Assalamu alaikum, yes am expounding on my previous post because after I’d written it I had some more thoughts.
Namely that if someone say is able to give up music or TV or whatever, because they truly believe that it’s haram, then I definitely respect that and more power to them. However I’m just not there yet. I don’t feel like I’m less of a Muslim because I watch Star Trek or Little House on the Prairie or PBS or American Experience. Or because I listen to Lupe Fiasco or Bob Marley or Youssou Ndour.
I just think there’s just a lot more to being a Muslim, a lot more that Allah is going to look at, than whether or not one wears hijab, or watches TV or listens to music, whether or not one is a “Salafi” or a “sufi”, a “progressive” or “traditional” Muslim.
Because I just feel like a lot of this kinda stuff just feels to me like self-righteously one-upping each other as Muslims. like “hey I’m better than you because I wear hijab or niqab” or “I’m better than you because I don’t have a TV in my house” or “I’ve not listened to music in 25 years” or whatever. And I just don’t like it.
I believe that hijab is obligatory, and I wear it as a result. However, if a fellow sister doesn’t wear hijab, who am I to say anything to her about it? Especially if she can provide an answer or research or “daleel” for lack of a better word, to back up her choice not to wear it? All I feel I can do in a situation like that is to just say why I wear hijab, love her as a fellow sister and Muslim and human being and just keep it moving. Because who knows where we’re all going to be on Yaum-al-qiyama.
And back to the music and TV thing, it’s occurred to me that people who are, how do I say this, perhaps farther along on the spiritual or religious path, are probably not watching the latest episode of Fringe or listening to the latest Gucci Mane track probably because, I don’t know, they are doing deen-y things like reading Qur’an or making dhikr, and more so for our shaykhs/scholars/leaders. I mean, if you’re busy with something like dhikr, or busy being a shaykh/leader/scholar to a whole community of Muslims, you probably don’t have much time left for music or TV or fishing or whatever. So I think sometimes, as we progress as Muslims, perhaps giving up things like music or TV just happens to us gradually, without us realizing it.
I just feel really uncomfortable telling other Muslims they are “wrong”, unless it is just something so out there, like “hey we don’t have to pray” or “hey we don’t have to make Hajj” or something like that, because who am I to tell them they’re wrong? I just think we live in a time and a place as especially Western Muslims, that Inshallah, if we follow our local Masjid even if they’re supposedly “doing Eid on the wrong day”, or if we watch a bit of TV after work in the evenings, or if we listen to a bit of music while in the car or cleaning the house, or if we choose not to wear hijab or “don’t wear it in the right way”, that Inshallah, we’ll be forgiven for this.
Because I just can’t tell you how much I’ve struggled with “trying to do the right thing”, every year I’ve struggled with whether to follow my local masjid as regarding the Ramadan and the Eids, because inevitably at some point, it always seems that what the masjid is doing is going to conflict with whatever the “confirmed verifiable sighting” is, and it’s not that I just follow whoever just because, but that if I don’t follow my local community, I feel as though I’m being arrogant and self-righteous and judgmental in my own right and I don’t like that feeling. And this is evenif I’m being told this is the right thing to do, even if I’m being told that if I follow my local masjid and the moon hasn’t “really” been sighted, that I’m either starting Ramadan or doing Eid on the wrong day. And that even if I’m the only person in my community or household following the “confirmed and verified” moon sighting, that I have to do this, because one has to be sure that the times of fasting or ending the fast have indeed arrived before one can begin or end the fast. and I get that, and I know I’m probably making things harder on myself than they have to be. But I just feel like if I follow the community, that even though it does truly feel like Ramadan or the Eid, that I have this nagging doubt in the back of my mind that I’m “doing the wrong thing at the wrong time”. But I actually feel worse if I “go it alone” and “do my own thing”. Because then not only do I not feel like it’s an Eid, but then I feel like I’m being some kinda arrogant self-righteous know-it-all. And to me that feels worse than supposedly doing the Eid on the wrong day. Because if the community has decided to have the Eid on a certain day, surely if I celebrated with them, I can’t see why Allah would hold me responsible for that. And it would just seem like celebrating alone, despite any misgivings about what methodology my local community follows as regards moon sighting, would just smack of all kinds of submitting to one’s nafs and all of that.
I think that part of where I’m at as a Muslim right now is to just live and let live and not be so rigid to myself or to anyone else. I don’t get so hung up on Salafi vs. traditional, or sufi vs. Salafi, or hijab versus not, or whatever. And I’m also working on the moon sighting issue too. Because at the end of the day, I can’t “make people” conform to my way of thinking lol, whatever that means. and I think for me, that was what a lot of this “I follow a madhhab” or “I am a traditional Muslim”, or “I practice Tasawuf” stuff or “I don’t follow my local masjid regarding moon sighting” stuff was about. It was like me saying that I was better than others, or that I was doing the “right” thing, and others supposedly and implicitly weren’t. And I just didn’t like how that made me feel.
I still follow a madhhab pretty much exclusively, I still feel more comfortable following a confirmed, verifiable, at the very least global moon sighting, I still don’t feel comfortable with how Saudi Arabia goes about determining their islamic dates. But I also know that there are just certain things that I’m not responsible for, and there are just certain things I am not in a position to change. All I can do is all I can do. Acting all self-righteous and patting myself on the back about what a good Muslim I am, or how I’m doing the “right” thing, etc., most certainly isn’t going to win anyone over to my cause. Whether it’s following a madhhab, or urging my local masjid to sight the moon every month and follow that sighting, or something else.