Don't Let Naysayers Stop Your Good Work
I felt compelled to write this post because it's disheartening when I hear about negative feedback and nasty comments directed towards others who are making an effort to help the community. This also encompasses those Muslims who use their time to spread beneficial knowledge and dawah by writing informative articles for the ummah, yet get criticized by the naysayers.
Recently, a Muslima blogger I follow, nearly shut down her wonderful site because of the constant criticism she received by a few, namely fellow Muslimas! Alhamdulillah she overcame the negativity of the naysayers through the positive support of the sisters who supported her. Sadly, it seems that naysayers gain pleasure and feel better about themselves when they tear others down.
Most of these naysayers do little to help the community, instead, they spend their precious time bashing others who are trying to spread good in society. I always wonder why naysayers don't use their spare time commenting and rectifying negative and distorted views against Muslims or Islam - at least then they'd be making a positive difference.
Alhamdulillah I don't get a lot of negative feedback on Muslimommy, mainly because I don't delve much into controversial issues. I do get the occasional judgmental comment which I know is inevitable.
However, one time, I had received one from a reader after I had written an article about how kids should use less screen time. My intention was to help kids find fun alternatives, instead of using screens throughout their day. I guess the reader felt inclined to judge my intention by stating that I was not actually helping society much - you know... the naysayer way of thinking. She said:
"We Muslims have been deceived by the devil in regards to our Deen. You acknowledging that the problems stem from deep sources yet choosing to ignore it is like a person putting band aide over a cancerous tumor or a person who is occupied with sweeping the doorsteps and painting the outer walls while the house is burning down with raging flames. May Allah give u vision and give u taufeeq to do work that will yield fruit for the sake of Allah, not for the sake of maintaining our make belief world. We need to set intention for the sake of Allah and work towards establishing Islam. May Allah SWT give u, ur children and all of us ikhlaas ameen." - The Naysayer
My definition of a naysayer? The one who says you're not really helping the ummah and you need to do more. The one who hides behind their small screens and cruel words doing nothing to change the situation, yet judges another so easily and fails to look inward to fix themselves first. The one who uses religion or niceties to soften the blow of their criticism.
Recently, I also went through something far worse that caused quite a fiasco on my Instagram page. A “stalker-sister” felt the need to slander me to thousands of my followers because I had blocked her. She assumed that her insults needed to be heard and that my blocking of her account needed the ultimate revenge. She slandered me, spread lies about me, lectured me on how to be a better Muslim, and found the time to post her nasty comments on as many posts as she could manage. I admit, it affected me for weeks and I had to disable comments on my Instagram account indefinitely. I will NEVER understand someone’s state of mind, especially from a mom and a Muslima, in wanting to cause pain to your fellow sister in Islam - let alone a sister who didn’t even wrong you.
To theses naysayers I say... I feel sorry for you, you must be so sad in your heart. Please learn some compassion and empathy like our beloved Prophet PBUH who was never harsh to others - even those who stoned and spat on him. Learn how to talk to another human being with mercy, kindness, and the intention to guide them not judge them in order to make yourself feel special. Look inward and really see yourself and your actions and judge them as harshly as you judge others. And please, make an effort to fix something yourself, especially when you don't think it's being done right by others.
Naysayers think they know a person's intentions when no one can know what is in the heart of another human being, except Allah SWT. Constructive criticism is appreciated and helpful, but complaining and slandering with no solution is useless and just mean. When I get comments like these or I’m faced with toxic behavior, I leave these people to Al A’dl (Allah - The Utterly Just). Then I pray for guidance and focus my intention inward to reflect on my actions as it may be a wake-up call for me to improve.
If I took any of this personal and allowed these people’s negativity to get to me, it will make me doubt my efforts and intentions and eventually stop my work. That’s what these naysayers want you to do to make themselves feel better. What I have gone through is mild compared to what I've heard other brothers and sisters being exposed to. Unfortunately naysayers are all around us, especially on social media - they’re usually the ones with the biggest mouths.
So if you've ever come across a naysayer, don't let their negatively affect you because your efforts will be rewarded by Allah SWT, as He is always by our side and is Al A'dl, the Utterly Just. Keep your focus aimed towards the straight path and keep treating others right, even the toxic ones, because the Prophet PBUH told us to, “want for your brother what you want for yourself”. It doesn't matter how many fans, followers, likes, comments, or subscribers one has - it will never compare to the reward of doing work purely for the sake of our Lord.
I dedicate this post to all my brothers and sisters who spread ilm and dawah online to help the ummah. The ones who take time away from their careers and family to research and share helpful messages for the benefit of others. May Allah Reward you immensely. Chin up!