I’ve been someone who has followed the Fiqh us-Sunnah Salafi way of praying for a long time and have decided to make the transition to the Shafi’i madhab. I don’t want to get into “that debate” because I know that debate and that had nothing to do with my choice. The reason, I wanted to switch is I felt there was more respect to my religion, more baraka and more nobility in following Imam ash-Shafi’i, his wisdom, his reasoning, his honor and nobility in manners of God. And at times, I feel really stuck while praying- nothing to do with khushoo- but because Fiqh us-Sunnah is so open, it’s a type of pick and choose. Who am I to choose one hadith over another? I’m nothing. And I can feel at times a creeping arrogance in my prayer, sometimes the movements I make are “stylistic” and I think to yourself, “God, what have I done!” I want to worship God, but my nafs pushes me to worship myself. :(
Where is the honor in that? How can I focus on my deen? This is the reason why I want to follow the Shafi’i madhab, so I can subdue that “style” and have humility. This is also the benefit of following someone in salaah (praying in jama’ah) that you follow someone else in prayer and therefore, don’t have you between you and Allah- no decision-making or deliberating how much to recite or rushing salaah.
The other point where I see a lack of nobility, humility and honor in Islam, especially relating from my own experience, is with the relationship we have with music- specifically hip-hop or the types of music you hear in the West. Doesn’t it feel like these artists are the most conceited people on Earth in their songs? This is why I abhor the hip-hop scene, everything is about them worshiping themselves- how they got shot and are still alive or for the Muslim artists, “Look at me, I was lost and Allah guided me! Isn’t that gangster?” The usage of those words, the way they move with their hands, the clothing even to an extent, is all about glorifying ME and not anyone else. You ever notice how someone will dress up “gangster” and then a black person who is also dressed up “gangster” will take this other person as a threat to them? As if it is challenging the worship of this idol they have been working so hard to construct- the idol that is themselves!? And then, if I were to listen to this “Islamic hip-hop”- I feel where is the respect of the Quran? There is a level of conceit present in thinking that you know better, that music is good for Islam and that you can increase your imaan through it. There is conceit in preferring these songs to the prayers of the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam, the recitation of the Quran and the non-musical qasidas. It’s spitting in the face of 1400 years worth of scholars who frowned, if not hated music- that you know better. There is no honor there. There is no nobility there. There is only pride and conceit. And this is not fitting for Islam, for it’s Noble Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam and the Most High, Allah subhana wa ta’ala.
When you listen to these songs, you feel, as if you are in control- perhaps as if you have a better grip on reality and you are the god of your own kingdom. But we all know that’s not true- only to Allah belong the reigns of the heavens and the Earth. We all know that “exhilaration” from music and that feeling that you are at the top of the world or unstoppable, has nothing to do with God. It has to do with glorifying yourself. It has to do with worshiping you. And sure it may somehow have an “Islamic” twist to it. But your only fooling yourself, if not allowing shaytaan to fool you.
And then, what does it lead to. Most of the slang you hear among hip-hoppers has somehow found it’s way into the Muslim context. The “yo salamz”- I do this too sometimes and I get disgusted at myself as to how this does ZERO honor to Islam. Saying, “Yo salamz”- is equivalent to a Muslim in India saying, “Namaste, Salam aleikum!” We have to get rid of this crap and exalt our religion and our Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam.
I have to ask, doesn’t our Islam and our Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam deserve to be honored? Doesn’t Allah subhana wa ta’ala need to be loved and put above all? Otherwise, what is Allah to us, if we have acted toward Him less than God?
The best way we can honor Islam is by cleaning our tongue and honoring our religion, praising it with what befits it. How did the Muslims of the past do it? Their languages, whether they be Arabic, Farsi or Urdu, were ornamented with words originating from the Quran itself, so they remained cognizant of God. They’re letters of poetry to Allah and His Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam would be preserved and honored or sent to the grave of the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam. Now, you have Muslims burning CDs with Tupac and Sami Yusuf side by side on the play list. Now we have Muslims titling their petty websites with Islamic words only meant for the most learned of scholars. Or wear a dog-chain with Allah written on it and enter the bathroom. Compare that to those, who would find a piece of paper in the street with the Name of Allah written on it, they would then take it home, perfume it and place it somewhere safe where it can be honored and respected. (And this would be a cause for them to enter Jannah!)
Why would they go to such lengths? They knew ALL the nobility and honor they have came from Islam! And so they knew to honor it. It seems we have forgotten this and think that hip-hop brings honor and nobility to Islam- when in fact, it disgraces Islam. This is probably why Allah disgraces us here. We don’t honor our religion because we haven’t seen how much we love it. There is a line between where Islam ends and love of Allah and His Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam begins and this is where religion no longer exists separately but is exists everywhere. It’s where a person doesn’t have to be coaxed into religion, but would prefer it to anything from this world.
Notice how I have mentioned no fatwa, no Islamic evidence- that is because these are things that your heart will tell you. These are things that each heart recognizes and can’t ignore. It has NOTHING to do with religion- it has everything to do with love, for Islam, it’s Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam and it’s Creator. Why follow this heart? Because this is the same heart that made you accept Islam. And perhaps something similar to that has just occurred to you.
Lastly, remember we are talking about Allah, the Sublime, the Magnificent. We are talking about the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam. And we are talking about Islam. Nothing in this world can compare to the above. Nothing else in the world, except Islam, is worthy of the best form of honor possible.
If you dismiss these thoughts or reject what I am saying than you may be more veiled from Allah and Who He is and therefore, I can’t advise you successfully.
Wabisah bin Mabad (ra) came to Rasulullah SAAWS and before he could ask the Prophet SAAWS, the Prophet SAAWS asked him, “Have you come to ask me about piety?” to which he said, “Yes.”
The Prophet SAAWS replied:
“Astafti qalbak, al-Birru at- ma’anut ilayhil an-nafsu, wa at’ma’ana ilayhil qalbu, wa’l ithmu ma haka fi nafsi, wa tarad-dada fi sadri, wa’n aftayka nafsu wa aftayk.
Ask your heart about it. Piety is that which contents the soul and comforts the heart. And sin is that which causes doubts and perturbs the heart, even if people pronounce it lawful and give you verdicts on such matters over and over again. “
-reported by Ahmad and ad-Darimi
Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, Ameen.