Today we want to ask you, what is the importance of having one single identity? We all like to say we are the same consistent person in front of everyone, but this just isn’t the case – which is good. The same way we portray ourselves in front of our parents, or friends, wouldn’t be socially acceptable for work or study environments (at least we hope not). You may be thinking, this has nothing to do with who I am, but it does.
These different faces, personalities, characteristics are, you.
Let’s not get this mixed up with being two faced, it’s not the same. We can look towards our perfect role model. The Prophet (pbuh) was a loving and playful husband, he was a strong and exemplary teacher, and a loyal and leading friend to his companions; what was his identity? He used to enjoy the Sunnah sports, such as swimming, archery, horseback riding and wrestling – but he wasn’t identified as his hobbies either.
What was he identified as?
Al- Ameen – The truthful one, the honest one, the most trustworthy.
This was a man who was identified by his values, before Islam even entered his heart. Perhaps, this is where we are going wrong. Maybe this is why many Muslims, second, or first generation immigrants, traditionalists, and modernists are experiencing an identity crisis. The crisis we are experiencing perhaps needs deeper investigation, beneath the “who am I?” and into the realms of “what am I?”, because it is our values like the Prophet (pbuh) who was identified as Al-Ameen, that identify us. It is our values that make us who we are, and identify us as what we are.
There are so many things that can affect our choice of who we want to show ourselves to be. We have got a roaring influence of social media today, and it’s great that more and more Muslims are in the forefront of the media; however you’ve got other media depictions that show us in a negative light, does this affect your identity? You have got pressures from society to be like a particular kind of Muslim, with just the right amount of faith with a pinch of compromising. You have also got family expectations, that may push you to be a certain way or push you down a specific route, and ultimately you have Islamic expectations. It can be a push and pull place to be, constantly trying to please everyone, constantly trying to fit in everywhere, feeling imbalanced and confused, leading to forgetting who you are, and what you stand for.
There is a solution for this chaotic crisis – it may sound simple, but you can be all of these things, and meet all of these standards and expectations. Only if your values are aligned with what matters to you, sorting and figuring out your priorities; they need to remain stable, clear cut and solid. They need to be immovable, rigid and true to you. The Prophet (pbuh) was known as Al-Ameen throughout his entire life, even when his enemies were against them, they still called him the most truthful despite their remaining ignorance, and that is what we should aim for when we talk about identity. It is what we are, that make us who we are.