Sunday, 1 December 2013

Is the Glass half empty or full?......

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”Abraham Lincoln

Recently, I had a discussion with a sister about women and modesty. This sister had asked me about the true boundaries of modesty for women in Islam. As I started explaining to her about our awra, she started getting agitated. Then she started giving excuses and reasons as to why she would not be able to comply or follow the commandments that have been given to us, women.
Many years ago, I would be irritated with this sister but that day, as I kept quiet and listened to her rattling on and giving justifications as to why she is not able to follow the  guidelines and rulings pertaining to Muslim women, it struck me how I was exactly like this sister many years ago.
When the Wise Owl first 'shared' with me about the rulings pertaining Muslim women, I was very reluctant to follow. After being a follower or rather a ‘victim’ of fashion, I felt that the rulings were ‘cramping’ my style! SubhanAllah! May God forgive me for my ignorance then.
Anyway, I started telling the Wise Owl why I couldn’t follow the rulings. I told the Wise Owl that it was not possible, especially in my line of work. I was actually justifying my disobedience. Later, after many discussions with the Wise Owl, I realised that I was not actually saying ‘no’ to him, who was just relaying the message, but rather, I was saying ‘no’ to God AlMighty!
Gosh! How could I've been so arrogant? How could I have the nerve to say ‘no’ to the One who created me? What possessed me to do such a thing? Thankfully, God gave me the wake-up slap that I needed and I started changing my answers to ‘yes’.
I also have to thank God Al Mighty for sending me a person who was not at all judgmental towards me and was patient when dealing with me. I think I would have probably gave up on ‘me’ if I was in the Wise Owl’s shoes that time.

“Help one another in acts of piety and righteousness. And do not assist each other in acts of sinfulness and transgression. And be aware of Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment” (al-Maaidah:2)

            I realised then that it is always easy to see the bad side of a person. Having been trained to spot the weaknesses in an opponent, made me somewhat judgmental towards other people at that time. I could easily pick up the negative characteristics of person in a blink.
            That, all changed when I was the subject of scrutiny. The Wise Owl did not harp on my negative attributes but instead focused on the goodness in me. I can assure you that there was not much goodness in me to start with but the Wise Owl persevered. He did not give up.
            What the Wise Owl did made me realise that as human, we tend to see the bad side of things or people. Our mind is somehow trained to zoom in to the weaknesses of people or the negative side of things. It was then, that I understood why I was such a moaner and a complainer! I had a complaint about everything and anything, on the face of earth. Nothing could make me happy or contented. It was because I was seeing things in a negative light. Little did I know then that there is nothing negative about test and tribulations. They are all mercy and blessings in disguise.

Buhari and Muslim: The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said :

"Whoever Allah wants good for him, he puts them to test. He puts them through difficulties. Like a diamond or some metal that has to be burnt and then that which is bad from it is removed so that you have that which is the pure diamond or the pure gold or whatever. Put them to tests, trials and difficulties."
            The moral of the story here is, next time, when we are faced with difficult situations or people, rather than letting the automatic negative sensor be switched on, try to train our mind to see the positive side of things or people. Focus on the good and you will find the bad becomes irrelevant. Also, we will be more grateful and appreciative for the things that we have and the people who surrounds us. If we train our brain hard enough, we might even develop the ability to spot a gem amongst the rough edged people.
            The people, who are argumentative or defensive, are actually vulnerable inside. Their rough exterior sometimes acts like a defence mechanism. If we are truly serious about spreading our deen, then look for the positive attributes of this people and try to work on it. If God’s Willing, then this person will blossom into a beautiful person but he or she doesn’t, don’t despair. You have given it your best shot and the rest; you need to leave to Him.

“To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: and all affairs are referred back to Allah.”
Surah  Al-Hadid 57:5

            Back to my story…..I didn’t end up straggling the sister but instead, after she finished listing out all her justifications, I  simply smiled at her and said, “You know sister, you really remind me of me many years ago. Shall we have some coffee and talk some more?”…………

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