A Coffee Shop - Cairo, Egypt.
A waiter comes up to me and inquires if I was a Muslim.
When I answer in the affirmative, he enthusiastically exclaims:” Alhamdollilah!”.
He even appreciates the fact that I have a proper beard,
Yet, at that moment, I felt that maybe a person who asks if I was a Muslim and intones Alhamdollilah so vociferously, may, perhaps harbor a dislike for Non-Muslims.
Then again…… maybe not!.
After that I fell into a trap – into something that will indeed, be an eye opener! – A powerful thing that has the inherent potential to change the world!
For, I asked him: “WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A BEARD?!”. Immediately that the words were out of my mouth, I knew in my heart of hearts that I had uttered something that I would deeply regret and repent long after. Indeed, I had mouthed something that has plagued the Muslim World, and has frequently been the absolute bane of the Muslim Diaspora, in these troubled times.
To my extreme chagrin, I realized that I had begun a conversation that revolves around the extreme negatives of “NO” and “NOT”.
Imagine! How much more friendlier it would have sounded (at least I hope so!), if I had not asked him that particular question. On the one hand, he had showered me with compliments about my beard, yet, what had I done?! Without showing appreciation for his graciousness, I had rudely reciprocated by highlighting his failure to wear one!
Indeed, without acknowledging his positive approach regarding my beard and all of the good that I was doing, I had reacted most negatively, by spotlighting his faults, and what he was not doing!
The next thing he asks of me is “Why do I have a moustache?”. He says its “mamnu” (forbidden) in Islam! I had totally lead myself into the unfortunate state of the “Not Permitted Syndrome” that is sadly plaguing almost the entire Muslim world nowadays.
What do I do after that? I proceed to talk about a subject, I myself had not realized before…. I ask him: “What is Islam?”. Is it just “Don’t do This or “Don’t do That?”. Or, is their something beyond that?
Indeed, this “Don’t Do” mentality is suffused with a great deal of Negative Energy. Utterances like “Why are you doing this?” or “Why did you change the curtains?” do not have respect or cognizance of the other person’s right-of-choice or inclinations.
All persons of this world have things that matter to themselves and to their well being. They have ideas from where they find accomplishment and reap satisfaction. For instance, you may receive something from someone you meet, it may be any type of assistance, which the person has troubled to seek out for you and you say “Why are you doing this?”. Immediately, this negativity kills the joy of giving. Similarly, when a person has gone to a great deal of effort to make dinner for you and you utter inane statements like: “What is this?” or “Why have you made this?” results in immediately deflating that persons spirit of love and enthusiasm with which he/she began the preparations in the first place. Verily, would it not have been so much better to have instantly appreciated the passions and the creations of the doer or giver, rather than have thrown cold water of negativity upon their sincere and heartfelt efforts? Indeed, we should learn to respect each others sense of creativity and modes of personal satisfaction.
What is more important here? Was it to have made a point that not having a beard is bad? Or, that a certain dish was unsuitable? Or, was it to have won over the heart of your counterpart and have made him or her happy? Which is more important? Is it the physical do’s and don’ts, rights and wrongs according to preconceptions, or, is it the respect of the people around us – to be able to make them happy and be happy with them?
When we all start analyzing each of our encounters with people of the world, we get to know a great deal about our own attitudes towards the world. Indeed, we get to know how much we respect ALLAH TAALA’S CREATION
Maulana Ali Zainulabedeen (SA) says:
“Alhamdo lillah illazi jaala mamluki aamenan minni”
“Praise to Allah Taala who has given my servant reason to believe that I will never harm him”
This statement is truly the essence of a healthy and prosperous loving community of the world.
Deen is nothing but Love.
We need to spread the word of Love, not of Hate!
Why should someone hate anyone? – After all…. WE ARE ALL ALLAH TA’S CREATION!