Monday, 4 January 2010

Reading Too Hard Inbetween Lines

This is a topic that I have been wishing to write for a while. There is an illness that many people have and that is reading too hard in to a situation or as the proverb is, “reading too hard inbetween the lines”. This proverb quite simply means that a person looks into a matter so thoroughly that his own minds concocts an entire ‘conspiracy’ against himself. They read so hard into things that they place negative ideas into words that were never meant to be offensive! Let me give you an example:

Balqees has got a new blue hijab. A sister by the name of Bulbuli who knows her sees this hijab and merely exclaims “It is a nice hijab but I would not wear it.” Balqees immediately sends her mind into overdrive and thinks of all possibilities as to why this comment has been made. She will now go through all scenarios and will draw up a conclusion that will immediately put Bulbuli in the wrong. Poor Bulbuli was only saying this because she does not like the colour blue but now Balqees will keep thinking this is because Bulbuli has something against her style and clothing. Like this, she will hold some resentment in her heart.

This is a very bad ailment that is in the Muslim ummat today. Many people aren’t allowed to breathe because there are people in the community who will instantly state on every given occasion, “it seems that you are hinting something”. However, some people are of an extremely pious nature and their humility is such that whenever a word of caution is said with regards to deen, they immediately feel that it is to do with them. These people are not mischief makers, they are people who have reached such a high level of spirituality that people like myself could only wish for. The example of these people is like the following example:

Balqees and Bulbuli walk past a group of people who are dropping litter, “It is very bad when people drop litter.” Bulbuli has so much fear of Allah Ta’ala that she immediately thinks about whether she has dropped anything that day. Though this comment was not targeted for her, she instantly reacts to it because of her worry and fear of Allah Ta’ala.

This is an excellent trait to have. Then there are other people who perhaps may be guilty and whenever something is mentioned, they feel that it is instantly applicable to them and that people are having a dig at them and as a result, they become extremely rude and defensive. These are people who think the world revolves around them and this is a very bad trait to have. It leads one to arrogance and thinking that he is superior and that his mere existence is on the minds of others when in reality he is a mere dot. The example of this person is as follows:

Balqees and Bulbuli are sitting with their friend Shelpi. Shelpi had recently smoked a ciggie but this was in secret and nobody knew. Balqees and Bulbuli are having a nice Islamic discussion with regards to how foul smoking is. Shelpi hears this and instantly feels that her two friends are ganging up on her and found out somehow. She begins to think about all the possible avenues for them finding out. She retraces her steps to where she had smoked and is now analysing whether it was possible for anyone to see her. She then thinks some more and comes to the conclusion that while she had gone into the toilet, Balqees and Bulbuli searched her bag to find these cigarettes. As a result of this, she gets angry and begins to resent her two friends immensely. Her heart becomes a vessel of hatred and whenever she thinks about those two, her stomach boils with feelings of betrayal. Of course, Shelpi is quite simply off her rocker!

The remedy is quite simple, a person must stop thinking that the world revolves around them. A level of maturity and self reflection should be left in a person that he can distinguish between a normal statement and a malicious statement. Otherwise his company and companionship will be a means of pain and stress for his friend. He will feel that his companions every utterance is something to scrutinise. Sooner or later, his friends will become sick and tired of him and would rather not know him or be with him. This is quite simply the result of jumping the barrel.

The advice to people who have friends such as this is straight forward. You must exercise tolerance and constantly lower the wings of humility. Remember this lifelong lesson, when confronted by a complete plank... just nod and smile...nod and smile. And make duaa that Allah Haqq Tabaraka wa Ta’ala helps them to change and us all.

May Allah Ta’ala give us the ability to be tolerant and know our true ranks among the people. Ameen.


Muhazam Nauthoo said...

Mashalllah guud post my bulbuli brother

Anonymous said...

i have a question, i pray u can answer it for me, inshaAllah.

I have a friend who is a practising sister, recently she has started going aalimah classes and is Alhumdulilah gaining more and more knowledge, but i have felt that she looks down at me because everytime i am with her she will pick out so many of my faults, not even major faults but minor petty things, and she doesnt just tells me them, she lectures me on them, mocks me and says it in a hurtful way as if i dont have any islamic knowledge whatsoever even when she clearly knows i have been raised and brought up on islam and iam already aware of what she is telling me, i know am not perfect, but she hurts me very much and makes me feel very low, its almost as if she digs for my faults just to tell me them and put me down. I have tried to tell her but it resulted in an argument where she accused me for being arrogant and rejecting the truth. i realised that theres no winning either way she will always hold the thought that shes right and am wrong. i no longer want any contact with her, but i have read in a hadeeth that its not premissable to cut ties with your brother/sister for more than 3days, but i also understand there are a few reasons where it is premissable to cut ties with ur brother/sister. my question is this, is my reason for cuting ties with her accpetable?

jazakAllaah Khair

Abu Huzayfa said...

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem.

Jazakallah for your question; your situation is truly a sensitive one and requires much deliberation and thought. Unfortunately, it is a sad reality that many people become arrogant with knowledge when they first acquire it. I feel that your friend is going through a period where she has acquired a little knowledge and feels that she knows better than most. Having said that, this type of behaviour is quite common from students during their early years of study; they generally just need somebody to constantly bring them down to reality. In our Darul Uloom, our asatiza/teachers would give us constant reality checks to stop us from feeling big with knowledge. Your friend is just going through a phase as she is tasting such knowledge that many people do not taste during their entire life. Thus, she is perhaps getting a bit too excited with it and thus, her emotion to act upon her knowledge may be straining on your friendship. Humility must come with knowledge and patience must come with friendship. Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam would not highlight peoples mistakes in front of them, rather he would kindly tell them with words of softness.

Having understood this, it would not be just to completely cut off your relationship with her. I know how you feel, nobody enjoys being criticised; rather, it is quite hurtful and resentment lingers in the heart. However, she still is your Muslim sister at the end of the day and thus it is not permissible to cut ties off with her. Let her waffle with whatever she wants to say and just keep saying, ‘ji ji’. My Hazrat Maulana Abdur Rahim sahib once said, "Har ek ke saath dil laghi nahin karna he" (you don’t have to have heart to hearts with every single person); so don’t get into situations where you are having deep, emotionally driven conversations with her. Just show good manners to her and keep your life to yourself. However, if you feel that life is completely unbearable as she is constantly hurting your feelings, then simply limit contact. She is going through the phase of hoarding knowledge; soon she will learn to be wise with it and humble with it too inshallah. You have to be very patient as a friend and just remain silent, Allah Ta’ala will double your reward. One reward for being patient and another reward for not retaliating. As Allah Ta’ala says, “Hold to forgiveness, command the good and turn away from the ignorant.”

Likewise, in another verse, Allah Ta’ala says, “...Those who suppress their anger, and those who pardon people; indeed, Allah loves those who do good.”

Ali radiallahu anhu had a slave girl who dropped a pot on his head. He became angry and his slave girl recited, “....Those who suppress their anger.” Ali radiallahu anhu said, “Ok, I have calmed down.” Then she recited, “...And those who pardon people...” He said, “Ok, I have forgiven you.” She then recited, “..Indeed, Allah loves those who do good.” So Ali radiallahu anhu said, “Go, for you are now free for the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala.”

Perhaps it may be beneficial for you to adopt the same principle. Just listen to her chatter but let it go in one ear and out of the other. But do also be mindful to your own faults and constantly try to rectify yourself if you find some problem within yourself. We all know our faults deep down inside, so make some effort inshallah.

I pray that Allah Ta’ala resolves your matter in the best possible way and increases love between you and your friend. Ameen.

Anonymous said...

jazaakAllah for your response, it really has helped me, i really appreciate it, thank you so much.
May Allah reward you for your efforts and your hard work inshaAllah. Ameen