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Are Muslims Too Concerned with Daily Dilemmas?

Are Muslims Too Concerned with Daily Dilemmas?


do you believe people get too wrapped up in the daily dilemmas of islam (permissible to listen to music, doing wudu a particular way, eyebrow threading etc) and forget the spirituality, generosity of spirit and faith that the religion teaches?

Salaam alykum,

I am inclined to say ‘yes,’ but I have to check my own arrogance and my own perceptions, because when people incline themselves towards making a distinct conscious choice over whether music is haram, or how they preform Wudhu, etc, it can be easily dismissed as things that are not important, but that is not correct.

One of the many strengths of Islam, especially in its continued use and growth in the lives of Muslims all over the world is because Islam is something that is applied and not restricted towards spiritual or ideological dimensions, but it directs and commands the believer to ask themselves: “what is the right thing to do in this situation?”

So, while yes, I think many times Muslims worry too much about the smaller details, complicating prayer and Wudhu to the point of removing the benefits of those actions; conversely, I think the reaction of other Muslims to that, which is to make a sort of “purely spiritual” Islam, which really means, they do not see the behavioral commandments of The Qur’an to be worth following, and all they need is some sort of “connection” to God, this is equally as troubling (for me).

I find the “spiritual-only” Islam to be as problematic as the obsession with minute rules.


Either side of this coin has disconnected themselves from what The Qur’an dictates is our path to heaven:

“for, verily, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Sabians, and the Christians — all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds — no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.” [5:69] Muhammad Asad

This theme, is repeated quite often in The Qur’an, specifically: 2:25, 2:82, 4:57, 4:122, 5:9, 10:9, 11:11, 11:23, 18:107, 22:14, 22:23, 22:50, 31:8, 34:4, 35:7, 41:8, 42:22, 45:30, 47:2, 64:9, 95:6.

Belief in God does not guarantee you anything, nor does this obsession with the specific amount of water needed for acceptable Wudhu (it is 4.683 cups [I hope people realize this was a joke]).

My issue is that as Muslims, we have inclined ourselves towards defending our positions, our doctrines, our “research,” what Hadith is true and which isn’t, what is the proper theological perception, how your hands should be held, or that “only God judges me” without realizing what that even means.

My issue is that we have forgotten something so critical: our good deeds. It’s in The Qur’an, a lot, like a lot, a lot. It is very clear what it takes to get into heaven, look:

“Verily, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians — all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds — shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.” [2:62] Muhammad Asad

There are three components: (1) Belief in God, (2) belief in the Last Day, and (3) to do good.

I cannot abide by anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, who espouses a belief in God and yet does not ensure that that belief is extended towards their dealings with others.

My issue with the “spiritual-only” approach or approaches (to Islam) that obsess over rulings is that either approach seems to come at the expense of the Muslim’s dealings with other human beings. I don’t understand the Muslim man, who would rather lose a leg than miss prayer at the Mosque, who cannot be even cautiously polite with his non-Muslim neighbor, let alone his own wife and children. I don’t understand the Muslim sisters who will throw out naseeha to anyone (and do not even stop to think about themselves), but do they not think about their tone, their descriptions of others, or the manner in which they speak?

When I was in New York, taking the Subway, I pinched myself when I realized how many opportunities I had to do good. I could help a woman with a stroller trying to go down the stairs at least 5 times a ride, I could give my seat up for elderly person after nearly every stop, or why didn’t I just smile at another human being?

I am not saying that you should stop being conscious of your Wudhu, or whether your actions (for yourself) are within the confines of The Qur’an, and I am not saying that being spiritually conscious, reflective, and attempting to connect to your Creator is wrong; what I am saying is that both of these approaches, are used in a selfish way, to stroke our own ego, to make ourselves feel better.

This is what you should be doing, but you should be doing it for two reasons: to provide yourself with the strength to withstand temptation and hardship, and towards treating others well, as a reflection of your consciousness of God.

Islam is not an “either/or” religion, it has aspects that are deeply directed towards your individual betterment, but if you are not treating others with respect, in enjoining what is good and leaving what is bad, especially in regards towards what is the correct action towards others and to ensure that you are doing the just thing, regardless of who it is, then all that individual betterment has done nothing and you have truly not made yourself better.

Insha Allah, I hope this answers your question, and if you, or anyone else, has a question on this, or any other subject, please do not hesitate to ask me.

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