Are we normalising negative behaviours?

By Jaweria Ibrahim 

Scene#01

It’s a busy day at work and you’ve been working diligently through the staggering pile of tasks. By mid-day, most of it is done and you’re already anticipating freedom. But then your jerk boss saunters by with another “on my desk at the end of the day” assignment that he forgot to give in the morning. That’s all it took for the proverbial kettle to boil over, you leave your desk in a huff and proceed to rip your boss a new one to anyone who cares to listen.

Scene#02

It’s the weekend and you’re relaxing on your couch. Suddenly, your cell-phone beeps for a Facebook notification that you open with dull curiosity and you find another viral scandal. The dull afternoon is forgotten.  You add your two-cents to the news to share and relish the ensuing gossip, only to later find out that scandal had been faked, and the person in question was being defamed.

 Scene#03

There’s a flat 50% sale in a popular clothing brand. Excited, you get there exactly 10 minutes before opening hours, only to bump into a crowd of people already waiting. It’s 10 am, the door opens, the crowd rushes in. Madness erupts in the store; shelves bare like the fields after a locust swarm. You brace yourself to fight for products that might never be stocked again. You shove, stomp feet, and bicker over the dress that was yours because you saw it. At last, you leave the store feeling accomplished, despite the suffocation and discourteous crowd you somehow manage to get the dress you had been eyeing since forever.

Scene#04

Running late you disregard the speed limit only to be pulled over by a stern, probably minimal-wage traffic policeman. You offer the poor man some pocket-money instead. The formalities are forgotten, the cop graciously accepts and sends you off with a friendly wave. The system is just corrupt, there’s nothing you could have done. Everyone does it. 

Sounds familiar? This is daily life, the new normal for many of us. These incidents and our reaction to them depict how we are as individuals and as Muslims in particular. They define our character and morality. At times we don’t realize it but these small moments make a huge impact on what we are collecting for our Akhirah. We blindly sin in ignorance without conceiving its aftermath. Now the question is what’s going wrong? Are these instances just as okay as we seem to believe? Is Islam really only limited to the 5 pillars of worship? The answer is simple. Islam is a complete religion and our worship is incomplete if all aspects of our lives don’t reflect it.

Let’s have a look at how, by fitting into the above-mentioned scenarios, we deviate from the path of Islam.

ANGER

Any person in Scene#01 would feel angry. However, a wise person is one who controls his temper. In the age of near-constant activity exposure to instances of injustice, frustration, and exhaustion a person loses his temper easily. In such instances, we can take a moment to recall the words of Allah’s Messenger PBUH as narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, 

“The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength but the strong is one who controls himself while in anger” 

(Sahih Al Bukhari, Hadith 6114)

According to the Hadith, it takes a greater person to control his might and anger in exchange for patience and mercy instead. A better person would then rather forgo the pleasure of domineering through rage because he is aware and dutiful of his rights and the rights of others. In a beautiful Hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas RA, 

“The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘ Teach and make it easy. Teach and make it easy.’ three times. He went on, ‘When you are angry, be silent’ twice.”

(Al Adab Al Mufrad, Hadith 1320) 

Additionally, a person should recite the Ta’awuz in a state of anger.

A’oodhu Billaahi min al-Shaytan ir-rajeem

(I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan)

Spilling the Tea

Today is all about staying aware, being in the loop, and “staying with the trends”. It’s the latest fad. Such is the case with the person in Scene#2. This could be just about anyone of us. We have access to all sorts of information and have much to say, so it’s easier to gloss over the effort to verify information or even consider its necessity.

 Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) once said, 

“It is enough for a man to prove himself a liar when he goes on narrating whatever he hears” 
(Riyadh as-Salihin, Hadith 1547) 

SubhanAllah, I’m amazed how the words of the Prophet SAW speak to us directly, should our words (and our retweets and shares) then not be discreet? Also of the limited words gifted to us in the Qur’an, Allah SWT takes a few to address this matter as well. 


“O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful” 

(Surah Al-Hujurat, 49:6)

MATERIALISM

The person in the third scene seems to be affected by materialism. Every person has some needs and desires that need to be fulfilled. However, there’s a limit to everything. As a Muslim, one shouldn’t cross the line to conform to social standards. A true believer never lets materialism overcome his or her own self (nafs), rather he/she acts within the limits set by Islam. Allah SWT says in the Qur’an:

O mankind! Verily, the Promise of Allah is true. So, let not this present life deceive you, and let not the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allah.

(Surah Fatir, 35:5)

What we need to understand is to what extent we should indulge ourselves in this temporary life. Indeed, the Almighty has promised a never-ending reward for those who control themselves.

DISHONESTY

The acts of giving and taking a bribe are being depicted in the last situation. No matter how much we normalize haram, it remains haram. Giving or accepting an illegal pay-off, cheating, or any kind of deceitful act is condemned by Islam. Not only does it go against the faith of a Muslim but also becomes a reason for Allah’s displeasure. This Hadith of the Prophet PBUH is enough for us to be aware of the consequence of this evil.

 Narrated by Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-‘As:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) cursed the one who bribes and the one who takes a bribe.

(Sunan Abi Dawood, Hadith 3580)

Islam means submission and if we are accepting it, we should adhere to it with absolute allegiance in all aspects of our lives. May Allah guide all of us to the straight path. Ameen! 

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