Have you ever heard any of the following statements?
You are not “religious” because …..
you listen to music.
you don’t have a beard (males).
you don’t wear the hijab (females).
you say “hi” instead of “Salaam.”
you like to put on make-up and wear nail polish (females).
you wear shorts while praying (males).
you don’t attend Islamic events.
you shake hands with the opposite gender.
you don’t eat zabiha.
You are so religious because…..
you pray five times a day.
you read the Qur’an daily.
you don’t eat pork.
you go to Jummah prayer every Friday.
you dress in “traditional clothing.”
you memorized the Qur’an.
you spend the whole day making dhikr.
you always give Islamic advice to others.
When looking up the term “religious” online, the definition I came across was: believing in a religion. However, many times, we tend to use the word religious to describe someone’s actions. For example, we might see a brother giving khutbahs every week so right away, we assume that he is religious. We might also meet another Muslim who says that he or she never goes to the mosque. We might jump to conclusions and say that he or she is not religious. However, maybe that brother or sister who does not go to a mosque never missed a prayer in his life. Maybe he or she prays at home because there are no mosques in his or her area. Maybe that brother giving the khutbahs just does so in order to impress others. We may not observe everyone’s actions, so we shouldn’t be quick to judge someone as “religious” or not.
I even notice myself using this term out of habit sometimes, but I really dislike the word because it is often used out of context, and mainly used to judge others. Do I know every single action that someone has committed both in public and behind closed doors to be judging them? Who am I to make assumptions about others in the first place when I myself am not perfect? We might all be at a different state in regards to our iman, but because we are all Muslim, this makes us all religious. May Allah (SWT) help us both increase our iman and also prevent us from being quick to judge others. Ameen.
“One of the most common acts of mercilessness between believers is the ease with which we rush to judgment against one another.” -Nouman Ali Khan