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SOME ISLAMIC DIRECTIVES

DEEDS OF MERIT

Hadith is presented in a story form whereby a scholarly father (Abdul Hamid) responds to his inquisitive son (MuhammadAli) by quoting Quran and Hadith about various subjects

  1. Hadiths about Self Purification

  2. Hadiths about Intention

  3. Hadiths about Truthfulness

  4. Hadiths about Honesty

  5. Hadiths about Integrity

  6. Hadiths about Kindness

  7. Hadiths about Courtesy

  8. Hadiths about Contentment

  9. Hadiths about Compassion

  1. Hadiths about Forgiveness

  2. Hadiths about Self-Control

  3. Hadiths about Being Responsible

  4. Hadiths about Islamic Brotherhood

  5. Hadiths about Charity

  6. Hadiths about Moderation

  7. Hadiths about Learning and Education

  8. Hadiths about Etiquette

 

 

SOME ISLAMIC DIRECTIVES

 

ABOUT Kindness   go to top of page

      MuhammadAli's sore throat got better but his mind was swimming with ideas.  He thought about purity, integrity, and truthfulness.  His curiosity was growing.  He wanted to know about the next item on his Dad's list, kindness.  When dinner was over, Abdul-Rahman asked his son how he felt.

      "Fine Dad, but anxious to hear about Kindness," answered MuhammadAli.

      After dessert, the two went to the family room.  After getting seated comfortably Abdul-Rahman began, "Islam invites us to a very high moral level.  Being kind, considerate, and loving is a prerequisite for any good Muslim.

      Being kind, loving others, feeling empathy for others are virtuous acts.  We should have even these feelings for animals and plants.  Such emotions are recognized by Allah (swt) and rewarded accordingly.

      "You mean Islam specially urges us to be kind," MuhammadAli interrupted.

      "Yes," his father replied immediately, "this is central to building a solid and powerful self.  Kindness is a very important attribute.  We must do our best to be kind to all for the sake of the Almighty and for the sake of goodness.  Let us see what the Holy Quran says:

 

وَيُطْعِمُونَ الطَّعَامَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ مِسْكِينًا وَيَتِيمًا وَأَسِيرًا

          And They Feed For The Love Of Allah, The

          Indigent, The Orphans, And The Captives. 

 (Surah  76:  Ayah  8)

 

قَوْلٌ مَّعْرُوفٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِّن صَدَقَةٍ يَتْبَعُهَا أَذًى وَاللّهُ غَنِيٌّ حَلِيمٌ

Kind Words And The Covering Of Faults Are

          Better Than

          Charity Followed By Injury. 

(Surah  55:  Ayah  9)

 

وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّآئِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ

          And Spend Of Your Sustenance, Out Of Love For

          Him: For Your Kin, The Orphans, The

          Needy, The Wayfarer, And For Those Who Ask

          For The Ransom Of The Slaves. 

(Surah  55:  Ayah  9)

 

وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَاناً وَذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَقُولُواْ لِلنَّاسِ حُسْناً

Show Kindness To Your Parents And Kinsfolk,

To The Orphans And The Needy, And Exhort To

 Righteousness. 

(Surah  55:  Ayah  9)

       "In the above Surahs," Abdul-Rahman continued, "Allah (swt) orders us to treat our parents and relatives and especially the disad­vantaged, with kindness and tenderness.  He also implores us to assist and help those in need."

      "As to the importance of kindness," Abdul-Rahman went on, "it is as basic and essential for a good Muslim as being pure and truthful.  Be kind.  And helpful to others.  You may be sure that Allah will see it and reward you.  Allah's Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh) said:

 

إرحموا من في ألأرض    يرحمكم من في السماء

When You Carry Out Mercy To Those On Earth,

He Who Is In Heaven Will Engulf You With His Mercy.  

Muslim And Bukhari

Other Hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh) and/or sayings of the Imams are given here:

Kindness Is A Mark Of Faith; And Whoever Has No Kindness, Has Weak Faith. 

Allah's Kindness Toward His Creatures Is More Than A Mother's Toward Her Bay. 

Whoever Is Kind To Allah's Creatures, Allah Is Kind To Him; Therefore Be Kind To Man On Earth, Whether Good Or Bad;  And Being Kind To The Bad Is To Withhold Him From Mischief:      So That In Heaven You Will Be Treated Kindly. 

    Who Is The Most Favored Of Allah?:   The One From Whom The Greatest Good Comes To His Creatures. 

    He Is Not Of Us Who Is Not Affectionate To His Young Ones And Does Not Honor The Elderly;  And He's Not Of Us Who Does Not Encourage What Is Good, And Prohibit What Is Evil. 

The One Who Is Not Kind To Allah's Creatures And To His Own Children, Allah Will Not Be Kind To Him. 

    To Gladden The Heart Of The Weary And To Remove Suffering Of The Afflicted, Has Its Own Reward. 

    In The Day Of Judgment The Reward For These Actions Come Like A Rush Of The Torrent, And Take Our Burden Away.

    Call Upon Each Other, And Be Kind, Cordial, And Gracious To Each Other.  Be Congenial In Your Brotherhood Just As The Almighty Has Commanded You.  (Imam Ja'far Al-Saadiq, book of Al-Usool from Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 175.)

      MuhammadAli shook his head at the depth and meaning of these words.  His father continued, "For us to be kind, we ought to be sensitive and tenderheart­ed.  Our kindness should come from deep within our hearts.

      We are kind to Allah's creatures out of love for Allah, and out of love and appreciation for Allah's creation.  The kind and tender handling of these creatures is an act to be rewarded by Allah Almighty.

      Our kindness is supposed to extend to everything around us.  We are supposed to be kind to the needy and the orphans; and to feed, help, and say kind words to them is a true act of piety.

      Our kindness should involve not only a helping hand, but also spending our money to help people.  Spending your own wealth to help others that are less fortunate is an important part of our religion.  The very least that is expected of a Muslim is to use kind words toward others.  We should not be kind in order to get a reward, but for the sake of Allah (swt) and a desire to be good.  In other words, kindness should spring from your love of Allah.

      At the same time, our religion tells us to avoid being mean.  To be careful that you are not inconsiderate or cause trouble for others.  Such a person won't be liked or tolerated by others.  Such a person will be avoided.  good Muslims try to be considerate and try not to be a burden to others."

 

      "So what you are telling me is that Islam teaches us many aspects about kindness?" MuhammadAli asked.

      Abdul-Rahman answered briefly:

 

 ISLAM TELLS US ABOUT KINDNESS:   go to top of page

 

  1. to be kind out of love for Allah and for the noble sake of being kind

  2. that kindness is part of our faith

  3. that kindness involves:  a)  material help to others in need,  b) acts of kindness to others, and  c)  kind words to others

  4. kindness and material aid to all of Allah's creatures.

  5. that Allah favors those who are kind

  6. that a good Muslim is to be kind especially to his parents, to brothers, sisters, and relatives and just as kind to orphans, the needy, and to Allah's creatures

  7. that a Muslim who stops mischief and wrongdoing has done an act of kindness

  8. to avoid being mean, troublesome or inconsiderate.

 

 

ABOUT Courtesy   go to top of page

     MuhammadAli's knowledge of the Islamic ethical points was fast increasing.  His keen mind made him even more curious.  "Will you please tell me about Courtesy, and what Islam says about it?"

      "Sure.  I'm glad your mind is working," his father smiled.  Then he said, "To be courteous shows aspects of good manners.  Everyone appreciates courtesy in all its forms.  A courteous person is well liked by others and his courtesy will encourage others to be courteous.  This therefore produces positive feelings all around.  A Muslim should greet others pleasantly.  He should be mild-mannered and soft-spoken.  He should have humility and he should be courteous to all at all times.  If you are like this, people will appreciate you.  You should try to adopt these characteristics.

      Let us refer to the Holy Quran to see how Luqman was advising his son:

 

يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلَى مَا أَصَابَكَ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الأُمُورِ

وَلا تُصَعِّرْ خَدَّكَ لِلنَّاسِ وَلا تَمْشِ فِي اْلأََرْضِ مَرَحًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ

Oh My Son! Establish Regular Prayer,

Enjoin What Is Just And Forbid What Is Evil.

Bear With Patience Whatever Befalls You,

For This Is Firmness Of Purpose In The Conduct Of Affairs. And Swell Not Your Cheek With Pride At Men,

Nor Walk With Insolence;

For Allah Loves Not The Conceited, The Vain. 

(Surah  31:  Ayah  17-18)

 

وَاقْصِدْ فِي مَشْيِكَ وَاغْضُضْ مِن صَوْتِكَ إِنَّ أَنكَرَ الأَْصْوَاتِ لَصَوْتُ الْحَمِيرِ

...Be Moderate In Your Pace And Lower Your Voice;

For The Harshest Of Sounds Is The Braying Of The Ass!  (Surah  31:  Ayah  19)

 

وَإِذَا حُيِّيْتُم بِتَحِيَّةٍ فَحَيُّواْ بِأَحْسَنَ مِنْهَا أَوْ رُدُّوهَا

...When You Are Greeted, Answer With A More Courteous Greeting,

          Or At Least Of Equal Degree.  (Surah   4:  Ayah  86)

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّى تَسْتَأْنِسُوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا عَلَى أَهْلِهَا

ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

O You Who Believe!  Don't Enter Houses Other Than Yours, Until

You Have Asked Permission And Greeted Those In Them. 

(Surah  24:  Ayah  27)

       "Do you see?" asked Abdul-Rahman.

      "Yes I see," acknowledged MuhammadAli.

      His father then added, "Being courteous makes people feel good.  It shows them that you care about them and love and respect them.  It also makes the person showing courtesy feel good.  The fact that he is appreciated by others will also make him feel good.

      Courtesy is a component of good manners.  Good manners are required of each Muslim. The Prophet (pbuh) urged us to be humble, modest, courteous, and respectful of others, and he urged parents to teach their children such qualities.

      See what he says:

أكمل المؤمنـين إيـماناً  أحـسنهم خلقـاً      وخيــاركـم خيـارهـم لنسائهم

The Finest Among The Faithful Is The One Whose Moral Character Is High,

And The Best Among You Are Those Who Are Kindest To Their Women.

Tirmidhi

 

حق المسـلم على المسـلم ست: ....إذا لقيـه فسـلم عليـه.....

Obligations Of A Muslim Toward Another Are Six, One Of Which Is To Greet Him First.

Muslim

 

من أخلاق المؤمن:  حُسن الحديث إذا حدث، وحسن الإسـتماع إذا حُدِث، وحسن البِرِّ إذا لُقي، ووفآءٌ بالوعد إذا وعد

Of The Manners Of A Mu'min Are:

When He Talks He Speaks Nicely;  When Someone Speaks He Listens;  Upon Meeting Others He Welcomes Them With A Smile; And When He Promises  He Fulfills His Promise.  

Dailemi

Other Hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh) and/or sayings of the Imams are given here:

 No Father Has Given His Child Anything Better Than Good Manners. 

Respect People According To Their Eminence. 

Humility And Courtesy Are Acts Of Piety. 

True Modesty Is The Source Of All Virtue. 

The One Who Is Humble To Men For Allah's Sake, May Allah Exalt His Eminence! 

The Servants Of The Almighty Are They Who Walk On Earth In Humility. 

It Is My Way That A Man Shall Come Out With His Guest To The Door Of His House. 

Meekness And Humility Are Manifestations Of Iman (Belief), And Vain Talk And Embellishing Are Manifestation Of Hypocrisy. 

A Cheerful Countenance Will Favorably Replace The Critical, Spiteful Manner.  (Imam Al-Kadhim quoting the Prophet (pbuh), Book Al-Usool from Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 104.) 

Allah's Speedy Punishment Will Be To A Person Who Is Audacious, Pompous, And Haughty.  (Imam Ja'far Al-Saadiq quoting the Prophet (pbuh), book of Al-Usool from Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 327)

 

      "You see how Islam emphasizes good manners over and over again?" Abdul-Rahman continued, "It is in good taste to have good manners.  It is good to be lady like and act like a gentleman, as the case may be.

      Be gentle and courteous to others and kind and considerate to them.  You should respect others.  You should also respect their ideas even if you don't agree with their point of view.

      In addition to these things MuhammadAli, you should use restraint in your daily affairs. You should be humble and not vain about yourself, your belongings or your accomplishments.         You should not brag about any of these things since they really come from Allah.  You should be modest and low-keyed.  MuhammadAli, it is also very important in Islam to be moderate and not to go to excesses in anything whether that be in your manner of living or spending or even eating.  Excesses are not good and they can lead to trouble many times and Islam warns us to avoid excess."

 

      "Dad, basically Islam recommends many facets regarding courtesy in conduct,"  MuhammadAli affirmed.

      Abdul-Rahman answered briefly:

 

 ISLAM RECOMMENDS TO US ABOUT COURTESY:   go to top of page

 

  1. To be considerate to others

  2. To be moderate

  3. To show humility and exercise humbleness

  4. To strive to be gentlemanly and lady-like

  5. To learn how to control ourselves and to use restraint

  6. To be modest

  7. To be respectful of others.

 

 

 ABOUT Contentment   go to top of page

      MuhammadAli was not able to watch TV, instead his thoughts kept wondering to what his father was going to say that night.  "Dad," he said after dinner, "What do you say about being content and gentle?"

      Smiling, his father answered, "You will not feel happiness unless you are content.  Not aspiring for aims beyond your reach will give you a feeling of contentment.  Doing your best, and being satisfied with what you have will also give you a feeling of being content.  Islam encourages us to be content and gentle.

      Unreasonable expectations make us miserable and unhappy since the goals are not realizable.  It is a wholesome thing and a good thing to be content with who we are, how we are, and what we have.  Besides, Allah is gentle and loves people who are gentle and mild mannered.  To be gentle at heart makes a person more likely to be content.

      "On the other hand," Abdul-Rahman reflected, "a greedy person will always want more and more.  He will drive toward such aim, often at the expense of himself and others.  The more he receives, the more he wants, and the harder he tries.  The more this goes on, the more compulsive he becomes.  This leads him to worries and unhappiness.  Sooner or later, other people will be hurt by him directly or indirectly.

      Much trouble in the world, be it today, in the past, or in the future, is a result of greed.  This excessive drive may be for power, self-indulgence, or other aspects of life.

      The more people follow greedy desires, the more likely they are to cause or initiate trouble.  Islam urges us to be moderate and to avoid being greedy.  Moderation is wonderful in every aspect of life.  When content, we build the basis for our happiness.

Let us also see what Allah's Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh) says:

 

إذا نظر أحدكم إلى من فُضِّلَ عليـه في المـال والخَلْق، فليـنظر إلى مَنْ هو أسْـفَلَ منه

When You See A Person Who Has Been Given More Than You In Wealth And Beauty Then

Look To Those Who Have Been Given Less.   Bukhari

 

القنـاعة كنْـزٌ لا يفنى

Contentment Is A None-Vanishing Treasure.

Other Hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh) and/or sayings of the Imams are given here:

Riches Are Not From Abundance Of Worldly Goods, But From A Content Mind. 

Look To Those Inferior To Yourselves; So That You May Not Hold Allah's Benefits In Contempt. 

Verily, Allah Is Mild And Is Fond Of Mildness, And He Gives To The Mild What He Doesn't To The Harsh. 

Verily Allah Loves Those Who Are Content. 

Allah Is Gentle And Loves Gentleness. 

Verily The Ones Most Knowledgeable About Allah Are The Ones Who Accept Their Fate With Contentment.  (Imam Ja'far Al-Saadiq) 

Verily The Ones Most Knowledgeable About Allah Are The Ones Who Accept Their Fate With Contentment.  (Imam Ja'far Al-Saadiq, book Al-Usool from Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 60.) 

Allah Is Gentle, And He Generously Rewards Gentleness, And He Will Treat Harshness In The Manner It Deserves.  (Imam Ja'far Al-Saadiq, book Al-Usool from Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 119.) 

Holding To Gentleness Forms Half Of The Good Conduct.  (Imam Al-Kadhim quoting the Prophet (pbuh), Book Al-Usool from Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 120) 

The Worst In A Servant Of Allah Is Greed That Controls Him,  And The Worst In A Servant Of Allah Is An Ambition That Humiliates Him.  (Imam Ja'far Al-Saadiq, book of Al-Usool from Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 320.)

      "I didn't know there was so much about contentment," interrupted MuhammadAli.  "There is more, much more, if you just knew some Arabic," his father answered.  Then he asked, "Do you want to be content and happy or grumpy and miserable?  Of course everyone wants to be content since contentment is the doorway to happiness.

      You are content if you appreciate what you have, whatever Allah Almighty has given you.  Don't try to compare yourself to others who have more than you, lest you become envious.  Instead, compare yourself to those who have less than you, and be thankful.

      Being content gives you a feeling of being satisfied and you are more likely to be happy.  You develop serenity and gentleness within you.  The Almighty is gentle and loves gentle Muslims."

 

      "In other words Islam teaches many aspects about being content and gentle,"  MuhammadAli commented.

      Abdul-Rahman answered briefly:

 

 ISLAM TEACHES US ABOUT CONTENTMENT:   go to top of page

  1. to feel content, so that we become happy

  2. to compare ourselves to those who have less than we have

  3. that being discontent may lead to misery, and may make a person difficult to himself and others.

"

 

ABOUT Compassion   go to top of page

      For sometime MuhammadAli had been wondering why people lied, cheated, were hard to trust, or had qualities that Islam so clearly advised against.  "My father makes things so clear to me.  Too bad many Muslims are ignorant of what the Quran or Hadith recommend," MuhammadAli thought to himself.  "I can't wait to learn more."  That evening, he asked Abdul-Rahman, his father, to talk about compassion.

      Abdul-Rahman began by asking a question.  "Who is the most merciful and the most compassionate?  It is Allah Almighty of course.  And who cares very much about us and knows our weaknesses and frailties?  It is Allah Almighty of course."  The answers were clear and very important.  After a brief moment Abdul-Rahman continued, "Allah's mercy and compassion are so vast as to remind us that He repeated it in every Surah of the Holy Quran except one (The exception is Surah Taubah.)!  Allah's care and love for all of us and for all creatures on earth is truly boundless.  This reflects His Compassion to us."

      After taking a sip of water, Abdul-Rahman continued, "Islamic Directives urge us to be compassionate too.  In other words, Muslims should develop a feeling of empathy for others.  Muslims are supposed to have an understanding and appreciation of the circumstances of others.  If you understand their circumstances and have sympathy, you can help other people better.

      Islam recommends giving a helping hand especially at times of need, and the person will be well rewarded by the Almighty.

      A good Muslim will feel for others and will try to help others.  By doing so, Allah will increase his Thawaab (reward for meritorious act) and credit him accordingly."

      MuhammadAli burst in, "What is Thawaab?"

      "Well son," replied Abdul-Rahman, "We'll go into that in some detail later, but simply speaking Thawaab is the reward Allah will grant for the meritorious or good deeds a person does in his life time."

      Let us quote the Holy Quran about that:

 

إِنَّ رَحْمَتَ اللّهِ قَرِيبٌ مِّنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

... Lo! Allah's Mercy Is Near To Those Who Do Good

(Surah   7:  Ayah  56)

 

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ إِنَّا لا نُضِيعُ أَجْرَ مَنْ أَحْسَنَ عَمَلاً

...As For The Ones Who Believe And Do Righteous Deeds—Verily, We Shall Reward Them Well...

(Surah  18:  Ayah  30)

      In fact, the phrase:

بسـم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In Allah's Name, The Merciful, The Compassionate.

is repeated in the Holy Quran by us many many times so that we may be constantly reminded of Allah's compassion toward us.  Therefore we must follow and constantly try to extend our compassion to others.

      Abdul-Rahman continued after a short pause, "We say this phrase when we pray, before we eat, or when we  start any endeavor.  We do that to affirm Allah's presence and mercy in our hearts.  Let us quote from the Quran:

  

رَبَّنَا لاَ تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ

Our Lord!  Let Not Our Hearts Deviate Now After You Have Guided Us, But Grant Us Mercy

(Surah   3:  Ayah  8)

 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءتْكُم مَّوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَشِفَاء لِّمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

O Mankind!  There Has Come To You Wisdom From Your Lord And A Healing For What Is In Your Hearts

And For The Believers A Guidance And Mercy.

(Surah  10:  Ayah  57)

 

      Let us refer to a few Hadiths too.  Allah's Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh) said:

 

إرحموا من في الأرض،   يرحمـكم من في السـماء

Have Compassion On Those Who Are On Earth, So That

The One In Heaven

Will Have Compassion On You.

Tirmidhi

 

لا يرحـم الله من لايرحـم الناس

Allah Will Not Show Compassion To Him Who Has No Compassion Toward People.

    Muslim And Bukhari

 

لا يؤمن احدكم حتى يحب لأخيه ما يحب لنفسـه

His Belief Is Weak Until A Person Loves For Other Muslims What He Loves For Himself 

Muttafaq Alayh

 

مثلُ المؤمنين في توادهم وتراحمهم وتعاطفهم،

مثل الجسد إذا اشتكى منه عضو   تداعى له سائرُ الجسد بالسّهْر والحمّى

In Their Love And Compassion The Believers Are Like A Body, If It Has A Problem The Rest Of The Body Will Respond With Symptoms And Fever.

Muttafaq Alayh

Other Hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh) and/or sayings of the Imams are given here:

There Is No Reward But Paradise For A Muslim Who Suffers Out Of Compassion When The Soul Of His Friend Is Taken. 

Verily Allah Is More Compassionate On His Creatures Than A Mother On Her Child. 

He Is Not Quality Muslim Who Does Not Take Interest In The Affairs Of Fellow Muslims.  (Imam Ja'far Al-Saadiq, book of Al-Usool from Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 164.) 

      MuhammadAli was in awe.  "Those are very powerful Hadiths," he said.

      "Yes of course," responded his father, "Allah will reward us very much when we show mercy, compassion, and love toward our fellow man.  It is essential for all Muslims to be understanding of and helpful to others.

      On the other hand Islam also warns Muslims and urges them to avoid the opposite.  Islam advises against cruelty to others.  Cruelty breeds cruelty, and often leads to hurt feelings, destruction, and giving pain to innocent unsuspecting people.  Cruelty of a ruler is especially bad and to be fought against.  Many people will suffer from a cruel ruler.  Also take the cruelty of a conqueror to a nation and how devastating it can be.  The textbooks of history tell us a great deal of such instances.  Cruelty is a dreadful disease, and Islam prohibits it.  Islam also urges Muslims to struggle against any cruel man, ruler or not.

      Cruelty to animals is just as bad and can lead to a good deal of suffering.  Islam warns sternly against all kinds of cruelty.

      Let us refer to a Hadith in this regard.  Allah's Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh) said:

 

أفضل الجهاد مَنْ قال كلمةُ الحق عند سلطانٍ جائر

The Highest Jihad Is To Speak Up For The Truth In The Face Of The Tyrant Ruler Who Deviates

From The Right Path.  

Tirmidhi And Ibn Maajeh

Other Hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh) and/or sayings of the Imams are given here:

  1. He who shows compassion is promised to be well rewarded by the Most Compassionate of all, Allah Almighty."

 

"Dad, what does Islam specifically recommend about compassion?"  MuhammadAli asked.

Abdul-Rahman answered briefly:

 

 ISLAM TEACHES US ABOUT COMPASSION:   go to top of page

  1. to show compassion and mercy, that this will reap for us a very good reward, presently and in the Hereafter

  2. that love and caring will become mutual sooner or later, and friendship and understanding will result

  3. that the lonely, sick, or needy, need the friendly feelings more than others

  4. that of course the most merciful and compassionate is Allah Almighty, and we constantly need His kindness, compassion, and love.

 

 

ABOUT Forgiveness   go to top of page

      Several days passed before it was possible for MuhammadAli to sit again with his Dad, since his father had gone away on a trip.  The days passed slowly, but it gave time for MuhammadAli to review all the things his father had taught him.

      "Dad, I missed you and our talks.  I am lucky to have a Dad who knows so much and can explain it to me.  What are we going to talk about tonight?"

      Abdul-Rahman stopped for a second and then asked MuhammadAli, "Have you ever been in a situation where you were hurt by someone?  You could either get back at him or forgive and forget?  What Islam says is that the one who has a good heart will try to forgive.

      Forgiveness is a wonderful quality and everyone ought to be quick to show it whenever possible."

      "So Islam urges us to forgive?" asked MuhammadAli.

      "But of course," answered his father, "Islam certainly urges Muslims to forgive.  When we forgive, we must do it from the bottom of our hearts.  It shouldn't be just lip‑service, it ought to be something we truly feel.  The person who forgives will one day be in need of forgiveness himself and he will receive it in return.

      The most forgiving of all is Allah Almighty, and He has mentioned that repeatedly in the Holy Book, the Quran.  We should also try to be as forgiving as possible.  See what Allah says: 

 

…وَإِن تَعْفُوا وَتَصْفَحُوا وَتَغْفِرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

And If You Pardon, Overlook, And Forgive,

          Verily Allah Is Forgiving, Compassionate.

(Surah  64:  Ayah  14)

 

…خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ…

Hold To Forgiveness; And Command To What Is Right.

(Surah   7:  Ayah  198-199)

 

قَوْلٌ مَّعْرُوفٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِّن صَدَقَةٍ يَتْبَعُهَا أَذًى…

          A Kind Word And Forgiveness Are Better

          Than Charity Followed By Hurt.

(Surah  2:  Ayah  263)

      "A person who gets hurt," continued Abdul-Rahman, "and is quick to retaliate is a person of low caliber.  But the one who forgives, is a person of high caliber.  Such a person will be well credited by the Almighty for his acts.  See what Allah's Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh) has said: 

 

…أمرك ربكَ أن تعفوا عمّن ظلمك، وتعطي مَن حَرَمك، وتصلَ من قَطَعَك

Your Lord Has Commanded You To Forgive The One Who Has Done You Wrong,

And Give To The One Who Has Not Given You, And Visit The One Who Has Shunned You.

 

مَنْ سرَّهُ أنْ يُشْرفَ له البُنْيان  وتُرفَع له الدرجات،

فلْيعْفُ عمَّن ظلمه، ويُعْطِ مَن حَرَمَه، ويصِل مَن قَطَعَه

A Seeker Of Distinction Let Him Forgive The Ones Who Harmed Him, Forgive The Ones Who Denied Him, And Visit The Ones Who Cut Off Their Relations With Him.    

Ibn Ka'b

Other Hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh) and/or sayings of the Imams are given here:

The Favored With Allah Is The One Who Pardons When It Is In His Power To Injure The One Who Had Hurt Him Before. 

If The Unbeliever Knew Of The Extent Of Allah's Mercy, He Would Not Despair Of Paradise.

Forgive, For It Boosts The Person's Distinction; Therefore Practice Forgiveness And May Allah Boost Your Distinction.  (Imam Ja'far Al-Saadiq quoting the Prophet, Book Al-Usool from Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 108.) 

To Communicate With Those Who Shun You,   And Be Generous To Those Who Do You No Favors,  And Forgive The Ones Who Harm You,   Lo If You Have Done So Allah Will Ennoble You.  (Imam Ja'far Al-Saadiq quoting the Prophet, Book Al-Usool from Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 108.)

Forgiveness Is At Its Best When You Forgive While You Have The Upper Hand. (Imam Ali.) 

Lack Of Forgiveness In A Man Is His Greatest Shortcoming, And Vindictiveness Is The Worst Of Transgressions. (Imam Ali.)

 

      "What kind of person is he who forgives?" asked MuhammadAli anxiously.

      "Well," said his father, "to forgive means not only do you have a big heart, but you are understanding too.  It means you are in control of your emotions and actions and thus can forgive.  The highest form of forgiving is when you are able to retaliate or take revenge, and yet refrain from doing that and instead forgive.  Better still, is your ability to forgive when you are angry.  On the other hand a person who wants to take revenge or retaliate is a person lacking in good Islamic spirit.  Taking revenge will lead to more hurt feelings, more destruction and to more losses.  Revenge will breed revenge and ought to be avoided.  Not much can be gained by revenge except more trouble and destruction.  Such are the directives of Islam and the recommendations of Allah's Messenger.

      The best historic example is when the Muslims triumphed over Mecca.  Though they had been severely mistreated by the Meccans for almost 20 years, Muhammad (pbuh) showed unparalleled forgiveness for he forgave them all including his most bitter enemies, without any conditions whatsoever.  This shows us the extent to which forgiveness can go.  What a good example for all of us!"

 

"Dad, basically Islam recommends many aspects about forgiveness, right!"  MuhammadAli affirmed.

Abdul-Rahman answered briefly:

 

 ISLAM TELLS US ABOUT FORGIVENESS:   go to top of page

  1. To remember Allah's boundless forgiveness

  2. To be quick to forgive others just as Allah forgives us

  3. To control our emotions and not to let our anger get in the way of our ability to forgive

  4. To not look for revenge

  5. To refrain from being mean spirited.

  6. To Allah Almighty will reward us for forgiving rather than avenging.  Our forgiving, in compliance with the commands of the Quran, is rewarded by Allah Almighty, and will increase our Thawaab several fold."

 

 

ABOUT Self-Control    go to top of page

      At school a group of older boys had made fun of MuhammadAli making him angry.  Now he was anxious to talk to his father about the incident.  "Dad, it was so hard for me to control myself today, I wanted to punch that guy in the face."

      "Son, I am glad you didn't.  What you practiced today was the Islamic principle of self-control.  Whenever you become so enraged that you almost take action and yet you willfully control yourself and calm yourself down you practice self-control.  Whenever you do this you have obeyed a recommendation of Allah's Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh)."

      His father continued, "Islam urges us to control ourselves.  You see, in anger a person can make bad decisions, can say things he doesn't really mean or normally wouldn't say.  In anger, a person can hurt and injure the feelings of others and end up destroying his relationship with them.

      On a larger scale, a ruler of a country or governor of a district can make a decision in anger that may prove disastrous, hurting innocent people or even damaging a country.  An angry person is not himself and cannot think clearly; his emotions rather than his mind are governing his decisions.  Let me quote the Holy Quran:

 

وَسَارِعُواْ إِلَى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالأَرْضُ

أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاء وَالضَّرَّاء وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ

وَاللّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

And Hasten To Earn Forgiveness Of Your Lord And A Paradise As Wide As The Heavens And Earth,

Prepared For The Righteous Who Spend Alike In Prosperity And In Adversity, For Those Who

          Curb Their Anger And Those Who Forgive. 

(Surah  3:  Ayah  133-134)

 

 See what Allah's Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh) says:

 

قلتُ يا رسول الله أيُّ المسلمين أفضلْ،   

قال: مَنْ سَلِمَ المسلمون مِن لسانه ويَدِه

The Excellent Muslim Is The One From Whose Hands And Tongue Other Muslims Are Safe.

Muttafaq Alayh

Other Hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh) and/or sayings of the Imams are given here:

Whoever Suppresses His Anger, When He Is Capable Of Showing It, Allah Will Give Him A Great Reward. 

He Is Not Strong And Powerful Who Runs People Down; But He Is Strong And Powerful Who Withholds Himself From Anger. 

No Person Has Drunk A Better Draught [Drink] Than That Of Anger, Which He Has Swallowed For The Sake Of Allah. 

The Most Excellent Jihad Is That For The Conquest Of Self. 

I Prize A Person Whose Reserve Supersedes His Anger.  (Imam Zainul Abideen, book Al-Usool from Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 112.) 

Anger Invalidates The Hearts Of The Wise, And The One Who Does Not Control His Anger Will Lose His Reason.  (Imam Ja'far Al-Saadiq, book of Al-Usool from Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 305.)

 

      Our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) encourages us to control ourselves.  He says that by doing so we will have performed a part of Jihad, the struggle for the cause of God.

      It is recommended that we control our anger especially when we have the power to retaliate.  In anger a person may say cruel and hurtful things and then the injured person may retaliate and the problem multiplies.  That is because our emotions may make us do things that may not be right for that situation and that we may later regret.

      As Muslims we benefit when we practice self-control.  In this was we give ourselves time to think and reason and whatever made us angry can be considered thoroughly.  By controlling ourselves we will give ourselves time to cool off and not react hastily."

      "But don't we have any reason to be angry?" asked MuhammadAli.

      "Yes, sometimes," answered Abdul-Rahman. "The only time Prophet Muhammad became angry was when someone abused the name of the Almighty or His Holy Book, the Quran.  So, MuhammadAli, in cases where our religion is attacked or the name of our Creator is abused, it is permissible to show anger.  But in most circumstances it is better to show self-control."

      "I'll try," smiled MuhammadAli.

      "One other thing," Abdul-Rahman continued, "We live in a country where many people, the media, and the press abuse Islam and the Quran, even the name of God—often out of ignorance and perhaps prejudice.  Therefore, it is our duty to explain Islam as we understand it.  We must keep doing this diligently and with perseverance.  This is our greatest form of Jihad."

      "Well, I know one thing" Abdul-Rahman said with emphasis, "If Allah's name is abused around me and people refuse to listen to my explanation, then I will be angry for sure.  Only ignorant people abuse Allah's name or His religion.  Since we are Islam's champions, we must do everything possible to provide correct information and to correct those who are spreading inaccurate information."

 

"Dad, what are the main points Islam says about self-control?" MuhammadAli asked.

Abdul-Rahman answered briefly:

 

 ISLAM TELLS ABOUT SELF CONTROLTHAT:     go to top of page

  1. it is bad to be angry or lose self-control

  2. losing tempers often leads to troublesome results,

  3. it is better to control yourself, think things through and use reason

  4. imitating our leader Muhammad (pbuh) is best.  Therefore, we should be angry and defend Allah's name and Islam whenever we see it misused or misrepresented.

 

 

 

ABOUT Being Responsible    go to top of page

    Abdul-Rahman asked his son, now that they had finished dinner, "MuhammadAli, how important do you think responsibility is in the eyes of Islam?"

      MuhammadAli was taken aback, "Very important, isn't it, Dad?"

      "Very much so," answered his father, "Not much can be achieved if we don't feel responsible.  Responsibility can also be heavy at times, it varies according to our age, the position we have in the community, and how capable we are.

      We are obliged to fulfill our responsibilities to the best of our abilities, and it is our responsibility to live Islamicly as best as we can.  Islam commands us to be responsible."  Abdul-Rahman then added after some thought, "Personal responsibility can be a burden, yet we have to carry it until the job is done.  The Holy Quran says:

 

مَّنِ اهْتَدَى فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدي لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا

وَلاَ تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى…

...He Who Is Guided Will Be Guided For Himself, And He Who Strays, Will Stray For Himself,

And No Soul Will Carry The Burden Of Another's Soul. 

(Surah  17:  Ayah  15)

 

وَكُلَّ إِنسَانٍ أَلْزَمْنَاهُ طَآئِرَهُ فِي عُنُقِهِ…

And Each Man Is Held Responsible For His Own Actions. 

(Surah  17:  Ayah  13)

 

لا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلا مَا آتَاهَا سَيَجْعَلُ اللَّهُ بَعْدَ عُسْرٍ يُسْرًا…

Allah Holds A Soul Responsible Only For Something He Has Given It.

Surely Allah Will Make Ease After Hardship. 

(Surah  65:  Ayah  7)

      "As Can Be Seen," Explained Abdul-Rahman, "We Are Strictly Responsible For Ourselves, Be It Our Welfare Or Demise.  We Are Also Responsible For The Welfare Of Others In As Much As Our Interaction With Them.  We Are Responsible For The Welfare Of Our Parents And Children, Our Relatives, In The School, And Community.

      The Responsibility Must Be Carried Out Well, Conscien­tiously, And To The Best Of Our Abilities.  No Lip Service Should Be Given To Such An Important Quality.  In Other Words, We Should Fulfill Our Intentions, And Not Merely Talk About Them.  We Must Put Our Thoughts Into Action, Action Of The Highest Quality.  See What Allah's Messenger, Muhammad (Pbuh) Says:

 

ألا كلـكم راع    وكلـكم مســؤل عن رعيــته

Truly, Each Of You Is Responsible To The Lord. Be You Leaders Or Followers,

 

بادروا بالأعمال الصالحه   فستكونُ ِفتـناً كقِطَع الليل  المظْلم:

  ُيصبحُ الرجُلُ مؤمِناً ويُمـسئُ كافراً      ويُمـسئُ مؤمِناً وُيصبحُ كافراً    يبـيعُ دِيـنَهُ بِعَرَضٍ مِنَ الدنْـيا

Take Initiative To Do Good Works, As There Will Be Times Of Turmoil, Like A Dark Night Where A Believer Wakes Up As A Believer And Ends His Day As Non-Believer; And Wakes Up As Non- Believer And Ends His Day As A Believer.  He Sells His Faith For The Worldly Goods.              Muslim

Other Hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh) and/or sayings of the Imams are given here:

There Is No Muslim Being Of Service To Brother Muslims, Without Allah Granting Him In Heaven An Equal Number Of Servants.  (Imam Ali quoting the Prophet (pbuh), book of Al-Usool from Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 207.)

The Hadith clearly directs us to view and follow through with responsibilities very seriously.  The Almighty will hold us accountable and judge us accordingly."

      "That is scary!" intercepted MuhammadAli.

      "Yes," answered his father, "but it is a privilege to carry responsibilities, and it is cowardice to shun them unless we are incapable of the task.  The person who is neglectful of carrying out his responsibilities is one who is negligent of the teachings of Islam."

      Having poured some orange juice Abdul-Rahman continued, "MuhammadAli, one of our greatest responsibilities is to work for Islam.  For example, every Islamic endeavor, such as living Islamicly, teaching Islam to our children, studying Islam, or teaching it to others, are great ways of carrying out responsibilities.  Writing for Islam, in books or newspapers, lecturing about it in churches, schools, radio or television, are most meritorious.  The society has to learn about Islam and the guidance it brings, since ignorance about Islam is common in many countries.  Even the very act of applying Islam and encouraging what is good and prohibiting what is evil is carrying out our responsibilities.  Doing so can go a very long way to produce a healthier society."

 

"So how does Islam look upon responsibility in brief?" MuhammadAli asked.

Abdul-Rahman answered briefly:

 

 ISLAM TELLS US ABOUT RESPONSIBILITY THAT:   go to top of page

  1. responsibility is on the shoulders of everyone, and must be carried out well

  2. to carry responsibilities is a privilege, especially for Islamic works

  3. we are judged by Allah, our Creator, according to the way we carry out our Islamic responsibilities

  4. he is a coward who avoids shouldering the many Islamic responsibilities—he must be reminded of that, and encouraged to work for Islam

  5. the field for Islamic work is vast and everywhere.  So, go ahead, produce, and don't say, so and so person will do it instead.  Plan, produce, and achieve, then say we have done it already.  This is the way it ought to be

  6. a person neglecting his responsibilities will not only hurt himself but also the people around him.  Whatever field he is in, if he is not punctual, productive, and doing his best, then his work suffers or be of poor quality.  His family, and even his society, can suffer.  A person ignoring his responsibilities is like a parasite upon society.

  7. When enough Muslims accept Islamic responsibility, the Muslim community will flourish and be a tremendous entity, and the energy of goodness will dissipate the darkness around it.

  8. Of course, Allah Almighty knows our capacity.  He rewards us for carrying out our responsibilities to the degree of our potential, and the one who carries Islamic work well will be greatly rewarded, and how lucky he is!