Monday, October 29, 2012

Muslims can we judge other people? Is it okay in Islam to do this?

Muslims have a little problem, we seem to be judgemental and it's a major problem because this is a very significant haram. Of course certain people within Islam are allowed to judge, but they are assigned positions of being judges due to exceptionally understanding and performance in Islam related fields. Being judgemental usually leads to backbiting and slander which are major sins mentioned in Islam. Also it puts undue pressure on the productive members of society as they are confronted by an army of people who are willing to judge them instead of work on their own productive pursuits. Let us examine why and how judging people is wrong Islamically and why we should refrain from this accept in circumstances where it is necessary.

                 Too my understanding regarding the issue of judging others it seemed pretty obvious. I was taught from childhood a logical and proper maxim. Judge others and you deserve to be judged. Judge people harshly and you deserve to be judged harshly. Do not judge and no one should judge you. When told this as a young man, it did not feel like some cultural superstition, it made sense. As an adult it still makes perfect sense. Hey don't judge other people because you really have no idea what it's like to be them, you don't know their experiences or circumstances so refrain and let God or the Force or whatever you may believe in judge them. It was live and let live basically. However when I got older two things have startled me. First the number of people who do not want to live by the previous mentioned maxim, and the number of people who enjoy self righteous and arrogant indignation, and relish in judging others. In other words the people who love being hypocrites. It all started when Pakistani model and actress Veena Malik decided to pose semi nude in an Indian magazine. I thought wow pretty scandalous but in my head I said their is no point in judging her as she is not relevant to my life, and also we have all sinned before therefore we are in no place to point the finger and should spend all our time working on bettering ourselves. However what surprised me was the onslaught of self righteous indignation and arrogance that spewed out toward the women. To make matters worse it was from so called religious people from Pakistan the most corrupt and scandal plagued nation on earth. How could it be a country where bribery and nepotism and hypocrisy are so rampant. It goes to show the modern corrupt mentality of people these days. I will now talk about why being judgemental is so harmful for society.

     I touched upon this with regards to my article about Diary of a Badman, when some ex-cast members decided to team up with an extremist to attack the show. So I will outline why not only is judging others immoral but that it damages society. Here are some points to ponder.

- If you disagree with someone present your own point in a superior fashion. It's easy to judge others but to make your own superior work is hard. If you think your idea is better no one is stopping you from making it.

- You could be wrong, often people with meagre knowledge will quote one verse or chapter of a religious book and make broad sweeping judgements against others. Not only is this incorrect but these judgements will be filled with the personal bias of the person making them. Avoid these sweeping judgements and realize that you may be very intelligent but that you don't really know what you are talking about.

- Avoid being a hypocrite in any form. Do not chastise someone for being against freedom of speech, when you know deep inside that if someone doesn't "drink your Kool Aid" you would no longer want to entertain their presence. If you can't take it don't dish it out.

- Do not praise your nation when it conquers or subdues another people then label someone else who is not like you a terrorist or war Criminal when he does the same thing. You cannot say that when George Bush conquered Iraq it was a noble battle for democracy however when this man who does not believe in what you believe conquered a certain place he was a cruel tyrant. We cannot be obtuse to the fact that people do not want to be like us. Which brings me to my next point.

- People do not want to be like you, and they have the right to not want to be like you. You may think being an American Buddhist is the best thing in the world, and that all other non-believers are destined for Hades or whatever, but recognize that those outside your belief don't care for it, and they have every right not to care for it and roll with their "homies". Cowboys are cowboys because they like being cowboys, and Indians are Indians because they like being Indians. Respect people for who they are and understand if you were born in their circumstances you might be like them.

- Also see the bigger picture, learn to live with and accept and even appreciate people who disagree without. If people who disagreed with each other were always judging and fighting remember nothing productive could ever get done. I myself am a Muslim and I only eat Halal food, however the majority of food in my country is not Halal. I would prefer if all people eat Halal, but I understand that not all people want to be like me or eat like me. I also understand that non halal food being served employs millions of people, and provides a livelihood, food and sustenance for millions who desperately need those jobs, or to eat and dine at those non halal restaurants. Now can I myself provide and make up for the disparity if I got my way? Obviously not, so thus see the bigger picture. While eating non Halal may be a sin too me, having millions of starving and unemployed people in my estimation is the much greater sin.

- The next point is just because things happen in a society does not mean that, the society loves them, or wants them, etc. or that this is a natural out growth of that society. In free societies people are free to pursue certain things within reason, I may disagree with an Obese man ordering the Jumbo Whopper meal at BK but he is free to do that, and I support his right to do that even though most in society do not like that. If everyone was attacking everyone else whom they did not agree with the production capacity of the society would grind to a halt and civil war would take please unleashing a 100 fold misery to the original fact that you did not like someone Else's idea.

- Finally put up or shut up. If you don't like that women posing semi nude then you provide her with a livelihood where she can wear what you desire her to wear. You must compete and work hard for your idea's, their are no free lunches and never have been in the market place for idea's. If you want a say in someones life you must put up some consideration before the deal goes through. If you want this person to behave in a certain way, you must build and create the institutions that make behaving in that certain way conducive to a productive and happy life. People will do anything to feed themselves and their families and if you can't feed other peoples families then you are no one to judge them when they do what it takes to help themselves. Lazy and unproductive people who simply criticize are a drain on society.

- So unless you are judging someone for some direct life purpose, i.e whom to marry, or who you want as a baby sitter for your children, show mercy and refrain from judging, its the right way to go.

Adnan Khan
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