Malfoozaat (Statements) on Social Conduct

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MAINTAIN A CHEERFUL COUNTENANCE
Our buzroogs were never sour-faced. They always maintained a cheerful appearance, smiling with everyone in spite of the fear of Divine Love consuming their heart.

SMILING OR CRYING BETTER?
Hadhrat Nabi Yahya (alayhis salaam) was always overcome with fear and crying while Hadhrat Nabi Isaa (alayhis salaam) was always smiling and happy. Once Nabi Yahya (alayhis salaam) said to Nabi Isaa (alayhis salaam) that  the one who always smiles and is happy lacks fear of Allah. Nabi Isaa (alayhis salaam) responded that the one who is always crying and gloomy despairs of the mercy of Allah Ta’ala.

Allah Ta’ala sent an Angel to arbitrate. The angel decreed that the condition of Yahya (alayhis salaam) is best in seclusion and the condition of Isaa (alayhis salaam) is best in  public.

THE AULIYAH ARE NATURALLY HUMUROUS WITHOUT ANY ARTIFICIALITY
A person who is playful and humorous is one whose nafs (lower self) is dead and ruh (soul) is alive. One who is cheerful is a good person. On the other hand, one who displays artificial cheerfulness is one whose ruh is dead and nafs is alive. Such people have kibr (pride) in them. The humorous ones do not have pride.

SHARIAH EMPHASIZES SYMPATHY FOR OTHERS
The Shariat emphasizes much sympathy for others, and to aid those in distress. Alas! Today we are totally unaffected by the plight of others. The niggardliness of people’s has made them so selfish that they are concerned with only their own comforts and luxuries. They are totally impervious of the plight and need of others, regardless of whether they perish or languish in grief.

DECEPTIVE ARGUMENTS TO AVOID COMPASSION FOR OTHERS
The Shariat emphasises much on compassion for others by aiding them in their needs and times of hardship. But, alas! We no longer  have any concern for this command of the Shariah to benefit others. We have become so miserly and selfish that we horde wealth only for ourselves. Others are completely forgotten whether they are in grief or whether they perish. Some people argue: “To what extent should we have compassion? Thousands are in need of compassion.” This is a great deceptive argument. It does not follow that if we are unable to aid all, we should refrain from assisting even ten. These are flimsy excuses for abstaining from aiding others.

SERVICE TO HUMANITY
Service to humanity is wonderful. It is not easy to suffer hardship for the sake of the comfort of others. (Service to humanity is praiseworthy as long as there is no conflict with the Shariah in the service.)

NOT TOLERATING INJUSTICE – THE EFFECT OF DIVINE LOVE
One who is in love with Allah Ta’ala is unable to tolerate injustice to even a kaafir or an animal.

MUSLIMS TODAY ARE STRANGERS TO GOOD CULTURE AND MORALITY
We Muslims have nowadays become total strangers to good culture and morality. An Englishman who had converted to Islam entered the Musjid to perform Salat. He notice that the gully in which the waste water flowed was dirty. Addressing those present he advised them to maintain the gully clean. Someone retored: “It seems as if you are still influenced by Christianity, hence, you blabber about cleanliness.” They then evicted the convert from the Musjid.

When other respectable Muslims heard of this incident they sought to placate the convert. They told him not to take this unfortunate incident to heart since those who had rebuked him were ignorant. The convert replied honourably: “What, do you think that I will become disillusioned with Islam and revert to Christianity on account of their treatment? I did not embrace Islam on the strength of these disrespectful persons. I have professed Iman in Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wasallam) whose lofty morals cannot be compared with the characters of these people.”

THE ESSENCE OF MORALITY – AVOIDING INCONVENIENCE TO OTHERS
Abstention from causing distress and inconvenience, both zaahir and baatin, whether in someone’s presence or absence, is the essence of moral character.

ADAB (SPIRITUAL COURTESY AND CHARACTER)
The reality of Adab (respect) is to give a person to comfort. An act or custom which causes discomfort to a person is not adab even if it superficially is customary to honour someone in this way. The Sahaabah had a very informal relationship with Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

OUR CHARACTER REVEALS OUR TRUE NATURE
The majority of practising people are particular about the presence of the beard and the cloth being above the ankles. The dress is kept simple in accordance with the dictates of the shariah. But when one sees their Ikhlaq (character) it is as if they have not even tasted an atom’s worth of the essence of the shairah.

THE KAAFIR WHO POSSESSES ADAB
Adab (spiritual courtesy and character) leads to imaan. The Kaafir who possesses adab is often graced with the gift of Islam. And the muslim who lacks adab is often seen losing his Islam.

SOCIAL ETIQUETTE IS NEGLECTED BY EVEN ULAMA NOWADAYS
Of the five constitutional branches of lslam Muslims in general nowadays regard only two branches as being integral parts of the Deen. These are Aqaa-id (beliefs) and lbaadaat (worship). The Ulama-e-Zaahir (those Ulama concerned only with the external dimension of lslam – with only the letter of the law) consider the third branch, viz., Muamalaat (mutual dealings and transactions) also an integral part of the Deen. The Mashaaikh (of Tasawwuf) consider the fourth branch, viz. Akhlaaq (Moral character) also part of the Deen.

However, the fifth branch, viz., Aadaabul Muasharat (Social Etiquette) has been excluded from the Deen by all three groups excepting a few among them. In fact, it is believed that this branch is totally unrelated to the Deen. This is the view of the majority. It is precisely for this reason that the other branches of the Deen are more or less all dealt with and discussed in lectures and discourses. On the contrary, no mention whatever is made of this fifth branch (Muasharat). Hence, this branch has been assigned to the limbo of oblivion both theoretically and practically.

THE MAIN CAUSE FOR DISSIPATION OF MUTUAL LOVE AND AFFECTION
The main cause for the dissipation of mutual love and affection is corrupt behavioural attitudes. As a result of such corruption of behaviour and manners mutual resentment and dislike for one another have set in among people. This state of affairs impedes and eliminates tranquillity of heart which is of pivotal importance for mutual love in the members of society. The Qur’aan, Ahadith and the statements of the Wise men refute the claim that this branch (Social Etiquette) has no relationship with the Deen.

MANY ‘PIOUS’ PEOPLE LACK IN BEAUTIFUL CONDUCT
Many people are pious with good qualities such as humility, but in Muasharat they are lacking. They are not concerned whether they annoy and inconvenience others by their behaviour. In most insignificant things they bring about difficulty and inconvenience to others. Their attention is totally diverted from little things which cause difficulty to others while in the Hadith there are numerous incidents narrated which show that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) cared for the little things just as much as he cared for important matters…

REFRAIN FROM CAUSING INCONVENIENCE
In your actions and attitudes always remember not to cause inconvenience or distress to others. Do not speak ambiguously. Reply questions with clarity. Do not impose the difficulty of your food on someone else.

CREATING COMFORT FOR OTHERS IS THE SOUL OF GOOD CHARACTER
Any act which causes inconvenience, annoyance or difficulty is an act of misbehaviour even though it may ostensibly be financial aid, physical labour or honour and respect according to general prevalent custom because comfort is the soul of good character, and this has priority over service which in actual fact is the outer shell. The shell minus the kernel is obviously useless. Although the Department of Muasharat (Social Etiquette) is posterior to the Departments of Aqaaid (Beliefs) and Ibaadaat-e-Fareedhah (Compulsory acts of worship), nevertheless, since a rupture in Aqaaid and lbaadaat brings about personal detriment while a rupture in Muasharat results in harm to others, the latter will enjoy priority over the former two from this angle. Harming others is graver than harming oneself.

GREAT PRIORITY ACCORDED TO BEAUTIFUL CONDUCT
In Surah Furqaan Allah Ta’ala says: “They walk on earth in humility and when the ignorant ones address them, they say: Salaam.” This aayat indicates Beautiful Conduct (Husn Muasharat) and it appears before mention is made of Salaat, Fear, Tauheed and moderation in spending. Afterall, there must be some reason for the Qur’aan according it priority over the Departments of Aqaaid and Ibaadaat-e-Fareedhah. This priority over Fardh (compulsory acts of worship) is in regard to certain matters. However, in so far as Nafl acts of lbaadat are concerned, Muasharat has greater emphasis in all respect.

Thus, the condition of two women was explained to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). One woman while engaging in abundant Salaat, Saum (Fasting) and Thikr was in the habit of causing difficulty and inconvenience to her neighbours. The other woman, although not engaging in an abundance of Salaat and Saum, refrained from harming her neighbours, Rasulullah (sallall3hu alayhi wasallam) described the first woman as an inmate of Jahannam and the second woman as an inmate of Jannat.

TODAY, EVEN THE ELITE NEGLECT BEAUTIFUL CONDUCT
Although Muasharat does not take precedence over Muamalaat (transactions and contracts) in this respect since a rupture in Muamalaat also results in harm to others, it (Muasharat) nevertheless enjoys priority over Muamalaat from another angle. Only the elite (the Ulama) considerthe Department of Muamalaat to be an integral part of the Deen. On the other hand, only the special among the elite regard Muasharat to be included in the Deen. Many among the elite do not regard Muasharat as being part of the Deen. Although some among them do consider Muasharat to be part of the Deen, they do not regard it as important as the Department of Muamalaat. It is for this very reason that very little practical acceptance is accorded to Muasharat. The reformation of the baatin (the nafs) has the same order (hukm) as compulsory acts of Ibaadat. The angle of priority which was explained earlier applies in this case as well, i.e. priority of Muasharat over Muamalaat.

lnspite of the great importance of Muasharat, numerous people among the general public and some among the Ulama as well offer extremely little attention to it for practical purposes. Even those who give practical expression to Muasharat, totally abstain from instructing others in this regard.

BEAUTIFUL CONDUCT IS TO SAVE PEOPLE FROM INCONVENIENCE
In actual fact the secret underlying beautiful conduct with people is to save them from inconvenience and annoyance. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) summed up this lofty concept of behaviour and conduct most beautifully and comprehensively in the following hadith: “The true Muslim is he from whose tongue and hand Muslims are safe.”

GOODNESS AND BLESSINGS IN SOCIETY DEPENDENT ON ADAB
How can there be khair (goodness) and barkat (blessings) on earth when adab has disappeared. As a result of the disappearance of adab numerous difficulties and misfortunes have overwhelmed people. By adab is not meant customary or superficial etiquettes. In this context I refer to true adab which means to maintain everything within its limits.

Among the essentials of adab is to refrain from distressing or inconveniencing others A mere outward display of respect is not true adab. Nevertheless, customary respect if maintained within limits and offered at the right time will also be within the scope of adab.

The soul of adab is to ensure peace for others. But today is the age in which neither the son has adab for his father nor the father for the son. The student has no adab for the Ustaadh nor the Ustaadh for the student. The mureed has no respect for the Murshid nor the Murshid for the mureed. The wife has no respect for the husband nor the husband for the wife. In these cases I refer to true adab, namely, ensuring peace and comfort for one another.

Adab is not confined to only juniors. Seniors too have to observe adab for juniors. In the latter case it means that seniors should fulfil the huqooq (rights) of the juniors. The natural consequence of fulfilment of rights is peace and comfort.It is necessary for every person to bear this in mind. Alas! Today, not only the laity, but even the elite (i.e. the learned men) are extremely defective in the observance of adab. Only a few things are in this day regarded as the requisites of piety. Social conduct and moral character have been excised from the constituents of the Deen. May Allah Ta’ala bestow righteous understanding.”

EVEN THE ELITE ARE CARELESS IN AVOIDING CAUSING INCONVENIENCE
At one place where Hadhrat was a guest, a crowd had gathered to welcome him. Two men walked slightly ahead of Hadhrat on his right and left side and were clearing a pathway for Hadhrat. Soon there was a street-sweeper cleaning the road. The two men mildly rebuked the street-sweeper and ordered her out of the way. Becoming visibly annoyed, Hadhrat said: “This is an excess in honouring one. My heart does not tolerate that I be distinguished in this manner. Listen carefully! The road does not belong to anyone. No one has control over it. This (i.e. shunting people to make way for seniors) is the way of oppressors. The road is closed for their convenience. While they are in the road others are debarred. This is not the act of Muslims. Just as there are bid’at (innovations) in Aqaaid (beliefs), so too are there bid’at in A’maal (deeds). To remove people from the road is bid’ah. Even the elite (i.e. the Ulama and Mashaaikh) are careless in this respect. Honouring a person is permissible as long as others are not hurt or inconvenienced thereby.

INCONSIDERATION IN WRITING A LETTER
I received a letter in which the writing was extremely feint. Reading it posed a formidable task. This displays the inconsideration of people. They are totally oblivious of the inconvenience their actions cause to others. They have confined the Deen to a few acts, while they have expunged the greater part of the Deen. A fundamental principle of the Deen is abstention from inconveniencing others. Indeed our lifestyle has become corrupt Thus, we find ourselves grovelling in humiliation. Morals and social dealings are all corrupt. Besides Fasting and Salaat, everything else of the Deen has been expunged. How is reformation ever possible.

KEEPING OTHERS SAFE
The Hadith says: “A true Muslim is he from whose tongue and hands Muslims are safe.” However, no one is concerned with this instruction. No one bothers if he is causing difficulty to others.

AALAMGHIR AURANGZEB – A MAN OF LOFTY SPIRITUAL RANK
Aalamghir (Aurangzab, the Moghul Emperor) used to personally write the Qur’aan Shareef. Once a man pointed out an error. Alamghir made a mark by the word (conveying the impression that he would correct it later). After the departure of the man, Aalamghir erased the mark and explained that what he had written was correct. However, to avoid hurting the man’s feelings Aalamghir pretended that he had erred. The king said that if he had immediately rejected the man’s claim, he would in future refrain from presenting advice. He (Aalamghir) did not want to reduce his number of advisors. Aalamghir was a man of lofty spiritual excellences and accomplishments). He was a Saahib-e-Nisbat (one who enjoys a special bond of Divine Proximity).

Towards the end of his life he instructed that his kafan should not be acquired with the money he had earned by his trade. He did not want the money earned from selling Qur’aan copies to be used for his kafan although the Ulama had issued the fatwa of permissibility. Nevertheless, overtly it resembled selling the aayat of Allah Ta’ala. He, therefore, did not wish to meet Allah Ta’ala with such kafan in which there was the slightest vestige of doubt.

Muhammad Qali was a close attendant of Aalamghir. Once Aalamghir, while calling him, exclaimed: ‘Qali!’ The servant immediately arrived with a jug of water. The king made wudhu. A guest who was present was very surprised. How did the servant know that Aalamghir required water for wudhu? The king had not mentioned this nor was it time for wudhu. When he enquired the servant said: “My name is Muhammad Qali. On account of the king’s profound respect, he never calls me with half my name. He always calls me by my full name. Today when he omitted the name Muhammad, I understood that the king was without wudhu. He therefore, refrained from mentioning the word, Muhammad. (From this could be gauged the profound respect and veneration the king had for Rasulullah —sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Subhaanallah! Attributes such as the respect of Aalamghir and the intelligence of the servant are now non-existent.

THE LIMITS OF INTERCEDING ON BEHALF OF SOMEONE
It is Mustahab to intercede on behalf of someone. However, if the intercession causes distress, then it will be incumbent to refrain. Preventing harm is of greater importance than acquisition of benefit. This is a Shar’i as well as a rational principle. For example, it is not obligatory to give someone a gift, but it is incumbent to abstain from hurting him. It is therefore necessary to abstain from intercession if it causes distress. The sphere of Akhlaaq (Morals) is extremely subtle. Most people fail to understand it. There are nowadays hardly any true spiritual guides left in this field. Nevertheless, eyes have begun to open up a bit, although many have chosen to deliberately close their eyes to reality even after having realized it. In this regard, Allah Ta’ala states: “They intend to extinguish the Light of Allah with their mouths, while Allah will complete His Noor even though the kaafiroon abhor it.” (Qur’aan)

(There is consensus of the Ulama that in recent times Hakimul Ummat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi-rahmatullah alayh—was a Mujaddid who excelled in the field of Tasawwuf (Islamic Morality). He eradicated numerous misconceptions and mutations which had been introduced into the Deen. His unambiguous and straight forward, and often hard-hitting teachings and admonition did not find favour with the ’guides’ of the age. But they had no alternative other than taking note of what he proclaimed.—Mujlisul Ulama)

VISITING THE SICK
It is mentioned in the Hadith that the best form of visiting the sick is a brief visit, and Ta’ziyat (visiting the home of the bereaved) is only once.

THE GUEST AND THE WAYFARER
One type of visitor is called ‘Dhaif’. This is a guest who comes to visit a particular person. The rights of the guest devolve on the host whom he had comes to visit. It is his duty to attend to the guest. The other type of visitor is called ‘Musaafir‘ or Ibnus Sabeel (wayfarer). He did not come to visit any particular person. His right (of food and accommodation) devolves on the entire community by way of Kifaayah. (Kifaayah: If any person hosts the Ibnus Sabeel, the entire community is absolved of the obligation. If no one hosts him, the whole community is sinful.—Mujlisul Ulama)

HUQOOQUL IBAAD
Observing Huqooqul ibaad (the rights of others) is of far greater importance than Wazaaif (prescribed forms of thikr). Failure to observe the rights of others is punishable whereas there is no punishment for neglecting Wazaaif. Observance of Wazaaif is Mustahab, but people have abandoned what is essential and have adopted what is not essential.

INFRINGEMENT OF RIGHTS OF A PERSON IS WORSE
Generally it is understood that Haqqul Abd (the right of a person) is restricted to the person. This is an erroneous understanding because the right of a person has been commanded by Allah Ta’ala. For example, He has commanded to aid the oppressed; to abstain from gossip; to abstain from causing distress to anyone. When any of these commands is violated, then along with the violation of Haqqul Abd, violation of Haqqullaah (the Right of Allah) is also violated. Therefore it is imperative to seek forgiveness from both the oppressed person and from Allah Ta’ala.

99 EXCUSES – BUT NOT FOR MUREEDS
If I observe in members of the general public who have no spiritual ties with me, ninety faults and virtue, my gaze goes to the virtue. In contrast, regarding those who have submitted themselves to me for self-reformation, if I observe in them ninety nine excellences and one fault, my gaze goes to the fault. It is the duty of the Shaikh to remedy the fault.

RIGHTS OF NEIGHBOURS
Numerous rights (huqooq) of neighbours are stated in the Ahadith. If a neighbour knocks a nail into your wall, do no prevent him as no harm is caused to you. Although the owner is permitted to prevent an operation in his property, nevertheless, consideration should be accorded to the rights of the neighbour. The argument of this issue between the Ulama-e-Mutaqaddimeen and the Ulama-e-Muta-akh-khireen is interesting.

Muta-akh-khireen: It is not permissible to install a window in one’s wall facing the house of one’s neighbour so that the purdah and privacy of the neighbour are not violated.

Muta-qaddimeen: It is permissible since an owner has the right to operate in his own property.

Muta-akh-khireen: Only such operations by the owner in his property, which are not harmful to others are permissible.

Muta-qaddimeen: It is permissible for an owner to demolish his entire wall (e.g. the fence or boundary wall) which faces the neighbour. Why is it then not permissible for him to open a window on the wall.

Muta-akh-khireen: He has the right to demolish his wall because in removing the whole wall there is not such harm as will be caused by a window opening into the yard of the neighbour. If there is no wall, the neighbour will be more cautious and make their own Hijab arrangements for guarding their purdah and privacy whereas one can remain concealed and peep through the window into the privacy of others. On the contrary, if there is no wall people will not have the audacity to stare into the houses of people while at the same time the inmates of the house will move cautiously.

DO NOT INTRUDE
When visiting someone, do not read any of his letters (which may be scattered on his desk/table). It is quite possible that some letter might have some secret which you are not supposed to be aware of. (Some people have the bad habit of simply pickling up the letters of others and reading without their permission. This is despicable and not permissible—Mujlisul Ulama).

GIVING PREFERENCE TO OTHERS
I walk on the side of the road and not in the middle. Even if a street sweeper comes from behind I give him the better portion of the road, for his right is more than mine.

TRUE CULTURE COMES FROM DEEN
Without Islam true culture is impossible. The adornment of moral character is a volitional act (i.e. acquired by one’s intentional effort). Hence it will have a goal or purpose. Such purpose is of two kinds. Changing and static, i.e. the goal is attainable by a fixed process whereas in the changing kind, the purpose can be achieved in a variety of ways.

The motive of non-Muslims for cultivating good character is worldly gain which changes from one state to another. Hence, when the goals change, the actions of these people will also change. (As long as their worldly purposes are being achieved by means of good character, they will display such good conduct. If their aims are not served, they will abandon their outward facade of good moral character).

In contrast, the motive for Muslims for good moral conduct is Deeni, e.g. the aim of morality is Divine Pleasure, which is attainable only in this manner. The Muslim’s actions will, therefore, remain constant (or should remain constant). On the other hand, non-Muslims will adopt any means – vice or virtue- to achieve their worldly goals. If the goal is attainable by falsehood or oppression, they will readily adopt such measures.

REAL HURT IS CAUSED BY THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND YOU
 One feels hurt when someone who claims to love one, behaves like a stranger. If the claim of love is not made, there is no complaint. A certain man reviled me throughout his life, but I paid no heed whatever. Mansoor (rahmatullah alayhi) at the place of execution, while he was being stoned by the crowd of people, remained unperturbed. Not a cry of agony escaped from his smiling lips. But when Hadhrat Shibli (rahmatullah alayhi) struck him with a flower, he let out a sigh a pain. People asked him for the reason for this strange behavior. Mansoor (rahmatullah alayhi) replied that the crowd did not know, but Shibli (rahmatullah alayhi) was aware of the reality, hence his striking with even a flower was not tolerable and caused him pain.

DO NOT CONSIDER IT NECESSARY TO GIVE GIFTS
1. When visiting the Masha-ikh (spiritual guides) do not consider it necessary to make gifts to them. By the compulsory presentation of gifts you corrupt their hearts. While they improve you spiritually, you engage in corrupting them.

2. Our Maulana Khalil Ahmad Saheb (rahmatullah alayhi) would say: “We are in need, but we are not seller of the Deen.” Regarding gifts, when there is the urge to give, then make the presentation. Do not make it a fixed practice or custom, then one will be constrained to observe the practice even if one has no real desire for making a gift.

ISHRAAFUN NAFS
Ishraafun Nafs is to wait in expectation for a gift. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhis wasallam) decried such a gift and said that it is bereft of barkat. But a gift received without desire and expectation is blessed.  The Auliya do not accept such gifts accompanied by Ishraafun Nafs. For them it is tantamount to begging.

FORGIVING THE CREATION
I have been making du’a for a considerable period of time and have now refreshed it that “O Allah! Because of me, do not punish any of your creation for I have forgiven from my heart anyone who has harmed me in the past or will harm me in the future.” So, the creation of Allah should not fear regarding me. In fact, if there is a need then I grant them full permission to tell me anything they desire. If I do not forgive others, and they are punished then what did I gain? Hadrat Khawaja Sahib remarked: “You will receive that persons good deeds (in the hereafter).” In reply Hadrat said that what would such formal good deeds do for me? If Allah accepts this action of mine (forgiving others) then through it I will receive limitless good Insha’Allah. Can a person be successful if Allah takes a formal account? Doesn’t He (Allah) have the right to grant reward without the recipient being worthy? Is there a shortage of reward by Him? Why don’t you think in this manner? The reason I forgive is that if this action of mine is accepted, then I have hope in Haqq Ta’ala that He will forgive me for those rights which are on me (which I have not fulfilled).

DO NOT LOOK DOWN ON OTHERS
Once the people of the town of Sandelah performed Salatul Istisqa (Salat for rain). However, the rains did not come. One day the prostitutes of the town went to the mayor of the town and said: “The dua which you people are making are efficacious and worthy of acceptance. The reason for rain not falling is the presence of our evil group. Rain has been withheld because of our sins. It is therefore, our wish to go to the forest to cry and supplicate to our Creator and to make taubah. We have approached take measures for preventing any male coming near to our gathering for casting evil gazes.”

The necessary arrangements were made and measures were taken to ensure that no make come nearby. These women gathered in the forest on the outskirts of the town. They performed Salat and then supplicated to Allah Ta’ala. They made taubah and poured out their hearts to Allah Ta’ala. There was no limit to their crying and expressions of regret for their past misdeeds. While they were engrossed in their humble supplication, the rain started to come and soon poured in torrents. Who can, after having heard this episode, be vain and proud of his piety and disdainful of the piety of others?

REGARD ONESELF TO BE MORE CONTEMPTIBLE THAN A FASIQ OR KAFIR
Regard yourself to be more contemptible than even a fasiq and a kafir. Tell yourself that one does not know which quality in the fasiq may appear pleasing to Allah Ta’ala. With regards to Kufr, one does not know what the future holds. Now one knows what will be the condition of his Imaan tomorrow.

DO NOT REGARD ANYONE WITH CONTEMPT
Once Hadhrat Ahmad Bin Hambal (rahmatullah alayhi) was making wudhu on the banks of a river. Another man sitting on higher level, was also making wudhu. When he realised who was sitting on a lower level, he moved from his position, taking up a place lower than the position of Imam Ahmad Bin Hambal (rahmatullah alayhi). After the man’s death someone saw him in a dream and enquired about his condition.

He replied: “One day I was making wudhu on the river bank where Imam Ahmad Bin Hambal (rahmatullah alayhi) was also making wudhu sitting on a lower level. My water was flowing in his direction. In respect for the Imam I went to sit lower down. When I was ushered into the Divine court for a reckoning I was informed that I was being forgiven solely on account of having honoured an accept servant of Allah Ta’ala.”

Hadhrat Thanvi (rahmatullah alayhi) commented: “When forgiveness is obtained on the basis of pretexts, then how is it possible to regard anyone with contempt? In my opinion only such person will be punished, who themselves desire to be punished. They rebelliously refuse to be repentant.”

ONLY ALLAH IS AWARE OF THE HEART’S CONDITION
In the army of Gwaliar was a Muslim soldier who was clean-shaven. Other Muslim soldiers always criticized him for shaving his beard. However, he ignored their criticism and never kept a beard. Coincidentally, the king ordered that henceforth, all soldiers will have to be clean-shaven. The others told him: “Now you may rejoice. All have to be like you.”

He replied: “Until now I refrained from keeping a beard on account of the mischief of my nafs. Now I shall not abstain from a Law of the Shari’ah because of an order of a kafir king. I shall rather work elsewhere as a labourer.”

He resigned and grew a beard while the others who had criticized him, shaved their beards.

It appears in the Ahaadith that whoever criticizes another person’s action, adopting a holier than thou attitude, will not die before having committed the same misdeed. Only Allah Ta’ala was aware of his heart’s condition.

THE RANK OF AN UNKNOWN PERSON
After the demise of the renowned saint, Hadhrat Ibrahim Adham (rahmatullah alayhi) another saint saw him in a dream and on enquiring about his (Ibrahim’s rahmatullah alayhi-) condition, Hadhrat Ibrahim Adham (rahmatullah alayhi) replied: “Alhamdulillah! Allah bestowed His grace one me and conferred ranks to me. However, a poor neighbour of mine surpassed me on account of his yearning that if he had the time he would have devoted himself to Thikrullah.”

NEVER DESPISE ANYONE
1. Don’t despise anyone. How can anyone ever be despised? It is quite possible that with outward defects the sinner is superior to you on account of some inner attribute of beauty. The sinner may be truly superior to you because of some excellence which he may possess. His overt sin may be a temporary ugliness. At the time of Amr Bil Ma`roof (and admonishing) never despise the sinner.

2. Once an Aabid (Saint) had accompanied Hadhrat Nabi Isaa (alayhis salaam) along a journey. A sinful man who had also joined them, supplicated to Allah Ta’ala for forgiveness. The Aabid looking with contempt on the sinner, supplicated: “O Allah! Do not unite me with him in one place.” Allah Ta’ala sent Wahi to Nabi Isaa (alayhis salaam): “Inform both of them that I have accepted their duas. I have forgiven the sinner. His destiny is Jannat. I shall not unite the Aabid with him. Jahannum will be his destiny.”

3. Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi (rahmatullah alayh) saw a Hindu in a dream after he (the Hindu) had died. The Hindu was in Jannat. When Maulana Nanotwi asked him: ‘How did you reach here?” He (the Hindu) said: “Before I died, I recited the Kalimah of Islam. It was accepted by Allah Ta’ala.”

4. The first condition for Amr Bil Ma’roof (Commanding virtue) is not to despise the person who is being admonished. If he is despised, the Amr bil Ma’roof will be for the sake of one’s nafs. For Islaah (reformation) both mildness and harshness are necessary. There are two types of mildness—for the Deeni benefit of people, and for one’s own worldly benefit. This latter kind is evil.

REPORTING CRIME TO SENIORS ESSENTIAL
If a person witnessed oppression being committed and does not report the oppression to the seniors of the oppressor, then he (the observer) will be regarded as being a party of the oppression.

HONEST TRADER WILL BE RAISED WITH THE SHUHADAA (MARTYRS)
It is stated in the Hadith than an honest trader will rise on the Day of Qiyamah among the Shuhada (martyrs). Honestly in trade brings prosperity and success although initially some difficulty has to be borne. However, after a while there will be considerable barkat in the business. Later, people will gain full confidence in the honest trader.

TRADE IS A NOBLE PROFESSION
Trade is a noble profession. Honesty is its primary constituent. It enhances worldly rank and in the Aakhirah the honest trader will be blessed with the companionship of the Ambiya, Siddiqeen and Shuhada. Adopt a policy of regular charity from the profits. Discrepancies do occur during the course of trade. Charity will somewhat lighten the calamity of the irregularities. Never conceal any defect which may be in the stock. The barkat is eliminated thereby.

HOLD GOOD THOUGHTS BUT BE CAUTIOUS IN DEALINGS
Think good thoughts about others, but when dealing with them, be cautious.

THE WORST ABUSE OF TRUST
It is mentioned in the Hadith that the worst acts of  khiyaanat (abuse of trust) is for a ruler to trade among/with his subjects. The reason for this is that the people will feel obliged  to make concessions, and this  causes inconvenience to them. Furthermore, his trading with his subjects  portrays selfishness. If the ruler should enact a law pertaining to commerce, then irrespective of its benefit for the public, it will create the suspicion that he had promulgated the law for the benefit of his commercial enterprise.

Similarly, it is inappropriate for a person involved in public works for the benefit of the people to trade in such merchandise which benefits him personally. For example, an Aalim advises people to study certain kitaabs. It is inappropriate for him to sell such kitaabs. It will most certainly create the suspicion that his advice was in fact designed  for his personal benefit. Such a doubt/suspicion  is an impediment for deriving  barkat. It is  not appropriate for a Shaikh to become the cause of  deprivation of barkat. Even if he (the Shaikh) trades any type of business, he should not transact with those who are under his influence (such as his mureeds).

IMPORTANCE OF DOING ONE’S OWN HOUSEWORK
Islam teaches us to refrain from pride; hence, it exhorts us to do our own housework with our own hands. Thus, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would himself attend to the household chores with his own blessed hands. He milked the goat, mended shoes and assisted with preparing the food. When someone asked Hadhrat Aishah (radhiallaahu-anhu) about Rasulullah’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) program at home, she said: “Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not stay idle at home. He would join us in the housework.”

EQUALITY IN RIGHTS
The correct meaning of equality is common rights (rights which apply equally to all, such as legal rights). Equality does not mean that husband and wife, teacher and pupil, Murshid and Mureed are equal in every respect. Everyone has separate rights as well. The clamour of equality nowadays is ludicrous.

MAKING AMENDS TO A CHILD
A man wrote to Hadhrat Thanvi (rahmatullah alayhi): “My money had disappeared from on top of my table. Merely on suspicion I accused a child and hit him. Afterwards, I found the money by another person who had stolen it. I am now overwhelmed with regrets for having hit the child. How do I make amends?” Hadhrat Thanvi (rahmatullah alayhi) replied: “If the child is a baligh, seek forgiveness from him. If he is na-baligh (minor), confess your error in his presence and for a period of timemake him happy by fulfilling his wishes. From time to time ask him for his wants and fulfil these.”

PERFORMING GOOD DEEDS AT EXPENSE OF INFRINGING RIGHTS
Sometimes involvement with the Qu’ran Shareef also becomes unlawful. For example: a man wishes to do Hifz but has the responsibility of providing for his family. It will be unlawful for such a man to involve himself with hifz of the Qur’an which is Mustahab, since it is his obligatory duty to provide for his family. [This prohibition will apply if involvement in the pursuit of Hifz results in the neglect of the Huqooq of one’s family. If a man possesses the ability to execute both tasks simultaneously, it will not be unlawful. – Translator].

ATTITUDE TO BE ADOPTED WHEN DISSOCIATING FROM SINNERS
Every Muslih (spiritual guide) and commander of virtue when dissociating from fussaaq (sinners) and fujjaar (open criminals) should understand that the reason for dissociating is Allah’s command which prohibits close relationship with such persons. But at the same time he (the warner/guide) should  understand that: ‘It is possible that the faasiq is superior by Allah Ta’ala than me. Perhaps there is with the faasiq such a  maqbool  (divinely acceptable) virtue which elevates him over myself, and perhaps there is in me such an evil which casts me lower than his (the faasiq’s) rank.”   By adopting this attitude, one will be able to maintain humility as well as the Shariah’s command regarding fisq and fujoor.

WE HAVE ADOPTED THE WAYS OF THE KUFFAAR
Even in dressing, our brethren have adopted the conduct and style of aliens whereas there is no culture which can compare with lslam in matters of dress. Many rules and restrictions govern the dressing styles and garments of non-Muslims. They are supposed to be liberal and they always proclaim the slogan of freedom. But, in actual fact, they are fettered to numerous restrictions in both dress and eating habits and styles. While the Islamic style of dressing and eating is one of simplicity, the methods and styles of the non-Muslims have many restrictive etiquettes. Indeed, their styles are veritable prisons for those imprisoned in elaborate customary rules pertaining to dressing and eating styles.

There are wonderful barkaat (blessings) in simplicity. A simple person is saved from many difficulties and hardships. Pomp and pretence bring in their wake numerous difficulties. In contrast, there is sweetness and comfort in simplicity. While everyone desires simplicity and a simple life-style, pride and the thought of disgrace prevent them from adopting a simple conduct of life.

FRATERNIZING WITH THE KUFFAAR
In Jiddah, Muslims, Christians and Jews congregate at the same venues. They gather in the same tea-houses to sip tea and discuss. In all such places mixed groups gather and indulge in light-talk and drinking tea. It does not matter to them if the tea-house belongs to a Muslim, Christian or Jew. They eat and drink together in the same place without hesitation. Furthermore, they attend the funerals of one another. Indeed this is most lamentable. (Hadhrat commented on the situation of irreligiousness prevailing among the Muslims of Arabia about 60 to 70 years ago. What would be his comments to observe the rampant immorality and kufr prevailing nowadays in those places?)

TASHABBUH – UNDERLYING REASON FOR DISCARDING THE SUNNAH
Irrespective of whatever interpretation or argument is presented to justify eating from tables, the actual reason for this (style of eating) is tashabbuh (i.e. imitating the kuffaar). While the conscience of people (i.e. of those who have not lost their souls to modernity and kufr culture) bothers them, they nevertheless, onerously endeavour to make this practice lawful.

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