Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sizing Up People

Asalamu Alaykom,

This set of startling photos comes to us from "Daily Reminders".  We know it's true that ANYONE can come to Islam yet we judge someone like this man with tattoos and piercings as incapable of it.

When I worked briefly for those six months selling ...or as I like to say, "not selling" cars, I heard a lot about how to "up".  This is the car sales lingo for "sizing up people".

"Whose up is that?"

"Hey, don't talk to him!  That's my up.  I upped him when he was here yesterday."

Afterall, why waste your time with a nobody while you could wait a little longer for the real deal.  At a car lot, you don't get paid for just being friendly, you have to only be friendly with those people who could buy a car so you in turn could pay your bills.  Could that couple that just walked onto the lot be loaded with cash?  Well, I learned that anyone who looked like a million bucks was actually a million bucks in debt.

One the of the best deals I ever did was with the overweight, middle-aged dude in the tracksuit.  No one had upped him.  He looked like a nobody.  He wanted to test drive a BMW Z3.  I of course was happy to oblige because, though I had to pay my bills, I also loved  going out in cute little sports cars.  He loved the car.  When it came time to talk numbers, it turned out that he was a surgeon.  He was rolling in money.  His wife also wanted a car and got a new Kia SUV.  This happened to my benefit because I had decided that it wasn't in my best interest to dismiss a person who was showing genuine interest.

Let me tell you one more story.

The afternoon we went to the zoo with its kiddie rides to celebrate Mr. Boo's fourth birthday, I was strapped for cash.  Funny how much my stories today revolve around money!  It was right before I left for Egypt and I was pinching pennies pretty hard.  I was going to take the kids on a few rides but of course not on everything.  We stood in line after line and I kept counting tickets to make sure we would have enough.

There was a woman behind me in the line for the tiny train.  She looked awful.  I mean, she was beautiful!  She was really attractive but dressed too provocatively for a mom at the zoo.  Everything on her was black, skin-tight and some of it see-through.  It didn't really cover her and I thought of giving her a bad look to have her realize that moms just don't dress like that.

I caught her eye once and saw that she was sizing me up.  She was upping ME!  She was looking at me fully covered and in my hijab with the two white kids and the one brown kid.  I tried to ignore her stares.  In my head,  I figured out everything this chick was thinking about me as we stood together in line.  I zoned out on these thoughts as we waited for our turn on the tiny train which was rounding the track for the millonth time.

She said something to me.  I really didn't hear her at first.

"Here, you can have these.  This is our last ride," she was offering me the three wrist bands from her and her kids.

They had cost more money than I could afford so I hadn't even considered them.  Now?  I was being given them for free.  And from whom?  From the woman I was sure hated me for looking different from her.  I realized then that the stares she had been giving me were to try to get my attention so she could make her offer.  She wasn't doing anything rude at all. She wasn't me.  I had made assumptions about her by her way of dressing.  Astragferallah.  What if I had given her that nasty look?  Alhumdulillah I hadn't.  I thanked her and then the kids and I enjoyed all the rides we could because of her generosity.

Watch the video of Brother Abdul Malik.

Consider if no one had ever invited him to Islam.


Stop and really think about his life in that tormented, angry state of being lost without guidance.

Ask yourself who are you helping to Islam.  If the answer is, "no one" then look once again at Brother Abdul Malik's "before" picture with all the tattoos and piercings.  I'll ask again:

What if no one had ever invited him to Islam?

Alhumdulillah for the power to be open to the Greatness of Allah.  Since all of creation was brought to life by The Creator, we need not wonder if someone could be capable of bigger and better things.  Of course they could...and we could too---inshahallah.


Thankful Slave said...

Assalam Aleikum,

Thanks for this good entry, I particularly liked your comment "I learned that anyone who looked like a million bucks was actually a million bucks in debt"

This is true indeed; "all that glitters is not Gold". How many times did we people shining but they were mere evil ones, and how many times did we see pity looking people but who became great heroes at the end.

Our Prophet (S) emphasized about this issue, as reported in Sahih Bukhari:
4803. It is related that Sahl said, "A man passed by the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who said, 'What do you say about this one?' They answered, 'He is such that if he proposes marriage, his proposal is accepted, and if he intercedes his intercession would be granted. If he speaks, he is listened to.' Then he was silent and one of the poor Muslim men passed by and he asked, 'What do you say about this one?' They answered, "He is such that if he were to propose marriage, his proposal would not be worth accepting, and if he were to intercede, his intercession would not be granted, and if he were to speak, his words would not be listened to.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'This one is better than the whole earth full of the first one.'"

May Allah Guide us to always deal with People with the appropriate way, the way that would increase our good deeds, and not the way that would cost us heavily on Judgement day.

Mona Z said...

I really liked this post, your story and your humility. Sometimes we all need a little reminder like that. To check ourselves.

Marie Vie said...

I like your post very much Yosra beacuse it shows well how too often we tend to judge people on appearance only. Like they are what they look like.
It's only when we start looking inside, when we share a ear or give them a chance to exist that we really apply God's main rule: Love and Compassion.

Great reminder for us all. Take care dear.