بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
So, there I was walking towards my building (I live in an apartment), having just returned from a class.
We have two parking lots that we use – a small one right in front of the building and a large one that is beyond that. Both of the parking lots are separated by a small road.
I had parked in the large one as the small one was full. I reached the side of the small road (it has 2 lanes) and waited for it to clear (it’s usually busy) so that I could cross over to the small parking lot (which I need to then cross in order to get to my building).
Right around this time, something very horrible happened.
I use a large folder (with multiple packets) for all my class notes. It’s one of those that can be carried around like a briefcase.
In the past, I’ve had two instances where the contents poured out of it (because it’s stuffed). Alhamdulillah, that had happened in a safe place, and at a time when there was no wind, so I had no problem picking up my papers.
Today, it decided to do it again – by the side of the road.
I watched in horror as the folder opened and the contents poured out on the road – and flew to the other side of the road!
I was in complete shock. My heart sunk, my blood pressure dropped and I completely froze.
[Yeah, I know I should have done dua (supplication) but my mind went blank.]
I didn’t know what to do. Both my hands were full and I saw a car coming towards me (he was driving on my side of the road).
I quickly grabbed some of the papers that were close to me. That was about all I could do because I already had so many things in my hands.
Meanwhile, the guy in the car (actually, it turned out to be a DHL van) stopped and put on his indicator. This meant that nobody could drive over my papers from that side of the road.
He walked over and picked up all my papers for me.
Meanwhile, there was another guy, who had been riding a bicycle on the other side of the road, who started to pick up all the papers on his side (i.e. the side close to my building). I saw him checking underneath the cars (in the small parking lot) because some of the papers had flown that far.
[Alhamdulillah, from what I recall, no cars passed from his side of the road either. So my papers did not get run over.]
I was stunned and very relieved.
I took the papers from the first guy and thanked him. Then I crossed the road and took the papers from the other guy and thanked him as well.
That’s all I could do. And dua for them, of course.
I think I recovered 95%-100% of my papers, alhamdulillah.
Lessons that I learned today:
1) Truly, Allah is Most Merciful and the One who can do all things.
Subhan Allah, when I saw my papers flying away, I thought that was it.
It never occurred to me that I might recover them and that someone (let alone two people) would actually help me.
2) Good Old Fashioned Decency is still alive and well, alhamdulillah.
Between those horrid newspapers and the Grandmas that keep telling us about the “good old days” where everyone was noble and honest, we’ve become negative and jaded. We suspect that every person is some sort of closet criminal.
However, as I saw today and in the past as well, there is still lots of good in people.
[Note: As I’ve always pointed out, goodness is based on tawheed (worshipping Allah alone). Only the one who is upon tawheed (i.e. a Muslim) gets the reward for their deeds, due to the fact that they have a relationship with Allah.
This is the main reason we need to invite people to Islam and to tawheed, so that their good deeds lead to them getting the Mercy of Allah and Paradise.
If someone dies upon a religion other than Islam, there is no forgiveness for them and their good deeds are not accepted. Allah has mentioned this over and over again in the Quran. This post explains more about this issue.]
3) The “little” stuff is important too.
You know, we’re in Ramadan preparation mode now so we think of prayers, fasts, reciting the Quran, giving charity, etc. And all of these are very, very important.
However, I feel that despite all the knowledge that we have about Islam, we sometimes tend to forget about the little stuff.
We forget that prayers and all the other acts of worship should lead us to being more aware of Allah and to taking ourselves into account.
We also forget that this should lead us to doing “little” things like keeping public bathrooms (or whatever you call them) clean, helping old ladies cross the road, helping someone who is carrying a lot of bags, returning people’s pens to them (which we borrow because we forget our own pens!), thanking the cashier when we take our purchased items, not littering, etc.
We always think that the major stuff will get us into Paradise. Well, a prostitute entered Paradise because she helped a dog (here’s the full story). [Obviously she was on tawheed,]
What got her Allah’s Forgiveness? She helped a dog.
Today, if someone did this, people would say “So what?? It’s just a dog!”
Well, the Lord of the Worlds, the Owner of the Day of Judgement, was pleased with her act and that is all that matters.
So, my advice to myself and you: Let’s not forget the little things. They might seem little to us but perhaps these are the deeds that will be accepted from us.
These two men did a great favour for me today. Perhaps it was a little deed from their perspective but it certainly wasn’t from my perspective, given the fact that I have exams for that class coming up.
4) Don’t stuff files.
So, what about you? Did you have any of these “good old-fashioned decency” stories to share? If so, please do!
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
“Could you please move over a bit so I can sit here?”
“What? No way! This is MY place. I came here first. Go find another place!”
Sadly enough, the answer is yes.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمْ تَفَسَّحُوا فِي الْمَجَالِسِ فَافْسَحُوا يَفْسَحِ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ ۖ وَإِذَا قِيلَ انشُزُوا فَانشُزُوا يَرْفَعِ اللَّـهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ
“O you who believe! When you are told to make room in the assemblies, (spread out and) make room. Allah will give you (ample) room (from His Mercy). And when you are told to rise up [for prayers, Jihad (holy fighting in Allah’s Cause), or for any other good deed], rise up. Allah will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge. And Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.” [Surah Al-Mujaadilah (58) : 11]
Alright, one more time then.
“Could you please move over a bit so I can sit here?”
“Sure. Come on over.”
That’s more like it.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Okay, I’ll pick up from where I left off yesterday.
So, the question was why a murderer who applied tawheed would eventually enter Paradise but a kind, generous disbeliever (meaning he did not apply tawheed) would never enter Paradise.
This is an issue that many people cannot understand and I’ll tell you why. It’s because they look at it from their perspective – therefore murder seems worse than shirk.
However, one needs to ask what the worst sin is, in the SIGHT OF ALLAH. Then one can get the correct perspective.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The Month of Righteous Deeds (which are done to earn Allah’s Pleasure)
رب صائم ليس له من صيامه إلا الجوع ورب قائم ليس له من قيامه إلا السهر
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “There are people who fast and get nothing from their fast except hunger, and there are those who pray and get nothing from their prayer but a sleepless night.” [Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadeeth No. 1690. Graded “hasan sahih” by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadeeth No. 1690.]
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I was looking for a hadeeth and just happened to stumble upon this eye-opener:
إذا أتى أحدكم خادمه بطعامه ، فإن لم يجلسه معه ، فليناوله أكلة أو أكلتين ، أو لقمة أو لقمتين ، فإنه ولي حره وعلاجه
Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “When your servant brings your food to you, if you do not ask him to join you, then at least ask him to take one or two handfuls, for he has suffered from its heat (while cooking it) and has taken pains to cook it nicely.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 7, Hadeeth No. 370]
Subhan Allah, this is really something to think about.
For those of you who have servants (not uncommon in this part of the world), ask yourselves:
1) Do you do this? If not, then why not? Is the religion of Islam only about praying and fasting?
2) What’s it like in Ramadan? Is the poor servant just cooking and cooking? And does she at least get to eat the iftar that she cooked?
Oh and this hadeeth is also a great rebuttal of all those losers (i.e. many of the kuffar) out there who have nothing better to do than mock our beloved Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam).
When I read these kind of ahadeeth (i.e. those that point to his excellent character), all I can think is “He is just so sweet.”
And he is, isn’t it?
And if we obey Allah, we can meet this wonderful man on the Last Day at his cistern and drink the water of Kawthar from his hands.
Can it get better than that?
[Well, yes it can, as a matter of fact.]
Who said that the believer is friendly and likeable?
Well, the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) himself.
المؤمن يألف و يؤلف ، و لا خير فيمن لا يألف و لا يؤلف ، و خيرهم أنفعهم للناس
The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “The believer is friendly and likeable* and there is no good in the one who is not friendly nor likeable, and the best of them are the most beneficial to people.” [Saheeh Al-Jaami, Hadeeth No. 6662. Graded “hasan” by Al-Albani. You may check the results from Dorar here.]
[*This can also be translated as “The believer is loving and lovable.”]
So, we need to ask ourselves: “Are we friendly to others? And do we attract others? Or repel them?”
Here’s an article that discusses this hadeeth:
[A little warning: One should not strive to be friendly and likeable for the sake of people, rather it should be done because it will bring us closer to Allah.
And yes, that is difficult to remember which is why we need to keep renewing our intentions.]
The Muslim Is Friendly And Likeable
Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi
The Ideal Muslim
© 1999 IIPH
The Muslim who truly understands the teachings of his religion is gentle, friendly and likeable. He mixes with people and gets along with them. This is something which should be a characteristic of the Muslim who understands that keeping in touch with people and earning their trust is one of the most important duties of the Muslim. It is an effective means of conveying the message of truth to them, and exposing them to its moral values, because people only listen to those whom they like, trust and accept. Hence there are many hadiths which commend the type of person who is friendly and liked by others. Such a person is one of those chosen ones who are beloved by the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and will be closest to him on the Day of Resurrection:
“Shall I not tell you who among you is most beloved to me and will be closest to me on the Day of Resurrection?” He repeated it two or three times, and they said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam).” He said: “Those of you who are the best in attitude and character.” [Reported by Ahmad and its isnad is jayyid] Some reports add: “Those who are down to earth and humble, who get along with others and with whom others feel comfortable.”
One of the attributes of the believer is that he gets along with others and others feel comfortable with him. He likes people and they like him. If he is not like this, then he will not be able to convey the message or achieve anything of significance. Whoever is like that has no goodness in him, as in the hadith:
“The believer gets along with people and they feel comfortable with him. There is no goodness in the one who does not get along with people and with whom they do not feel comfortable. ” [Reported by Ahmad and al-Bazar; the men of Ahmad’s isnad are rijal as-sahih]
The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) set the highest example of good behaviour towards people. He was skilful in softening their hearts and called them to follow him in word and deed. He demonstrated how to reach people’s hearts and win their love and admiration.
He was always cheerful and easy-going, never harsh. When he came to any gathering, he would sit wherever there was a free space, and he told others to do likewise. He treated everyone equally, so that no one who was present in a gathering would feel that anyone else was receiving preferential treatment. If anyone came to him and asked for something, he would give it to them, or at least respond with kind words. His good attitude extended to everyone and he was like a father to them. The people gathered around him were truly equal, distinguished only by their level of taqwa. They were humble, respecting their elders, showing compassion to young ones, giving priority to those in need and taking care of strangers.
The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) never used to disappoint anyone who came to ask from him. There are three characteristics that he did not possess: he was not argumentative, he did not talk too much, and he did not concern himself with matters that were not his business. There are three things that he never did to people: he never criticized any one, he never said “Shame on you!” to anyone, and he never looked for anyone’s faults. He never said anything but that for which he hoped to earn reward. When he spoke, the people around him would listen earnestly, sitting still as if there were birds on their heads. When he was silent, then they would speak. They never argued with one another in his presence. They would smile at whatever he smiled at, and would be impressed by whatever impressed him. He would be patient with a stranger who might be harsh in his requests or questions, and his Companions would ask the stranger to speak gently. He said, “If you see someone in need, then help him.” He never accepted praise except from someone who was thanking him for a favour, and he never cut off anyone who was speaking; he would wait until the person indicated that he had finished, or stood up.
`A’ishah tells us that he used to be cautious of the worst type of people, and he would speak gently to them and treat them well. A man sought permission to enter upon him and he said, “Let him in, what a bad brother of his tribe he is!” When the man came in, he spoke gently to him. `A’ishah said: “O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), you said what you said, then you spoke gently to him.” He (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, “O `A’ishah, the worst of people is the one whom people avoid (or are gentle towards) because they fear his slander.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
The true Muslim follows in the footsteps of his Prophet in his dealings with all people, whether they are good or bad, so that he is liked and accepted by all people.
Why should we have good manners?
Well, I think that the following two ahadeeth will suffice as an explanation:
Abu Ad-Darda (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said:
ما شيء أثقل في ميزان المؤمن يوم القيامة من خلق حسن فإن الله تعالى ليبغض الفاحش البذيء
“Nothing is heavier on the believer’s Scale* on the Day of Judgement than good character. For indeed Allah, the Most High, is angered by the shameless obscene person.” [Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2002. Graded “saheeh” by Al-Albani in Saheeh Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2002.]
[*The scale which weighs the deeds on the Last Day.]
Abu Ad-Darda (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said:
ما من شيء يوضع في الميزان أثقل من حسن الخلق ، وإن صاحب حسن الخلق ليبلغ به درجة صاحب الصوم والصلاة
“Nothing is placed on the Scale that is heavier than good character. Indeed, the person with good character will have attained the rank of the person of fasting and prayer. [Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2003. Graded “saheeh” by Al-Albani in Saheeh Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2003.]
[Note: The “person of fasting and prayer” refers to the person who prays the night prayer and fasts a lot (i.e. outside of Ramadan).]
So many of us keep yowling about how we want to be better worshippers of Allah but have difficulty doing a lot of the hard core acts of worship like praying throughout the night and fasting a lot.
Well okay, what about improving our manners then? According to this hadeeth, this is one way in which we can come closer to Allah.
[Of course, the best thing would be to be a person who prays throughout the night, fasts a lot AND has good manners…]
Important note: The person with good character obviously has to be a person who does their obligatory prayers and fasts properly otherwise they are not going to supersede the one who prays and fasts a lot!
Sadly, far too many people, who do not pray five times a day but have good character, have fooled themselves into thinking that they are better than those who pray but have bad character.
Actually, that’s not the case. The one who prays is better than the one who does not pray, even if the latter is more well-mannered than the former. It’s as simple as that. The well-mannered one who does not pray is not fulfilling the rights of Allah whereas the one who prays but is ill-mannered is not fulfilling the rights of creation.
Obviously, the rights of Allah are more important than the rights of creation.
These two ahadeeth are referring to additional worship. They are also a refutation of those people who do loads of ibaadah (worship) but can’t manage to let ONE nice word come out of their mouths.]
Someone might ask: what is good character exactly?
Well, that would need a detailed explanation. However, there’s a nice narration that summarises it for us:
Abu Wahb narrated that Abdullah ibn Mubarak* explained good characterand then he said:
هو بسط الوجه ، وبذل المعروف ، وكف الأذى
“It is a smiling face, doing one’s best in good and refraining from harm.” [Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2005. Graded “saheehul isnaad” by Al-Albani in Saheeh Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2005.]
[*He was one of the greatest scholars of Islam. You may read a bit of his life story from this nice compilation.]
Want more information on this topic?
1. Some ahadeeth pertaining to manners, righteousness and keeping good relations taken from Silsilah Ahadeeth As-Saheehah of Shaikh Al-Albani (rahimahullah).
2. Islam and good character by Shaikh Muhammad ibn Uthman Al-Anjaree
3. Perfecting one’s character by Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullah)
4. How to acquire good manners by Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen (rahimahullah)
May Allah make us of those who have excellent manners (and also manage to pray in the night and fast a lot). Ameen.
[Yes, yes, I know. This Seriously Short Reminder was Seriously Long.]
[Just a note: An anonymous person wrote a comment criticizing something that I said in Part 2. I had no problem with that. All comments are welcome.
However, this individual used MY email address when typing in the comment. (You cannot submit a comment without typing in a valid email address.)
That REALLY annoyed me. I don’t mind being criticized but I hate lies and cowardice, especially considering the fact that this is Ramadan.
Why am I telling you all this? Simple. If you wish to write a comment in the future, then please don’t make the mistake of using my email address, just because you want to remain anonymous. You can either create a new email address for this purpose or else please refrain from commenting. If I see that anybody has used my email address for writing a comment, I’ll delete the comment then and there. I don’t like dealing with liars and cowards.]
Okay, so now that I’ve said what I had to say (I always say what I have to say, don’t I?), let’s continue with our checklist:
18) The Month of Integrity
What integrity is NOT: using the blog owner’s email address to write an anonymous comment.
What integrity IS: using your OWN email address to air your comments. And if you happen to behave in a manner other than that, then you should be willing to apologize. [Yes, this individual really did annoy me. May Allah forgive her.]
In the last 10 days, did our integrity improve? Were we honest in our dealings?
Do you know how Islam spread to places like Indonesia and Malaysia? Through honest Muslim traders. The people of those lands were totally amazed at how honest these individuals were with their business dealings.
I’ll tell you two stories that happened to me:
1) Many years ago, paid parking was introduced in our parking lot. So, in the beginning (before we all got the parking cards), I used to rush down every hour to get the ticket. Sometimes, I would put in AED 5 for two hours. (AED = Arab Emirate Dirhams.)
One day, I didn’t have any change so I went to the light shop under my house to get change for AED 5. There was an old south Indian Hindu man there. I knew him well because he had worked there for years and I had basically grown up in that building. So I asked him for change. He only had AED 4.75 so I gave him the AED 5 bill and took the change.
That was that, right? I mean, who would care about 25 fils? A quarter of a dirham? He did.
He come up to me a few days later and gave me the 25 fils. I was shocked and told him not to worry about it. He insisted that I take it because he couldn’t keep it. Subhan Allah.
I was so sad that this kind of integrity came from a non-Muslim and not a Muslim. We’re usually too ashamed to even return such a small amount in case the other person laughs at us.
[He left for India a few years ago. If I had to choose one person in the entire world that I would want Allah to guide to Islam, it would be him. I ask Allah by His Beautiful Names that He guide this man to Islam for this act that he did. Ameen.] Read more