Recently there’s too much talk about bad influence. People saying this-and-this or so-and-so is bad influence to the Muslim’s akhlak, behaviour, beliefs etc. I wouldn’t say that it’s totally wrong, but personally I think sometimes it’s overdone.

There are people who say money gives bad influence to our beliefs, that money corrupts us. So they stay away from working hard and earning good money.

It makes us sound like our faith is so weak that we can’t face the world without being deviated to Islamic teachings.

What do they want us to do? Isolate ourselves from the whole world and stay in the jungle with “our people” until we die?

But then I thought Islam teaches us how to live our lives in the midst of everyone else, not in isolation.

In fact, the core of Islamic teaching is to teach us how to socialise, and encourage us to socialise.

For example, our main worship, which is our 5 times daily solat (prayers), compulsory to each Muslims no matter what their condition and where they are (with very very few exceptions): it is encouraged to be done in a congregation. When it’s done in the community, the rewards is 27 times greater than performing solat alone.

There are Islamic teachings on how to treat our parents, our neighbours, even animals and trees/plants too.

A Muslim should not live in isolation, but should get into the community and get to know as many people as he can.

Yes, we should be very close to people who are close to Allah SWT, but it doesn’t mean we should turn our noses up to those who don’t seem to follow His guidance properly.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW has taught us how to behave in the society, how to face the society, how to avoid ourselves from deviating from the right path but at the same time mixing with different kinds of people with various beliefs and customs.

I’ll give you another example:

“Rasulullah SAW said,

Whoever enters the marketplace and says ‘[Laailaaha illallahu wahdahu laa shareekalah, lahulmulku, walahul hamdu yuhyee wa yumeetu wahuwa hayyun laa yamootu biyadihil khairu wahuwa 3alaa kulli shai’in qadeer]’ Allah would write him one thousand merits, would remit from him one thousand sins, and would raise him (his status) one thousand levels.”

Just imagine. Going to a marketplace, a shopping complex, and reading this zikr, Allah would give us such blessings. Why is that? Because there’s so much temptations in the market, so many things that we could buy and think of a reason to buy. Hence, to remember Allah SWT in such a place with such temptations, is in itself, a good deed and will strengthen our faith, insyaAllah.

You see, Islam teaches us how to go about in the society, in this world, without losing ourselves, by remembering Allah SWT and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad SAW.

Do we need to go to the market? Yes, we do.

Do we need to go shopping? Yes, once in a while.

Do we need money? Indeed.

Do we need to mix around in the society? Of course!

Yes, there ARE evil in the shopping complex. I mean, who is there to remind us about the hungry kids in Somalia, when we’re contemplating of buying that Braun Buffel handbag? Who is there to remind us about the kids in Palestine while we eye YET another pair of shoes in Clarks?

Who is there to remind us about who should we try to impress? Our family, colleagues, that pretty boy down the road, or Allah SWT?

I’m not saying that we don’t need to avoid temptations. What I mean is, temptations would always be around us, no matter what, even in our own homes (MORE so, I think), but it is most important to arm ourselves with the right thoughts, and the right attitude, so that the world doesn’t get into way of us being a better person, a better member of the society.Image

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