Written by Theresa Corbin
Woop-woop! That’s the sound of the police.
A few weeks ago I wrote about Haram-loading as it pertains to new Muslims. Then I thought to myself that this issue goes so much further than just harming new Muslims. The haram police are real and destructive to Muslims at all levels and stages of faith.
I’m not talking about the actual haram police in Saudi, or the morality police (a ridiculous misrepresentation of Islam, misuse of money, and the real meaning of Bureaucratic BS). I’m also not talking about the word “haram” as it is used in every day, modern Arabic language where it means “shame on you” and has little to do with religion.
I’m talking about that one sister or brother–usually young and overly zealous or old and having nothing else to do– who takes joy in beating people upside the head with their Islamic “knowledge” or just likes to humiliate fellow Muslims in the masjid, in Islamic organizations, on the street, and/or on social media.
Haram Police (n.) People who take it up on themselves to explain, publicly or harshly in private, that everything you are doing is basically a sin.
The policing agent has no licences other than being a control freak and a busy body. They often pretend to have your best intentions at heart, but their actions of shaming you in public or speaking harshly to you in private speaks to their actual intention.
They are often caught saying things are haram that are not actually haram and caught doing what is actually haram and defending it.
When you encounter the haram police in the wild, walk the other way, or climb a tree (anything to not cross paths with them), and yell “Salam” at them from a safe distance. They will probably find this description and advice to be haram as well. I can hear their prayer beads (aka biddah beads) clicking now as they rush toward the comment section.
Dear haram police, feel free to comment. But know that I will also feel free to liberate you from your “everyone’s soul is in my hands” attitude.
Enjoining the God and forbidding the evil
The following verse is the main weapon in the haram polices’ arsenal:
The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give charity and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise
Since when have you seen allies of one another tear each other down, or use information as a weapon against each other? Since when does enjoining the good include trying to compel someone to act or dress or do things a certain way without the knowledge of the why and the intentions of pleasing Allah (SWT)?
They would not want someone to be their allies in the way they act as “allies” to other Muslims. They have forgotten to balance the above verse with the following hadith:
None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself. (Narrated in Bukhari and Muslim)
Different stages of understanding
Haram policing is an issue of not being able to recognize that everyone’s journey is different. People learn at different rates. Some people are working on internal issues before they get to the outward appearance of a Muslim. Other people are going through situations others could never imagine. Every Muslim comes to live Islam in different stages in different ways, but it always takes time.
It is clear from their lack of empathy that the haram police has forgotten their own path. They have not considered that the Prophet (PBUH) never harassed people into practicing Islam. They have forgotten that Islam came in stages over 23 years.
They over look the saying of the Prophet (PBUH):
Make things simple and do not complicate them. Calm people and do not drive them away. (Narrated in Bukhari)
Manners and compassion
Haram policing is not just giving information to fellow Muslims and looking out for them when it comes to committing sins. Haram policing has a malicious component that is integral to the term and the actions that come out of it. It is always done either in a public and humiliating way or in private but with excessive harshness.
How ever it is done, the hallmark of the haram police is that they lack Islamic manners. The manners of Islam are kindness and leniency. If the Prophet (PBUH) had been like the haram police are today, we would not even know of a word called Islam.
So by mercy from Allah , [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him]. (Quran 3:159)
To find out how exactly to look out for your brother or sister in faith with compassion and manners, check out this helpful guide.
This kind of treatment is nothing new. Some have even lost their faith to the haram police’s opinion for want of compassion. Being beaten over the head by rules and regulations without thought of empathy, compassion, or manners has a hardening effect on the victims heart.
You cannot enforce laws in an oppressive and callous way when those very laws were meant to bring justice, mercy, and compassion. It doesn’t work like that. But that is what we do to each other from interpersonal relationships all the way up to the government level.
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