Guest Blogger Feature ~ "Bullying: the root of negativity in our ummah." By Chereen

Sunday, February 9, 2014

My aim is not to bake a cake out of rainbows and smiles, in order for us to eat it and be happy. My goal is to raise awareness on the topic of bullying, in order for us to keep our sisterhood going. Brothers, you could benefit from this as well.
There are times where I get discouraged to do what I do. I am a therapist, an inspirational (or so I hope) advice-giver by nature. I enjoy making people feel good about themselves, because in turn, it makes me feel good. There are times where I feel limited. I see that people hold themselves on a pedestal, and it makes me very sad. I notice that bullying is a common trend; as the Internet has made it an easy way to capture prey. As Salman Al-Ouda once said, "We are all from Adam, and Adam is from clay." How is it that we originate from the same clay, yet many of us assume that we are better than one another? Why is it that we assume it is okay to talk down to others or flat out ignore them, because we value our clay more than theirs? Tell me, what happened to the sisterhood that we should be focusing on? I look around, and I find that the Ummah of Muhammad (Pbuh) is falling to pieces. I look up and I say a prayer. I bow my head down, and my emotions attack my heart. My tears come out of frustration. I cannot bear to see another moment of watching people unmercifully tear each other apart.
Bullying has become a dark art. It is something that is heavily consumed, due to its quick satisfaction. How easy it has become to leave a snide remark, rather than to address your brother or sister behind closed doors. Imam Shafi once said, "Be hard on yourself, easy on others." It has become apparent that people choose to do the exact opposite. This leads to consequences. Depending on the victim's level of strength, they might shrug it off, or they might become so affected by these words that they give up on trying to become a better person. Imagine having to bear the burden of being the reason that someone gave up on themselves? We are never aware of a person's circumstances, which is why it is important to be easy on others. If you do not like what a person is doing, then guide them. Religion teaches us to guide, not to negatively criticize. Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) introduced to many a religion of peace and beauty. He did not do it through harsh words and criticism. He did it through kind words. The Prophet (Pbuh) said, "Allah is kind and likes kindness in all things" (Bukhari). This should not surprise you, as Allah (Swt) has stated in the beginning of the Quran that His mercy prevails over His wrath. He has mercy over His creations, because He is aware of our flaws. He is aware of our flaws, yet He still accepts our repentance. He offers His mercy; yet it is difficult on many of us to be merciful towards one another.
It is important that we focus on our intentions. It is vital to take a step back before you say something to someone; whether the words might benefit them or whether they might hurt them, it is important to think twice. When it comes to dealing with people, I find the words of Salman Al-Ouda to be quite helpful. "Experience taught me that it is wise to be patient and forbearing with opponents and to use the divine cure of repelling with what is best (then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.)" [Quran 41:34]. Rather than making it a goal to become enemies, this allows for kindness to be the resolution. The intention should never be to hurt someone, and if that is the case, then the bully has clearly become the one that is weak. You do not become at power by using sharp words against someone. It might hurt them, but once they have grown from it, it only hurts your name.
I find myself praying for the bully. Experience as a therapist, and also a human being, has shown me that bullies have their own struggles. Their hard shell is a facade; once you tap on a special area, it breaks. The bully uses harsh words and criticism, yet it is difficult for them to accept a fraction of the amount of words that they deliver. For some bullies, their attitude is a result of increased jealousy and dissatisfaction with themselves. For other bullies, it is a result of anger and resentment. Both cases result in negative personalities, making it difficult for them to even deal with their own selves. Being a bully is a tragedy, as they have hit rock bottom and are struggling with the ability to be at peace with themselves. They, too, require special treatment in order to one day become better souls.
We were not created to be perfect. In Arabic, we are considered "Insan." "Insan" originates from the word "nisyaan," which means forgetfulness. It is clear that we sometimes forget many things, including our ability to respect one another by focusing on always improving our intentions. While it is easy to forget, we should always aim to remember the words of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), "No one of you becomes a true believer until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself"[Bukhari]. We want so badly to become the best, yet that is not possible to do on our own. We need our brothers and sisters, just like we need water or air to stay alive. We were created to guide one another, just like our forefathers made it their duty to guide us. We are blessed with the opportunity to be brothers and sisters; it is disheartening to see that it is even considered an option to deviate from that opportunity.
Our sisterhood should thrive. We should offer support to one another, in order to eliminate bullying altogether. A bully uses sharp words, but words are of no value until you let them affect you. The Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) used soft words to create this Ummah. He had his haters, yet he did not let them prevent him from committing to his goal. He did not let the criticism and bullying that he received shake him. He continued to increase his kindness and sincerity, because he was aware that it was what he needed to continue to inspire others. "O Messenger of Allah! It is a great Mercy of God that you are gentle and kind towards them; for, had you been harsh and hard-hearted, they would all have broken away from you” (Quran 3:159). This is proof that a word said out of sincerity is much more valuable than a word said out of disrespect. The sweetest of words are like honey, offering the pleasing texture and taste of honey.
Rather than making it any of our goals to admonish one another, we should focus on being genuine people. Imam Shafi once said, "Support me with your advice in private, and avoid advising me in public. Surely giving advice among the people is a kind of reproach, which I would rather not listen to. If you disobey and ignore my wish, don’t be saddened if you are not obeyed." Be genuine when you think about your brother or sister. Be genuine when you respond to a negative comment. Be genuine when you intend to give advice. Be careful when you do so in public. Let the words that come out of your mouth, be words that are serve as a positive reminder. Let these words represent who you are as a person, allowing for you to always be seen in a positive light. Advise people, but do not do so in a manner that you know will upset them. I ask of you to be aware, your actions represent who you are. You might say that you do not care about what people think of you, but at the end of the day, you and I both know that it is a fictitious statement.
I ask of you to be patient with one another. I beg of you to be compassionate with one another. Experience has shown me that bullying can lead to detrimental effects. There is so much exquisiteness in kind words that are spoken with good intentions. There is liveliness in wanting good for someone else. Allowing for peaceful intervention to be a solution always leads to long lasting results. As the Quran (25;63) perfectly puts it, "And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say peace."
Words can often cause more destruction than sticks and stones. Focus on your intentions; allow for your benevolence to help you blossom into the most beautiful of people. Let not your words be a dagger to the hearts of others.

About the author: My name is Chereen, I am a therapist, a life coach, and a writer alhamdulilah. I enjoy reading and writing, and I am very passionate about helping others help themselves through counseling, wisdom, inspiration, or any possible outlet. 
You can find Chereen via Instagram @thepathofabeliever, through her blog http://www.thepathofabeliever.tumblr.com or at her advice website http://themuslimtherapist.com/ . Mashallah :)






4 comments:

  1. Thanks for your comments. Love your inspiring blog :)

    xoxo
    http://singingthumbelina.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love you great style :)

    xoxo
    http://singingthumbelina.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love you great style :)

    xoxo
    http://singingthumbelina.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love this! Totally agree - we need to build a culture of uplifting one another as opposed to tearing each other down - but interesting to note things from the side of bullies aswell :) x

    ReplyDelete

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