By Karim Serageldin
Some Muslim cultural family systems over emphasize external standards of success and outer evaluations. In other words "what people think, what people will say, we must keep up appearances, we need to show off or show them off." This type of thinking and feeling leads to cultural-relational norms that invest so much time on the social-surface-status-polish that the real inner work becomes absent and forgotten. This is why we see some people having 'eebadat' (worship rituals) in practice but their 'mu'malat' (social character) is foul. This is why we see some people obsessed with appearance and perceived prestige that they can even use religion to boost the ego. Subhan'Allah.
This disconnect is one of the main diseases of our times, we care too much about what others think and how they will judge or perceive us that we forget Allah's Countenance in the process. It is like having Social Make Up on- it's not REALLY YOUR FACE- it's time we make this life about true spiritual transformation within ourselves and families in presence of the Divine.
No one will be with you when you meet your Lord. No brands of clohting will protect you, no community will be called by the university they attended or the language they spoke. You will be called by your nation of faith and brought forth alone as a soul for your reckoning. All those "people" you tried to please or show off in front of will be quivering in their own shame and drowning in their own sweat, on a day where there is no avail other than your sincerity of heart and your actions.
May the Divine guide, forgive and protect us and increase us in sincerity, Amin.