LOWER YOUR GAZE BUT NOT YOUR STANDARDS  

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By: Aisha Zale Navi

Photo Courtesy: http://bestmodernpaintings.blogspot.co.ke/

The hot summer weather had me wishing I was wearing an air condition fitted outfit (seriously, someone should work on that).

‘’I still don’t get it why men can walk in three quarters and vests while muslim women are to cover from top to bottom in this unbearable weather.’’ He argued. And this was the climax of our heated argument. I could have just answered simply; ‘’Jahannam is hotter’’ but I dislike that answer even though it is so true and also I know the person am talking to. He is not the one to accept one word answer or three for that matter. He would have probably said something like, ‘ why can’t God make the earth cooler’. And no he won’t understand the concept of; the earth is a prison for a believer and paradise for a disbeliever. No, he just don’t roll like that. He is a man of reasons. Deep thoughts. Contemplating, arguing and finding logic. Yeah, I hate him sometimes when he becomes so philosophical but not for long because he is my friend and more importantly, it is my duty to answer such questions.

After our long argument which took two hours or more, I sat on my bed and a thought came to my head. ‘I wish I was like Imam Shafi or was it Malik, definitely one of those clever people that were before us who possessed so much wisdom to argue their points.’ Then it hit me, I was not sure which Imam or person I was referring to. I just have a rough idea of this man who was good at debates but don’t know who. Sad, isn’t it? Or may be not that sad because it’s just a debate; after all we should avoid them as much as possible.

What is really sad is that, few of us todaytake time to learn our religion. We are updated on most of the aspects of this world but when it comes to our religion, we are where we left off from madrassa. Some of us are doing a PHD in whatever field we are specializing in but it has never bothered them to learn how to make their swalah better and sweeter. The world that is supposed to be in our hands is in our hearts and the deen whose place is in our hearts is no where near our thoughts. Don’t blame time, because most of our time is consumed on absolutely nothing constructive. In this times whereby you can get anything and everything just by clicking a button, you really want to blame time for your luck of advanced knowledge in religion? Nouman Ali Khan has made it easier for you to get a chance to understand the Qur’an like never before just for $100 per year subscription, Qalaam institute got Seera intensive classes every year at $85, Hadith of the Day sends you daily hadiths at no cost, Islamic Online Universities offers different courses on religion at $100 per semester, there are numerous books on religion found online and teachers too from every corner of the world, Productive Muslim teaches you ways to be productive from life of the Prophet s.a.w at an affordable price.. what then is our excuse?

The worst part is when a non-muslim asks a question about Islam and we have no idea what the answer is, they present their arguments and we answer by getting raged and we are ready to fight for the religion that we  have not taken time to understand it for ourselves. We really need to see the urgency in us learning our deen. We should not leave it to Imams and Aalims. We have to learn it for ourselves. So that, just as you update your mode of whatsapp messenger, you update your reading of Qur’an. In your many dreams in life, fit in something to do with acquiring knowledge of the deen. You don’t have to take it all in, we can leave that for the scholars. But for your day to day life; you need Qur’an, Sunnah, important aspects of fiqhi, seera. Find books or courses on them and spare time on learning it. Every year, under your new year resolution, have something like: ‘’ Do in depth tafsir of Qur’an’’ or any other field you know you are really poor at.

And as I always say: it all comes down to the people we love and look up to. Who are the people we admire the most in our lives. Doctors might tell you Dr. House even though he is a fictional character. But really, do you think he is the best person to be looking up to. Yeah he is a genius according to the series and what not, but is he worthy a role model to a muslim lady or gentleman. I remember when we were preparing for our KCSE, the school will invite people from different fields. Now that I mention it, am not sure if it was form four or form three. My point is, there is this one guy. I don’t remember his name nor his profession but I will never forget his advice. It was as simple as, ‘’whatever you want to pursue in life, make sure you are a muslim first. So that you will be: a muslim teacher, a muslim lawyer’, a muslim engineer etc… not by name but by your way of living.’’ We can achieve this by having the right role models in our lives. If you are a muslim and your number one role model is not Rasulullah s.a.w, then you need therapy.

And my opinion is that, apart from the messenger of Allah may peace be upon him the swahabas,  tabiin and those who followed the religion to the letter would make great role models. Whatever profession you are in, look for a role model from the former people and also current who are in the same field and Allah is pleased with them. So if you are a teacher, get to know Aisha r.a one of the best teachers of her time, if you are in army how about you take some notes on Khalid bin Walid’s life, you are a business lady or gentleman, let AbdulRahman Ibn Awf blow your mind; you are a doctor Ibn Sina, you are a nurse Nusaybah bint Ka’ab, you want to be the president or a leader in anything you have a list to choose from, from the four Caliphates to Ummar Bin Abdulaziz, Architectures you can definitely find someone during Ummayad dynasty… the list goes on and on. We have this great people to look up to with whom we are sure if we follow their footsteps we will be successful in this world and the hereafter. The sad thing is that, we don’t know about them and we don’t bother to know about them. Now this is really really sad.

In this world, we are just passers by and the Hereafter is permanent. What if I tell you that there is a way to be happy in both worlds, won’t you jump at the opportunity to know how can you do it? Well this how… whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you are dealing with, check and see how intact is your islam. Not by possessing the most beautiful Arabic name (so far mine is the most beautiful :p) but by possessing the most beautiful heart and characters as we were taught by the teacher of teachers Muhammad s.a.w and his Teacher Allah s.w.t. Make time to know Allah and know what He asks of you. Make time to acquire as much knowledge as you can so that you won’t be wishing to be like a wise someone centuries back because you will be that wise someone and you will be able to answer the questions and remove any doubts. Be a carrier of knowledge. This is an advice to myself first and then to you my dear brothers and sisters. Lower your gaze but don’t lower your standards by failing your religion.

And for the one who is curious to know how the argument with my friend went, well… we agreed to disagree. I pray one day, he agrees to agree with me in shaa Allah. May Allah increase us all in knowledge that is beneficial to us and others and make the path of knowledge easy for all of us, may He grant us success in this world and the hereafter, ameen.

 

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