Let’s face it, we come from a society that has very rigid standards for goodness. More importantly, we attach goodness to conformity. A person is good if he/she follows the social rules. it is as if we are all abiding by a hidden system of credits.
For example if a man prays, then he is automatically seen as good, and if a girl wears hijab then she is also seen as better than her counterparts who don’t . We throw rules around that mean nothing in the larger scheme of things. For example, a girl who comes home late is automatically seen as disrespectable to her family and a guy or girl who drink are automatically seen as bad. We would like to think that these rules no longer apply, but let’s face it in many parts of our city and even outside it, they do.
If we even look at our language and how we communicate about people, we will see that even our phrases are embedded with judgmental rules. We say things like “She’s a good girl, she doesn’t go out.” or “He is a good man, he is religious and he fears God.”
But really, are praying , fasting, the hijab, and coming home early the only measures of being good or bad? After all, the hijab is something that covers the head it doesn’t come with a magic potion to control what is inside the head of the woman wearing it. Similarly if prayer is done as a routine it means nothing because then it is only a ritual done out of necessity. A self-respecting woman can go anywhere with anyone and maintain her self respect and alcohol is only a beverage, so if one is not religious drinking it doesn’t come with the sense of guilt in him or her. Judging in itself bad yet we all judge.
Lately, my life has been forcing me to examine what actually makes a person good and I have come to this modest conclusion. I have come to believe that one’s religious beliefs, life choices, , or his or her communication with others say nothing about goodness. After all, it is so easy to fake being good behind nice phrases, a fake sense of helping others, and values and norms shouted out to anyone who would listen. So being good, in its simplest form is knowing that we had done the best we can for others. It is in confirming that in the ten seconds before making any decision related to other human beings we had done the right thing. It is speaking the truth despite how convenient or inconvenient it is. It is about putting our head on a pillow at night knowing that we had said everything we need to say, done everything we could possible do , and tried as hard as we could try in this life.
Being good has nothing to do with society, it comes from within.