Amar ma’ruf nahi munkar

December 6, 2008 at 6:33 pm 14 comments

I’ve been meaning to speak about this for a long time coming but recent events have served to be the catalyst for finally penning this down.

“You are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah.”
Surah al-‘Imran 3:110

I really feel that there is something gravely wrong with the Muslim community in Singapore. (Maybe everywhere else but since I’m a living specimen of the Muslim community in Singapore, I shall speak for it.)

There are many, many lines in the Qur’an that speak of amar ma’ruf, nahi munkar, aka “Enjoin good, forbid evil”. There are some camps that go all out to do this to the point of insulting and labelling others of kufr and other treacherous things. But for the most part, I think our community has failed in practicing what is oft-repeated in the Qur’an.

Based on my own experience when I was trying to change my ways of life, the very people that hindered me or mocked me were the Muslims themselves. Yes, I did have some who gave me encouragement but these were far & few in between. What I had to go through most often were snide comments, people calling me “Ustazah” (this hasn’t stopped and each time it happens now, all I say is InsyaAllah heh), comments on my dressing, on my speech, on me suddenly being “so alim” and so many other nasty things. Most I let it pass but there were some that did hurt me at that time. I’ve forgiven them all now but my main point is, why?

And hey, you know what? This is actually a COMMON reaction to most people I’ve spoken to. Each time someone wants to change for the better, there are bound to be people (not one or two but many) who will say stuff like “Eleh, nak action alim konon” , “Sikit salah pun tak boleh ke? Allah paham la” [Even a small mistake is not allowed? Allah will understand la] and so many other really rubbish things. When one is trying to hold on tight to the Sunnah and trying to revive a sunnah in these last days, someone says “Jangan nak step Nabi”. Astaghfirullah!

How hurtful their words, how inconsiderate people can be!

And then on the other end of the spectrum, I have to say that the Muslim community in Singapore actually encourages evil!

Don’t believe me? Read through the next few lines and tell me you’ve never heard them before.

  1. During a family gathering, perhaps Eid, an uncle/aunty sees a youth, maybe 13-15 years of age and proceeds to ask “Ni mesti dah ada matair kan?” [Surely you have a girlfriend/boyfriend right?] Upon hearing a “no”, they will say “Handsome/lawa macam gini takkan takde matair..” [You’re so handsome/pretty, impossible that you don’t have one.]

    These words are actually mocking the youths. Already it is so difficult for youths to resist getting in a relationship at that tender age, these makcik pakcik just haaaaad to rub it in!

  2. Again, family gathering especially Eid. (Sorry I’m using examples from Eid, its just that this is when I see it happening the most.)

    A young girl chooses to don a loose-fitting garment for Raya. A makcik (usually a makcik) will ask “Why wear this for Raya? All your other cousins are wearing kebaya and all. You look like you are drowning in it! You’re so young, wear nice nice. You’re making yourself look older! And you only wear celak? Where’s your foundation and make-up? WHAT you don’t wear make-up?! Come here, I put for you. Going visiting whole day, how can you go out of the house looking like THAT!”

    Oh yeah, thanks makcik for the compliment!

I know that I could really come up with more examples. And mind you, these aren’t things I made up in my mind. They are real words by real people.

Why stop someone from doing good or changing for the better? Just because you don’t have the guts and the strength to leave your bad habits and bad deeds and attempt to please your Lord rather than your ego, that doesn’t make it okay to make someone’s struggle even harder than it already is!

I was really saddened by this, and it was amplified yesterday.

You see, yesterday I donned the niqab for the first time. My reason was simple, my Original Spiritual Comrade’s husband was giving the Friday sermon and he chose to give the Prophet’s last sermon. I wanted to hear him give it. BUT its makruh for a young lady to do the Friday prayers at the mosque because of the attention that she might attract. Its haram if she adorns herself. Therefore, I reasoned that since I really wanted to hear him give the khutbah, I’ll come really early to the mosque and try be as invisible and unnoticeable as possible.

After prayers, my Original Spiritual Comrade & I waited till the mosque was empty before we left. See, just like how Sayyidatina Aisya RA described the women who went to the mosque. “They came and left unnoticed.” (Or atleast we tried.)

We then went for lunch and the whole day, I had the niqab on. I felt really comfortable in it so I didn’t see the need for me to take it off just because prayers were over. However, certainly some people had problems with that. Along the way, I met a family friend. (Oh yes, the most amusing thing about yesterday was that 4 people recognized me. When I don’t have the niqab on, nobody comes up to me to say Hi but when I do, everyone recognizes me! Must be the funky specs. ;p )

So anyway, we spoke for a bit and then parted ways. Barely 10mins later, I had a call from a very terrified-sounding mother. “Mee, I ask you a question. Just answer me by saying yes or no. Did you go out today with the niqab?”

Upon hearing my answer, she started whining and going Whyyyyyyyy and proceeded to be very dramatic and emotional. She went on to say “You see, apa you buat, semua orang tahu, abeh news sampai kat I.” [You see, everything you do, everyone knows and the news will reach me.]

I was baffled, honestly. The way she was telling me off, it was as if someone caught me holding hands with a non-Mahram male! Ya Rabb!

It was 10mins, a mere 10mins since the time I parted ways with the previous lady and already she had contacted my mum to ask if I had started wearing the niqab. Honestly, so what if I did?!

When I got home, my mum sat me down to “get things clear” and told me that people think that I now have “buang dunya” [renounced the world]. It was very dramatic, as women always are *rolls eyes* and I just sat there wondering what grave sin I had done to deserve this much attention.

I was reflecting after that and I got really sad. When I was growing up, I had done so many un-Islamic things and none of that ever got to my parents. If they had only called my parents and informed them then, perhaps I could have saved myself a whole load of sins. But when it comes to something like wearing the niqab just to be invisible for a day, masyaAllah, the news spread like wildfire and I got a telling off for doing so. Sigh.

Why do we do this? Why do we allow haram acts to remain unmentioned and make a big hooha over something halal? Why highlight an act that will not incur the wrath of Allah and allow other Muslims to continue going on the path that will lead them to other than Jannah?

Leave alone those who take their religion to be mere play and amusement, and are deceived by the life of this world. But proclaim (to them) this (truth): that every soul delivers itself to ruin by its own acts: it will find for itself no protector nor intercessor except Allah: if it offered every ransom, none will be accepted: such is (the end of) those who deliver themselves to ruin by their own acts: they will have for drink (only) boiling water, and for punishment, one most grievous: for they persisted in rejecting Allah.”
Surah al-An’am 6:70

Allah is As-Sattar, the Most Beautiful Covering. That is one thing that Allah always reminds me. None of my bad deeds were mentioned by people because He didn’t allow them to. No one told my parents about it because He allowed them to go unnoticed (if not unnoticed, then unmentioned). How many of my sins that I had done that He knows of but yet, covers them from people? MasyaAllah.. Allah, Allah..

I remember my Ustaz telling me about his life in Egypt years ago. He said if a lady was seen with a male that is not her mahram, the male would be confronted and made to explain to her parents or at least, her brother. He quoted other examples where he would confront someone who was not going to the mosque to pray when the Azan had just been heard.

I admired that so much. I mean, of course we do good deeds for Allah and we abstain from sin for Allah and not for the fact that people will see and talk. But masyaAllah, how much it would help if the Muslim community in Singapore does that! People persist in sin because they are not reminded of the sinfulness of such an act!

Its just amazing that the culture is such. Over here, you start praying a little longer or start wearing celak (especially for the males) and someone ‘advises’ you and says “Don’t start becoming extremist.” Whaaaaaat?

“Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: they are the ones to attain felicity.”
Surah al-‘Imran 3:104

Yes, let there arise a band of us who will do this! Let us not allow our fellow brothers and sisters who are beginning to see the Light to suffer when they want to change for the better. Let us be good helpers and motivators and not ones who mock and make things harder for them. May Allah help us!

Before I end, here’s a little something for all you wonderful souls who are in this struggle:

“O you who believe! Guard your own souls: if you follow (right) guidance, no hurt can come to you from those who stray. The goal of you all is to Allah: it is He that will show you the truth of all that you do.”
Surah al-Maidah 5:105

I pray Allah helps the Muslim community to enjoin good and forbid evil, to not fear to speak the truth even if it hurts, to give us strength to spread His Word, to revive the Sunnah of the Prophet SAW even if its going to invite teasing and mocking from others, to give us strength to hold on to the rope of Allah and never let go. Amin ya Rabbal Alameen!


Entry filed under: Al-Qur'an, change, conversations, difficulty, dunya, good deed, myself, people, Prophet SAW, Qur'an, Sayyidatina Aisha RA.

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14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ruqayyah  |  December 7, 2008 at 11:12 am

    it is, an experience isnt it :) to wear a niqab in public… hehe

  • 2. Mahirah  |  December 7, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Assalaamu’alaikum Kak I hope u know who I am ahaha…

    Alhamdulillah, none of my relatives has ever asked me those questions, BUT my mum have been asked by one of her friends if I already had a boyfriend.

    I don’t get it actually. I don’t think they aren’t aware of Islam’s stand on BGR. And if they see a couple, they would comment about them. These questions seriously contradict all that cuz they all ENCOURAGE BGR, don’t you think?

    How, how, HOW can we change this detrimental tradition? I highly doubt that only the SG Muslim community faces this somewhat hypocritical situation, I believe a lot of other Muslim communities worldwide face this too (:

    Anyway, May Allah Bless you for being so brave! I have been musing about wearing the niqab for once, just to feel how women in niqab feel and yes, being invisible, and unrecognisable for once.

    Well, I dunno if anyone’s commented me behind my back whenever I wear the jubah to school, but there’s been anyone, I forgive them (:

    Wearing the jubah may seem extreme enough for some, especially if it’s a young girl. I don’t like wearing kebaya seh it’s so darn flashy and TIGHT. I don’t even like wearing baju kurung with flowery prints! Haha!

    It’s hard trying to become more religious, cuz I think people are afraid it will lead to extremism.

    Ok, before this becomes a supplementary blog entry, I’ll stop here haha!

    Take care kak!

    (I call my friends’ older sisters kak, if you don’t mind. A bit funny if my friend who is your younger bro’s calling you kak and I don’t haha. To me at least :D But if u object no hal xD)

  • 3. Mahirah  |  December 7, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Btw what’s Original Spiritual Comrade? Sounds fascinating…

  • 4. alfaqeer  |  December 7, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    ruqayyah: Yeah it is. :) I truly enjoyed it actually.

    Mahirah: Haha yes darling, I know who you are. And you can call me Kak, or Adek, or whatever for that matter. ;p

    Back to the posting, I’m sure they’re half-joking when they’re asking the questions about BGR. But at the same time, it gives off the wrong impression to the youth, that perhaps something is wrong with him. Which is really sad la. I salute the youths who guard themselves in these days, coz surely its not something easy!

    I’m still thinking of a way to change this detrimental situation. But as with most problems, I think this is one that has to start with my own family and that in itself is one jihad la! Haha. Its a culture thing really. Its not going to take a few days or weeks to change. =/

    The whole point about the reactions to the niqab and jubah is really this over-emphasis on cloth. I mean, come on, its just another piece of cloth! I can’t understand why people get so worked up about it. I know its the meanings and symbols attached to the cloth. That if you don the niqab or the jubah, its supposed to signify an increased religiosity or piety. People need to go beyond these stereotypical labelling and mindset. Jubah is just another choice for clothing, its got nothing to do with piety!

    Anyway thanks a lot for your comment. :)

    You can read this to find out about the Original Spiritual Comrade hehe.

  • 5. faruq  |  December 8, 2008 at 11:05 am

    Therein lies the problem with the Malay/Muslim community. We forget the Hereafter and we want the dunya.

    We’re gradually becoming Westernized if we aren’t already are.

    Speaking of which, also an Eid example, there was a screening of Bujang Lapok – a classic Malay film reaching cult status. I happened to watch it in a relative’s house – there were some uncomfortable scenes. Is it just me or is everyone else blind to the stark transgressions of God’s Limits in such a film?

    No boundaries between men & women. Singing together. Like duh? And we glorify such a film?!
    Is it any wonder why we’re in such a state?

    If we forget God, don’t expect God to remember us. If you want this worthless dunya, you can have all you want – but you’ll never know whether you’d still be alive to enjoy it tomorrow.

    Laugh all you want, you won’t be laughing when you’re buried 6 feet under.

    Here lies the choice: dunya or akhirah?

    We seriously need to return to our Lord and Cherisher.

    May God help us in that.

  • 6. ptknua  |  December 10, 2008 at 1:57 am

    May Allah prevent us from this.It’s the opposite of Amar Ma’ruf nahi Munkar.

    ” The Hypocrites, men and women, (have an understanding) with each other: They enjoin evil, and forbid what is just, and are close with their hands. They have forgotten Allah. so He hath forgotten them. Verily the Hypocrites are rebellious and perverse. ”
    ( سورة التوبة , At-Taubah, Chapter #9, Verse #67)

  • 7. amuslimahsmmusings  |  December 10, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Its always during the Eid things get amplified eh? :)

    I agree a hundred percent.
    Just two days ago, at one gathering, my aunt commented;” idah, kau ni mcm orang tua”
    And another aunt,” next time, cik su make up kan lawa lawa”

    haha..what is that supposed to mean? that you encourage the outer beauty and that that is a yardstick to measure a person by?

    That is why, we are where we are.
    Its ok, we shall strive on, May Allah open their hearts one day and still keep ours opened :)

  • 8. alfaqeer  |  December 10, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    faruq: With regards to what you said about Bujang Lapok. Yes sure, there were serious trangressions in that movie. Are they to be blamed? How was dakwah done in those days? Did they have the ‘luxury’ (i.e. access to asatizahs, books and deen-related articles) that we enjoy today?

    Don’t be so quick to judge. I wouldn’t say we glorify the film. Watching the movie doesn’t necessarily mean we endorse the trangressions thats being done in the movie. They lived in a time different from our own. They will be judged according to what they know; we will be judged with a yardstick different from them. May Allah forgive us all.

    ptknua:May we never forget Him. Thanks buddy for your comment. I MISS YOU LA BUDDY!

    amuslimahsmusings: Hoi, takde panjang lagi ke nama? Letak Sha aje lah sudah. ;p

    Anyway, it is now our duty to make sure our generation (who WILL be the leaders of tomorrow) who will put a stop to this, no? :)

    There’s hope still. Lets not give up and MARCH ON COMRADES!

  • 9. globetrekkerdiaries  |  December 11, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Salam, Ameera

    It’s me, Heryanti.

    SubhanaAllah…Ur article is real.
    I am in dilemma now with regards to enjoining good and forbidding evil. My dilemma is that I am at a loss cos I don’t know how I should approach my close friends who take the issue of aurat rather lightly even though they there are originally hijab-ed. I feel sad i.e. Why cant we have our own identity? Why is it that other (negative) influences get absorbed by Muslims so easily? Wallahu3alam. For now I am just thinking of ways how I could approach my friend, with hikmah.

    May Allah swt bless and keep us in imaan with his mercy. Amin.

  • 10. alfaqeer  |  December 11, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    globetrekkerdiaries: Salaam Heryanti! MasyaAllah, so long no see la! Are you joining us for MSA 3??

    Anyway, what is the root of the issue? Its not just about the hijab. Why did they take it off? Is it because of their jobs? Their friends? Something about Islam that is making them uncomfortable? You can’t just come up to them and tell them about having to wear the hijab because like you said, they were once hijabis. It must be something deeper than that. Find out what, perhaps from there you could move on. Make lots of doa too! :)

    Amin to your doa!

  • 11. faruq  |  December 11, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    >>Watching the movie doesn’t necessarily mean we endorse the trangressions thats being done in the movie.

    I believe that’s where the error comes in. If the elders who watch don’t intervene in saying this is wrong, the younger generations will be confused.

    Watching Western movies/dramas is a no-no but watching Bujang Lapok is okay.

    It’s precisely when the elders praise such a film, telling the young ones its a classic and such, that they will think: “So it’s okay for men and women to sing together?”

    Part of the dawah of Rasulullah (saw) was doing certain things and NOT doing certain things. If he didn’t do something when he could do it, that means it’s undesirable. So if we were to allow such movies to be portrayed and don’t do anything to differentiate the right from wrong, the young ones will get influenced.

    Truth is clear from falsehood.
    Let them not be mixed.

    >>They lived in a time different from our own. They will be judged according to what they know; we will be judged with a yardstick different from them.

    Thank you for the reminder for I almost forgot about that.

    May God guide us.

  • 12. redtide  |  December 12, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Salaam ‘alaik..

    Hm, I understand where you’re coming from as I went through and experienced such phases as well..

    The things that you brought up are real. But before we judge any of them, we must try understand why do they say such things and why they do the things the way they do.

    Are they well-practicing muslims who purposely critisize other muslims or are they just muslims by birth who’re still very ignorant of their own religion?

    Seriously, if any of them had understood Islam well, they wouldn’t go to such extremes.

    Before we try argue with them what’s right or wrong, telling them this or that is the way Islam has to be, that we have to do ‘amr ma’ruf nahi munkar’, there’s something that’s more important for them to understand. Which is the root of Islam, the Akidah. They should firstly understand, What is our purpose of life?

    Allah explained our purpose of life in surah Adh-Dhariyat 51:56.. ‘And I(Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (alone).’

    We should understand that the concept of worship is not only in prayers or fasting or zakat or hajj but it encompasses whatever we do in this life that’s according to Noble Qur’an and the way He recommends us to do it through the actions of Prophet Muhammad SAW (sunnah). This is Islam.

    They should also understand the fact that we need Allah in our lives in everything that we do. If they can agree to this, only then, we can try explaining to them the secondary issues such as solat or why muslimahs have to cover themselves properly…We need to solat because we need Allah in our lives and if we have to don a certain dresscode while attending a formal function together with the president for example, it is even more compulsory to dress that way for Allah as that is the way He instructs us to.

    It’s important that we try to da’wah to them firstly through our own actions, then try to do it in a way that will want them to change themselves, bihikmah. Maybe even ponder, hm, how would Rasulullah SAW approach this matter?

    It’s easier said than done of course. But we have to try. Lessen the critisizing, try to understand more and after that work on the solutions.

    Thier words may be hurtful and mindless to us not to them, but i’m sure they’re mostly spoken out of ignorance.

    As the words from stephan r covey’s, habit 5 and what da’ies such as Hassan al-Banna normally practice “Seek to understand.. than be understood”

    And Allah SWT knows best.

  • 13. Brrrr. « soul searching  |  December 15, 2008 at 9:04 am

    […]  Ameera writes beautifully, she almost always makes me cry reading her posts. And I truly share my sentiments on this post. […]

  • 14. Saiyidah  |  April 4, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Asalamualaikum Ameera,

    I understand your predicament especially so with all the Makcik/pakcik. Truthfully, I dread family gatherings especially Eid (like how you have quoted so many times. :P ) but each time this snide remarks are made, I reaffirm myself that I don’t do this to get into anyone’s good books nor am I “step nak macam Nabi”.

    All these people do not know the true love for Islam. I guess they are Muslims by birth. But believer by choice? Wallah hualam. So I hope you won’t feel so – I don’t know the right word – disgruntled by all these passing comments.

    Cos afterall, whatever we do or we don’t do has all been planned by Allah and as a blessed slaved to the Almighty, we should always be reminded of His graciousness.

    And thanks for posting this up. It kinda remind me that I’m not alone during this harrowing family gathering.



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