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Treating Others with Compassion and Kindness

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(Highlights of Mufti Ebrahim Salejee’s majlis - Saturday 8th November)

When Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) sent Hadhrat Mu‘aaz bin Jabal and Abu Moosa Ash‘ari (radhiyallahu anhuma) to Yemen, his parting advice to them was: bashshiraa wa laa tunaffiraa – give people glad tidings about the rewards of actions etc. and don’t chase people away. If you are going to have an aggressive and hard attitude and you want people to move in one instance from one end to the other then you will not be able to achieve this and get it all at once. That is why Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) explained how to teach and initiate people into Islam; you will first invite them to Islam. If they accept then you will teach them initially regarding salaah and then gradually regarding zakaat and other aspects. So why won’t you tell them all what they need to do at once. 

The reason is that if you are going to tell them everything that they need to do all at once they will feel that deen is too difficult and that they cannot manage. We should not become the means of a person turning away. Sometimes we may want to practise the sunnah and read lengthy surahs in namaaz, but some may feel it too hard and as a result they may discard the salaah. At the same time the sunnah also teaches us that we should make the salaah short for the ease of people. It is like a child; the parents do not send him to matric at once. He will first go through primary school and through all the stages etc. So Allah is the most compassionate. Hence, He will show that compassion and He will want that we also show this compassion.

In the Quraan in surah ‘Abasa, Allah first speaks of His favours and then speaks of Qiyaamah. Why? He wants us to enjoy this journey of life, but at the same time we should not forget about the hereafter. Allah is the provider and maker. He wants us to enjoy but does not want us to drown in this and forget Him. This is the beauty of the approach of Allah. Among the greatest favours for a man in this life is a woman, his wife. He gains about the greatest pleasure and peace of mind from her. Leave a man all alone without a woman and see his condition. But then Allah knows how some people will treat their wives. So He first speaks of women and how man derives enjoyment from them, but He then reminds us that remember, you are going to meet Him. So in that enjoyment don’t forget Him.

Allah speaks of Jannah and then says that this is your reward, and your actions are appreciated. Allah did not need to say this, but to please His servants He says this. It is like a boss who at the end of the year expresses his gratitude and appreciation, how will the employee feel. So this is the way of Allah. We on the other hand do not speak to people and treat them as they are supposed to be. Allah wants us to treat people with compassion and kindness.

For forty years Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jeelaani (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) spoke on the mercy of Allah. One day he decided to speak of the punishment of Allah. This resulted in a couple of janaazahs leaving his gathering. He then saw a dream in which he was cautioned that is the mercy of Allah depleted after forty years.

Look at the approach of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). It was an approach of consideration, love and respect. This is also found in the auliyaaa. They are the reflection of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Once, ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) saw a Christian exerting himself in his worship. Though he was very stern in his ways, but he was extremely soft at heart. Seeing him, ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) started crying and read the verse “’aamilatun naasibah . . .” i.e. he is exerting himself, but eventually he will go to Jahannum.

What is the weightiest on the scales on the Day of Qiyaamah? Imagine, it is a crucial moment; there will be no help or assistance. In this world we have security measures for our health, our vehicles etc. because we do not want to be stranded at any time. For our children’s education, marriage, etc. we make sure that we have got all types of security. So for the life and journey of the hereafter, what security have we got? At some point of the day or night we need to reflect over this reality. There is no greater reality than death. Think of the grave, how our ghusl will be done, etc. so what will bring the greatest security? The hadeeth speaks of the kalimah. The greater the sincerity and ikhlaas it is recited with, the weightier it will be on the scales.

What was the practice of the people of Madinah Munawwarah, whose practice was used as the benchmark and proof for many rulings? For their first forty years they built their lives and earned for themselves. After reaching forty they would fold away everything and dedicate themselves for the ‘ibaadat of Allah. You cannot carry on in the roundabout of life around the same thing; more money, more properties, more investments. At this point, this is when the second leg of the worldly journey starts. So, one needs to prepare for the descent. You saw everything in life; now you need to wake up to the reality of life. Start off with ourselves and then with our families.

In reality we have not understood Islam. One of the reasons is that we listen to too many lectures and bayaans and we try to collate the information and prioritise them in our minds by ourselves and we then get confused. So the solution is to ask someone experienced and then start off with yourself.

The next weightiest thing in the scales is good character. The essence of character is ta-ammul (ponder before doing anything) and tahammul (endure). Ponder and reflect. Think before doing any action as to what will be the consequence. In doing so, you will save yourself from many wrongs. The second part is to endure. In the beginning, it will be difficult but then you will begin to manage. When you speak of akhlaaq this is the greatest jihaad. Every person is watching your behaviour and you have to control yourself. You will have to suppress your anger even though the other person may have over stepped the mark. Think that Allah has put me in a position of strength and tomorrow if the tables turn around then will I like that people treat me in this manner. Whoever the person may be, treat him with consideration and kindness. Think and retrospect, where have you overstepped the mark. If you did, then ask the person for forgiveness and compensate him for it. This will then restrain you the next time you think of ill-treating anybody. You need to be hard on yourself at times in order to come right.

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