BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum.
Life is filled with bitter truths; stages of wrongness and misguidance that we would love to erase from the paper, rip out of the book.They are all of our own making, all products of our own failings.
I've been through the newbie stage of learning a little something and then thinking I knew it all, astaghfirullah! I've been through the complete loss of confidence stage where I knew that my knowledge was insufficient and insignificant. I knew virtually nothing about Islam, but felt that the vastness of what there was to learn was all too much to ever get anywhere with. Audhu b'Illah! Then, by Allah's Mercy, I reestablished my connection with my Creator. Somewhere inside me, in the conscience Allah has given us all, I knew truth and right wa al hamdul'Illah. I knew what was a compromise, what was less than 100%, what was never going to be right no matter how hard I tried to make it so. I grew in Islam and gained depth of faith and knowledge through avid seeking and observation of my surroundings.
However, throughout, Allah put around me a variety of people who didn't have the correct, clear, or complete understanding of Islam. People who had an amazing way with words and who seemed to continually override my beliefs of right and wrong with a collection of really "good sounding" excuses. They belittled me, implied my concepts of Islam were flawed due to my newness, lack of Arabic language, and unsophisticated thinking. They gave me "interesting" interpretations of Quran and ahadith. They gave me "logical" explanations that led me to a huge conflict with the simple, clear perfection of Islam. They told me of the beauty and perfection of Islam, while only practicing certain aspects of it. Their misguidance was a bitter truth.
What happened in the end? I left those people behind. The conflict eventually turned my heart from them. I said my farewells, made heartfelt dua' for them, and moved far away to strive for what was pleasing to Allah. Of course, that held a whole new set of tests and struggles. A whole new learning curve. A whole new set of mistakes through ignorance, weakness, and my own stupid self. What a bitter reminder those mistakes are, but what a blessing it all is! Those things, looking back at them as misguidance, moved me to ever better realization and clearer focus.
When I hear people give their edicts, their religious interpretation of things, and especially when they select the meaning they desire from ayaat of Quran or ahadith, it hurts me. It is an insult and a disobedience to Allah and His messenger. But, haven't we all done it at some time? Isn't it the essence of human nature to err? Isn't it part of our growth and development to make mistakes and then learn from them? Yes, yes, and yes...that is the bitter truth. But it is when we don't learn, when we sit on our pedestal and close the door on knowledge and betterment, that we are lost.
Oh, I'm sure I misinterpret things at times, but I make the effort to seek the truth, and then adhere to it...whether I like it or not. More than that, I seek refuge with Allah from being deaf, dumb, and blind and picking and choosing what suits me in Islam. I seek refuge from losing sight of true submission.
No question, we all have our journeys to proceed along and mistakes to make. It is part of our development. However, misguidance is painful to witness and painful to remember. Why wouldn't it be, when we are clearly told that all innovation in this religion is misguidance and all misguidance is in the hellfire?