Goal in Life
“What is your goal in Life?” This question has remained unchanged over the ages, yet the answers it solicits remain as diverse as ever. From doctor, lawyer, pilot and engineer to sportsman, entrepreneur and even billionaire, every reply aptly reflects the values of the individual answering. Hence, a person infused with the true value of Deen would answer, “My goal in life is to be a true Muslim.” Furthermore, he is likely to add that “I also want to be a true ambassador of Islam all the time.”
In an effort to become true Muslims, it is essential to first of all understand and identify some of the qualities that are the hallmark of a true Muslim. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has mentioned, “A true Muslim is the one who people are safe (at all times) from the harm of his tongue and hand (verbal harm and physical harm).” (Musnad Ahmad #7086) In this hadeeth, we are taught that one will only be a true believer when he adopts the blessed character of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and treats people with complete compassion, kindness and mercy.
Embodiment of Islam
Every Ummati of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), by virtue of his imaan, is a representative of the Deen of Islam. The people around him deal and interact with him, and whether he is aware of it or not, many of them formulate their opinion of Islam based on the conduct and behaviour that he displays before them.
When a Muslim imbibes the blessed character of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), he becomes an embodiment of Islamic values and a living testament to the beauty of Islam and its teachings. As a result, the mere casual interaction of such a person is an effective form of da’wah (inviting) to Islam. This is especially pertinent when living as a minority in a non-Muslim country, as many kuffaar have no knowledge of Islam or exposure to Deen besides their interaction and dealings with Muslims.
If we treat people with the kindness and compassion of Islam, we will create an indelible impression on their hearts and minds, and they will undoubtedly be attracted to Islam. Conversely, if we display character that is bereft of Islamic values and qualities, people will be lead to the conclusion that Muslims are no different to non-Muslims. In some cases, Muslims leave such a bad impression that non-Muslims are left feeling that Muslims are the worst of people! Allah forbid – our bad character could become a means of driving people away from Islam.
One of the domains in which Muslims interact the most with non-Muslims is the business world. Be it our customers, suppliers, employees, fellow staff members, acquaintances or even employers, for many of them, the business sector is the only place where they are exposed to Muslims and, through them, to Islam. Hence, the conduct of Muslims in the business place contributes largely to their impression of Islam.
Character in Commerce
Being a perfect and complete Deen, Islam has even provided us with detailed guidelines teaching us how we should conduct ourselves in the market place. In this regard, Islam not only advocates complete justice and honesty in our dealings, but also encourages us to ‘err on the side of caution’ by giving those with whom we deal more than they actually deserve. Hence, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) once instructed a person who was weighing the amount for payment on his behalf and said: “Weigh and give more (to the seller than he deserves).” (Sunan Abi Dawood #1305) In this hadeeth, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) showed the Ummah the true spirit of a Muslim in the business place. He was so eager to show the next person kindness that he was prepared to forego some portion of his own wealth rather than risk cheating the next person of what is due to him!
Taqwa of Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah)
When we study the lives of our pious predecessors, we realize that they understood the true value of Islamic values. They were prepared to sacrifice their wealth, but they could not sacrifice and compromise on their Deeni values. On one occasion, Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah) purchased some grain on credit, leaving his bucket with the grain-seller as collateral. Later on, when Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah) paid for the grain and wished to collect his bucket, the seller presented him with two buckets saying, “See which one belongs to you.” Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah) replied, “I cannot identify which bucket belongs to me. Hence, I absolve you of my bucket and the money that I paid for the grain (i.e. you may keep the bucket as well as the money).” The seller thereafter remarked, “By Allah! I knew which bucket belonged to him, but merely wished to test his taqwa!” (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 9, pg. 451)
Taqwa of Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah)
In this day and age, professionals abound and there is similarly no shortage of wealthy people. If there is a lack of something, however, then it is people who possess values. Hence, it is values that fetch the highest value and make the deepest impression.
Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) once went to the house of a fire worshipper to collect some money that was owed to him. However, as Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) arrived at the door, some najaasat (impurity) stuck to his sandal. Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) shook the sandal, and as the impurity was removed, it fell onto the wall of the fire worshipper’s home! Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) was worried and perturbed. If he left the impurity on the wall, it would cause the wall to appear unsightly, and if he scraped it off, then some portion of the sand of the wall would also be removed.
In this state of concern, Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) knocked on the door. It was answered by a servant to whom Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) said, “Tell your master that Abu Haneefah is at the door.” The fire worshipper came out to meet Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah), worried that he had come to collect the outstanding money, and thus began to make excuses in earnest. However, Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) said to him, “We have a problem at hand that is far more important than the money. Look at the wall; how do we clean it without causing it damage?”
The fire worshipper was amazed at the character of Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) and the concern that he displayed for the safety of the next person’s wealth. He thus proclaimed, “Before purifying the wall, I wish to purify myself by accepting Islam.” Saying this, he immediately brought imaan. (At-Tafseerul Kabeer vol. 1, pg. 192)
By adhering to the values and qualities of Islam in every department of our lives, including the department of business and trade, we will become true flag bearers of Islam. Thus, even though it may seem as if we are occupied in trade and commerce, we will, in reality, be inviting people to the pure, pristine Deen of Islam.
The world, despite its vastness, has become a ‘global village’. 200 years ago, It would take a whole day’s journey to travel from one village to another village only 50 km away. Today, the very same distance can comfortably be traversed in as little as 15 min! With the advent of the aircraft, it has become normal for people to jet set to exotic countries in less than 24 hours!
This has brought in its wake the ‘travel’ culture. With the entire country and even foreign countries a mere flight away, many people are no longer content to remain at home – especially in the holiday period. Whether the destination is local such as Durban or Cape Town, or foreign such as New York or London – the planes are packed to capacity as people set out on vacation.
Nobody will Know?
However, once the calendar flips to the vacation period, many people ‘let down their hair’ in the spirit of relaxation and recreation. Furthermore, being in a strange environment where they recognize no one and no one recognizes them, many feel totally free of the slightest inhibition, to do as they please. At home, visiting a casino, clubbing and visiting an escort agency were unimaginable. Now, in a strange land, it’s not just possible, it’s happening. After all, nobody will ever know. Right?
Wrong! Allah Ta‘ala knows every detail of which place we visit and what we do. He knows where our eyes are looking and what our hearts are thinking. He knows whether we are being loyal to Him, our Most compassionate Creator and Sustainer, or whether we are eating His sustenance and yet bowing to Shaitaan and our nafs. He knows… indeed He knows everything… and… (Allah Ta‘ala forever keep us in His Divine protection)… He also has the full power and might to expose a person on the spot… or later when he least expects it.
Angel of Death
Furthermore, If we have ‘mastered’ travel with technology, then there is one who already surpassed us in travel millennia ago – the Angel of Death. Whether his victim is aboard a fighter jet breaking the sound barrier, or securely safeguarded in a vault at Fort Knox, let alone escaping the Angel of Death, he cannot even delay his final moment by a split-second.
When this is the undisputed reality of death, and none of us knows when the Angel of Death will come calling, then before going to any place or engaging in any activity, we should think to ourselves, “Would I like death to meet me here? Would I like to pass away in a casino? Or in a movie theatre? Or in a brothel? Or in a night club?”
The hadeeth teaches us that we will be resurrected in the manner that we pass away. None of us would like to be resurrected in the filthy act of zina, or standing at a slot machine, or on a beach in the midst of nude people. May Allah Ta‘ala assist us all to spend every moment of our lives in the manner that we would like to pass away.
Q&A: Compassion to Staff
Q: We run a family business. I am forever at loggerheads with my elder brother, who is the CEO, as I think that he does not treat the staff fairly. I feel that it is only out of desperation that the staff grudgingly accept to work for the minimal wages paid to them, and their hearts are forever cursing us. Furthermore, some of the staff have loyally served the business for more than 10 years, yet still earn a pittance, even though the business can well afford to pay a better salary. Please advise.
A: Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has mentioned, “None of you is a true believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #13).
It was after hearing this blessed hadeeth that Sayyiduna Anas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and another Sahaabi went to the market to purchase something. Although the item that they wished to purchase was being sold for thirty dirhams, the Sahaabi with Anas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) raised the price and insisted on paying the seller fifty! When the seller asked him, in surprise, why he was paying more than the price demanded, he replied, “I heard Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) say that a person is not a true believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself, and I feel that this item is worth fifty.” (Majma‘uz Zawaaid #340)
The abovementioned hadeeth and incident is sufficient to teach us that if a person possesses true imaan, then together with earning a halaal living, his heart will burn with the concern of how he can bring comfort and happiness to the creation of Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, he will be of advantage to people, not take advantage of people.
Spirit of Deen
Since bringing comfort and happiness to people is the very spirit of Islam and imaan, incidents such as the one above are not isolated occurrences, but abounded in the lives of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), Taabi‘een (rahimahumullah) and pious people of the past who were blessed with the true understanding and spirit of Deen. Let us consider the following incident:
A woman once came to Yunus bin ‘Ubaid (rahimahullah) and offered to sell him a silken robe. Yunus bin ‘Ubaid (rahimahullah) asked her the price, to which she replied, “five hundred.” Yunus bin ‘Ubaid (rahimahullah) responded, “It is worth more than that.” The woman thus increased the price to six hundred, but Yunus bin ‘Ubaid (rahimahullah) again said, “It is worth more than that.” Yunus bin ‘Ubaid (rahimahullah) continued to raise the price in this manner, until he eventually purchased the silken robe from her for one thousand. (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 6, pg. 289)
Unfortunately, today we live among disbelievers whose hallmark and purpose in life is nothing more than the amassment of wealth. The unfortunate result is that we find our core Islamic values gradually eroding away, replaced by the values and priorities of the disbelievers. Instead of our hearts being infused with the spirit of compassion and kindness, they become contaminated with the doctrine of capitalism, where ‘each man for himself and God for all’ is the theme that reigns supreme. Thereafter, whether by hook or by crook, halaal or haraam, we are prepared to resort to any means necessary to turn the figures, even if it means partnering with the bank in transactions of interest or exploiting people who are in situations of desperation. It is for this reason that the qualities of justice, kindness and compassion with which Islam is synonymous and for which the Muslims were once renowned, have come close to extinction, while incidents such as those mentioned above are few and far apart and are generally found only in the pages of history.
Since the hadeeth has taught us to love for others what we love for ourselves, an effective remedy to assist us in instilling kindness for the creation in our hearts is for us to always imagine ourselves in the shoes of the person with whom we are dealing. Before doing anything, ask ourselves, “If I was this person, would I be happy to be treated in this way?” Insha-Allah, if we regularly ponder in this manner, we will become sympathetic to the plight of others and will engender the true spirit of mercy and kindness within our hearts.
Faqeehul Ummah: Harshness to the Wife
Summary of Letter
Respected Mufti Saheb
Assalamu ‘alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu
I suffer from the malady of being harsh towards my wife, sometimes to the point of even beating her. Please assist me to remedy this illness.
Summary of Reply:
Wa ‘alaikumus salaam warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu
You have sought a remedy for your harshness towards your wife. The remedy is evident and clear – do not be harsh and treat her with softness. When you become angry, then reflect over the fact that you are also sinful in court of Allah Ta‘ala. If Allah Ta‘ala were to express His anger upon you, what would your plight be? Overlook the faults of your wife and Allah Ta‘ala will overlook your faults. If you do not forgive her faults, then with what face will you ask Allah Ta‘ala to forgive you? The hadeeth mentions, “Show mercy to those on earth, the One in the
The illustrious Sahaabi, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was once invited to a waleemah function. When he was about to enter, he heard some impermissible activity taking place, hence he returned immediately. When he was questioned about the reason for his return, he explained: “I heard Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) saying: ‘Whosoever adds to the numbers of a people, will be counted from among them, and the one who is pleased with the wrong of a people, will be a partner in their actions.’” (Ithaaful Khiyaratil Maharah vol. 4, pg. 135)
It is indeed extremely sad to notice many Muslims joining the disbelievers in their activities and festivities. There are those who remain as spectators and others actively participate. This hadeeth sounds a very severe warning for the passive participants, let alone those who actively join in the wrong.