Amar ma’ruf nahi munkar
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.
- 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!
- 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!