Thursday, July 22, 2010

Aging, Friends ... And Other Thoughts

                                                                    (Daddy and me)

It seems like only yesterday that I was a little girl, playing, laughing, spending a lot of time with my Daddy ... that was before the divorce, before the sexual abuse began ...

Now it seems like the years have flown by, and all of a sudden, I have become an old woman.


But one of two things can happen, I think, once we age.  One is that some of us say anything we want, with little reserve and tact, and few people hold us accountable to the extent they did when we were younger.  After all, some people think that we older folks lose a few marbles when we get "up there," so they cut us a break.  The other thing that can happen is that we get older and wiser, and we learn how to keep our mouths shut. 

A few weeks back in our spiritual care class, we were discussing free speech.  Someone asked whether or not it is always necessary to respond to ignorant people.  Does every moment have to be a teachable one?  Are some people even willing to learn, to become a student?  Is there ever a time to just let stupidity fly?

I think so, and I am working hard at it.  It's something I should have probably done a loooong time ago in my life.  But, better late than ever (see? you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!).  I like to think it is part of improving my Islaamic character.

You see, I can have a very sharp tongue, Astagfirullah.  Ask anyone who knows me.  I am also very direct, which bothers a lot of people.  I think it comes from years of working in prisons where, at times, you have to let everyone know what time it is up front. 

I try REAL hard to be nice to people, but it seems that some people, even outside of the prison enivronment, mistake this for a weakness.  And some Muslims don't have good adab to start with, so they try me.  And then when they get what they asked for, they are offended. 

I'm trying very hard to improve in this area, keeping in mind the advice of the Prophet, peace be upon him, the one with the best character:

Ibn 'Abbas reported that the prophet of Allah, upon him be peace said, "...If you become angry, remain silent." (Bukhari)

I was thinking a lot about this, mostly because of visiting Facebook, and some other blogs/sites of Muslims.  Some of the nonsense I read is just mind-blowing.  I used to be real quick in clicking "leave a comment," but I've stopped doing this, Alhamdulillah.  If I can't say something nice, I don't say anything at all (like my mother taught me). 

Here's an example:  some Muslims on Facebook were ranting about the 5,000-friend limit policy of Facebook.  5,000 friends?  Subhan'Allah!  I know I've never had close to 5,000 friends over my entire lifetime. 

And are people really our friends?  Or merely aquaintances?  I have learned this the hard way, even as a Muslim.

I have made close friends with Muslim sisters only to have it not work out well.  So, now, I take the advice in this hadith:

... 'Ubyd al Kindi said, "I heard 'Ali say to Ibn al Kawwa, 'Do you know what the first one said?  He said, 'Be a little reserved in your love for your friend, for some day he may become your enemy.  And be a little reserved in your hatred for your enemy, for some day he may become your friend.'"  (Bukhari, Taabarai, Tirmidhi)



... Aslam reported that 'Umar ibn al Khattab said, "Do not let your love become dependency, nor allow your anger to become desctructive."  Aslam said,, "And how is that?"  'Umar replied, "When you love so much that you become as attached as a child is to its mother.  And when you hate so much that you wish destruction for the one you hate."  (Bukhari)

I'm not saying that some of us have that kind of love or hate for our cyber-friends, I'm just saying that it perhaps would be wise to be reserved both online and in real life.


noona said...

assalamu alaikom dear sis Safiyyah, I enjoyed reading the hadiths that you compiled in this post. I didn't know them before and they're good for teaching manners in certain aspects, thanks for sharing.

I think that generally what one gains from responding to ignorant people is relieving a flare, because obviously one can't get their point across with these people like you would normally do in a debate, in my opinion, responding and not responding, both have their upside and downside, although mustering the ability of blocking a response impulse would seems to be the better choice according to the hadith as you said

Rukhpar Mor said...

I love this self-reflection post=) I had not heard of the latter two hadith, but they would have made my life easier if I did..Seriously!!

Rukhpar Mor said...

JazakAllah for posting this=)

Jules UmmEmJoey said...

the whole thing about 5000 friends on FB made me laugh, lol, I try to keep mine under 50, if I get over 50 I consider culling the list...

Jessica said...

Salaam Sister,

I agree with you on being reserved. 5000 friends? I have to say my "friends" list is somewhere around 160, but the majority are my family members. I have a few friends on there, but only about 4 maybe 5 I would consider my close and personal friends.

And I agree with the hadith, you never know when the person you call friend turns, and becomes you enemy, nor do you know if someone you consider your enemy becomes your closest friend. You would not want your enemy to know all your personal details.

But anyway, this is as always a very enlightening post my dear. Shurkan!


Anonymous said...

Very enlightening, mash'Allah dear Sr. Safiyyah! I enjoyed reading hadiths that I never heard before. May we all learn to guard our tongues as it is what enters most into the hellfire. Making sharp replies aside, it's so easy to engage in gossip, backbiting, slander, and cursing these days. It's everywhere. It's on the news. You can't even watch the news without hearing gossip....but back to the positive: I feel blessed that you have left a nice comment on my blog and insh'Allah we can become blogging friends, learning together what to say and what not to! ;P

Matthew Smith said...

As-Salaamu 'alaikum,

I once remember someone (a sister) saying she knew hundreds of lesbians. My first thought was, I don't know that many people!

I'm really picky about who I take as a "friend" on Facebook - they have to have some sort of connection to me, and if I get a friend request from someone I've never heard of, I refuse them. I've got more picky about that recently. If someone just likes my blog, that's not good enough reason. I tightened up my policy after I had an ugly row with some old school "friends", who responded to my enquiries about an old school teacher (who had M.E.) with hostility and ridicule.

Most of my friends on FB are just that - friends - not family. I used to have my family on here, but there was some upset a few months back and I stopped using FB to talk to family, mostly

Matthew Smith said...

Also, the 5,000 friend limit becomes a limit when someone is well-known - a lot of people who are public figures take mere admirers as "friends" then find they run out of room. I know two people who have set up a "fan" page when they hit their limit.

But yes, 5,000 is a more than comfortable limit for real friends.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading seerah books in prep for Ramadan, and I really love the one you quoted from 'Ubyd al Kindi--it's true, so many of the enemies of Islam became Muslims, and then warriors for Islam!