Day in and day out you come across all sorts of people that have diverse backgrounds. Whether it be cultural or religious. You are greeted with unfamiliar faces and places many times. Is there any change however, that you have brought to that specific place or person? Or do you just shrug your shoulders and carry on with an attitude of “who cares.”
Muslim is not just a name tag; in fact it is a colossal responsibility that one bears on his shoulders. Is this the way of the prophet (PBUH)? Is this what he wanted for his nation, and generations to come, every individual for himself, an individualistic society?
Clearly it is the opposite. There are many negative emotions that plague the nation today. Such as the loss of empathy, and others like jealousy, pride and being too judgmental towards other human beings.
People over time have lost and are losing the characteristic of empathy. Empathy doesn’t mean that you look down upon someone or feel sorry for them. Empathy means to put yourself in that person’s shoe and feel what he/she is going through. Many people nowadays are out in the world fighting their own battle. The world can be a better place. Someone needs to take a first step. Why shouldn’t it be you?
As a Muslim, it is your duty to bring about a good change in your environment. Whether it be smiling at your co-worker or holding the door for someone at the grocery shop. We are the ones who should display great etiquettes.
“Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Ma‘roof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful” (Aal ‘Imraan 3:104)
Be the change
This responsibility starts with yourself. Correcting your behavior with first and foremost your family members. Then as the social circle grows wider with everyone that it engulfs. It is easier said than done. It requires a lot of selflessness and patience. At the same time the reward is great for committing such kind of acts. You have to be persistent in your work. Start small but be persistent as Allah (SWT) loves small deeds done on a regular basis.
It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“O people, you should do whatever good deeds you can, for Allaah does not get tired (of giving reward) until you get tired. And the most beloved of good deeds to Allaah is that in which a person persists, even if it is little. If the family of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) started to do something, they would persist in it.” (Al-Bukhaari, 43; Muslim, 782).
Another turmoil affecting the people today is that they judge others too hastily. Individuals have no problem with labeling and gossiping. It is easy as pie for one to criticize another person. For once let one pause for a moment and think of the punishment that he/she will go through for uttering such grievances. Also think of the nuisance and the negativity that one is spreading in the environment. Folks walk into a gathering and evaluate others by their appearance, not only that but we have also created social standards!
The Prophet (PBUH) was someone who dined with the poor and the rich in the same place at the same time. Allah (swt) says,
“And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not any arrogant boaster.” (31:18)
Pride is also a significant reason for dividing people. Pride is actually a characteristic of the devil. As it is pride that didn’t allow Satan to bow down to Adam since Adam was made from clay. Thinking of oneself better than others, one should not raise their head so high as not to see their path and end up tripping, or worse falling. There is nothing wrong with looking good or enjoying the pleasures of this life. If Allah (swt) has bestowed you with wealth then by all means you can enjoy it. At the same time you have to acknowledge that this gift is from Allah (swt) and this reassurance should make you humble.
It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“No one who has an atom’s-weight of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” A man said, “O Messenger of Allaah, what if a man likes his clothes and his shoes to look good?” He said, “Allah is Beautiful and loves beauty. Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.” (muslim)
Jealousy is a very serious disease. The reason for it being a disease is that if not taken care of properly, it expands to a level of devastating consequences. Think of it this way, life has many pleasures and one cannot have it all. Allah (swt) chooses for His servants what He wills. If you did not acquire something that your best friend has, be content. Allah (swt) is pleased with the person who is satisfied with what he has. Once you let Satan whisper to you and open that door of jealousy, you will be drowned with the desire of always wanting more. If a person is happy with what Allah (swt) has given him, then Allah (swt) will bestow His grateful servant with much more.
Reported by al-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awaam that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“There has come to you the disease of the nations before you, jealousy and hatred. This is the ‘shaver’ (destroyer); I do not say that it shaves hair, but that it shaves (destroys) faith. By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you of that which will strengthen love between you? Spread (the greeting of) salaam amongst yourselves.” (jaami al tirmidhi).
Practice, practice, and practice is what makes perfection. Start with yourself one task at a time and you will become a better person. The least that you will achieve is that you will endorse emotional stability which is very essential. Since it is emotions that rile a person up to make a difference. And once you gain that emotional stability, it will cause a ripple effect, then guess what, you are making the world a better place to live in.
“Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Ma‘roof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful.” (Aal ‘Imraan 3:104)
First published: April 2017