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.
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)