Written by: T.Sultan
Featured in: Al-Nur Newsletter (An Islamic Publication at my University) – Nov 14th
Have you ever felt judged by another person? Why do you think people judge others? Or here’s a better question to think about, to truly bring it home: Have you ever felt judged by the brothers and sisters who make up the MSA/MWM here?
Are you someone who does not participate in the MSA or MWM at all because of the fear of being judged? Well guess what, you are not alone. Over the years, many students, and even the MOST active MSA/MWM brothers and sisters that you see around you today have had this thought cross their mind. The fear of being judged has at one point in time or another restrained them from getting to know the people in the MSA/MWM. It suffocated them to the point that they just didn’t show up to pray in the Musallah, to an MSA/MWM event, or anything but jummah, or even worse, not even jummah on Fridays where the entire community comes together.
Why am I bringing this up? For two reasons:
1) It’s time to be honest and direct. This topic isn’t something that needs to go under the musallah rug. We all have felt the implications of judging others or being judged ourselves. It’s something real that is happening everyday.
2) On Friday October 17th, we had, I believe, one of the most memorable/mucho amazing/supercool General Body Meetings ever! What was the topic, simple – judging others and our perception of others. Who were the speakers involved in the discussion? – every single student present in the Musallah (like 40+ people!).
Sister Eman led the discussion and asked everyone present: ‘If there is anything you can say to the world about this topic (of judging others ) what would it be?
In no particular order, here is what everyone had to say –
“Just be yourself.”
“Give people the benefit of the doubt and be blessed that Allah (swt) is making you a mechanism of guidance… ”
Don’t “criticize what Allah created, we have no right to do that”
“..Everyone’s at a different point in their Deen. Try to get to know someone better…where you are at is because of Allah.”
“Embrace those around you!”
“It’s okay to agree to disagree, but don’t ever change your personality.”
“Only the action needs to be corrected if you see something that someone is doing wrong. It’s not the person themselves.”
“It’s all about intention.”
“Act like you don’t know something is wrong and guide the other person to come to the understanding themselves that what they are doing is wrong.”
“Put weight into your words.”
“..Be humble, it’s a mercy from Allah (swt) that you stay away from doing wrong… You don’t do this on your own.”
“Be easy on others.”
“..be open and fix your own flaws before approaching those around you.”
“…don’t bash people in public…stand up for one another.”
“Islam is different for everyone and everyone’s at different levels.”
“Be positive, be a role model, and beat people back with positivity.”
“Always strive to make yourself and those around you better people.”
“It’s okay to be different.”
“..We see that religious people judge those of us that are less-religious, but we need to understand that it goes both ways, those that are less-religious also judge those who are more religious…”
“Build relationships; get to know those around you.”
“..don’t approach someone with advice if you really don’t know them.”
“..Don’t let others ignorance get to you.”
“Always evaluate yourself and watch what you say.”
“…Make D’ua for someone you judge.”
“..Think about how far your actions can go. You don’t know where the other person is coming from, you don’t know if someone else treated them badly before you. Everyone’s different, you need to accept that.“
“Self confidence is key! Be confident in yourself and in your heart, the world will respect you and accept you for it.”
“..don’t be in a situation where you will be judged by the group you are with.”
“We are still responsible for ourselves… Appearances are important… Don’t give another a reason to judge you in a bad way.”
“..Be diplomatic… make people feel comfortable and be sincere”
“…We all come from different backgrounds. We need to be fair to all newcomers… Don’t judge a sister not wearing Hijab.”
“People like to be nurtured… if you don’t know somebody don’t confront them… always strive to build a relationship before judging others.”
“Actively search for what is right…don’t throw judgments at others without being 100% convinced, we will be accountable for everything we say…”
“We fear being judged because we know we judge others.”
(For the most part, each quote above is from a different person that was present.)
The MSA/MWM is not just about a few people. A few people do not, and should not, define the culture of the MSA/MWM in it’s entirety. The MSA/MWM here is about all of us. It’s about the community. And we want the community to be diverse and full of people with different perspectives, personalities and people that come from all walks of life.
If you feel that the MSA/MWM is too conservative or just not a place where you can fit in – then guess what – we NEED you! We need you to change that. We need you to start changing the culture for the better. We need your awesomeness, your personality and we need you to just be yourself.
MSA- Muslim Students Association
MWM - Muslim Women Artwork by: tsultan