Saturday, June 09, 2007

Sugar coated Islam

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.

5 comments:

Honorary Arab said...

Asalamalaykom Sis,

Loved your post.

It's a reminder that born-Muslims are not the only one who can understand and Islam...infact, sometimes it's harder for them to understand it than reverts. :)

UmmLayla said...

I agree HA. I think they have this whole layer of culture to peel back to get to the true Islam... But you know I would hope that they would at least have a firm understanding of the basics after years of being "dipped in it" so to speak with schools and stuff. But, I think the real difference is the family they grew up in. DH went to every friday prayer from the time he was 12-13, you can't help but pick up a few things with that attendance record. Now my SIL's (who of course attended to hair dresser more then the friday prayer) had no such base.

SIGH just more reasons to enforce the learning in my house... I don't want my kids to end up with this born Muslim attitude that seems to keep some people from realising the gaps in thier knowledge. I was once watching a program about hajj and they had a Brittish born Muslim who kinda rediscovered Islam as an adult and was going to make hajj. She was a hijabi so they were asking her about it. They showed the piece to some women in Pakistan who promptly rebutled with "Well, we were born Muslim so we don't need a scarf to prove it." Not even realising of course that this was like stupid on top of stupid because the woman was also a born Muslim and was of course wearing hijab as part of her renewed faith not to prove anything. Allah help us make sure our kids aren't like that!!!LOL

Umm Yusuf said...

Assalaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu sister,

Mash'Allah excellent post. While it is so important to follow the Prophet(saw)'s example and focus on Tawheed (oneness of Allah) and Aqeedah(belief in:Allah,Angels, Messengers,Books, Day of Judgement and Qadr(Nothing happens w/out Allah's Decree) and do the obligatory parts of Islam (5 pillars).

We have to learn and seek knowledge of those principles so that we know them inside and out and follow the Sunnah. Since the Prophet(saw) said: I have left 2 things for you if you hold on to them you wont be misguided they are the Qur'an and Sunnah(Muwatta).

Some Muslims also think if they say they believe they will only be in Hell for a short time. But even a short time in Hell could be equal to thousands of years our time since nothing in this world is like that in the Hereafter. And the severity of Hell is so unbearable that we are told a man will be dipped in and will forget all the good he had in this world. Subhan'Allah.

I'm glad someone had the courage to open up this topic! May Allah reward you and your family sister. ameen.

suhaa said...

people get into a comfort zone and in a routine of doing things..whether its salah, or being a "default" muslim, but we should all seek knowledge and keep a continuous flow of change within us to better our chances of reaching Jannah in the akhira. we should never think we are doing enough. in islam we are taught that to have true taqwa there has got to be a balance of fear in Allah that our deeds will not be accepted and that our sins will overtake us..and at the same time having so much hope that Allah will protect us from our own faults out of His Mercy on the Day..

we all need eman boosts every now and then..and the energizer should be our salah, duaa and thikr..supported by seeking knowledge.

may Allah help guide this ummah..may Allah protect our kids from taking their islam for granted, for it is the best gift from Allah in this donia..and protect us from the arrogance in believing we're just good enough muslims..

as far as what you said about no such thing as "modern" muslim..Islam was and is for all time, and these people, muslims, who say that some islamic practices are wack because it doesn't fit in 2007 soicety are clearly clueless. Islam is perfect, vut cultures, societies whether the US or Saudi are not..so when you have Muslims residing in these lands then there is no way a muslim can be truly modern if it is under the definition of style, lifestyle, and establishing islam as a complete way of life..not just a religion that happens at the time of prayer.

Allah knows best..

jazakAllah kheir for sharing..

Aeryn said...

Asalaam Alaikum Sister,

As I haven't been a Muslim for as long as a lot of the sisters replying, I am not sure I have much to say about your post. But I will say that I am already teaching my daughter the basics about prayer, and she is two. She will stand beside me while I pray and go through the motions of praying with me. She usually doesn't make it all the way through, but her attention span isn't that long yet, lol. But inshallah, I am hoping that she keeps her interest in prayer, and gets more involved with it the older she gets. I have heard many child psychologists say children learn best by example, so I am trying to give my daughter the best example I can. Inshallah she will grow up to be strong in her Deen.

May Allah bless you and your family,

Aeryn