On one occasion, the great imaam of this Ummah, Nu’maan bin Thaabit, more famously known by his title; Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah), 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 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 and thought to himself that if he leaves the impurity on the wall, it would cause the wall to appear unsightly, and if he scrapes it off, then some portion of the sand of the wall would also be removed, thus causing some damage to the property of the fire worshipper.
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. However, Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) said to him, “We have a problem at hand that is far more important.” He then explained what had transpired and asked as to how could they 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 begin by purifying myself.” Saying this, he immediately brought imaan.
(At-Tafseerul Kabeer vol. 1, pg. 192)
1. The pious servants of Allah Ta‘ala attach great importance to fulfilling the rights of others and not causing the slightest inconvenience to them. It was this very concern that made Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) more worried about this outwardly trivial issue and regard it to be more important than the money that was owed to him.
2. If we treat people with the justice, 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 led 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 Ta‘ala forbid, our bad character could become a means of driving people away from Islam.
3. 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.
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