The Crow Looking In


http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpmatth/2975879696/in/photostream/By Ahmed Zaafran

There appears to be a growing trend amongst Muslims today where knowledge is used as a proverbial club that beats down anyone who differs with their line of thinking. Discussions regarding Islamic thought that were once considered sacred and adorned with manners (adab) between scholars, are now left to the internet blogs and vlogs, loaded with cursing, name-calling, and street-side fatwas (rulings) condemning entire groups of people to the fire. As a result, we have a generation of young Muslims feeling spiritually abused. Many wonder why they put so much effort into creating a loving relationship with their Creator, only to be oppressed by their supposed brother in Islam. Somehow, the intention behind “enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong” has become some sort of soap box where we beat each other down.  It’s time we all swallowed our pride and grew up a little.

And by a little, I mean a lot.

In Imam Al-Muhasibi’s Risala Al-Mustarshidin (Treatise for The Seekers of Guidance), he says to “protect your heart from having a bad opinion of people by the best possible interpretation.” In his explanation of this point, Imam Zaid Shakir says that by “covering up the faults of other Muslims, we are inviting God to cover up our faults.” This is derived from Qur’an 24:19 where God warns, “Those who love to broadcast the faults of the believers will have a painful punishment in this world and the next.” Now, this is not to say that we shouldn’t help our brothers and sisters through difficult situations, especially when we feel that their actions are leading them down a dangerous path. But there is a distinct difference between lifting them up by their bootstraps and pinning our heels down on their wounded necks. They are already shackled to the ground by the rigors of their daily trials. When we choose to harshly lambast others’ actions, oftentimes on misinformation or hearsay, it is quite possible that we are projecting our own fears and insecurities onto them. We have to check ourselves and our own intentions, and remember that when we look to others before we look within ourselves, our hearts can be ruined.

If you see someone who is struggling with their iman (faith), don’t be so quick to correct them. Don’t feel the need to fix them. You may be doing more harm than good.

Interestingly, while looking at patterns of behavior, we see trends within nature quite similar to our own. For example, crows are considered by biologists to be one of the most intelligent animals on the planet.

A group of them is called a murder.

They are called a murder because the group will sometimes kill a dying crow from their flock. As Muslims, we sometimes mimic crows when we blast our friends and family for their faults by focusing entirely on their flaws while forgetting that the person in front of us is someone we care about. We spiritually murder them.

We need some space to breathe spiritually. Most of us are trying to figure out how and why we practice our faith during a time of confused identity.  If only we could be the crow that takes a strong look at the murder, actively decides to break away from it, and serve as the tool that helps heal a broken soul.

“O Turner of the hearts, Turn our hearts towards Your Way.”

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11 Comments

  1. Azhar Zainal says:

    Assalamualaikum Imam Suhaib and Team,

    Subhanallah, a good reminder to myself to realise my imperfections and pray always for HIS Guidance. One Legacy and your videos are also a great source of needed iinformation, Thank You and Alhamdullillah.

    Peace greetings from me, in Singapore.

  2. M says:

    jazak Allahu khayran for this

  3. Shariifah Yunus says:

    Maashallah this is a perfect reminder for me! Just yesterday i was greatly annoyed by daughter’s teacher at her madhrasah and i complained to friends. Now,i have been reminded to shut up:) and not spread his faults! When we have been hurt by another,we tend to want to vent out by complaining to another. But lets wait and think,r we not spreading evil? When we 4give and 4get,what happens to all those we have told? As long as we cant erase this from their memory its better to be patient or complain to ppl who can actually talk to the person involved. May Allah over look our short comings and keep our ties of brother hood strong and in good health,aamin.

  4. abdullah says:

    Jazak ALLAH Khyar awosome Article.A big hug and jazakallah to suhaib webb for opening it for good guest authors too so that any good article from any one can be experienced as a shaking reminder. osum spiritual mosque.. May ALLAH reward every one even the readers….;P….Amin

  5. Mrs Gaeul says:

    JazakAllah for this important reminder. It is so easy to become jaded when you feel so many people are attacking you; I found myself avoiding the internet discussions all together. Even starting with myself, we are no way in a position to judge others when we ourselves have flaws that we hope others overlook while giving us encouragement.

  6. JazakAllah khair, this is an excellent reminder. Oftentimes in our community we focus so much on a person’s one fault that we ignore all of the positive they do and have done. No one is perfect, we’re all trying our best. We should realize that broadcasting the faults of others does little to change the situation (actually, it makes it worse).

  7. Kendriana says:

    Coolness

  8. Hussain says:

    Jazakumullah Khair.
    May Allah forgive us & increase our Eeman

  9. Dreamlife says:

    Excellent reminder. I’m not sure who said it, but there’s a quote (maybe from a poem) that we should look at our own faults before looking for faults in others. And in doing so, we’ll always be kept busy with our own weaknesses – instead of being judgmental.

    It’s human nature to see the negative more than appreciating the positive..but, ironically, that seems to apply to other people most of the time – and we forget to look in the mirror first.

  10. Bob Othman says:

    Beautiful article and nicely written. Jazakallah

  11. Dilla says:

    Beautifully written with a good example too.
    Thank you for the reminder.
    Let’s all strive to be a better muslim,insyaAllah! :)

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