Many Muslims often struggle to perform religious duties because they are worried about the opinions and reactions of others. I have noticed that often times when I ask someone why they don’t fulfill a certain religious duty(staying away from bars/haraam events, eating halal only, utilizing proper manners, pausing casual interactions to go make salah), their response is usually that they do not want to draw attention to themselves. I have a really good friend and once we were discussing hijab( for women) and she stated that if she were to have a daughter she would not want her to cover to school because she might get made fun of. I also know parents who choose to not have their older children fast during Ramadan when there’s school so that they do not stand out among their classmates. Now as someone who has struggled with not wanting to stand out, I find this to be quite sad. Essentially, when we think that it is okay to not do what Allah(SWT) has told us to do simply because of the opinions of others, we are committing a form of minor shirk. We are saying that the opinions and decisions of the creation are more important than that of the Creator(Audhubillah).
In today’s society, there are many people who are throwing aside their deen for the sake of the dunya and worldly affairs and it is important that we strive to uphold our beliefs within ourselves, our friends and our families. It is impertinent that we consistently ensure that we are fulfilling all of our religious duties to the best of our abilities. When we are instructed by Allah(SWT) to do something, we must. Allah(SWT) tell us:
The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allāh (His Words, the Quran) and His Messenger (SAW), to judge between them, is that they say: "We hear and we obey." And such are the successful (who will live forever in Paradise). And whosoever obeys Allāh and His Messenger (SAW), fears Allāh, and keeps his duty (to Him), such are the successful ones.” Qur'an 24:51-52
From this we know that a key component for entering Jannah as well as a major characteristic of a Muslim, of a believer, is one who when they are told that Allah(SWT) or His Messenger(SAW) has instructed him/her to do something, their immediate response is to submit and obey to the best of their ability. Allah(SWT) also reminds us that:
We must remember that whatever religious duty that we need to engage in has nothing to do with others. We must not think about it in light of whether or not our friends will still like us or whether people will consider us extreme, we must remember WHO it is we are fulfilling this duty for. While our connections and interactions with friends, co-workers and family are important, we cannot be bogged down with wondering if they’ll think ‘we are on another level’ than them, all that really matters is our relationship with Allah(SWT). Islam is a way of life, and our job, as servants of Allah(SWT) is to worship and obey him with no other partners. We must obey his commands and the commands of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad(SAW).
There are numerous people that interfere with our ability to practice, including family, community members and friends. Though their intentions might not be to derail us in the practicing of the deen, it does happen. Sometimes these loved ones influence the extent to which we practice by telling us that certain aspects are not mandatory only recommended so they are not necessary to fulfill, that certain obligations don’t fit in with the culture, they’re not cool to do or it’s not normal in the community, etc. While all of these reasons might be true, abandoning the deen and religious obligations simply because you won't fit in or because it's not cool is not good. It is important to remember the trials that the earlier generations faced in regards to carrying out their faith. Some were murdered, some were disowned from their families, some had to move from their homes and leave everything behind and they still managed to practice the faith. SUBHANALLAH(God is glorious), we have it so much easier than them yet we're making excuses and turning away from our duties.
Observing the five pillars of Islam is absolutely obligatory upon us and adhering to them is what makes us different from non-Muslims. Alongside this, we are instructed to obey Allah and observe His commands about prayer, modesty, gender interactions, having good character and etiquette and to respect our parents and others. However, if our parents, friends and others are discouraging us from practicing something that is obligatory in Islam, or to even abandon something obligatory or strongly recommended, we should not obey them, even if it is our parents. Our love for our parents does not exceed the love we have for Allah(SWT). Nothing comes before Allah!
I've mentioned this before and I'll mention it again here because it is of utmost importance that we remember it:
The Prophet(SAW) said: “There is no obedience to any created being if it involves disobedience towards the Creator.”
May Almighty Allah keep us all on the straight path. May Almighty Allah guide those who have gone astray. May we not be of those who veer from this deen. May we not be of those who cast aside our duties and obligations. May we not be of those who are among the hypocrites. May we(and our loved ones) continue to strive on our journey to practice deen-ul-Islam to the utmost of our ability. inshaAllah Khair. Amin!
As humans in this dunya we are inundated by many distractions, misguidance, and falsehoods therefore making life much more confusing and difficult. What are we thinking, saying, observing, and experiencing in our lives? Are we truly living by Islamic ideals? This is where we can choose to actively “Strive For Clarity.”