Assalamualaikum Wr. Wbt.
This conversation was taken from another post of mine in 2014 because I feel it is relevant to this blog post, insyaAllah. This was a real conversation I had with an Ustaz who tested me for my Quranic recitation examination back in late 2013…
Ustaz: This is the first time I’ve seen a student from Human Sciences (from Singapore) who wears the niqab. Why do you wear the niqab?
Me: To avoid from doing more sins, Ustaz.
Ustaz: So in Singapore do you follow any group?
Me: Huh? What do you mean?
Ustaz: I mean, salafi or anything??
Me: Ouh… No la. I’m a Muslim.
At that point of time, it was barely 6 months since I made a proper hijrah. Honestly I knew nothing. My aim was (and still is) just trying to improve myself as a Muslim. Coming from secular education with not much proper religious knowledge, I was confused between what’s right and what’s wrong in the eyes of Allah.
I’m not sure why but this world is really a funny and complicated one. Before hijrah, I do not know of anyone who hated me. After hijrah, Muslims start to unfriend me just because I hold on to a certain scholar’s opinion and I was completely labelled as following the scholar’s school of thought. Before hijrah, I never heard among my circle of friends mocking each other as kafir although they did lots of haraam acts. After hijrah, I see people voluntarily denouncing someone else’s religion as though his/her way of performing is the only right one. Labeling others as kafir seems to be a norm. Sad isn’t it?
You may ask then, so what kind of orientation am I incline to?
Truth to be told, I do not want to put labels on myself. I am not a product that needs labeling or categorizing. That being said, I am not degrading anyone who calls him/herself as ‘Sufi’, ‘Salafi‘, ‘Ikhwan’, etc. It’s your personal choice but importantly you must know why you’re claiming yourself as such. Let’s avoid labeling Sufis as those who go for Mawlid, Tahlil while Salafis are those who don’t. Let us get out of this narrow minded labeling because the discussion is deeper than that.
You may ask again, so does that mean I am not a Shafiee?
Generally, I am. Due to my limited Islamic knowledge, I do follow mahzab Shafiee. However, as my husband’s interest is in hadith, from time to time, he does check out the authenticity of the mahzab’s views yet he also follows the general Shafiee school of thought. That being said, my husband never really shoves down my throat of what he thinks right. Usually he will share his views in discussion form or at times when I see him doing things differently from the general masses, I will ask him and he will lay out all of the opinions of scholars regarding that particular topic. After which, he will let me decide if I want to change my own view or just retain it. There are times where I follow, there are times where I don’t.
For instance, the moving of finger during tashsyahud. He told me there are four acceptable opinions regarding it and I choose to continue what I am comfortable with because it is part of the acceptable opinions. However, if I remember clearly, there is only one time where he instructs me to change my way. When we just got married, my husband looks at the way I pray and he notices that I kept my feet closed together. He says that Rasulullah SAW has already told us to pray as how he prays. Hence, I began to keep my feet apart while praying.
I am sorry if I sound biased, but I love the way my husband explains things out. He will make sure that he does not do injustice to traditional scholars and he will try to list one by one of the narrations of just one particular action that have differences in opinion. I guess that’s the main reason why I was attracted to his teaching (when he was just an Ustaz to me) because of his honest and clear cut methodology. Differences of opinion is a mercy from Allah but instead we are divided because of it.
We are all seekers of knowledge and we will never really be able to learn completely all aspects of the deen. Being humble is key. There are some whose akhlaq is really MasyaAllah but lacks the knowledge. For example, a person who is really kind to everyone but performs practices that may not have any basis in Islam. While there are some whose knowledge is really MasyaAllah but lack in akhlaq. For example, a person who has great knowledge regarding a certain topic but the way the person propagates the truth deviates others away from the truth rather than embracing it. Both akhlaq and knowledge are important in Islam. There is no way we can single out one from the equation.
A reminder to myself first that we should be helping one another to Jannah. If we see someone lags behind, we should encourage. If we know someone who is not a practicing Muslim or a person who practices Islam which may not be in line with the Islamic traditions, be friends first. Old habit dies hard. What is the likelihood a person changes 20, 30, 40 or 50 years of his/her behavior by a one time advice or worse, being reprimanded at.
Forging sincere friendship should be the first step. Do not enter the friendship with the intention to correct because you will get frustrated easily when the person fails to change the behavior at one try. Just because it is easy for us to accept the truth, that does not mean that others can do it too. Enter the friendship with the intention to understand. Know the real situation and manage from there. Trust me, it is going to be a loooooong journey. Our job is not to make the person change; that is up to Allah’s will. We only need to make sure that we convey Allah’s religion in the most wise and compassionate way.
Ermm hehe. I don’t know why I’ve deviated awaaay from the main topic. However I hope that my message on this post is clear. Like my husband always says we should never see someone as “if you’re not with us, you’re with them. As though there cannot be a third option”.
Most, if not, all of us are striving for Jannah but there are times we gonna slip a little bit here and there and that is only human. However, the best of person is the one who repents and strives to be better Muslim.
May all of our deeds be accepted by Allah SWT and may He grant us the strength and patience in conveying the truth.
ps: Photos have got nothing to do with the topic. It’s just that I’ve been missing Palestine a little bit too much. Hehe.