Friday, May 29, 2009
My dear parents came to visit me from Philadelphia and of course I had to take them to see the sights and the lights of the Las Vegas strip. So I prepared myself for the too close for comfort crowds, the smoky casinos, and all the haram goings-on, but I did not prepare to JUDGE NOT. . . I was fine at first cruising from casino to casino pushing my baby stroller, wearing a colorful hijab and matching tunic. Then we landed at the Fashion Show mall food court. As my parents chowed down, my eye caught a glimpse of a scantily clad young woman laughing with her friends. All of a sudden I became fixated on this woman, clad in a purple spandex mini-dress, sparkly gold strappy platform heels, platinum gold long hair extensions, too-blue-to-be-true contact lenses, and enough make-up to paint the Sistine Chapel! My fixation quickly progressed to obsession as I thought: “Wow, she really thinks she’s cute. Ha!" “I mean she’s dressed like a two-dollar whore!” “No respectable man would be attracted to THAT!” Then I became all pious, thinking: “Poor thing, she needs Islam”. “She just doesn’t know any better. SHE IS LOST”.
Well, the truth is, I still have fleeting thoughts about that woman I saw in the food court over a month ago. I went home that night and pondered on why I had reacted in such a vehement fashion. My conclusion: She is me and I am her. I did to her what many people may be doing to me everyday. I judged her; and that was a dangerous thing. Once we start making assumptions about each other, we start to categorize them and usually we use this compartmentalizing to then elevate ourselves above our own downfalls and imperfections, i.e. “I am better because . . .” In my situation, who was more in the wrong; the woman in the tight dress or the woman in the hijab who judged and slandered the woman in the tight dress? As Muslims, we often recite Allah Knows Best, but do we really believe it and put it into practice?
Let’s not forget that all of us have a story and all of us have secrets that only a few people know, or maybe that only you and Allah know. As headlines in February wrote, “Muslim TV Mogul Muzzammil Hassan’s alleged beheading of wife, Asiya Hassan, may be honor killing”, I thought Oh God, Islam will surely be blamed for this one! Society has shown us many clear examples of how dangerous judging can be, yet we continue to cast fellow Muslims and fellow human beings into the hellfire. Allah is the only one with that authority because he is the only one who sees into the hearts of men.
We are far from perfect as individuals and we are far from perfect as Muslims. We can’t give dawah (inviting others to Islam) by pointing and whispering and we certainly can’t build our iman (faith) by shifting the blame. We all have skeletons in the closet, so when you see someone with their bones exposed, remember you are one soft layer away from being exposed yourself! These ayats have helped me think twice before I judge, and InshAllah (God willing) it will help you too. Read. Recite. Absorb.
Al Maida (5:48-50) Holy Qur’an
“To thee we sent the scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, he would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is with Allah; it is he that shows you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute;
And this (He commands): Judge thou between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they beguile thee from any of that (teaching) which Allah has sent down to thee. And if they turn away, be sure that for some of their crimes it is Allah's purpose to punish them. And truly most men are rebellious.
Do they then seek after a judgment of (The Days of) Ignorance? But who, for a people whose faith is assured, can give better judgment that Allah?”
That’s deep. Allah knows best.