Girl one: oh my gosh, did you see what that hijabi girl is wearing?
Girl two: I can’t believe it, how could she step out of the house looking like that? Her pants are so tight!
Girl one: Nothing is even matching! I think she’s carrying a fake Prada!
Girl two: someone should give her some fashion advice.
Girl one and two: both laugh at the girls’ expense behind her back.
The above excerpt is unfortunately a conversation which happens all too often in today’s day and age, especially amongst women. It seems that the young are learning from the old and it’s a cycle that just doesn’t look like is going to be broken any time soon.
We live in a world that thrives on materialism and status, but is that what we really want? Depression in Australia is on the rise, and who’s to wonder why, when as a society all we do is crave for more, yet when we have that something extra we’re still not pleased or satisfied. We may feel momentary joy, yet that feeling crumbles away when something bigger, better, brighter, or shinier comes along. We often believe, or have been taught to believe, that a thing can fill a void we are experiencing. Yet one thing that is lacking is the knowledge of how to pick yourself up, and gain happiness from something greater.
How? You might be asking yourself. Well the answer is simple. Reflect. Imam Al-Haddad contends in his book, The Book of Assistance, “Know that the state of one’s religious and worldly affairs depends upon the soundness of one’s reflection”. To be able to reflect upon your own actions and faults will enable you to have a beginning. Having a place to start assists in improving yourself and stop worrying about what that girl wore today, how she wore her hijab, is that bag real or fake and the list goes on. Point the finger at yourself before pointing it to an innocent other.
If every single man and woman took a moment to look within themselves what would they see? What are their intentions and reasons for doing what they do? Be honest with yourself. Through your reflection you could figure out that you are, for the sake of this article, a jealous person. Once you have that information about yourself you will be able to make improvements and implement a plan to stop judging others and to stop using your tongue to put others down. Most importantly you will be able to ask Allah (swt) for assistance and guidance in removing such an impurity from the heart.
Imam Al-Haddad continues in his book by informing his readers that we should have a litany or wird for reflection, whether it is on a daily basis, a weekly basis or even a monthly basis – the choice is yours. Let it be a time when you are away from people, free from technology and in a quiet space where you can focus and listen to your thoughts and understand your feelings. Don’t be afraid to feel vulnerable, for it is in this state of vulnerability that something magical will occur. You will have a “light-bulb” moment so to speak and in that instance you will come one step closer to Allah (swt).
Our time on this earth is not to put others down, nor is it to strive for the greatest to get people’s attention or to follow the latest fad, because if our intention is for that other than Allah (swt) we need to take a step back and re-assess our goals. Every single person is an individual. We must learn to embrace our individuality and not be afraid to show the world our true colours. Our red, orange, purple, and fluorescent pink coloured selves.
Many Muslims in the West see the horrific things happening overseas on their television sets and cry. As an Ummah we cry, and we want to help. However we are often stuck with ways in which we can assist those overseas. Yes send money if you can, and yes make dua for our Ummah, but one thing that is lacking is the fight to change our own inward states to give rise to our Ummah.
Change your inward state by reflecting on your faults and how you can improve yourselves. I will be the first to put my hand up to say that there is always something I can improve on and make better. If we are in a constant state of thinking about ourselves and wondering, “How could I have done that better” or “How can I change this deed to please my creator?” we will not have time to look at others and what they are doing.
Looking back at the opening excerpt, I would like to end on this note. I believe that we are placed in certain situations, places and times by Allah (swt) so that if we are a witness to something, be it a positive or a negative, we can make dua. To make dua for an individual, a group, or an event is one of the greatest gifts Allah (swt) could bestow upon you as you become someone who shares in any reward gained. If you see a sister walking down the street do not speak ill of her but make dua for her and for yourself because no-one human is better than another.
Allah knows best.
A reminder to myself first, and foremost.