Am I Becoming Extreme by Avoiding Doubtful Matters?

06 October, 2020
Q A.O.A

As you know quarantine is going on. I decided to make it useful and spend more time on my religion and make the best of the holidays. I started watching religious lectures and followed pages on instagram.

It was great to have these lovely dua's and hadith on my instagram and I found it really lovely but after a few days things changed. Suddenly my page was filled with everything becoming haram rather than the same motivational posts and duas. My page was filled with controversial issues.

According to these pages chess was haram so I avoided it since there is an authentic hadith that tells you to avoid doubtful matters/grey areas. Then it was said that drawing living beings was haram so I left that to avoid doubtful matters.

Sometimes posts about photography being prohibited also came which almost gave me a heart attack. Then movies became haram and reading novels was something discouraged. Finally, showing one's face became haram.

In short, I was getting into controversial issues whether I liked it or not. Which made me research relentlessly.Then the most controversial issue came up about music being haram. Some scholars said that even singing without instruments was not allowed.

I don't listen to music a lot but the thing is I can't avoid music. Even the news has music in the background.

I am so stressed, I don't know what to do? Should I stop using social media because it has music? Should I stop watching t.v? My heart even says that music is allowed due to the fact that the Prophet (S.A.W) allowed young girls to beat the duff and sing on Eid.

I am so stressed, I can't avoid this doubtful matter even if I want to. If I go with those prominent scholars that any music and use of musical instruments is allowed, will I be committing a sin?

I just don't know what to do. I feel like crying. I stay up at night thinking about it. Please advise me on how to deal with doubtful matters like these and how to deal with religious OCD. I feel like I'm becoming an extremist.

Answer


In this counseling session:

  • Sometimes there is a tendency to exacerbate what is right and wrong in the religion to the point that it is difficult to be alive without feeling suppressed or even oppressed.
  • Also, what you have mentioned about religious OCD is quite on point. Because sometimes, the portrayal of Allah SWT and our religion is based so much on fear that one starts to feel guilty about each and everything. 
  • I personally believe in moderation in everything. This is also what our Prophet Muhammad Sallahu Alaiyhi Wassalam has taught us.
  • Islam does not teach us to isolate ourselves from the world but rather be a part of this world; and enjoy the gifts Allah SWT has bestowed on us, within the prescribed limits.
  • We are living in an era of Fitnah – where people have different opinions and everyone thinks that their opinion, values and faith is the right one. Therefore, it is essential to constantly ask Allah SWT for His help and guidance.

Assalam u Alaikum Sister, 

Thank you for reaching out.

Your questions and concerns are absolutely genuine and valid. Sometimes there is a tendency to exacerbate what is right and wrong in the religion. To the point that it is difficult to be alive without feeling suppressed or even oppressed.

Also, what you have mentioned about religious OCD is quite on point. Because sometimes, the portrayal of Allah SWT and our religion is based so much on fear that one starts to feel guilty about each and everything. 

Am I Becoming Extreme by Avoiding Doubtful Matters? - About Islam

I personally believe in moderation in everything. This is also what our Prophet Muhammad Sallahu Alaiyhi Wassalam has taught us. Islam does not teach us to isolate ourselves from the world but rather be a part of this world; and enjoy the gifts Allah SWT has bestowed on us, within the prescribed limits.

One of the main reason why the youth is deviating from the religion so much can also be attributed to the fear of punishment. That is spread by some scholars, which makes the people run away from understanding the true nature and purpose of Islam. 

In the Quran, Allah SWT says, 

And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you. And We did not make the qiblah which you used to face except that We might make evident who would follow the Messenger from who would turn back on his heels. And indeed, it is difficult except for those whom Allah has guided. And never would Allah have caused you to lose your faith. Indeed Allah is, to the people, Kind and Merciful. [2: 143]

Islam is a Religion of Peace

Islam is a religion of peace and love. Many religious scholars tend to portray and spread Islam as a religion that is based on fear. That is, one begins to feel a constant state of guilt for not doing something a certain way; or doing something differently.

Allah SWT is Great, He is Benevolent and Merciful. As you begin to see Islam as a religion of peace and love rather than that of fear and control – you automatically become more attuned to the beauty of the religion. Rather than being obsessive with the constant guilt and fear that comes from doing something sinful. 


Check out this counseling video:


Distinguishing Taqwa and Sin



Sister, when talking about religion extremism, I feel it is also important to distinguish between what is Taqwa (piety) versus what is a sin. For instance, for some people, listening to a song (not vulgar) could be a sin. While for others it could simply be something not very pious, but rather something neutral instead of something sinful. 

Allah SWT has prescribed limits in everything and the Quran clearly mentions all the limits which Allah SWT has set for us. There are books of Ahadith that illustrate the life of Prophet Muhammad Sallahu Alaihi Wassalam and his sayings. It is best to gather your knowledge from the direct sources and form your own beliefs from these sources.   

Remembrance Of Allah SWT is Vital

The reason why Islam prohibits music, movies, and pictures and so on – is that one can get so invested in them that they forget their true purpose of being in this world – which is to remember Allah SWT and to worship Him. Similarly, statues and drawing faces is also prohibited as people in the earlier generations started worshipping idols and statues. 

A lot of television shows and movies actively promote vulgarity and nudity – which can drive a person towards sins and take them away from the true purpose of life.

However, not all TV shows or music falls in this category. In today’s world where media has become an important part of information, knowledge and survival – it is impossible to avoid it all together; and neither is it necessary to cut it out from your life to remain a good, practicing Muslim. 

Understanding And Fulfilling The Five Pillars of Islam

Islam as a religion constitutes many things, but the most basic and most important ones are the five pillars. Namely Shahdah (Faith), Prayer, Alms, Fasting and Pilgrimage. Fulfilling these pillars of Islam, will not only make you a good practicing muslim, but it will also enable you to be a part of a muslim community.

For instance, praying and giving charity are some of the basic ways in which you are able to further spread and extend your faith to others in the community.  

Asking Allah SWT For Help And Guidance 

These are no doubt testing times. We are living in an era of Fitnah – where people have different opinions and everyone thinks that their opinion, values and faith is the right one. Therefore, it is essential to constantly ask Allah SWT for His help and guidance.

Pray to Him to make you among the righteous ones who He shows the straight path and does not lead astray. May Allah SWT accept all our efforts towards our Deen.  Ameen.

Salam,

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Zainab Farrukh
Zainab Farrukh is a Counseling Psychologist. She is deeply inspired to bring about change at the individual, interpersonal and global levels.  She can be reached on her Facebook page – Thrive Now