Do you consider yourself a Practicing Muslim?

Do you consider yourself a Practicing Muslim?


Do you feel you are a practising Muslim? If so.. what makes you different from all the other ‘practising Muslims’?

Salaam alykum,

I’d like to think of myself as a practicing Muslim. I truly would.

What I have noticed is that today’s young Muslims are quite different to those of my father’s generation. My father is older than most fathers of people my age, and so I get to have a window into the way things “used to be,” and it makes a lot of what Muslims today purport to be “real Islam” quite interesting to me.

Now, why do I bring this up? For the simple reason that we have restricted our conceptions of what defines a “practicing Muslim” to someone who observes religious rituals; in doing so we have cut-off the other requirements of what defines a “Mu’min” or “believer.”

I see it in what we re-blog, how we read The Qur’an, what Hadith we emphasize, even in what we argue and debate over.

I recently sat with my father and his friends, and they were discussing the relative quality of this person or that person, all nice things, of course, because they have adab (manners).

What struck me is how different they were to ourselves.

You see, when we talk about someone, about how good they are, we say this: “He prays, he’s got a beard,” or we say “She wears hijab and prays at the Mosque,” and it are these simplistic characterizations that are supposedly sufficient to evaluate someone’s character.

My father and his friends, on the other hand, would talk about specifics. “He is a great man, he helped me when I was lost in the fields of Kenya” or “She was the most wonderful person, truly a delight, and always opened her home to anyone.” These were their evaluations, and never once did they mention whether they prayed, whether they fasted, because those facts are meaningless unless they are followed up by proper action.

What we have today is a problem, today we are simplistic, and it is caused by ourselves, because we think that prayer, zakat, and fasting are enough, which is a viewpoint that is not in line with The Qur’an. These things are not enough, they are not; what defines us is our actions, and it is our actions that determine our fate.

Look at The Qur’an:

“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]

Look at how simple a concept that is, look at how The Qur’an disregards labels, it’s actually saying, whatever you are, as long as you have faith, and you believe in the last day, and do righteous deeds, you go to heaven. We have continuously forgotten that part. This concept, of the supreme importance of good actions, is repeated constantly. Seriously, look at 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.

Yet, when do we bring this up? When do we even consider this? We focus purely on “practice” and seldom on “action,” and so it is from this context that I can only answer your question as this:

I am only a practicing Muslim if I am a person who acts justly, the quality of my faith will be judged, alone, by Almighty God, and so I am not sure if I am a practicing Muslim, because I can only hope that I am acting properly. The people I interact with and God will evaluate that, so my practice will be evident by their judgement.

Therefore, the only difference between myself and another “practicing Muslim” is our deeds, and I am in no position to judge another Muslim and only God may judge our faith; I can only hope and pray that I can be half as good as the people I have met, masha Allah.

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