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Social pressures

** Warning **

Please complete the tazkiyah consultation before reading this article, for best effect.


For most people this is about wanting the approval of others.

In the tazkiyah consultation questionnaire, when we asked: “What stops you from being a better person?” many of the answers included: “Other people, friends, family”

This is a big obstacle to many people. They’re afraid of people thinking ill of them. They’ll sacrifice (and by that I mean lose) life (dunya) and the after-life (akhirah) for the sake of others not thinking bad of them. So they don’t want to be too successful cos some of their friends will hate that. They don’t want to fail because that will make them look stupid.

They’ll buy stuff they can’t afford just to fit in. Then they won’t enjoy those things because they only bought them so others can be impressed. They’ll spend hours in front of a mirror. I regularly see brothers pausing whilst walking in the street and *pouting* at the mirror whilst flexing. A non-ending cycle of wanting to be ‘fancied’.

But what’s worse than all of this (them wanting and lacking approval from others) is that they also lack approval for themselves.

Deep down, it disgusts people that they should be so enslaved to the perceptions of others. It really is a soul killer. So we disapprove of ourselves for doing that to ourselves. But we wouldn’t have wanted the approval/love of others, if we could just approve/love ourselves.

So the added lack of self approval makes us want the approval of others even more. Meaning that we end up lacking approval for ourselves even more… and therefore seeking it from others even more… And so on.

Also. Obviously. It’s next to impossible to be sincere when you’re lacking approval of yourself or from others. It leads you to doing stuff to please others and  not Allah. And it leads to you doing stuff for yourself and not for Allah (this includes doing something out of guilt).

The more approval you lack the less sincere you become. The less approval you lack, the more sincere you become. Wanting approval from others then leads to:

Not Trusting Others

And this happens because people are more than happy to use those that have enslaved themselves to the perceptions of others.

It’s your fault. You have given them control (whim: lack of control)

With time, you come to resent and distrust people because you keep getting used and abused. And the mind generalises. And since you fall under the category of people, you end up distrusting yourself also. (more rare, but I’ve seen it happen)

“Not Married yet”

Quite a few people said they were stressed about the fact that they’re not married yet. Thing is. It’s totally all part of rizq (fate). But sometimes the shame of being the last un-married girl in the family or our sometimes over zealous parents can get to us.

When it does, it’s a lacking of approval. We need to understand that our self worth comes from… our self. Quite simple really. Many people would rather be married to a bad/evil partner than suffer the foolish scorn of extended family. That’s silly. (yes, there might be other reasons, but I’m talking specifically about that reason. It’s not a good decision!)

There might be another factor. When you want something really badly and you stress and obsess about it, two things can happen:

First, good opportunities come by but you don’t see them because you’re blinded by your stress  and wanting.

Second, when you want something that badly you come off as obsessive and needy. Not a very attractive characteristic !

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