As a new Muslim, you’d probably relate manipulation solely to Lucifer, Satan, Iblees and so on. But many have taken on the human form and actions of the chief deceiver.
Reverts to Islam can often find themselves in the firing line of such individuals. In this short post, we’ll cover how religious manipulation can take shape.
Entering into Islam can lead to one feeling they’ve joined one big family, with everyone advising with the best of intentions, although, this is not always the case.
From well-wishers online to close relatives, it’s vital to equip yourself with knowledge to avoid exploitation at the hands of others.
Being in a situation where you’re repeatedly taken advantage of can have a detrimental mental impact on you, and as a new Muslim, it may even cause doubts over your new found faith.
“Umar ibn Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) once said, “I am not a deceiver, nor I will allow someone to deceive me!”
As the second greatest of the Muslim community (after the Prophets), this is certainly sound advice to follow.
So what are different instances in which religious manipulation can happen? Let’s have a look at some…
1. The manipulator persistently makes demands for money, with something along the lines of,
“As Muslims, we should help each other out (financially). The Prophet (pbuh) advised us to give to others.”
Note: it’s important to mention that assisting others where possible is a noble act, and it’s not the act of righteous that’s being disregarded here. We should avoid being cold, and uncaring.
However, this post is addressing a small (but growing) minority that habitually use religious references to trick others into getting their own way.
2. “Allah will be happy with you.” This can relate to a range of scenarios. For example, someone wishes you to give up your rights and favour others instead of yourself. i.e. a promotion at work you’ve worked hard to acquire.
As part of being “religious”, you may be expected to take a back seat, and not desire progress or goodness for yourself.
The interpretation of such a comment (“Allah will be happy with you”) could be that the Almighty is furious with you for not meeting this individual’s demands or requests. As a new Muslim, the wrath of the Almighty can be enhanced by Satan, who may add further doubts regarding your status as a Muslim, and trap you into despair.
To avoid this, it’s vital to remember our limits as humans which can mean that we’re unable to please everyone.
3. “You’re supposed to be religious!” A common pushback by a manipulator who is frustrated at their failed attempts. For many tricksters, the belief is that religious people should happily do away with their rights, favour others to death, and adopt a full-time role as a doormat.
With this approach, they seek to push you to question your religiosity for standing your ground. (Again, this includes a small minority that have adopted the role of a charlatan).
4. “We should not disclose sins to others.” Very true. Although, there are scam artists who make a living with the hope that others won’t be warned about their trickery. If there’s a public benefit to revealing deception, then it should be strongly considered. Consult a scholar before you take this route.
5. “Don’t you care about the Muslim community?” Shockingly, Islamic organisations may use this line to squeeze more voluntary work out of individuals.
You’re likely to have other commitments in life, and you shouldn’t be forced to deal with emotional blackmail by others if you can’t do more.
As reverts, it’s very important to maintain a balance and not take on too much “Islamic” work too soon.
It’s a great shame that such posts are needed to be produced, however, the aim is to equip readers with knowledge to remain strong in the face of criticism and manipulation.
As the Prophet (pbuh) stated,
“A believer is not stung twice (by something) out of one and the same hole.”
With an informed take on reacting to different situations you may face as a new Muslim, you can inshaAllah, make uncomfortable decisions without overwhelming guilt weighing heavily upon you.