Don't Complicate Your Deen

Friday, January 07, 2011

 Similarly (to complete My Blessings on you) We have sent among you a Messenger (Muhammad s.a.w.) of your own, reciting to you Our Verses (the Qur'ân) and purifying you, and teaching you the Book (the Qur'ân) and the Hikmah (i.e. Sunnah, Islâmic laws and Fiqh - jurisprudence), and teaching you that which you used not to know. Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying). I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless Favours on you) and never be ungrateful to Me. O you who believe! Seek help in patience and As-Salât (the prayer). Truly! Allâh is with As-Sâbirun (the patient.)                                                        (Surah Al-Baqarah: 151-153)

Many people don’t believe in God. They say it’s irrational and illogical. I say they’re complicating their lives by choosing not to see the grandeur of His creations and His blessings as a sign of an Almighty Creator. To each his or her own.

Unfortunately, I also see this becoming more prevalent with Muslims but to a lesser degree. I see Muslims who choose not to be associated with Islam by becoming less practicing or not practicing at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging them. Not one bit. I just feel sad that many of my Muslim brothers and sisters are missing out on the spiritual enlightenment that Islam has to offer. I was once like that too so I know what it feels like.

Sometimes people complicate their Deen by being arrogant with God. Consequently they put a barrier between themselves and God.

What do you mean by that?

I think there are many ways we can be arrogant with Allah and may not even know it. Simply put, arrogance towards our Creator is rooted in the feeling that we know better than Him. We close our hearts to His guidance and the knowledge He has bestowed upon us through the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah. We don’t make an effort to learn more about Islam and think that by following His guidance it is going to make us appear ‘uncool’. We neglect our relationship with Him by purposely missing salah (prayers), overlooking the importance of dhikr (praises and supplications to Allah) and other forms of worship.


Just because I don’t agree with all of Islam doesn’t mean I’m arrogant. I still believe in God. Doesn’t that count for something?

Of course it does but you’re not putting your complete trust in Him and His Messenger. I know it isn’t easy having faith in an entity and a person we cannot see and a religion we don’t always understand or agree with but as His creations we must try to humble ourselves. Trying to have complete trust in God is probably one of the most challenging things anyone can do but the proof is this: what you believe or don’t believe in today can very well change tomorrow, next month or next year. Hasn't that ever happened to you? Aren't we always changing and developing due to our life experiences and doesn't our level of knowledge follow suit?


But I don’t believe in following anything blindly. Some of these things don’t make sense to me. How can I trust in Him if He made me feel this way in the first place?

I don’t believe in following blindly either but there’s a difference between questioning the logic behind God’s commandments and questioning His Divinity and Sovereignty. There is a difference between having questions and criticising Allah's Wisdom. The difference lies in your intention. Do we question because we want to know more or do we question because we have already made up our minds about Islam? If you're having serious doubts don’t let your feelings control you. You are not your feelings. You are not your mind. You are stronger than these two elements that only make up who you are but do not define you infinitely. Instead quench your thirst for knowledge. Deepen your understanding of tauheed and what it means to say the shahadah that we recite in every prayer we perform. Every time we profess the shahadah we are renewing our commitment to our belief towards Allah swt and His Messenger.
Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrates that Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said: Renew your Iman! It was asked: O Rasulullah! How do we renew our Iman? He said: Say frequently La ilaha illallah.
(Musnad Ahmad, Tabarani, Targhib)
One of the reasons we struggle with our iman and aqeedah is because of the way we approach religion.  We don't put as much emphasis on the matters of the heart and instead force ourselves to practice Islamic teachings without sound understanding of Islamic principles. As a result we may be inclined to think of  religion as a bunch of rules that limit the way people live their lives.

We need to start thinking of religion as something that God has given us so we can better ourselves and our lives.


But isn’t it true? Alcohol, pre-marital sex and drugs are some of the many things that are forbidden in Islam. Where’s all the fun? What about satisfying our desires?

Perhaps we need a paradigm shift. Let’s step out of this mentality for a moment.

One of the biggest problems we have today is the complication of our deen by ourselves. Unfortunately what’s worse is that there are Muslims out there who complicate Islam for others. The truth is there is more halal than haram in Islam. There is ample room for fun and enjoyment. God has only forbidden the things He has deemed as detrimental to our heart, body and soul. He has forbidden actions that don’t serve us any real  purpose or benefit. 

Shouldn’t we put our trust in The Creator of all the universes, The Most Intelligent and All-Knowing? Didn't Allah say that He has perfected our Deen, our way of life, for us? (refer to Surah Al-Maidah: 3)

There is also something else we need to get used to believing. We haven't been placed on this Earth to merely satisfy our desires even though yes, it was He who made us beings that have feelings and wants. Our test is to realise that our purpose is much, much bigger than the constant fulfillment of our worldly desires. 
"Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?" (Surah al-Mu'minoon: 115)
"Blessed is He in Whose hand is the Sovereignty, and, He is Able to do all things. Who has created life and death that He may try you which of you is best in conduct; and He is the Mighty, the Forgiving." (Surah al-Mulk: 1-2)

It’s not as simple as it sounds. I’m struggling with a lot of things in my life including my faith. Does that make me a bad Muslim?

Only God has the right to judge whether we are good or bad Muslims. Everyone struggles with their faith at some point, or many points, in their lives and sometimes it’s going to feel like a continuous battle. The most important thing is for us to be patient and keep both our hearts and minds open. Surround ourselves with positive and knowledgeable Muslims. Always make sincere dua to ask for guidance from Him.

Sometimes when we are going through a rough patch in life our faith in God is affected. We tend to want to blame Allah for the troubles that befall on us. For some reason we just feel like rebelling against Him. The most important thing to remember is that Allah usually gives trials and tribulations to those He loves. They are means for us to increase our remembrance of Him and become closer to Him so we can purify ourselves and our intentions in this life. Otherwise we are so quick to forget Him and the ways He has blessed us.

And sometimes we fail to distinguish whether the problems we are facing are social or divine ones. If you’re married to someone who treats you like dirt, that’s a social problem. If your boss doesn’t appreciate you at work, that’s a social problem. Don’t let it affect your relationship with God by blaming Him for problems that are caused by people.


But I don’t want to seem like a religious freak. What will my friends and/or family think?

Again, a paradigm shift is needed. Becoming a better and practicing Muslim doesn’t make anyone a bad person. If it does, they’re not doing something right. The biggest misconception about piety is that it makes you less of a ‘cool’ person.

Life on Earth is temporary. It’s not worth impressing a bunch of people who won’t be able to help you when you need to cross the Sirat al-Mustaqeem on Judgement Day. Besides, what’s not cool about entering Paradise?
Uthman (radhiAllahu`anhu) said, “The one who observes the five daily prayers in their proper times and is constant in this, Allah will honour him with nine miracles – Allah will love him, his health will be good, angels will protect him, blessedness (baraka) will descend on his house, the sign of the righteous will be apparent on his face, Allah will soften his heart, he will cross the bridge of al-sirat al-mustaqim [in the Hereafter] at the speed of a flash of lightning, Allah will save him from Hellfire, and Allah will place him amongst the people who have no fear nor are they ever sad.”

How do I make things right? How do I not complicate my Deen?

Perform salah frequently. Read and recite the Holy Qur'an as much as you can. If that’s a challenge, say dhikr as much as possible until performing prayers start becoming a habit for you.
Alhamdulillah. La ilaha illallah. SubhanAllah. Allahuakhbar. Astaghfirullah. 
We need to purify our hearts from all arrogance towards Allah. We need to strengthen our heart's intuition and ability to use our 'aql (spiritual intellect) with confidence. When the heart has been neglected for a while it will be hard at first. You probably won't even like saying these praises for Allah at first but inshaAllah He will make it easier for you as time goes by and as the heart becomes more purified. It's like when you first start exercising. In the beginning you don't have much stamina and your body isn't very flexible but with time you enjoy working out more and more and you get better at it.
Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrates: Rasulullah (s.a.w.) passed by me one day as I was planting a sapling. He asked:  O Abu Hurairah! What are you planting? I replied: Saplings for myself. He said: Shall I not tell you of better saplings than these? I said: Yes O Rasulullah! 
He said: Say 
SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah who is above all faults)
Alhamdulillah (All Praise be to Allah)
La ilaha illallah (None is worthy of worship but Allah)
Allahuakhbar (Allah is the Greatest);
For each of these words a tree will be planted for you in Paradise. (Ibne Majah)
The way to simplify your Deen is by removing all arrogance towards Allah. First and foremost, let go of that baggage. Don’t hold on to feelings and thoughts that are not healthy for you. We need to choose our battles in life. Don’t feed your anger with more anger. Don't feed your sadness with more sadness. Secondly, be humble, sincere and grateful. Trust in Him and His Infinite Wisdom. To be Muslim and have an understanding of the true meaning of this life is more precious than all the pleasures and success of this world. Thirdly, don’t stray from the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah. 
"O you who believe! Do not make your decisions (and yourselves) ahead of Allah and His Messenger but fear Allah: Verily, Allah is All Hearing (Sami'), All Knowing (Aleem)." (Surah Al-Hujraat: 1)
Lastly, always remember that everyone has been given a different path and journey.  No one's spiritual journey is identical to another person's but that's the beauty of it. Despite our differences we can always find a positive common ground between us and we should use it to support each other and not  let our differences become a reason for us to judge one another and bring each other down.  InshaAllah, I am reminding myself as much as I am reminding you. 

26 comments:

oops did I just say that? said...

This is a really good post Sha! I love it, very well explained.

RS said...

so true. but even then, people still want more explanations. its tough to explain to those that have hardened hearts but at the same time, everyone's spiritual paths are different and that we're not responsible to keep them in the path.

theres a line in the quran that states what i said somewhere. can't remember.

when I get all worked up over people's morals and values I just calm myself down and tell myself that its their lives. truth will hit them eventually.

nina said...

Alhamdulillah...thank you Sha, for the wonderful post. It's a great reminder for us all, especially for me. I myself am in the process of getting closer to Allah. Of course at times it's challenging to stay on the right path, but then i always tell myself, what if i die tomorrow? Will i be ready?

Shahirah Elaiza said...

oops did I just say that: Thank you Shamimi, alhamdulillah you liked it =)

RS: I actually wrote this post because I once had similar questions. This was kind of an internal dialogue with myself and I wasn't directing it to anyone. I've never really been frustrated with people who don't believe in Islam UNLESS they are forever debating with me lol. But yes, we all have different paths and make different choices. Allah gave us free will.

nina: Your welcome. If you have seen any good in this post please know that it is from Allah as He inspired me =) Yes, I often think about being ready for death but not in a morbid way lol. Just in a reflective way.

Chloe said...

very beautifully written, mashaAllah.

I liked when you said that God has only forbidden that which is detrimental to our heart, body and soul. It's so true, everything God has ordained is for our own benefit, and its one of His many blessings upon us.

JazakAllah khair for writing this :)

Aminah said...

That was a beautiful post. I loved it.
Back in seventh grade, I started doubting the existence of God (but I didn't change my religion Or anything). For several months I was mentally disturbed and I told my parents about it. They said it was a "phase" and it would pass away. So I prayed to God for guidance.
I don't even know how, but Alhamdulillah, everything started falling into place. Thanks to this experience, I became a stronger Muslim. Lol, despite my doubts, I actually prayed more.
After all, everything in life has a reason behind it.

Anonymous said...

I have for some time now stopped trying to debate, argue or discus religion with non-believers. It is a fruitless practise to argue with one who has made up his mind for I believe you have to be in the right state of mind to accept God in your life.

Like you said, humility is the heart of the matter. I have often thought about what the difference between a pious person (in heart, action & sincerity, not just the width of her abaya and the length of his beard) and an ordinary Muslim is. I do not believe a pious person is any less passionate, questioning or wilful than the average person. The difference is that a pious person allows the will of Allah to prevail in their life, allows His will to supersede theirs when it is in direct conflict. It is too convenient to follow His teachings only when they appeal to you. It is part of being humble to accept that you will never know it all, have explanations for it all, (Allah said in the Holy Qur’an, And they will never amass anything of my knowledge without My permission- so have fun going in circles because you will not know more than you were intended to know) but you can certainly try to understand, and accept the difficult parts on faith, trust in Allah’s wisdom, for that is part of the test & faith too.


Stranger

aimie bahirah said...

Such a beautiful reminder Sha.

And it's true what you say about many Muslims these days choose not to be associated with Islam by not practicing at all - and that is sad really. Cos if it were not for Allah then we would be nothing, lifeless! So when people choose to disbelieve and remain heedless then that is a conscious decision that they have made, but if we decided to believe and turned to Him then He would turn to us. Allah says, “Take one step towards me, I will take ten steps towards you. Walk towards me, I will run towards you.” -Hadith Qudsi

InshaAllah..

ps: I'm thinking of reposting this on my blog one of these days if you don't mind? will link you back :)

Dibby Bo said...

Thank you for making this post :) It is very much true. I love reading your blog as you can very much talk about Islam, you have thought and remind me to being a good muslimah. Thank you again :)

Norsiah Mohamed Asni said...

This post is probably the best thing i have read in a very very long time! A very great reminder. :)

Sluff said...

mashaAllah excellent post! Hope is reaches out to those who are in definite need of an iman boost, inshaAllah!

unsettledsoul said...

Thank you for this reminder, it is a good one. Our spiritual intellect is just as important as other aspects of our lives. Our religious life is like a squiggly line.. Sometimes it is up, sometimes it is down, but always it is a constant.. At least I hope.

Amalia said...

thank you I'm struggling a bit right now actually and needed some encouragement. :) xx

Shahirah Elaiza said...

Chloe: Wa iyyaki =)

Aminah: That's true. There's a reasoning, a hikmah behind everything.. sometimes we see it and sometimes we only understand it later on. Alhamdulillah you've found your way =)

Anon: Thank you for that. I absolutely agree with you. Apart from humility, I think sincerity is an important element in worship as well.

Aimie: Exactly, lifeless or non-existent! Of course you are welcome to share it sis =)

Dibby Bo: Your welcome. Thanks for reading!

Norsiah: Aww thank you hun! What an awesome compliment. Made my day =)

Sluff: Thanks! We all need an iman boost now and then. That post was a reminder to me as well. I don't know, it was strange how all the words came pouring out of me.

unsettledsoul: Thanks for reading, Sarah. Lol, yes it is like a squiggly line. We have our ups and downs and it only makes sense to renew our iman, right?

Amalia: Your welcome. I'm glad you felt encouraged by my humble post =)

Under Urooba's Umbrella! said...

Loved this post; beautifully written and oh-so-true.
A perfect reminder for this Friday night. :)

Iman boost indeed!

p.s. LOVELOVELOVE your new layout!

syieranuar said...

this is really nice sis,masyaAllah.:)

Aisha B said...

thank you so much! I came here and I got so inspired. Mashallah, ur writing is beautiful and so is your way of explaining. This really spoke to my heart/soul/mind.
All my love
Aisha @ bakedonline.blogspot.com

aimi syazana said...

salam shahirah,

ive linked this blogpost on my FB. good writing and good advice should spread- like wildfire eh?

thanks so much.

Shahirah Elaiza said...

Urooba: Thanks for the love! <3

syieranuar: Thanks =)

Aisha: Aww thank you for stopping by gorgeous! It's always so rewarding for me to know that people can relate to my writings. As an ummah we have more in common than we think.

Aimi: "Like wildfire". I like that ;) Thanks for the link.

AKU said...

Very well said! Do you mind if I share this post on my facebook wall?

Shahirah Elaiza said...

AKU: Feel free to share!

Amnah said...

Wonderful post and an excellent reminder.

Jennifer said...

Essalam Alaikum, Masha'allah lovely post & wonderful blog!

amie. said...

again, thanks with this lovely post. :)

may Allah bless.

dira indi said...

hi Sha...
i keep this post, and i read it many times hihi... i really like it, trully..like everybody said to you, it's really a good post, remembering us to get closer with Allah

thank u for sharing this...it's awsome!

Anonymous said...

assalamualaikum
this is my first time here and to read this excellent piece is indeed a rezeki on a day like today.

beautiful. God bless you with more wonderful pieces of writings like this one.