I have been noticing a new movement in Islam... For lack of a better word, I will call it sugar coated Islam. It seems like people are just pushing the idea and not the substance of Islam. I see it in my own born and raised Muslim SIL. It's this wierd idea that you can just "Do your best" (which is usualy pretty far from actual Islam) and everything is fine.
I know everything STARTS with La illah... But you should build on that, not have it as your only goal. And this attitude has been leading to some things that I just can't stomach. Maybe I'm a hard-nosed person... But there are things that even if I do them, I am under no illusions that I am right. What I am seeing more and more from people is a lack of understanding that they are bending the rules. Quite the contrary, they think they are good "modern" Muslims. You know, considering how different things are now, and how hard it is to be a muslim in today's world (rolling my eyes).
Now from my perspective, there is no such thing as a "modern" muslim. We should be striving for the same things that the people around the Prophet were striving for, and in the same ways. The trappings of our life may be different, but the substance should be the same. I accept that we will have a hard time reaching the levels that people around the Prophet reached (they had a stellar example after all) but I don't think that means we should stop fighting for it.
So before you tell yourself the fairy story that "we live in different times" followed by "so it's ok to pray late, to read less Quran, to let our children stray further and further from the deen... (fill in the blank here)". I want you to think about what happens when you set the bar that low. You won't jump higher one day... You will just keep lowering the bar.
Let me tell you a little story with my kiddos that was making me think about the expectations I have for them. This week my 7yo got a new bike. It was her reward for learning to ride a two-wheeler. Now, I never asked 5yo and 4yo to try to ride without training wheels, because I assumed that if my DD didn't ride untill she was 7yo they wouldn't either. But, DH and I decided to go against our assumptions and when the boys asked to have thier training wheels off we responded by taking them off and assuring them they could ride without them if they just kept trying. And you know what? I chased my daughter for months trying to get her to ride, sadly proclaiming it "hard" and it took her months to learn it. My sons went off with a smile and a you can do it... Only to have them return hours later RIDING A TWO WHEELER!
So, this weekend when I get out the salat programs and try to have DD learn fatiha and everything she needs to know to pray, I will raise the bar and include my sons. You never know, maybe they will all learn together.