Just the truth, please!

Ok, I don’t really know where this thought came from…I am not one for abstract thinking; usually, an event triggers a thought, but this one bloomed out of nowhere. Odd, but I’m not complaining. Do you know how sometimes you’ll be reading some kind of self-help book, and they’ll have a quiz, and one of the inevitable questions will be “If your friend is wearing something not suitable for her, would you tell her?” And the options would be a)Yes, I’d tell her flat out; b)Yes, but I’d do it diplomatically; c)No, she might take offense if I do; d)No, it’s none of my business. Or some variation of those options. And then, the book (or magazine article) would give an analysis of the option you chose: If you chose a)you’re a very straight-forward person (duh); b)you take your time to say the right thing at the right time and are a very good friend; c)you’re a people-pleaser (like it’s a disease); d)you’re a coward (oh really?).

Well, I was thinking, would the same analysis apply to a question that was deeper, more meaningful than your friend’s clothing choices? For example, if you saw your friend doing something totally haraam (say, drinking alcohol). I you chose to tell her flat out that it’s haraam, you’d be considered judgmental. If you chose to advise her diplomatically, you’d be sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong. If you chose to not tell her because she’d take offense, you’d be choosing to not tell her for all the wrong reasons. If you chose to completely mind your own business, and not even notice, then you’d be open-minded.

My question is this: Why are the rules totally different between something as shallow as clothing and something as deep disobedience to our Creator? Why do we generally demand honesty for things that are essentially meaningless, but get offended when advice is offered for things that matter (be it religion or personal real life issues)? For me personally, I want nobody to be telling me that what I chose to wear to that party or this school event looks bad on me. Don’t rain on my parade, it’s just clothing! I also don’t want everyone all up in my business about how to practice my faith or live my life, unless they can do it in a way that is instructive and not demeaning. But, that’s just me. Now, am I imagining that the rules would be different in the two situations? And if they are different, then why are they different?

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7 Responses to Just the truth, please!

  1. Umm Ibrahim says:

    Assalaamu alaikum,

    I think in the case of someone doing something *definitely* haram it is incumbent upon us to try to correct that person although we should of course go to lengths to ensure that it is done in a way that will not cause that person to stray further from their deen.

  2. Eshev says:

    Aslaam alaikum wa Rahmatullah,
    It would be different for sure because clothing is just a matter of personal taste, but advising our sisters to good (via sincere naseeha) is part of their rights on us. The whole “enjoin good, forbid evil” thing. Of course, to do it in the best manner possible – not in a way that will make them rebel and go into even more sin. There was a post about this recently on at-Talib, When and How to Stop Vice. I think it is important as Muslims that we don’t get offended when our sisters are just trying sincerely to help us get to Jennah – even if we disagree with their advice for some reason, we should appreciate their concern for us and just say “Jazak Allah khair” in most cases.

    Masalama,
    Erin

  3. WaAlaykumusSalaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu! lol I think I was very unclear on how I wrote this post. I know that it is definitely a good idea to gracefully give and take advice on matters of halaal/haraam/wajib/sunnah/etc. My question was more (perhaps rhetorically) aiming towards understanding why we as a society, expect honesty in the trivial matters of life but do definitely get offended when someone tells us the honest truth in matters of deen? I have a theory, but I want to hear other opinions first.

  4. Eshev says:

    Asalaam alaikum,
    Aaaaah okay I understand your point now lol. Hmmm maybe one reason is that trivial matters are just that – trivial. When we comment honestly on superficial/trivial things whether positive or negative they dont feel that we are critiquing them in terms of their deeper beliefs or core character. Also people tend to reflexively feel defensive when it comes to deen, percieving it as an attack (“you are a bad muslim for doing such and such”) thinking we might be judging them, even if from our side that is totally not what is intended. Often people have insecurities that cause them to react this way. With deen in particular, there seem to be many people (without knowledge) pushing “fatwas” on people nowadays, with some others countering the oft-repeated “theres a difference of opinion on that” (regardless of soundness of the opinions) – so some tend to be on guard re naseeha.

    Masalaama,
    Erin

  5. Eshev says:

    just fyi …. that winking smiley was an typo :p it should be a close-bracket

  6. Eshev, I definitely think you’re onto something. We certainly do feel judged when someone points out a defect in our deen.

    In addition, my theory is that we often put a lot of thought into practicing religion (or practicing wrongly, or not practicing at all). Some of the reasons people have for doing (or not doing) religious deeds may be more complex than is possible to share. For example, the woman who doesn’t wear hijab may be doing it not because she thinks its not necessary…she may be doing it because it’s the easiest way to get and hold a job and she really needs the money. Or perhaps her family pressures her, or mocks her, for thinking she’s a little sheikha for doing it. These are reasons that are usually too embarrassing to discuss with some random lady who feels compelled to tell her that hijab is so important and if she doesn’t wear it, she’s going straight to hell. Also, there sometimes really is a difference of opinion, with all opinions being equally sound. For example, differences of practice between the madhHabs (minor though they may be) are based on sound opinions. Well, that’s my theory…for now lol.

    (Eshev, I’m looking for the winking smiley, and I can’t find it, so I think you’re ok 😛 And I think I forgot to say: welcome to our blog!)

  7. Eshev says:

    Jazak Allah khair 😉

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