By Shariffa Carlo- A revert Muslim Sister
Imagine this scenario, a young girl makes the difficult decision to put on the face veil. She is well aware of the fact that it is a sunnah, but she decides it is a sunnah she wants to practice. She bravely covers her face and goes out for the first time. Her biggest concern is the reactions of the non-believers. Will they taunt her? Will they cause her problems? She enters a supermarket, and the cashier is actually quite friendly, questioning her about her deen, learning something about Islam that she did not know before. As a result, the girl actually gains confidence, seeing that she has been so well received. She is about to leave when a Muslim comes to her. The Muslim gives her the greeting of Peace, and proceeds to destroy her peace. He tells her, “Sister, you don’t have to do this. We are not in a Muslim country and this is not mandatory upon you. Actually, you give Muslims a bad name by wearing that. You make women look oppressed.” The girl is shattered.
Now, this is a scene that plays itself out in many ways on a daily basis. Sometimes it is lesser and sometimes greater. Sometimes, the person outright denys that the practice is even from Islam. Regardless of the shape it takes, it all leads to one thing: we have begun to prevent each other from good deeds. We are getting equal to or close to in evil as the one who Allah describes in surat Al Alaq::
Have you seen him who dissuades a slave when he prays Have you considered if he were on the right way, Or enjoins righteousness? Do you see if he denies (Truth) and turns away? Does he not know that Allah does see? Let him beware! If he desists not, We will drag him by the forelock, a lying, sinful forelock! Then let him call upon his henchmen! We will call the guards of hell. Nay, Obey not thou him. But prostrate thyself, and draw near (unto Allah). 96:9-19
Those who deny the validity of such practices as face veil are like the Christians and Jews about whom Allah says:
There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues: (As they read) you would think it is a part of the Book, but it is no part of the Book; and they say, “That is from Allah,” but it is not from Allah: It is they who tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it! 3:78
For them and those who are like them, Allah promised:
If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost. 3:85
The attack from these “Muslims” comes in many forms, the most common one these days is the assertation that this was a pre-Islamic custom, and it is not a part of Islam. For these people, I say, “There are many parts of Islam that existed prior to Islam, but Islam modified them/perfected them. Among these acts were polygny and even hajj. We know that polygyny is attacked today on the same basis, will we become so lost that we will also deny hajj?”
As Muslims, we are supposed to be helping one another to do good, not calling one another away from the acts that make us closer to Allah.
Verily Man is in loss, Except those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience. 103:2-3
They believe in Allah and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous. 3:114
Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity.3:104
I searched very deeply, trying to find one example of a Muslim who tried to keep another Muslim from doing good. I could not find any. Alhamdulillah, Allah prevented our noble companions from such outright disregard for His deen. I found companions advising each other to do more, and I found those who prevented severe excessiveness, like fasting constantly or denying oneself all halal relations with women or preventing oneself from sleep by praying all the night. They were all advised to be more moderate.
But, we know that the majority of the women wore face veils, there was never a single example of someone telling a woman she should avoid this practice because it is something extreme or demeaning.
Today we see that dissuading each other from goodness is common. Other practices which Muslims try to dissuade each other from are polygyny, praying the night prayers and even jihad. All of these are either “not for our times” or “extreme” or “bad dawaah – they prevent people from accepting Islam” Allah forgive us for such misguided attitudes. We were warned that we would be like the Jews and the Christians picking and choosing from our deen, that which suited our desires. Brothers and sisters, it would appear that we have arrived.
Our children are telling us we should be more tolerate of other beliefs, because all roads lead to Rome. Our brothers and sisters are telling us we should avoid certain sunnahs because they “don’t give the right image”. What is the right image? A mirror of Christianity??? Islam is what it is. We do not need to hide our beliefs or practices because it might offend someone. Brother. Sisiter. Make your primary concern offending Allah and leave the guidance to Him. If someone will deny Islam because it says that a woman is encouraged to cover her face, then that person is denying the Lordship of Allah and even if he/she accepted Islam, would be committing shirk in this belief. I have seen it happen. A woman accepted Islam being told that polygyny is not something we can or should practice today. This woman told me polygyny was “disgusting and repulsive”. I blame not her, but the “Muslim” who taught her.
Allah made this a practice in Islam. Does Allah recommend disgusting, repulsive behavior????? Authu billah! Allah made polygyny acceptable and even recommended in Islam. Allah made jihad FARD! Who are we to deny it or even try to suger-coat it. This is Islam. We either accept it, or deal with the wrath of Allah for trying to make Islam what we want it to be, not what Allah and His prophet brought to us.
It is amazing when we think about the practices of Islam and our current situation as Muslims trying to practice it. Our greatest challenge comes not from the non-believers. They do their part to hurt us, but we are hurt more by our own people. A Muslim woman in a Muslim country can not have a driver’s license with her face covered. In America, she can. A Muslim who practices polygyny has to hide it from the Western government and some Muslims as well, because they will cause him troubles. There are even Masjids where the imams refuse to marry someone Islamiclly in polygynist marriages, something which is not even illegal! Subhanallah! Kafir churches are marrying men to men and women to women, and we are afraid or ashamed to marry our brothers and sisters in halal marriages! How low we have fallen, where gays are braver about declaring their beliefs than we are.
The Muslim who, in this time, tries to practice his religion is condemned by the Muslim who wants to hide or deny basic tenets of the belief. The prophesy of our beloved Prophet has come to pass:
Narrated AbuHurayrah: The Messenger of Allah (peace?be?upon?him) said: Islam initiated as something strange, and it would revert to its (old position) of being strange, so good tidings for the strangers. Sahih Muslim: Book 1, Number 0270:.
May Allah make me of the strangers.
Additionally, we have degenerated to the extent we even mock each other for our good deeds. We call our women ninjas or penguins. We laugh at the man with a long beard or a short thob. Allah said:
O you who believe! let not (one) people laugh at (another) people perchance they may be better than they, nor let women (laugh) at (other) women, perchance they may be better than they; and do not find fault with your own people nor call one another by nicknames; evil is a bad name after faith, and whoever does not turn, these it is that are the unjust. 49:11
I have written this class today, because I see too many examples of the Muslim being told by other Muslims to “tone-down” his/her deen. I have been attacked by “Muslim” women who are angered by the fact that I cover. This is something that I will never understand. It is not her face or usually even body that is covered, so why does it make her so angry to see me obeying Allah, trying to please Allah? I have seen men and women who practice polygyny cursed or exiled by the Muslim communities. Too often, the woman is treated like a leper or worse – an adulteress. I often wonder if she had committed adultery, would the community be quicker to forgive her? They do it in the name of “friendship” or “solidarity” for the poor oppressed sister who was the first wife. Or even worse, they do it to “show” their husbands what will happen if he were to decide to take another wife.
I have seen Muslims reported their country for even thinking about making jihad. I personally know of a case where a foreign embassy called a masjid and asked the imam to talk a young man out of going to jihad, even though the man had permission and even backing from his family to go.
What has happened to our deen? What has happened to our faith? What has happened to our belief that Allah Knows Best? Has it become Allah Knows Best, as long as it agrees with modern or Western values? Or maybe Allah Knows Best, but lets hide the truth until we have “trapped” the people into Islam, then spring it on them??? What has happened to us????
There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in the Shaitan and believes in Allah he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which shall not break off, and Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. 2:265
Here, I will use this verse in the most extreme of evil examples of our behaviour. It is not what was intended by the verse, but it shows the depths to which we have fallen as Muslims. Let us not force one another to avoid a good deed because we do not want to practice it. Let us instead either enjoin the good or remain silent.
Allah make us all hold tight this precious gift, al Islam. Ya Allah guard our tongues, our hands and our hearts! Ya Allah guide us! Ya Allah guide us! Ya Allah guide us! Ameen.