Friday, February 3, 2012

Bragging... and how it is NOT EVEN your earthly right


I’ll try to make this short and sweet. but most of the time, i just fail, even trying! Anyways, i just had to get this issue outta my head and share with you so that we can ponder upon it and hopefully we can improve ourselves as better people.

So bragging. in simple terms it is showing off/boasting. In bahasa melayu, it's called ‘berlagak’. And funnily used in the street language as ‘eksyen’. i seriously don’t see the correlation with the word ‘action’ in this to the actual meaning of bragging. But it is widely used and understood in Malaysia.

So, izzit wrong? in my sane opinion, it is. so are a lot of other things like lying, stealing etc. but does it account for enough damage to put you in the wrong place in the afterlife? ie. hell? well, depends on the usage, i’d say yeah. coz bragging will lead to arrogance, also known as riak. And this, is much against in Islam as other things. To make my point clearer, i have actually categorize bragging into light bragging and heavy bragging depending on the intensity. I'm only going to talk on light bragging because I think it's pretty obvious you would all know what heavy bragging is like.

So what is light bragging? this to me, is an act where one is innocently (according to them) telling the world how great something/someone really is GENUINELY. that couldn’t be wrong right? i mean, it’s just sharing how you feel! Plus, what is life without a little bragging?! it feels good dowh!!

Here’s an example of light bragging:

I just got back to my clinic after doing a little bit of shopping during my 2 hour lunch break one friday. as i entered my room with both hands holding my shopping bags, the nurses came over to check it out. and i was more than happy TO SHARE what i bought with them! Conversation would go like this:

    “ohemgee! look what i bought! it’s a COACH bag!! and i got it cheap you know! 50% discount! and then i bought this Charles & Keith black pumps at 30% discount you! you all should go! it’s a bargain! hampir semua stuff on sale you!!!!”

    So. it looks pretty harmless don’t you think? Innocent, genuinely sharing the joy of my spree. and i could give a lot of other similar examples. like showing how thrilled you are at your new car/iphone etc, taking pictures of your new shoes/jewelry and post it on facebook/twitter, sharing what you will cook or will be having for iftar tonite..??? etc. etc!

“eeeehhh!! minah nie! perli ker apa?!! dia pun buat jugak!! nak perli aku lar tu! macam lar dia bagooosss sangat!!!!”

Don’t worry. that was another voice i heard speaking to me. you’re right. i have done those stuff. in fact, the first example was verrry real. i did it. and it felt sooo... not wrong! so are the other examples right? i mean, i’m sure some of you don’t agree with my first statement that i do feel that bragging is berdosa. Especially the light ones. But take a step back and just look at those examples again and go through some of your own. Does it look/sound right to you? no wait, let me rephrase that. AS A MUSLIM, does that look OK to you? is THAT what you think muslims should be portrayed as? if it is, then there’s no point that we were taught to be humble right? coz both actions seems… permissible?

Ok. some of you nutcrackers out there might say, “hah! yg nie dia nak sibuk-sibuk preach macam dia bagus sangat nie? tak bragging jugak ker macam nie?’

Oklar. maybe some of you may have difficulty differentiating when a person is bragging and when he/she’s not. and i’m not even justifying my own actions here. coz i know i have my flaws at delivering messages where sometimes (or most of the time), regarding a certain subject, i’d go for the sarcasm approach. i’m just saying, there’s a difference between ADVISING and BRAGGING. by definition, it’s very clear. but when it is put into action, people sometimes get confused.

But i beg you to know the difference when you come across these people, and hope that you can tell both actions apart. (no, you dont have to do it to me, you can hate me with all your guts, and it’s ok.). What i know, is when an info is being shared in the form of benefits to the reader, then it is advising. whereas when an info is being shared in a form of exaggeration, just for your heck of fun for it,  i’d say that’s showing off. sure it was innocent and felt sin-free at first. but remember that not curbing the smallest sins will lead it to become bigger and bigger and more chronic. Like cancer. in simpler terms, you would do it again and again on nearly everything you buy or do or have and you’ve lost the sense of how wrong it is. like lying. Which is a disease too I think.

I do admit, it’s easy for me to justify myself when i tegur someone wrong, mostly in my area of (tak berapa) expertise, i would resort to sarcasm. mainly because i have issues with people who throws me attitude and only believe in their own bull which is CLEARLY wrong. but i also admit, that even if i do successfully humiliate them in twitter or public, what do i get really? just a sense of “padan muka!” that makes me feel good temporarily? and that in the long run, it will reflect on how arrogant i’ve become? and would that make Allah happy with me and allow me to enter His heaven’s gate easily? of course not. Oh God! Mintak dijauhkan please!

So i have to ask myself, “what would our Prophet Muhammad SAW do when he faced an annoying prick who told him stuff that was wrong and ridiculed him in the process?”.... hmm.... surely not a sci-fi question there right? He was famously KNOWN for his kind and patient demeanor and being gentle in his approach. and he is a MAN. so if you think i’m not ashamed, you’re dead wrong. At times i would think it was IMPOSSIBLE to do what he did. but we’re told countlessly that he was JUST A MAN sent as mankind’s savior and to remind and guide us of the qualities needed to earn the love of our Creator and enter His heavens. and his death was enough proof that he too had a lifespan that he can’t predict. Just. like. us.

Another difference between advising and bragging is not noticeable physically by the other party. And that is one's niat (intentions) to convey the message. A good person/muslim will advise another for the right reason and purely in good faith. He/she will do it ONLY to score points with God and gather as much deeds from that doing as his/her savior in the afterlife. Not for any other reasons. And definitely not as a reason to belittle the other person. I'm afraid this difference is unseen and it's up to the other person on how to take it. Trust me, it is not easy. For sometimes even the closest people to you can also take your approach the wrong way. But nevertheless, it is what our beloved Prophet has told us to do, so we should just try our level best. Besides, personally I think it's a great practice to become more professional in life and makes the elimination process of your so-called close friends u thought u have around you a lot easier, no? :P

So i hope to improve my skills in advising people (minus the sarcasm). coz when it gets to the subjects i’m well-versed with and also the subject on religion, no, ESPECIALLY on religion, people will get verrrrryyy touchy. i’m not sure for other religions, whether when they preach to one another they’ll react with “eeeeeee!!! sibuk lar! suka hati lar!! macam bagoss!”. coz i definitely hear it often amongst us malays. I won't generalize it to all MUSLIMS or all malays either, but admit it. We tend to do it on A LOT of issues besides religion. It looks like we can gaduh on the simple, everyday stuff like having different opinions on political views. oohh! that’s another touchy issue! “pantang tok nenek moyang aku!” haha. Guess we really have to work on another much valued quality as a muslim, BERSANGKA BAIK.

Let me leave you with a parting question.

If you witness people you know around you doing the light bragging (or even heavy bragging), and you have this urge to ADVISE them it is not right to do so, how would you do it without coming across as someone bragging yourself by “tegur-ing” them? try it on these examples.

  •  “oh wow! i just bought these lovely shoes and handbags!! (snaps pic and paste it on fb/twitter)
  •  “oh wow! look at my kid! he has the best smile everrr??!! (snaps pic and paste it on fb/twitter)
  •  “oh wow! my boss just said i am the best employer around!” (paste as fb status and on twitter)
  •  “oh wow! just had ayam percik, laksa, kebab daging and cupcakes for iftar! and i made it all myself!! sedap!!!!” (snaps pic and paste it on fb/twitter).

I would love for you to get back to me, if you think the above examples are even bragging or not. and if you do, do share with me your success stories on advising them without them thinking you’re “showing off” as if you’re the only good muslim.

To me, I'm not concerned on how this article should affect you. You might disagree and go about your lives feeling indifferent to it all. The most important thing is that a good message gets across and shared. And don't get me wrong, not all things shared equates to boasting. Because I definitely for one, appreciate new information/knowledge in life. I guess, it's all about how one conveys them and their niat to do it in the first place.
Like what our beloved Prophet SAW said:
Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr: The Prophet said, "Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence, and tell others the stories of Bani Israel (which have been taught to you), for it is not sinful to do so. And whoever tells a lie on me intentionally, will surely take his place in the (Hell) Fire." From Bukhari 4.667.

I too have a lot to learn.

Take care.

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