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Some Muslims’ Bad Behavior Makes Me Doubt Islam

Questioner

AR

Reply Date

May 16, 2017

Question

Assalamualaikum. I am 16 years old Muslim girl. I was diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and has been trying my best to overcome it for the past 2 years. Alhamdulillah I have felt better after some treatments. Right now, I am trying so hard to become a better person for Allah, that's why I want to learn more and more about Islam. But as I have been learning it, I often get confused. Sometimes, I heard people says things about how judgmental and close-minded and also how self-righteous Muslims are. I try hard to seek the evidence of how wrong that is, and Alhamdulillah my knowledge of Islam has broadened because of it. But it becomes scary when I eventually gets unsure, then my faith just goes away like that by a little. For example, I see a Muslim sister judging her other Muslim sister by the clothes she's wearing (she said it's not syar'i enough). This sister also had hurt the other sisters with her behavior like pointing out others' faults in front of many people while she's having an important position in my school's Islamic organization. The other time, many Muslims in my country acting very judgmental and hateful towards the non-believers or even to other Muslims who have thoughts different from them. I also have seen many of my Muslim friends being judgmental and hateful towards those people whom are gays or lesbians or people who suffer from mental disorders. Some Muslims here who are considered scholars also often talk about something I kind of doesn't agree with. For example, a sheikh said that we should focus on Al Quran and Al Hadits and other knowledge are not that important and should be put aside. I understand how important Al-Quran and Al-Hadith are, but he put it like it's a waste of time to learn about anything else and Allah will not be pleased by our effort of learning them (other bits of knowledge). These hateful scenes I've seen make me feel doubtful about Islam. I know we shouldn't judge Islam by Muslims because Islam is perfect while Muslims are not. But what am I supposed to do because I am still very sensitive about things. So I often judge things by my first impression, and because I am still in the stage of recovering, sometimes I still have some BPD symptoms like seeing things very black and white and also having a very unclear self-image. I am very afraid these treats of mine might get in the way of acknowledging Islam full-heartedly. I believe Islam is a blessing for the earth but when I see some Muslims bad behavior, I become to feel uncertain about it. More, when those bad behaving Muslims put Hadiths or Quran verses as the based for their hatred. I soon become so confused and my mind starts racing and I often get stress because, in such times, I totally cannot think clearly (more because sometimes my BPD symptoms still gets in the way). How do I prevent this from happening? How do I reassure myself that Islam is indeed, a beautiful religion when my mind constantly switch from "wow, Islam is so beautiful" to "I feel like I don't belong to Islam"? Please pray for me and help me up because I truly want to be a better Muslim who behave well sincerely from deep in my heart. Jazakumullah.

Counselor

Answer


Some Muslims' Bad Behavior Makes Me Doubt Islam

Answer:

As-Salamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatuh dear sister,

Ma sha’ Allah, you seem to be determined to do the right thing and follow the path of Islam in search of truth. Unfortunately, however, the influence of others makes this process difficult and at times causes you doubt Islam, too. Ma sha’ Allah, your intentions are good as you seek clarity and you are open to doing so. surely, Allah (swt) will reward you by your good intentions.

“The deeds are considered by the intentions, and a person will get the reward according to his intention…” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Unfortunately, the symptoms you experience as a result of your Borderline Disorder make things ever more confusing for you amidst the words and actions of others, leading you to experience feelings of doubts even more.

Let me begin by quoting your own words. “I know we shouldn’t judge Islam by Muslims because Islam is perfect while Muslims are not”. You have the answer right there, sister. Keeping hold of this very statement of belief will ensure that you remain firm on the correct path.

If we go back to what is written in the Qur’an and Sunnah, we can draw many lessons about how we can deal with such situations in a way that will be most pleasing to Allah (swt).

Remember, the judgments of others are completely irrelevant as it is only Allah’s (swt) judgment that will count when it really matters. You need to be firm in your remembrance of this and stand firm against being swayed by other’s judgments. Instead, leave that job to Allah (swt).

[They are] avid listeners to falsehood, devourers of [what is] unlawful. So if they come to you, [O Muhammad], judge between them or turn away from them. And if you turn away from them – never will they harm you at all. And if you judge, judge between them with justice. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly” (Qur’an, 5:42)

And

[Say], “Then is it other than Allah I should seek as judge while it is He who has revealed to you the Book explained in detail?” And those to whom We [previously] gave the Scripture know that it is sent down from your Lord in truth, so never be among the doubters. (Qur’an, 6:114)

Also, remember that Allah (swt) will be judging those who are being judged by others here or those who are passing judgment themselves by their faith and not by anything else. It is only Allah (swt) who can truly see into a person’s heart and truly judge a person’s level of faith.

“Allah does not look at your forms or your wealth, rather He looks at your deeds and your hearts.” (Ibn Majah)

What we see on the outside is not necessarily a good indicator of the person’s level of faith. However kind a person acts outwardly, however they look outwardly, or however religious they appear to act outwardly, only Allah (swt) knows what is really in their hearts. So, we are not in a position to judge.

Commonly, people will judge others negatively as a means to satisfy their own ego. By placing others on a lesser level than themselves, they make themselves feel more superior and confident in their own selves. Therefore, we should pray for the people who are judging others and backbiting that they will be content with themselves and their faith so that they will not feel the need to engage in such acts.

Furthermore, instead of focusing on the traits of others and judging them accordingly, we should focus our attention on how we will be judged by constantly seeking to improve our own character. This is something that we should all remember.

My advice to you is to not join in the mocking of others as backbiting is, indeed, a grave sin.

“O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers. O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful” (Qur’an, 49:11-12)

and

“O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful” (Qur’an, 49:6)

Instead, set a good example that others will desire to follow.

“And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.” (Qur’an, 41:34)

How can you do this’? If you feel confident enough, you may physically warn them against their behavior, by advising them. Otherwise simply say nothing and leave where they are engaging in such talk.

“If any one you sees something objectionable, he should change it with his hand if he can change it with his hand. (The narrator Hammad broke the rest of the tradition which was completed by Ibn al-‘Ala’.) But if he cannot (do so), he should do it with his tongue, and if he cannot (do so with) his tongue he should do it in his heart, that being the weakest form of faith. (Abi Dawud)

May Allah (swt) reward you for seeking ways to deal with a difficult situation. May He (swt) ease your difficulties with your BPD and make it easy for you to turn away from the bad actions of others and instead be a pillar of upright character that will influence others positively.

Salam,

***

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About Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)

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