THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY

GoodBadUgly1

Asalaam Aleykum minions,

“See in this world there are two kinds of people my friend, those with loaded guns and those who dig… you dig.”

Well at least that’s how we want it to be… just two kinds of people, good or bad, right or wrong but the truth is, we aren’t like that, we all have our good sides, bad sides, ugly sides, weird sides, amazing sides and even more sides, our personalities aren’t two dimensional.

But we tend to judge people that way, either someone is good or bad. The person lied once, he is branded a liar, and that’s it, all his good is erased…granted lying isn’t a small thing and it isn’t something easy to wipe off your resume when you do it but the point here is being open to the fact that as humans we err, we make mistakes, we wouldn’t want to be judged solely by our mistakes or by our flaws so let’s not do the same to others. As a metaphor my teacher once told me that; humans tend to magnify the bad that people to do, such that if someone did a mountain of good and one rock sized bad, we wouldn’t be able to see the mountain because we put the rock right in front of our eyes.

As you might have noticed by now, we tend to classify people in our lives, strangers, family, friends… pretty quickly and efficiently from the first meet or from some action they did that stood out to us.  Whenever we meet new people we immediately start evaluating them according to where they fit in our spectrum of “understanding people”, based on what they say, how they say it, their race, their dress-code, their beliefs etc (it’s almost unconscious). Are they funny or boring? Do they think like me or not? Do they believe in what I believe or the opposite? Are they from where I am from or not? Are they educated or not? Are they smart or dull? The list goes on, and according to this we group them in the relevant category in our minds … which I would like to think goes something like this:

1) Nice to talk to

 2) Nice to listen to

3) Avoid but be polite (smile and wave boys…smile and wave)

4) Avoid at all costs

 5) Drawing blanks, Not really sure… wait for more information. (might be CIA)

I think we develop this talent at a very young age and I believe it’s necessary to some degree, because we don’t have the time to get a full psyche evaluation of everyone we meet and then make an informed decision on how to proceed with the relationship.

The problem is we hardly ever do re-evaluation and whenever we get new information about these people we are generally biased and pick only those that confirm our initial judgement and ignore the rest.

Which leads to why I am writing about this, as Muslims we know why judging others is bad, and why negative suspicion is bad

Quran verse: 49:12

” O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.”

With this in mind I think it’s every Muslim’s duty to have an open mind about others, understanding that, yes, we are different from each other but that isn’t a reason for conflict, discrimination or segregation. On the contrary it’s a reason to get closer and get to know each other more and be tolerant of one another.

Quran verse: 49:13

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”

Now with the refugee crisis going on, I find it weird that humans will argue for letting other humans die just because they are not from where they are from.  I mean…. Really??? That’s the whole argument??

I have never understood nationalistic pride, I happened to be born here (not out of choice) hence I am better than you or I stick only with “my people” who also didn’t choose to be born here.  Am I the only one finding this borderline retarded?

Jubair ibn Mut’im reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, He is not one of us who calls to tribalism. He is not one of us who fights for the sake of tribalism. He is not one of us who dies following the way of tribalism.”

And in another Hadith, also referring to nationalism, racism, and patriotism the Prophet (S.A.W) said:

“Leave it, for it is filth.”

On the societal level, the takeaway from this is to appreciate the fact that we are all humans and we are all the same, cultures differ, race, temperaments, dress-codes, beliefs but at the core of it all, we are the same…we all have emotions, sadness, anger, fear, happiness, sorrow,  we all feel hungry when we don’t have any food to eat, we all grieve when we lose a loved one, we feel pain when we are injured, and hurt when rejected and oppressed these are things we all have in common with every human being on the planet. We usually have the same worries as well about the future, our families, life, our goals, ambitions, we all want to survive for one reason or another and that is regardless of all our differences.

On the personal level the takeaway is to be more open to re-evaluating the people we know and the new people we meet, and also keep in mind that a person is not either one of two things or three (the good, the bad and the ugly) but we have multiple dimensions to our personalities. An easy way to put this in mind is to assume everyone has multiple personalities. (With usually one or two main themes that are consistent but multi-dimensional personalities is the best guess)

The only way this thought process actually stays in our minds is if we train ourselves to always look at people that way. Yes, they do wrong, but they also do right, and those that do right also do wrong, that’s just human.

Training means practice so here is an exercise for you; think about the people you already know, and try to think about the possible other good personality traits they might have, that you know or those you don’t know because you haven’t seen them in a situation that would bring it to light. Try it now, Keep away from the bad and the ugly though.

More fun exercise when you see strangers is to try to think what their possible good traits might be, despite whatever your initial judgement of them is from what you see.

Maybe they treat their parents really well, maybe they never lie, maybe they are very hygienic, maybe they are loyal friends, maybe they are very generous, maybe they always think positively about others (you see what I did there?), maybe they are empathetic, maybe they always try to be good, even when they fail, maybe they would take a bullet for their siblings. (Go radical).

My point with all this is as Muslims we should be learn to be more open and more understanding of others and by that I mean every other human apart from ourselves.

Love you all for the sake of Allah.

-Abd

I would like to add that this only applies to normal folk, those who only languish in the normal small mistakes.

This doesn’t apply to rapists, murders, oppressors and tyrants, no, those we need to kick their buckets for them, buy their farms, cash in their chips, get them to assume room temperature etc.  – (This is my personal opinion)

I might be wrong…let me know what you think. (about the whole post not just the killing oppressors part)

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22 thoughts on “THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY

  1. What I’ve observed is that when it comes to accepting a mistake versus criticizing someone for the same mistake we tend to have different standards. We’re almost always partial towards ourselves when we do something wrong; we try to justify it no matter what. But if someone else does it we are quick to judge and point the finger at them. Once I had an argument with my sister (who’s also my twin), nothing new for us cause we’re usually at odds with each other, haha just a sibling thing i guess? Anyway this one was huge and I get really defensive in such situations. We went on arguing, basically just going round in circles. And yeah what you said about basing our opinions on initial judgments, that’s exactly what I was doing. But my sis never once judged me, Alhumdulillah she made me realize that it was all a misunderstanding and that each person is different, we should respect that and hear them out before jumping to conclusions. May Allah سبحانه و تعالى reward her. Ameen. So yeah I agree with you on people having multiple dimensions to their personalities. It’s so true!

    And you’re so right about nationalism. It never made sense to me either. Imho it’s the prime reason for disunity among Arabs and specifically Muslims. Our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم addressed this in his last sermon. I’m sure you know about it but I’d like to share it here anyway 🙂
    “…All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety (taqwa) and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood…” (Sahih Al Bukhari)

    Thank you for this awesome reminder of just how great our religion is. Alhumdulillah. 😊 Jazak Allah khair. May Allah سبحانه و تعالى forgive our mistakes, keep us steadfast on His Deen and grant us victory over the disbelievers. And may Allah reward you immensely both in this life and the Hereafter. Ameen.

    • Ameen. Wa-iyyak. Haha Always at odds with a twin? Are you guys identical or fraternal? … In my naïve mind I thought twins are incredibly synced, they will have their differences here and there but much less than other non-twin siblings. ( is what I thought). Thanks for adding the part about the last sermon, great reminder. And did you try to do the exercise? Re-evaluation of others.

      • Incredibly synced lol. Nah I think most twins are poles apart. We just look similar. We’re fraternal by the way.
        Yeah I sort of tried it…does help a lot. I think next time before forming an opinion about someone I’ll definitely remember this insha’Allah. جزاك الله خيرا!

      • Just to let you know I posted a reply to your comment but for some reason it’s still “awaiting moderation”. Not sure why. 😕 Wassalaam.

      • Oh you didn’t? I think then it must’ve gone into spam haha. You can get it back from there. But never mind, I’ll type it again.
        We’re fraternal. I think most twins differ, but yeah we do have a lot in common too. It’s just that we’re used to hanging out together ever since we were kids so we kinda know each other inside out; but there comes a point when you realize that you can’t expect your twin to always agree with you. That’s when even the smallest difference of opinion hurts and a lot of understanding is required. But once you come to terms with it it’s all good I guess. 😅
        I tried the re-evaluation, I think it’s great. Makes you realize how wrong you can be about someone if you don’t look at their positive sides. Masha’Allah. اللهم بارك لكم.  May Allah سبحانه و تعالى reward you. Ameen. Jazak Allah khair!

      • Haha I don’t think it went to spam because I have the WordPress App so I get all comments and notifications straight to my phone. And yaay the re-evaluation exercise actually works. (I know I’m not supposed to be surprised about that it’s just good to get feedback from someone else doing it) . About the difference of opinion bit hurting, I’m not sure I can relate to that, because I have a difference of opinion with almost everyone that’s close to me on a looottt of things, family and friends, hosting endless debates and occasional fights. I’m not going to lie, I don’t like it… I love it! It keeps things interesting and widens my point of view on everything, at the same time it’s good exercise for saying “oh yes I was wrong on that one” . I remember reading somewhere that confidence isn’t about always being right, it’s about not being afraid to be wrong. I think it’s pretty true… Unless you can prove me wrong 😋…

      • Islam teaches us to “love for our brother what we love for ourselves,” right? So if I see something as being right I obviously want the people I care about to see it that way. And it will hurt if they don’t. The difference of opinion I’m talking about is not over random issues but stuff that actually matters. I don’t really mind people pointing out my mistakes. In fact I appreciate it. Seriously. So for me it’s not the fear of myself being wrong but the fear of the people I care about being wrong, the fear of not ever being able to convince them of the truth.
        Rest I agree with you. I like debates, and for the record I’m actually a good sport. Maybe not as good as you though. 😋 You seem pretty laid-back Masha’Allah. May Allah سبحانه و تعالى guide us to the right and protect us from the wrong, keep us steadfast on the truth and forgive our shortcomings. Ameen.

      • Ameen. I understand what you mean, I guess I haven’t felt that way because I always assume I might be wrong no matter how right I think I am, so even when it comes to big issues and serious ones even when we have a difference of opinion then it doesn’t bother me. In a way it helps me moderate my own certainty of things. I don’t try to change people’s minds, I tell them what I believe is right and try to justify it with what I know whether or not they accept it is beyond my control so I don’t invest any emotion into it. 😄 Might be a selfish way to go about things but it makes logical sense to me.

      • I’d have loved to continue the discussion if I knew what to say. I kinda like your approach to handling differences. And you’re absolutely right, we cannot change people’s minds. But I can’t imagine putting effort into something without their being any motivation, which in a way is a result of emotion. Like you only help someone out if you’re concerned about them. May Allah سبحانه و تعالى keep us steadfast. Ameen. Jazak Allah khair.

  2. WA alaykum asalam. Judgement is extremely powerful yet unconsciously dealt with. It slips our minds. Like you said, we categorize people without thought. I’m not gonna lie, I’m quite guilty of it, however, as time passes I learn to stop and just put that person in all types of circumstances. Especially when I’m driving. I get to explore all types of people. And when dealing with road rage, I have to just calm down and think, “this person must be in a rush to see their sick one.” I’ll admit, my younger sister seems to be better at it than I, but I’m getting there. I always seem to judge the slower drivers as someone who just knows I’m in a rush. When in fact it’s a senior citizen. That’s when guilt hits me hard beside my head. But….your post really hit home. It actually took me time to think about it. Because it’s so hard for me to trust anyone in general, I always view everyone I interact with as #5 on your list. Still I see your point. Funny story. I’ll take up your page. But when I started my first semester as a freshman my sister’s friend helped me get around. She knows how much of a shy person I am. I can never ask for help even if I’m lost on the highway. Anyway, so I started walking around campus. Found an isolated spot to do my work and pray. As I exited that building, a girl would always pass me. She always had a glare on her face, but I ignored it. Because I know that I tend to involuntarily have that type of look on. Day after day passed and then I changed my “stolen” spot. I started to see her with a group of girls, laughing. I was astonished. However the next day I passed by her again and smiled to her because I knew she was capable of smiling now. However she gave me that same glare. Okayyy…she must have something against me. Did I do something to upset her? No, I’ve never met her. The next morning I had to know what the issue was. But I was called to a meeting. I walked in the office and she was there. I knocked and she looked up and smiled. Okayyy…I said hello and she told me that I was a part of a scholarship club. I laughed and explained to her everything and what was going on my irrational mind. We both laughed this time. She explained to me she hadn’t even realize that she was glaring at me. I’m not sure how we got to conversing on medical herbs. But now we’re good friends.
    So, yeah. We need an open mind especially in situations of misunderstanding. The weird thing is, when dealing with strangers it feels easier. I guess it’s my trust issue.
    And I’ve never liked nationalism either. It doesn’t exist in Islam. Or should I say, it shouldn’t exist within the ummah. However, it still exists. Especially in marriage and selecting spouses. In Muslim families. The funny thing is it’s not even between different countries, we can’t even go there. It’s been the same countries and even families sometimes. It’s frustrating. I always try to speak against it whenever I can, but it will always exist whether we like it or not. May Allah protect our ummah. JazakAllah khair.

    Great post, as always. I tend to always take time to think over your posts. JazakAllah khair.

    • Wa Iyyak, first off, thanks for the long comment and the story, I enjoy reading long comments. And you taking time to think over my posts is a seriously huge compliment (you sure you want to give it so soon haha)
      About the marriage thing you hit the nail on the head, it is actually something that went through my mind when I wrote the post. People can say we aren’t nationalistic and we tolerate everyone yadi yadi yada BUT we can only marry “our people”, or our children or family members can only marry “our people”. Most people would argue about compatibility being a major part of marriage; which is perfectly fine being that there is a higher likelihood of two people being more compatible if they come from the same place but at the same time it is possible that people from different places become even more compatible than the former. Hence throwing a blanket judgement that it will always be more compatible within the group than outside is pretty misguided, but like you said these people exist and their mindsets aren’t changing anytime soon, ahhh such is life. 😁

      • Yes, keep it because I don’t intend to take it back. Your posts are thought provoking. Even your comments. But this time, I actually had difficulty with the Internet connection. Your example was accurate. Actually, it’s the exact words they utter. I remember when my older brother was engaged; he was expected to go overseas to attend his wedding. My father died. He was hospitalized for two days. Afterwards he told me that marrying from the family was easier because his fiance understood his circumstance and didn’t rush him, since it was her uncle as well. Hence, my sister and I should consider. We were too young. I told him that anyone worth marrying should be able to understand, even if it isn’t their uncle.

  3. Disclaimer: This is going to be a long post, so for those who are not interested, you know what to do.
    I haven’t been posting for a long time now which is why I haven’t commented in a while. Not that anyone even remotely remembers little old me. But any who, your post is spot on. Did I not mention how I love the fact that you young people are so amazingly inspiring with your posts on Islam. I haven’t gotten around to commenting on everyone else’s posts but In Sha Allah I will.
    Don’t even get me started on judgmental people and nationalism. Those are two very important topics that I have openly expressed my opinion on. I have come across both forms of negativity from within my family so that is something I deal with on a daily basis. This is something that goes on in every culture I guess.
    I don’t want to think of myself as a hypocrite, but I’ve always been adamant on insisting that nationalism is a ridiculous point of view. Especially since a couple of men from different “backgrounds” were interested in marrying me back in the day when I was single but my father refused to even discuss it. Then when the ball was in my court, I kind of lost my enthusiasm regarding my opinion. Yeah, it does seem like I’m a hypocrite but let me explain.
    When my son expressed his interest for a girl from a different background, I was really hesitant in giving him my blessings. Not because of the fact that she came from a different culture, which she did, but because of her religious beliefs. She is a Muslimah, but from a different sect than ours. Please don’t judge me. Again, let me explain.
    So after a long discussion between my son and I about how they would deal with “those” issues, I decided to give him my blessing. I figured if it was meant to be, then so be it. Does it make me a bad person that I was hesitant, I don’t think so. In my defense, I never once believed that our beliefs are better. Maybe I should’ve been more open to the idea but you see, what young people, including myself in my younger days, don’t realize is that you actually have to put into consideration every aspect of ones life when dealing with marriage. Marriage is a very significant part of our lives, which is why we need to be sure about who we decide to spend the rest of our lives with. So when you are choosing your significant other, put in mind their upbringing and religious beliefs, which in my defense is not necessarily nationalism. I don’t judge people because of where they came from. I was hesitant because of religious beliefs. Which is kind of sad when I think about it, but there is a very huge gap in differences when it comes to different sects of Islam. I even posted about this issue a few years back.
    So during their two years of marriage, it has been a disastrous roller-coaster ride. Trust me when I say, you would not want this on anyone. They did not agree on any given issue. They have totally different beliefs about everything. All of their issues are regarding the differences in religious beliefs. The funny part is that they knew each other since high school.
    I have supported her since they first married. I also asked my son to make a lot of compromises throughout their marriage just to resolve the continuous conflict between the two of them. They have been on the verge of divorce 6 times now, but my son ultimately reconciles for the sake of his daughter.
    So dare I say, “I rest my case”
    In the end, my son is miserable but like they say, “you made your bed……..”
    So tell me how you feel about the entire topic. If you know me well enough, you will know I’m very open to different opinions. So tell it like it is. I absolutely love peaceful debates.

    • Woooowww tough…I don’t think it makes you a bad person that you were hesitant, he is your son it would be ok if you were hesitant about him crossing the road. 😃 Motherly instincts. Thanks for all the compliments, I will respond with a longer post when I get more time. (Us young people running around like the world is going to end anytime soon).

  4. Since we were on the subject of marriage and nationalism, I thought I would add this link. What I forgot to mention in my comment is that the most important factor in finding a spouse is their religious background first and foremost. The next factor is their characteristics. I believe anything after that is not really of any significance. Their culture or financial status should not be a factor.
    For the sake of not taking too long, I’ll just post the link.

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