There are few lessons in life that cannot be had by contemplating history.
And recently I was reminded of an extremely important one.
When Uthman (ra) the third rightly guided was killed, the Caliphate of the Muslims was taken up by Ali (ra). However Muawaiyya (ra) the governor of Kufa and relative of Uthman drew up an army and marched on Medina, ostensibly he asked that Ali (ra) deal with the rabble rousers that had murdered Uthman.
The armies were lined for battle, and then Muawiyyah commanded his troops to put their Qur’ans on their own spears.
The army of Ali (ra) would not fight, even though he urged them to.
And Ali (ra) was forced to agree to a mutual arbitor between them.
This is our ancient history, and what the scholars said about it, after the fact, was that however an enemy tries to affect your resolve, even through using religion, it should not stop you fighting for what is right.
This lesson speaks volumes when you encounter Muslims brothers who try to manipulate you through wrongly appealing to your religious sensibilities.
They do not want you to fear God, rather what they want is for you to cede to their wishes.
You see, brothers, whilst our belief is simple, that God is one and sent Messengers to act as guides to mankind. The religion in nuanced, sophisticated and borne of paying attention to detail.
That is why our religion had so many great scholars, who contemplated every nuance in the revelation and the words of the Messenger (saw). Attention to detail was even then a thing.
“Those who hear me, relay from me, perchance those (that hear from me, through you) might understand the better”
So for example “fear God” was and can be used as an advice to remind people of their responsibilities to others, by all the more acutely reminding them to pay attention to detail- for God is witness over us all.
However, it can also be used be by others, however innocently, trying to manipulate you. And this is where you need to reflect upon yourself and how those words make you feel.
If they help you to become better, and remind you to good then all the better.
But if those words make you feel encumbered to do a thing that does not feel right, then they are not empowering you with knowledge, nor supporting you with sound advice, and know that then those words, however seemly, may be being used to manipulate you.
Islam as a religion always teaches us to reflect before we act.
Always use your brains first.
What God wants is for you to be just and true first, and that nobility of spirit is closer to the religion of Islam that those that use it as a game, or as a pawn of one-up-manship.
The only way to educate those of our brothers that believe that such appellations to our religious sensibilities are appropriate, is not to be cowed by them in that instance, but to call them out and not stop calling them out.
In my younger days a brother called me a coward for not ceding to his demands.
Another more recently admonished me to fear Allah. And yet both were trying in their own way to manipulate me.
For in our heart of hearts, we all know that nobility is what is just and true.
Off course let your heart be open to the believers, and let there be softness in there for them, but for those that try to cause mischief through the inappropriate use of religion, let then find hardness in you in those instances. And softness in you at all other times.
This is my opinion. And opinions can be wrong. Whatever wrong there is here, is mine alone.