Category Archives: adab

The Many Guises of Backbiting

“There are those from the people that backbite or listen to backbiting, and they do so to please the company they keep, with the awareness that the victim is likely to be innocent of some of the things that are uttered about him. Often such offenders feel that if they were to attempt to end such conversation in a gathering, their presence might become unwelcome or burdensome.

There are many methods and guises that are employed when one mentions another in a negative way. Under the pretense of being informative, one could say that it is not one’s habit to mention others, except for the sake of relating another’s condition to someone. Or one could state that by Allah, indeed so-and-so is one to be pitied, thereby showing superiority over one who is to be rejected.

Another method might be to day that so-and-so is a good person; however, he has such and such qualities. Again, one is justified in revealing another’s faults. One could simply state that we should forgive so-and-so, and make supplication for their forgiveness as well as our own, intending only to belittle the one that was mentioned. In reality, all these tactics are designed to deceive Allah and to please the creation; and in reality, the many that follow these methods only serve to deceive themselves.

Then there are those that backbite to raise their own status. When they hear of someone’s error, they employ words like, “Had I prayed for so-and-so last night in  my prayer, the news of their sin would not have reached my ears.” Again, when a person states of another that he lacks understanding in a matter, the implication is personal superiority for the one that mentions the others shortcoming.

There are also those that couple jealousy with backbiting – the act of being critical or belittling to those that are praised in the company of others. Some people also backbite for the sake of humor, playfulness and lightheartedness. A person finds a certain amount of satisfaction from being appreciated for his story-telling abilities, speaking ill of someone in a humorous fashion adds flavour to a tale.

Others engage in backbiting by showing amazement at another’s actions: “How is it that someone could do such a thing?” Yet others mention people and their actions with the pretense of sympathy for their actions or misfortunes. In reality, the one who backbites actually finds contentment and satisfaction at the mention of others and their misdeeds. Another form of backbiting is relating someone’s misfortune to their enemies, so that they, too, may find pleasure in putting them down. From these examples, one can surmise that backbiting pertains to a disease of the heart…

May Allah save us from this most evil of actions and protect us from its temptations.”

– Ibn Taymiyya

source: Gems & Jewels; Wise Sayings, Interesting Events & Moral Lessons from Islamic History, Compiled by: Abdul-Malik Mujahid, page 54  – 55

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Message to sisters posting videos on youtube

وَلَا تَبَرَّجۡنَ تَبَرُّجَ ٱلۡجَـٰهِلِيَّةِ ٱلۡأُولَىٰۖ

“…And do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance…”
[Azhab (33):33]

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“And each of you has certain rights upon his brother.”

And each of you has certain rights upon his brother.

You should fulfil his needs, and this is of levels. The least is that you gladly fulfil his needs when you are able and he asks you. Better than this is that you fulfil them before he even asks you, and better than all of this is that you put his needs before your own.

You should remain silent regarding him at times, and speak at times. As for your silence, you should be quiet about his faults, both in his presence and absence. You should not argue or dispute with him, and shouldn’t ask him about personal things that he wouldn’t want to reveal. If you happen to see him somewhere, don’t ask where he is going, as it might be that he doesn’t want anyone to know. Don’t reveal his secrets, even if you fall into a feud afterwards. Also, don’t insult his friends and family, and don’t inform him if others happen to insult him.

Don’t say anything that could annoy him except if this involves something that must be said, such as commanding the good or forbidding the evil, as this would actually be a way of being good to him.

And know that you will never find a friend who is completely free of faults. Instead, look for someone whose good qualities outweigh his bad. Once you are stricter in judging people than you are in judging yourself, you fall into Allah’s Saying:

ٱلَّذِينَ إِذَا ٱكۡتَالُواْ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ يَسۡتَوۡفُونَ  وَإِذَا كَالُوهُمۡ أَو وَّزَنُوهُمۡ يُخۡسِرُونَ  
Those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, demand full measure,  And when they have to give by measure or weight to (other) men, give less than due.
{al Mutaffifin (83):2-3}
And know that one of the greatest means by which hatred and envy come between two brothers is useless argumentation. This leads to nothing but each side trying to show itself as being better and smarter than the other, belittling the other, etc. And he who picks arguments with his brother has essentially made him out to be stupid, low, heedless, and incompetent, and all of this is considered belittlement. This inflames the heart and makes one person hate the other, and this is all contradictory to what brotherhood is all about.

The rights of brotherhood also entail that you say certain things. Just as you have to remain silent from saying what you shouldn’t say, you should also say what should be said. In fact, this is from the most particular rights of brotherhood, because the one who wants to befriend the mute can go to the graveyard. The point of brotherhood is that you benefit from your brother, not that you are relieved of him. So, you should strengthen your ties of brotherhood with words by asking about him, asking how things are going, let him know that you are concerned about him, and be happy with what makes him happy.

You should refer to him in the best light and praise him to others for the good that you know of him. You should also speak well of his family, children, actions – even his character, intellect, appearance, personality – and everything that can make him happy without going into extremes or saying what is untrue. Likewise, you should inform him if someone says something good about him while showing him that you are happy about this, as to hide such joy is tantamount to envy.

You should thank him for anything he does for you, and defend him in his absence if he is mentioned in a bad light, as the right between brothers is that they rush to defend and assist one another.

You should teach and advise him, as your brother’s need for knowledge is not any less than his need for money. So, if you have been blessed with a wealth of knowledge, distribute it and guide him.

And you should advise him in secret, and the difference between advising and condemning is whether you do it in public or private. Likewise, the difference between ignoring the fault of your brother and compromising with him is all in the purpose of doing so. So, if you ignore his fault for the sake of a religious benefit, or you see that this will lead to his longterm benefit, you are not compromising. If you put aside his fault for your own personal benefit, you are compromising.

You should supplicate for your brother during his life and after his death for everything you want for yourself. Abu ad-Darda’ (may Allah be Pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The supplication of a Muslim man for his brother in his absence is accepted, and there is an Angel appointed for each supplication of a man for his brother with good who says: ‘Allah, accept it, and give him the same that he asks for his friend,’” and Abu ad-Darda’ used to supplicate for many of his brothers, mentioning them by name in his supplications. Likewise, Ahmad bin Hanbal used to supplicate at dawn for six specific individuals.

You should make a pact to love your brother until death, and to love his family and friends after his death. You should also not stop being humble with him even if you end up exceeding him in wealth and status. From the implications of this pact is also that you do not listen to criticism of your friend from others, and that you do not befriend his enemies.

You should also not task him with what he cannot bear. Rather, you should try to relieve him of his own concerns and pressures, and should not use his friendship to get to his wealth or resources, and should not pressure him to go out of his way to help you. Rather, your love of him should only be for Allah’s Pleasure and to deal with him in an easygoing and reserved manner, so that he would not hesitate to ask of you what you would ask of him.

Taken from: The Manners of the Knowledge Seeker, Abu Abdillah Muhammed Said Rislan click here for PDF of full text

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Zahir bin Haram

 

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said,
“There was a man from amongst the Bedouins whose name was Zahir bin Haram. Whenever he came to Medinah for a need, he brought something for the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) as a gift, like cottage cheese or butter. Likewise, when the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) would prepare something to give to him whenever he wanted to leave, such as dates and so on.

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to love him and say, “Zahir is our Bedouin and we are his city dwellers.”

Zahir was not very good looking. One say, Zahir (may Allah be pleased with him) left the desert and came to Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) but did not find him. He has some merchandise to sell so he went on to the market place.

When the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) found out about his arrival, he went to the market place looking for him. When he arrived, he saw him selling his merchandise with sweat pouring down from his face. He wore Bedouin clothers which did not smell good either. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) hugged him tightly from behing, while Zahir was unaware and could not see who it was.

Zahir became scared and said, “Let me go! Who is this?!” But the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) remained silent. Zahir tried to release himself from his grip and started to look right and left. When he saw the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) he relaxed and calmed down, placing his back against the Prophet’s chest. The Prophet (saw) began to joke with him, saying to the public: “Who will buy this slave?! Who will buy this slave?”

Thereupon, Zahir looked at himself and thought of his extreme poverty, for he had neither wealth or good looks.

He said, “You will find me unmarketable, O’ Messenger of Allah.”

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “But you are not unmarketable with Allah. You are very precious to Allah.” 

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