This is my last reflection on the “Tashadud” issue. This is a continuation from Ramadan Reflection 15 and Ramadan Reflection 16 , so if you haven’t checked them out, do so before you start on this one
So, if we have diagnosed ourselves as being among the “Mutashadedeen” (uptight, hard-handed Muslims), how can we get out of this miserable state?
Well, one we have to realize that if Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’la) the Beautiful, The Most Merciful, The Most Compassionate, The Most Gracious has occupied our hearts then these attributes should be reflected in our actions. A person viewed as “religious” but is always angry, judgmental, and tormenting others reflects the notion that being religious is all about fear, anger, judgment, torment, and punishment. Plain and simple. Our actions should want others to become closer to Allah as well and not drive them away. I always tell the sisters in my Halaqa that if anyone comes into contact with us and is not touched by the compassion, mercy, and beauty that are the basis of Islam then it’s time to look into ourselves and re-evaluate ourselves. The Prophet (Salah Allah Alayhe Wa Salam) says, “I was sent as a mercy to the Universe.” He is our example. Do we exude mercy and compassion? Do we have a merciful, compassionate, considerate, understanding aura around us that others want to come close to us because they realize that we get it from our closeness to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’la) and, in turn, they want what we have. That folks is living and breathing Da’wah. This was how our Prophet (Salah Allah Alayhe Wa Salam) was. Look at this beautiful hadith:
It was narrated from Asma bint Yazid that she heard the Messenger of Allah (Salah Allah Alayhe Wa Salam) say: “Shall I not tell you of the best of you?” They said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” He said: “The best of you are those who, when they are seen, Allah is remembered.”
Compare that to a person who whenever he is seen is angry, so much so that people fear being around him. Discomfort in his presence is the norm, because he has appointed himself as their “Raqeeb” —over seer—and forces them to do that which he believes Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’la) wants them to do. Rather than to guide them to love to do what Allah wants them to do with compassion and mercy. I think all of us have been around that person who constantly makes us feel uncomfortable when it comes to our Deen. Makes us feel negligible, inadequate, lacking, just not good enough Muslims.
Second step is to mentally rid ourselves of the idea that Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’la) is stalking us to instill fear in us. That He (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) is threatening us with punishment in everything that we do. That He hangs on every word. Hangs on every action. This is an illusion. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’la) does not treat us this way, so let’s not make false assumptions about Allah (Subhanhu Wa Ta’la). Look at what Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) tells us about Himself in this beautiful Hadith Qudsi:
On the authority of Anas (Radi Allahu Anhu), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (Salah Allah Alayhe Wa Salam) say: “Allah the Almighty said: ‘O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.’”
We shouldn’t have a phobia of making mistakes, because it is natural for us humans to err, and if we do make mistakes we should not despair. Can we strike that balance? This Ayah from the Qur’an should encourage us:
“Say: O My servants who have transgressed against their own souls, despair not of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an 39:53)
Even at times when we give up on ourselves Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) never gives up on us. Alhamdullilah that Allah is Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’la).
What else can we do? Well, third is to educate ourselves about Islam and realize the vastness of opinions regarding scores of matters. The more we learn, the more we will realize how little we actually know or even don’t know. Knowledge requires humility on our part. “Iqra” (Read) the first revealed word in the Qur’an is an action that requires us to bend our heads down in humility to a book because it knows more than us, foremost the Qur’an. If we approach learning with an arrogant attitude we will only confirm what we already know in which case we learn nothing, or argue against what we don’t know. In either case, we go back empty handed and hollow headed. Imam Al Shafi’i said:
“Knowledge is 3 Ashbar (i.e. kind of like levels), when you pass the first Shebr you become arrogant [i.e. the person feels he has ilm/knowledge], and whoever passes the second Shebr become humble [realizes, the path to ilm is long], and whoever passes the third Shebr is absolutely sure that he knows nothing.”
The fourth, is a piece of advice from the physician of the hearts Prophet Muhammad (Salah Allah Alayhe Wa Salam). If the Prophet came to heal our hardened hearts and resuscitate them with the Shariah of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) then he needs to be heard. He said, “Yasiru (simplify).” If he (Salah Allah Alayhe Wa Salam) was given the choice of one or two matters he would choose the easiest of the two, as long as it was not sinful to do so. But if it was sinful to do so, he would not approach it. There are so many instances to support this. Take for instance this hadith:
The Prophet (Salah Allah Alayhe Wa Salam) says, “If anyone of you feels drowsy while praying he should go to bed (sleep) till his slumber is over.”
The Prophet (Salaha) told one of his companions who was praying the whole night, “Offer prayers and also sleep at night, as your body has a right on you.”
Folks, if our Da’wah causes people to repel then it is counter-productive. Da’wah means “invitation”, so we can’t invite others and be bad hosts. O’ Allah make our objective in our dealings with others, and in your Da’wah, bring tranquility and comfort to others. Let the beauty of Islam flow through our actions. Make us among those who unite others and not divide them. Ameen.