When you practice the customs and rituals of Islam, you will grow closer to people. When you apply the principles of Islamic teachings in everything that you do, you will grow closer to Allah. These are just stray thoughts that occurred to me today. I noticed this in many different aspects of my life, especially in how easily I aligned with people or groups in the community by dressing a certain way, or engaging in specific activities.
However, when I took exception to something they did as a matter of principle, and I tried to engage with them about it, I received the most terse and abrupt responses, and was not indulged in any open discussions about the issues that I had raised; this despite me having presented objective views and evidence to support my concerns, with them insisting that unless I was an Aalim, Sheikh, Maulana or some other recognised title holder of religious scholarly degree, I would not be allowed to engage with the people in authority to begin with.
Seems like a far cry from the way in which our beloved Prophet (SAW) engaged with the poorest of the poor on the most sensitive of personal issues without showing them an ounce of scorn or denigration.