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.”

True Muslim

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.

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