Thursday, July 22, 2010
Aging, Friends ... And Other Thoughts
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.