I would wager that the title of this blog will apply to most people both Muslims and Non Muslims. As human beings we have an inordinate need to please ingrained in us from a young age. We all want to the be the best at what we do. We want to excell and be pointed to as a model or perfect example of the correct way. However, many of us take this to one of two extremes. Either we deny that we care and go into a rebellious stage or we admit to ourselves that we do care and set out in life killing ourselves to be the best.
I have also noticed that people of the second category tend to take constructive criticism horribly. They may lash out and point out YOUR faults if you try to advise them or they may come up with “conspiracy theories” as to why anyone would dare to say something to them when they are clearly in the wrong. They expect everyone to sweep their faults under the rug and remain silent as they continually commit wrong actions. Whereas, they are the first to point out anyone else’s wrong actions. In fact, most people of the second category take great pleasure in pointing out the faults of others. Perhaps, it makes them feel as if they are better, they are succeeding in their quest to be the best.
On the other hand, the rebellious group just acts as if they could care less. Did I bring home a paycheck this week? Ummm…… Did I make my five daily prayers…..<shrug> I don’t remember. And so on…..
Both types of behavior are destructive. As Muslims, we should know better than to fall into either category, but Alas! we are humans and most of us do fall into one of the two categories mentioned here.
Not only do we compete as to who has the biggest house, the most intelligent children, or the nicest vehicle. We also make our religion a competition. We compare which of us have a greater following, which of us can speak the best, which of us can read Quran with the most beautiful voice, which of us get the most positive comments, which of us has the most viewers on our blogs (hence the need to put how many views we have on the front page) and so on.
Don’t get me wrong, competing to do good deeds is good. Encouraging each other and motivating each other to fulfill our obligations and even try to do the voluntary actions is a very noble cause.
Sadly, though, our competition today is not like this. Our competition is a popularity contest. And I wonder sometimes if it is even for the sake of Allah (SWT) or if it is just to show each other up and appear to be the most pious. I wonder if it isn’t feeding some type of “me syndrome” the need to be the center of attention, the sort of teacher’s pet thing we deal with in elementary school or the desire to be in the “in crowd.” We take this competition to disgustingly low levels of slander, backbiting, and smear campaigns. We stop at nothing to drag the other people’s names through the mud so that we may come out on top, the shining example of piety and grace.
That’s something to think about. Something that I have been thinking about for several days now. I think we all need to take the time to look inside ourselves and examine what we find, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of it. For me this time has been after the fajr (pre dawn) prayer. The house is quiet, peaceful, serene, and I have time to sort through my muddled thoughts and evaluate myself and my situation. With the daily distractions around us, it is easy to jump to conclusions and assumptions. However, when it is just you and your Creator with all the worldly distractions gone, you may be surprised how you view things. I know I was surprised, shocked, and even terrified by what I saw when I sat down and really evaluated my life. I found that I had been in the wrong far too often….. Insh’Allah I will definatley be making changes. Will you?