Tag Archives: Character

Etiquettes of seeking ‘ilm

Source: Madrassah Al Zahra Publication – Al ‘Ilmun Nafi’

Before one sets out to seek knowledge we must bear in mind there are etiquettes for seeking knowledge. Only when one attains knowledge according to them, will the knowledge gained be beneficial. If we have no respect for the knowledge that we gain, that knowledge will merely remain information. Knowledge can only be beneficial for us if we gain it according to the following guidelines:

  1. Be patient – To gain ‘ilm is not easy and a lot of hard effort and sacrifice is required. For this reason it is very important that one remains patient.
  2. Pure intention – Before the commencement of an act one must ensure that an analysis of one’s intention is undertaken. The conclusion of this analysis should be that one is performing this action to gain the pleasure of Allah Almighty and not for show. If the latter is the case, then one needs to rectify one’s intention in order to gain beneficial knowledge.
  3. Act upon the knowledge one gains – It is important that one acts upon what they know; only then is the knowledge that one has attained beneficial. By not acting upon what one knows, disrespect is being shown to the knowledge that has been obtained.
  4. Bear in mind Allah سبحانه و تعالى is Watching – It is important that one keeps this in mind at all times as only then will one think twice before commiting a wrong deed. By continuously remebering Allah سبحانه و تعالى, a person will always make Du’aa and obtain closeness to Allah سبحانه و تعالى. Insha’Allah, any difficulties in attaining ‘ilm will then be removed.
  5. Utilise Time to the Best of One’s Ability – Knowledge does not come with ease. Therefore, it is vital that one uses their time well. When given the oppurtunity to obtain knowledge, one should not reject it as one does not know when they shall taste death. One must understand the struggle our pious Predecessors went through to gain ‘ilm and so one must not take for granted that which is so easily accessible today.
  6. To be very cautious – When beginning to attain knowledge one should not spend too much time argueing with others on topics and getting ones self confused. Rather one should spend maximum amount of time trying to fully undestand individual topics in order to become fully competent in these topics.
  7. To be precise and certain – It is good to memorise certain things. Before committing anything to memory one should ensure what is being learnt is correct by clarifying with ones teacher. Then one should memorise and go over what has been taught to ensure nothing is forgotton.
  8. Studying a variety of books – When one is confident in quite a few fields then one should study a variety of books on one topic to increase ones knowledge in a variety of ways on that particular topic.
  9. Good company – Pious company and friends should be kept so that one can attain their good qualites. It is also good to keep company with those who have a great zeal for knowledge instead of those who do not. This is so that one can never be put off wanting to learn more. The ‘Ulama state, that in order to gain good habits and to acquire beneficial knowledge, it is vital to stay in the presence of good and pious people. If one is not able to be in the company of the pious, then one should read the books written by these pious people.
  10. Respect and have good conduct with the teacher – One should ensure that respect is always shown towards the teacher. One cannot gain all knowledge from books without the guidance of a good teacher.

Focus on Your Character

By Mufti Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf
In the name of Allah, the Inspirer of truth.

There are two particular hadiths that are extremely important for Muslims to keep in mind; one establishes the foundations of Islam, telling us about the basis for this religion, its absolute pillars, while the second relates to the way in which one beautifies this structure of Islam and ones iman, representing the roof, adornments, embellishment and outward expression of this structure. As Muslims we are attending the masjid, praying five times a day, fasting during the month of Ramadan, paying zakat once a year and performing hajj, if we have the ability to go, and if not we still desire to go to perform hajj. These are the foundations. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Islam is based on five pillars: shahada, to declare there is no God except Allah and Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) is Allah’s Messenger, then to establish the salat, to pay zakat, to make hajj to the House [of Allah most High] and to fast in the month of Ramadan” (Bukhari and Muslim). These are the essential foundations, however they are not all that Islam entails. Numerous hadiths underscore the importance of good character.

Often when someone explains Islam to someone else, they say that “Islam is based on five pillars”, but is that all our Islam is? Someone looking for a complete lifestyle, a comprehensive system that will guide them in every aspect of life, when told Islam is only five pillars, maybe very discouraged. They may ask: “Well, what about my interaction with other people? How am I supposed to conduct myself with the environment around me, with the people around me, with my neighbours, the young, the old, the ill, with animals and everything else around us? How do I buy and sell? What about the rules related to marriage, divorce and conflict resolution?” These questions prompt us to remember that in reality the five pillars are just one dimension of Islam, of which there are five primary ones.

The Five dimensions

The first is the dimension of belief; to believe that Allah is one, to believe in the Messengers, to believe in the Books, to believe in the Angels, to believe that all good and bad destiny is from Allah and to believe in the Last Day, the Hereafter, Janna and Jahannam.  These beliefs fall in the realm of aqida, which comes before even the five pillars, as performing them without belief is of no consequence. The second dimension is these five pillars, which encompass one’s worship. Looking carefully at them, one can see that the shahada, meaning to bear witness, requires ‘declaring’ that Allah is one, not just to believe that Allah is one.  Similarly, salat, zakat and hajj are all external actions as the hadith above mentions worship rather than anything of one’s internal state. The third dimension encompasses buying and selling, renting, marriage contracts, divorce, custody of children, conflict resolution, partnerships: contractual matters referred to as mu’amalat. Then the fourth regards our interactions with others on a social level, such as being good to our neighbours and relatives, maintaining ties of kinship, honouring the old and being merciful to our young, not cursing anyone etc. These are known as mu’asharat.

The fifth of these primary dimensions concerns the development of our internal character, which can be referred to in a number of ways, including tasawwuf, tazkiyah, ‘sufism’ and purification of the heart. This involves removing anger from our hearts, or feelings of hatred, enmity, dissatisfaction with Allah most High about what He has apportioned for us, or a lack of contentment, and to change all of these feelings into positive qualities; love for others, compassion, generosity and wanting good for your brother or sister. As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself” (Bukhari and Muslim). Although these characteristics fall into the last dimension, each one of them is important, as is made clear in the hadith of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in which he was told about a woman who used to pray salat, but at the same time used to be cruel to her cat, and so he made clear warnings against her (see Sahih Bukhari). This tells us that one cannot simply stick to just one dimension of Islam, rather we must strive in all directions to be a perfect believer. This is why Islam is a comprehensive system.

The perfect believer

Keeping all of the above in mind, we must now remember that whenever we describe Islam to someone else, we need to describe all of these dimensions. More importantly, though we may explain and describe much with our tongues, while we do not embody these five dimensions within us and enact them in our lives, our words will have no impact on others. When we attend the masjid, make our salat and fast, we must also abstain from backbiting, enmity, discontentment, hatred and jealousy and we must strive in our mu’amalat such that we will never try to cheat someone. We should exercise good character with others, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, be kind and not waste our time talking too much, and we are concerned about our inner selves. Only then are we trying to be the perfect believer. Allah most High tells the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in the beginning of surah Ta-Ha: “We have not sent down the Qur’an that you be distressed” (Qur’an 20:2). The Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to stand long nights in prayer and he was dearly beloved to Allah most High, such that in other places Allah comforts him, telling him not to worry or become aggravated: “Perhaps, [O Muhammad], you would kill yourself with grief that they will not be believers” (Qur’an 26:3). There was no end to his beautiful character, may Allah bless him and give him peace.

Akhlaq – good character

Allah most High has created us in the form in which we see ourselves. If somebody has a long nose they may constantly be concerned about what people think of them. If somebody has large ears, they worry that people will make fun of them. This is especially true in children when they are developing, as everything is not always proportionate until they are fully grown. If somebody has protruding teeth or an extra finger it makes them feel very self-conscious and embarrassed in many cases. But just as we want perfect proportion in our body (and it is truly a sign of the power of Allah that He has made us all, billions of us, look different and yet proportionate), we should also seek proportionality and perfection in our inward. When we look at ourselves in a mirror we recite the du’a: “Allahumma, hassanta khalqi fahassin khuluqi—O Allah, just as you have made my outer form (khalq) excellent, make my inner akhlaq (khuluq) like this as well”. For a moment, imagine our akhlaq as a body, how would it look? Imagine how proportionate it would be, how handsome or ugly it would be. Think about how it will look if we say something bad about someone. We should constantly be aware of this. Though the physical body is something one cannot really change without plastic surgery or such things, when it comes to akhlaq, it is something that can be changed.

Akhlaq problems manifest themselves in a number of ways. There was an example of a person who had requested an associate to sell him something. The associate agreed but did not make any firm promise to him to do so. When the person found out that the associate had sold it to someone else some months later, he began to feel bad about it, going on about it over and over again, continuing even after three years to complain about the same thing. Can he not move on? Does he have nothing better to do in his life? If he feels bad about the person and complains, will it bring that item back for him? I tried to reason with him that he had not made a promise to you.

When we imagine bad character, we can often cite such examples or think of the attributes of someone we know. However, one of the reasons we would even be able to recognise these characteristics is because we probably have some level of that bad character within ourselves, which means we will definitely be able to see it in someone else. The problem is that we don’t see it in ourselves. The human being is blind to his own flaws: we love ourselves more than anybody else. When we see someone else acting strangely, we can point that out easily, but we will not see it in ourselves or even be aware that these traits exist within us.

The benefit of travel

Imam Shafi’i encouraged people to travel and said: “Travel, for there are five benefits in travelling”. One of the points he mentioned is that one learns akhlaq through travelling. How could this be? One of the benefits of travelling is that it may be that a bad character trait becomes prevalent in a particular community until they all become blind to it. Take backbiting (ghiba) for example, how many times have you sat down and even realised that a discussion you are having is ghiba? Backbiting is that you mention about your brother something he dislikes—it doesn’t matter whether it is true or not. Many people say that if it’s true then it’s fine but this is a fallacy, it is not ok. If what you are saying is false then this is actually buhtan (slander) which is even worse than ghiba. Sometimes we may even realise what we are doing but find no ability to stop it or say anything and we become used to it. But then if one travels and sees people acting differently as a whole, then one begins to consider, “Where do I come from? What kind of problems do we have?” One starts seeing the contrast. If you travel to the same kind of community, you won’t see the difference, but a new culture will show up these contrasts.

We must also beware of being suspicious of people, which is extremely detrimental and very dangerous. So dangerous, in fact, that it can take us into the hellfire. Suspicion can lead to uttering words which we do not fully consider and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said; “The servant speaks words, the consequences of which he does not realise, and for which he is sent down into the depths of the Fire further than the distance between the east and the west” (Bukhari). This is how damaging words can be. Our suspicion may lead us to spread misinformation about a person, leading him to become deprived of certain friendships or dealings, which is a great sin for us in the eyes of Allah.

The outward manifestation of akhlaq

Just as we focus on the foundation of Islam, the roof and structure of this building is akhlaq. If our character is not proper, then the foundation is like an unfinished house. This is the reason that we are unable to have an impact on other people. If Muslims want to become true believers, akhlaq is the key. Those who wish to influence others in a positive way, especially non-Muslims or even non-practicing Muslims, must realise that they will not come to the masjid to watch us pray. What is a non-Muslim going to see from a Muslim? Is he going to see your fasting, your hajj, your zakat? No, rather he will see your akhlaq, your character, the way you conduct yourself, your honesty, your love and affection for people, your concern for humanity, your care for others: this is what he will see. The way we attract others is by showing them true Muslim character. If you’re undercharged in a supermarket and return to the cashier to pay for the item, this is what will have an impact. Don’t hide the defects in your goods when you sell to others. Don’t do ghiba. Show some concern for people. Don’t be selfish. This is the way of Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). His akhlaq was at such a level that we can scarcely even imagine. It is mentioned that he wanted to give all the benefit he could even to those hypocrites, such ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy bin Salul, the chief arch munafiq, who gave him so much trouble, simply for the mere fact that they called themselves Muslims. When Bin Salul passed away and his son came to request the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) to lead the salat, he agreed, although ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) had a problem with it, exclaiming: “You can’t pray on him!” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “I’m going to make this janaza prayer”. Such was his concern for people, even a munafiq. After the salat, a verse was revealed to say: “And do not pray [the funeral prayer, O Muhammad] over any of them who has died, ever, or stand at his grave. Indeed, they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger and died while they were defiantly disobedient” (Qur’an 9:84). Why did Allah allow the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) to pray in the first place, when the prohibition was going to be revealed later? The ‘ulema mention that he had said to ‘Umar: “I’m going to pray on him” and so Allah most High did not want to reject that, rather He allowed him to pray and revealed the prohibition afterwards.  This is the love of Allah for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). It shows the concern that Rasulullah (Allah bless him and give him peace) had for his ummah, that he was even willing to make salat over a munafiq.

Where is our concern?  Where is our akhlaq and our sense of upright character? Let us project the inward forms of our character and see what kind appearance comes forth. How ugly it is, how disabled it is, how dilapidated it is, how weak it is. We must reflect deeply on this and strive hard to perfect our inward so that we try to be perfect Muslims. Let us try to build the structure and the form of our character so that it becomes handsome. We pray to Allah most High: “Just as you have made our outer form handsome, O Allah, make our inner forms in the same way”.

Transcribed by Tahreem Yunus Khan

Edited by Mirina Paananen

Source: Zam Zam Academy

Purification of the Heart

Living in a world full of temptations and desires, it can be very easy for us to lose track and fall for its glamour. There comes a time when we can no longer ourselves control our inner self, rather we turn our attention to Shuyookh (spiritual leaders) who have mastered this field and received guidance from their pious Ulama (scholars). This chain goes back all the way to Rasulullah (S.A.W).

They work on helping us purify our hearts and spiritual body. This undoubtedly will also have a good effect on our exterior and one will slowly but surely feel the difference!

By Mufti Ismail Menk

Purify the Heart

We look after our gadgets and phones, putting a case and screen protector on to stop it getting damaged and dirty.

Why then do we not take the necessary steps to protect our hearts, from sins, misdeeds and bad character? 

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّاهَا

He who purifies the soul, he is successful.

[Surah al Shams 91:9]

The fruits of Honesty

An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided something different. He called young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you.”

The kids were shocked! But the emperor continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!”

One boy named Ling was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Ling kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks went by. Still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants but Ling didn’t have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by–still nothing in Ling’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed.

Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn’t say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But honest about what happened, Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace. When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths. They were beautiful–in all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kinds laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, “Hey nice try.”

When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the emperor. “Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor!” All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Ling was terrified. “The emperor knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!”

When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. “My name is Ling,” he replied. All the kids were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Ling, and then announced to the crowd, “Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!” Ling couldn’t believe it. Ling couldn’t even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor? Then the emperor said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds which would not grow. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor!”

If you plant honesty, You will reap trust
If you plant goodness, You will reap friends
If you plant humility, You will reap greatness
If you plant perseverance, You will reap victory
If you plant consideration, You will reap harmony
If you plant hard work, You will reap success
If you plant forgiveness, You will reap reconciliation
If you plant openness, You will reap intimacy
If you plant patience, You will reap improvements
If you plant faith, You will reap miracles
If you plant dishonesty, You will reap distrust
If you plant selfishness, You will reap loneliness
If you plant pride, You will reap destruction
If you plant envy, You will reap trouble
If you plant laziness, You will reap stagnation
If you plant bitterness, You will reap isolation
If you plant greed, You will reap loss
If you plant gossip, You will reap enemies
If you plant worries, You will reap wrinkles
If you plant sin, You will reap guilt

So be careful what you plant now, It will determine what you will reap tomorrow,The seeds you now scatter, Will make life worse or better,your life or the ones who will come after. Yes, someday, you will enjoy the fruits,Or you will pay for the choices you plant today.

Nourishment of the Soul

Allah created the body from the dust of the earth
So its nourishment (food and drink) comes from the earth

Our soul (nafs, rooh) has come from Allah and the heavens
So too the nourishment of the soul comes from Allah and the heavens

So what is the nourishment of the soul?
It is the Holy Quran, words of Allah, spirituality, our connection with Allah and Ibadaat.

Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq

 Listen to the speech and quote in context below:

Correct Yourself First Before Asking Others

WE SEE FREQUENTLY PEOPLE COMPLAINING ABOUT RAMPANT EVIL PRACTICES, degradation of society, onslaught of vulgarity and obscenity etc. This is generally followed by sermons on righteous path that has been neglected for a long time. In brief it has become our national characteristic to find faults without looking for their remedies in right earnest.

What is unfortunate and disconcerting is the perception and treatment of the problem. Every one joins in and contributes his/her bit by making one remark or the other on the social ills and the drift from the religious practices. In doing so, they place all the blame on others, absolving themselves completely. They totally forget and ignore the fact that they are as much part of the society as others, whom they are blaming. People indulge in this sort of discussion for the sake of discussion and criticize others for the sake of criticism. They have little or no desire to improve the situation or bringing change in the decaying social order. They do not have a clue of the correct track or the righteous path. Neither they try to analyze the situation nor look for the causes which have been instrumental for the drift to the present day degradation.

So, what is really needed? To begin with an honest, sincere and objective analysis of the present situation is required and then an equally honest, sincere, and pragmatic solution is to be found to correct the situation. Unless there is a strong will and commitment to bring about a material change, there is little hope that we could come out of the present predicament by sheer desire. No amount of sermons or criticism for the sake of criticism can bring about any improvement in the present situation. Hence, as the very first step we should make it a habit never to participate in the discussions which are purposeless and devoid of actions and aim at criticizing others.

For analyzing the situation pragmatically, it is easy to recognize that society is made of individuals and we are a part of it. As an individual when we are a part of the society we are to be blamed as much for the degradation as anybody else, because responsibility of ills rest on our shoulders as much. So, why not look at our own actions instead of finding faults with others – Search the Self. It is a lot easier to correct ourselves than to correct others. Now, at this stage the Devil (Satan) is bound to come in the way and show hundred and one ways to absolve oneself and batter the society. For instance, it can be argued:

How can it help the society when only one individual mends his ways and the rest do not change?
How can one individual correct himself in a miasmal environment?
An individual by himself as a mentor or reformer would be an outcast and be jeered at.
An individual is likely to lose the worldly benefits if one adopts the righteous path all by oneself.

So, the easy way out is to stay in the main stream and keep doing as others are doing. It definitely requires a lot of courage and resilience to combat the Devil’s designs. But once the initial shyness is overcome, the sailing should be smooth and calm. When one could bolster enough courage and resilience to act and act single handedly; then is the time for soul searching and realize that what one is doing should not be done and what one is not doing that should be done. Thank God people generally are not in that state of mind where they could be naive and ignorant about the dos and don’ts. Because when they grumble about the degradation of society they surely know what should be done and what not.

Therefore, the bottom line message is; correct yourself first. It is obvious one can not correct himself completely overnight. So, priorities have to be set and then set the ball rolling. For instance, one may not be in the habit of offering prayers (Salah), keeping fast (Sawm), reciting / reading Qur’an, giving obligatory charity, (Zakah), obeying parents etc. On the other hand one might have been in the habit of drinking, gambling, womanizing, cheating, lying, backbiting etc. (Only a few well known dos and don’ts have been listed for reference purpose). In such a situation one should make one’s own selection of things and lay down his priorities i.e. how to go about leaving the don’ts and adopting the dos. One must make a beginning, no matter how insignificant and small, but it must be with a will and conviction so that one sticks to it. Then gradually but firmly one should leave the don’ts and adopt the dos one by one. As one will progress on the righteous path, one will feel the help from Allah (swt), as He has promised in Qur’an:

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا

“As for those who strive hard in Us (Our cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allah’s religion – Islamic Monotheism). (29:69)

For the sake of example, if one does not pray at all, he should start with one (Salah) at least which could be of his choice. If one does not recite Qur’an, he can make a beginning by reciting only a few verses daily. Similarly, if one is a habitual liar or backbiter, he should try to cut down the frequency in such indulgence. Likewise, if one indulges in accepting unlawful gratitude’s (bribe) he should make an effort to cut it down. When one makes a sincere and honest effort to leave the munkirats (what is forbidden) and adopt the Al-Maruf (what should be done) and asks for Allah’s (swt) help and mercy, He will Insha Allah grant him that.

When one changes and moulds one’s life style in line with the precepts of Islam, one will most certainly find oneself peaceful and contended. But attainment of that exalted condition is both easy and difficult. It is easy in the sense that Allah’s (swt) help and blessings will follow all along at every step if one endeavors to tread the righteous path with sincerity, zeal, conviction, and perseverance. Also, it is difficult in the sense that one will achieve nothing if one tries to change others before changing oneself. So, the key to success is that one should apply and adopt all the principles and precepts of the Deen (Islam) in one’s own day to day life and present oneself as a model to begin with. Incidentally, by presenting oneself as a model of that one desires others to follow, one would be emulating Rasulullah (saw) as he never asked anyone to do or perform something which he would not be doing himself.

Having attained the position of self modeling, one can then be in a persuasive position to influence others. It is the law of Nature [Allah (swt)] that every human being enjoys a sphere of influence in which his / her opinion and advice carry weight. Rasulullah (saw) has also pointed out toward this Divine rule and said:

كلكم راعٍ وكُلُّكُمْ مَسْؤْلٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّته – مسلم,ابواب الجهاد باب هاجاء فى الامام

Each one of you has (control) a sphere of influence and every one will be asked about those who were under his influence.

It is very true. If we look around we can see that every individual has his/her own sphere of influence, big or small, where people within that sphere look up and listen to him/her for advice and opinion. If this sphere is very small; it consists of at least the family members. Therefore, if none else, a person can at least influence his own family members and his goal (of influencing) becomes easier if his family members see him practicing the same things which he asks them to do. So, as the saying goes, charity begins at home; make a beginning to influence your family members first. It is not only the softest nut to crack, but also the religions (Deeni) duty to make one’s family members tread the righteous path. For Allah (swt) has said in Qur’an:

يَأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ قُواْ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا

“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell).” (66:6)

Influencing family members to follow one’s advice and preaching is much easier than convincing others to adopt his ways. Also, this is a Sunnah, as Rasulullah (saw) did the same when he received the first message from Allah (swt) i.e. he (saw) presented it to his family members to begin with.

It is true that initially one would face some resistance even from the family members also. Some will adopt the change quicker than others, some might accept the change in piecemeal; while, still others would threaten to revolt being the members of the same family they should all see the wisdom and truth in the righteous path and will rally around the leader of the family sooner or later.

When the family members come along and start following the Islamic teachings and precepts, one has succeeded in creating a small world for oneself and the family around him. This by itself should be a great source of the feeling of happiness and contentment. If one could correct oneself and make one’s family members follow the precepts of Islam, it will undoubtedly be a great achievement; an achievement for which one could expect the mercy and blessedness of Allah (swt) the Almighty.

Now, if we pause a little and look back where we had started from. It was about the complaint and criticism of others and the society for drifting from the righteous path and indulgence in unethical and un-Islamic deeds and actions. In this regard all that people are doing is nothing more than lip service and no constructive work. By passing judgments in the cozy atmosphere of drawing rooms, one cannot expect to correct and alleviate the ills of society and un-Islamic way of life. It is a futile and inane exercise with no positive or concrete results.

So, why waste time unnecessarily with no outcome. Instead, why not do something positive and rewarding; also, something on which you have control and can exercise restrain. If one could achieve sanity and purity of purpose through Islamic teachings and precepts in one’s own house hold, it shall indeed be a big leap forward. Those who are genuinely concerned with the present drift from Islamic teachings can make a beginning within their own family.

This way a number of house holds/families will emerge acting upon the teachings and precepts of Islam. Such house holds should act as oasis in the desert and might help others to emulate and change their way for the better.

Anas (ra) says: “A person who was wearing yellow colored clothing was sitting by Rasulullah (saw). It was the habit of Rasulullah (saw) not to bluntly express things he did not approve of. (Therefore he kept silent). When that person left, Rasulullah (saw) said to those present, ‘It would have been better if you told him not to wear yellow clothing’.” (Shamaa-il Tirmidhi pg.363)

Source: Darul Uloom al-Madania