Letter To 14-year Old Me

Bismillaahirrahmaanirrahiim…

Assalaamu’alaikum Wr. Wbt.

If you’ve a chance to send a letter to yourself, when and what would it be? For me, I chose when I was 14 because that’s when I started to be fully responsible for my deeds – baligh (I know I know. I’m a late bloomer). 14 – when friends are most important, hormones are raging, people’s judgments are your “mirror”, dunya over Deen (religion), etc.


Dear 14-year old Shikin,

Life is short, so live it right because there’s a permanent life after death. Death doesn’t come at old age only. Angel of death can visit you anytime. So be wary of your intentions and actions because you’ve fully accountable for your own deeds now.

Mama and Abah have given you the proper education and religion to prepare you for this life and the hereafter. Mama and Abah may put you into a secular school but it’s because they had no choice. They tried. Allah SWT knows they have given their best, it’s up to you to do the rest. It’s up to you to seek knowledge about your own religion. You’re not too young, it’s your responsibility now.

Friends and peer pressure are what you should be concerned the most now. At this age, you’re easily swayed. Your Imaan (faith) goes up and down as fast as the waves in the sea changes its form. When you see your friends are better off than you, you would want to be as good as them. When they have branded school bags, you’d be influenced to own one too. When they have pretty straight hair, you’d go to the extent of waking up earlier for school just to straighten it when in fact that’s not your natural.

Having boyfriend at your age is a reassurance of your value. If you don’t have one, you’re not as valuable as the other female friends of yours. Know that you’re able to choose anyone, not because you’re a gem, but because the guys too, they want to feel valued. You can be a Queen Bee, but if all the guys have a taste of you, what will you be left to save your dignity? How are you going to face your future husband?

Trends shouldn’t be a reflection of who you should be. When you look into the mirror, are you, you or are you a victim of trend? Know that trend is one of the most dangerous aspects of everyone’s life because it can turn you into someone materialistic without you realising. When you come to a point where you have no money left to buy those in-trend stuff and you had to work for it, you’ll realise that you’ve become an addict. Are you a slave of trend or are you a slave of Allah SWT?

Mama and Abah. Do not neglect them. At your age, it’s easy to overlook their feelings. Just by saying “tsk” can hurt them so badly. I know friends are important, but family can never be compared to them. You should know your priority. Who brought you up? Who wakes up in the middle of the night and pray for you? Who gives you pocket money?

Religion may not be the most important part of your life at this age. But like I’ve said earlier on, Angel of death will visit you anytime. When it comes, it’s too late. Your book of deeds is as clean as a white cloth now. How are you going to compose your book of deeds? On Judgment Day, you’ll be accountable for your own book and your friends will be accountable for theirs. If anything goes wrong, you can’t point your fingers on them because you chose to be with them.

It’s a challenging stage of life for you. But know that Allah SWT is always there for you when all of your friends go against you. Allah SWT is always there for you when you feel down. You don’t need a boyfriend to cheer you up cz he can only cheer you up when he’s there with you. When he’s not, you’ll be crying yourself to sleep. Be happy genuinely because you know Allah SWT will always protect you.

I understand it’s difficult to resist your teenage desires. But I assure you that you won’t regret it when you grow up or when you enter heaven, InsyaAllah. Busy yourself with what Allah SWT wants from you. Choose your friends wisely. Choose those who can bring you closer to Allah SWT. Make Rasulullah SAW your only “boyfriend”. He will teach you everything that you need to live in this life and please keep yearning to meet him in heaven. When you see all your friends succumbing their lives to trends, feel liberated because you’re free from this evil system of life. Be nice to your elderly because they’re getting older. Be a gem in the society. It’s rare to see people of your age contributing back to the society where in actual fact, society needs strong, enthusiastic and committed people like you.

Don’t worry, Shikin. It’s okay to make mistakes along the way. It’s okay to feel left out by other teenagers because wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it and right is right, even if no one is doing it. Be a righteous person and be a servant of Allah SWT. In the end, you’re only concern of what Allah SWT thinks of you because He’s the One who will reward you in the Hereafter.

WAllahualam.

Love,

24-year old Shikin


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Do You Need To Be A Sufi or Salafi To Enter Jannah?

Bismillaahirrahmaanirrahiim…
Assalaamu’alaikum Wr. Wbt.

I’ll try to be as objective as possible but I’m sorry if there’s any emotion involved.

Just 2 years ago, I hijrah-ed for Allah SWT. As I was being brought up in a secular education, I began to realise how ugly this dunya is. When I began to get involved in the Muslim community, I realised that it is even much uglier here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone, just a few who spoil the whole image of Islam.

When I first took the leap of faith of letting go my desires, I didn’t know much about these labels that people put on others. But I start to see it only after I got to know my husband, who’s heavily involved in the Muslim community since he’s an Ustaz. One of the first questions he asked me before we were married, “People call me a Wahabi. Are you still okay with it?”. I didn’t know the intensity of this labelling, and of cz I said yes. Don’t get me wrong, even if I knew how intense it was to be getting married to a “Wahabi”, I’ll still say yes. And now I know how ugly these labels are, I began to realise that it is extremely sad that my husband had to post me that question.

WE NEED TO STOP THIS AT ONCE.

I’ve always wanted to write about this but after attending Prof. Dr. Khazer al-Majali class on Da’wah and the Spreading of Islam, it motivated me to go ahead with this post. Although I hope every Muslim in this world would read this post so that we could unite as one Ummah, I know it’s impossible. So to you who are reading this, if you’re in any of this group or you’re the type of person who likes to put a label on someone else, I hope it would change you. And those who are satisfied with the title ‘Muslim’, let’s keep it that way and let’s do all we can to unite this Ummah, InsyaAllah.

First, let’s not dwell too much into Wahabism because neither me nor my husband has ever quote any of Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab’s sayings. Wahabi is a label that people put on others because their practices or ideas go against the mainstream. For example, weak and fabricated ahadith are widespread, and many thought that those ahadith are actually authentic because those ahadith have been practised even by our forefathers. So when people like my husband who specializes in Hadith say that the hadith is actually a weak or fabricated one and it cannot be related to our dear Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu’alaihiwassallam, people will start labeling him as khawarij and hence a Wahabi.

This is sad and extremely dangerous! This shows that our community is a community that cannot accept advices and changes. Just because our forefathers did it, doesn’t mean it’s true! Isn’t the Quran sufficient in proving to us that what our forefathers did may not be the truth? And why instead of working with a Master in Hadith to authenticate our practises, we’re going against them? And more often than not, the topic on hadith is the main reason for disparity in Ummah.

“Whoever tells a lie against me (Muhammad) then (surely) let him occupy his seat in Hell-fire.” [Bukhari]

No, this is not a post to defend my husband and his type alike. This is about being fair towards others. Why is it we can accept that professions like being a doctor, engineer, designer, etc, have their own specialization? But why is when it comes to religion, everyone has a say in it? If you’ve a toothache, you won’t be going to an engineer to fix it! Just because you’re a Muslim, doesn’t mean you have the right to say something that you have very limited knowledge on. And sometimes, what you try to defend with your own ijtihad (independent reasoning), it takes years for a scholar to come to a conclusion to!

Know that syaitan doesn’t want you to be a disbeliever, but he wants you to do things against Allah SWT commandments. And syaitan is happy when he sees Ummah Muhammad SAW fighting amongst each other!

More often than not, we claim that we are turning to Allah SWT, but in actuality we are turning to our own agenda. What will we get if we win in a certain discourse? Pride? Arrogance?

“No one who has an atom’s-weight of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” [Muslim]

Although at times I wouldn’t rule out the fact that we do start with a pure intention to acknowledge the shortcoming of our brothers and sisters. But when things became heated, we became aggressive by shoving down their throat with what we believe as true which will then lead to arguments and hence hatred amongst each other. This has lots of repercussions and one of it that I’ve witnessed for myself is that people start creating troll accounts on facebook to bring the other party down. That’s not how Muslims should treat one another!

There was once on facebook, someone tried to advice nicely by saying “bro,….” to a group of people for doing something that has huge khilaf (difference in opinion), a popular Shaykh in Singapore commented back to him and said “I’m not your bro.”. Astarghfirullahal’adzeem. Me, as an outsider witnessing this, has totally lost respect for this Shaykh the moment he said that because it just shows that he can’t accept advices from others who are not within his group.

There are really lots of challenges within our Muslim community. People will always find fault in your practices! It’s either you’re not Sufi/Salafi enough to call yourself a Sufi/Salafi. Or you’re an extreme Sufi/Salafi. Even within the same group they are lots of disagreement!

So what can we do to reconcile Muslims? And do you really need to be a Sufi or a Salafi or even a Wahabi to enter Jannah?

First and foremost, lets look into this ayah:

“O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him].” (al ‘imran:102)

Allah SWT says that “do not die except as Muslims”. He did not say die except as Sufis or Salafis or Ikhwans, etc.

But having said that, do not be alone in your journey of being a servant of Allah SWT. Be brothers and sisters. We have to work together. When someone is missing, we should feel their absence.

“The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.” [Sahih Bukhari and Muslim]

It’s fine if you’re happy being seen as a Sufi, Salafi or any other groups. But we shouldn’t compete with the other groups! We must go together in parallel. For example, generally Salafi does not believe in elections, but in other areas, we should reconcile.

What is of utmost importance is that, we should not convince others that our group is the best. Instead, we should convince ourselves that your group completes the other group, and vice versa.

A real life example that Dr. Khazer gave was Ala’ Maududi, who is a great Islamic scholar, who is also an Ikhwani. Although he is an Ikhwani, he acknowledges that Tabligh completes them because Ikhwan does not go to homes to perform da’wah.

Another example that is apparent amongst the Sufi and Salafi is that generally in Sufism, they are very focused on creating a community that is peaceful, well-mannered, unity, etc. Whereas generally in Salafism, they are very knowledgeable, able to give evidences that are accurate, etc.

Why can’t we work together and meet mid-way? As long as the other group’s practices do not go against ‘Aqeedah (Islamic creed), then why should we fight? If it’s Fiqh (legal jurisprudence) that we’re fighting over, then we should know that Islam is flexible and it allows some differences in opinion as long as it does not go against the main tenets that are agreed upon in the acceptance of independent reasoning (Ijtihad) or a collaborative effort (Ijtihad Jama’ie).

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What is paramount is knowledge and action. But having knowledge itself isn’t sufficient. Understanding what we learn is important. I just got to know this concept from my brother-in-law, and my husband explains it to me: Sunnah is spirit and form. Spirit is the spirit of the Sunnah itself and form is the action. It must go together. If you focus on the spirit and less on the form (the way it was done by Rasulullah SAW), that’s when a lot of bid’ah (innovation in ‘ibadah) happens. Conversely, if you focus on the form and less on the spirit, then the sweetness of performing the Sunnah has gone. For example, just yesterday I prayed beside a lady whom I believe she knows the Prophetic way of praying. She opens her leg wide and she stepped on my smallest toe so there’s no gap between us. Her intention might be right, but she made me feel uncomfortable throughout the whole time we were praying. Right after prayer, she didn’t say her salam to me and just walked off to the other side of the prayer hall. This is an example of putting importance on form but none on spirit. And this is also an example of having knowledge and action, but lacks completely on the understanding of the knowledge.

Just a bit of a disclaimer. I’m not an Ustazah and this is just my point of view from a layman who saw all these ugly factors in the Muslim community. I just wish for unity in our community. It’s okay to have differences, but it’s not okay to have disputes and disagreements because the latter can (and already is) bring great detrimental effects. That’s what the enemies of Islam want to see. They want to see us weak. They know if we come together as one united Ummah, we will come out so strong, that we are invincible. Because history has shown how strong Islam can be and Islam almost conquer the whole world.

While seeking knowledge, we should keep in mind that although we, humans, are the best creations yet we are made of weaknesses and defects. Hence, we make mistakes. Even our mum, dad, teachers and Syaikhs make mistakes. No one can escape from that. That is why it is important for us to respect them but at the same time, we shouldn’t glorify them till we regard them as people who are sinless. We need to be just in our judgments and that can only happen through our sincerity to know the truth.

No doubt putting aside our differences isn’t easy. It’s difficult. But at times. we just have to let go of our ego and set our priority right. If the person whom we want to advice, can’t accept our advice now, then do it again when the time is right. In the end, it’s Allah SWT who will allow the person to understand. We do our best and let Allah SWT do the rest. Tawakal; put your faith in Allah SWT.

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Most of the time we see disputes or disagreements happen on Facebook. So here are some tips to avoid them:
1. Recheck your intention. Are you sincere in giving advice or do you have your own agenda?
2. If it’s a sensitive topic, have you gotten your resources from a trusted source? Do you have deep understanding of the topic?
3. Evaluate your post again before submitting. Check that the words you use are not hurtful.
4. Are you able to accept other’s comments if it turns out that the commenter’s argument is stronger and more accurate than yours?
5. Do not reply any comment promptly. Take your time to think, get all the right data and put it nicely together. Avoid personal attack and digressing away from the topic. If the commenter diverts, bring back him/her to the topic.
6. Before pressing the submit button, say Bismillaahirrahmaanirraheem and leave everything to Allah SWT.

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Once we can come together as one, brave and strong (in knowledge and understanding), I’m sure we can handle the superficial Muslims (hypocrites etc), orientalists, the enemies of Islam. etc., InsyaAllah. I can’t wait for that day to happen.

Let me end this post with one of my favourite ahadith:

“None of you will truly believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.” [Sahih Bukhari]

Wallahu’Alam.

I’ve got a request if you may. If you find this post beneficial, the next time you see Muslims having a disagreement on social media, advice them in the kindest of words and share this post along too. Jazakumullahu khairan jaza’.