What is Identity?
- Identity is basically a stable idea that we have of ourselves as well as the embrace of a system of values that provides a sense of direction for us.
- We begin to focus on developing an identity for ourselves when we reach the stage of adolescence. It is common for teenagers to struggle with issues of identity as they still do not have a clear sense of who they are what they believe in.
- If we do not have a stable self-identity then we will be in a state of confusion and we will be restless and uncertain about things.
- However, people are constantly re-defining their identities based on their life experiences, age, or stage of life that they are in.
- We can have a positive self identity or a negative one, depending on what we base our identities on.
What is identity based on?
- Most of the time people’s identities are based on as set of values or beliefs about a particular thing. These beliefs influence whether our self identity is positive or negative.
- Our identities are not only based on how we see ourselves now, but also how we think we want our lives to be in the future. So we look to our “ideal” self and this determines our identity at present. Sometimes we even look to past ideas about ourselves and this influences our present identity.
- Although each person has their own personal identity, our identities are influenced by many factors. For e.g; - Family - Society (social norms) - Friends - Popular attitudes (which may be displayed through media or other people) - Values and beliefs- Ideas of life- Future goals
What about Islamic identity?
- Developing a strong Islamic identity, based on Islamic values and morals should be our most important goal.
- This means that we should not be ashamed to assert ourselves as Muslims, not only in the way we dress, but also in the things we do and how we behave.
- Part of developing a strong Islamic identity is to as far as possible adopt the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
- We should also try and emulate the ways of the sahaabah (r.a.) in the time of the Prophet (SAW).
- There are many important Muslim men and women whose lives should be a guide for us to follow. The Prophet’s (SAW) Companions, wives, daughters and others in the time of the Prophet (SAW) are excellent role models for us.
- We should begin to view ourselves in terms of Islamic ideals, on all the different levels of functioning.