A couple weeks ago, I attended the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) convention. At the convention, I heard many fantastic scholars and knowledgeable people speak (I will put a list of them all at the end of this post if you're in checking them out), and they really got me thinking about myself and my actions.
Whether you're Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jew, Atheist, or what ever other religion/denomination, we all live together in the same society. As citizens of any society, it is our duty to keep things civil and peaceful amongst each other and to also treat each other with respect. However, this is not possible unless we better ourselves. We must expect more of ourselves and less from others.
After hearing many lectures on the Prophet Muhammad (S)'s way of life and daily actions, I realized that I, too, could make myself into a better human being by changing little everyday habits. So I have decided that I will try to change three "bad habits" that I catch myself doing. I want to share these with you guys so I have more pressure on myself to complete them. No, this doesn't mean that I only have three "bad habits" so to say. I know there are many more, but it's difficult changing so much at one time so I'm going to take it a step at a time.
1. Quit the backbiting/gossiping: It is TOO easy to fall into this trap! Seriously, I think it's human nature to talk about other humans, which is totally fine if it's all positive. I never intentionally gossip badly about anyone. Sometimes I get annoyed or angry with someone, and instead of letting it out on them, I go to my best friends and vent, and sometimes that venting turns into backbiting. One thing is, my best friends and I never let the gossip go beyond us. Everything stays between us. And although that does not make it any more valid to backbite, it's better than those who go around telling the whole world everything. So my goal is to not backbite/gossip at all, even if it is just between me and my best friends.
2. Stop complaining and be more thankful: I'll be honest, although I don't complain openly, I complain a lot in my head. In reality, I really don't need to be complaining about anything. I have a wonderful family, a house, a car, awesome friends, an opportunity to get an education, the option to become independent, etc. Literally the list can go on forever. So why the heck do I complain? How do I even manage to find something to complain about? I get to go to school and live on my own, which is a great experience and one that many don't have. It doesn't even matter how well I'm doing in classes, because there has never been a course that I've completed and not have gotten from it. I always learn something and gain some sort of knowledge, and many don't even have that option. And even as I live independently, I still have a family that I know I can always depend on. I have friends that I can have a grand time with when I'm feeling low. So why am I spending my time complaining about how I can't get a pair of Ray Bans? Beats me. From now on, before my mind complains, I will stop myself and say alhamdulillah (all praise is due to God); thank God I have all that I have because there is nothing else I really need.
3. Be kind to strangers: I really don't acknowledge people around me, whether it's the person behind me in line or the cashier taking my order. I think, hey I'm never going to see them again so what's the point of paying attention to them. But it is important. I mean, maybe the person behind me in line is having a terrible day and all they need is someone to smile at them. Or maybe the cashier is struggling at work, trying to deal with a mean boss so she make some money for her kids, and all she needs is one compliment. Our society would be so much better if we were all just simply nice. Also, let me just clarify that I am not mean to strangers. In case some of you were wondering.
It's hard for people to find their own actions "wrong," which is why it is important to understand completely why something you might be doing is wrong before you go about changing it. Otherwise, your intention may not be clear and it'll just be harder and more frustrating to go about the changing.
Well, I'll leave off this rant with some pictures from the convention below! I'll also put the list of the speakers I heard with links to their Facebooks if you're interested. A lot of these speakers talk about the actions that make one a better human being in society, so it is applicable to non-Muslims as well.
Thanks for listening as always,
|so many people!|
|The stage was beautiful.|
|Imam Siraj Wahaj|
|Sheikh Yasir Qadhi. Probably one of my favorite lectures.|
|Nouman Ali Khan. He's never not amazing.|
|Another favorite: Wisam Sharieff|