Thursday, October 20, 2011

Leaving the Table

Bida  is any innovation which was not covered in the Sunnah or Hadith from The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  It's not necessarily a big, scary evil.  It's something new.  I worry for Muslims who avoid bida the way the Amish avoid electricity and telephones.  It's okay, peeps.  It's okay!

Well...maybe it's okay and maybe it isn't. 

That's the problem with bida.  Because the newest technology was not discussed during the time of our Prophet (peace be upon him), we need to examine it for ourselves.  We have to listen to Islamic scholars who weigh whether or not an innovation is halal or haram.  Honestly, as fallable people, they could be wrong on a ruling so we have to consider their logic.

Let's consider Facebook--or as Mohamed Saed called it, "Facefook," in his latest movie.  Obviously, this is a new way of communicating.  There is no exact Islamic ruling regarding it.

Lately, I've been going through (yet another) hard time on Facebook.  A bit of fitnah over there, eh?!  My friend Ben and I had a falling out over something haram which was posted on his wall and seen on my feed.  You can read more about it here.  It troubled me greatly.  It should!  There are some truths which we Muslims need to hold onto no matter what. 

So yaddah, yaddah, yaddah and nothing was getting resolved between us.  I had to find the resolution ---but not between Ben and me; between God and me.  Afterall, my primary relationship in this life is with Allah.  I need to please Him and feel his closeness in my days and nights.

I made the intention to get clean from this mess and it felt messy alright.  I was absolutely sad----doubly sad (but more on that another time).  It was the opening up of my heart and mind to what Allah wanted for me that made it possible for me to hear and understand His guidance.  Alhumdulillah. 

We were blessed this past week with our very own satellite dish for our apartment.  This is GREAT for me because I can finally enjoy programs QUIETLY ENJOY programs in my own home.  We are no longer sitting downstairs watching the TV with everyone:  the baby, the visiting neices and nephews and the old lady who comes by to sell bread and so on.

Now, I have the choice to watch a lot of different shows.  What's surprising me is that the shows I was hoping to see I'm not watching.  I was dreaming of watching CNN, American movies and some MTV MADE.  However, when I actually started flipping channels, I became transfixed on the English language Islamic programming. 

When I heard the hadith, about not sitting at a table when others are drinking alcohol, I knew that this was important for me right now.  No, Facebook isn't exactly a table.  In an analogy, nothing is EXACT.  People who pick apart my analogies drive me nuts.  It's a metaphor!  Work your brain around it because that's the only way you're going to understand what I'm trying to say. 

Ok, so Facebook is like a table; we come together and meet.  Our words and postings are like what we consume.  If someone at the "table" is imbibing things haram, do you stay Facebook friends?   

Ben is free to do as he pleases.  He did not come to Islam.  He follows a different code of ethics.   "To me my religion and to you yours."  I'm not saying that he should change anything he does on Facebook.  He really is a fine person who will be judged ...but not by me.

Somehow, for me and my faith, I feel I need to leave the table. Somehow I have to stop being together with my friend who doesn't understand my needs while we are sharing.  That's my decision and it's Islamically based.  Even if I fail in my mission to be wise and fair AT LEAST I did my best to follow Islam as I decided.  May Allah be pleased with my decision.

No one has mentioned that, as a Muslimah, I should not be in communication with a man but (believe me) I know that too.  It is yet another factor in my decision.  Eventually, I need to be clean from those parts of my life which are not feeling crystal clear.  I don't want murky.  I want transparency.

How exactly I go about putting this into action is left to be seen.  For real, life is a process.  It's a step-by-step transaction which is difficult and time consuming.  It's not clear yet how change this moment but I am so happy to have realized:
  1. I didn't like what happened.
  2. I wasn't powerless.
  3. I could inact change.
  4. If the other person doesn't feel the need for change then I can still follow through and change what I can.
  5. Islamic guidance is best.
  6. Figuring it all out is a slow process but as long as I'm not at a standstill, then we're OK.


Kaighla said...

Asalaamu alaykum. I just wondered if you could clarify just what bid'aa actually is, as it does not mean "innovation" in terms of technology. There is nothing wrong with innovating in our daily lives, innovating in the way we travel, etc. These are good and halal if used for halal means (which is where I understood your "table" metaphor). The innovation which is not acceptable, called bidaa, is innovation within the religion itself. Such as people going to visit the graves of dead leaders and such to seek their intercession. This is one example. Or like sitting together in a group and saying thikr out loud together. another example. Just a clarification so the people reading this who are not Muslim do not think we Muslims are against innovation of any sort, like the amish you mentioned.

Kaighla said...

And those kind of bidaa, the kind where we deviate within the religion are, in fact, big, scary evil things which are really, really not ok. Prophet Muhammad (saws) said any innovation within our religion is a bidaa and every bidaa is a misguidance and every misguidance leads to the hellfire. Sounds serious and scary!

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Kaighla,

Bida is anything which was not done at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). So we can of course use new technology and new ideas. However, we need to keep our faith in tact as we use them.

Facebook is one of new things in both technology and in ideas. What to do with it? Doesn't mean that it is bad...just that it needs to be placed within our framework of what keeps us feeling good about ourselves and our world.

I don't talk much about evil or hell fire. Not my talk. I focus more on what I can do in this life here and now to be the best I can be. Keeps me sane.

Thanks for reading and commenting. I haven't seen your comments here for a while and I do want you to know, Kaighla, that you are always welcome here.

MarieHarmony said...

I hear how sad it is for you to experience such a hard time in your friendship. But at some stage if you don't remain true to yourself and what you believe in, maybe the best is to leave the table, as you say.
It's not easy to make the first step towards change but as knowledge is there, you are on the road.
All the best.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Marie Harmony,

As Elton John sang, "Harmony, Gee I really love ya!"

Thanks for commenting as you did.'re right. I am sad about what's happened; not so much in the leaving but in the realization that I'm not coming back. It's a one-way walk without return. A "first step towards change" is like that.

And I'm on the road to find out :)

All the best to you too. You're a good one.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Amatullah,

I did not print your comment to me as it came across very rudely. I'm sure you would not want to be perceived this way.

Using the word, "childish," is never a really great choice in leaving comments.

You say I'm very wrong on how I interprete bidah. My understanding is that bida is an innovation which has taken place since the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him). If I am wrong, then you, in your sisterly advice, are beholden to educate the less than knowledgable with what you know. Provide a link if you are so inclined. It behoves no one to simply dis' and dismiss my writings without adding to the discourse.

Oh, and when I write anything about the Prophet I always add "peace be upon him" because I was mandated to do so upon taking my shahaddah.

Not sure about you...

May Allah guide you to do the right thing and not to overstep your bounds when it comes to advising others. The same, of course, goes for me and for all my sisters on the 'net.

amatullah76 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yosra said...

Dear Readers,

Asalamu Alaykom.

Amatullah has been writing me more comments. I am choosing to not print any comments from Amatullah because I don't like what she says and how she says it.

My perogative. Yaay for being able to do as I please!

If you wish you read her, then please go ahead---I'm sure you can find her somewhere else on the 'net. To each his or her own.

For me? I prefer to live simply, happily and without mean people.

Mean people suck.

To Amatullah,

Your contrary ways remind me exactly of a boy I had in my class. He would do the opposite of everyone around him. If everyone was sitting, he would walk around. If everyone was eating, he would want to color. If it was time to go outside, then he'd want to stay in. He wouldn't be quiet about it either. Oh no! He would rant and rave and call out, "Enti wahesh!" Which isn't nice to say.

Yet, at the same time he craved companionship. He desperately wanted friends. He loved to be held. He simply didn't have the tools to carve out a relationship with anyone. He was a very injured little boy inside.

Think about how you are so desperate to connect on the internet. Think about how you are willing to say or do just about anything to get a reaction. It comes from a place of hurt and yearning. Yep, I'm playing armchair psychologist...but then you sat down in my blog and begged for it. Don't beg. Don't beg for attention. It isn't becoming. It makes you alienated from those who could be your friends.

You must find something worthwhile in what I write because you keep coming back. Why constantly pick about what you don't like? Why make it seem like I'm stupid and inept? Do you really think that you will come across as knowledgable and clever by your word choices? You don't.

I have no idea what else you have going on in your life, but I highly advise you to shut down your cyber bullying and jump back into real life. I don't think this is benefitting you or the community of bloggers who really are out here offering what they can. You don't like what I offer? Then please feel free to read someone else. I won't miss you. I won't cry or sigh or wring my hands.

I will, however, wonder, what made you into the kind of person who takes pleasure in trying to make other people miserable.

Didn't work on me.