MIRAGE Q29.37-9

Photograph: Pete Turner/Getty Images

Photograph: Pete Turner/Getty Images


How fake we all are; resorting to religion only when it is socially acceptable.

We only remember to say Alhamdulillah when we are in Muslim gatherings, we observe salaah only when we have an audience, our Blackberry display pictures and Twitter avi have Islamic themes only on Islamic holidays or when we are trying to impress someone. Our Facebook statuses quickly announce to the world the minute we check into Islamic Centres and events, while our Instagram account buzzes with pious pictures which are far from who we really are. We are quick to re-broadcast messages and emails that say if you don’t pass it on then you don’t really love Allah, or the Prophet(SAW). Our cars are filled with paraphernalia with Arabic which we can neither translate nor speak.

Once the topic is about the size of hijab, the length of beard or trouser, and marriage (especially polygyny), we all get in a fevered frenzy trying to out-fatwa each other. The Arabic words that roll off our tongues were carefully articulated before a mirror to sound as authentic as possible and we drop them frequently and unnecessarily.

We scrub our foreheads with stones or insist on smacking the bare ground with our foreheads to acquire the tell-tale mark of prayer. Others will refuse to wipe the grains of sand off their faces and indeed would discourage others from doing so too. We play up our religiousness in front of honest folk and cheat them after they trust us. In politics, trade and daily activities.

What separates us from those who disbelieve? We have forgotten what it means to be Muslim and instead focus on being perceived as religious.

We are more concerned about portraying the right image than we are about truly connecting with Allah. If we focus on Allah instead, others will see the message clearer in us than when we continue to put up a facade and act a charade.

So, what does it mean to truly be Muslim, submitting to the will of Allah? Amongst other things, it is obeying His commands and avoiding what He has prohibited; forbidding evil and enjoining good, to avoid judging others, inviting to Islam in the best manners possible and doing all these strictly for Allah’s sake.

May Allah save us from ourselves and help us collapse the facade behind which we hide and improve ourselves for His Sake. May our deeds never become like a mirage in the desert.

IN THEIR SHOES Q53.42-48

Have you ever attempted to console someone and have them respond hotly, ‘No, you don’t!’ to your ‘I understand’? The thing is they are absolutely right and you know it.

You may have lost your dad at an early age but you still don’t know how she feels losing her dad; you were close to your dad, she wasn’t. You may have had an easy pregnancy but that doesn’t make her pregnancy symptoms less real. You may have lost your job and taken it in good faith but don’t think you know what he’s going through now that he has lost his because he doesn’t have your entrepreneurial skills. The truth is you only have an idea of people’s emotions. You do not know for sure. Humans are very forgetful. We think we know how it is but actually, we’ve forgotten. it is one of the reasons married couples are told not to bring third parties into their problems unless absolutely necessary.

image credit: chamber-queen.blogspot.com

image credit: chamber-queen.blogspot.com


We do not have access to the shoes the individual is presently wearing to be able to tell exactly where it pinches. Even if we do, our feet are different from theirs and we may not feel the pinch or we may even be unable to take a step in the said shoes. All we can and should do is to walk their journey with them, even if for a short distance. Accompany them on their journey and listen to them; most times, they will be grateful for the companionship.

The mistake we make is we often try to talk instead. We try to tell them we know exactly what they are going through but we really don’t. Besides, they may be unwilling to accept advice then.

Empathise instead. Occasionally, we can insert necessary reminders into the conversation. When they are ready to seek a solution, they will. If they are incapable of seeking help, only then should you intervene. Everyone is different. Let them be. At least, for now.

May Allah help us all during trying moments.