« Are We Ready? | Main | Man, the beggar »
April 6, 2004
Bite Sized Islam

by Faisal Akhtar

No one doubts the completeness of the religion of Islam. Even the non-Muslims admit that Islam is a complete way of life. It governs every aspect of human life from the most intimate personal matter to the most communal and social concerns thus Islam must be adopted as a complete way of life. It must govern every aspect of our lives if we are to become true Muslims and benefit from Islam.

However, there is a tendency among Muslims to reduce Islam down to small bite sized tidbits that sound good but do absolutely nothing to help. Self-help classes, costing anywhere between $100 and $1000 per seat, also offer similar tidbits of advice but offer no help to an individual trying change his life for the better. The trademark of such classes is phrases such as “Stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”, “Don’t let anxiety attack you, attack anxiety”, “Think positively” and “Be fearless if you want to find love”. What does all this mean? These “word treats” sound really good but offer absolutely nothing of substance. People have cherry picked these lines out of perhaps some useful books and they keep repeating them like parrots without trying to understand what they truly mean. How does one “think positively”? How do you deal with anxiety? How should one love his fellow humans? These questions remain unanswered and repeating such rubbish results in no real progress.

Muslims also tend to fall into this trap. They hand pick certain Ayas of the Quran or certain parts of Ahadith and keep repeating them without knowing what they really mean. Some examples are “Whoever marries has completed half his religion”, “Heaven lay under the feet of the mother” and “All Muslims are brothers”. These oft-repeated Ahadith and Ayas rarely get implemented in our lives properly. For example, marriage is half of your religion but how often do you hear the whole Hadith which is

“Whoever marries, has completed half of his religion, so let him fear Allah regarding the other half” [Tabrani]?

How many people who quote this Hadith to you, properly advise you on the Adab of seeking a marriage partner? Also, heaven is under the feet of the mother but how many of us give our mothers complete rights? The Hadith sounds great and we love repeating it but when our mother asks us to do something, we frown and disobey. Similarly, all Muslims are brothers but how often do we hear the full hadith which is

“ A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. The piety is here, (and while saying so) he pointed towards his chest thrice. It is a serious evil for a Muslim that he should look down upon his brother Muslim. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for his brother in faith; his blood, his wealth and his honour.” (Sahih Muslim Book 31, Number 6219)

We call each other brothers yet when we see someone with a short stature, we make fun of them. We form cliques and each clique looks down on the other. We tell lies against each other, we back bite and we hold malice in our hearts towards one another but when we when we greet each other we say “Assalam-o-alaikom Brother”. Are we really acting like brothers?

The teachings of Islam are not to be taken in piecemeal nor are they to be taken lightly. It is a wonderful thing that we do memorize and repeat Ahadith but if we fail to understand them completely and implement them in our lives, they become empty words that sound good but are of no consequence to us neither in this world nor in the hereafter. May Allah help us understand and implement his religion completely! Ameen

of and relating to...
Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain said

Jazakallahu Khair Faisal. You're totally right about everything. Remember the Ayah, "Verily most hateful in the sight of Allah are those who say that which they do not do." Islam is not a game to play and forget about, it's the one thing for which we should be thankful because it will be our shield from the Fire.

Arif ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain
'work in this life as if you'll live forever, prepare for the Hereafter as if you'll die tomorrow'

on April 6, 2004 1:06 AM
Nadia said

Mashallah! An amazing article. It is but true that had Muslims been practicing Islam in its full essence, they would not find themselves in such plight. May Allah(swt) give all of us the Hidaya to implement Islam as a perfect code of life. Ameen

on April 6, 2004 10:34 AM
Wajahat Gilani said


when it comes to the brothers, i perfer if guys would fight each other, rather than harbor ill will towards each other secretly.

Wajahat Gilani

on April 6, 2004 10:36 AM
Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain said


fighting is fine, but brothers seem to fight over the dumbest reasons...i agree tho, if u don't like something about somebody then tell him or her but NOT in public...we're supposed to hide each other's faults so that Allah can hide our faults Insha'Allah...but also remember that if you see one of your fellow Muslims doing something wrong, then the Prophet (saws) said to think of 70 excuses for why that person committed that mistake...

Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain
'work in this life as if you'll live forever, prepare for the Hereafter as if you'll die tomorrow'

on April 6, 2004 10:45 AM
Faisal Akhtar said

Wajaht said

"when it comes to the brothers, i perfer if guys would fight each other, rather than harbor ill will towards each other secretly."

Am I missing something here? What does that mean? I am just a little lost.

Faisal Akhtar

on April 6, 2004 2:26 PM
Justoju said


Dont want to take away from the brother-on-brother violence topic (instead of discussing this you all should just fight it out), but there is a quote that I have relating to the article topic that I wanted to share:

"Islam is not merely the confession of a faith which is made once in a lifetime.
It requires a radical reorientation of life and thought. The confession is not merely verbal; it is an act of witnessing (Shahadah) which must transform our life into a living testimony of faith. You enter Islam by saying Shahadah (bearing witness). But you can live in Islam only by constantly doing Shahadah (Quran 2:143, 22:28) This will bring you in ceaseless confrontation with false gods inside you and outside you. Every act of sacrifice nourishes your Iman; for it transforms a verbal confession into a living reality.
Therefore, it is through sacrifice that you can truly learn to love Allah, and to live and die for Him."
---Unknown Author


on April 6, 2004 4:37 PM
Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain said

great point bintabbas...it's like I said in my article, we have to keep our intentions pure...always keep them for Allah and you can stay away from SO much...and as far as constantly doing Shahadah, we must renew our faith all the time...none of us should ever be content with how much Islam we follow...

'work in this life as if you'll live forever, prepare for the Hereafter as if you'll die tomorrow'

on April 6, 2004 5:31 PM
Iman said

as salaamu `alaykum...

Blog hopped here... Interesting material ma shaa Allah.

on April 7, 2004 3:43 PM
Rami said

Aslaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

Since Friday is coming up Tomorrow insha Allah...take a look at surat Al kahf...and the difference between knowledge and wisdom.

So to expand on this: Memorizing a haith or verse from Qu'ran is one thing...but to be able to comprehend and then later on practice is what differentiates the knowledgable from the wise.

Waleikum Salaam Warahmatulah Wabarakatu.

on April 8, 2004 2:20 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?