By Michelle Al-Nasr (May 23, 1997)
I wonder how much we realize the impact that our actions may have on other people. Our actions are living proof of who we really are, what we really think and what we really believe…and by our actions we are either respected or disrespected. We often fail to realize how fragile that respect really is, and how long it took to build it. But in our arrogance and haughtiness we are sometimes blinded to the fact that it takes only a short time to crumble walls that stood for so long. The reason is because by our actions, our arrogance and disrespect for others, we end up tearing ourselves down, exposing ourselves for what is truly in our hearts and in the end we are the ones that end up the loser.
Some of us may feel that they have earned respect, but if one has earned respect, one must continue to act in ways that beckon people to continue that respect, otherwise brick by brick the wall will become weak, and will eventually become nothing more than dust. If we become so arrogant that we feel we have the right to talk rudely to our elders, whether they be male or female and be disrespectful to mothers and wives – the educators of our Ummah, then we must also be ready to suffer the loss of our own respect, the respect of others and the loss of our honor, as we are no longer worthy of such position and dignity.
If by helping others accomplish goals for the sake of Allah, we find ourselves throwing this help back in face of those that asked for it…we must be ready to lose that opportunity to ever again of being asked to help for the sake of Allah, and to lose the rewards that accompany it as well. Not only in regards to Islam have we lost a true blessing, but also we have acted in extremely bad taste. In ways that many disbelievers would abhor. We must realize that we are not indefensible, we are not invincible. We must also come to the realization that in this world there are many that would jump at the chance to earn more blessings and work for the sake of Allah..many that would never feel as arrogant as we did to throw it back in the face of those that asked for your help.
If we become so arrogant, so haughty that we feel we have the authority to question others iman (faith), we must be ready ourselves to be questioned, as it strongly says something about ourselves that we would have so much arrogance to judge other people levels of faith. For anyone to assume that they know whether one has high iman or low iman, is to commit shirk, as this knowledge is only with Allah (SWT).
The only way in which to repair the damage that has been done is to first repent to Allah (SWT) and then to ask forgiveness of the brothers and sisters that our actions have so negatively affected. And then the building must begin, but we must remember that because the damage that we have afflicted ourselves with, it will take much time to re-build our wall, our respect, our honor and our dignity. We must be sincere and change our ways of arrogance, humble ourselves and make du’a to Allah (SWT) for his help, for Only He (SWT) can truly help us.
We must never forget that respect is something that cannot be demanded and cannot be forced onto others. Respect is a luxury that not can afford. Respect can only be earned, and by our actions we either deserve it or don’t.