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Some people just don’t get it


Had a conversation this weekend with a Muslim friend of mine who means a lot to me. We disagree a lot on Islam, however, and our latest conversation was no exception.

“Yeah so I met this brother the other day and he was going on and on about how he bought an apartment for his mom and he is bringing her down for Ramadan so I thought he was a good brother, right? Then I saw him having champagne at a office party and I was like, soooo hurt. And he always acts like he doesn’t want to hang out with us, he never comes to jummah with the crew. ”

Well maybe he is a good brother, I said. Maybe he has a little weakness for the sauce (been there). Look at all the stuff he is doing for his mom. He can’t be all bad, I argued.

“Well where is the logic in drinking champagne and then going on and on about Ramadan?” Friend asked.

I wanted to cut the conversation short because we had been down this road before (whereby I pull out my “judgemental Muslims who live in glass houses really fucking piss me off” card) and politely asked to change the subject.

Friend wouldn’t let go. Said, “No, before we stop the conversation, what is the logic of someone who does Ramadan but drinks?”

OH. HELLZ. TO. THE. NO. Let’s go:

1. What is the logic of some asshole who beats his wife or cheats on her but goes to jummah every Friday? The brothers at the masjid probably think he is a mighty fine brother because he never misses a week. Look at homie, he does all five prayers and doesn’t drink, ma sha Allah! I’m supposed to give him a cookie for that? I mean, I’m just saying. It’s not like being booze-free=holy pious.

2. RAMADAN IS A PILLAR OF ISLAM. That means it is incumbent upon all responsible Muslims. That means NO EXCUSES. Alcoholics don’t get a free pass out of Ramadan. So I am going to go down the road of thinking that this champagne drinking-dude said his shahada and he is doing his Ramadan like people are supposed to. So tell me, holy pious dude, is our drinking buddy not supposed to do Ramadan or pray because he drinks? Astarghfirullah. And yes, I know the hadith about the prayers not being accepted if alcohol is in the stomach or the person is intoxicated but are you still telling me that you would tell a Muslim not to PRAY? Are you effing kidding me?

3. One of our goals as Muslims is to make other people wanna be Muslim and make other Muslims happy to be Muslim (see: dawah.) I don’t know how you can give dawah to someone when you are being all Hypocrite Judgy McJudgerson. What problems do you have in your black, black heart which only Allah swt sees and are far more toxic than a glass of bubbly? And you know what? Champagne dude is probably feeling the judgement which is why he doesn’t want to hang out with the Muslims.

In my limited experience (still a good ten years) as a Muslim, I have seen more people turned away from Islam due to hypocrisy and judgemental behavior on the part of the Muslims that were supposed to love and protect them and form their communities. I know a sister born into a Muslim family with practicing parents. She goes to the mosque one Eid as a teenager and the Holy Pious Police start bitching about her hijab, about how she prays, about bacon or skittles or who knows what and guess what? Sister has never been back. I don’t know if she even identifies as a Muslim any more. High five to the peanut gallery at the mosque for enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. People are responsible for their own religious choices, I’ve been through a messy situation with the Muslims in my personal life and I chose to stay where others would have left, but that is my point: being one of the causes for turning someone against Islam rather than bringing that person to Islam is SERIOUS BUSINESS on the Day of Judgement y’all. Don’t forget it. That is why the Prophet (saw) enjoined Muslims to be on their best behavior. And isn’t it sad that, again in my ten years as a Muslim, the biggest assholes with the blackest hearts I have met were the ones who were prayer police, hijab police and pig police. The Muslims with the biggest hearts were ones who the Holy Pious Crew would judge for drinking, no hijab, having a boyfriend, whatever. I, like most people, follow the philosophy of “Do as I say not as I do” doesn’t even work for kids, and if you aren’t walking the walk, STFU. I don’t want to hear someone talk to me about how champagne is bad when I know for damn well he has a couple girlfriends on the side. There are very, very, very few people (I can count about five, and two of them are Imams) I allow to give me “constructive criticism” in deen.

So what would I have done had I seen the brother drinking champagne? I would have gone and talked to him, given him a big salam, and invited him and his momma over for dinner. If he made some excuses about his beverage, I would have just said, “I gave you my salams, what you do is between you and God, and if you ever wanna talk deen, I’m here. And in the meantime, come over for iftar.”


Author: Nicole Cunningham

American Expat and convert to Islam living and working between Lausanne and Zurich, Switzerland.

20 thoughts on “Some people just don’t get it

  1. Awesome post!

    I don’t think the judging will ever stop, but I hope Muslims can move past the focus on outer appearance & rituals.

  2. With most people who identify as ‘religious’ over ‘spiritual’, it’s much easier to sustain from pork and/or booze rather than gossip, lies, etc. It’s also a really nice OBVIOUS way to tell people that you’re a good Muslim. All that weird shit that goes on in people’s brains is much harder to pinpoint. It’s like the female covert who puts on a head scarf before she learns to pray. It’s an obvious sign of a religion that she can show others. Looking at the core of an individual is hard work and makes it hard to judge.

  3. I understand where you are coming from but at the same time what you are saying doesnt make sense at all, First of all, she should have made excuses for the bro, he might have not been drinking champagn at all, it could have been juice or fizzy drink, that looked clear like champagne. If he was drinking champagn it shows he is committing a major sin, alcohol is one of those sins, that if you die upon it your not evne prayed upon.
    What ever it may be ,there are very few good REAL genuine Muslims out there, today fitnah is left right and centre. He clearly has a weakness for this major sin, he could be struggling with it.

    you said something in your post

    ”In my limited experience (still a good ten years) as a Muslim, I have seen more people turned away from Islam due to hypocrisy and judgemental behavior on the part of the Muslims that were supposed to love and protect them and form their communities”
    I really get irritated when people say this, because I too had a friend who left islam for this very reason, we are not muslims for people, there will ALWAYS be annoying muslims, they are still our muslim sisters and brothers rather than just sitting there and feeling victimized, you should a) defend yourself and b) speak out against. What has YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ALLAH got to do with what THEY say, there ignorant and ?
    Another example of this is I see sisters leaving the practice of Islam, just because their ex husband abused them .. sorry to say he should not be in the way of your religion.
    I have had a terrible marriage myself, but due to that it made me search more for the truth, I let it empower me not weaken me. I’m sure many sisters think i shoudl wear niqab and only black, but so what ?! I know what I’m doing is not haram.
    Other than that, sorry to say but if you think leaving teh practice of islam is going to bring your something better, well your wrong, we live in a cruel world, be one of the rare diamonds, not another pitiful loser.

    • Salams Amal,
      I totally agree that the first step should have been something like “oh, maybe it is apple juice”.
      For the rest of your comment, I qualified what I said when I wrote ” People are responsible for their own religious choices, I’ve been through a messy situation with the Muslims in my personal life and I chose to stay where others would have left, ” So if it wasn’t clear enough: It is up to people whether or not they choose Islam for themselves. I too have had a messy marriage and my takeaway was not to “leave Islam because of my husband”- and people who know me know that I would never say that is ok. So the rest of your comment doesn’t make sense because that isn’t what I am saying. What I am upset about is that some Muslims consider themselves so holy that they think it is ok to act like an asshole in the name of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, because it makes Islam and Muslims look bad. It is definitely a fine line between condoning sins and having good behavior, but there is a middle ground.

  4. I love it. I’m so glad you’re blogging again.

  5. Came over here from Organica. Awesome post – people today are too eager to throw stones, it’s as if casting the stones washes away their own sins!

  6. Excellent post!
    I do not think this “I am Holier then Thou” attitude is limited to Islam, sadly… Think hard Religiosos before you preach on anyone! Yo.

  7. An example of where enjoining the bad goes horribly wrong (all true stories related to me by the victims or witnessed first hand):

    Brother from a Muslim family but not practicing goes to jummah. The brother shows up and forgets to take off his shoes. Instead of saying with a smile : “Brother, the shoe rack is over there” the brothers then proceed to say “Didn’t your parents teach you anything? Astarghfirullah! *throws shoes across the room*” I’m sure *eye roll* he’ll be back.

    Same brother goes to pray and messes something up. Same refrain, “What did your parents teach you when you were little? Don’t you know anything? Your dad must suck and not be very serious about his deen. You need to repent and start coming to the mosque EVERY DAY until you get the Muslim education your parents failed in providing for you.” Gee if you have the choice between seeing people every day who are happy to see you and seeing people who take great pleasure in telling you what a worldly loser you are, I know which one most people would choose.

    Convert sister is sitting in koran class learning how to recite. Messes up a vowel in the fatihah. Teacher stops, bugs out and says “What kind of crap husband do you have who doesn’t teach you proper Arabic? All your prayers ever since you have converted are totally invalid and now you have to redo ALL OF THEM, oh and your husband should be ashamed for letting you speak Arabic like that” Never mind she was there to learn how to recite so she was likely conscious of her lack of skills in reciting. No need for the lecture and the free digs at the husband.

    My point is, where is the hasanat in acting like that? On some finer point of deen the haters *may* have been factually correct, but how is that getting them points?

  8. I read your post after 12 am and was very tired.Muslims lack good manners and often what is supposed to be forbidding the evil and enjoining the good comes across as self ‘righteous behaviour’.Its just ignorance.

  9. Amal?

    I don’t think your behavior is an excuse of being tired. I think you need to learn a lesson from this situation. Refrain from commenting right away after reading a post you might disagree with. I think if we all do so, we’ll sleep better at night.

    Just saying!

  10. Plus, I think we need to admit that other people’s behavior WILL influence our own. There is a reason why ‘Islamically’ it’s taught to keep good company. If you’re company is crap Islam as above, your faith and Islam become crap.

    Marriage is a major milestone in anyone’s life. Even if the person was Muslim prior to marrying, it’s very normal to want to rebel all aspects of that failed marriage. So for example, if the husband forced the wife to attend halaqahs or dress in a certain way, this very same woman might rebel and start dressing differently, abandoning her regular religious circles, etc.

    I think we need to stop judging people and instead listen to them. We all have a unique story. I understand why someone would want to leave a religion that all they can associate it with is oppressive and judgmental people.

    P.S: This isn’t a Muslim problem but a universal one!

  11. I may not understand the lingo or the practices involved with Islam, but I totally get what you’re saying. I have chosen to be a person without faith. Granted, it was not a hard decision for me to make. I’ve never been a person of great religious conviction. However, when I was searching and questioning, I ran into a gamut across Christian religions of people who were judgmental in the same way. The kind that will corner you to try and save you, and will turn around and abuse their spouse/children, steal, cheat, swindle, etc. That is certainly not to say that this is all there is. Not by any means. But what I have found is that those with the loudest religious beliefs, screaming from the rooftops about the sanctity of their faith and whatnot, are usually the ones with the most to hide. It’s not just Muslims, my dear.

  12. Salaam. I loved your blog before you shut it down and am so glad you are back. You preach the truth.

  13. I like your post! You know I left Islam and the people around me had a lot of influence in that decission. I was forced to convert to marry my ex, I tried for 4 years to be a good muslim constantly critizied by ex-inlaw (who by the way forbid me to attend Islam classes or attend mosque because in their heads women don’t go to mosques). So I had to learn on my own. My ex husband was a bad teacher and he onl had the time to tell me to pray, fast, whatever but never to explain about the religion. After divorce I rebeled but still tried my best to remain muslim for another year. It was extremely difficult in a non-muslim environment. I seeked help from the muslim community and I was ignored and critizied, so the little faith I had desapeared. I thought If Allah really wanted me to stay muslim, he would send me some help. I didn’t get any…

  14. salams lovetodaydream,

    i am very sorry to hear about your experiences with the muslim community but don’t allow these people (who have most certainly hurt themselves by their attitude towards you) also keep you from God.

    i sometimes feel that the attitudes of some immigrant muslim communities are more reflective of a tribal mentality than an islamic one, but there is nothing to stop you from rising above this mentality and striving to be an example of how to really live islam.

    God is ever watchful and He is waiting for you to return to Him.

  15. Love this post 🙂

  16. I know I should say something substantive other than I agree but…I agree and am happy you’re back! 🙂

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