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Misuse of the Tongue and Fanaa

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(Highlights of Mufti Ebrahim Salejee’s majlis - Saturday 10th May)

1. Shammas bin Qais was a Jew and could not withstand the fact that the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) who were enemies at one stage were now living in peace and harmony. He understood that Islam was the reason for this change and he felt the need to break them apart. Hence, he instigated them to speak of the virtues of their forefathers. This then lead to quarrelling among themselves and eventually deciding to go to battle. This was the consequence of the misuse of the tongue.

Misuse of the tongue has a very disastrous outcome. There must have been some reason that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) stressed on the misuse of the tongue. The hadeeth speaks of the fast being lost because of the misuse of the tongue. Sometimes it is just one word that breaks up a home and a marriage. With a single sentence, a person is able to instigate and spur one against the other.

On the occasion of Hajjatul-Widaa’ the conveyance of one of pure wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) fell ill. So Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) asked another of the wives to loan her spare animal to the other. Normally co-wives have a rivalry among themselves. Hence, the one asked to loan her animal responded and said that should I loan my animal to this Jewess. She had to just say this and Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) cut off relations with her for few months until a few weeks before his demise. Many a times it happens to us that some thought comes to mind and we just blurt it out. On another occasion, Hazrat Aishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) said something against another wife of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was so affected, despite her being the most beloved, that he told her that the venom of that statement was so dreadful and poisonous that if it were to be mixed with the waters of the ocean then it will even spoil the sea water.

2. To taunt a person regarding a sin for which he has already made taubah is extremely disliked and dangerous. What gives one the right to taunt such a person? The hadeeth says that Allah Ta‘ala will make it such that the one taunting will not die unless he also gets involved in that sin. The problem was between him and Allah Ta‘ala, so why must we get involved in his matter.

3. The auliyaa are of a different breed altogether. Outwardly they seem to be like us, but the ingredient that they had which we are lacking is the ingredient of fanaa (complete humility and self annihilation). The problem is that we learn a few ahaadeeth etc. and then feel that we are equal to them. One is to have good character and another is to know what good character really is. You may know how to make millions, but do you have it. It will show out in your behaviour and mannerisms.

An easy way to understand this fanaa is that you have a land filled with rocks and sand. So to work on that land you will have to crush the sand and rocks and then only can you start working on the field. After all, it is this takabbur and pride that lead people to kufr. It was the same takabbur that caused Shaytaan to be banished from Jannah. Hazrat Moulana Thanwi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) says that the first step for progress is fanaa and lowering yourself.

One simple and effective way to get this tawaadhu and fanaa is not to do anything, whether small or big without consulting your elders. When I say small or big, it means something that you normally don’t do. Likewise when consulting, don’t tell the elder what you are doing, rather before you can plan anything you first consult. When you are going to be in contact then you will not make slips. Ask in a way that whatever they say you will take it wholeheartedly. The reason for speaking about this is because from among the portals of Qiyaamat is that each person will be pleased with his opinion. People will be self-opinionated.

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