The following talk was delivered by Imam Marc Manley at the Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley on the topic of Muslim youth, the masjid, Muslim community and the overall future of Islam in America.
Who are you?
Allah addresses many types of people in the Qur’an: believers, non-believers, humanity, hypocrites, etc.
وَمِنَ النّاسِ مَن يَعبُدُ اللَّهَ عَلىٰ حَرفٍ ۖ فَإِن أَصابَهُ خَيرٌ اطمَأَنَّ بِهِ ۖ وَإِن أَصابَتهُ فِتنَةٌ انقَلَبَ عَلىٰ وَجهِهِ خَسِرَ الدُّنيا وَالآخِرَةَ ۚ ذٰلِكَ هُوَ الخُسرانُ المُبينُ
“Among the people there is one who worships God right on the edge. If good befalls him, he is content with it, but if a trial befalls him, he becomes turned upside down, losing both this world and the Next World. That is a total loss.” Qur’an 22: 11
So ask yourself, which category do you fall in? They verse may or may not speak to you directly depending on how you see yourself.
It may apply to you directly, requiring you to change something about yourself, or it may be indirect, meaning it’s something you want to avoid (a warning).
Who do you want to be? In which group do you wish to be included in? Who is you Aspirational Self?
If you have aspirations to be amongst the righteous, do not sabotage yourself by belittling yourself.
لاَ يَنْبَغِي لِلْمُؤْمِنِ أَنْ يُذِلَّ نَفْسَهُ قَالُوا وَكَيْفَ يُذِلُّ نَفْسَهُ قَالَ يَتَعَرَّضُ مِنَ الْبَلاَءِ لِمَا لاَ يُطِيقُ ” . قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ غَرِيبٌ
“It is not permissible for the believer to belittle himself.” The Companions said, “How does one humiliate himself?” He responded ﷺ “By taking on a trial which he can not bear.” Narrated by Hudhayfah via Jami’ al-Tirmidhi.
So be realistic and understand that faith takes work, discipline and maintenance:
إِنَّ الْإِيمَانَ لَيَخْلَقُ فِي جَوْفِ أَحَدِكُمْ كَمَا يَخْلَقُ الثَّوْبُ فَاسْأَلُوا اللَّهَ تَعَالَى أَنْ يُجَدِّدَ الْإِيمَانَ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ
“Faith (iman) has been created in the middle of each of you just as a garment is created, therefore ask God the Exalted to renew your faith in your hearts.” Jami’ al-Sahih, al-Albani.