It’s never as strong as it is in Ramadaan. This need to shoot down the traits or actions in one is denying within oneself, in others. Projecting on others. Subconsciously looking down on the ‘heathens’ the ‘ramadaan tourists’. Grilling people with questions that are often communicated unspoken through glares and vague comments.
Why aren’t you reading more Qur’aan?
Why aren’t you going to taraweeh?
Why did you only pray 6 raka’aat?
Why are you watching TV?
Why are you taking pictures of your iftar when there are starving and poor people??
Sharp tones, clenched jaws, squinting eyes. You would believe that the wrong reply would have this person fly into a fight.
And this is accepted because it’s done under the guise of advising and enjoining the good. What good? The only good that comes out of such a shame fest is that the shamer feels accomplished by having put the self-hatred and guilt from falling short of the perfectionistic goals of cibaada they forced upon themselves– on others.
In what realm of what alternate universe does shaming someone or criticizing them lead to them turning to Allaah?
In fact, Allaah isn’t even in the equations. Have you noticed? It’s always linked to some kind of ritual like reciting the Qur’aan or pitying the poor. But is ‘ibaada as simplistic and linear as that?
What use is the actions that stem from a heart full with anger and pride. Someone who is aiming for perfection is an arrogant person. Look to Iblees. He was a jinn who was very pious. Allaah elevated him to be with the angels. And he thought this was an honour conferred on him due to his nobility or whatever. Little did he know that it was a test, one he failed.
So when he saw Aadam alayhissalaam who had no noble merits he could see, yet he and all the angels were ordered to bow down to him, it brought everything he thought he knew to a standstill. But why? He couldn’t bring himself to do that. Because he wasn’t worshipping Allaah. He was worshipping himself. He was worshipping his vanity.
When Allaah said
إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ
He (Allâh) said: “I know that which you do not know.” (Al-Baqarah 2:30)
to the perplexed reaction of the angels when they heard that Allaah was going to create a new kind, part of that knowledge was the hidden arrogance of Iblees.
Someone who judges people’s (apparent) level of eemaan or dedication is someone under the distinct impression that ‘ibaada comes from hard work and not tawfeeq. It’s someone impressed with themselves, though they may vehemently deny this. It’s someone void of iftiqaar to Allaah, dire need of Allaah. It’s someone content with the ‘ibaadaat they’ve done, certain that they are accepted. It’s someone who’s been blinded to what benefits them.
It’s someone who is ignorant and is tiring themselves out doing a lot with little substance. Because the truth of this matter is that actions of the limbs are dependent on the actions of the heart. If one prays throughout the entire night with an empty heart or to impress others or for whatever other reason that isn’t the Tawheed of Allaah, that isn’t the love of Allaah, that isn’t rooted in intrinsic motivation – then that act won’t benefit the person, in the least.
We can’t worship Allaah and appreciate Him and love Him and be shy of Him the way He truly deserves. May Allaah show us the true nature of ourselves which is one void of any ability or greatness. May Allaah show us that if it were not for His generosity and love and mercy, that we would all be doomed. May Allaah humble our hearts, and bring us closer to one another by removing the egos from the ranks. May Allaah make us love what He loves and may He guide us on the path less traveled which is the path to Jannah. The path of struggle and painful enlightenment.