“And it is not (proper) for the believers to go out to fight (Jihad) all together. Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth, that they (who are left behind) may get instructions in (Islamic) religion, and that they may warn their people when they return to them, so that they may beware (of evil).”
Surah Al-Tawbah (Surah 40), verse 122
This Surah makes me cry. It’s called Repentance and I should feel hope more than anything else. I don’t. I feel like a hypocrite and I feel lazy. Am I truly working hard in Allah (swt)’s Cause? Can I say I’m striving hard to earn His Pleasure? I don’t want to beat around the bush anymore. The simple, obvious answer is, I’m not. I’m not doing anything except thinking about what I should be doing. There’s lots I don’t know or understand from Quran. There are a lot of questions in my head about what I read from the Quran. I plan to find answers. That’s right… I PLAN to find answers but I never really get around to DOING anything.
Right now, I’m sitting in sin city (Las Vegas, Nevada) and my faith is questioned/ questionable on a daily basis. It is truly a struggle to stay righteous but the real mystery to me now is: What is righteousness? Having been thrust into a system altogether different from what I’m used to, I’m seeing a transition from an attitude centering on submissiveness to one of exhaustive explanations/ reasonings for everything I say or do. I can tell you it’s not easy. I can tell you it’s frustrating. And I can tell you it’s confusing.
I spent the last few years shying away from anything that I thought could potentially harm me or make me question my faith. I kept away from conversations, from people, from ideas, from literature that I felt could corrupt me and just surrounded myself with safe sources of knowledge. By safe, I mean following the majority 9 times out of 10. Was it really the right way to stay righteous? HARDLY!
Basically, what I’m feeling is a desire to move from being of those who get left behind like this verse says to those who go forth and fight. I’m generally a reactive person, not proactive so I don’t know if that’s a workable desire. I feel crippled by my own inhibitions, by my own restrictions and as much as I want to break out of it, I can’t seem to.
The reason why I picked this verse in particular, is because as I sit here I wonder about the life that’s expected of you when you start living in this part of the world. I don’t think I’ll be living here but there’s somebody I love who will because she’s getting married to a nice guy in Cali. I feel like I’m going to be acting as a warner for her in a way. Knowing her, I know she’ll freak out when she comes here. Knowing her, I know she’ll find a solution… but I want her to have a hastened path to recovery from the shock that is inevitable. Reading about what goes on here, watching stuff in movies is nothing like when you start living the same things. In retrospect, yes, you think you knew but you still make mistakes and you still get confused. And it’s the transition that’s almost ugly. Either you gel with the system or you don’t, for quite a while. Gelling into the system requires a lot of you and it makes you seriously question things. Things you were told at home and things you know to be divine orders.
Everything becomes a take-the-lesser-evil option or maybe that’s how I make it for myself. One thing’s for sure – you HAVE to get out and experience things. As insanely connected and in communication we may be, as sure as we may be about what we want, what we’re capable of, we have to go out and step into dirty things and dirty circumstances to truly decide how we want to live this temporary life.
The easier path is to move away from potentially corrupt issues, like I used to. The easier path is to not argue and just nod your head when you feel like you’ve hit a redundant point in a conversation with somebody because it helps to end it. The easier path is get knocked down by the accusations that get thrown your way when you try to change an ideology that feels wrong/ unfair/ hypocritical to you. The easier path is to follow cultural norms even the ones you know are based out of convenience/ hypocrisy.
There’s one other thing that I can pick from this. The question is who CAN step into the dirt and come out clean? You can either start enjoying the dirt and start considering it to be normal because you realize your opinion about what was dirty or not was based out of a flawed concept any way. Or you can have a rigid perspective so that anywhere you go in the world, you come back thinking you were right all along possibly because you never intended to have an open mind. It can be rough… which is why dua for guidance should be a constant.
I understand that the main point of this verse is to consciously take a decision about who goes, who gets left behind in the situation that everybody is capable of going together somewhere. Kinda like leave some good ones behind, send some forth. Therefore, a lesson of democracy has been laced into one of working actively towards fighting against evil.
I understand that I hit upon various tangents to the verse here than focus on the actual verse but then everything’s a source of reflection for me today, with a wider perspective with each passing day and I must write and have other viewpoints come in for any kind of growth.