Sunday, April 27, 2008

Turning Away From Pointless Talk, Good Character, The Hours of Life, The Reproachful Self

Category: SOUND

Turning Away From Pointless Talk

Imam Al-Bayhaqi:
Allah Most High has said: Successful are the believers, who are humble in their prayers, and who turn away from pointless talk, [23:1-3] and: Those who do not bear witness to what is false, but when they pass by pointless talk, pass by with dignity, [25:72] and: When they hear pointless talk, they turn away from it. [28:55]

"Pointless talk" [laghw] is speech which is futile and irrelevant, and bears no relation to any true purpose. It brings no benefit to the one who utters it, and may well bring him misfortune instead.

Ali (r) related that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, "It is part of a man's sound practice of Islam that he leave alone that which is of no concern to him." [At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah]

Dhu'l-Nun said, "Whoever loves Allah lives truly, and whoever inclines to anything else damages his mind. A foolish man comes and goes, paying attention to what is nothing, while the intelligent man inspects his own thoughts scrupulously."

* Source...The Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith [Summarized]
The Quilliam Press 1996
© belongs to the translator A. Murad

Good Character

Imam Al-Bayhaqi:
This includes suppressing one’s anger, and being gentle and humble. Allah Most High has said: Surely, you are of tremendous nature, [68:4] and: Those who suppress their anger, and forgive other people – assuredly, Allah loves those who do good. [3:134]

Bukhari and Muslim relate that `Abdallah ibn `Amr, radhiallahu `anhu, said, "The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, was never immoderate or obscene. He used to say, ‘Among those who are most beloved to me are those who have the finest character.’"

They also narrate that `Aa’isha, radhiallahu `anha, said, "Never was the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, given the choice between two things without choosing the easier of them, as long as it entailed no sin. If it did entail sin, he was of all people the most remote from it. Never did he seek revenge for something done against himself; but when the sanctity of Allah was challenged, he would take vengeance for His sake alone."

The meaning of good character is the inclination of the soul towards gentle and praiseworthy acts. This may take place in one’s personal actions for Allah Most High, or in actions which involve other people. In the former case, the slave of Allah has an open and welcoming heart for His commandments and prohibitions, and does what He has imposed on him happily and easily, and abstains from the things which He has forbidden him with full contentment, and without the least dissatisfaction. He likes to perform optional good acts, and abstains from many permitted things for the sake of Allah Most High whenever he decides that to abstain in that way would be closer to perfect slavehood to Him. This he does with a contented heart, and without feeling any resentment or hardship. When he deals with other people, he is tolerant when claiming what is his right, and does not ask for anything which is not; but he discharges all the duties which he has towards others. When he falls ill or returns from a trip, and no-one vits him, or when he givse a greeting which is not returned, or when he is a guest but is not honoured, or intercedes but is not responded to, or does a good turn for which he is not thanked, or joins a group of people who do not make room for him to sit, or speaks and is not listened to, or asks permission of a friend to enter, and is not granted it, or proposes to a woman, and is not allowed to marry her, or ask for more time to repay a debt, but is not given more time, or asks for it to be reduced, but is not permitted this, and all similar cases, he does not grow angry, or seek to punish people, or feel within himself that he has been snubbed, or ignored; neither does he try to retaliate with the same treatment when able to do so, but instead tells himself that he does not mind any of these things, and responds to each one of them with something which is better, and closer to goodness and piety, and is more praiseworthy and pleasing. He remembers to carry out his duties to others just as he remembers their duties towards himself, so that when one of his Muslim brethren falls ill he visits him, if he is asked to intercede, he does so, if he is asked for a respite in repaying a debt he agrees, and if someone needs assistance he gives it, and if someone asks for favourable terms in a sale, he consents, all without looking to see how the other person had dealt with him in the past, and to find out how other people behave. Instead, he makes "what is better" the imam of his soul, and obeys it completely.

Good character may be something which a man is born with, or it may be acquired. However, it may only be acquired from someone who has it more firmly rooted in his nature than his own. It is well known that a man of sensible opinion can become even more sensible by keeping the company of intelligent and sensible people, and that a learned or a righteous man can learn even more by sitting with other people orf learning or righteousness; therefore it cannot be denied that a man of beautiful character may acquire an even more beautiful character by being with people whose characters are superior to his own.

And Allah gives success!

The Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith
The Quilliam Press, © 1990, 1996
The Hours Of Life

Imam Al-Ghazali's Kimya' al-Sa`ada (The Alchemy of Happiness):
At the resurrection a man will find all the hours of his life arranged like a long series of treasure-chests.

* The door of one will be opened, and it will be seen to be full of light: it represents an hour which he spent in doing good. His heart will be filled with such joy that even a fraction of it would make the inhabitants of Hell forget the fire.

* The door of a second will be opened; it is pitch-dark within, and from it issues such an evil odour as will cause everyone to hold his nose: it represents an hour which he spent in ill-doing, and he will suffer such terror that a fraction of it would embitter Paradise for the blessed.

* The door of a third treasure-chest will be opened; it will be seen to be empty and neither light or dark within: this represents the hour in which he did neither good nor evil. Then he will feel remorse and confusion like that of a man who has been the possessor of a great treasure and wasted it or let it slip from his grasp.

Thus the whole series of the hours of his life will be displayed, one by one, to his graze. Therefore a man should say to his soul every morning, "Allah has given thee twenty-four treasures; take heed last thou lose anyone of them, for thou wilt not be able to endure the regret that will follow such loss."
The Reproachful self

Al Hasan Al Basri (ra) said," You always see the believer reproaching himself and saying things like: Did I want this? Why did I do that? Was this a better thing to do or should I have behaved otherwise?

Hazrat Umar Al Farooq (ra) said, "The wisest of men is he who can account for his own actions."

From "Starting with the Self", a thread on

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