I told you not to talk to strangers! What were you doing talking to that man? Probably the most common statement made in streets around the world by parents to their children. This is applicable most when it comes to our overprotective nature as parents. When they are small, they just say stuff like “but he seemed like a nice man, wanted to give me candy” to them rolling their eyes when they are teenagers.
The creepy mustache guy with piercing eyes is not the type of stranger I am referring to though. So parents, put away your overprotective yet justified fears away. So what am I talking about? Here is a scenario:
You are a Muslim young man or woman who is struggling to have a connection with the creator. Trying to balance and see that being Muslim and American are not at odds with one another. You have close friends who you hold to have certain morals and beliefs. When you are with them, you feel a sense of “belonging”. Yes these are the brothers or these are the sisters who are in my corner. They are my hommies (why doesn’t Microsoft word recognize that word?) and dudetes(don’t’ think anyone says that anymore). Anyway, plug in any “hip” word here.
Than one day, a bomb drops. You find out that your friend actually has a boyfriend/girlfriend. Or you find out xyz behavior that you would never associate with him or her. Your whole view on who you thought of them shifts. Naturally, you are inclined to judge them.
You being a Muslim will bring many challenges and obstacles. So you found out that friends you thought were someone are actually someone different. Their morals and believes you once aspired to instill in your own life now seem like a slap in your face. The words of Julius Caesar “Et tu, Brute” come to mind. You feel stabbed in the back by your own brothers and sisters. You can understand if the actions came from other groups but your own friends?
At this moment, what do you feel? How do you process and reconcile this within yourself? Not only that, how do you better yourself as a servant of Allah? The jihad within yourself/nafs is waging at this moment. And off course Shaytan is also poking you. And this is not the friendly Facebook poke either. He is poking and whispering “yo see what happens when you hang around these “type” of Muslims?, you are better off rolling with the other crowd” Or ever heard his wisper, “just forget about it, live your life, do you…life is short man, do what you want…worry about things later”.
It is truly a jihad of the nafs not to judge. Only Allah has the right to judge. Leave that to Allah and stay out of the bff drama. The hardest part is to cleanse your heart from the judgment and when you meet that brother or sister next time, treat them with same or better manner than before. Know that you are not perfect and it is the mercy of Allah that he has given you the hidaya to know the right from the wrong.
In a time when technological advances are at their highest, the morality is at an all-time low. Your behavior, manners, character in today’s world may seem strange and not the norm. Friends and co-workers intermingle with opposite sex, go out drinking, and other immoral acts. Yet you stay firm in your belief of oneness of Allah and try to follow his commandments to do what is right and stay away from the forbidden. Indeed you are a stranger in this world of mischief and chaos.
“Islam began as something strange and will return as something strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers.” Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
Narrated by Muslim in his Sahih. On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him)
Then the people asked, “Who are they (the strangers), O Messenger of Allah?” He answered, “Those who are pious and righteous when the people have become evil.” (Ahmad)
As a result of your steadfastness in the time of trial, all the times you seemed anti-social for declining to go to the “happy hours”, Christmas parties, seeming awkward for not shaking hands with the opposite gender, or keeping your eyes down while conversion with the opposite gender, you get the ultimate reward…for the ultimate sacrifices. You get the glad tidings from Prophet Muhammad ﷺ himself.
Worth everything you have ever done or sacrificed! I think you will all agree.
It’s a jihad of the nafs…a fight in which you will feel defeat more than achievement yet within that struggle is the victory. For Allah only looks at the fight you put up and not the result…this is HIS mercy to us.
So glad tidings to those sisters who go out freely in their hijabs and modesty boldly declaring to the world dripping in lust and immorality that they are different…strangers. They are slaves of the one and only who controls everything in the universe. Who will on the Day of Judgment hold to account all those who oppressed, mocked, and degraded his slaves.
So go ahead, be strangers within your community, within your family, within your friends circle. Know that there is an ultimate reward waiting for you when you are done being strange. On that day you will be the successful ones (Khad aflahal mumenoon). On that day you will wish to go back to the dunya and do more strange acts to seek the pleasure of Allah.