[ten minutes read]
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been kind of grilled with questions on my ask.fm page (a thing that was quite sudden, actually). I have tried my best at honesty and have apparently upset one fold of my followers, despite the fact that that was very unintended. Siding the highly personal flavor of the questions, and at times their repetitiveness, as noticed by few of my dear fellows, it was as if I was asked just to be disagreed with.
To be perfectly frank, the questions caused me great distress. It had summoned me before my online image and have drawn quite the contrast, one which I was made obliged to dissolve, often against my comfort. As I suspected, the whole endeavor ultimately affected my health, and I’m now suffering a three days old headache that is distracting me from everything. Although I have clarified before that such a discrepancy between who one is and what one writes was always a very strenuous personal contest at my end, that didn’t deter anyone from honing every power of argument they have at me, either by objecting to my answers or by so daringly accusing my highly sensitive nature of ‘taking things too seriously’. This doesn’t agitate me in the least, I’m just stating a simple truth without attaching any emotion to it, except maybe gratitude. Lest I be more misunderstood, and despite the fact that anonymity strikes the whole prospect with a touch of unfairness, I still insist on stating that I am thankful; the questions, one way or the other, really made me consider things.
Before I tackle how peculiar it was, the process through which this very post was inspired, I want to make a confession, and it’s that I contradict myself. Yes. Not only do I do that, but I also have learned to accept that part of me. There are, in actual fact, two sides to me, and I have miserably failed to singly occupy either of them without causing myself great torture. Becoming on good terms with this has cost me a decade of my life, and I now look, not with envy, but rather with suspicion, on people who claim that they are beyond self-contradiction. Our whole world nowadays is against it, and all evidence uttered by the realities of all of us stand witness against such a proclamation. No one is completely in line with what they want to be, and the sheer struggle at that is what truly distinguishes humans in my eyes. I have discovered that people who have things figured out do nothing but discomfort me, and the other minor fold of them who live their life after a cause, and that is to discover themselves, in all humbleness and meekness, and to feel all the less superior the more they walk towards their aim; these people are the ones whom I most admire and to whom I practically belong – the confused ones.
In addition to what I’d just attested to, I do further my view and strip it of any judgments. I believe I didn’t need to, but these days and for reasons my mind can’t grasp, when someone is faced with a confession, they hunt in it for judgment. To your surprise, being sensitive to judgment is a mere proof not only of its correctness, but also that its sole source is yourself, not the confessor – you are merely frustrated by the reminder of your error a confessor’s utterance brings.
What inspired this post is my current read for Leo Tolstoy of his banned book that’s called The Kingdom of God is within You. He is rallying a most aggressive set of philosophies against the practice of modern Christians, and audaciously accusing them of paganism, on the mere account of a true, pure and honest study of the Gospel and the teachings of Jesus Christ peace be upon him. He asked a simple question about a very direct teaching (that concerns with non-resistance to evil by violence), and that was about how to reconcile such a teaching with how we live our life nowadays, which is completely contradictory. He then tackled that point about struggling to achieve perfection, instead of raiding on people’s hearts under a false authority of it, which he calls the Church. He says that’s how dogmatic, despotic ideologies were conceived.
My opinion of his work is irrelevant now. It just reminded me of my answers when it came to a teaching in our religion that is concerned with women and work. I was investigated (on ask.fm) and questioned, and in one answer I had retreated into passive submission to the fact that that was just me, and how I think, and that I won’t impose my beliefs on anyone. Also, to my dismay, I realized that I even further retreated into an apologetic statement of confusion, one which I now regret, and that is one reason behind writing this. I am confused, yes, but not about the origin of the teaching nor the wisdom behind it, nor even about the method that dictates its application. My confusion stems only from my personal struggle, a struggle I now rarely find amongst people, because most of them were blessed by some understanding I can’t seem to reach at.
After such introspection finessed itself, I resolved that it is my duty to clarify my stand more on that sensitive matter, and I was drawn to another book by Sayyid Qutb (his interpretation of some verses that directly broach the very subject). My line of thought started by sharp, light like remembrance of the these verses:
O Consorts of the Prophet! Ye are not like any of the (other) women: if ye do fear (Allah), be not too complacent of speech, lest one in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire: but speak ye a speech (that is) just. [33: 32]
And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance; and establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless. [33:33]
Kindly note that I won’t copy their interpretation here, or the jurisprudential views regarding it , it is your duty as a practicing Muslim to make such study. Now, there are three kinds of people when it comes to those teachings in my point of view (besides the shore of people who actually follow it, and the people who just don’t care):
Outright objectors: those annul the teaching from the start and consider it too primordial for our current way of life, by which they also annul its source, sometimes ignorantly, because at the time the teaching descended it wasn’t in line with the way of life then either. The whole point behind religion is change. (Similar to this are some opinions regarding Islamic financials and nowadays banking systems).
The subtle ones: those profess that giving up such a direct command is considered a transgression like any other transgression in faith (a sin, in less formal terms), and so protects them from any accusations or judgments in faith. Everyone is free to practice what they want, they’d claim, religion isn’t all a single teaching . To those, I only quote Tolstoy when he says:
This is a very skillful device, and many people who wish to be deceived are easily deceived by it. The device consists in reducing a direct conscious denial of a command to a casual breach of it.
(Similar to this is a very grand portion of Hijab –correct Hijab- haters).
Apologetics: those regretfully acknowledge their failure to follow the mentioned command, and attest to their inward struggle at reconciling it with the way they live. To discern the kind, you only have to utter the verses above; their reaction is usually a contorted face, a prayer for encouragement, sometimes breathless tears, or any other expression that implicitly and fully believes in the command, and defenselessly admits to weakness. (Similar to this are people who want to give up smoking, but can’t yet).
I shall not make judgments as to which category others belong for I am not omniscient. I only leave my words before your own judgment, and entreat of you to give them very careful thought, for it is a very serious matter.
As to my personal choices when it comes to my future wife (I don’t know why everyone is suddenly interested in my wife, btw. I was actually made to miss her even more, because in my view she’s a very strong preacher of what I’m stating in a murmured blog post), I don’t know the future, and I’m not my heart’s director, but for reasons I had alluded to before, she is going to be very strict in these matters in-sha’Allah, for that is my absolute idea of home, comfort and peace of mind.
Again. This is just me. This is just me being so vulnerably honest. I really am not judging anyone, I am afraid I’m too tired even to.
And I don’t know, but isn’t holding on to hot embers exactly how this feels? How did the Prophet know that it’d exactly feel like that? Like I’m holding it and the heat is burning my heart with it. Honestly, if this description was lost to me, I don’t know how I would have lived. I’m grateful for my Prophet because of that.
P.S. I am afraid I won’t be able to answer any questions that proceed from this, I don’t have anything else to say regarding the subject. You have a magnitude of texts in your reach that hold all the answers.