The title of this post got me in giggles when I wrote it! Almost sounded like “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” but really, it’s about more serious stuff!
I’ve been pondering of late, about denial – “the subconscious suppression of an unacceptable truth or emotion” (Oxford English Dictionary) and while reading some blogs, some things stood out for me…. Usually people talk about denial of events in our lives that may have had negative psychological effects on us but we’re often in denial about spiritual and physical matters too.
Years ago in a chat room, I happened to participate in a discussion that still resonates today…. Many of us speak against idolatry and shirk (equating others with the Supreme Being) – the ultimate crime in Islam – but how often are we unconsciously treading that very thin line?
Let me elaborate in yet another story from yet another friend (wow I didn’t realise I had that many) ….
Safwan and I were talking in general about how fortunate mutual friends of ours were to have spent part of Ramadaan in Makkah. This discussion led to Safwan reminiscing of the time he performed Umrah (the minor pilgrimage to the Holy Kaaba) and the immense connection he felt with Allah (SWT), as he watched the feathered circumambulators in the sky. Down on the ground, he noticed how strict the guards were in preventing people from doing certain acts that are frowned upon. But as he was in the tawaaf (going around the Kaaba), he suddenly noticed a man ahead of him wearing a “Beckham” t-shirt. What was even more puzzling was no one else seemed surprised or perturbed by this – no one but Safwan recognised the irony of it all!
Back to the chat room of old, where different forms of shirk were discussed – we idolise heroes and superstars and we’re surrounded by the daily intrusions into their lives so that we can feel part of that fame! We sponge off any little tidbits the tabloids have to offer and rarely does a day go by that we don’t read about who was seen with whom, who’s getting divorced, who’s adopted a stray from the third world, how many millions were paid for which pic! etc. etc. etc.
We keep a close watch on the trial of the death of a princess and condemn the paparazzi for it but aren’t we equally guilty for being part of the chain that has noosed around their necks?
And then there’s the almost shirk that we don’t even notice we’re doing! We go to the mosque or leave a gathering to pray – not for the sake of God Almighty and our connection with HIM but rather to show everyone else – oooh look at me! Wat a Good Muslim I are! Is showing off really going to get us brownie points with Allah?
Then we obsess about a sheikh or mufti or teacher or even a prophet and pay more attention to their words than the words of the Creator? An Arabic proverb reads: “Howsoever big the mosque is, the mullah can preach only of what he knows.”
All that said and done, I’m off to watch the wannabe demigods in Indian Idols!