tape 1 – justin “captain of the basketball team”

“And do not obey him whose heart We have made oblivious to Our remembrance, and who follows his own lust, and whose conduct is profligacy.” (Holy Quran 18:28)

She thought he was perfect.

He thought she was pretty.

That is where Hannah Baker’s domino effect began.  

Justin Foley was the beginning of the end. He was the captain of the basketball team and he was Hannah’s first date at her new school. She was excited about going out with “Mr. Popular” and she really enjoyed herself during the date. But one innocent picture taken out of context by Justin ruined all of that. He did not shut down the rumors because they made him feel “cool” and he felt that he had some sort of reputation to uphold. Hannah was a good girl, with a bright future. However, no one believed that truth, and ultimately, Justin’s pride and insecurity about himself led to a sweet girl’s demise.

It is called ego, and anthropologists claim it to be the worst human trait in existence. Egotism ruins relationships, friendships, and may even cause violence, as we see in Hannah’s case. Oftentimes, ego stems from a lack of confidence in another part of an individual’s life. That individual may feel that treating others poorly is a source of control in another area of life, making them think that their self-esteem is rising when it is in the same spot as it was before.

Egotism is a trait that is explicitly and implicitly discussed in the Quran many times. We know that egotism is forbidden in Islam. We are the creations of God, and any pride we ever feel in ourselves we must credit to our creator. This hadith (tradition) by Prophet Muhammad exemplifies that claim; “Oh people listen; none of you is superior to others. No Arab has superiority over non-Arab; neither a non-Arab has superiority over an Arab.”

A good example of the consequences of egotism would be the story of Iblis (angel made of fire) and God. God had created man out of clay, and called him Adam. He had asked the angels to bow down to him, for Adam was a creation of God. However one amongst them named Iblis refused, claiming that a being such as he had no place prostrating to something made of mud. As a result of his ego, Iblis disobeyed his Lord and was promised hell and became known as the accursed Shaytan (Satan). Similarly, had Justin not allowed his ego to cloud his judgment, he would have stayed on a more righteous path and never allowed for the rumors about Hannah to spread.