Friday, June 20, 2014

Trust In Allah (Tawakkul)

 Asalamu Alikum



بِالسَّنَدِ المُتَّصِلِ إِلَى الشَّيْخِ الجَلِيلِ ثِقَةِ الإسْلامِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ يَعْقُوبَ عَنْ عِدَّةٍ مِنْ أَصْحَابِنَا، عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ خَالِدٍ، عَنْ غَيْرِ وَاحِدٍ، عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَسْبَاطٍ، عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ عُمَرَ الحَلالِ، عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ سُوَيْدٍ، عَنْ أَبِي الحَسَنِ الأَوَّلِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: سَأَلْتُهُ عَنْ قَوْلِ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: ﴿وَمَنْ يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ.﴾ فَقَالَ: التَّوَكُّلُ عَلَى اللهِ دَرَجَاتٌ؛ مِنْهَا أَنْ تَتَوَكَّلَ عَلَى اللهِ فِي أُمُورِكَ كُلِّهَا، فَمَا فَعَلَ بِكَ كُنْتَ عَنْهُ رَاضِياً، تَعْلَمُ أَنَّهُ لا يَأْلُوكَ خَيْراً وَفَضْلاً وَتَعْلَمُ أَنَّ الحُكْمَ فِي ذَلِكَ لَهُ، فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللهِ بِتَفْوِيضِ ذَلِكَ إلَيْهِ وَثِقْ بِهِ فِيهَا وَفِي غَيْرِهَا.
Muhammad ibn Ya’qub (al-Kulayni): from a group of our teachers, from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid, from more than one transmitter, from ‘Ali ibn Asbat, from Ahmad ibn ‘Umar al-Hallal, from ‘Ali ibn Suwayd, from Abu al-Hasan al-’Awwal (A). ‘Ali ibn Suwayd says, ‘I asked him concerning the utterance of God Almighty: And whoever puts his trust in God, then God suffices him (65:3).’ The Imam (A) said: “There are various degrees of trust in God. Of them one is that you should put your trust in God in all your affairs, being well-pleased with whatever God does to you, knowing for certain that he does not cease in His goodness and grace towards you, and that the command therein rests with Him. So put your trust in God, leaving that to Him and relying upon Him in regard to that and everything other than that.”1

Exposition

Halal, with a shaddah on the lam, means the seller of hill, oil. Abu al-Hasan al-’Awwal is Imam al-Kazim (A), and it is he who is meant (in traditions) when just ‘Abu al-Hasan’ is mentioned. Abu al-Hasan al-Thani is Imam al-Rida (A) and Abu al-Hasan al-Thalith is Imam al-Hadi (the Tenth Imam). Tawakkul literally mean, admission of one’s inability and reliance on one other than oneself.
(إتَّكَلْتُ عَلَى فُلانٍ فِي أَمْرٍ) means, as the lexicographers ‘I relied upon him in a certain matter, the word (إتَّكَلْتُ)originally being (إوْتَكَلْتُ), which means considering someone sufficient.
(يَأْلُوكَ) derived from (ألا) and (ألواً) meaning ‘to fail’, ‘to neglect’, ‘to refrain’. In the transitive form, some have said, when it requires two maf’ul, the sense of preventing and depriving (man’) is assured ....
Tawakkul, is something other than tafwid; and the two are different from rida and wuthuq, as will be explained later on. We will now explain this noble tradition in a number of sections:

Tawakkul And Its Degrees

Know, that closely related meanings have been ascribed to tawakkul by the various definitions proposed by different schools, each according to its own approach. The author of Manazil al-sai’rin says:
التَّوَكُّلُ كِلَةُ الأَمْرِ كُلِّهِ إلَى مَالِكِهِ وَالتَّعْوِيلُ عَلَى وَكَالَتِهِ.
Tawakkul means entrusting all the matters to their Master and relying upon His trusteeship.2
Some urafa have said:
التَّوَكُّلُ طَرْحُ البَدَنِ فِي العُبُودِيَّةِ وَتَعَلُّقُ القَلْبِ بِالرُّبُوبِيَّةِ.
Tawakkul means throwing the body down (as in prostration) in servitude (to God) and attaching the heart to (His) Lordship.
That is, it means using one’s bodily powers in obedience to God and refraining from interfering in the matters (of the heart) and consigning it to the Lord. Some others have said:
التَّوَكُّلُ عَلَى اللهِ انْقِطَاعُ العَبْدِ فِي جَمِيعِ مَا يَأْمُلُهُ مِنَ المَخْلُوقِينَ.
Tawakkul upon God means the severance by the servant of all hopes and expectations from the creatures (and attaching, them to God).
The meanings mentioned are. closely related arid there is no need to delve further on the meaning of the word. However, that which should be mentioned is that tawakkul has various degrees in accordance with the stations of the devotees. Since the knowledge of these degrees of tawakkul depends on the knowledge of the various degrees of the devotee’s knowledge of their Lord, the Almighty and the Glorious, we cannot avoid discussing them here.
Let it be known to you that one of the esoteric principles of the wayfarers of the Path, without which no progress is possible, is the knowledge of God’s Lordship and Mastership and the quality of the sway of the Holy Essence over all affairs. We shall not discuss the theoretical aspect of this issue, for it calls for an examination of questions related to free will and predestination, which is not suitable for these pages. Here, we will only mention the different degrees of the people’s knowledge of it.
People are very different in regard to the knowledge of the Lordship of the Sacred Essence .of God. The commoners among the monotheists consider God Almighty the Creator of the general essences of things and their elements and substances; but they do not believe in the all-embracing Lordship of God, and consider His authority over things as limited. As a matter of verbal habit they may often declare that God decrees all matters and has power over all things, that nothing can come into existence without His sacred Will. Yet, their actual station is not at a par with their verbal profession, neither in respect of knowledge, nor faith, neither experience nor conviction.
This class of people, to which we also belong, have no knowledge of God’s Lordship; their faith in tawhid is deficient and the sovereignty of the Lord is concealed from their sight by the veils of apparent causation. Hence they do not occupy the station of tawakkul, which is our concern here, except on the level of mere verbal claim. Accordingly, they do not rely in their worldly affairs on anything except the superficial causes and material factors.
If sometimes they turn their attention to God and beseech something of Him, that is either on account of imitation or for reasons of caution; since not only they see no harm in it but allow a possibility of benefit. Thus there is a scent of tawakkul in them, although whenever they deem the apparent causal factors as favorable they totally forget God and His efficacy.
Now that which is staid regarding tawakkul, that it is not opposed to action and effort is quite right and in accordance with reason as well as revelation. But to fail to see God’s Lordship and His efficacy and to consider material causes as independent is contrary to tawakkul. Although this kind of people is devoid of tawakkul in respect to their worldly affairs, they make vigorous claims of tawakkul when it comes to the matters of the Hereafter. They justify their sluggishness and neglect in the matters of acquisition of transcendental knowledge, spiritual development and fulfillment of moral and devotional duties by easy professions of reliance on God and tawakkul on His beneficence.
With such verbal declarations as ‘God is great’ and ‘My trust lies in God’s beneficence’ they hope to attain the stations of the Hereafter. However, in regard to worldly matters, they declare, “Effort and endeavor are not contrary to tawakkul on God and reliance upon His munificence.” This is nothing except one of the guiles of the carnal self and the Devil. For this sort has tawakkul on God neither in the matters of the world nor in the affairs of the Hereafter. But since they consider worldly matters as paramount, they put their reliance on material causes, not relying on God and His efficacy.
On the other hand, since the affairs of the Hereafter are not important in their eyes and as they have no real faith in the Day of Resurrection and its details, they conjure up pretexts to conceal their neglect. Hence they say, ‘God is great’, and they declare trust in God and faith in the intercession of the Intercessors, although such professions are nothing but empty verbiage and meaningless oscillations of the tongue.
There is another class of people, who, having been convinced either by reason or revelation, affirm that God Almighty is the sole determiner of matters, the cause of all causes, efficacious in the realm of being, there being no limit to His power and influence. On the level of rational belief, they have tawakkul in God; that is the complete grounds of tawakkul have been furnished for them by reason and revelation.
Hence they consider themselves as mutawakkil and are able to supply rational proofs in justification of tawakkul, having confirmed rational conviction in all the essential preliminaries of tawakkul, which are: God’s knowledge of the needs of His creatures; His power and ability to satisfy those needs; His freedom from stinginess; and His Love and mercy for His creatures. On the basis of these, it is necessary to have trust on the Omniscient, Powerful, unniggardly and Merciful Lord, Who takes care to provide whatever is good for His creatures and in their interest, Who does not allow them to remain deprived of what is good for them, even though they themselves should be incapable of distinguishing between that which is beneficial or harmful for them.
This group, although they are mutawakkil on the level of rational knowledge, has not yet attained the stage of faith; they are shaky when confronted with the matters of life. There is a conflict between their reason and their heart, in which reason is dominated by the heart which has faith in material causes and is blind to God’s power and efficacy.
There is a third group in which the conviction in God’s sway over creation has penetrated into the heart, which has firm faith in God’s Sovereignty and Mastership over things. The pen of reason has inscribed all the essentials of tawakkul on the tablet of their heart. It is they who possess the station of tawakkul.
But the members of this group also differ from one another in regard to the level and degree of faith, whose highest degree is contentment (itminan) at which the most perfect degree of tawakkul appears in their heart. Then, their heart is detached from causation and attached to the Lordship of God, on Whom they rely and in Whom they-are content, in accordance with the words of the mystic who defined tawakkul as “casting the body away in servitude to God and attaching the heart to His Lordship.”
That which was mentioned above holds true in the case when the heart still dwells in the stage of plurality (kathrat al-af’ar) otherwise it leaves behind the station of tawakkul to attain to a higher station whose discussion lies outside the scope of this exposition.
Thus, it was seen that tawakkul has various stages and degrees, and perhaps the degree of tawakkul referred to in the hadith is the one pertaining to the second group, for it mentions knowledge as its preliminary condition. Or perhaps it refers to a degree of tawakkul according to some other mode of gradation, for tawakkul is amenable to another kind of gradation, as described in relation with the various stages of wayfaring by the experts of mystics knowledge and spiritual discipline, as a gradual gradation from plurality to unity; for absolute extinction (fana’ al-mutlaq al-af’ali) is not attained instantaneously but gradually. In the first stage, the wayfarer observes unity in his own self and then in all other beings.
The stations of tawakkul, rida, taslim and all the other stations are attainable gradually. The wayfarer may at first exercise tawakkul in some of his affairs and with respect to hidden and unobservable causes. Then, gradually, his tawakkul becomes general, in that it extends from hidden and inner causes to manifest and observable ones and from his own affairs to that of his relatives and associates. Accordingly, it is stated in the holy tradition that one of the degrees of tawakkul is trust in God in all one’s affairs.

Difference Between Tawakkul And Rida

Let it be known to you that the station of rida is different from the station of tawakkul, being higher and more luminous. This is because whereas the mutawakkil seeks his own good and benefit and entrust his affairs to God considering Him the provider of good, the radi (one who has attained the station of rida) is one who has annihilated his will in the Divine Will, having no more a separate will of his own. When a mystic was asked, “Matur’id?” (What is your wish?), he replied, “Urid an la urid” (My wish is not to wish at all). What he meant is the station of rida.
As to the words of the Imam (A) in the hadith, “that you should be well-pleased (radiyan) with whatever God does to you,” they do not refer to the station of rida. Hence, he (A) says thereafter, “Know for certain that whatever He does to you, your good and benefit lies therein.” It appears that the Imams (A) intended to bring about the station of tawakkul in the listener. For this he mentions certain preliminaries. First, he (A) says, “Know that He does not cease to be good and benign towards you.”
Then he (A) says, “Know that the authority therein lies with Him.” Of course, one who knows that God Almighty has power over everything and that He does not cease to be graceful and benign, he would attain to the station of tawakkul, because the two main pillars of tawakkul are the same as stated by the Imam (A); although he (A) does not explicitly state the other two or three pillars. After mentioning the explicit and implicit preliminaries - that whatever God Almighty does is welcome because in it lies one’s good and benefit - the preliminaries which guide to the station of tawakkul, he (A) draws the conclusion and says, “Then have tawakkul on God.”

Tafwid, Tawakkul And Thiqah

Know that tafwid is also different from tawakkul, and so also thiqah is different from these two. Hence each of the three has been considered a different station on the wayfarer’s path. The Khwajah says:3
التَّفْوِيضُ أَلْطَفُ إشَارَةً وَأَوْسَعُ مَعْنىً مِنَ التَّوَكُّلِ. التَّوَكُّلُ شُعْبَةٌ مِنْهُ.
That is, tafwid is subtler and more refined than tawakkul, for tawfid, means that the devotee should see no power and capacity in himself and that he should consider himself ineffectual and regard God as All-effectual. This is not so in tawakkul, for the mutawakkil makes God his own substitute, one in charge of his affairs, for attaining that which is good and beneficial. Tafwid is wider and tawakkul is a branch of it, because tawakkul is in regard to one’s interests and tafwid is in regard to absolutely all the affairs.
Moreover, tawakkul does not occur except after the presence of its cause, that is the matter in regard to which the devotee comes to rely upon God. An example of it is the tawakkul of the Apostle (S) and his Companions in regard to security from the evil of the idolaters, at the time when they were told:
﴿الَّذِينَ قَالَ لَهُمْ النَّاسُ إِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدْ جَمَعُوا لَكُمْ فَاخْشَوْهُمْ فَزَادَهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَقَالُوا حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ.﴾
Those unto whom men said, ‘Lo! the people have gathered against you, therefore fear them’. But it increased them in faith and they said, ‘God is sufficient for us and an excellent trustee is He’ (3:173)
Tafwid, however, is mostly antecedent to its referent cause, as indicated by the supplication narrated from the Apostle of God (S):
اللَّهُمَّ إنِّي أَسْلَمْتُ نَفْسِي إلَيْكَ وأَلْجَأْتُ ظَهْرِي إلَيْكَ وَفَوَّضْتُ أَمْرِي إلَيْكَ.
My God, I surrender my self to Thee; I seek refuge with Thee, and I hand over my matter to Thee.
At times tafwid is subsequent to the occurrence of its cause, such as in the case of the tafwid of the believer belonging to the Pharaoh’s people. (40:44)
The account given above is a condensed translation of the exposition by the famous ‘arif ‘Abd al-Razzaq Kashani of the words of the perfect ‘arif Khwajah ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari, and that which the Khwajah says is also substantially the same. However, I have reservations about considering tawakkul to be a branch of tafwid, and there is an obvious lack of rigor in regarding tafwid as being the more general of the two. Also, there is no reason to regard tawakkul as being subsequent to the cause, for tawakkul can be both antecedent as well as subsequent.
As to the words of the holy tradition,
فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللهِ بِتَفْوِيضِ ذَلِكَ إلَيْهِ.
Possibly, since tawakkul is accompanied by viewing oneself as being in charge of one’s affairs - because in tawakkul one makes God one’s wakil in an affair that he deems as pertaining to himself - the Imam (A) wished to lift the questioner from the station of tawakkul to that of tafwid, making him understand that God Almighty is not your substitute and deputy in regard to the charge of your affairs; rather, He is the master of His own realm and the Lord of His own kingdom (to which you and your affairs belong). In Manazil al-sai’rin, the Khwajah has also pointed out this while discussing the third degree of tawakkul.
And as to thiqah (reliance), it is different from tawakkul and tafwid, as the Khwajah says:
الثِّقَةُ سَوَادُ عَيْنِ التَّوَكلُِّ وَنُقْطَةُ دَائِرَةِ التَّفْوِيضِ وَسُوَيْدَاءُ قَلْبِ التَّسْلِيمِ.
Thiqah is the eye of tawakkul, the (moving) point of the circle of tafwid, and the inmost heart of taslim (surrender).4
That is, the three stations cannot be attained without thiqah. Rather thiqah on God Almighty is the soul of those stations, and the devotee cannot attain them without thiqah. This allows us to understand the Imam’s allusion to it, after the mention of tawakkul and tafwid, when he says:
ثِقْ فِيهَا وَفِي غَيْرِهَا.
  • 1. Usul al-Kafi (Akhundi), ii, 391, hadith 3.
  • 2. Khwajah ‘Abd Allah al-’Ansari, Manazil al-sa’irin.
  • 3. Khwajah ‘Abd Allah al-’Ansari, Manazil al-sa’irin.
  • 4. Khwajah ‘Abd Allah al-’Ansari, Manazil al-sa’irin.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Importance of Good Manners in Islam

Asalamu Alikum 


Bismillahir-Rahmaanir-Raheem
    1. Obedience to Parents
The Qur’an commands us to show kindness to parents in the following words:
Your Lord has decreed that you worship nothing but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word for contempt, nor repel them but address them in terms of honor. And, out of kindness, lower to them wing of humility, and say: My Lord! Bestow on them Your mercy, even as they cherised me in childhood. (Al-Isra’ 17:23-14)
Obedience to Allah (s) Come First
If parents ask their children to do something which Allah (s) has forbidden, children should obey Allah (s) over the order of their parents. However, they should respectfuly explain to their parents the reasons for their disobedience. If the parents are not Muslims, Rasulullah (s) taught us to be kind and respectful to them. We should take care of them and continue to explain Islam to them.
    1. Cleanliness
Cleanliness is part of our Imaan (Faith)
Rasulallah (s) is reported to have said:
“(The religion of) Islam is clean. Hence, you should also keep yourself clean. No one will be allowed to enter Paradise except he who is clean. This cleanliness is of both the body and the mind.”
A’isha (r), Rasulullah’s wife, reported that he said:
“The Miswak (tooth stick) is a means of purifying the mouth, and is pleasing to the Lord.”
    1. Kindness to All People
In Islam, every good deed is an act of charity (Sadaqah) and has a a special reward from Allah (s). Abu Hurairah (r) reported that Rasulullah (s) said:
Enjoined on every part of Human body is charity, every day when the sun rises; doing justice between two people is charity; and helping a man onto his beast and leading it is charity; and a good word is charity; and removing harmful things from the road is charity.
Be Kind, as Allah has been kind to you. (Al-Qasas 28:77)
Ibn’Abbas (r) reported that Rasulullah (s) said:
He is not one of us who dies without having shown kindness to our young ones and repect to our older ones.
    1. Telling the Truth and Keeping Promises

Rasulullah (S) is also reported to have said:
If anyone is pleased to love Allah (S) and His Messenger, or rather to have Allah (s) and His Messenger love him, he should speak the truth when he says anything, and fulfill his trust when he is in position of trust.
The Qur’an tells us to be truthful and trustworthy in many places. For example:
“And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when ye know (what it is) (Al-Baqarah 2:42)
O you who believe! Fulfill (all) obligations.(Al-Ma’idah 5:1)
O you who believe! Why say you that which you do not? Grieviously hateful is it in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not. (As-Saff 61:2-3)
    1. Modesty and Humility
Rasulallah (s) said: “Actions are judged by their intentions.”
Since modesty means purity of intention, it is also an essential aspect of Islamic ‘Tahdhib’. It is reported that Rasulallah (s) said:Every religion has its special characteristics: the characteristic of Islam is modesty.
Rasulullah (s) said: Modesty is part of faith, and faith leads to Paradise.
According to Rasulullah (s), on the Day of Judgement, among the seven types of people Allah (s) will take under his protection, the person who acts in accordance with the following Hadith:He is most charitable who gives so secretly that his left hand not know what his right hand has given.
    1. Controlling Anger
One day, a man met Rasulullah (S) and asked him to give him the most important rule of behaviour. It is reported that Rasulullah (s) replied:”Do not be angry,” and he repeated this several times.
Anger is another trap from the Shaytan to break our faith. Rasulullah (s) warned:”Anger comes from the Shaytan; the Shaytan was created from fire, and fire is extinguished only with water; so when one of you becomes angry he should perform Wudu”
Rasulullah (s) gave the following advice in regards to controlling anger.
When one of you is angry while standing, let him sit down; and if his anger goes away (it is good); otherwise let him lie down.
According to a Hadith, Rasulullah (s) asked his Sahabah (r):
“Who do you think is strong or powerful?”
They replied “He who throws people down.”
“No,” said Rasulullah (s), “It is he who controls himself when he is angry.”
Allah (s) has promised that on Day of Judgement, He will reward those who do not let their anger rule their actions. Rasulullah (s) said:”Whoever controls his anger, while he has the power to show it, Allah (s) will call him on the Day of Resurrection before all creation, and reward him greatly.”
The Qur’an promises that those who control their anger are among those whom Allah(s) loves:Those who spread generously in ease and in difficulty, and those who control their anger, and are forgiving toward people: Surely Allah loves those who do good.
    1. Backbiting and Slandering
O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, in deeds some suspicions are sins. And spy not neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear God, verily, God is the one who accepts repentance, Most Merciful. (49: 12)
Say to My servants that they should only say those things that are best, for Satan does sow dissensions among them, for Satan is to man an avowed enemy. (17:53)
“I asked the Messenger of God : Who is the best Muslim? The Messenger of God replied, “He is the one from whom Muslims are safe from the evil of his tongue and hands.” (Muslim)
    1. Cursing
Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, ‘Do not curse one another, invoking curse of Allah or Wrath of Allah or the fire of Hell.’ [Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhee]
Narrated Abu Darda (radhi allahu anhu), ‘Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, ‘When a person curses (La’nah; to ask that something be deprived of Allah’s Mercy) somebody or something, the curse goes up to the heaven and the gates of the heaven are closed. Then it comes down to the earth and its gates are closed. Then it turns right and left, and if it does not find an entrance to go anywhere, it returns to the person or thing that was cursed, if he or it deserves to be cursed; otherwise, it returns to the person, who uttered it.’ [Abu Dawood] Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) also warned, ‘Those who frequently resort to cursing would neither be accepted as witnesses nor as intercessors on the Day of Resurrection.’ [Saheeh Muslim]
    1. 9.Preventing Jealousy
He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Beware of jealousy, for verily it destroys good deeds the way fire destroys wood.” [Abu Dawood]
Hasad is a disease of the heart and it causes impurity to the heart, when Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) was asked who are the best of people? He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) replied: “the one with a clean heart and truthful tongue.” They asked: ‘We understand a truthful tongue, but what does a clean heart mean?’ he answered: ‘It is the heart of one that is pious, pure, and is free of sin, transgressions, hatred and Hasad.” [Ibn Majah]
Allah revealed verses of the Qur’aan to be recited as a protection from the jealous, “Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn from the evil of envious when he envies.” [Soorah al-Falaq (113): 1]
In order to discourage envy, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Do not look to those above you. Look to those below you, as it will more likely remind you of Allah’s favors bestowed on you.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim] On another occasion, he said: “If one of you looks at someone wealthier and better built than him, he should also look at someone of lower standard than himself.” [Saheeh Muslim]
    1. Stealing or cheating

‘A’isha reported that a woman from the tribe of Makhzum used to borrow things (from people) and then denied (having taken them). Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) commanded her hand to be cut off. Her relatives came to Usama b. Zaid and spoke to him (requesting him to intercede on her behalf). He spoke to Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) about her.
‘Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Do you intercede regarding one of the punishments prescribed by Allah? He (s.a.w.) then stood up and addressed (people) saying: O people, those who have gone before you were destroyed, because if any one of high rank committed theft amongst them, they spared him; and if anyone of low rank committed theft, they inflicted the prescribed punishment upon him. By Allah, if Fatima, daughter of Muhammad, were to steal, I would have her hand cut off.”
One of the worst forms of theft or cheating is cheating in prayer. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The worst type of thief is the one who steals from his prayer.” The people asked, “O Messenger of Allaah, how can a person steal from his prayer?” He said: “By not doing rukoo’ and sujood properly.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Islamic Etiquette of dealing with people

Asalamu Alikum


Islamic teachings put great emphasis in how we deal with people in our daily lives. The prophet (S.A.W.S.) summed up his message by stating: “I have been sent to perfect the best of manners”. As Muslims, we, therefore, have to be aware of how each one of us deals with people in our circles. Our good dealings not only will ensure that we are not violating other people’s rights but can also make us accepted, loved and appreciated by others. Luqman once said to his son, “O my son: Let your speech be good and your face be smiling; you will be more loved by the people than those who give them provisions.” – (Mentioned in the stories of ibn Kathir.)
Experience shows that life becomes pleasant when we can manage our work and relationships well. Quranic wisdom and the example of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h)’s dealings with people should help us steer our relationships and keep them on the right track. This post highlights certain essential principles of Islam that guide us in this matter.

Not showing pride and arrogance


It is so easy to get carried away by whatever we may possess of wealth and the good things of life. It is so easy and common to credit ourselves with our achievements and feel proud of them, and then, as a matter of course, to look down upon others who haven’t been able to make the same effort or reach the status we might have achieved. What makes all this happen is our own ego and the ever opportunistic Satan who knows our vulnerability. And so The One Who cares for our well being the most, Allah the Most Merciful, has warned us against falling into the trap of pride and arrogance.
He Says in the Quran (interpretation of the Arabic meaning):

And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not any arrogant boaster. (Surah Luqman:18)
The way to avoid pride and arrogance is to remember Allah as much as we can till it becomes a habit to instantly thank Him for any good that comes our way. Thankfulness to Allah creates humility in us and makes us aware that we’re not entirely responsible for all the good things of life. We wouldn’t have gotten them if He hadn’t willed them for us, nor can we retain them if He decides to take them away from us.

Not to mock others


We often see people taking pleasure in making fun of others or mocking them. Is it that the ego craves for the satisfaction of proving oneself better than others by looking out for others’ weaknesses and laughing at them? But Allah admonishes us:

O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former. (Surah Hujrat, 11)
Allah tells us that our knowledge is restricted by our limited perception. Since we’re not aware of any one’s real worth, wouldn’t it be foolish to laugh at those who might actually be better than us? We can curb this tendency by opening our eyes to the fact that when we think that others deserve to be ridiculed, we’re actually fooling ourselves and no one else (though we might find a few thoughtless and insensitive people to give us company in our foolish pastime).

Not addressing people with undesirable titles


A general misconception about sense of humor is the so called ‘ability’ to make others laugh. Giving nicknames to others on account of some negative characteristic that is noticed in them or even some disability that they might be suffering from is a crude form of entertainment. Making fun of those who stammer, or are very short or lean, is obviously some form of indecency practiced by callous people, and enjoyed by others who lack sensitivity to human feelings. Allah warns us against such behavior and practices. He says:

. . . Nor defame yourselves, nor insult one another by nicknames. Evil is the name of wickedness after faith. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed wrongdoers (Surah Hujrat: 11)

Refraining from ‘tajassus’ (spying)


Imam Al-Nawawi (rh) said that scholars have differentiated between ‘tahassus’, which means ‘snooping’ and listening to other people’s conversations, and ‘tajassus’, which means ‘spying’, seeking out other people’s faults and looking for secrets. Both activities are considered evil and have been forbidden. Allah Says:
O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicion is sin. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it. And have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful. (Hujrat 49:12)
Is it for want of a better activity to keep ourselves busy, that we enjoy peeping into others’ lives?
Seeking out information about other people’s state of affairs, searching and disclosing their secrets has been strictly forbidden. (Hence, to eavesdrop upon somebody while hiding or pretending to sleep is like spying on others.) Spying done with the intention of exposing the faults or unveiling the secrets of others, is a sin. It also leads to backbiting which is Haram. Allah has closed every door that leads to the evil of backbiting and has made spying Haram.
Abu Huraira (RA) narrated that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said:“Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales; and do not look for the others’ faults and do not spy, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert (cut your relation with) one another, and do not hate one another; and O Allah’s worshipers! Be brothers (as Allah has ordered you!). (Bukhari)
Our relationships should always have only a positive outcome. That’s the only way to seek Allah’s favor when in the company of others. We should say what’s good or refrain from saying anything. We should also have the moral sense and courage to stop others from backbiting for even if we don’t contribute to it, we become guilty of the sin by being silent listeners and participants. The best means of avoiding it is by changing the topic or saying sensibly that we don’t really know the whole truth of the matter so that we shouldn’t be unfair to any one.

Resolving differences with people

According to Abu Hurayrah (RA), the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h) said:
The gates of Paradise will be opened on Mondays and on Thursdays, and every servant [of Allah] who associates nothing with Allah will be forgiven, except for the man who has a grudge against his brother. [About them] it will be said: ‘Delay these two until they are reconciled; delay these two until they are reconciled.’” [Muslim (also by Malik and Abu Dawud)]
As long as we nurture any kind of enmity in our heart and prolong any conflict with a Muslim brother, we’re giving evidence of the weakness of our faith. For Faith in Allah is expressed through obedience to Allah. And Allah has said this in the verses of the Quran:
The believers are but a brotherhood. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and have Taqwa of Allah so that you may receive mercy. (Surah Hujrat:10)
So have Taqwa of Allah and settle all matters of difference among you, and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you are believers. (Surah Aanfal:1)
Whatever be our differences in opinions or feelings, we’re expected to set them aside and maintain good relations with each other. Ego ‘nafs’ is never to be allowed to supersede true faith. The whole purpose of our life is to prepare ourselves for the hereafter, and with this long term goal in mind we have to overcome pettiness and trivialities. Our constant struggle is with two real enemies. One is Satan who keeps making the world and worldliness more and more alluring for us. The other is our own ego that inflates our importance in our eyes beyond any sensible measure. It is these that cause conflicts and misunderstandings.

Controlling your hands and tongue


How do we resolve differences that have unwittingly or even intentionally cropped up? The best way is to control our tongues and hands that might be too eager to express those feelings! Discretion in speech and actions is the hall mark of a sensible person. We need to consciously practice patience; we need to learn to talk to ourselves, to introspect, before we give freedom to our tongue to have its way. Especially when it comes to speaking about others or voicing our opinion about them, we need to be extra careful that we don’t mislead anyone. Speaking thoughtlessly, or on hearsay, amounts to slander about which we have been warned strictly. Allah Says:
And those who abuse believing men and women, when they have not merited it, bear the weight of slander and clear wrongdoing. (Ahzaab33:58)

Giving the benefit of doubt – Attributing positive motives to others’ actions


It would help to keep away form slander if we could cultivate the habit of thinking well of others so that even when we hear something negative about them we don’t just get carried away by it but try to see what could have gone wrong. Attributing positive motives to others’ actions helps in understanding them better. Let us also remind ourselves whenever we attempt to judge others, that no one is perfect. We too have our own drawbacks which we wouldn’t like being mentioned or discussed. Hence fairness requires that we do unto others what we expect them to do to us. Moreover, we’ve been assured protection and covering of our faults by Allah the Most Merciful on the Day of Judgment, if we’ve been careful to cover the faults of a Muslim brother / sister here on earth.

Expressing gratitude to others


Expressing gratitude for favors done and help rendered is not only the basic requirement of social etiquette but has far reaching effects. It strengthens our relationship and adds warmth to it. On the other hand, taking others for granted, however close the relationship might be, causes disappointment and conveys the impression that we don’t know how to value people, that we just know how to use them! Thanks and appreciation expressed sincerely with a smile gives off a bright glow which is felt by the heart.

Smiling at others is charity

Allah All Knowing considers smiling at others a charity. We know very well what a smile can convey – absence of ill feeling, acceptance, warmth, and the willingness to share our time or space. Let us not be miserly about brightening our face with a cheerful smile.

Visiting the sick


Great merit has been attached to the act of visiting the sick. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) showed concern for a (Jewish) woman who’d throw waste on him whenever he passed her house. The day she failed to throw it, he enquired about her and came to know that she was sick. He tended to her through her sickness and when she recovered she instantly accepted Islam, seeing what character it develops in its followers.

Being kind, gentle, caring and concerned

The prophet (p.b.u.h) has given us excellent examples in forgiveness, kindness and tenderness. An old woman who intended to leave Makkah since she did not like the idea of a new religion being preached by a young man named “Muhammad” didn’t realize that he was the one helping her by carrying her belongings and accompanying her till the outskirts of the city. Complaining all the way about a new faith being preached, which required giving up old customs and practices, she finally asked the Prophet his name just before parting. On coming to know that this was the man on account of whom she was about to leave Makkah, she not only retraced her steps and changed her decision of leaving, but also accepted Islam seeing its exemplary representative and a living ideal!

Conclusion

Bad habits picked up over the years in dealing with people can sometimes be difficult to let go and may not even seem that bad. However, we need to strive in changing the undesirable so our families, friends, peers, and others can see the better of us.

Source