Back in university one of the ladies in our lot got pregnant in the middle of the semester. Or at least that’s when her belly started revealing. The lady was very quiet and reserved. She wasn’t a Muslim but she always seemed decent. Soon as her pregnancy became vivid, some of my mates started saying, ‘See she was acting all innocent but now she’s been exposed.’ I thought about it to myself for a moment and I said, ‘But that’s not fair.’ I mean, for the years that I knew the lady there was no single day she declared herself ‘innocent’ nor was there any day that I saw her pointing fingers and slandering others for their wrongdoings. There was no day that she acted or even spoke like she was ‘holier than thou’. How was it really fair to slander someone when they slip just because they weren’t openly showing their horns or posting it up on social media for the whole world to see?

See, wrong is wrong however we try to sugarcoat it. But there’s always more to the story. The world we live in at the moment is the kind that expects you to put up your dirty laundry outside on broad daylight in the name of ‘I am being myself. At least I don’t pretend.’

I once had a conversation with a lady who was talking about her personal situation and some sort of scheme she was plotting. Okay, no judgement whatsoever. But then the conversation rolled on to a point where she said, ‘Hawa wakimya ndio nawaheshimu. Utaona hakuna innocent kama wao then just one day they shock you to the peak with their actions.’

I mean, where did this mentality come from? That one should either be openly sinning and making mistakes or be the perfect angel as we see you. Where was it written that exposing your mistakes makes you any better than the one who doesn’t? Or that the one who doesn’t is a hypocrite? Isn’t it silly that we consider the reserved, seemingly pious people to be 120% right, 360 degrees all round perfect?! Like ‘Oh my God, he is PERRR-VECT, nur ala nur 😀

Really bro?!

We see it all the time. With sheikhs, famous people and colleagues. Someone does a mistake that is exposed and poof! Everyone has a reaction and an opinion and we just blow it completely out of proportion because ‘they were hypocrites all along’. That same thing, if it were to be done by anyone else we would go on with our lives like nothing happened. But hey! this is so and so…we have to break the internet about it.

We come out each day showing people our displeasing actions because we want people to see us for who we are and accept us as is. But in the process of doing that, we unveil any sense of shame left within us because the moment someone approaches us to humbly correct us we are so quick to say, ‘Don’t judge me’ or ‘You shouldn’t judge me.’ The same goes to those who openly reveal the good that they do and slander everyone else who isn’t like what they perceive themselves.

Truth is that there is no angel. There is no one who can look back and confidently say, ‘I am perfect or sinless’. We are all struggling with something, whether it is visible or not, we are. Even the best of sheikhs and the people we consider our role models. We all have skeletons hidden in our wardrobe and chapters of our lives we don’t read out loud. There are people we have harmed or caused pain, whether intentionally or not, we have. So the next time a certain sheikh or role model does a mistake and the internet family actively discuss about him/her, remember that they too are human beings. They wrong just as you do. The mistakes or sins may be different but they are still there. And just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean you should forget that they too have flaws and weaknesses and things they are not proud of.

Fair enough, you’d probably be disappointed because you looked up to them but never allow that to overshadow your judgment on who can or can’t sin and who should/shouldn’t be forgiven.

Most importantly, don’t let the current world push you to exposing your sins in the fear of people having overly high expectations on you. You being ashamed about your mistakes and sins is the first step to repentance. Or how else do you expect to sincerely repent after posting it on your social media page with your sparkling smile as you sin?!

Abu Hurayrah (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Every one of my followers will be forgiven except those who expose (openly) their wrongdoings. An example of this is that of a man who commits a sin at night which Allah has covered for him, and in the morning, he would say (to people): ‘I committed such and such sin last night’ while Allah had kept it a secret. During the night Allah has covered it up but in the morning he tears up the cover provided by Allah Himself.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim]

There is a famous story of the sahabi Nuayman ‘ibn Amr Al-Ansari RA who was known to have issues with alcohol. Despite knowing the ruling of Islam towards the intoxicating drink, Nuayman RA struggled with breaking his addiction, and was flogged twice for drinking. Upon the second flogging, ‘Umar RA who was angered by Nuayman’s RA behaviour quipped, “La ‘nat Allah alayhi – may God’s curse be on him”. The Prophet Muhammad (S), upon hearing this, was quick to intervene, “No, no, don’t do (such a thing). Indeed he loves God and His Apostle. The major sin (as this) does not put one outside the community and the mercy of God is close to the believers.” Watch the full story on Nuayman here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TCCzKs3-bo

The reason I shared his story is because it should be a reminder that even the sahabis did sin and mistakes too yet that didn’t make them to be regarded any less than the believers they were. The difference with us is how much they really regretted their acts and most importantly, how the prophet treated the believers who sinned; without despising them or shunning them off.

Once a young man came to the Prophet ﷺ requesting from the Prophet to grant this man permission to have sex outside of marriage. The people were shocked and were trying to silence his question. The Prophet ﷺ asked him a series of questions. “Would you like it for your mom?” He ﷺ continued to ask if this man would like it for his daughter, sister or other female relatives. The man continually responded in the negative, intellectually convinced by the logical argument of the Prophet ﷺ. Finally, the Prophet placed his blessed hand on the man and prayed to God, “Dear God! May you forgive his sins, purify his heart and make him chaste.” And it is narrated that this man never got involved in what he was requesting after this experience with the Prophet.

Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A man kissed a woman. So he came to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and informed him about it. Then Allah revealed this Ayah: “And perform the Salat, between the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night. Verily, the good deeds efface the evil deeds (i.e., minor sins).” (11:114) The man asked the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) whether this applies to him only. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “It applies to all of my Ummah.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Now imagine if these situations happened today and the people involved were maybe known to be pious or God-fearing; how would we react then?! How would we respond to them? Wouldn’t we be the first ones to label them as hypocrites and a disgrace to the Muslim community? Wouldn’t it be a big scandal that we’d talk about for days on?! The prophet p.b.u.h corrected them and prayed for them instead. We should also keep in mind that we’d never know how much a person regrets their actions, feels extremely guilty and cries for repentance every night. Be merciful upon others just like you’d want others to be with you if you were in the same position. Never say ‘I’d never do that or say that’ because honestly, life is the scariest thing to be too sure about. Tables turn every.single.day.

This of course isn’t a justification for anyone’s wrongdoings. Nor should it be an excuse and an easy gateway for people to sin secretly in the hope that Allah (S.W) will cover our tracks. Also, this differs according to the sin/mistake in hand. Cases like rape, sodomy, molestation, harassment, murder or any other grave sin may need a call for justice upon the doer so as to protect others from him/her or to remove them from a certain position.

Allah (S.W) surely knows what is in our hearts and what we struggle with to change and our intentions behind all our actions. Don’t expose your sins but also try with all your being to keep away from them.

Ibn al-Qayyim Rahimahu Llah said : ‘Know that if people are impressed with you, they are impressed with the beauty of Allah’s covering of your sins.’

Thank Allah (S.W) when He protects the world from seeing the darkness within you. Thank Allah when He guides you. Thank Allah when He grants you a chance to sincerely repent.

May Allah (S.W) protect us from the whispering of shaitan and from our own nafs and guide us together with all our loved ones. Ameen.

P.S Leave the skeletons where they belong; in the wardrobe (not literally, but you get me right? )

From the time they get the slap on their backside babies have known how to express their needs. New parents know that rest will not be forthcoming for them unless they meet those needs.

Children are unashamed and unabashed when it comes to being themselves. As toddlers they are curious and full of wonderment. They are also very self-aware. They know when to lay down and give relief to their tired limbs and when to keep going. They know no shame or guilt, they know no filters.

As they grow they start to realise that certain things are no nos. They see that some of their antics are being met with disapproval and that is when they start to hold back.

We are taught from an early age that we must not succumb to any emotion or action that might be perceived as weak.

We must not admit to tiredness or feeling sick or needing a shoulder to cry on. Men, especially, have been programmed or have had it instilled into them that they can be no tears for them (“big boys don’t cry”)

They must show control at all times – except perhaps when they knock their fingers while using a hammer. Perhaps then they are allowed a yowl of pain and an expletive or two.

If you are sick you must soldier on nevertheless because, well, to stop and take some rest would be a fault; a sign of not being able to cope.

You must not admit to being overwhelmed or panicked.

If you are a student – in spite of what our teachers would tell us to the contrary- you confess to not understanding concepts at your own risk. You must be well acquainted with all the formulas and all the names and all the dates. You do not want your school mates knowing that you are struggling even if they are struggling themselves. You do not want to be perceived as weak. You do not want the label “average “, “slow learner” to apply to you.

You must not let on, if you are a parent, that your kids are proving a handful and that you need help. You must do most everything yourself- from scratch if needs be- because well, how else will you measure up?

The standards we set and place for ourselves are ridiculous and inhumane.

Setting worthy and lofty goals is admirable but to pretend to have super human capabilities, to suppress our inherent needs, to be unforgiving of anything less than “perfection” that is the road to depression and anxiety.

To always wear a face of control and an attitude of “having it all together” is to set a precedent for our kids that they must- no matter what- always have their wits about them and their lives be picture perfect.

Why are we telling them this? Why are we growing a generation afraid to show vulnerability, terrified of being themselves?

Perhaps we feel if we ask for help, or show a less than put together ‘in -control- of my- life” person- we will fall in other people’s estimation of us or worse in our own estimation of ourselves.

Perhaps we feel if we admit to not knowing or of being unaware of something we will be judged for it or even taken advantage of because we are so clearly uninformed.

Perhaps we think if we show our true selves and not what the world will have us pretend to be then we will not have the connection we seem to so desperately need. Even at the expense of our own authenticity and uniqueness.

But we humans are ‘weak’. We fall sick, we forget, we lose things and we make mistakes. Owning up to being less than perfect, of needing others, of not having all the answers well, that adds to our beauty as people.

If authenticity, being true to yourself, feeling and showing emotion, needing others, admitting overwhelm , accepting your humanness is a sign of being less than, a sign of ‘being average’ then, my dear friends, I believe it is the time for weakness.


Photo Courtesy: iface cover

We all have flaws, mistakes, things we are not so proud of. We all have things within us that remain buried; secrets we wouldn’t want people to know about. But sometimes we feel so helpless so we let people into our dark world, we tell them our secrets, our fears and our regrets. We allow them to see the real us by being vulnerably honest. And sometimes people get to know our flaws just by chance. They perhaps weren’t supposed to know… but the risk here is; are they going to keep your secret?

There are people who look so angelic, so pious, so good then you somehow get to know of their flaw, their bad habit that could ruin their CV, what do you do with that information? Call a press conference? Do an exposé or perhaps get a live footage to crucify them? Do you go around saying, ‘I always knew these pious people are hypocrites?’ And if the person was never pious in the first place do you go about saying, ‘look at the mate of shaitan?’ It doesn’t really matter how you do it; whether you just bad mouth them or go to worst extents of exposing them on social media or the internet, it just isn’t right.

You know people keep forgetting one important thing; that even the best of people fall in the trap of shaitan and the worst people eventually change to be wonderful people. We forget that Iblis was once the most pious creature in the heavens then what happened to him? We forget that we are all so vulnerable to fall in that same ugly trap that we crucify others for.

How do we forget the story of the very pious man who was approached by 3 brothers who were travelling for a very long time. They trusted him with their younger sister and that he be’s her guardian while they were are away. The pious man was as pure as ever. He protected the girl and would always take food to her place, knock the door and leave the food at the door before she came out. But shaitan started whispering in his ears, he started talking to the girl and that went on until he slept with her. The girl became pregnant and gave birth. The pious man was not yet set free from shaitan’s trap for he was convinced to go on and kill both the child and the girl. That once very pious man became a zannii, a murderer, a betrayer. How then are we so confident of ourselves when we wash others publicly and mock them for their misdeeds? How many times have we heard of very arrogant, very ignorant, very bad people who turned back to Allah? So who are we to judge and spread word of the misdeeds of others? Doesn’t it scare you that someday you could fall in the same trap or even worse? That perhaps the best way to do this is approach someone nicely and correct them, guide them, pray for them, help them and be there for them when they need to change? It’s true sometimes they don’t see the mistakes they are making. They see nothing wrong with themselves so they get rebellious when told the bitter truth about what they do. They may not accept your help. All you have to do is pray for them and keep trying. Give them space when they need one…but just don’t stop praying for them.

There are so many stories around us and since the time of the prophet of how people have greatly changed their ways. We are not better than those that we talk about. We are not any more pious or holy for pointing out people’s mistakes. Not unless it is very necessary and you are perhaps looking for help from other people to join in helping the person then it just isn’t right.

Human Beings are imperfect, we are prone to commit sins but the Worst sin is exposing your brother. In the Literal Meaning of Ali Ibn Abi Talib’s quote he says Never look down upon a Sinner because You never Know if he repents. Yes we are in Dark Ages (Akhir Zamaan) where Sinning Openly has been the order of the day but that does NOT qualify us to Uncover the Sinners. Look how the Prophet taught us: Ibn ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (ﷺ ) said, “A Muslim is a brother of (another) Muslim, he neither wrongs him nor does hand him over to one who does him wrong. If anyone fulfills his brother’s needs, Allah will fulfill his needs; if one relieves a Muslim of his troubles, Allah will relieve his troubles on the Day of Resurrection; and if anyone covers up a Muslim (his sins), Allah will cover him up (his sins) on the Resurrection Day”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

One other very scary thing about life is that you just don’t know at what state you are going to die. You don’t know how low or high your imaan will be at sakratul maut. You don’t know how much you’d have changed by then. So before you crucify anyone for their sins, remember you have your own to repent for. This doesn’t mean it is okay what they are doing. Sins are sins. There is no justification. It also doesn’t mean they can get away with their dirty secrets. It just means you are going to give them the benefit of doubt where there is no proof, you are going to correct them but in a nice way and separately not in front of other people. That you are going to help them correct themselves when they need it. That you are only going to talk about it when it is very necessary to do so. Otherwise, when your brother lets you see their flaws and mistakes be sure to tell them, ‘Bro, i’m going to help you. I got it covered.’

Always remember this:

من ستر مسلما ستره الله يوم القيامة
Man satara musliman satarahullaahu yaumal qiyama (Muslim)
Translation: Whoever covered the disgrace of a Muslim then Allah will cover her shame on the Day of Judgement…