Changing Those Around One: Attaching One’s Self to Allah & the Prophetic Sunna
Answered by Sidi Salman Younas
Question: I live in an environment full of Muslims. Although many of them can be either stubborn proud or just arrogant, I noticed that a number of my Muslim sisters do not pray right. Being one of the youngest I do not feel it my place to bring up this issue to discussion. If I did then everyone would have something “smart” to say back, even though I am telling them something for their own benefit. We do not exactly have a shaikh at the Masjid; what we do have is an inexperienced hot head learning to be a shaikh. My question is being in this situation how do I get other people, as well as myself, to be more informed of our religion? That is besides the pamphlets and the giving out papers that no one bothers with them.
Answer: assalamu `alaykum
I pray you are well.
The way one changes others is by changing his or her self. All of us need to be an embodiment of the sunna of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) who was sent as a mercy to all of mankind. We need to understand the precarious nature of the times we live in and take the most effective means possible to change things for the better.
Allah Most High states, “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good admonition.” [16: 125] I
Ibn `Ajibah, one of the great Maliki scholars of Islamic spirituality, stated in his commentary of the Qur’an, “Calling with wisdom is calling through high aspiration (himma) and spiritual state… and calling with good admonition is calling through words that awaken good desires and cause yearning.” [Bahr al-Madid]
Looking down on others is contrary to the message of Allah and His Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), regardless of how ignorant the other may be. Often times, in our desire to correct others, which no doubt is praiseworthy, we forget that the bigger sins and mistakes are not necessarily those that relate to the outward but rather those that relate to the inner-self; diseases such as frustration, arrogance, and not being free of rancor. These are all spiritual ailments that we need to recognize and rectify.
My advice to you is:
(a) Attach your heart to Allah Most High and work on purifying your own self, your intentions, and your worship.
(b) Be someone of good character: smile, be gentle in speech, and give everyone their rights as a Muslim.
(c) Turn your gaze away from the flaws of creation and look at them through the lens of mercy, compassion, good opinion, and love. You do not know their state with Allah so humble yourself and consider all of them better than you.
(d) Leave that which does not concern you. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) stated, “From the excellence of a man’s Islam is to leave that which does not concern him.” [Tirmidhi] Mulla `Ali al-Qari commented on this by stating that one should leave that which is not important or befitting “in speech, actions, or thought.” What people do and say is largely inconsequential to one and one’s next life, so do not concern yourself with it.
(e) Commanding the good and forbidding the wrong is only obligatory when you believe you will be listened to. However, if it can potentially lead to a worsening of the situation it should be avoided.
(f) Realize that none of us control anything. Allah does. So turn to Him for all of your needs and sincerely supplicate for this ummah,
And Allah knows best
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani