“Cut it, Maa! There is no point in you being there. Besides, none of my friends will bring their parents along.” Zain retorted when Safiya requested him to take her for the third time.
It was graduation day at Hilltop College, California, and Safiya really wanted to watch her son receiving the award on the stage.
Sighing, she left the room and went back to the kitchen. Throughout the evening, she kept on wondering what went wrong in her upbringing. She recalled how, at a couple of school events, Zain acted indifferent around her. Perhaps it was her dressing or the way she spoke. Safiya couldn’t put the finger on it, but she was sure of one thing – Zain behaved awkwardly every time she accompanied him in a social gathering.
Does this scenario ring a bell? Have you ever been conscious of how you maybe the odd one out in the crowd?
What is Mental Slavery?
The paranoia of fitting in is genuine!
However, it should not overpower your self-esteem or values. Each individual has their personality. It is unique and beautiful in its own way. If you are crazy about following the norms or someone who would go lengths to ensure he/she is following the crowd, it is about time you get rid of it.
Also termed as mental slavery, it is the feeling of having low confidence in yourself. Be it your religion, culture, or family. You feel inferior, and the race of becoming a part of an influential group consumes your entire life!
Favorable Mental Slavery for Muslims
A plausible question proposed by individuals is, why should one get rid of mental slavery? What is wrong with following popular culture?
The only answer to give them is, your whole life should revolve around Islam. It is the only mental slavery that is legit for all Muslims. Any group that seems to follow something out of Islam must be abandoned, no matter how many benefits it holds for the members.
Get Rid of Mental Slavery this Ramadan
It is never too late to make the change.
The nightmares of being the black sheep in the crowd should go away for better.
This Ramadan, try to turn over a new leaf. Although it is easier said than done, every effort you make will be recorded in the deed book.
Here are some of the tips to get over the mental slavery:
- Gain Knowledge: Enlighten yourself to the code of conduct given by Allah. The sole method of doing that is to read the Quran. Understand its meaning. Eventually, you will fathom the character beloved to Allah, and it will help you in its implementation.
- Build Confidence: The main reason why it is tough for some people to shed off mental slavery is a lack of confidence. And to achieve confidence, try to study more. Fix a criterion of right and wrong for yourself and abide by it. Gabby Douglas puts excellent advice on the table, “You just have to be yourself and go full with confidence and be courageous.”
- Find Fine Company: Your company speaks a lot about your character. If you know you are following the wrong group, find people who ring the right chords. Given that you want to weed out the slavery mindset, sit with them. This Ramadan, try to find such people around you. It could be a knowledgeable teacher or fellows from the workplace who are staunchly following the religion.
- Plan a Schedule: How can it be that we are from Allah and to Him, we will return, yet we keep wasting countless hours planning strategies to fit in. Ramadan is the best period to learn time management. Plan a schedule. For once, accommodate learning Quran during your routine. The Barakah added to your day is incredible. Not to mention, the serenity you feel within is beyond explanation. You will no longer worry about missing the hangout with friends or skipping the scheduled conference call. That internal peace is worth it, believe me!
Learn A New Level of Indifference
By the end of this month, if you stick by the methods described above, you will feel a new difference within. You will understand that being a part of the crowd was never as peaceful. Eventually, you won’t feel any inferiority when surrounded by people following the wrong ways. (And you will easily spot those ways the more you understand Quran)
Let them say what they want. Let them ridicule, insult, and mock. Your silent performance of confidence will beat everything they bring forth to put you down.
Remember, it is not always the place and people around you who set the bar of personality. Instead, it is your knowledge and confidence that plays the central role.
Anoshia Riaz is a Pakistani Muslimah with a Masters’ Degree in English Literature. She has memorized the Quran and spent a year learning Arabic. In the meantime, she was carrying out multiple Tafseer courses to have an in-depth knowledge of the Quran. Her articles have been featured in Sisters Magazine and a few local publications. She is currently providing online Tafseer lessons to a couple of students across the globe. As for the rest of the day, she stays busy looking after her three kids, whom she envisions as flag-bearers of Islam in the future, Insha’Allah!