The Prophet of Mercy…(3)


SACRIFICE OF THE LAMB

 

Just as the Prophet (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam.), and his companions landed from their rides, and laid the loads down, it was decided that they would sacrifice a lamb for dinner.

One of the companions volunteered: “I will sacrifice the lamb.”

Another: “I will skin it.”

Third: “I will cook it.”

Fourth: ” I will….”

The Prophet (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam.): “I will gather the wood from the desert.”

The group: “O Messenger of Allah, it is not becoming of you to discomfort yourself as such. You rest. We will be honored to do all this on our own.”

The Prophet (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam.): “I know that you are eager to do it all, but Allah isn’t pleased with the slave who distinguishes between himself and his companions, and considers himself better than others.”

Then he went to the desert, and gathered some wood, and brought it to the group.

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “No one who has the weight of a seed of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” Someone said, “But a man loves to have beautiful clothes and shoes.” The Prophet said, “Verily, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.

Source: Sahih Muslim 91

“A spoonful of humility a day, keeps the ego away.”  Well, it’s not the original saying, but it sends a clear message.  Truly realizing the benefits of being humble can assist us in achieving success not only in this life, but also in the hereafter.

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, to be humble is to not be proud, arrogant, or assertive.  In Arabic, tawaada (humility) literally means to lower one’s self or to submit.  Taking these definitions together and adding the characteristic of humility as relayed in Qur’anic verses and Prophetic examples, we begin to have a richer understanding of its importance and practical applications.

Three Degrees of Humility

Humility can be understood in relation to three important entities:

1) Humility before Allah – Exalted is He.

2) Humility in relation to the deen (religion).

3) Humility with Allah’s creation.

When analyzed in terms of these relations, we can begin to implement the characteristic of humility in all aspects of our lives: in our worship, in our understanding and attitude towards our deen, and in our interactions with Allah’s creation (such as people, animals and the earth).

Humility with Allah – Exalted is He

When we are humble in front of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He), we understand that He is our Creator, the One who supplies all of our sustenance with no might or effort from His creation.  It is only when we submit ourselves to the Might and Glory of Allah that we are able to understand how to be humble.  This cyclical process helps us to perpetuate the feeling of humility.

Ponder for a moment the blessings in your life: family, guidance from Allah, wealth, talents, health, etc.  If one is disillusioned by his own personal efforts made towards attaining any of his blessings, how can he attain humility before Allah? Take for example one who is wealthy.  He may attribute his hard work in school, his long hours at the start of his business, and his proficient networking skills to his success.  Yet, he forgot that Allah (swt) gave him the opportunity to attend a good school, facilitated for him the ability to study, gave his family patience while he was busy with his business, and finally bestowed him with the gift of persuasive communication.

And what if that same businessman refused to give zakat (alms tax) because he felt that others should work as hard as he did so that they wouldn’t need zakat? Regardless of our level of wealth, we must remember the saying of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as narrated by Abu Hurairah: “Wealth does not decrease due to charity, and Allah increases His slave in honor when he forgives others.  And no one humbles himself before Allah but Allah will raise him in status.”

This act of humility in front of our Creator necessitates our complete submission to Him.  To follow His commandments and avoid His prohibitions requires us to understand our lower position of weakness and helplessness in relation to our Lord.

 We should also be wary of those who come up with their own interpretation of the Qur’an with no reference to its context or without any scholarly research to say, “This is what this ayah (verse) means to me.”  To do so would be to follow the zaygh (perversion in our heart), as mentioned in the following ayaat:

He is the One Who has revealed to you the Book. Some of its verses are decisive – they are the foundation of the Book – while others are allegorical. Those whose hearts are infected with perversion follow the allegorical part to mislead others and to give it their own interpretation, seeking for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. Those who are well grounded in knowledge say: “We believe in it; it is all from our Lord.” None will take heed except the people of understanding.(Qur’an 3:7)

Remember what Moses said to his people: “O my people! Why do you vex me while you know that I am the apostle of Allah sent to you?” Then when they adopted perverseness, Allah let their hearts be perverted. Allah does not guide those who are transgressors.” (Qur’an 61:5)

Humility in understanding the deen compels us to see a gap in our understanding when we approach a matter we are not “comfortable” with, as opposed to a fault in the way of life as Allah (swt) has prescribed for us.

Humility with Allah’s Creation

Applying the principle of humility with Allah’s creation would have profound effects on the way the world operated if we all adopted this characteristic.  Imagine if we did not judge others, we felt compassion towards humanity, and we helped all of those around us (our parents, spouses, children, community, etc).  We could achieve these admirable feats if we were to contemplate and exhibit humility.  Not only would we treat others with respect, but we would also treat animals kindly and give them their due rights whether they are a work animal, a stray, or a pet.  Furthermore, if we humbled ourself and understood that this world does not belong to us, then we would be more conscientious about water conservation, recycling, and pollution reduction efforts.

Unfortunately, the tendency to develop the very opposite characteristic, arrogance, occurs for many reasons.  Perhaps we are more beautiful, intelligent, or have some position of power or authority, for example.  If we were to reflect on the first type of humility with Allah (swt), we would remember that these gifts are only possible by the Mercy of The Creator.  Imagine one who has studied Islam and has received many certifications and degrees in the field.  When she sees others, does she look down on them since they do not possess the same level of knowledge in that area? Or does she instead, look to her own faults and sees others for the qualities they possess that are greater than hers?  Allah tells us to take the second course of action:

And do not turn your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah does not like any arrogant boaster. (Qur’an 31:18)

We are also reminded in the Qur’an that what Allah cares for most, above social status, power, beauty, or wealth, is taqwa (God-consciousness):

Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. (Qur’an 49:13)

We should reflect on our inner thoughts and align them with teachings of humility in Islam so that we may be successful in the eyes of Allah (swt). May Allah make us humble and may He be pleased with us.  Ameen.

 

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The Prophet of Mercy… (1)


1. The Garbage Thrower: (a heart touching story)

 

She thought till late at midnight and finally decided how to take revenge from him. She could not sleep all night, because she was too eager to take revenge for the idols she worshiped. Even before the first ray of sunlight had entered her window, she was busy sweeping her house. She saved all the garbage in a basket, placed it on the roof of her house and proudly looked at it for a while, then with an impatient look on her face, she looked at the street that she lived on, and thought, “No one has ever seen him angry. Everybody will praise me when they will see him shouting at me and getting mad. They will laugh at him and make fun of him.” She looked at the basket again and grinned.

 

Meanwhile, she heard footsteps, announcing the approach of the end of her waiting. “Finally my prey has arrived,” she thought, as she saw a man dressed in clean, white clothes coming that way. She picked up the basket in her hands and threw all the garbage on him when he passed by. Much to the woman’s disappointment, he did not say anything and continued on his way.

 

She did the same the following day thinking, “Maybe this time I will be able to annoy him.” But he was too gentle to shout at a woman. She misinterpreted his attitude as fear and decided to repeat the same mischief everyday in order to keep him frightened, so that he might stop preaching the Oneness of God.

 

This gentleman whom the woman hated so much was Muhammad (pbuh), the last prophet of Allah Almighty. He did not want to disappoint the woman and so continued to walk down the street everyday, instead of picking an alternate route, and prayed for the woman to recognize the Truth.

 

One day, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not find the woman to be on the roof of her house with the basket. This worried him, because he thought something must have happened to her for not being over there. So he knocked at the door. “Who is it?” asked a feeble voice. “Muhammad bin Abdullah,” was the reply, “can I come in?” The woman feared, “I am sick, and too weak to fight or talk back, therefore Muhammad has come to take revenge for what I have been doing to him.” But the permission to enter her house was in such a gentle voice that she allowed him in.

 

Muhammad (pbuh) entered the house and told the woman that not finding her on the roof had worried him and he thus wanted to inquire about her health. On finding out how ill she was, he gently asked if she needed any help. Hypnotized by the affectionate tone in the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) blessed voice, she forgot all fear and asked for some water. He kindly gave her some in a utensil and prayed for her health, while she quenched her thirst. This made her feel very guilty for being so cruel to him in the past and she apologized for her mean behavior. He forgave her and came to her house everyday to clean it, to feed her and to pray for her, till she was on her feet again. The kind attitude of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) inspired her into the recognition of the Truth, and his prayers were answered in the form of yet another addition into the growing number of Muslims.

Allah tells us in a Hadith Qudsi (sacred narration of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ): “O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you” (Al-Tirmidhi).

Jabir reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The believer is kind and gracious, for there is no goodness in one who is neither kind nor gracious. The best of the people are those who are most beneficial to others.

Source: Mu’jam Al-Awsat 5937

Good Character


This includes suppressing one’s anger, and being gentle and humble. Allah Most High has
said: Surely, you are of tremendous nature, (The Holy Quran: 68/4) and: Those who
suppress their anger, and forgive other people – assuredly, Allah loves those who do good.
(Quran: 3/134)
Bukhari and Muslim relate that Abdullah Ibn Amr (May Allah be pleased with you) said,
“The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Was Salaam) was never immoderate or
obscene. He used to say, ‘Among those who are most beloved to me are those who have
the finest character.'”
They also narrate that Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) said, “Never was the
Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Was Salaam) given the choice between two things
without choosing the easier of them, as long as it entailed no sin. If it did entail sin, he was
of all people the most remote from it. Never did he seek revenge for something done
against himself; but when the sanctity of Allah was challenged, he would take vengeance
for His sake alone.”
The meaning of good character is the inclination of the soul towards gentle and
praiseworthy acts. This may take place in one’s personal actions for Allah Most High, or
in actions which involve other people. In the former case, the slave of Allah has an open
and welcoming heart for His commandments and prohibitions, and does what He has
imposed on him happily and easily, and abstains from the things which He has forbidden
him with full contentment, and without the least dissatisfaction. He likes to perform optional
good acts, and abstains from many permitted things for the sake of Allah Most High
whenever he decides that to abstain in that way would be closer to perfect slavehood to
Him. This he does with a contented heart, and without feeling any resentment or hardship.
When he deals with other people, he is tolerant when claiming what is his right, and does
not ask for anything which is not; but he discharges all the duties which he has towards
others. When he falls ill or returns from a trip, and no-one visits him, or when he gives a
greeting which is not returned, or when he is a guest but is not honored, or intercedes but
is not responded to, or does a good turn for which he is not thanked, or joins a group of
people who do not make room for him to sit, or speaks and is not listened to, or asks
permission of a friend to enter, and is not granted it, or proposes to a woman, and is not
allowed to marry her, or ask for more time to repay a debt, but is not given more time, or
asks for it to be reduced, but is not permitted this, and all similar cases, he does not grow
angry, or seek to punish people, or feel within himself that he has been snubbed, or
ignored; neither does he try to retaliate with the same treatment when able to do so, but
instead tells himself that he does not mind any of these things, and responds to each one
of them with something which is better, and closer to goodness and piety, and is more
praiseworthy and pleasing. He remembers to carry out his duties to others just as he
remembers their duties towards himself, so that when one of his Muslim brethren falls ill he
visits him, if he is asked to intercede, he does so, if he is asked for a respite in repaying a
debt he agrees, and if someone needs assistance he gives it, and if someone asks for
favorable terms in a sale, he consents, all without looking to see how the other person had
dealt with him in the past, and to find out how other people behave. Instead, he makes
“what is better” the imam of his soul, and obeys it completely.
Good character may be something which a man is born with, or it may be acquired.
However, it may only be acquired from someone who has it more firmly rooted in his
nature than his own. It is well known that a man of sensible opinion can become even
more sensible by keeping the company of intelligent and sensible people, and that a
learned or a righteous man can learn even more by sitting with other people of learning or
righteousness; therefore it cannot be denied that a man of beautiful character may acquire
an even more beautiful character by being with people whose characters are superior to
his own.
And Allah Ta’ala gives success!
By: Imam Al-Bayhaqi

Why Am I Still Not Married


by S Farooq

I remember the chagrin and inner turmoil of being single and hopeful of marriage, back during my early twenties!

 

Even after almost a decade of marriage, I still vividly remember the constant roller-coaster of emotions that the heart experiences every time a marriage proposal is negotiated.

 

One thinks: Is this the one?

 

Will this family/person be my future spouse/in-laws?

 

Sometimes the marriage negotiation process painstakingly goes on for months, only to culminate in nothing. Up go one’s dreams, hopes and aspirations about the future into thin air! Once again, it is back to square one.

 

Whether a young, single Muslim is a man or woman, if they are ardently desirous of completing half their Deen, the anguish and frustration (including sexual angst) they feel whenever another year of their life passes by without any impending nuptials on the horizon is, contrary to gender-discriminating cultural myths, similarly disconcerting and unnerving.

 

Wherever in the world they might be, as the years pass and the number of fruitless marriage proposals grows, the singleton might begin to feel despondent and worn down by this trial of patience in their quest of completing half their Deen.

 

So what should one tell a young forlorn wannabe bride or groom when they justifiably ask: “Why am I still unmarried?”

 

First of All: There Is Nothing Wrong with You!

 

Although self-confidence is, admittedly, an effective catalyst in finding a spouse, believe me when I tell you that you are not ugly, weird, unattractive, or unworthy of marriage! Allah Ta’ala created the beautiful, unique you, and if He decrees it, someone out there will agree to marry you just the way you are.

 

So do not despair of Allah’s mercy, and remain positive that someone out there will like you and agree to marry you, insha’Allah. Even if you begin to believe that being short, overweight, shy or acne-skinned is a negative thing going against your favor in the marriage market, it is not, because a certain criteria of looks or education is not a pre-requisite for marriage, contrary to what older people might say.

 

Look around you at recently married or even older couples. Are all of them very good looking? Don’t both of the partners seem to have at least one physical defect or blemish? Does everyone you know in your social circle, who recently got married, look like they stepped off a fashion runway?

 

You will find a wide variety of “real couples” who break every stereotype in the book (and please, refrain from looking at celebrity couples and famous people!): husbands who are shorter than their wives; wives who are older than their husbands; cross-cultural marriages that are refreshingly functional; infertile couples who are very happily married; men who are in love with their plus-size or dark-skinned wives; wives who are more educated than their husbands; the list is endless.

 

Never let others make you feel that if you are thirty-something and still not married, it is because either there is something wrong with you, or because Allah Ta’ala has decreed for you to forever remain single.

 

Divine Wisdom behind Perceived “Delays” in Marriage

 

In a world that is increasingly pressurizing everyone, from babies and children to adults, to achieve their personal milestones in life as early as possible, a righteous and single Muslim who is in his or her late twenties, thirties or forties might find themselves the target of unwarranted social stigmatization and cruel speculation:

 

“Why doesn’t anyone take a liking to her? Do you think she intimidates suitors because she is over-educated?”

 

“Do you think there is magic involved? Should we visit a spiritual specialist to find out?”

 

“Maybe he is socially awkward? Or could it be that big bald spot on his head that chases proposals away?”

 

Unless a single person is outright opposed to the idea of marriage for personal reasons, most of us tend to forget the natural law/principle that applies universally: everyone is different, and they come into this world with a different, unique, preordained decree.

 

So, while most young people, Muslim or not, are able to find a spouse and get married in their teens or twenties, there is no unspoken or written rule that lays down a certain prerequisite age-range for the union, beyond which it supposedly becomes impossible for a person to marry, and be written off as “off the market”.

 

Marriage can take place at any age in life, even at 50 or 60, as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and many of his companions practically demonstrated.

 

It is also a fact that marriage will not happen within the first 2 or 3 decades of life for every one of us. So we should give more leeway and refrain from making blanket, generalized statements about our older, single brothers and sisters.

 

Becoming Mature and Responsible Enough First

 

It is not that Allah Ta’ala is not answering your du’as. Maybe He has already accepted your du’as for marriage with a righteous person, but it will actually happen practically after a few more years, when it is best and easiest for you to enter this sacred union with that person.

 

One of the main reasons why Allah Ta’ala might be delaying your marriage is to reach certain level of physical, intellectual, financial and emotional maturity. He knows everything about you that even you do not know, which is called ‘the Unseen’, or “ghaib” in Arabic.

 

Maybe He knows that were you to marry right now, within three months as you wish to, you will not succeed at married life because you are still too mentally immature, emotionally insecure, or financially unstable.

 

Maybe Allah Ta’ala is actually being kind towards you by delaying your marriage until the time is best – and surely none can know what He knows, for He sees ahead in our hidden futures – so rest assured, it doesn’t matter in the long run if you get married at 25 or 35, as long as it is a happy, productive and loving marriage, to the right person, who becomes your pillar of support in Deen and accelerates your quest for success in the Hereafter.

 

Da’wah Experience and Acquisition of Knowledge

 

There are some blessings and experiences in life that are more time dependent than others to be availed optimally e.g. seeking Islamic knowledge, which is best done in the early years of one’s life, when the brain and memory work better, and a person is more mentally alert and active.

 

Seeking Islamic knowledge can become more difficult after one takes on the responsibilities of marriage on one’s shoulders. This is because your spouse and children have Shar’i rights upon you, because of which you cannot tear yourself away from them for too long in order to devote yourself to seeking and imparting knowledge full-time.

 

Perhaps Allah Ta’ala wants you to seek more knowledge and engage in more active da’wah work before you settle down in married life. These precious years of your youth will never return, and insha’Allah, decades down the road, a more mature and wise you will cherish, like a priceless gem, every year of experience that you acquired in the fields of Islamic knowledge and da’wah before getting married.

 

Perhaps, later on, you might even thank Allah Ta’ala for giving you the free time and opportunity to gain knowledge of Islam before tying the knot, after practically witnessing the numerous benefits of applying that fruitful knowledge to your married life later on.

 

Better than Early Divorce

 

Many young people get married very early, only to get quickly divorced for a variety of reasons, emerging from the whole experience bitter and emotionally hurt, with painful marks on their psyche that take a long time to heal.

 

Many who have a child from such a marriage have to endure acrimonious feuds with their exes over child custody and alimony, and thenceforth face the challenges of being a single parent. They are left with many regrets, many painful memories, and much disdain if not outright hatred towards the institution of marriage in general. It often takes young divorcés several years to heal from their first bad experience, and become mentally ready to get married again.

 

It could be that your being single, which is a painful trial of patience in your eyes, is a blessing in disguise that is acting as a barrier between you and worse calamities and adversities. Perhaps all your earnest du’as for getting married, about which you might be wondering why they are not being answered by God, are actually averting from you graver problems and pitfalls that you are not even aware of.

 

Perhaps your single status is a great blessing, but in a way that only Allah Ta’ala knows, and you know not.

 

So rejoice that you are still single and desirous of getting married; that you are not a bitter divorcé who is sexually frustrated yet adamant about never getting married again!

 

Increase in Humility

 

Do you remember an “alpha” boy or girl in your school or college, who was undeniably good-looking, inexplicably popular, and always in-demand with the opposite gender? Everyone in your class was probably convinced that he or she would be the first to get married, based on the number of proposals that came their way throughout high school and college.

 

I can think of at least two such girls I was acquainted with back in my student days, who were unanimously considered the most desirable for marriage among our lot, and the rest of us girls presumed, sighing with wishful, self-depreciating conviction, that they’d be the first to tie the knot.

 

Yet, that didn’t happen. As the years passed, the bitter disappointment that these ‘alpha’ young women felt about their continuing single status was exacerbated by the fact that many of their peers who were considered apparently less attractive and “worthy” than them got married first, and that too to decent, nice men who kept them happy.

 

The wisdom behind this decree? By the time these good-lookers actually did tie the knot, they were much more humble and less full of themselves. A welcome landing back down on earth! The lesson that we all can learn from this apparent disparity in cause-and-effect.

 

A delay in marriage increases one’s humility, and makes one more down-to-earth and approachable by others. It also ensures that one constantly keeps turning to Allah in earnest du’as – which is something that Allah loves about His slaves!

 

Conclusion: Blessings Received after Hardship Are Cherished More

 

The more one waits for, works hard for, and remains patient for acquiring a blessing, the more one cherishes it after one receives it.

 

The fatally ill person who gets miraculously cured will live cautiously once he becomes healthy. The pauper will spend his money wisely once he becomes wealthy. The child deprived of education will value knowledge more when he grows up. So, too, will the older single person cherish their marriage, spouse and children more, once they get married.

 

And by then these precious blessings will be so much more worth the wait!

Source: Muslimvillage.com,islaaminfo.co.za