Sunday, March 23, 2008

Double Standards

Submitted by Guest Blogger Nida Chowdhry

I once read something that I never quite forgot. It was an account of someone's high school memory; they recalled how in the four years that they attended high school, they never once said hello to any of the janitors, nor learned their names, nor smiled at them. Since then, I have been perpetually ashamed of myself. I continue to struggle with this double, triple standard of niceness. A local Sheikh once also brought this to mind when he said how sad he found that the same people that kissed his hand were the same people who ignored their parents and family members. Not needless to say, my visits to the mosque dropped in frequency after that and I found myself spending more time mosying around my house. Even then, I must question how much more time I spend with my laptop then with real people.

I didn't forget that persons recollection of their high school years. I tried and failed to smile and say hello to the janitor's at my high school when I later returned to visit. But I didn't let that failure carry into college or university. Yesterday, I met one of the workers on campus as he came to clean in the area in which I was doing my reading. I looked up, gave a hello, and it turned into a conversation. I learned that this gentlemen in his 40's was from Acapulco and has resided in Tustin since he came here 10 years ago. He hasn't gone back since and misses it so. He told me he doesn't like it here because when you walk around, you can see the "pain, and sadness, bad things" in peoples eyes, that in Mexico, people walk around happy even though they are poor. He told me how he never stays at a job he doesn't like and doesn't worry about the money; he just leaves and gets a job he does like. Got to keep moving, he said as he pointed to my reading, reminding me that I had to get back to studying for finals.

I write this because I question how I am to consider myself a person of conscience when I am a person who greets with love selectively. Are we not all brothers and sisters in humanity, all brothers and sisters? Why do I look at people with difference, in difference, and indifference?

So far from the way Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) loves. So far from the Prophetic way...


Anonymous said...

wonderful reminder...

Affad Shaikh said...

Salaam, thanks for the blog, and hope to see more.

I dont want to take anything away from your reflection, but I feel I might be. However, it is worth reflecting.

Most high school students are not conscience- socially, politically, spiritually- that conscience-ness comes when at a time that adolescents feel comfortable with themselves. It's part of development and we all have an issue coming to terms with our identities.

I once heard some one describe high school as "surviving a drive by shooting". Some people never make it out, others just survive the experience. While its not as random, I believe that those who make it out alive make it because of the strong networks and support they have.

Being hard on ourselves for not doing the smallest thing, which the Prophet SAW said was a form of charity in itself, smiling; is not wrong or even as you describe it a "double standard". Rather, its the time and situation we live in and realizing it now and speaking of its gospel just shows the personal growth and development you have had as a person Nida and so thank you for sharing a reflection that is very much heartfelt, sincere and important.