“Every day, God grants us the precious gift of life. Yet every day, we squander it with our selfish, petty concerns, rather than helping someone as He helps us.” ― Kirn Hans
A very long time ago, I was not exactly on the desired path of a Muslim. I was clueless about Islam and neither was I bothered to find out. Do you know why? Honestly, because I was put off with Islam because of the impression that was given to me by some of the Islamic scholars that I met.
I admit that my appearance then was not syariah compliance and there were many things that I was lacking but that was due to my ignorance and lack of knowledge about this beautiful religion that I was born into. My dad had taught to be vocal and not to be afraid to ask questions so I asked a lot of questions. The Wise Old Man had trained me not to be bullied by anyone so I refused to be bullied even by the Islamic scholars.
The problem I faced back then, while I was trying to find God, was that these scholars had painted a very grim and bleak picture about Islam. They kept pointing out my flaws and were eager to sentence me to eternal hell! I may have been very naughty in my younger days but I was not completely evil. Ok, it’s true that some of my aunts and uncles used to say “Auzubillah Minashaitan Nirajeem” which means ‘"I seek refuge in Allah from Shaitan, the accursed one’ every time I passed them by but I can assure you that I am not Cruealla De vil!. Which kid was not naughty when they were small? In fact, even the adults are not saints.
Anyway, I was very discouraged and disheartened when I heard that Islam is all about the ‘don’ts’ and the forbidden. You know, things that you must not do or things that is Haram. It’s always haram this or haram that. Then, I thought to myself, is Islam really a negative religion? Why isn’t there anything cheerful about Islam? Gosh! Is Islam truly gloom and doom?
So, I ended up getting into one argument after another with each scholar that I met. I also became very defensive whenever I meet an ustaz or ustazah, I felt the need to put up my invisible shield, to ward off any possible ‘attacks’ on me. This went on for years until I was almost on the verge of giving up. I couldn’t find the answers that satisfied me and put my restless heart at ease.
Thankfully, that all changed when God decided that it was time for me to meet the Wise Owl. The Wise Owl is also a scholar so naturally, when I first met him, I looked at him warily, anticipating criticism from him about my appearance but none came. He spoke to me gently and with respect. I was intrigued.
Then, I bombarded him with all the pent-up questions and he answered each of them patiently. Not once did he brush me off or made me feel inept. He coaxed me into reading more about Islam and started telling about our beloved Prophet SAW. I find myself, going back to the Wise Owl countless of time, as my interest about Islam was piqued.
Over the years, the Wise Owl had managed to make me fall in love with Islam. All he did was enticed me with the positive and beautiful aspect of Islam. He shared with me, the rewards of being righteous. I, in turn, asked him about the punishment of being disobedient.
“Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Indeed Allah is gentle and loves gentleness, and gives due to gentleness that which He does not give to harshness."
Reported by Ibn Majah
The Wise Owl once told me that once the soul has fallen in love with his or her Creator, he or she will naturally leave the negative aspect and strive harder to please God. The heart and soul will only be drawn to the good and the positive vibration.
Abu Hurayra said, “A bedouin urinated in the mosque. The people moved towards him and the Prophet SAW, said, ‘Let him be and pour a bucket or pail of water onto his urine. You were sent to make things easy and not to make them difficult.’” [Al-Bukhari]
Anas reported that the Prophet SAW said, “Make things easy for people and do not make them difficult. Give good news to people and do not frighten them away.” [Agreed upon]
Now, I truly believe that if we want to entice people into Islam or if you want your fellow brothers or sisters to be better Muslims, we must approach them with gentleness and love. Being harsh and judgmental will only turn people away.
Don’t be petty. Don’t pick on the small things. Don’t argue on minor issues. Maybe that brother or sister has committed minor sin but with the Will of Allah SWT, they will change for the better on their own accord. Change must come from within. You can’t force it on them.
Don’t overwhelm those who had just embraced Islam with minor matters that can confuse them. Even I, a born Muslim, get suffocated sometimes especially when people argue about petty things in Islam, let alone those who are new to the religion. Let our new brothers and sisters grasp the basic principles first. Let them strengthen their footing and then, slowly progress to a more advance level. Don’t tarnish our wonderful religion by giving the wrong impression. Islam is SIMPLE. Do not make it complicated.
Most important of all, NEVER judge a person who is ignorant but instead share your knowledge sincerely and unconditionally with them. Who knows, that person might even secure a special place with God, in the Hereafter that you and I can only dream about………..
* This article originally was published in writer's corner at www.zaahara.com . Zaahara is an online Islamic Mall selling many wonderful stuff.