Where has our zeal gone? Zeal is like a mixture of hope, certainty (Yaqeen), desire, and passion for what we crave the most. We see the companions of our Ahlul Bayt, those like Malik al-Ashtar.
With their faces blue, red, green, or whatever the color, their hair dyed, the jerseys on, ultimate concentration, dedication, and love for their team is seen in their every facial expression. A fan. A supporter. Call it what you will, but that is what you call passion. We can all relate; I mean, who can’t love those Houston Rockets?! (Just kidding!) We all have a certain amount of passion, or love, in many different cases, whether it be towards a sports team, a political party, an actor, a writer, a speaker. When a human being’s love or passion gets to a certain level for a certain thing, it is what some people call an “I can’t explain it” feeling. If one were to get in a discussion about this certain loved topic or team, their guard goes up, always on defensive, or when being praised, you can hear the joy in one’s voice, the excitement, the absolute zeal.
In recent times, with the increase in ignorance, bad influences, and brainwashing, Muslims seemed to have lost this zeal. An image of a zealous Muslim (not as seen or heard about on TV) can be seen in the life of young teenage boy, begging his uncle to fight against those trying to butcher his religion. Or in a middle-aged woman, after sacrificing her sons, calling out to her fellow Muslims to continue on and spread the message of her martyred brother. Where can we find the perfect example of zeal other than on the plains of Karbala?
As we go to our mosques and Islamic centers, most full of people all coming to commemorate, supplicate, or pray, we have made it a routine thing. Every Thursday night, Tuesday night, or even after Friday prayers, I listen for the zeal, only to be disappointed with its nonexistence. In Urdu, there is a word which describes passion so perfectly, Joush. Usually you hear an Urdu speaker ask for people to recite with Joush, which temporarily hypes people up. Unfortunately, we seem to be all hyped out.
When are we going to be proud of our beautifully written Du’as? When are we going to call out Yaa Rab with a full heart and a sincere call for help? We have become shy, and what almost seems like ashamed, of our religion, even within our own centers, forget being out in society. Maybe in this case we should look to follow the lead of those die-hard NFL fans.
It is said that on the night of Ashura, the men in Imam Hussain’s (peace be upon him) tents sounded like the sound of buzzing bees. I always used to wonder why so many of our scholars would mention that in their speeches when reciting the story of Ashura, and after realizing this, I understood its importance. Every story and lesson learned from Karbala has a moral that can be effectively used today in our lifetimes. Maybe if we were to create a hyped environment during recitation of our prayers, our kids would show more interest – after all, kids like to be loud! Maybe that is why a young boy like Qasim was so engrossed in his religion?
Saying you have passion for your religion and showing it, are two different things. Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) is narrated in Mishtak al-Anwar to have said, “The heart of any man who is not zealous is turned upside down.”
Let’s keep our hearts where they belong. As we all call to our Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance), we promise and beg to be his supporters, we shed tears of hope that he considers and allows us to be of his followers, but we are shy to show it. Imam Mahdi’s army will be composed of the zealous, of those who are in complete awe of their Lord and of their religion, of those who are proud to be a lover of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) and followers of the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them). We need to first recognize what level of pride, passion, and zeal we are on in relation to our religion. Are we shy to shed a tear as we beckon for forgiveness on our holy nights? Are we shy to give speeches or simply share the words of our Prophet on the mic? Why are we so quick to lose passion?
Are we really all hyped out???
We get so distressed and lose hope quite easily, with a feeling that our problems are impossible to overcome. Where has our zeal gone? Zeal is like a mixture of hope, certainty (Yaqeen), desire, and passion for what we crave the most. We see the companions of our Ahlul Bayt, those like Malik al-Ashtar, who with great zeal and enthusiasm supported Imam Ali (peace be upon him), and with full trust in his faith, said to the people that Imam Ali was the true leader. When will we take the example of the zeal of Malik al-Ashtar? We are quick to say that we cannot be like the Infallibles; I mean, they’re infallible! But what is our excuse in our lack of striving to be like the companions and supporters of the Infallibles? When will be proud like Bilal to recite our Adhan with passion? When we recite Du’a Wahdat after prayers, when will we begin to do so with full sincerity and pride in our unity?
Insha’Allah we all take the time, and the step forward, to make ourselves more zealous. More proud. More passionate. Call to your Lord as He is the only one who can solve your problems, your mishaps, fulfill your desires. For who and what crowd are we saving our passion for? Take the dare, give a speech in your center, or take the mic and recite Du’as at your center – you never know in what way it may help someone else stir up his/her passion for Islam.
I can’t hear you!