May 2, 2012

Perfect Muslimah: Myth or Reality ?

By Asrar Benhoucine 


I would like to talk to you today about whether or not it is possible to be a perfect Muslimah. Could this be a myth or a reality? Sometimes we hear ourselves or someone say that it is impossible to be perfect or no one is perfect? Have you or anyone you know used the thought of not being able to be perfect as an excuse to not even try? Well I would like to talk about our lives and obligation in Islam and some of the things we’ve made a habit of, that make perfection questionable.

Let me start with one of the first facts about Muslims, we know that no matter how well we practice Islam, we never believe it is good enough. This is the mentality of a true Muslim. So this makes one wonder if one could ever be perfect. The fact of the matter is that perfection comes from persistence. Remember the saying, “practice makes perfect,” well we all know this is true. However with persistence comes faith. For example, if you want to be good at cooking, it is obvious you would have to learn how to cook and after learning and being well at it, you will have to have a love for it in order to continue it. Or at least a love for the one you are cooking for. Something to keep you going. Once you found that source you will find Perfection.

Let us think about what we know to be perfect. First and foremost this would be Islam, wal hamdulillah…

Narrated 'Umar bin Al-Khattab: Once a Jew said to me, "O the chief of believers! There is a verse in your Holy Book which is read by all of you (Muslims), and had it been revealed to us, we would have taken that day (on which it was revealed) as a day of celebration." 'Umar bin Al-Khattab asked, "Which is that verse?" The Jew replied, "This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." (5:3) 'Umar replied, "No doubt, we know when and where this verse was revealed to the Prophet. It was Friday and the Prophet was standing at 'Arafat (i.e. the Day of Hajj)” (Sahih Al-Bukhairi) 

Alhamdulillah, we should be proud and thankful that we are among the ones Allah has chosen to be in Islam, to be Muslims. All thanks to Allah for such a blessing. Now we know our deen is chosen to be the perfect Religion, so everything within this Religion should too be perfect. Don’t you agree?

There are three levels of being a Muslim:

§ Islam (submission to God’s will),
§ Eeman (faith in God), and
§ Ihsan (perfection).

So perfection is the last level or really the first/highest level. All Muslims have the first two; submission to God’s will and faith in God. However not all Muslims have Ihsan.

In Islam we have five pillars that make us a Muslim:

§ Shahada (bare witness there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his last and final messenger.)
§ Salah (five daily prayers.)
§ Zakat (alms to the poor.)
§ Sawm (fasting in the month of Ramadan.)
§ Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once in your lifetime and if able financially).

These are all things Muslims do. Now if you do this and you want to know if you could ever be perfect, well you’re on the right road, but the bad news is, as a Muslim you’ll never know if you reached perfection. I say this because we love Allah so much that no matter how much you do, you know it is never enough. We know the value of Allah and his paradise and we know how Giving Allah is and we can never compare. So the way to Ihsan is by persistence. Keep doing what you’re doing. If you are able to do sunnah prayers and are able to give sadaka (which has nothing to do with your income like Zakat but you give because you want to give) then this too beings you closer to Allah.

To me perfection / ihsan comes from the roots of shahada because at that time or even the time when you embrase Islam deep down, you have this love/faith and it is so strong that is makes you want to do whatever it takes to please Allah. I truly believe this is the shaytans worse fear because he knows this is what keeps you on your straight path. So he starts to whisper things in your heart that make you doubt your capabilities to please Allah, and if we are weak we listen and believe and we fall short.

On the authority of Abu Ya’la Shaddad bin Aws (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

"Verily Allah has prescribed ihsan (proficiency, perfection) in all things. So if you kill then kill well; and if you slaughter, then slaughter well. Let each one of you sharpen his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters.”It was related by Muslim.(Sahih Muslim)

So perfection is a reality!

Some Ideas of Perfection

§ Perfection is a discipline on how to do things without distractions, doing your prayers without thinking of what to cook, what to do after you finish or any thoughts during prayer.
§ Perfection is doing your prayers on time, which means the minute you hear athan, you stop what you’re doing and after you finish reciting after it and making your dua’a then you go and make wadu and then you go for prayer.
§ Perfection is reciting perfectly, standing in Prayer perfectly and this is just the prayers.

Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah () said, "Keep your rows straight (during Salat in congregation), for keeping the rows straight is part of the perfection of Salat." (Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

§ What about Zakat. Not letting your left hand know what your right hand does. In other words, when you have given in Zakat you do not tell anyone how much you gave or who you gave it to.
§ How about perfection in fasting? Not swearing, not gossiping while you are fasting, not listening or watching irrelevant things on T.V.
§ And finally in Hajj may we all be blessed to go because this is like getting a clean slate,(sometimes going is not the problem but coming back and sustaining your purity is,) when we come back from Hajj we must keep that slate clean! No more gossip, no more white lies, this is why Ihsan is so difficult because in order to be perfect you must discipline yourself.

Try to not do the things we do all the time so easily that it becomes halal and we don’t even realize that it is haram. This is the clever work of the shaytan who works so determinedly to get us to sin even the smallest of sins because like fire (many small pieces of wood can make a hugh fire) big or small he won’t stop. He too is persistent and very determined in what he does.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah () said, "The believers who show the most perfect Faith are those who have the best behavior, and the best of you are those who are the best to their wives". (At-Tirmidhi). 

Let us have the best behavior and be the best Ummah of Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. I know this is what He would want because we all know there was no one as perfect as He, and we should try our best to follow in his footsteps. I have given you proof that Ihsan is possible for all things and we are one of Allahs best creations. We must make an effort in being perfect, for Allah is perfect, his creations are perfect, Islam is perfect, and it would only be logic that we too do our part in perfection with our purpose in life; to worship Allah subhaana wa ta’aala!

At-Tirmidhi. Book 1, Hadith 278. *Perfect Faith/Best Behavior
Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim. Book 9, Hadith 1087, Book 9, Hadith 97*Perfection of Salah
Sahih Al-Bukhari. 45, In-book reference-Book 2, Hadith 38, English translation, Vol. 1, Book 2, Hadith 44*Perfect Religion
Sahih Al-Muslim. Hadith 17* Perfection in all things

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


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