The Facade of Being “Hard”
by Tahira Rifath
Interesting how masculinity today is portrayed as a man who doesn’t cry and how media portray male violence as a normal expression of masculinity. A man is not only demanded to conceal feelings of sadness, he is taught at a young age that even other emotions are not to be expressed. During the time of the Prophet (pbuh), there were some men who believed the same. Once, while a villager was present, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) kissed his grandsons on the forehead. At that, the villager said with surprise, “I have ten children. I have never kissed any of them!” Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) looked at him and said, “He who does not have mercy will not have mercy upon him.” [Bukhari] In fact, with regards to showing affection, the Prophet (pbuh) was very clear. He said: “If a man loves his brother in faith, he should tell him that he loves him.”[Abu Dawud]
Islam shows us the strongest of men are those who cry, whose hearts are stirred. This society wants us to be apathetic, to disregard social injustices. Islam guides us to emotional intellect: to be passionate, to be sensitive, to be affected by life. The most stern of Sahabah we know was Umar ibn AlKhattab RA, but the closest to him told us he was the one who cried the most. Reading that it was those closest to him that saw his tears shows us how much we need support from each other, to feel for each other.
The ability to cry, shed tears, sob displays strength of heart. Strength of faith. Strength of our humanity. Strength of desire to change. The Quran repeatedly warns us of hard hearts. Allah says: “And yet, after this, your hearts hardened and became like rocks, or even harder.” (2:74) And the Quran continues to reassure us that those who are closest to Allah have soft hearts: “the skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah.” (39:23)
My biggest concern about men and women my age is that our hearts have strayed, become complacent, and refuse to be stirred by God’s words. I just want us to be better. To be closer to each other. To be closer to Allah. To be able to feel our hearts shake remembering God.
Dunya makes us tired and scars our hearts. Reflections in Salah and reading Quran heal us.
This isn’t “cheesy” talk, as society would label it. This is my sincere advice to us all, myself first. It’s a struggle and we need to start working on it.