Leave the Judging to Allah

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A thought provoking piece on what it truly means to leave the judging to Allah subhana wa ta’la. 

A popular expression says not to judge a book by its cover but, of course, people do it anyway. And I’m as guilty as anyone else. Let’s take the example of the hijab. Muslim women who do not wear a hijab are often seen as “less Muslim” than those who do. Meanwhile, Muslim women who do cover are scrutinized for every mistake they make because they are expected to be perfect.

But is it fair to think that only the hijab equals piety or virtue? Can a woman go without a scarf and still believe that there is no God but Allah (swt) and that Mohammad (pbuh) is His prophet? Can she pray five times a day and respect her parents and her elders? Can she be a good person who is kind, who does not backbite or lie?

On the other hand, is it possible for a woman who wears hijab to tell a lie? Is it possible for her to be upset with her parents? Is it possible that she can sin? The hijab doesn’t make the error of labeling a woman as pious or impious. It is us who make that mistake.

Again, this is not to undermine the obligation of wearing the hijab for a Muslimah, but just to highlight that the hijab alone is not the only action that will determine our outcome in the sight of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Moreover, this should be a reminder for us that we should not make the basis of our judgement of others by how much they cover up.

 As Allah says in the Qur’an:

So ascribe not purity to yourselves. He knows best who fears Allah and keep his duty to Him [i.e. those who are Al- Muttaqun] [53:32]

We must remember that we cannot see into the hearts of humankind and so we cannot judge and, certainly, cannot condemn.

The women who don’t wear hijab are automatically considered scandalous and are lectured to cover. The women who do cover but make a mistake are automatically considered hypocrites.

Instead, remember that covering in the first place is difficult for some women. After all, what woman, or even man for that matter, doesn’t want to appear beautiful? Let’s not even talk about the added pressure hijab-wearing women deal with because of all the stereotyping. They are seen as backward, illiterate, and even terrorists!

The sad fact, of course, is that whether a woman wears a hijab or not, she is stereotyped. If she’s bareheaded she’s bad or vain and if she’s covered she’s fanatical or uneducated. But the worst of it is that most of the judging is done by other Muslims. If Muslims judge their own people, how can we expect non Muslims to be judgment-free?

The right to judge, to reward and punish belongs to Allah. So let’s look at ourselves before we look at others. Let’s give people the benefit of the doubt and leave the judging to Allah.

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