Tuesday, 13 December 2011

False Islamic Standards

Being born in a conservative societal set up yet having a pair of sane parents is one thing I haven’t been able to figure out yet as to whether it is unfortunate or a blessing. Well let’s just get to the main point. Because I do not behave in the way most Muslims do doesn’t give them a right to stereotype me. The sad part is that we the Muslims have a tendency of justifying everything we do through our religion. And we aren’t any better than those jihadis or Taliban who have brought such disgrace to Islam.

I belong to family where religious practices are very strict and I am expected to abide by certain things due to religious obligations. And even when people know I’m 22 and responsible for my own doings, I am asked to do certain things. Let’s take praying and covering my head as an example. So I am compelled to cover my head just because it is an essential in my religion. But hey! Didn’t Allah say that elders are supposed to guide the kids and not impose stuff on them? Sadly I have started developing a disliking for such practices.

I happened to go to a family wedding a few months back when I was decently dressed (and fully covered) but stopped by a relative auntie clad in burqa and got lectured on how I dress. According to her standards, I was not covered the way I should have been and she didn’t even consider how I would feel after her pointing fingers at me like that in public. Later when I wept in front of my parents and disclosed the whole story they questioned her as to why she did that. And this is what she had to say:
“Well she was not observing purdah and it was my duty to tell her that. I would have been a sinner otherwise. Islam makes us responsible to tell people what’s right and stop them from indulging into wrong doings.”

This is just one instance out of the innumerable ones that I’ve come across so far. I felt like asking her later “What about Huqooq ul Ibad auntie?” But her ignorant and carefree attitude stopped me from doing so.

Islam has made it a compulsion on us to practice it promptly but is Islam only about praying and covering ourselves? Isn’t observing rights of our fellows an integral part of Islamic practices too? Some would argue here that Huqooq Ullah are more important but are they forgetting that Allah forgives us if we ask for forgiveness after committing such sins but doesn’t forgive us if we usurp fellows’ rights or utter heart-rending comments for them until they forgive us themselves? On what basis do you prioritize Islamic practices and beliefs?

Not just this. There are so many other actions of ours that we do and justify them through Islamic principles. Our feudal lords when marry multiple women respond by saying they are permitted to do so by Allah. Our men not letting us take professional careers give examples of Bibi Fatima quoting that she was a good mother, a good daughter and a good wife but forget that she was a mentor to the women of the entire Muslim Ummah too. Didn’t she take the role of a mentor to impart Islamic knowledge to Muslim women? Wasn’t she the most educated of all women at that point in time?

I worry a lot about how we the Muslims have come across such practices as a misinterpretation of Islamic laws and guidelines. Is making your women cover themselves and restricting them to home Islamic in any way? Is imposing religion on a mature person Islamic in any way? Is denying women their basic rights Islamic? People need to go in an in depth research of the Islamic teachings and way of life and then preach and pass Fatwas.

A piece of advice: Be a paragon of Islamic way of life yourself instead of just correcting others around and meddling into other peoples’ personal spaces and the world will start respecting us as the followers of the great SYSTEM Islam.