Monday, 7 January 2013

Thou shall not judge...

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” 
 Dr. Seuss

I was talking to a few sisters today. They wanted to ascertain certain points with me. It seems that they were told by a certain group of people that they must pray and do things in a certain way, i.e. their way or else the prayer or ‘ibadah’ is invalid or nullified. This group claimed to be, the true follower of our beloved Prophet pbuh. My two sisters were very disturbed about certain statements, that was made by this group, hence, they wanted clarity.

Sometimes, God teach us lessons through incidents. Funny, because, I was just talking to my hubby yesterday about sharing, teaching or preaching. We discussed about my goal to share and to take extra care to ensure that I don’t preach.

The Wise Owl always tells me, “Sister, you must share your knowledge and pass it on to others. What they do with it is up to them. It’s not within your control anymore. Whether they understand and accept it or even reject it, is not up to us but it’s in the hands of God AlMighty”

He granteth wisdom to whom He pleaseth; and he to whom wisdom is granted receiveth indeed a benefit overflowing; but none will grasp the Message but men of understanding.
            Surah Al-Baqarah 2:269

I must admit that the Wise Owl is correct. We can’t force people to accept the knowledge that we are trying to share. They might not understand it and it is not their fault. We can’t think badly of them because everyone has his/her own limitations. Even so, that does not dispense us of our obligation to share. We must never assume that the person is not able to grasp the knowledge hence it would be futile to share. We must never be that arrogant.
On the other hand, we must also, never assume, that we know it all and, that our way is the only correct way. I never impose my views or my knowledge on others. I respect their right to differ and acknowledge that, their way and opinion may also be correct.
The poor sisters were really agitated because they were told that the way they have been praying all this while is wrong hence, their prayers are actually rejected by God and, all their good deeds are in vain. What???!!! Seriously???? What really irks me is the fact, that, those acts which, these poor sisters, have supposedly omitted to perform, that caused their prayers to be nullified or invalid, are ‘sunnah’ not fard.

I’m not an expert in Islam nor am I a learned scholar but I do know my basic. This group of people need to read up on the pillars of prayers. The fundamental elements of solat or in malay, it is called ‘rukun’, are those acts which MUST be done properly, otherwise, the solat is invalid. These elements are :-
1)    Standing properly for a peson who is capable of doing so.
2)    Intention to perform solat.
3)    Reciting Takbiratul-ihram (Allahu Akhbar)
4)    Reciting Al-Fatihah
5)    Ruku (bowing) and tumaninah (brief pause)
6)    Rising from Ruku and tumaninah
7)    Sujud (prostrating) twice and tumaninah
8)    Sitting between two sujud along with tumaninah
9)    Sitting at the end of the solat to recite the final verse, the tahiyat.
10) Reciting the tahiyat.
11) Reciting the salawat for Prophet Muhammad pbuh, while reciting the final tahiyat.
12) Giving the first salam.
13) Doing it methodically based on the above steps.

From my understanding, we perform all the fundamental elements of the solat, then In Shaa Allah, our solat is valid. Other elements are called sunnah and we are highly encouraged to perform it, during our solat but if we choose to omit any of the sunnah acts, it does NOT invalidate our prayers. We just don’t get extra brownie points. The purpose of these sunnah acts is to enchance our devotion to Allah Almighty.

To me, it is wrong for anyone of us, to decide whose prayer is accepted or rejected. Who are we to judge? We don’t even know if our own prayers (fard and sunnah combined), is accepted, then how can we be the judge of others. It could be that they wanted to perform the sunnah acts but reasons unknown to us, they are unable to. Does that make us better than them? NO! We should not be petty and difficult. Islam is simple so do not complicate it. Do not turn people away from this beautiful religion with our minor disputes over who is right or wrong.
There are many things that we do not know because God does not grant us the knowledge. Being ignorant of a fact does not mean it is wrong. Did you know that there are seven ways to recite the Quran and all seven ways are correct?

The Qur'an has been revealed to be recited in seven different ways, so recite of it that which is easier for you.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p.510).

Ibn Abbas reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Gabriel taught me to recite in one style. I replied to him and kept asking him to give more (styles), till he reached seven modes (of recitation). Ibn Shihab said: It has reached me that these seven styles are essentially one, not differing about what is permitted and what is forbidden.” (Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2, p.390).

 My point is, do not be quick to label or judge another as wrong or diverted. Before we want to label anything or anyone as ‘bidaah’, study the facts first. It may not be a new innovation but a long forgotten teaching of the Prophet pbuh that has been revived. A person may hold a PHD in Islamic religious studies but it does not mean that she or she is absolutely right. We must learn from the lesson of Prophet Musa a.s. and Khidr.
Then they found one of Our slaves, unto whom We had bestowed mercy from Us, and whom We had taught knowledge from Us.  Musa (Moses) said to him (Khidr) "May I follow you so that you teach me something of that knowledge (guidance and true path) which you have been taught (by Allah)?" He (Khidr) said: "Verily! You will not be able to have patience with me!"And how can you have patience about a thing which you know not?"Musa (Moses) said: "If Allah will, you will find me patient, and I will not disobey you in aught."He (Khidr) said: "Then, if you follow me, ask me not about anything till I myself mention it to you."So they both proceeded, till, when they embarked the ship, he (Khidr) scuttled it. Musa (Moses) said: "Have you scuttled it in order to drown its people? Verily, you have committed a thing "Imra" (a Munkar - evil, bad, dreadful thing)."He (Khidr) said: "Did I not tell you, that you would not be able to have patience with me?"[Musa (Moses)] said: "Call me not to account for what I forgot, and be not hard upon me for my affair (with you)."Then they both proceeded, till they met a boy, he (Khidr) killed him. Musa (Moses) said: "Have you killed an innocent person who had killed none? Verily, you have committed a thing "Nukra" (a great Munkar - prohibited, evil, dreadful thing)!"(Khidr) said: "Did I not tell you that you can have no patience with me?"[Musa (Moses)] said: "If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company, you have received an excuse from me."Then they both proceeded, till, when they came to the people of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused to entertain them. Then they found therein a wall about to collapse and he (Khidr) set it up straight. [Musa (Moses)] said: If you had wished, surely, you could have taken wages for it!"(Khidr) said: "This is the parting between me and you, I will tell you the interpretation of (those) things over which you were unable to hold patience.”
Surah Al-Kahf 18:65-78.

Every time I read this verse, it always remind me not to be arrogant or judgmental. No one is absolutely right and no one has absolute knowledge. Only God Al-Mighty is perfect, flawless and knows All. The rest….Wallahualam…

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