Home Faqihul Ummah Mawa`iz (Discourses) Discourse 28 - Forgiveness is in Following the Sunnat

Discourse 28 - Forgiveness is in Following the Sunnat

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نحمده ونصلي على رسوله الكريم أما بعد

Wahshi’s (radhiyallahu 'anhu) concern before accepting Islam

Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was born in Makkah Mukarramah and resided there for a period of 53 years and thereafter made hijrat to Madinah Munawwarah. Allah Ta‘ala had decreed that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) will re-enter Makkah Mukarramah as a conqueror, and people will enter into Islam in droves. Allah Ta‘ala had made Islam the dominant religion and the Muslims the dominant nation.

إِذَا جَاءَ نَصْرُ اللَّـهِ وَالْفَتْحُ ﴿١﴾ وَرَأَيْتَ النَّاسَ يَدْخُلُونَ فِي دِينِ اللَّـهِ أَفْوَاجًا

“When the help of Allah and the conquest [of Makkah] had come. And you saw the people entering the deen of Allah [Islam] in large groups.” (an-Nasr: 1-2)

Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu), whose entire village had entered into Islam, wrote a letter to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) confessing: “I desire to accept Islam, but the verse:

وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّـهِ إِلَـهًا آخَرَ وَلَا يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّـهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا يَزْنُونَ

“And those who do not worship another deity with Allah and they do not kill him who Allah has forbidden to kill and they do not commit adultery” (al-Furqaan: 68)

prevents me from accepting Islam because it explicitly states that whoever has committed any of these crimes will certainly be dispatched to Jahannum; and I have committed all these crimes. Is there any means of salvation for me?”

Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), who had more love for an ummati then a mother has for a child, became extremely distressed that a slave of Allah Ta‘ala desired to accept Islam, but abstained from doing so because of these fears. Was there any way of allaying his fears?

Thus, Allah Ta‘ala revealed the following aayat:

إِلَّا مَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا فَأُولَـئِكَ يُبَدِّلُ اللَّـهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ

“Except those who repent, believe and do good deeds, for those are ones whose sins will be changed to good deeds by Allah Ta‘ala.” (al-Furqaan: 70)

The severity of these sins is such that the punishment is hellfire, except for those who bring Imaan in Allah, repent for their sins and engage in righteous actions. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was elated at the revelation of this verse because a path to salvation had been secured for Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) and Allah Ta‘ala had also declared:

 يُبَدِّلُ اللَّـهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ

“Allah Ta‘ala will change their sins into good deeds.” (al-Furqaan: 70)

It is recorded in the hadeeth that on the Day of Qiyaamah, when the reckoning will take place, the minor sins of a particular individual will be read out before him and he will be told: “You were guilty of this sin.”

This individual will remorsefully accept every account given and will contemplate to himself: “If these are my minor sins, what is going to be my condition when I will be called to account for the major sins?”

However, the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala will descend upon him and Allah Ta‘ala will state, “For every sin of yours, (the minor sins) which you have committed, you will be elevated one rank in Jannat.”

He will become overjoyed at this magnanimous favour of Allah Ta‘ala and he will begin recounting his major sins and aspire for an even greater status in Jannat and ask Allah Ta‘ala: “O Allah! What about the major sins that I have committed?”

Allah Ta‘ala is not bound to any law or restriction of any kind. Allah Ta‘ala does as He desires and, if He wishes, He can elevate the status of a sinner or disgrace a saintly person by taking him to task for a minor offence. Moulana Thanwi رحمة الله عليه used to say: “When a pious person passes away, I fear that he will be taken to task for a minor transgression, and when a flagrant sinner passes away, I feel that perhaps Allah Ta‘ala will forgive him on account of a certain righteous action that he may have performed.”

Returning to our incident, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had this verse written out and sent to Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu). Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) pondered over this verse and expressed another reservation to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

“The forgiveness and salvation in this verse,” he pointed out “has a pre-condition of performing good deeds after accepting Imaan. I fear that death may overcome me and deprive me of the opportunity of performing any good deeds. Will there still be hope for my forgiveness?”

Allah Ta‘ala then revealed the following verse:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ 

“Indeed Allah Ta‘ala does not pardon the sin of attributing partners with Him but He forgives all other sins of whomsoever He wishes.” (an-Nisaa: 48)

If an individual ascribes partners to Allah Ta‘ala and he meets his death in this condition then Allah Ta‘ala will never pardon this action of his, but Allah Ta‘ala, through His grace, can pardon the major sins of a believer if He so wishes.

Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) sent another letter to Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallhu 'anhu) revealing the glad tidings of this verse. However, Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallhu 'anhu) raised another objection.

“This verse has a restriction stating ‘whomsoever Allah wishes’. I do not know if I will be among those fortunate souls whom Allah Ta‘ala wishes to forgive,” he dejectedly replied to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Thereafter, the following verse was revealed:

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّـهِ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

“Say! [O Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that Allah Ta‘ala declares] O My slaves who have wronged themselves! [By committing kufr and shirk.] Do not despair of the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala. Allah Ta‘ala forgives all sins. Indeed He is most forgiving, most Merciful.” (az-Zumar: 53)

Even if an individual commits a multitude of sins, Allah Ta‘ala has declared: “Repent and return to Me. The doors of repentance have not as yet closed. Seek My forgiveness for I am the One Who forgives.”

Allah Ta‘ala’s willingness to forg​ive

When Shaitaan was banished from Jannat, he took the following oath: “I was expelled from Jannat because of Aadam ('alaihis salaam). Thus, I shall not allow his progeny to enter Jannat, by enticing them to commit sinful deeds which will result in them being sent to Jahannum.”

Allah Ta‘ala replied: “You will incite towards sinful actions, but I will grant them the taufeeq of making taubah. Once they make taubah, all their sins will be forgiven.”

Shaitaan became greatly distressed because the realisation had dawned upon him that a believer turning to Allah Ta‘ala and repenting for his errors, would render all his efforts futile. Shaitaan is an open enemy of man and he strives tirelessly at misleading man. Man can easily identify his visible enemies and protect himself from their cunning and nefarious aims. For example, if we spot a snake, we can then protect ourselves from it; if we are confronted by a lion, we can run away from it or merely avoid confronting it by taking an alternate route. If an army or a group of individuals attack a certain place, the residents can flee for their lives, leaving everything behind. But what about an enemy who is invisible and has the capability to flow in man’s body like his blood? It appears in a hadeeth:

إن الشيطان يجري من الانسان مجرى الدم

Shaitaan flows in the body of man just as blood flows in his body.

We can only save ourselves from the deception and ruin of Shaitaan by adhering to the sunnat of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), and the greater our adherence, the safer will we be from the guiles of Shaitaan. Before carrying out any action, ponder and ask yourself this very simple question: “Will this action be in conformity to the teachings of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)?” If it is, then gladly carry it out, but if it does not, then not only should we abstain from it, but distance ourselves from it! This is the method of gaining salvation from Shaitaan’s attacks.

Who was Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu)?

To continue with the incident concerning Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu), when this verse was revealed, it obliterated all his reservations and he accepted Islam. Now, who was Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu)? He was the slave of a woman whose close relatives were slain in the battle of Badr by Hadhrat Hamzah (radhiyallahu 'anhu). Thus, when the battle of Uhud was taking place, she smeared poison on a dagger and gave it to Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) with the following instruction: “Kill Hamzah and after cutting off his ears, nose and liver, bring them to me.”

When the battle had commenced, Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) hid behind a rock waiting for an opportune moment to launch his attack. Hadhrat Hamzah (radhiyallahu 'anhu) flung himself into the thick of the battle and his ferocious attack sent the enemy scurrying for their lives. On his return to regroup with the army, he saw Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) hiding behind the rock, but he paid no attention to him because it was not his desire to engage in battle with slaves, but rather to search out the expert marksmen and challenge them to a duel. While riding on horseback, the horse stumbled causing Hadhrat Hamzah (radhiyallahu 'anhu) to fall to the ground.

The slave seized this fortuitous moment and drove the poison-laden dagger into Hadhrat Hamzah’s t body. He thereafter mutilated the body of Hadhrat Hamzah (radhiyallahu 'anhu) and, as per the instructions of his mistress, he cut out the heart, nose, liver, ears and lips of Hadhrat Hamzah (radhiyallahu 'anhu) and presented them before her. She chewed the heart and liver and after making a necklace of the ears and nose, placed it around her neck and pranced around singing: “Today I have taken revenge. Today I have taken revenge.”

When Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) accepted Islam and presented himself before Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked: “Are you the one who had slain Hamzah (radhiyallahu 'anhu) in that fashion?”

Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) remorsefully replied, “Yes, I cannot deny it.”

Nabi’s (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) grief over his beloved uncle, as well as his foster-brother, was rekindled. Hadhrat Hamzah’s (radhiyallahu 'anhu) most noble feature was his fearless and courageous disposition. On the occasion of Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu 'anhu) accepting Islam, the Muslims were few in number and used to perform their salaah at the house of Hadhrat Arqam (radhiyallahu 'anhu). When they saw Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu 'anhu) approaching, the Muslims became afraid, but Hadhrat Hamzah (radhiyallahu 'anhu) calmly said: “Let him come! If his intentions are good, then we will receive him with respect and honour; but if his intentions are sinister, then I will chop his head off with his own sword.”

This was the bravery of Hadhrat Hamzah (radhiyallahu 'anhu). He did not dread nor fear Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu 'anhu) and he was ready to challenge him when everyone else was afraid of him.

Wahshi’s (radhiyallahu 'anhu) compliancy to the desire of Nabi (sallal​lahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

Anyway, the memory of Hadhrat Hamzah’s (radhiyallahu 'anhu) death, the manner in which he was slain and the mutilation of his body, returned to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) thought to himself: “Every time I will see Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu), the painful memory of the death of Hadhrat Hamzah (radhiyallahu 'anhu) will resurface and this will deprive Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) of benefitting from the blessings of nubuwwat.”

Hence, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu),

هل تستطيع أن تغيب وجهك عني

Will it be possible for you not to come before me?

Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) immediately complied with the request of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and took up residence in another country. This is true compliance with the instructions of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) did not object and say: “O Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! Please forgive me and allow me to come before you!”

He understood that his benefit relied ultimately upon obeying the instructions of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Distance is not an impediment of obtaining benefit from Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). The blessings of nubuwwat will reach even the distant ones so long as there is no grief or pain caused to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

It is for this reason that when the munaafiqeen used to complain to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) about the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu 'anhum), Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) instructed them: “Do not complain to me about my companions. It is my desire that when I am with them, my heart must be pure and free of ill-feelings.”

If the heart of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is pure and free of any ill feelings, the blessings of nubuwwat will also be of that category. Accordingly, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) requested Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) not to come in his presence and Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) displayed the highest level of obedience by residing in Shaam.

But the fact that he had slain the heroes of Islam caused him a great deal of consternation. However, the opportunity was provided for him to make amends by killing an equally great enemy of Islam. After the demise of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu 'anhu) dispatched an army under the leadership of Hadhrat Khalid bin Waleed (radhiyallahu 'anhu) to challenge and defeat Musailamah, the great impostor and liar who had claimed prophethood. Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) took part in this jihad and killed Musailamah.

Thus, if anyone remarked to him: “Are you not the one who had killed Hamzah (radhiyallahu 'anhu)?”, he would gleefully reply: “Yes! But I am also the one who had killed Musailamah. This compensates for the killing of Hamzah (radhiyallahu 'anhu).”

This was the relationship of Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) with Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). From this incident, two very glaring lessons are obtained. Firstly, to be affected emotionally by a distressful situation or incident is not contrary to the sunnat. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was tremendously grieved by the martyrdom of his uncle and he requested Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) not to come in his presence.

Secondly, we need to fully digest the level of obedience, displayed by Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) to the instruction of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Which believer does not have the yearning to be in the company of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)? It is narrated in one hadeeth that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “I desire to see my brothers who are still to come, who will be prepared to sacrifice every possession in exchange for one glimpse of me.”

It is the ardent desire of every one of us to have the opportunity of seeing the noble countenance of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in our dreams, and Hadhrat Wahshi (radhiyallahu 'anhu) had the great blessings of being in the company of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Yet he spent the remainder of his life in a foreign country. This is the highest category of obedience. It is our incumbent duty to obey every instruction of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and not to reach any self-deluding conclusions and interpretations of our own accord as far as the ahaadeeth are concerned.

The closest to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had appointed Hadhrat Mu'aaz (radhiyallahu 'anhu) as the governor of Yemen. Yemen, at that period, was divided into two sections with the first being the responsibility of Hadhrat Moosa Ash'ari (radhiyallahu 'anhu) and the second being allotted to Hadhrat Mu'aaz (radhiyallahu 'anhu).

As Hadhrat Mu'aaz (radhiyallahu 'anhu) was leaving Madinah Munawwarah, he was mounted on a camel while Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) walked aside him advising him along the way. Now, imagine the burden that was felt by Hadhrat Mu'aaz (radhiyallahu 'anhu) as he rode the camel and Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was walking besides him. But it was the instruction of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), so he had to comply! Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) gave the necessary advice to Hadhrat Mu'aaz (radhiyallahu 'anhu) and then mentioned: “O Mu'aaz! Perhaps when you return to Madinah, you will pass by my grave.”

Hadhrat Mu'aaz (radhiyallahu 'anhu) understood the implications of this statement and began crying. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) turned his mubaarak face towards Madinah and continued: “Close and beloved to me are those who adopt taqwa, whoever they are and wherever they are.”

What is taqwa?

Hence, the manner or method of attaining the true love of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is to adopt taqwa. What is taqwa? Taqwa can be translated as abstaining and distancing ourselves from those actions that are forbidden by Allah Ta‘ala and His Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

A Sahaabi once asked Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu 'anhu): “What is this taqwa that is repeatedly mentioned in the Quraan?”

“Tell me!” enquired Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu 'anhu). “Did you ever walk along a narrow pathway that was enshrouded with thorny bushes on either side?”

The Sahaabi replied in the affirmative. Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu 'anhu) then asked: “How did you walk along that path?”

“I wrapped my clothes tightly around myself and walked slowly, careful not to be pricked by any thorns or getting entangled in them.”

“That,” replied Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu 'anhu) emphatically, “is taqwa!”

The commentary of this is that taqwa entails treading cautiously along the path of this worldly life, ensuring that one is not harmed or pricked by the sins of this world. If we confront a woman who is not observing purdah, we lower our gazes; if the sound of music is heard from a radio or any other instrument, we ignore it; if anyone berates us, we exercise patience by not replying in the similar vein. The gist of taqwa is to protect all the limbs; the heart, mind, legs, eyes, ears, hands and private organs, from breaking the commandments of Allah Ta‘ala.

The caution of our Akaabir

We need to educate ourselves in understanding what the desire of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was and adhere rigidly to that path. This was found to a great extent in the lives of our seniors. Moulana Thanwi’s رحمة الله عليه practice was to change his clothes on a Friday, although the clothes that he was wearing were still clean. He used to fold up the clothing in a bundle and hang them on a hook on the wall in his room. The washerman would then come and take it from there. There was also a desk in the room and, sometimes, a kitaab would be left on it. Once he instructed someone to hang his clothing on the hook, but he asked him to ensure that no kitaab was placed on the desk. The reason: he could not tolerate his used clothing being hung in a higher position than the kitaab.

A person personally narrated to me that once he was in the khidmat (service) of Moulana Saharanpuri رحمة الله عليه. When he was about to depart, he shook hands with Moulana and then said: “I wish to make mashwarah (consult) with you on a certain matter.”

Moulana moved from the carpet that he was sitting on and asked: “What is it that you wish to talk about?”

“It will only take a minute,” he placated. “There was no need for Moulana to get up and move from your place.”

Moulana replied: “The madrasah has given us this carpet for the purpose of teaching hadeeth, not to make mashwarah with our friends. Thus, it should be used for the purpose that it was given.”

This was the level of caution that our buzurgs exercised in ensuring that they did not use anything incorrectly.

When Moulana Saharanpuri رحمة الله عليه was in Madinah, he used to perform his Taraaweeh by the Rowdha-e-Mubarak; reciting to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Moulana maintained such a degree of respect that, at the time of making salaam, he would be shivering and tears would be flowing profusely from his eyes.

Moulana Husain Ahmad Madani رحمة الله عليه would stand for an hour and a half in complete silence and humility, in front of the Rowdha-e-Mubarak. Those accompanying him would sit down due to tiredness, but Moulana would continue standing in that same posture.

Moulana also taught hadeeth in Musjid-un-Nabawi. On one occasion, Moulana was discussing the hadeeth of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) being alive in his grave. The students posed numerous objections and counter objections to Moulana’s explanations. He suddenly lifted his gaze and looked intently towards the Rowdha-e-Mubarak. The students followed suit and to their utter astonishment, they witnessed that the building and the extra decorations were cleared and Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was seated there. Moulana turned his gaze back to the kitaab and the Rowdha-e-Mubarak was restored to its original state. This was the condition and status of our buzurgs. Hence, they ensured that no action of theirs was contrary to the desire of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

Our attitude towards life

Now, we claim to be the same ummatis of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! But what is the calibre of these ummatis? Ummatis who are stooped in sin! The disposition of any ummati should be that he would not perform any action that is against the desire of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). For example, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has forbidden the taking of interest. It is narrated in a hadeeth:

“The curse of Allah Ta‘ala is on the taker of interest, the giver of interest, the scribe of the contract and the witnesses to the transaction.”

Hence, we as the ummatis of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) should create an abhorrence for these types of transactions.

A Muslim must not lie. When we lie, the angels of mercy flee miles away from us due to the stench emanating from our mouths. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has also forbidden breaching a promise. It is recorded in a hadeeth that he who makes a promise with the intention of breaking it, is a munaafiq. He has displayed a sign of hypocrisy. We must not ape the lives of other nations and begin to reason like them. For example, thinking that by dealing in interest or telling lies, our businesses will prosper. We must not admire the material possessions of other nations and develop a desire and greed to accumulate the same. If we aspire to lead a certain way of life, then let us lead the way of life shown to us by Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and expounded upon by the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu 'anhum).

A Muslim should take a lesson from every feature of life. If we see a snake, reflect and ponder over the favour of Allah Ta‘ala upon us. He has created us as human beings and not as harmful creatures such as a snake which drives fear into the hearts of people. It is recorded in a hadeeth that, as far as the world is concerned, then we must always draw a comparison with those who are less fortunate than ourselves. If we do not possess some material commodities then reflect upon those who have even less than us and, in this manner, the reality will dawn upon us that compared to those less fortunate than us, I have much more!

Shaikh Sa'di رحمة الله عليه once related: “I never really concerned myself over the affairs of this dunya except on one occasion. I did not possess any shoes and I went barefoot to the marketplace and there I saw an individual who did not have any feet! It was then that I realised how fortunate I was and I expressed my gratitude to Allah Ta‘ala for blessing me with feet.”

I [Mufti Mahmood Sahib رحمة الله عليه] had personally seen in Makkah Mukarramah, an individual performing tawaaf by rolling around the Ka'bah. He enwrapped himself in some type of clothing and rolled around the Ka'bah. Therefore, we must always turn our gazes to those less fortunate than ourselves. Some people do not have homes, hence they sleep on the streets or on shop verandas to protect themselves from the natural elements. Others do not have any source of income and resort to begging for their livelihood. Some servants of Allah Ta‘ala do not have certain faculties: some are blind, some are deaf, some are paralysed, etc. We should always cast our gazes at these people and be grateful to Allah Ta‘ala for bestowing us with these favours. Never turn your attention to the more privileged, as we will become despondent and utter grim statements such as: “So and so has a mansion and I have nothing. So and so has an expensive vehicle and I have nothing.”

However, as far as deen is concerned, then we must judge ourselves with those who are more righteous and virtuous, and reason in this manner that this individual is a human just like myself, hence I also need to exert myself in deeni matters. There are many servants of Allah Ta‘ala who recite the entire Qur’aan Shareef daily. Haroon Ar-Rasheed was a great king of his time, controlling the affairs of a vast kingdom, but daily, he used to perform 500 rakaats of nafl salaah. He was a normal human like us, possessing two hands, two legs, two ears, two eyes and one nose. He did not possess any extraordinary senses of any kind to enable him to perform these 500 rakaats of nafl salaah.

Hadhrat Uthmaan (radhiyallahu 'anhu) used to complete the entire Quraan Shareef in one rakaat of his witr salaah.

Imam Abu Hanifah رحمة الله عليه completed the entire Quraan Shareef in Makkah Mukarramah, in two rakaats standing in front of the Baitullah – and he was also a human just like us.

There are many servants of Allah Ta‘ala who pass their day in a state of hunger, tying stones to their bellies. Nabi’s (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) condition was such that after performing fajr salaah, he would go home and enquire if there was any food to eat. If the reply was in the negative, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would say: “I shall then fast,” and he would tie a stone to his belly.

On one occasion, on a sweltering hot day, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) went to the musjid. A Sahaabi came to the musjid and Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked him, “Why did you come in this extreme heat?”

He replied: “O Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! I am extremely hungry and distressed, hence I have come to the musjid to gain comfort by looking at your blessed countenance.”

Shortly thereafter, another Sahaabi also came to the musjid and Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) posed the same question, to which he replied: “I do not have any food. Therefore, I came so that perhaps I may get something from you, O Nabi of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”

Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) remarked: “The difference between you two is like the difference in the answers given by the two of you.”

The answer of one was: “I gain comfort by looking at you,” while the answer of the other was: “Perhaps I may get some food from you.”

Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) proceeded to the date orchard of an Ansaari Sahaabi followed by these two Sahaabah. It was the harvesting season and the Sahaabi’s entire family had taken up temporary residence in the orchard. This Sahaabi was not present, he had gone to fetch cold water from a certain place, hence Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the two Sahaabah sought shelter under a date palm.

When this Sahaabi returned and saw the blessed countenance of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), he became elated that the leader of both the worlds, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), was resting in his orchard. He immediately plucked a bunch of dates from one of the trees and presented it before Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). The bunch contained a mixture of ripe, unripe and partially ripened ates. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked: “Why did you not bring a bunch of ripened dates instead of this bunch containing a variety of dates?”

“I brought this bunch,” he explained, “because some people like ripe dates and others unripe dates, while some like partially ripe dates. Thus you may partake of whichever ones you desire.”

After partaking of the dates and the cool revitalising water, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “On the Day of Qiyaamah, you will be asked about the bounties (of Allah Ta‘ala). Allah Ta‘ala will ask: ‘You had eaten of the dates which I had created, you drank from the water which I had created and you had taken shelter under a tree which I had created. What good deeds did you do in exchange?’”

Let us ponder over the exquisite clothing that we wear, the sprawling mansions that we live in, the pure and refreshing water that we daily drink and the sumptuous meals that we daily eat! Did it ever cross our minds that we will have to give an account for all of these favours that Allah Ta‘ala has bestowed upon us? If we scrutinize our lives, we will discover that many of us lead a life contrary to the life of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Are we really accomplishing the task that we have been sent for? Despite all our material progress, we have in actual fact retrogressed.

Cause for distress and anguish

Since my arrival here in Kashmir, I have been inundated with people complaining of the overwhelming distress and anguish in their lives. The root cause is that we are seeking contentment and serenity in worldly avenues. Tell me, if a thirsty person searches for water in a chair or a wall, will he find what he is looking for? Certainly not! He will have to draw the water from the river, a well or simply get it by opening the tap.

Similarly, today we feel that, through worldly achievements and gains, we will acquire contentment and bliss. An individual reasons that if he gets a car, he will acquire peace of mind. Allah Ta‘ala alone knows the haraam banking transactions required to purchase that car. Now, if he is involved in an accident and loses his life, did he gain that peace of mind? Another person feels that if he invests in rail transport, he will also get that peace of mind. The train is derailed and thousands of lives are destroyed. What peace of mind is this? Similarly, if a person invests in the aviation industry and the plane crashes destroying everyone aboard, what peace of mind has he acquired?

Another person reasons that if he becomes the prime minister, he will gain contentment. Observe the lives of most of the present prime ministers and we will realise that this a deception. Many have met a very cruel and humiliating fate. Another person amasses hoards of money, thinking that this will grant him serenity and contentment. If a single termite finds its way to these notes, will he gain that serenity?

Changing our outlook towards life

Muslims are squandering their lives pursuing tranquillity in incorrect avenues. Peace of mind will be found only in the remembrance of Allah Ta‘ala.

أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“Only in the zikr of Allah, will hearts find peace.” (ar-Ra`d: 28)

The stronger a person’s relationship is with Allah Ta‘ala, the greater the satisfaction and contentment of life he will enjoy. A person who is employed in a factory is constantly worried that if his employer becomes angry with him, he will lose his job. But if his relationship with Allah Ta‘ala is strong, he will not be troubled with these apprehensions because he will have the true conviction that Allah Ta‘ala is the only Sustainer and Provider. If Allah Ta‘ala seals one door of sustenance, then He will open another. There is no shortage in the treasures of Allah Ta‘ala.

Man is always apprehensive about his future: will I be successful in this venture and will that situation work out in my favour, etc.? But if his relationship with Allah Ta‘ala is strengthened, then such fears and apprehensions will be dispelled because he will have the full conviction and certainty that Allah Ta‘ala alone is the Protector and Guardian.

Thus, if a thief steals his money or his business goes through a lean period, he will not become overly concerned because he has the certainty that in the treasures of Allah Ta‘ala, there is no shortage.

A buzurg’s khaadim (attendant) came up to him and very sorrowfully said: “Hadhrat! The valuable pearl given to you by the king, is lost.”

The buzurg lowered his head and after a while replied: “Alhamdulillah.”

After a short while, the khaadim returned and said: “Hadhrat! The pearl has been found.”

The buzurg again lowered his head and after a short period reiterated: “Alhamdulillah.”

When enquired to explain this strange behaviour, he replied: “When I was informed that it was lost, I examined the condition of my heart to determine whether I was affected in any way, (i.e. was I grieving over its loss). I found that I was not disturbed by it, hence, I said, ‘Alhamdulillah’. When I was informed of its recovery, I again examined my heart to see if I was affected in any way. I discovered that I was not, hence I again said, ‘Alhamdulillah’. My heart was not attached in any way to that pearl therefore, if it got lost or if it was recovered, both scenarios were equal to me. I did not rejoice at its recovery nor lament at its loss.”

This ought to be the outlook of a Muslim. Many such examples can be found in the lives of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu 'anhum). They placed total reliance in Allah Ta‘ala and not in their capabilities and efforts.

A horse’s reaction upon hearing the name of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

Zuraarah bin Aufah (radhiyallahu 'anhu) was participating in a jihad and he laid forth a challenge to the enemy. The battles in that era were fought in this manner that a combatant from one camp would challenge someone from the enemy camp to a duel. When one of them is killed, a second person would lay down a challenge and thereafter a third person, eventually culminating in a fully-fledged battle. This Sahaabi was engaged in the duel for a long period of time and he realised that his horse was reaching the point of exhaustion.

He grabbed the horse by its mane and reprimanded it: “If today you tire and let me down, tomorrow on the Day of Qiyaamah, I will complain to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) about you.”

The horse shuddered, neighed, and plunged itself into the heat of the duel and the enemy was killed. The name of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had such an impact on a horse! It is indeed a great shame that the name of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has a zero effect and impact in the lives of Muslims today. Their appearance, clothing and lifestyles are in complete contrast with the sunnat of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). The greater a person will adhere to the sunnat, the more contentment and serenity (peace of mind) will he experience. May Allah Ta‘ala give us all the correct understanding! Aameen.

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