A Better Perspective


http://www.flickr.com/photos/hannahbain/5221500074/By Leila Adam

Last night, my Mum and I braved the icy wind and went to the mosque to listen to a talk by a visiting Malaysian scholar. Many people were leaving the mosque after Isha prayer as we arrived, so I half wondered if the talk had been cancelled. But there was a small group of men gathered around in the men’s hall and when they knew that a couple of women had turned up, they put the microphone on so we could hear.

Sitting in a cold mosque with faint speakers on a wild night, where the wind outside was louder than the man’s voice, it would have been easy to dismiss it all and go home, but I was suddenly overcome by one of those rare feelings of peace that wash over you, and I knew that we were in a good presence.

When he started to talk about ‘the challenges of being in a non-Muslim country,’ I thought “Here we go, he’s going to say the clichéd bit about keeping up with religion when those around you are heedless,” – but no! Instead, he spoke the words I’ve been hoping to hear a public speaker say for the longest time.

He said that the general people in these countries have inherent goodness and good morals. That their natural, God-given fitrah (innate disposition) is alive and well and they’re doing the best they know how to do in their limited dunya (worldy) paradigm. That, deep down, they know “Alastu biRabbikum (Am I not your Lord?),” “Balaa, Shahidnaa (Yes, we have testified)!”– but they don’t know how to apply it (Qur’an, 7:172). And that all they need is for Muslims in these countries to have the kind of upright character that will make them notice the beauty of Islam and turn to it, so that they can do as well for their akhirah (hereafter) as they have for their dunya (worldly life).

Hooray and alhamdulilLah (praise be to God)! Finally, a voice that speaks of love for the people of a non-Muslim country. Finally, a perspective of fairness in opportunity for all peoples to have the blessing of eternal success. So refreshing, after hearing that same old guarded, introspective ‘protect yourself from the kafirs (disbelievers)’ mentality. Finally, a perspective that truly reflects the Prophetic perspective of the whole world being part of his ministry and in that sense, being also part of his ummah (global community).

He spoke about Muslims proclaiming Islam one minute and in the next wracking their brains about how much profit they can squeeze out of their customers, rather than thinking of their careers as a positive contribution to society and as a khidma (service) to humanity. “If you’re going to be a chef,” he said, “Be the best and most upright chef you can be.” Replace your secular thinking with the mindset of iman (faith). Then, and only then, will Allah turn to you as a community and change your situations.

Alhamdulillah, it was worth braving the cold night. Those men who left the mosque before the talk don’t know what they missed.

Print Friendly

9 Comments

  1. Maryam says:

    SubhanAllah, JazakAllah Khair for sharing this with us. I myself have trying to put these feelings in words for a long time.

  2. Fathima says:

    This article was warm and lovely to read on a day when love (both halal and haram :D) is literally in the air. Alahmdullilah

  3. zainab fida ahsan says:

    Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

    Can you please name the scholar in sha Allah;

    I recently visited one of my beloved teachers in Malaysia and thought of a stark similarity between him and the scholar you mentioned :)

    wassalam

  4. Umm Ibrahim says:

    I live in saudi arabia and the mentality and mannerisms of the many disappoints me. May Allah adorn us with the adornment of faith and make us from those who guide and are rightly guided.
    Ameen

  5. Sana says:

    Awwh jazakAllahu khair for sharing this; warmed my heart! :)) Definitely a refreshing chnage, wish more ppl wud think and talk frm ths perspective. Being positive, giving credit, assuming the best abt ppl n their intentions irrespectv of their religion, making our actions and character the best form of dawah ♡ inShaAllah. Jzkk again :)

  6. Salsabil says:

    Jazzak Allah Khair. Subhnallah for such a scholar!I’ve seen it here in non-Muslim countries–its something God gave in every human being, regardless of their good or evil past–and its called HUMANITY. It comes up in the most unexpected moments. Truly Amazing. Jazzak Allah Khair Leila, for this reminder!

  7. Kirana says:

    I’ve come to realise something that for some reason, we don’t really teach ourselves well. In part Sr. Jinan’s excellent series helped me to see it. While it’s true that the Most Important Choice is binary – heaven or hell. But the behaviour that is expected from us is as Allah is – Allah is not binary, he is unity. He is not Restricting or Expanding. He is Restricting *and* Expanding. He isn’t Merciful or Just, He is Merciful *and* Just. That means all the qualities that are good and derived from Allah’s gift into each of us, are supposed to blend, you’re not supposed to choose one over another. You’re not supposed to be soft or firm, you’re supposed to be soft *and* firm. You’re supposed to stand ground *and* reach out. You’re supposed to be stoic under attack *and also* respond with generosity. This is when Muslims become non-’tribal’, non-defensive, and instead become a mercy to humankind. Most of our non-Muslim brethren are not rebellious, they are lost. And I feel sad that I personally am unable to help them – I think we *should* feel sad. So many mental models need to be broken, I am daunted by how far my character still is from this expectation.

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

More in Dawah (Outreach), Non-Muslims, Reflections (44 of 304 articles)