Picture this scenario:
* On a lazy Sunday morning
The only thing you manage to tilt is your coffee cup – a double espresso perhaps, you had an exhaustive week – and today’s newspaper. You barely turn over a page and there they are; heavy titles like:
“Number of forced marriages in Muslim countries increases.”
“Father takes under-aged son with him to join ISIS.”
You sigh and feel sorry for so many people at that moment. And the ignorance makes you wonder where it all went wrong, when did people stop using their common sense?
Let’s be clear, I’m not a fond of the media and I’m completely against the manipulation that happens throughout these mediums on a daily basis. But since these are the topics that are used to feed people’s minds – because let’s be honest, they rarely paint a bigger picture – we cannot not respond.
Spirituality is a complex thing, it can be the best thing in your life if you know how to place it or a threat to people who don’t know how to combine it with common sense. I believe that the reason why there’s so much division between people of the same religion has three potential reasons of cause: misinterpretation, ignorance or hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is in my opinion the most dangerous of these three since the knowledge is knowingly rejected and substituted.
When we as Muslims do something, whether it is good or bad, it comes in two parts.
The deed itself and the intention behind it. An intention always comes before a deed, unless the deed is done unpurposely. Therefore the intention automatically becomes the foundation of purposed deed. We believe that we can’t hide our intentions from God, we also believe in the reward that comes along with the good we intent to do and the good we do. Yes, that’s right, in Islam there’s even a reward for a sincere intention that isn’t followed by a deed! But of course, the intention that is followed by a deed has a bigger reward. The only condition that comes with an intention is that we intend to do it for God and God alone.
So, can compulsion and intention co-exist?
How can compulsion and intention co-exist if the condition is that we intend to do it for God and God alone? With compulsion, you automatically add a third party. Let’s take an example out of the context: the government obligates you to pay taxes for social security. You’ll immediately think of the burden that will drop off your shoulders once you do this – because you see the government as superior – which blurs the entire argumentation behind the existence of the social system and takes away the good intention since there was no freedom of choice. If we apply this on a religious matter, it would have the same effect. Say a daughter gets forced by her parents to wear a hijab, her intention would be affected by the fear of disappointing her parents.
The only way a sincere intention can take place is if it comes willingly, from within and from understanding so don’t be fooled by people who use the suitable parts of a religion to justify their wrong actions.