Are We Missing the Point of Islam?

To some, a Monet is only a collection of dots. To others, it is a perfect masterpiece. To some, Islam is nothing but a code of rules and regulations. But, to those who understand, it is a perfect vision of life.

As Muslims, we often focus so much on Islam's dos and don'ts that we miss the bigger picture. Islam came to perfect our manners, and yet we are willing to scream and shout to win an argument about zabiha meat. Islam came to build our bond with our Creator, and while we wear our hijabs and kufis, we delay our prayers.

Islam came to establish a community of believers, but while we decorate our masjids with gold and silver, our prayer rows remain empty. Islam came to teach us about God, and despite wearing His words on our necklaces and decorating our houses with them, when those verses are recited to us, our hearts remain unmoved and our lives unchanged.

And Islam came to make us one brotherhood, yet we divide ourselves and alienate one another over issues like moon sighting and voting.

This is not to say, of course, that the dos and don'ts in Islam are not important. They are crucial. The problem is that we have forgotten what they stand for. For example, the wearing of Islamic dress should never be minimized. But we have forgotten that that hijab and that beard are only symbols of our greater devotion to God. For us to wear that hijab and that beard while it has no bearing on our character means we have missed the point.

If we spend extensive amount of recourses in decorating our masjids but then use that masjid only to display status and win arguments, we have lost its intended purpose. And if we have memorized every haram and halal ingredient of facial soap, but we own businesses that are based on interest and sell alcohol, have we not made a mockery of Allah's deen?

That deen is what transforms humanity from the lowest of the low to the representatives of God on earth. The Qur'an tells us: "Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: 'I will create a vicegerent on earth...'" (Qur'an, 2:30)

As a representative of God on earth, we are given a very great responsibility. It is a trust so heavy that even the mountains rejected it. Allah tells us in the Qur'an: "We did indeed offer the trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it; he was indeed unjust and foolish." (Qur'an, 33:72)

As believers, we should never lose sight of this responsibility. It is the fulfillment of that mission that transforms us from 'asfala safileen' - the lowest of the low (Qur'an, 95:5), into 'khaira ummatin ukhrijat linnaas' - the best of people arisen for humankind. (Qur'an, 3:110)

But how can we be that "best of people"? Allah describes how in His book: "Ye are the best of peoples, risen up for mankind, commanding what is right, forbidding what is evil, and believing in Allah... " (Qur'an, 3:110).

The essence of that struggle is to believe, to fight for Truth and to strive against evil. And as soon as we give up that noble struggle, we will become among those people who Allah describes in surat Al-Asr as being in an utter state of loss. Allah also describes the ones who will be saved from that state: "Except such as have faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth, and of patience and constancy." (Qur'an, 103:3)

And, so, if we continue to abandon this greater mission and purpose, we will have transformed the perfect vision of existence into nothing more than a collection of dots.


Yasmin Mogahed is a free lance writer. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and a Masters in Journalism and Mass Communications.

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  15 Comments   Comment

  1. Raghib Abdul-Shakoor from USA

    As Salaamu Alaykum sister, the article was indeed very thoughtful and

    powerful reminder, May Allah (SWT) reward you and your family


  2. shaykh muhammad al saud from mexico sonora

    ALhamdulilllah sister thank you for some thing so sweet yet very powerful in deed every thing in this short to the point is true yet their be the denials thats just shaytan talking to em. We as muslims need to get back on track of the deen an once we do you'll see more coming to Islam we scare people away wth our prejudice against each other an our bickering.. HONESTLY we look no different than the kafirs when doing this... thats why at our organization [email protected] asist with doing away with all these internal fighting, loving each other, giving DAWA to our community our countries are in need of Islam our duty to show em true brtherhood ALHAMDU'ALLAH

  3. adam musa from nigeria

    This is a perfect point of view. The unity of the entire umma is my major headache. Every muslim knows he can not deceive Allah say 'hijab' while the mind is on the contrary. I advise all tha have come accross the article to reflect on the message and live by its principles. My thumb up for the author. May Allah reward her effort.

  4. Ishaq M Beg from U S A

    While agreeing with what you have discribed, it is time for us to find Intellectual ways to change our Attitudes, to move forward.Now we are on the Internet,Islam is Peace Let us bring Peace in the World through Intellect.let us put our energy togather and find ways and means to solve the problems.Let us make this an Era of Solutions. Let the Chilren of the World grow up in Peace & not Fear. Time to rethink and plan for the future .

    Allah Bless us all.

  5. Mateen Khan from Indai

    Yes true we should concentrate on goal not path.


    I am for it and would like to read more such articles from this brillient Psychologist..

  7. Abu Imam from Nigeria

    Assalamu Alaikum, what a thought provoking reminder? if ONLY the muslims will put into practice all these admonitions,the world would have been a better place.Jazakillahu khairaa.

  8. Eugene S. Jones from USA

    My mother (may Allah reward her for her efforts) stated, actions speak louder than

    words. As Muslim we should put into action the ideas presented in this article. There would

    be less disagreements and hard feelings swirling in our community. I believe one can state

    with 100% accuracy, Shaitan will be displeased with the actions of the Believers putting

    these concepts into action.

  9. Yunus Aidaroos from UAE

    asSalamu alaikum sister

    masha'Allah for writing the truth.

    Time ticks away & instead of wasting precious time

    in UNDERSTANDING the meaning of the Qur'an, most of

    us argue,fight,debate about some simple edict.

    Please brothers&sisters, read a simple poem on the

    Quran by searching for: "Don't just kiss the

    Quran & shelve it " OR " The untapped wisdom "

    Jazakum Allah khairan

  10. khalil malik from pakistan

    all this is only possible if we observe dos and donts

  11. Melissa from USA

    As Salamu Alaykum,

    Sister Yasmin Mogahed you could not have said it any better. We as Muslims lose sight so quickly of what Islam stands for and represents. Truly we loose sight of the beauty of Islam by focusing on the "dots" of the painintg.

    I myself am guilty of this. I am a new convert, and I have found myself time and time again saying " I can do this, oh but I can't do this, and if I don't do this exactly right...." Within one month of converting to Islam, I have become so lost in the "How To Do's" and the "Rules" that what Islam truly means for me has been put on the back burner so to say. This is truly not good. I understand the importance of it all, and will continue to strive to do my best, but at what point do you stop focusing on the "Dots" of the painting to again focus on the "Master Piece"..... the Beauty of the whole picture...knowing that what those dots represent, and the reason they were put there, is the whole purpose in which one would embraces Islam? The True beauty of Allah...the true beauty of worshiping the One and Only.

    Thank You Sister for a wonderful article! It truyly has opened my eyes and made me think. May Allah bless you greatly!

  12. sam from usa

    Excellent article!!!! Moreover, we as an ummah are involved in petty disputes and divisions

    between the four madahib while we forget our imaam is the prophet (s) and others are

    mere scholars not worth fretting and fussing over. We have to join once again behind the

    quran and the sunnah and put aside the divisions in the ummah because of following other

    than the prophet (s).

  13. mohammed from united kingdom

    the issue with all belif people are into image only you can me the biggest thief but you get the image eg the beard etc then he is ok never mind the rest, but if you a down to easy person and you do not have the image he is bad. even down to people not giveing salam to people not fiting the image. this is in all belife learn how to be a humun bean first then is easy action are not eg when it come to helping you follow human beans.

  14. Gary from United states.

    Assalamu Alaikum

    This is a wonderful reminder to us that we must daily stand for what we know is the truth even among the greatest of contoversies.

    One who speaks the truth and stands alone is worth more in courage than 100 who would rather lie to save themself.