Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Measures to overcome shyness and social phobia|
|09/05/01 at 01:14:39|
|Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh|
[center]Measures to overcome shyness and social phobia
By Dr Muhammad Kamal Al-Shareef[/center]
Islam uses different methods and measures to overcome a Muslim's shyness and social phobia. Perhaps the most important of these is the fact that it aims to establish within the Muslim community a bond of love and mutual compassion. Thus, every individual looks compassionately on any shortcomings in another Muslim's character or behavior. He tries to find excuses for these shortcomings, overlooking what he can of them. He would not resort to taunts, backbiting or ridicule.
Muslims are required to overlook not only the shortcomings of their brethren, but also their sinful behavior. Some people in Madinah paid lip service to Islam, without really believing in it. They often resorted to backbiting and ridicule as part of their weaponry against the believers. Addressing these, the Prophet said: "To you people who have verbally declared yourselves to be Muslims but have not allowed faith to go into your hearts, I say: Do not abuse the Muslims, or search for their faults. Whoever searches for his brother's faults will have God after his own faults. When God looks for anyone's fault, He is sure to expose him, even within his own private place."
The Prophet also says: "Whenever a human being covers a fault of another in this present life, God will cover his faults in the life to come." (Related by Muslim). He also says: "Whoever covers a Muslim's faults in this world, God will cover his own faults in both this world and the life to come." (Related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawood, At-Tirmithi and Ibn Majah). This gives reassurance to Muslim individuals, making clear to them that other believers will not indulge in backbiting them when they see any of their faults. On the contrary, they will conceal these so that they are not seen by others. Hence, no Muslim individual will need to fear others.
Islam has outlawed boasting about one's virtues or qualities. A person who boasts about having something actually derides those who do not have that thing. He thus encourages a feeling of inferiority among them. The Prophet says: "God has revealed to me that you must show humility, so that no one boasts to another, and none oppresses another.
One way of treating shyness in modern behavioral therapy is to train a shy person to speak to people and address them. His fear of their looks will gradually diminish. He will then experience a measure of ease, comfort and reassurance among them.
Islam encourages Muslims to be the first to greet others when they meet them. Returning a greeting is obligatory. God says in the Qur'an: "When a greeting is offered you, answer it with an even better greeting, or (at least) with its like. God keeps count of all things." (4: 86.) A man asked the Prophet: "Which part of Islam is best? The Prophet replied: You feed people and greet those whom you know and those whom you do not know." (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
The Prophet also says: "You will not be admitted into heaven unless you are believers; and you will not attain to faith until you love one another. Shall I tell you about something through which you will get to love one another? Greet one another frequently." (Related by Muslim).
Even when we pass by children and young people we should greet them, as the Prophet used to do. Anas is reported to have passed by young boys playing in the street. He greeted them and said: "The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to do that." (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
When adults greet a young person as they pass by him or her, the young one is sure to feel more confident. This is a good way to protect young people against sinking low in their own self-esteem, or developing an inferiority complex. It ensures that they do not suffer shyness and fear of other people. Similarly, a person who greets other people, whether they are known or unknown to him, and receives one greeting after another from all sorts of people, right from his childhood, will undoubtedly realize that they have no ill will for him. He realizes that they are not pursuing his faults. Thus, exchanging frequent greetings leaves no room for fear or panic that may prevent a person from publicly stating the truth as he knows it.
Treatment of shyness often relies on encouraging a shy person to be assertive, even if that assertiveness should imply an element of hostility and struggle. However, Islam allows no room for such hostility, because a Muslim lives in a community whose members reserve their hostility and aggression for their enemies only. Among themselves, they are compassionate and lenient. God describes the believers as being "humble toward the believers, proud toward the unbelievers."(5: 54)
When a shy, sensitive person lives among compassionate people, who spread over him the wings of their tenderness, preserving their hostility to non-believers when they meet them in battle, then he is sure to forget his shyness, sensitivity and phobia among them. In their midst, he will only experience peace and reassurance.
[i]"Islam in Perspective" Arab News - 06 November 2000[/i]
Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
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