Once in America, a sister came to me. She was from oversees, not from America. She moved there.
She immigrated with her family.
And she told me “My son is doing all kinds of bad stuff. So I’ve decided to do one thing to fix this problem.”
I said “What?”
She said “Hijrah”
I said Hijrah like overseas?
She said “No, Hijrah from my son, this is mentioned in the classical books of Islamic law: to abandon a sinner”. So she said “I’m going to abandon him and I’m sure the society will re-enforce him insha’Allah to come back to being salih (good)”.
I said “Sister, where do you live?”
She said “I live in San Francisco”
I said “San Francisco is not going to re-enforce him to being salih, San Francisco is going to re-enforce the opposite”.
New Approach Needed
So we live in an age now where faith is not forced anymore. It’s just a reality. You don’t live in a compound. It’s not like 40 people and when somebody does something wrong it’s like everybody is upset with him. It’s just a reality of life.
Faith is negotiated now, and that’s why the `ulama and scholars and people involved in da`awah have to be extremely clever in using multimedia and all kinds of fascinations to get to the young people, not just “This is right, you got to do it”. It’s not like “you just do it” anymore. Now you have to be intelligent in your da`wah.
So I told her if you abandon your son, he is going to be lost. What he needs of you is to be a mother. Perform as a mother. Stand up and be a mom to him. So we live in an age now where we cannot abandon the sinner. We live in the age now where we have to reinforce them and strengthen them and help them in their relationship with Allah.
And that’s what the Prophet said:
“Give good news, don’t make people flee” (Al-Bukhari, 69)
But Shaytan “Satan” tricks the religious people. He hardens their hearts. He makes them judge, jury and imprison. So they think because I’m religious I have to be tough. Because I went to Azhar I have to be like a thorn. But Azhar means a rose not thorns.
How to deal with people, and you have to be careful young brothers and sisters when you feel that religious edge not to go back home and say “Mom and dad you are bid’ah, you know this all is haram”. And then you think “I did so much for Islam. My parents hate me, alhamdolellah! My brother won’t even listen to me anymore. All my best friends abandoned me. This is a sign I’m righteous.”
This is a sign you are fool!
The Prophet’s Example
Tofail ibn Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) from the Al-Daws tribe in Yemen to Makkah, and said:
“O Muhammad, I want to be Muslim”. He became Muslim. Then he went back to his village. He went to his father and said “O my father, may Allah curse you! I’m under the religion of Abraham and you are a polytheist. You are fools. Come back to Islam or you are not my father anymore.”
What do you think his father said? Do you think he said “Oh sure, great religion!”? No, his father told him “Are you crazy?” Then Tofail said the same thing to his mom, and she didn’t become a Muslim. Then he went to the whole village of Daws and told them the same thing, and not one person became Muslim. I wonder why?!
Then he went back to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and he said:
“O Messenger of Allah, make du`aa to Allah that He destroys all those people of Daws”. How many of you heard a du`aa of “O Allah destroy the kufars (disbelievers)?”.
But how many of you heard du`aa “O Allah guide the disbelievers to the right path?” What kind of Ummah have we become? We don’t even pray for non-Muslims any more. We pray “Stones on their homes, earthquakes, and floods” as though we are the weatherman or something!
But what did the Prophet (peace be upon him) say to Tofail when he asked him to make du`aa to Allah to destroy them? The Prophet said:
“Raise your hands with me Tofail” so Tofail raised his hands. Then the Prophet said:
“O Allah, have mercy on Al-Daws and guide them”, then he told him:
“Go back, and know that kindness whenever it touches something it beautifies it, and hardness whenever it touches something it defaces it.”
He went back, then the next time he came was to Madinah, and one of the people who became Muslim through him, out of a lot of the people from that area because of his new upgrade if you will, was someone named Abu Hurairah. Abu hurairah came from these people.
Kindness, helping the people, realizing that young brothers and sisters nowadays is hard, mainly with all this pornification of the society.
When I was a little kid in America, you couldn’t get porn. I would be on my way from school and there would be like a group of boys behind me, like a seven of them, and in a low voice they say to me “Come here and check this” as if it’s Wikileaks! “Don’t tell anyone, right?” And I would say “Oh I’m not going to look at that, my mom is going to kill me”, and then “Wait a minute”, and I take a sneak peek of the photo and then say “Flip the page, flip the page!”. But now you have the pornification of the world through the internet.
Be Kind and Patient
People are in need of help, not condemnation. They need help and assistance. So the Prophet (peace be upon him) would raise the people. In Sahih Al-Bukhari, when a drunk man got drunk the first place he went into was to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the Masjid. He didn’t only came to the masjid, but came to the Prophet (peace be upon him).
In America, I can speak on behalf of America, in most communities except a few, the last place when young Muslims who have problems go to is the Masjid. Why? Because they don’t feel comfortable. The Prophet was honest and trusted before he was a Prophet, but we want to have religious authority without earning the trust of the people. Whereas the Prophet earned the trust of the people then he was given the religious authority by them, he didn’t have to demand it.
So this man is drunk. The first place he comes to is the mosque. He doesn’t ask for Abu Bakr or Umar. He asks for the Prophet (peace be upon him). That is the relationship the Prophet (peace be upon him) had with uplifting the people.
So where does repentance start? After the community we have the responsibility to try to address the problems of young people not just through the Imams, but through psychology, through medicine, through science and through the community, not just one person. People in America come to me in my office and say “You know, my friends block me on twitter”, and I’d say “I didn’t go to Al-Azhar for that, I don’t know about blocking folks on twitter bro. Go ask someone else”.
And we have to respect the concept of takhasusat (specializations); different professions and utilizing them to help the young people in our community, and what they are exposed to. That you live in an age where doing haram (bad things) has izza (support) that didn’t exist before. This is something that we should consider.
So number one, where does Tawbah (repentance) start? Allah Almighty in Surat Al-Tawbah says “Indeed Allah has turned to the believers”, then in the next verse at the top of the next page “Allah turned to them so they can turn to Him”. Scholars said something here incredible: they said “Repentance starts with Allah, that when Allah Almighty turns to the person’s hearts, they will feel within themselves the sense of repentance (turning to Him, turning back to Allah Almighty).
So number one, if you feel the sense of grief and sadness know this is from Allah…