Off to Higher Standards and a Better Understanding

True religiousity is hijacked by shallow and apparent “religiousity”.

All you need is to know a few Arabic terms or subscribe to the “religious” fashion trend.

Our Current Standard?

I used to wear kufi (kopiah) and songkok (traditional Malay hat) regularly in school and people started calling me “ustaz”. Some even started asking me Fiqh questions.

That’s it? I just need to “look religious” to be “religious”? I just need to “look knowledgeable” to be “knowledgeable”?

Wearing a kufi or a thobe (jubah) doesn’t automatically makes you a “sheikh”. In fact, you don’t have to wear those to be a true sheikh. There is no such thing as a sheikh clothing line. A sheikh can wear a thobe, a suit, Baju Melayu (traditional Malay dress – refer to picture, far left), or a pair of jeans and still be considered a qualified sheikh.

Sometimes I wear a kufi, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I wear Baju Melayu, sometimes I wear jeans (sometimes both).

But regardless of what I wear, am I not still the same person?

Am I not the same person?

Sometimes I use Arabic terms, sometimes I prefer to use English terms. It depends on who I am talking to.

Regardless, what difference does it makes knowing a few more Arabic terms? Especially if you don’t understand them, then it means nothing at all.

Beyond the Apparent

Having said all of the above, I am aware of situation-specific dress codes and mannerisms (including how one speaks). But that is not the point of what I’m saying here. What I am saying here is that what I wear and the number of Arabic terms I used while speaking, tell you little about my level of knowledge and understanding.

We need higher standards and clearer definitions of these religious titles such as “ustaz”, “sheikh”, “imam”, “faqih” and so on.

True religiousity is beyond the visible shell. It’s easy to get caught up by what is apparent. True religiousity stems from having a sound understanding of the religion and a sound heart; those two elements don’t necessarily show on the visible shell.

Remember, some shells are beautiful, but they are hollow.


The following are two good resources to further expand my sentiments.

Imam Suhaib Webb – Understanding and Moderation (1 hour 9 minutes)


Usama Canon – Nomenclature (8 minutes)

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2 thoughts on “Off to Higher Standards and a Better Understanding”

  1. can this be used in terms of women too? we don't really need to wear a niqab or a jubah as long as we follow the guidelines of clothing, right?

    btw aiman, kau nampak kurus masa zaman sekolah.

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