As Sana walked down the road to the corner shop, she couldn’t help but feel self-conscious and dubious about what passers-by would be thinking of her right now. They would be judging her by her hijab, she kept on thinking. Wearing loose clothes and a big shawl that covered her hair, shoulders and the whole chest just wasn’t the norm now. Feeling low, she quickly bought what she came to buy and scurried home, to her cave of peace, or so she thought until she stepped inside. Her aunt had come for the weekend and as soon as she saw Sana, she started ranting about the report card she has just seen lying on the table. Scolding her about the ’C’ grade she got on one subject, judging her by her grades. A while later, her mother’s friend came in and when she saw Sana, started going on about how she wasn’t wearing any make-up and that she wouldn’t even get any friends by being that introverted and ‘religious’. Sighing inwardly, Sana hurried to go into her room, where finally she could rest for even a few seconds before the social norms would come crashing in.
The above situation is what’s happening around the world each and every day. Every single day, many are being judged and scolded, judged by social norms and expectations. We, as Muslims, should learn how to deal with these challenges without straying away from the path of Quran and Sunnah. The question is, how can we stay strong when facing these social challenges? How can we keep our emotions in control?
Firstly, let us turn to our ultimate source of coping and solutions; the Noble Quran and Sunnah.
Many verses in the Quran reminds us that we are not alone and Allah is always, ALWAYS, with us. Whenever we feel too exhausted to cope with the pressures, just turn to Allah and pour out all your complaints and stories. HE is there to listen to.
And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” [40:60]
Trust me, you will feel so relieved after doing this. Keep your full trust in Allah and carry on with your life. Whenever you are judged, just keep in mind that the ONLY one you are trying to please is Allah and no one else.
Then take a look at our ultimate role model, our beloved prophet Muhammad’s life. How many people mocked and insulted him when he called people to Islam? How many pagans hurt him both verbally and physically? But even once, did he give up? NO, never even once! He knew that it was Allah that he should trust in and that he should only care about what Allah had ordered him to do. Subhanallah, he was faced with much, much more trails than us. Our trails are nothing compared to him. He PBUH was given the responsibility of calling the whole world to the truth. Can you even imagine how big the response would be? Carrying that on his shoulders, he was faced with grievous situations. Let’s take into account when he first called people to Islam, his own family members, his uncles, rejected him and called on everyone not to listen to him. How betrayed he would have felt, I cannot even imagine. There are so many trials that he faced in his life, that I could go on and on talking about them. The point I want to emphasize here is, that he never gave up and never bent towards the society’s expectations, instead, he held onto the truth till the last second of his life.
Let us be like our perfect role model in holding onto the truth and dealing with society’s never-ending expectations. Let us strive to control our inner emotions and let it all out only to Allah. When our Imaan is strong enough, we can be sure that Allah will never let anything bad happen to us; even if it is something bad apparently, there is a hidden goodness behind it.
To end, let us end with this beautiful yet simple duaa that the prophet Muhammad PBUH used to make very often.
يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِى عَلَى دِينِكَ
“O Turner of the hearts, keep my heart firm on your religion”