Adab (Respect)


Allah Ta'ala has created us in this world with three types of enemies; The kuffar (disbelievers), Shaitaan and our nafs (carnal desire). Not only has Allah Ta'ala warned us of the enmity of Shaitaan, rather He has also pointed out to us the various tricks and ploys of Shaitaan which he uses to misguide us. Allah Ta'ala declares in the Qur'an:

surah 35 ayah 6

Indeed Shaitaan is your enemy, therefore treat him as your enemy”

For instance, one plot of Shaitaan is to make man despondent of the mercy of Allah Ta'ala. He makes a person feel as if there is no hope left for him or he is a ‘write off’. It should be borne in mind that no person should lose hope in Allah Ta'ala, irrespective of how much and how great a crime he may have perpetrated. Allah Ta'ala announces in the Qur'an:

surah 39 ayah 53

Say! O My slaves who have wronged themselves, despair not of the mercy of Allah”

Another strategy of Shaitaan is to mislead man through his voice. Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Abbas (Radiyallahu Anhuma), the authority in the commentary of the Qur'an, explains that the voice of Shaitaan refers to music.

Sometimes he attacks us by threatening us with poverty and want. He urges us to adopt those means of acquiring wealth which are in conflict with the Shari'ah. He incites man to gamble, giving him hope that this will be a means of alleviating his need. Allah Ta'ala has declared gambling, whether it is through the National Lotto or in whichever form, as filth from the work of Shaitaan.

A very successful plan of Shaitaan in misleading us is to make us ungrateful for the favours of Allah Ta'ala. The gravity of being unappreciative to the favours of Allah Ta'ala should be understood. For instance a father buys his child the latest model car on the market. The son now takes the car and sells it as scrap metal. Theoretically, the son had all the right to do what he did. Since the car belonged to him, he could do as he pleased and the father had no right to object. However, in so doing, what message has the son conveyed to his father? By abusing the gift and not appreciating it, he is actually saying that he has absolutely no need for the gift and he has sealed off all possibility of receiving a gift from his father again. Similarly, when a person does not appreciate Allah Ta'ala's favours, then by way of inference, he is saying to Allah Ta'ala that he does not require His favours, Allah Ta'ala forbid!

Let us take another example. A father gives his son one hundred rands. The son thanks his father for the money, but then tears the note in his father’s presence. Although he verbally expressed his thanks, his actions have belied him. Thus we understand that just as it is important to verbally express our gratitude to Allah Ta'ala, likewise we have to physically appreciate His favours. Physically appreciating His favours will mean utilising those gifts in such a manner and in such avenues that are in accordance to the command of Allah Ta'ala.

Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has said, “He who is not appreciative to people has not shown his appreciation to Allah Ta'ala”. We enjoy many favours of Allah Ta'ala through certain mediums. Although the actual bestower is Allah Ta'ala himself, but He bestows it via a medium. It is the teaching of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) that just as we need to be grateful to Allah Ta'ala, we also have to be grateful, appreciative, respectful and show cognisance to those mediums through which we enjoy those favours. Irrespective of the nature of the favour, be it wealth, knowledge, etc., it is part of the shukr that we owe to Allah Ta'ala that we appreciate those people who were responsible for us enjoying that gift. It is like the taps in our homes. Although the origin of the water is elsewhere, however, a person cannot do away with the tap. If he does, he will not receive any water. Similarly, the people that are responsible for us enjoying certain favours are also worthy of respect and appreciation. Take for instance our parents. After Allah Ta'ala, the greatest favour bestowed on any person is from his parents who were the means of his existence and fulfilment of every need of his. Just as he has to thank Allah Ta'ala, he has to show love, appreciation, respect and admiration towards his parents in order to thank them for all the favours they have relentlessly showered upon him. Likewise we have those Ulama' who are responsible for our religious upbringing. The Sahaabah (companions of Rasulullah [Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam]), the A’immah Arba'ah (Four great Imams of Fiqh), the muhadditheen, mufassireen etc. who have toiled and exerted themselves in learning Deen and conveying it to us in the simplest of forms. Each one of them has to be shown that respect, love and appreciation for the great service they have rendered to us in preserving our Deen.

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