A beautiful piece of advice:
It is narrated that Imam Hussain (as), grandson of the Holy Prophet (saw), said to a man who was backbiting another before him,
‘O you, stop backbiting, for it is the daily meal of the dogs of Hell.’
A person asked Allah’s Messenger (may peace and blessings be upon him) who among Muslims were better. Upon this (the Holy Prophet) remarked: One from whose hand and tongue, Muslims are safe.
Are others safe from your words (back-biting, comments, sarcasm, hurtful jokes, fitnah, etc) and your deeds (retaliation, plotting, etc)?
Angels stand by your side, recording your words. It is better to be silent than to comment. “Speak good, or else be silent,” says Rasulullah (saw). Busy yourself with finding your own faults, and you shall have little time to comment on others.
Angels stand by your side, recording your deeds. It is better to forgive than to retaliate. Busy yourself with seeking forgiveness for your own soul, and you shall have little time to plot revenge or to ponder about the deeds of others.
When others are safe from your words and deeds, it means that YOU are now safe from words and deeds that will destroy YOURSELF on Judgement Day. On that Day, Man will regret what evil he has said and done. He will be filled with relief, for all the evil which was NOT said and done. So restrain yourself, for your own good.
Will you not then take heed?
Ponder and practice.
Rasulullah S.A.W said, “An intelligent person is one who is constantly thinking about and preparing for death.”
Think about it. How does one prepare for death?
1) By seeking knowledge of Islam. So study about Allah, his Prophet, of good deeds and evil deeds. But knowledge itself is useless without…
2) Practising it. Perform good deeds, small or big, and avoid all evil deeds. But all performance is useless unless you are…..
3) Sincere (Ikhlas). To do lillahi ta’ala. But you will never achieve sincerity, as long as you do not have…
4) True Faith (Iman). You must
truly believe in Allah,
truly be in awe of Allah,
truly depend and ask only from Allah,
truly hope from Allah,
truly fear Allah,
truly put your trust in Allah.
But such faith does not come from reading books or talking about Islam or listening to fiery speeches about Islam; it comes from…
5) Striving hard in Allah’s path (Jihad). This does not mean going around trying to convert the world to Islam; it does not mean waving a sword at disbelievers showing them the ‘terror’ that Islam can inflict. It means fighting hard to cleanse the evil in yourselves –
the lack of faith,
the blindness of the heart,
the backbiting and
all the terrible sins that we do day after day, year after year until death comes a calling.
That is jihad. As you can see, this is a full-time job, that will take all your life to complete. But you will never start to strive for all this until you begin to…
6) Realize …
Realize that you will die soon.
Realize that you will be shown all your deeds (good and bad) on Judgement Day.
Realize that Allah watches you all your life and that no deed escapes His repayment.
Realize that money, and fame, and property cannot buy your way out of Hell.
Realize that only iman and good deeds can.
Realize that you live only once.
Realize that you are responsible for yourself.
Realize that in the end, you are the one who will gain or lose.
So many people have realized, and have studied Islam, and yet have gone astray – becoming terrorists, extremists, and fundamentalists. Why?
They have forgotten the most important thing in Islam. Which is that…….
7) Islam is about YOURSELF. Correcting YOURSELF. Cleansing YOURSELF. Not about fighting with people or proving other people wrong.
In the grave, you will be asked about YOURSELF.
What YOU did.
What YOU said.
What was YOUR intention?
Then Allah will tell YOU, what is YOUR final destination is.
“And do not be as those who forget Allah, then Allah makes them forget about themselves….”Al-Qur’an.
Have you thought of yourself lately? For every man who forgets about himself lands in Hell.
Evil (sins and disobedience to Allah) has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned (by oppression and evil deeds), that He (Allah) may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return (by repenting to Allah and begging His Pardon). (Ar-Rum; 30 – 41)
Man has been paying the cost of the damage he has inflicted on his surroundings and nature for centuries. Passion for more money, sloth, and irresponsibility have made the man blind to the fact that he is part of his natural environment and that the damage he causes will inevitably affect him. The development of environmental consciousness in man, as a result of damage of his own doing, is a recent phenomenon, after 1970.
The reference made in the Qur’an to the corruption caused by man in land and sea, which was revealed at a time when environmental awareness cannot be said to have existed, offers a lesson.
We translate the Arabic word “bahr” as “sea” (However, it may also designate a large lake, reservoir, inland sea, waterway, etc.). We are advised not to dispose of nature’s bounties as we like, otherwise, we shall have to pay for it. We are also informed that the damage caused by man to his environment will also affect the land and sea beyond his reach.
Therefore, nobody is allowed to say, “I am on my own. No one can meddle with what I do.” Nature is our common heritage and it is everybody’s duty to contribute to checking its transgression.
The industrial revolution in the 19th century greatly contributed to the growth of pollution. It is, however, incorrect to say that this was the beginning of environmental pollution, which has been going on since ancient times. What is new, however, is the development of ecology and ecological consciousness. To begin with, the burning down of forests has been going on for ages. The forest fire was the principal cause of such diseases as anthracosis that man often suffered. These pyromaniacs had certainly no inkling of what they were perpetrating with their own hands.
During the Middle Ages, environmental pollution seems to have been an important problem. In the England of 1345, people who tossed feces out of their windows were fined two shillings. In the 12th century, Philippe Auguste of France was the first king to ordain the collection of abominable waste littering the streets of the city. The public who disposed of their waste by channeling it into waterways polluted the springs they drank from. The first law on pollution that we know about was passed in 1388 by the British parliament; this law prohibited the throwing of waste into the streets and waterways. Transgressors were to be reported by the people residing in the precincts to the private secretary to the king. Only after it reached extraordinary proportions was the pollution made the subject of the law.
The situation became even graver during the industrialization period in the 19th century. Metallurgy and iron and steel works polluted the land, water, and air. This is reflected in the novels of Charles Dickens and the writings of Friedrich Engels that describe the pollution in London. In 1930, 63 people died of pollution in the Mosa Valley in Belgium. The situation in London, in 1952, was even more serious. Four thousand died of upper respiratory tract diseases because of man’s ravages of nature.
The situation at present is hardly any rosier. There may not be such mass mortality, but according to the World Health Organization, more than one billion people are under threat from pollution. It is impossible to evaluate the degree of damage the public has suffered from throwing garbage and waste into the sea. This habit is still going on. Sea pollution that threatens marine fauna and flora, and the settlement in their tissues of noxious substances, is thought to be the cause of many illnesses, including cancer. Carbon dioxide emissions from cars and factories also contribute to the so-called “greenhouse” effect, and it is feared that drastic changes in global climate are causing catastrophic disasters.
Environmental pollution is one of the greatest dangers for humankind. This reference to pollution in the Qur’an at a time when there was no environmental awareness is remarkably interesting. The Qur’an was not penned like books that are products of the human mind under the influence of social and sociological realities in due consideration of the current issues. It was sent by God, Lord of all times and beings. Knowledge unavailable at the time of its revelation, problems of the past and of the future, are all present in the Qur’an.
Man is the author of his own destruction. The verse serves as a warning to redress his wrongdoings. The more we expand efforts to counteract our past shortcomings, the better we can protect ourselves against catastrophes. Ecology must be our common concern.
IT’s a commonly witnessed trend at weddings and parties: impatient haste in scurrying to the tables laden with food, jostling and shoving, spilling food while bringing it to the plate, piling the latter high with meat and rice, eating it at a speed that would render the already spice- and oil-rich food difficult to digest, and forcefully filling up children’s plates with much more than they can possibly consume.
Among ladies, it is common to withhold mutual envy and fierce competitiveness in couture, footwear, and jewelry. Be it a Qur’an lecture, religious gathering, or an Eid party, the expensive dresses are taken out and matched meticulously with jewelry and sandals; make-up is applied and the hair is coiffed, in order to try to outshine the rest and get the most compliments.
“O children of Adam! …eat and drink, but do not waste by extravagance; certainly, He (Allah) does not like those who waste!” (Qur’an, 7:31)
Allah has granted us countless blessings, telling us to enjoy them in this world: an inexhaustible variety of food, clothing, jewels, and dwelling; His one condition for using these blessings is, however, that we do not commit excess or go to extremes in our enjoyment.
It is difficult to put an exact definition to what is ‘excess’ or ‘extravagance’ in our daily life – because the concept is relative. What might be too expensive for one family, might be a normal standard for another, depending on income and familial heritage. For example, a country’s elite may consider a certain type of car ordinary, but for a family residing in the slums, the same car would be the epitome of luxury and fortune. Extravagance, therefore, lies in a person’s heart; it depends on their intention for using or acquiring that blessing.
To check if you’re extravagant in life, ask yourself these questions:
• Would you buy a dress, pair of shoes, a tech gadget, a piece of crockery, or an item of furniture if you knew that no one would see it or praise it? The answer will determine if you are spending for your own pleasure or as a show-off.
• When someone comes over for a visit, do you frantically rush out to buy certain pricy food items to serve your guests, which you normally won’t yourself?
• When you attend a social gathering, do you feel jealous of other’s pricy acquisitions and accessories? Do you keenly take interest in the dress and decor, vying to get the same for yourself as soon as possible?
• Do you buy anything on a mere whim, exhausting your monthly budget and leaving your cash supply dwindled for the rest of the month?
• At the end of a meal, do you throw away an amount of food or drink that could easily have filled a person’s stomach?
• When making friends, do you give precedence to looks, social status, income level, educational background, residential location, and profession? Do you socialize on the basis of their couture choices, clientele exclusivity, elitist mindset, and corporate reputation?
All the above questions, when answered honestly, will tell you whether you are really prone to extravagance, pomp, and show-off. Here are a few desires that drive the urge to be extravagant:
• Desire to outshine others;
• Desire for fame and emulation; to be praised publicly;
• Desire to be seen as unique and exclusive in personal fashion choices;
• Fear of being upstaged by someone else, of being ostracized or downgraded;
Is there a remedy?
The remedy for extravagance lies in truly following the Deen of Islam. It takes time to change one’s wasteful habits, but for starters, you can undertake the following steps toward balanced spending:
• Gain knowledge of Islam, by studying the Qur’an and Sunnah, with the intention of acting upon it;
• Curb a desire when it is created in your heart. The best remedy for desires of the nafs (self) is to nip them in the bud – Allah has Himself endorsed this by obligating us to fast for a month and give Zakah every year;
• Supplicate earnestly to Allah to cleanse your heart from desires and from the love of this world;
Last but not least, keep reminding yourself that there is just ‘one place where eternal and euphoric happiness of blessings can be truly enjoyed, and that is Paradise.
“…(and they will be told:) “Eat and drink comfortably for what you used to do (in life)!” (Qur’an, 77:43)
Let’s listen to this story narrated by Abu Mas’ood Al-Badri, a Companion of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): I was beating a slave of mine with a whip, then I heard a voice behind me saying, “Remember, Abu Mas’ood!” I did not recognize the voice because I was so angry, but when he drew close to me I saw that it was the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), and he was saying, “Remember, Abu Mas’ood; remember, Abu Mas’ood!” I threw the whip aside and he said, “Remember, Abu Mas’ood, that Allah has more power over you than you have over this slave.”
I said, “I will never beat another slave again.” And saying this, he set the slave free for the sake of Allah. At this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If you had not done so, you would have been touched by the Fire.” (Sahih Muslim)
My eyes were pricked with tears when I read this Hadith. No less marvelous than the soft, yet effective admonition of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is the soft-heartedness and sincerity of the Companion. Subhan Allah! He narrated this incident in spite of the fact that it showed him in a bad light so that future generations would record the teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him), learn from his mistake, and remember to be mindful of their Lord in similar situations.
Yet, little do we remember!
Horrific incidents of the physical abuse of maids surface with depressing regularity in national newspapers and are featured in the international media, evoking widespread outrage and dismay, and in certain cases, play right into the hands of biased media outlets trying to tar Islam and Muslims with the brush of ‘barbarism’.
The fact is, the Prophet (peace be upon him) not only taught us to honor the rights of servants through the verses of the Qur’an and his personal actions and words during his lifetime, he strenuously urged Muslims to do so even with his last breath! He emphasized the kind treatment of servants to such an extent that it is reported by Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) that the last words spoken by the Prophet at the time of his death were, “The prayer! The prayer! Fear Allah concerning your slaves and servants!” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari)
The early Muslims took these words to heart and followed them to a T. Thus, we have records like that of Al-Ma’roor Bin Suwayd, who said, “I saw Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) wearing a hullah (a suit of two garments) and his slave was wearing something similar. I asked him about that and he said that he had insulted a man in the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) by saying disparaging words about his mother. The man went to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and told him about that, and the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “You are a man who still has something of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic period of Ignorance) in you. They are your brothers and servants whom Allah has placed under your authority. Anyone who has his brother under his authority, let him feed him the same food as he eats and dresses him in the same clothes as he wears, do not overwhelm them with work and if you give them work to do, then help them with it.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
In his exegesis in the book ‘Fath Al-Bari’, Al-Hafiz ibn Hajar said, “This Hadith shows that it is forbidden to insult slaves or speak disparagingly of those who bore them. We are enjoined to treat them well and be kind to them. Although it speaks of slaves, this includes employees and other workers. It also shows that we should not feel superior to another Muslim or look down on him.”
Yet, little do we remember!
Similarly, the successors of the early Muslims were mindful of these rights. There is an account of the righteous Caliph Umar Bin Abdul Aziz who was attended to by a slave, who fanned him as he slept. After a while, the slave was overcome by sleep and dozed off. When the Caliph awoke and realized that she was sleeping, he took the fan from her hand and fanned her so she would feel cool. When she awoke, she saw that he had the fan and was taken aback and expressed surprise at his action. He said, “You are a human-like me, and the heat affects you just as it affects me.”
Another of the early Muslims once became severely angry with his slave and was about to punish him when the slave said, quoting a verse from the Qur’an: “[Allah has praised] those who repress their anger.” The man said: “I have repressed my anger.” The slave said: “[Allah has praised] those who pardon others.” The man said, “I have pardoned you.” The servant said, “Allah loves those who do Ihsan (excellent deeds).” Thereupon the man said, “You can go now, you are free for the sake of Allah.”
It is a sorry reflection of the state of our faith and the hardness of our hearts that in spite of regularly receiving admonitions in this regard, and even warnings of the awful retribution of neglecting these obligations, we continue unabated. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah says: ‘There are three whose opponent I will be on the Day of Resurrection: a man who makes a promise in My name then breaks his word, a man who sells a free man and consumes his price, and a man who employs another and benefits from him (his labor), then does not give him his wages.’”
Yet, little do we remember!
Food and dress similar to what one wears, payment of agreed-upon wages before “the sweat of his efforts dries” , not being taxed with work beyond capacity and most of all – forgiveness and leniency with their mistakes and kind treatment – are the fundamental rights of servants in Islam, enjoined upon the Muslims in numerous well-known narrations of the Prophet.
. “Food and dress are the right of the slave and he should not be assigned to the task which may be beyond his capacity.”
. “They are your brothers (the slaves and servants). Allah has placed them under your authority. So he who has a brother under him should feed him and clothe him as he himself does, and should not take from him any work that is beyond his power. If he does tell him to do such work then he should also join in it – (and help him).”
. “When your slave or servant prepares food for you and lays it for you – while he has suffered the inconvenience of heat and smoke when cooking – you should ask him to sit down and share the meal. If the food is in a small quantity (and cannot suffice) at least give him a morsel or two therefrom (at least a little).”
. Once a person came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and asked, “O Prophet of Allah! To what extent should we forgive the mistakes and faults of our slaves and servants?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) remained silent whereupon the man repeated this question. The Prophet (peace be upon him) again remained silent and when the man asked for the third time, he replied “Seventy times a day.”
. “Whoever beats a slave or servant unjustly, revenge will be taken from him on the Day of Judgment.”
When we send salutations upon the Prophet (peace be upon him), we testify that he conveyed the message, fulfilled the trust, advised the Ummah (Muslim nation) sincerely, and strove in (the religion of) Allah as much as is due.
Now, the onus is on us to follow suit.
– By Rahla KhanI
[ALLAH’S Quran – 33:41 ] “O YOU who have attained to faith! Remember God with unceasing remembrance,”
The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) has said:
[Muslim – Book #003, Hadith #0724] “’A’isha said: The Apostle of ALLAH (may peace be upon him) used to remember ALLAH at all moments.”
[Bukhari – Book #76, Hadith #486] “Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said ALLAH will give shade to seven (types of people) under His Shade (on the Day of Resurrection). (one of them will be) a person who remembers ALLAH and his eyes are then flooded with tears.”
[Bukhari – Book #93, Hadith #502] “Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “ALLAH says: ‘I am just as My slave thinks I am, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him) and I am with him if He remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group that is better than they; and if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.”
[Muslim – Book #035, Hadith #6471] “Abu Huraira reported ALLAH’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying that ALLAH, the Exalted and Glorious, thus stated: I am near to the thought of My servant as he thinks about Me, and I am with him as he remembers Me. And if he remembers Me in his heart, I also remember him in My Heart, and if he remembers Me in the assembly I remember him in assembly, better than his (remembrance), and if he draws near Me by the span of a palm, I draw near him by the cubit, and if he draws near Me by the cubit I draw near him by the space (covered by) two hands. And if he walks towards Me, I rush towards him.”