a Woman on a Plane
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wODzqkpyuNE&feature=channel

          • Avatar

            BrownS

            July 15, 2010 at 8:34 PM

            Jazakillahu khair Sr. Hebah for explaining this so well. Imam ibn Taymiyyah makes a similar argument in his book “Public Duties in Islam” (Arabic – Risalat amr bil maruf wa nahi an al-munkar) where if my memory serves me right he says that one needs to perform the enjoining of good and forbidding of evil in a manner that can lead to the actual fulfilment of enjoinment of good or forbidding of evil, rather than in a simplistic and kneejerk way. One needs to actually think it through.

            I’ll refrain from saying any more because it’s been a while, but actual students of knowledge familiar with the text can jump in inshaAllah.

    • Avatar

      muslimah

      July 14, 2010 at 2:47 AM

      * i mean the one who sees evil and speaks against it silently in his heart.

  24. Avatar

    Faiez

    July 13, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    I would like to disagree.

    Thank you,

    Faiez

    • Avatar

      Hebah Ahmed

      July 14, 2010 at 11:58 AM

      Can you please explain what it is that you disagree with?

      Jazak Allahu Khair.

  25. Avatar

    ibraheem

    July 13, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    I think it’s messed up that an article had to be written about this so people can learn how to be decent human beings. Stop backbiting and running your mouths. Simple.

    • Avatar

      Hebah Ahmed

      July 14, 2010 at 12:05 PM

      Unfortunately it is not that simple. We all need to be constantly reminder and re-reminded of habits that are easy to slide back into. We need to be reminded in many different ways from many different angles. Many times we are not even aware of what we are doing or that we are backbiting or committing haram…we can justify our thoughts and actions in many ways. Perhaps hearing (or reading) the way someone else is makes us realize how we actually are. Then we can begin to change.

    • Avatar

      elham

      July 14, 2010 at 6:58 PM

      ”The reminder benefits the believers”

  26. Avatar

    Yasser Bafakyh

    July 14, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    Masha Allah!! Excellent article. May Allah(swt) reward you for sharing this with us .. Ameen.

  27. Avatar

    Umm Umaama

    July 14, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    JazakAllah Khair for this insightful piece, and for your sincerity in sharing this with others. I personally have been struggling with this for some time, and was shocked at myself when I realized recently that I was actually (subconsciously) wishing for bad things to happen to people, so that they could see the error of their ways. Astaghfirullah. I think the issues you’ve highlighted are a serious disease amongst practising Muslims. I’m striving to rectify my character in this regard, so far I’ve found that it helps to:

    (1) Focus on your own sins, leave other people to deal with theirs. This is much harder said than done. We have made it our mission to save the world, and saving ourselves has become a holiday hobby….something to do when you’re bored….
    (2) Tell people (and yourself) that you may not be the best person to advise…yes, you think you “know the right answer”, but are you really the best person to convey it? Didn’t the companions refer everything back to the Prophet SAW, even though they knew the “right” answer? Since when did we become such “know-it-alls”?
    (3) Realize that even with Halaal and Haraam, it doesn’t have to be – “my way or the highway”….I think that’s the biggest problem, we think everything is black and white, and once we get it “right”, we become obsessed with telling everyone else. But, we should realize that we don’t know another person’s situation, we might not know all the conditions of a legal ruling…we might not even know the ruling (although, we think we do)…think, are you sure the issue is as black and white as you first imagined? There are many routes to the same outcome, even if they do it “their way” could they not (with a little guidance, and the Tawfeeq of Allaah) soon find their way back to Allaah?
    (4) The biggest eye-opener for me was to realize that I am not answerable for the outcome of Da’wah….only that I must continue to give Da’wah in the best way possible. We become so wrapped watching for the effects of our Da’wah that we lose all the sincerity of the act itself. Why is it so important to us to see that someone followed our advise? Could it ever be sufficient that they may change one day, a long time from now? Would you be content if they were more beloved to Allaah than anyone could imagine? Or that they would die with their sins forgiven? OR, do you NEED them to change?

    Don’t be afraid to share what knowledge you have, or correct something wrong when you see it, but be humble, and realize….as we’re often told (but rarely heed)…that you’re not always right…

  28. Avatar

    Naved Zia

    July 14, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    MashaAllah.. gem of an article… truly.. we often are not aware of our ego at play!!

  29. Avatar

    BrownS

    July 15, 2010 at 8:29 PM

    Salaam

    Jazakillahu khair for the reminder. It is truly something I lose sight of too often.

    I’m reminded of a quote by one of the giants of the past (I believe it was Imam Ghazali), the gist of which is that when you give reminder or admonishment to someone, act as if that person is the most beloved to Allah. It works :)

  30. Avatar

    Sadaf Farooqi

    July 16, 2010 at 2:32 AM

    Very well-written and sincerely introspective reminder for us all – the MM writers and the commentators. We all need to be reminded of thinking before speaking or typing away on our keyboards in criticism of others. :)

    May Allah reward you for sharing your honest self-evaluation with us for our betterment, Hebah!

  31. Avatar

    Cucumberr

    July 16, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    This was beautiful. Jazakilllah Khair. :)

  32. Avatar

    Rafa

    July 16, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    This is exactly what I needed today. I have guests coming over tonight whom I do tend to judge without realizing it (may Allah forgive us all), but this article has been a great reminder for me to do otherwise. Insha Allah I can put the advise into practise! JazakAllah and may Allah reward you! :)

  33. Avatar

    Bilal

    July 16, 2010 at 11:01 PM

    Jazakallah Khair,

    I can seriously relate to this, having grown up among friends at a young age, who took a different path as we got older… and I did go through the phase as you mentioned “making a mental note of everything wrong that I could perceive.” However, listening to talks by various ulema and students of knowledge definitely helped a lot in subverting the evil that can be caused by this ego.

    The attitude one has with others who may not be at the same level in deen as oneself is definitely a critical factor. In one of Br. Nouman’s talks (Improving Our Relationships @ ICNA 2010), he relates how one’s attitude with his/her child can close off the doors of communication. For example, the child would come relating something that happened in the day that was ‘taboo,’ and the parent would immediately respond, “We don’t talk about these things! Astaghfirullah! Say Astaghirullah!”

    That can close off the door of communication with the parents, and the child will just talk about these matters with their friends…

    Nonetheless, this statement hit me immediately while reading the post:

    “Keep yourself busy in remembering your faults, so that you have no time left to remember the faults of others.”

    – Sufyaan ath-Thawri

  34. Avatar

    YMR

    July 30, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    Assalamalaikum,

    Ma’sha’allah ! Amazing article ! Stumbled upon this post from the web and liked it so much, I have immediately subscribed to the blog’s feeds.

  35. Pingback: The Deep Pit of My Inner Mind « Words of love.. words for love…

  36. Avatar

    Dalia

    September 27, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    I really wanted you to know that I saw your debate on CNN between you and Mona on the “Burka Ban” in France.

    I also wanted you to know that those last fifteen seconds in the argument changed my life.

    To put it simply, when I heard what you said, something inside woke up and the following day I put on the Hijab and haven’t taken it off since. I’ve been wearing it for half a year now and I don’t know how I could’ve lived without it before.

    So, thank you, Shukran, and Allhamdullilah. You helped me see that the largest things only need to be accomplished by the smallest of actions.

    So…Thank you. By the way, I’m fifteen and a princess of Islam who’s proud to wear her crown now. :]

    With love,

    Dalia

    • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      September 28, 2012 at 1:00 AM

      AllahuAkbar! May Allah (SWT) keep you steadfast on your decision and grant you barakah in your life and increase your level in Jannat-ul-Firdaus.

    • Avatar

      Hebah Ahmed

      September 29, 2012 at 5:22 PM

      Masha Allah Dalia!!!!! Your comment made my day. May Allah increase your taqwa and make you an ambassador of Islam Insha Allah. I wish I had such conviction and courage to wear the hijab when I was 15…you are an inspiration!!!! :)

      Love,
      Hebah

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#Islam

Help! I Can’t Make Dua For More Than 30 Seconds On The Day Of ‘Arafah

Much emphasis has been given on the importance of fasting on the day of ‘Arafah, but don’t forget, this was a day the Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace) “made du’a from the time of Dhur til the time of Maghrib on the day of ‘Arafah while STANDING.” (Sahih Muslim)

He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also said, “The best du’a is that which is made on the day of ‘Arafah.” (Sahih Muslim)

If we can develop the capacity to binge watch on Netflix 5-6 for hours a day, we can develop the capacity to make du’a longer than 30 SECONDS on the day of ‘Arafah.

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I used to be a person who couldn’t make du’a longer than 2 minutes.

3 things changed

1. I started writing my personalized du’as on a mini-notebook

2. I started reading du’as using Hisnul Muslim (The Fortress of the Muslim)

3. I started following the etiquettes of making du’a.

As an Imam, I have numerous meetings with members of my community. Sometimes, at the end of my meetings, I asked the community member to end our meeting with a du’a. It is surprising that many of them do not know the etiquettes of making du’a. By following the above etiquettes of making du’a, you can make du’a longer than 2 minutes inshAllah!

Here are 16 etiquettes of making du’a from the Qur’an and Sunnah

1) Have 100% conviction that Allah will answer you

2) Find a way to praise Allah before making your request

3) Use the proper names of Allah

4) Send salutations upon Muhammad (upon him be peace)

5) Raise your hand like a beggar

6) Face the qibla

7) Be in a state of wudu

8) Cry

9) Be a lone wolf (Be alone)

10) Ensuring that your food is pure

11) Acknowledge your sins (Privately)

12) Repeat the du’a 3 times

13) Start the du’a by praying for yourself

14) Expand your heart, pray for everyone (in particular those Muslims in China who wish they could fast on the day of ‘Arafah, but they are prohibited from doing so.)

15) Say Amin after making du’a.

16) Make du’a during the “prime-times” (From Dhur till Maghrib on the day of Arafah is primetime!)

Bonus tip: If you’re like me, you may get stuck when making du’a. An excellent tip given by our master Muhammad (upon him be peace) is to use the “filler du’a”. This “filler du’a” was actually what Muhammad (upon him be peace) and all of the Prophets made on the day of Arafat!

He said, “The best invocation is that of the Day of Arafat, and the best that anyone can say is what I and the Prophets before me have said:

Lā ‘ilāha ‘illallāhu

wahdahu lā shareeka lahu,

lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu

wa Huwa ‘alā kulli shay’in qadeer.

Translation:

None has the right to be worshipped but Allah

Alone, Who has no partner.

His is the dominion and His is the praise,

and He is Able to do all things. (Al-Tirmidhi)

To recap, here are 5 action items you and your family can perform on the day of Arafah.

1. Go over the following hadith with your family members.

“Allah frees far more people from Hellfire on the Day of Arafah than on any other day, and Allah comes closer this day and proudly says to the angels, ‘What do these people want and seek?’” (Sunan an-Nasa’i)

2. Say to your family members or whoever you have influence over,

“The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) made du’a on the day of Arafah from Dhur till Maghreb. How long do you think we can make du’a for on this day?”

3. Go over the 16 etiquettes mentioned in this post.

4. Challenge your family members to make a 10 minute du’a.

     Materials needed

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • A Creative mind
  • Brainstorm with your family members what du’a you want to make and then write them on a whiteboard.

5. Whenever you get stuck and you can’t don’t know what du’a you want to make, make the “filler du’a” the Prophet (upon him be peace) made on the day of ‘Arafah.

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#Islam

30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 19: My Mercy Encompasses All Things

Now that we have learnt about when the angels surround us, let’s now talk about how Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy encompasses all things.

We say بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ  (bismillah Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem) a lot, right? It means ‘in the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate.’ 

We say it when we pray, before we eat, and we’re encouraged to say it before we begin any new task. But do we really understand what rahma (mercy) means? 

Question: What do you think rahma means?

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Do you know that the word rahma comes from the root word, رحم (rahim), which means womb? 

Question: Who can tell me what a womb is?

That’s right. A baby is usually in their mommy’s womb for 40 weeks. The baby gets all the nourishment it requires; the temperature in the womb is perfect, the nutrients are always administered, it is safe and warm. All the baby has to do is grow, and alhamdulillah all its needs are being met. 

Question: How do you think the womb relates to Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy?

Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy is constantly surrounding us like a safety net. That doesn’t mean that we’ll never experience any pain, but Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is constantly showing us mercy with every breath we take. Even blinking is a mercy from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that we don’t even have to think about. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) even has more mercy for us than a mother has for her own child! 

One day the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was walking with a group of his companions, and they passed by a woman who was frantically looking for her child. She would take any child to her breast and try to feed him/her. Then the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to the companions: “Do you think that this lady can throw her son in the fire?” We replied, “No, if she has the power not to throw it (in the fire).” The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) then said, “Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is more merciful to His slaves than this lady to her son.”

And guess what? There’s even more mercy in the hereafter than we’re experiencing right now. 

Salman al-Farisi reported: The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Verily, on the day Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) created the heavens and earth, He created one hundred parts of mercy. Each part can fill what is between heaven and earth. He made one part of mercy for the earth, from it a mother has compassion for her child, animals and birds have compassion for each other. On the Day of Resurrection, He will perfect this mercy.” [Sahih Muslim]

99 parts of mercy on the Day of Judgment! That is one reason why it’s so important to have a good opinion of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)! Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) even tells us in Surat Al-A’raaf:

وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ۚ

“My mercy encompasses all things” (Surat Al-A’raaf; 156]

And you all, my dears, are all encompassed by Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy, alhamdulillah. 

 

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The Inner Dimensions of the Udhiyah

Apart from Ḥajj, the greatest action a Muslim can do in the blessed days of Dhū al-ijjah is to offer the udḥiyah (qurbāni/sacrifice).

‘Āisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) reports that Rasūlullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “A human does no action from the actions of the Day of Naḥr [slaughtering; refers to the day of Eid al-Adḥā] more beloved to Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) than sacrificing the animal. On the Day of Judgement, it will appear with its horns, and hair, and hooves, and indeed the blood will be accepted by Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) before it even falls upon the ground, so let your heart delight in it.” [Tirmidhī]

Although we all know that this is an action that is traditionally performed on Eid al-Adā, a lack of understanding of its reality has led some to question the importance of doing it in the first place. In past years, and increasingly during the current pandemic, many have been asking, “Can I give ṣadaqah (charity) instead?”

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To answer this, it is necessary to understand the following.1 Everything in this world is comprised of an outer form – an appearance and a desired outcome – a “soul.” These two are intertwined in such a way that separating them is impossible. One cannot survive without the other. The clearest example of this reality is in ourselves.

سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ ۗ

“Soon we will show them Our Signs in the horizons [external] and in themselves [internal] until it becomes clear to them that it is the Truth.” [Surah Fussilat; 53]

We are made of a body, which is comprised of several parts, and a soul, which fills the entire body and allows each part to fulfill its unique function. Without a body, our soul cannot survive, and without a soul, our body cannot survive. Additionally, if any part is missing, the whole person will be considered to have some deficiency. Likewise, the same principle applies to our n. Our n has an outer form, which is comprised of the actions that we perform, and a soul as well. The fact of the matter is that our goal in life is to achieve a complete connection with Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The Quran identifies this quality with the word taqwā. The soul that permeates our entire n and therefore, all our individual actions is taqwā. All these actions display a different aspect of taqwā and together form complete n in a person. If anything is missing, a person’s n will be deficient.

For example, the soul of ṣalāh is the portion of taqwā that relates to expressing humility in front of Allāh. The soul of fasting is the portion of taqwā that relates to suppressing one’s desires for Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The soul of is adaqah is the portion of taqwā that relates to curing one’s love for wealth by donating in the path of Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Each of these things is necessary, and although they are all types of taqwā, they are not interchangeable. To expand on this, imagine that a person had $100 in cash, $100 worth of food, and $100 worth of furniture.2 The values of all three would be the same, but the functions they perform are different. None is more important than the other but all are necessary.

Similarly, a person cannot discard the outer form (different forms of ibādāt) and say that the only thing that matters is the soul (taqwā). If this were the case, our entire religion could be discarded. Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَٰكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَىٰ مِنكُمْ ۚ

“Neither their flesh reaches Allāh nor their blood (the udḥiyah animal); it is your taqwā that reaches Him.” [Al Hajj; 37]

There goes udḥiyah. Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

“Oh you who have believed, fasting has been prescribed on you as it has been prescribed upon those before you so that you may become people of taqwā.” [Surah Al-Baqarah; 183]

There goes fasting.

 إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ ۗ

“Verily ṣalāh prevents indecency and sin” (in essence, taqwā) [Surah al-‘Ankabut; 45]

Ṣalāh can also be put to the side.

لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا ۖ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ

“Virtue is that one sincerely believes in Allāh, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book and the Prophets and, out of His love, spend of one’s choice wealth for relatives and orphans, for the needy and the wayfarer, for beggars and for the ransom of slaves, and establish ṣalāh and give zakāh. And the virtuous are those who keep their pledges when they make them and show fortitude in hardships and adversity and in the struggle between the Truth and falsehood; such are the truthful people, and such are the people of taqwā.” [Surah Al-Baqarah; 77]

There goes our entire dīn.

The soul of udḥiyah is that portion of taqwā that expresses our total submission to Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). “O Allāh, my life is in your Hands. Do with it whatever you wish!” The actual command was to sacrifice the thing that is most dear to you – a life. And in Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) case, the life of his only child. The life of the child who for decades, he prayed and hoped for. Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) commanded Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) in a dream to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismā’īl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) said, “My beloved son, I have seen that I was sacrificing you in dream. What do you think?” Without hesitation, Ismā’īl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) responded, “O my beloved father, do as you have been commanded. Inshā Allāh, you will find me among the patient.” When Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) tried to push the knife on his son’s neck, it became dull and “We called on to him, O Ibrahīm! You have surely fulfilled your dream. This is how we reward those of excellence. Indeed, this was a clear test. We ransomed him with a mighty sacrifice.” [As-Saffat; 100-107]. From that day until the end of time, Muslims have and will continue emulate this sacrifice of Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) as a reminder of what true submission is.

When standing before Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), we will need to present all types of taqwā. If we were to have a surplus of one type, for example, ṣadaqah, we would be rewarded for it, but that would not change the fact that something else is missing. If we were to tell our child to make sure that their room is clean for Eid and, instead of doing that, they cooked a delicious meal, we would thank them for their gesture, but then say that there is a time and place for everything and this time is for cleaning your room.

The purpose of ṣadaqah is to cleanse our hearts from the love of wealth by giving it to the poor. Although it is recommended to give a portion of the sacrifice to the poor, it is not the purpose, nor is it a requirement for its validity. The purpose of udḥiyah is to follow the command of Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), in the way that He commanded it. In the past, and even now in some agrarian societies, the most beloved belonging to many people was their animals. This is because unlike other wealth, animals serve many purposes. They are a means of milk and clothing, a status symbol, a means of breeding, and also can be sold or eaten. To sacrifice an animal was truly a great sacrifice.

However, times have changed. Yet due to this very reason, udḥiyah is still a sacrifice, especially in America. We are used to the comforts of our home and would much rather donate money than take a day off from work and spend time, money, and energy in going to a farm and performing the udḥiyah. This is our sacrifice. We cannot abandon this great act.3,4

May Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) preserve our pristine religion in the manner it was practiced by Rasūlullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his companions.

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“Surely my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allāh alone, the Sustainer of Universe. He has no partner. This is what I have been ordered, and I am the first to submit.” [Al-An’am; 162]

و ما توفيقي إلا باالله عليه توكلت و إليه أنيب

[1] The concept of actions having an outer form and inner soul were expanded upon in the Khutbāt of Hakīm al-Ummah Mawlāna Ashraf Alī Thanvī (throughout volume 16 – Barakāt e Ramaḍān) and Hakīm al-Islām Qāri Muḥammad Ṭayyib رحمهما الله تعالى رحمةً واسعةً . Qāri Ṭayyib specifically spoke about this concept in relation to the udḥiyah (Sunnat e Khalīl ‘Alayh al-Salām, volume 3, page 211). I benefited from these works immensely in the course of writing this article and hope the readers appreciate the depth and foresight of our pious predecessors’ foresight.

[2] This general idea – actions of being of the same value but different types – is proposed by ‘Allāma Ibn Taymiyyah and mentioned by Muftī Rashīd Aḥmad Ludhiyanvi رحمهما الله تعالى رحمةً واسعةً  in Aḥsan al-Fatāwā in relation to another topic, but the concept fits here as well.

[3] This article is not meant to say that having someone else perform your sacrifice by sending it overseas is invalid. Its purpose is to explain that the sacrifice itself is an important part of our dīn, and its full benefit will be realized when we perform the sacrifice by ourselves. It should also be noted that perhaps the reason that there is confusion over why the sacrifice cannot be substituted with ṣadaqah and thus, the distinction between the two is not clear.

[4] This article was started before the current pandemic. In a situation like this, if someone does not feel comfortable from a health perspective to perform the sacrifice on their own, they can appoint someone else to perform it for them, whether here or overseas. However, the current situation does not allow for ṣadaqah to be given in place of the sacrifice. Many ahadith (Bukhārī, Ahadith 968, 984, 985; ‘Ilā al-Sunan 17:212-217) indicate that the sacrifice is wājib. A wājib act cannot be substituted based simply on our thoughts or opinions. For more details on the obligation of the sacrifice, please read Muftī Abdullah Nana’s upcoming article about the fiqh of the udḥiyah.

* Two more points should be kept in mind. First, despite the pandemic, people have not stopped eating meat. In the current climate, if one is not able to perform the sacrifice by themselves, having it done in another country will also be a means of helping others. In fact, for many, Eid al-Adhā is the only time of the year that they able to eat meat. Second, we must broaden our thinking about charity. Our charity should not be restricted to only those things that are obligated upon us by Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) such as zakāh and udḥiyah. If Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has blessed us with the means,  we should strive to give ṣadaqah above and beyond these obligated act.

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