It has become a norm on any media and more so on social media to denigrate Muslims as a community for their backwardness in the educational, economical, social, political, and moral arena. Surprisingly it is normalin the discussions within the community, friends, and family circles as well. Invariably a majority of the parents seem to acknowledge the backwardness of their wards due to teachers, friends circle, and relation circles. Every other person seems to have concluded that the community has by far reached thelowest point of noreturn and self-destruction is the only possible outcome anticipated. Recently a forwarded message about some action by a Muslim was in circulation and it was surprising to see another reply to the forward quoted Muslims are good at ‘Marriage’, ‘Garage’, ‘Garbage’,
If the content and context of the discussion are so shrill that none of the young and old can escape unaffected. It reminds me of the famous line of Allama Iqbal
“Barbaadgulistankarne ko bas ek hi ullukafitha”
“Har shāh pe ullūbaithāhaianjām-e-gulistāñkyāhogā”
What does the creator of the universe have to say? Allah (SWT) says “I (SWT), swear by the time, Man is in the state of loss indeed” (Surah Asr, V1-2). Every person walking on the face of the earth is at loss and by no means are Muslims an exception except those that have adhered to the right path as ordained. Life is a struggle to make the good out of the available resources that are acceptable to the pleasure of Allah (SWT). Unfortunately, the criteria for loss and gain, success and failure have been revised to the standards devised by humans.
An Allah (SWT) fearing and Prophet (SAW) following Muslim cannot be a failure either here or in the hereafter. It is not a cliché that is uttered casually, but a society of performers, achievers, and givers hasalready set a standard for its followers till the last day. The “Haq” referred to in the same Surah is absolute truth coming from Allah (SWT), which needs to be adhered to by submitting willingly and unquestionably.
The normal course of discussions is having an unprecedented effect on the morale and mindset of the community. Infact in the current context,the discussions need to be flipped to encouraging, supporting, and compassionate. The demand from the scholarly classis very high and restricted to just passing discouraging and de-motivating remarks. Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (SAW) said, “Whoever believes in Allah (SWT) and the Last Day, should not hurt his neighbor and whoever believes in Allah (SWT) and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously and whoever believes in Allah (SWT) and the Last Day, should speak what is good or keep silent.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book 78, #6136).
“You cannot please everyone, so try pleasing the only one. Then you see, he will fix everything for you”
Our discussions at home, workplace, schools, mosques, and other meeting places while dealing with children or elders, women or men need to be of respect, gratitude, and encouragement. Unless we see each other with love and affection we cannot have a society of mutual respect. Further, if we refrain from being courteous within the community then expecting from others is a tall ask. The bias has to be fixed first and then expect from others.
The act of an individual is an outcome of many influencing parameters. A recent behaviourial sciences study reveals that “behavior is not the individual”. It means actions and individuals are different entities. Therefore there is ample scope to change the behavior by changing the words, thoughts, and perceptions. Indeed this is precisely why the Allah (SWT) also promises to pardon misconduct of his supreme creation ‘human being’, to err is its nature. However,individuals need to be aware and realizethe wrong, seek pardon, and promise.
O, refrain from misconduct in the future. The best example is that of Adam and Hawa (PBUT).
However, Muslims tend to follow the sunnah of their own which is contrary to Allah’s (SWT), expectation of overlooking the shortcoming by practicing LA-nothingness instead of carrying opinion, judgment, and complaints as the core in dealing with others.
Let us take an example of irregular instudying as an act seen from different levels
You tend to take it easy on studies whenever your cousins visit us (Environment)
You tend to take it easy on studies when exams are not around (Behaviour)
You are not using discipline and consistency to perform at your best (Capabilities)
I believe that you cannot do well in the exam at this rate (Values & Beliefs)
You will never do well in studies (Identity)
You are fit for garage work and likes (Purpose)
The above statements are quite common in use in many homes. But each of them will have a different impact on the takers. The sentence aligned to the lower level of the pyramid has a lesser impact on the psyche of the person. Unfortunately, it is observed that the informal conversation in our daily usage point to higher levels. Perhaps it would not be an exaggeration that most of the utterances are aligned at the ‘identity’ level. These constant bombardments of substandard utterances get deep into the unconscious mind and the individual may play to acquired self-Image and reinforced belief.
Evaluate every word that isutteredintentionally or unintentionally. Perhaps all said and done there is going to be no externality that will set the condition right. Allah’s (SWT) support is conditional as said“Verily, Allah (SWT) will not change the condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah (SWT)” (Surah Ar-Ra’d V-11)
Famous quote by M K Gandhi
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
We are not a set of headless chickens but are humans being guided by the book of Allah (SWT), “We said: “Get down all of you from this place (the Paradise), then whenever there comes to you Guidance from Me, and whoever follows My Guidance, there shall be no fear on them, nor shall they grieve” (Surah Baqarah, V-38). It is not unusual that there will be challenges and hardship on our way to success “Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested (Surah Al Ankabut V-2)
Hazrath Ali (RA) says “Three things cannot be retrieved: The arrow once sped from the bow,the words spoken in a haste, the missed opportunity.”
Will it not be good that we as a community bring compassion and respect in our conversations? For this to become the norm it is we who will have to be standard bearers and initiators. Let us for a change be torch bearers of the change we want to see by being a player and not just being a commentator in the commentary box.
dil se jo baatnikaltīhaiasarrakhtīhai
(by Allama Iqbal)