True Stories: “The Earing-Wearing Brother”, “From Hijabi to Nojabi” and “Too Much Makeup Sister”

I listened to this lecture by Nouman Ali Khan and was blown away of the reality of this situation and the actions of myself in the past that have made me take a different approach with attempting to bring Muslims closer to Islam. It also reminded me a of a lecture I heard by Khalid Latif at the ISNA convention (2009 one – I think it was an MSA session), in which he highlighted some real life experiences of how “promoting the good and forbidding the evil” backfired the attempt to bring people closer to Islam.

I’ll highlight some powerful scenarios of which are have occured and that were mentioned in both of the lectures. I obviously I am not a great narrator like our narrators of hadith, but God willing, I can get the general message across.

Too Much Makeup Sister

This was a story of a sister who use to face physical abuse by her husband at home. She would wear extra makeup to hide the bruises. Iin the spirit of promoting the good and forbidding the evil, the sister was scolded for wearing too much makeup at the masjid by a brother.

The non-Muslims fascinated by the Muslim prayer

A Muslim invited his non-Muslim friend, who happened to be of a Eastern polytheist religion, to come to the masjid. When he saw the Muslims praying he said, he does the something similar and he then preforms their version. Then another brother in the masjid saw this and in the spirit of promoting the good and forbidding the evil, he removed the non-Muslim guy from the masjid and told him to learn how to pray before he comes back.

The earing-wearing brother

So a brother came to the masjid for the very first time in his adult life to pray after being uplifted by a conference he attended. In the spirit of promoting the good and forbidding the evil, he was mocked and called a girl and not allowed to enter the masjid.

From Hijabi to Nojabi

This sister was the token Hijabi who was an excellent believer and activist, but she a great fitna of which I can’t mention which shattered her faith. This caused her to lose faith and she stopped wearing hijab. In the spirit of promoting good and forbidding evil, she was rejected by the community for taking off hijab without later finding out what happened to her and the reasons behind her losing her faith.

Lessons to learn

Don’t judge people. Communicate with them to understand them. Everyone has a situation and everyone has a fitna (trial, tribulation, problem) that is in their life and no one is unique and perfect. We need to watch what we say to those who we have no knowledge of.

Special Note: All the above stories are true, some were mentioned in the lectures above, and others were known to me based on my personal experience. I am sure others may have more to share so we can learn. I have left the narrations of these stories to be very general so that no one can narrow it down and figure out who.

May Allah forgive me for the times I chased people away from Islam in the spirit of promoting the good and forbidding the evil.


The Sunnah. Read the seerah.

Listen to this lecture provides some solutions. The answer to how to give dawah is following the example of the Prophet (saas).

An example from the sunnah from the top of my head was this one:

Anas b. Malik reported: While we were in the mosque with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), a desert Arab came and stood up and began to urinate in the mosque. The Companions of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Stop, stop, but the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Don’t interrupt him; leave him alone. They left him alone, and when he finished urinating, Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) called him and said to him: These mosques are not the places meant for urine and filth, but are only for the remembrance of Allah, prayer and the recitation of the Qur’an, or Allah’s Messenger said something like that. He (the narrator) said that he (the Holy Prophet) then gave orders to one of the people who brought a bucket of water and poured It over.

This is from Sahih Muslim.

24 Replies to “True Stories: “The Earing-Wearing Brother”, “From Hijabi to Nojabi” and “Too Much Makeup Sister””

  1. As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum

    Thank you brother MR.
    Thank you Shaykh Nu’maan ‘Ali Khaan

    These stories should be recited to the jahil, because they are usually the ones who are quickest at correcting. These stories should be told from the people in Pakistan to the people in KSA, and even to some ignorant groups in the US.

    This lecture is a key step to ensuring peace throughout the Muslim communities, and believe it or not, it is a step towards one khilaafah. Confused? Well, I ask you to read this lecture once again and ponder about the main point:


    Sorry for the shifted ‘shouting’ letters. Another thing about us Muslims is that we get pretty damn emotional 🙂


  2. this is really depressing. subhanAllah.

    i don’t understand what’s so difficult: just love one another.

    Being a good Muslim shouldn’t prevent you from being a good human being. Being a good Muslim should make you a better human being…and if its not, then I hate to break it to you, but you’re not being a good Muslim either.

    This “enjoining the good forbidding the evil” mindset that people like to use as an excuse to ignore their own faults REALLY needs to be put into context. Yes, the translation of the Qur’an says enjoin the good and forbid the evil but it also says “Kill them wherever you find them”. Alhamdulillah, most Muslims know the meaning of that latter ayah and its context. And if someone doesn’t that’s not the fault of the Noble and Holy Qur’an but of one’s own ignorance, lack of knowledge and lack of common sense and fitra.
    The same goes for this misuse of this ayah. Misunderstanding it and taking it out of context to the point where you’re hurting people and driving them away from the deen shows a total lack of common sense on your part and a disconnect with your fitra.
    Like I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re not the khalifa. And if you took that ayah and pointed it at the state of your own ugly heart, I highly doubt you’d find the time to use that ayah in any other direction. I know I don’t.
    And there are prereqs to ‘enjoining the good and forbidding the evil’ that people completely ignore. People like to become ‘ulema the day after they start practicing Islam. You can’t make soup without water.

    Before you decide to go upto someone and ‘enjoin the good and forbid the evil’, it’s probably a really good idea to make sure that you know the person and the context behind where they come from and why they might do some of the things they do. Secondly, if you have any reason to think that your ‘enjoining the good and forbidding the evil’ might not help the person but potentially make them worse, you’re NOT supposed to go forth. It’s not about you. It’s about Allah. And MERCY, Rahma that was taught to us by our beloved saws in all of his dealings, is something that should surround all of our interactions with people.

    Another prereq for enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is that it’s HARAM by CONSENSUS. So music, not wearing niqab, getting licked by a dog and then praying, praying with your hands down, etc etc etc –NONE of these things are to be condemned. At least not until there’s a scholarly consensus on such issues.

    Shaykh Husain once said something beautiful about how MSAs are supposed to be like laundromats where it doesn’t matter how dirty something is, they can come to that place and leave cleaner than they came in. Preventing someone from coming to the masjid because he has an earring is actually the OPPOSITE of enjoining the good. If you were sincere and really on the truth, you would know that. You just stopped someone from entering a masjid…think about that.

    islam is about getting closer to God, subhanahu wa ta’ala. Not about a meaningless set of rules that we follow blindly without any sense. islam is the means, not the Goal.

    sorry that this post was so long. i guess it’s a pretty ironic post lol. but it’s a reminder for me insha Allah as well.
    May Allah forgive us and give us some common sense and mercy. ameen

  3. Very excellent points, jazakallah khayr for sharing. Sometimes we get so hyped up about wanting to promote the good and forbid the evil that we forget about the whole reason we’re doing it. Following this command requires some wisdom and pre-thinking on our part of what effects our words will have on another Muslim. I look forward to listening this lecture soon as well.

  4. [003:159] And by the Mercy of Allâh, you (Muhammad [sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam]) dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allâh’s) forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allâh, certainly, Allâh loves those who put their trust (in Him).

  5. Yea I linked the Noman ALi Khan speech in other parts of this blog. It is the BEST. I actually quoted this speech in the RIS string.

    A great companion CD set (so I heard) is Hamza Yusuf’s vision of Islam.

    A good companion to this speech is Zahir Mahmood’s Salahideen and Umar ibn Al Khuttab biography CD sets. wher ehe says Muslim brother wine and dine for years then get hadayaat and want to revolutionize their home. And their family reject it because their character is bad.
    Also he says that before we went to the masjid we frowned upon those who did go to the masjid when we staretd to go to the masjid we frowned on those who don’t go to the masjid not realizing we were in the same position.

  6. Here is the problem, we are projecting two extremes. One side says don’t judge people love everyone the way they are kumbayaa. Then the other does crazy things like kick people out of the masjid and yell at random sisters for wearing make up.

    WE MUST JUDGE PPL. you have to command the good and forbid the evil. what this forum should be about is HOW to do that. How did Rasullallah saw talk to people or correct the wrongs around him?

    So maybe those people who did these things to these trouble muslims had good intentions but they were/ are ignorant of the sunnah.

  7. yes brother Ghazzali I watched it. I am not talking about the brother I agree with his lecture. I’m talking about the comments in this forum.

  8. Yes, sad indeed. It is very frightening to think of the people we may have turned away from Islam with our lack of wisdom. May Allah forgive us for our shortsightedness and give us wisdom when dealing with people insha Allah.

    Honestly, people need to read and learn our deep history. Here’s an excellent article which shows the wisdom Muslims in the past used with others:

    From article: “In history, Islam showed itself to be culturally friendly and, in that regard, has been likened to a crystal clear river. Its waters (Islam) are pure, sweet, and life-giving but—having no color of their own—reflect the bedrock (indigenous culture) over which they flow. In China, Islam looked Chinese; in Mali, it looked African”

  9. yes this happens and we should def be more open minded and tolerant. but this post and the way the scenarios were presented were horrible and do not do justice to the situations and the complexities they hold, it needs to be revised and suggestions need to be given on how to deal with a brother with an earing, or a sister not covered properly, etc

  10. One of the problems are, in today’s world, it seems many Muslims are quick to judge people, and attempt to correct them, than look at their own faults, and correct them first, before looking at others.

  11. Just a point: it’s not a condition that the person stop committing sins–even that particular sin–before telling others not to do it. That’s why the scholars said that the one who serves alcohol is obligated to tell those whom he is serving NOT to drink. Of course, from the point of view of wisdom, advise is usually more effective from those who themselves do not engage in sin. Nonetheless, if someone tells you the truth, you have to accept it–in spite of the advisor’s condition.

  12. How sad it is that those who need the Masjid and the companionship of other Muslims most are the first to be rejected.

    In addressing one point about a male wearing ear rings. The Quran prohibits a man to dress as a woman. This can be very subjective according to culture. If you look around the world there are styles of dress for a man that in other countries might be viewed as similar to a woman in their culture.

    For example a Whirling Dervish looks like he is wearing a dress to an American or European. In both Europe and Northa America bothe Men and Women can wear Ear jewlery. The style of ear jewlery worn may be considered femanin, masculin or neutral however.

    A Scotish Kilt may look like a skirt/dress to another culture but only men wear them.

    In summary the interpretation of what is the dress of a man or woman is subjective to time, place, and circumstance. These all need to be taken into account before one should even think of approaching someone in a mood of love and guidance.

    Another problem is that so many Muslims view “western” customs as ALL corrupt. This is an incorrect assesment. If the Quran or Sunnah said men should not wear ear jewlery then it would be clear. It states a man should not dress as a woman. It is so much better that way as Allah (swt) and his Messanger (saw) knew that there are differences in the world so time,place,circumstance need to be taken into account.

    Islam is beautiful and full of color it is not black and white.

  13. I would also like to point out that when I was first learning about Islam I said something in a meeting that was obviously harram and a sister snapped at me out loud and it embarrassed me. Did I say ” I’m never learning about Islam!” No I came back…the week after. these situations may be tests from shaytan. and if someone doesn’t not ever want to come back to Islam b/c of that then they failed that test.

  14. zookeeper,
    on a personal level, i agree with you in that if someone insults me or pushes me out, i should be strong enough and sincere enough in wanting only Allah swt’s help and pleasure to not let it prevent me from the deen. But on a communal level, we shouldn’t be expecting that from other people like “so what if i was harsh? just failed your test’ lol. We shouldn’t be a test/fitna for people. Our mentality should be “Do more than just fulfill the rights of others, show excellence in fulfilling their rights, and when it comes to my own rights, I don’t expect that they be fulfilled.”
    When every single one of us starts thinking like this, we will get somewhere insha Allah. Or even if some of us do it will make a difference.

    And jazakAllah khair brother MR for relating that story from the Prophet saws’s life. A couple of other stories that can help people learn the “how” of teaching others is the story of where someone sneezed and someone else said yarhamakAllah while in prayer and the prophet saws taught him. Or the story of imam hasan and husain (as) who taught the elderly man to make wudu properly. or the response of the prophet saws to usama b.zaid who wanted the prophet saws to forgive a woman for stealing because she came from a noble family. etc etc etc

    Learning the sunnah is the solution to all of our problems, not just this one, walhamdulillah.

  15. These are some really weird stories- the underlying trend in all of them is no one really got to know these people, it seems like it was total stranger giving bad nasiha to total strangers.

    Get to know your brothers and sisters.

    Here’s a quick story for you, that is a REVERSE- the impious guiding the pious (I was going to write it out but found the story with a quick search):

    Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal was imprisoned during strife in Jordan, he used to say that he does not fear being imprisoned or being killed since he will be martyred. But he feared being whipped. When he was taken to be whipped, an imprisoned thief saw him and said: “Imam, be steady on the truth; if you live you will be praised, and if you die you will be martyred. Imam, I have been whipped in this prison eighteen thousand lashes for the sake of Satan, so you be steady for the sake of The Merciful God (Ar-rahman).”

    Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal says the words of the thief made him a new person and his internal power was released. They began whipping the Imam but he was steady to the extent that his hangman said: “I have whipped him severely; if he was an elephant he would have collapsed by now, I kept saying to myself the next lash will penetrate his back and come out of his mouth”. When the Imam fell down, someone offered him water, the Imam replied: “I am fasting”.

    As a result, Imam Ahmad (rahimullah) stood firm on the truth and this is why we know of him as our Imam. In case you are wondering, the thief’s name was Abi Haytham and Imam Ahmad (rahimullah) would make a great deal of dua for Allah to forgive Abi Haytham to be shown mercy. Imagine! With those words a sinner strengthened a mujtahid Imam!

    So you never know who is from among the soldiers of Allah!!

  16. These comments are only the icing on the top! I have heard so many hurtful comments by muslims that I would need a novel to mention them all. I am a Muslim, and I have been a Muslim for 10 years. I love Allah, (swt) and our beloved prophet (sas). Nothing can change that but sadly Muslims are some of the Most hurtful people on the planet. (Also, Muslims are some of the most amazing people on the planet) But we should change this JUDGEMENTAL attitude!!

    The first initiation to this was entering a masjiid just before Eid-ul-Fitr, weeks after I became Muslim and trying to collect some money for child victims of a flood landslide in latin-America. I was asked by one sister …”Are they Muslims in that country?” I said “No, but these are children, and surely All children Muslims” She said “There are Muslim children all over the world that we need to raise money for first” I sat in the wudhu area sobbing my heart out….my heart broken.

    I have so many stories to share, but I fear your hearts will be broken. My conclusion is this: I am a Muslim, not to please ANYONE except Allah. I don’t care what other people think, as long as Allah is happy with me. I belong to the family of MANKIND, and being a Muslim should make me an example of compassion and kindness to others. I don’t judge anyone. What I do is for Allah, and I walk in kindness, peace and love towards every human being that I encounter.

    I don’t judge because the only judge of everyone is ALLAH!!

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