“You have to quit confusing a madness with a mission.”
― Flannery O'Connor
A couple of years ago, when I started my journey to re-discovery, someone had called me a religious 'fanatic'. This person had labeled as such because I wanted to make sure I kept my five daily prayers at its appointed time. Because, I changed to wearing black abaya in order to dress more modestly and in line with the teachings of Islam. Because I wanted to reveal my beauty to my husband only. Because I was striving to re-learn the contents of the Holy Quran. Because, I was trying to revive the forgotten teachings of our beloved Prophet pbuh. Because, I wanted to spend less time for worldly matters and start investing in Hereafter.
Fanatic means :-
a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics; zealot.
Seriously? I mean, this person must be joking right? The irony of it is, the person who labeled me as such, is also a Muslim. Imagine that...
The thing is, I admit that I apply a different set of rules on myself but I don't enforce or impose my rules on others. I don't expect others to follow my rules either. The thing is, my own personal rules are not at all extreme. I'm still struggling in trying to perform the basic obligatory acts, so let's not get started on the voluntary acts. All I have done is share the little knowledge that I've acquired with others but what they do with that knowledge, is entirely up to them. I'm not the keeper of their conscience and neither do I judge them. I leave the judging to God. But, if the very act of me trying to get my basic acts together is considered extreme or fanatic, then, I'm really loss for words.
Maybe some who observe me find that my ways are a bit too strict for their taste but like I said before, my rules apply to me alone. I really don't expect anyone to understand, let alone, follow me. One thing that I know that I don't do is blow up people in the name of religion or participate in suicide bombing or go around labeling others as inhabitants of hell or force the non Muslim to accept Islam.
You see, years ago, I found out that I was a hypocrite. I declared myself a Muslim but I lied. I actually lied to God. I didn't follow the religion correctly. I didn't do the things that a Muslim should do. In fact, I did quite the opposite! It's like declaring oneself as a doctor but knows nothing about medicine.
The day I got 'slapped', I realised that I had a lot atoning to do. I wasted many years being a liar and I wanted to correct things as fast as I could.
"The Hypocrites - they think they are over-reaching God, but He will over-reach them: When they stand up to prayer, they stand without earnestness, to be seen of men, but little do they hold God in remembrance; (The Noble Quran, 4:142)"
On the authority of Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with them both) that the Prophet (pbuh) said:
"Four traits whoever possesses them is a hypocrite and whoever possesses some of them has an element of hypocrisy until he leaves it: the one who when he speaks he lies, when he promises he breaks his promise, when he disputes he transgresses and when he makes an agreement he violates it.
Muslim and Bukhari
So my journey started in me re-learning about Islam. I knew that if I wanted to continue declaring myself as a Muslim, I must actually follow the religion otherwise, I would still be a hypocrite. I don't think I can look at myself in the mirror anymore if I were to continue with my past lifestyle.
I talked to the Wise Old Man about the labeling. He told me that the relationship between a servant and his or her Creator is a very personal one. It does not involve anyone else. It's strictly one to one kind of relationship. How close that relationship is, is dependant on the servant. Unfortunately, not many Muslims understand that but surprisingly, some non Muslims do.
To tell you honestly, I wasn't upset with the labeling because I knew this person doesn't understand but I did tell this person that I am NOT a fanatic but a normal person who is merely trying to be a Muslim..........
Hadith Qudsi 15:
On the authority of Abu Harayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (PBUH) said: Allah the Almighty said:
I am as My servant thinks I am (1). I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assemble better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw near to him a fathom's length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.
It was related by al-Buhkari (also by Muslim, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn-Majah)