Monday, October 4, 2010

So What Is It?!


No, not a political post. Am done with that, till the next Musharraf speech :D. This post is about the constant disappointments I have felt over the years, at different (actually, a LOT) of people that have come in my life - both indirectly (like, I have just heard about them), and directly (I know them directly).

The background is that we started reading Sweet Valley series pretty early in life (:$, what a confession). But I'm talking about Sweet Valley Kids :D. Later, when we moved into teens, then we started (among many other books) Sweet Valley Middle School... then came Sweet Valley High, and later on Sweet Valley University. After that, we gave them up as a bad job :D (and I think the series also finished with University :P)..

These books were our first forray into the concept of love, crushes (in the earlier books), dating, concepts of boyrfriends, girlfriends, etc. At that time, our classmates and peers weren't very much into this stuff (even at around 8th grade level)... it was only books. The religion background was kinda strong at home, that even if we sometimes read books, we always always knew that whatever they're depicting, as part of that culture, is wrong, utterly wrong in the Muslim culture. And it wasn't a hard thing to implement in our lives. There were boundaries, and they were adhered to, er, for lack of a better word, religiously!

Khair, I'm not indulging in self glorification (I'm no saint-ess), am just explaining that the concepts that deen teaches were always dominant than the books obtained and read from various shops and thelay walas (book vendors) around Karachi. Now, later on, the concepts of loyalty (specifically in marriage) and chastity (specifically with singles) was an important one too - and then things began to come into focus that we had not really looked into.

And that was: the concept of loyalty and chastity were slowly dying down. And when the media boom occured (satellite dishes, then cable television and the 100s of channels available for easy viewing), there weren't many households that took care of not watching adult-themed stuff in front of the kids. That was the late 90s and then the start of the millennium. Now, 10 years down the road, the situation has gotten far worse.

Incident 1:
This very studious person from our university - who never used to hang out with girls, obtained a scholarship to go abroad. Now, as his MS is going on, pictures on FB show a quite different side to this personality that we knew. There is he, sitting on amazingly green grass, the landscape behind him is breathtaking - and he sits with a huge fat book (Optical Fibres I think :P)... and back to back with, an ultra cool looking European young lady, who sits with an equally fat book (Optical Fibres again - what a ''connection'' :P:P).. and you can just imagine the comments on these photos from his friends/peers.

Now, why in the world would I feel bad at this? (when I don't even know the person... he's just a classmate of a very good friend)..! The only reason I feel bad at this pretty common behavior is that, the outward reality was quite different from the reality being faced now. Here, there was an aura of decency - and now..? That whole respect factor has evaporated. So this evaporation business is what sucks. And the general discussion that takes place among friends borders on something like..

"Yeah so if somebody is abroad, what do you expect??"
Me (naive idiot): But hello, one's own belief is still there isn't it? 20 plus years in the making (of imaan).. how come only a year ABROAD dissolved it?
''Well, it's pretty normal. You can close your eyes to it if you want''
Me: Well, it's still pretty disappointing.

Incident 2: 
Somebody narrated this to me:
There was a girl in our university and one fine day, some Pakistani students commented on her as she walked by... - in Urdu! They weren't very nice comments.
She turned around.. and said ''Main Urdu jaanti hoon! I'm a Pakistani"'  :D:D... (set hay!)
The guys were flabbergasted. Why? Because she didn't look an INCH like a Muslim (let alone desi)... and the narrator said that that girl had appeared in a hijab when she first came to the university! ..

Again, why was I so disappointed? I hadn't known her !
Simply because when the moral values that are supposed to be so deeply ingrained in a person, can shake loose, this easily.. then there has got to be some soul searching done!...

Incident 3:
This lady in our relatives, got widowed at a very young age. She was 19, and her son was 3 and a half years old.. :(. She spent a lot of money and effort on giving the right education to the young child, and then he was sent ''abroad'' for further studies. He did pretty well (no surprise, his dad was beyond brilliant too!).. and then.. that's it! Got married in the US, and now, doesn't wanna come back. The mom sometimes visits her son, but the ''bahu'' happens to be a foreigner (and not mum's choice, it was just a spur of the moment revelation to her, and that's it... the son got married). Not that he did WRONG... but a/c to the mum who is all alone here...(and keeps telling everybody she can ''never to send your sons abroad, because they'll never return!)... this life is pretty harsh.

And that's again, so very disappointing. Itni aqal, granted by God, and not enough sense to be with parent, when she needs him .. :'(. Saaad.

Incident 4: 
Not just another incident.. this is the story of a young man, who was thrown in a well by his step brothers, was rescued by a passing caravan people and then sold to an Egyptian aziz... and what happens when he turns into a young man, away from home and in a ''definitely foreign country'' -
I'm talking about nobody else but Hazrat Yousuf (Prophet Joseph), who was the son of Prophet Yaáqub (Jacob), and his trial that occured when the Governor of Egypt's (Aziz's) wife made advances at him, and tried to lure him into getting into sin with her. And his reaction, and whatever that might have gone through his mind, is somehow (I feel) a huge huge lesson to ALL of us, especially the ones who are in more trial (by being in another country, not having the means to get married, or just simply stuck in the rut of parents saying ''Oh you're too young")....

The following commentary (part) on Muslim Matters is what I find so inspiring, and insightful:

The word used to describe Yusuf when he was found from the well, is غلام (“ghulaam“), which, according to the rules of the Arabic language, is used for ”a young boy whose moustache is growing forth” i.e. a boy ranging in age from 12 to 17. We can thus conclude that Aziz’s wife was, therefore, some years older than him at the time she and her husband purchased him.

He lived with his ‘owners’ or foster parents until he reached his adulthood, whence Allah blessed him with wisdom and knowledge. His physical beauty, too, reached its peak.

وَلَمَّا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ آتَيْنَاهُ حُكْمًا وَعِلْمًا وَكَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ
And then when he became a full-grown man, We gave him knowledge and right judgement too. That is how We reward all doers of good. [12:22]

It is difficult to ascertain the cause behind what happened next. But it so happened that the woman in whose house he spent his adolescent years, growing up and maturing, who undoubtedly held a more dominant, authoritative and stronger position than him in the housheold, tried to get him to commit adultery with her.

وَرَاوَدَتْهُ الَّتِي هُوَ فِي بَيْتِهَا عَن نَّفْسِهِ وَغَلَّقَتِ الأَبْوَابَ وَقَالَتْ هَيْتَ لَكَ قَالَ مَعَاذَ اللّهِ إِنَّهُ رَبِّي أَحْسَنَ مَثْوَايَ إِنَّهُ لاَ يُفْلِحُ الظَّالِمُونَ  
وَلَقَدْ هَمَّتْ بِهِ وَهَمَّ بِهَا لَوْلا أَن رَّأَى بُرْهَانَ رَبِّهِ كَذَلِكَ لِنَصْرِفَ عَنْهُ السُّوءَ وَالْفَحْشَاء إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُخْلَصِينَ
وَاسُتَبَقَا الْبَابَ وَقَدَّتْ قَمِيصَهُ مِن دُبُرٍ وَأَلْفَيَا سَيِّدَهَا لَدَى الْبَابِ قَالَتْ مَا جَزَاء مَنْ أَرَادَ بِأَهْلِكَ سُوَءًا إِلاَّ أَن يُسْجَنَ أَوْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
The woman whose house it was wanted to seduce him. She barred the doors and said, “Come over here!” He said, “Allah is my refuge! He is my Lord and has been good to me with where I live. Those who do wrong will surely not succeed.” She wanted him and he would have wanted her, had he not seen the clear proof of his Lord. That happened so We might avert from him all evil and lust. He was Our chosen servant.
They raced to the door. She tore his shirt at the back. They met her husband by the door. She said, “How should a man whose intention was to harm your family be punished for what he did except with prison or painful punishment?”
[12: 23-25]

Was it only lust that drove her to aggressively desire him? Was it her power and authority over him that made her so zealous in his pursuit that she tore his shirt even after he turned her down and tried to escape? Or was she just aggressive by nature, not accustomed to having her orders defied? Was it her being much older in age than him, and holding an influential status in Egyptian society?

Perhaps a little of all.

Yusuf lived in the house with her and the other domestic staff whilst her husband was away at work, and it is probable that his youth and handsomeness being at a pinnacle caught her gaze. We know that the gaze is the starting point of zina or adultery, if left unchecked. In addition, “khulwah” or being alone with a person of the opposite gender who is not a mahrum, also becomes an invitation for Satan to call the shots towards adultery.

Another point to consider is the polarization of their intrinsic nature that could have caused this. She was quite obviously lacking in piety – as not only did she try to seduce a man while being married to another (within the walls of the latter’s house), but also resorted to slander when caught red-handed. Yusuf, on the other hand, was pious and benign, obedient to Aziz and loyal to the house. Therefore, it is possible that his good character encouraged her to think that she could get away with anything as far as he was concerned. It is not uncommon for people to take advantage of someone’s piety, honesty, and good conduct; for example, the woman who threw trash over Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم]; knowing that he’d never retaliate with an action at the same low level of evil probably gave her the guts to go on doing it.

Regardless of the motive behind her aggression, we should note the reason Yusuf gave for his refusal – he mentioned Allah and how well He had kept him in that house – and that committing this act would thus be a great wrong; a severe ingratitude of Allah’s blessings on Yusuf. Another interpretation of this statement made by Yusuf is that by saying, ”He is my Lord”, he meant Aziz (his “master”, who bought him as a slave), viz. that Aziz had given him shelter in his house and kept him there very well, and sleeping with his wife behind his back would thus be the greatest wrong Yusuf could do to him in return. Either way, Yusuf’s lofty morals, alert conscience towards sin, and inner strength in face of temptation is apparent here.
It was when he took this stand towards his oppressor that Allah turned away from him evil and adultery by making him see a “burhaan” – “clear proof”. Tafsir Ibn Kathir explains what this clear proof, or evidence, could have been:

As for the evidence that Yusuf saw at that moment, there are conflicting opinions to what it was. Ibn Jarir At-Tabari said, “The correct opinion is that we should say that he saw an ayah from among Allah’s ayaat that repelled the thought that crossed his mind. This ‘evidence’ might have been the image of Yaqoub, or the image of an angel, or a divine statement that forbade him from doing that evil sin, etc. There are no clear proofs to support any of these statements in specific, so it should be left vague, as Allah left it.”

The lesson for us in this event is that we cannot place the blame for being weak in the face of temptation on anyone except ourselves. We cannot say, “Allah knows how difficult it is for me not to give in, with such temptation around me. He will not call me to account for such a trial.” Yusuf was young and unmarried; trapped inside a locked room with a woman calling him to herself – a woman dominant to him in social standing. Yet, not only did he openly refuse her, but ran when she persisted. It was when he refused outright that Allah’s help came to him, and he saw a clear proof that prevented him from wanting her too. Allah’s help comes when we take the first step to remove the temptation and avert it from ourselves.

Also, this makes me wonder. What would I do, if I'm ever in such a situation (Allah na karay!) where it's one huge temptation factory on one side, and the teachings/morals/upbringing on the other side. All the religious libaada (facade) that is outward, doesn't really matter OR help when one is IN a situation like this... there is only one's own strength of imaan, and the taufeeq and Hidayah from Allah.

May we all get this Hidayah, Ameen. And we should all remember (me first, then you), that the very essential thing which should never get eliminated from our lives - not even a single


PassingStranger said...

You mentioned quite a few incidents and I would like to share a piece of advice that an elder gave me. He had said that in life, you will come across very different people with diverse attitudes and sometimes, it will happen that some people will look very nice and religious at one point in time and completely different at a later point in time. We should remember that every human being has weaknesses and while we should be worried about other's actions, we should also reflect on our own weaknesses and question those since on the day of judgement, we will solely be asked for our deeds.The last piece of advice you gave is a gem :)

majworld said...

jazaKallah for such a good of ur best posts as it was words straight from the heart :)..really lot to learn from ur post or may i say such words act as regenerative repeaters for iman :)..may allah bless us and give us strength to remain on the right path.ameen.

Uni said...

The elder's advice is spot on! And I had thought while writing the post, that there is this imminent danger of coming across as somebody oh-so-much-holier-than-thou who is pointing fingers at everybody - but believe me, this was not the intention. I am much weak-imaaned, and the worst fear of mine, when I see these incidents... is that right now, I do not have the opportunity (or the mahole) to indulge in wrongdoings ... what if I have the opportunity...? And the environment? Would I get Taufeeq then?

That's a hugehuge fear. And it's a reminder to myself too that these things can be easily fallen into ... er, so the worry is about MY actions only. And the disappointment is that this is something EASILY fallen into :S...which leads to the fear!

JazakAllah for the insightful comment.

JazakAllah so much for the encouraging comment :)!
And regenerative repeaters is right :D.. I just hope the feedback loop of (sawaab for me:P).. remains whenever anybody reads this and gets something positive out of it! IA.

Ameen to your dua!

Thanks for dropping by!