The Starting Point Is Kindness
;All praise and thanks is due to Allah and may salaat and salaam be upon the Messenger of Allah and upon his family, companions and supporters as well as all those who adhere to his Sunnah until the Day of Resurrection, ameen.
In this article we address a trend among some Muslims to emphasize the aspect of harshness towards other Muslims when correcting them or warning others against them. There are admittedly circumstances that warrant being tough and hard, and many of the articles alluded to make those circumstances clear, however due to their emphasis on that aspect, harshness has become the starting point and is resorted to very quickly by some as opposed to being something employed after all else has actually been tried in an attempt to guide others to the correct path. Let it be clear that we are limiting this discussion to relationships between the common Muslims and not the criticisms of scholars of the innovators and deviants.
The fact is that we have too often experienced that those who apply harshness while claiming to adhere to the way of the salaf, leap to conclusions and tactics based upon statements of scholars without always first looking closely at the circumstances of the individuals they apply that harshness towards. Moreover, although claiming to want to correct and guide others, we find that they often never use the approach of kindness or courtesy of actual personal contact or generosity such as a call or a visit or a friendly meeting to deal with the issue in question. Instead we have found Muslims being hastily judged as innovators and then getting vilified publicly and privately, boycotted, warned against, rumor spread about, wrong suppositions made about inward motivations, the bearing of false witness, and even personal correspondence sent around the world justifying harshness towards them all in the name of protecting the "da'wah". We find this regrettable and in some cases reprehensible because it is being put forth as the way of salaf and moreover the Sunnah of our noble and generous Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam).
Many relationships have been damaged and suspicion sewn due to the harsh approach. We therefore find it prudent to present evidences from the Qur'aan and the authentic hadeeth first that clearly establish that the starting point when dealing with Muslims, even if astray or in error, is gentleness and kindness to what some may consider a fault. This, as opposed to rapidly seeking to find fault in or condemning other Muslims whom Allah may have already forgiven or who seek His forgiveness.
Also keep in mind that the error, sin or deviation in question is often only in the perception of others when it may not in fact be the absolute case according to shariah. More dangerous is that the drive to lambaste or condemn often stems from what amounts to a difference of opinion on a given matter where there is indeed room to differ. When a position is taken that is not in agreement with that of one's preferred scholar or student of knowledge, then it is assumed that some deviation or ill-motive is afoot! Undoubtedly when expressing opinions one must take care to stay as closely to the principles and tenets of Islam and utilize solid evidence. Great scholars have differed and still do on many matters of the religion yet they do not always raise those differences to the level of loyalty and disassociation nor make them a cause of enmity and disrespect as we do!
The Heart of The Matter
A sad but true reality is that innovation (bid'ah) is spread far and wide. It is an evil of major proportions that has caused confusion about fundamental matters such as principles of faith and action among the Muslims. Many brothers and sisters who understand this danger and have taken the time to learn from the Qur'aan and the Sunnah and the statements of the scholars of the Sunnah deeply feel and understand the need to correct and reform the Muslims and to guide them. Many of these adherents of the sunnah see the disastrous effects of bida'h upon the ummah, sometime within their own families, not to mention in the Ummah at-large and it is a source of pain and frustration when due to the poison of bidah they face staunch opposition and rejection when calling to the truth sometimes for the simplest of matters.
It is the people of bidah who in reality mete out the most harshness toward the people of the sunnah with their charges of extremism against them. Many Muslims who are merely trying to implement the sunnah in all aspects of their lives are castigated and stereotyped by those who outnumber them.
If a sister who wears proper hijaab so much as opens her mouth to encourage her sisters to fear Allah and wear the hijaab according to the conditions laid out by the scholars of Islam, bringing evidence of those conditions from the Qur'aan and the Sunnah, and doing so in the nicest non-condemning way, she is still liable to be backbitten and called a fanatic! The same when a brother who does not shave his beard and who wears clothing that clearly identifies him as a Muslim bothers to point out any matter to those that feel threatened by that, they will quickly label him extreme and harsh no matter how soft, tactful or patient he is when doing so! They may even call him names publicly to turn people away from him. We have even heard of charges of assault made against decent brothers when they did nothing of the kind just because the person being corrected was afraid and trying to deflect from his own errors and misguided speech or actions. Some good and sincere da'ees have faced getting ostracized from certain mosques and even received physical threats!
The focus of this article is not on the deeds of those innocent and sincere brothers and sisters who uphold the way of the salaf in word and deed yet who nevertheless get attacked and labeled by their detractors. In fact, they mostly understand that they will be labeled and face hardships in calling to the correct path. It is the fate of the da'ee who is following the path of the prophets ('alaihimus salaam), most notably that of the Final Messenger Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions (radiallahu 'anhum) who faced much opposition and false accusations. Rather, the main focus of this treatise is to point to those true and actual occurrences that hinder the path to guidance for some that in fact are due to the manners of those who strive to adhere to the proper way but who miss the mark in their approach and as a result cause damage. Inadvertently perhaps, but damage nonetheless. This is written with love for those believers who want to follow the right path butnot to make excuses for the deviations and misguidance of those followers of desires who merely seek to protect their positions and parties no matter what the evidence is against them.
1a) A young Muslim woman lives in a Muslim country where many women wear Islamic hijaab yet she openly flaunts her beauty by taking off hijaab and even accentuating that beauty with perfume and make-up because she enjoys the admiration of others. If told to wear hijaab she just takes the admonition lightly or ignores it altogether making it clear that her desires have precedence over eeman.
1b) Another Muslim woman does the practically the same thing as above but she has been raised in a very un-Islamic environment yet she is diligent in her prayers and fasting nor does she flirt or mix with the opposite sex. On top of it, the few Muslims in her area don't make an issue of hijaab at all and it is common place to see women wearing the flimsiest of scarves or very attractive covering even with jilbaabs or scarves.
1c) A Muslimah who wears full hijaab but who has been through a series of bad marriages and divorces until she is intimately known by many men and it is known that a major contributing factor to those failures is her fierce temper and verbal abuse and vulgar speech and threats to her husband when angered.
2a) A Muslim who wears a suit and tie, shaves his beard and wears his slacks too long but he attends the masjid, gives zakat and treats his family with love and kindness not ever neglecting their rights upon him. He even supports all the efforts of the Muslims with his time and money and sends his wife to women's classes at the masjid but he rarely finds time to sit in the circles of learning. He believes in the Qur'aan and Sunnah but asks for rulings and opinions here and there and is given some incorrect rulings based on weak evidence or opinions and acts upon them.
2b) A Muslim who is also clean shaven and not readily or easily identifiable as a Muslim and who gives nothing to the Muslims nor takes any care with regard to the haraam and the halaal and only attends the masjid for Jumu'ah khutbah and even then gets out as quickly as possible. When he does show up at the masjid he avoids those "bearded ones" like the plague.
2c) A Muslim who who wears a full beard, is careful to make sure his thobe is above his ankles and when he speaks he only speaks of the Qur'aan and the Sunnah and the way of the Salaf yet at home he is brutal to his wife and children when angered and views spending a little extra on them as a sin or leaves his wife to collect assistance from outside sources (even non-Muslims) to support herself and her children.
Distinctions Should Be Made
Should there not be a distinction made between the two ladies (1 a and b) in how they are approached, taught or admonished even though the ruling of hijaab is the same upon both? What do you think will be the likely result when either of those women is exposed to sisters who wear full hijaab and they are both shunned as "brazen hussies" but in the company of those who do not wear proper hijaab (albeit incorrect) they are treated with kindness, support and love? Is it fair that 1c is treated with more tolerance and understanding because she looks the part but it is she whose behavior is perhaps more reprehensible?
In the case of the men, 2a and b may be lambasted as innovators or open sinners and even get approached by an intimidating group of well-meaning, "sticking-to-the-manhaj" brothers aiming to "set them straight". Is it likely that either will be amenable to such an approach or treatment? Yet 2c, because he "walks the walk and talks the talk" among those brothers they overlook what is known to others and always greet him with a smile and bend over backwards to treat him with kindness over and over again before tactfully chastising him for his negligence or cajoling him to do right by his family.
We should all agree as lovers of the truth and adherents to the Sunnah that innovations (bid'ah) are detestable and should be avoided and warned against. When we see or read of innovation it should be detested in our hearts and we should hate to see it manifest in ourselves or other Muslims. Yet we must not let our distaste for this evil, partisanship or any other external factor cloud our judgment and even-handed treatment of others.
Each case above is that of a sinful Muslim, in some cases openly so, and evident innovation is present, yet they are not equal nor should they be treated in the same way nor with a double standard based upon how they look or whom they associate with. Certainly, class, nationality or race should have no place in determining the equality of treatment. They all need to be guided in the best possible manner and with careful consideration. It is not an easy task or a "black and white" one. This is why the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was so outstanding in his ability to assess the situation of different believers and was able to affect their hearts and correct them.
A Cause Of Fitnah (Trial)
Now there is the case of where a sister or brother is neither openly sinful nor exhibiting any bad character and in fact may be known for their good works and is considered an example of diligence and adherence to the Sunnah in the Muslim community. However they may make a statement or hold a position that disagrees with ours or that of a scholar or student of knowledge whom we respect. The hasty to judge then look upon them with suspicion and make statements about them and spread impressions to others that sully their reputations or lessen the respect or regard they had in the eyes of some and turn others away from them. Every association the person has is examined and any fault they may have is exposed. Perhaps their words become open to interpretation thereafter and they are discouraged from participation in the good deeds they had perviously been known for. Allah knows that they may in fact be in error or it could merely be a misinterpretation of their intent. Shaytaan may fuel the fire even more and harsh words are exchanged and battle lines drawn.
No time is taken to sit with the individual in question, speak with them, learn if they take their position based upon their understanding of evidence or the opinion of a scholar or even the interpretation of a hadeeth or the acceptance of a weak narration or opinion. They may be further accused of following some deviant sect or another. The issue may get taken to where an Islamic ruling about the person is sought from those who are very distant from them and the impressions are carried to the mufti by those who themselves are subject to error in their assessment and presentation of the matter which may lead to boycott or further recriminations.
Such is a clear injustice especially if it leads to castigation, and the spread of suspicion regarding them among the Muslims, even if "well-intended". This is simply thulm (wrongdoing) that may stem from anything from over-eagerness and impatience, jealousy or partisanship or insincerity to lack of knowledge and arrogance. No good purpose is actually served (other than perhaps to expose the incorrect approach of making false and unfounded accusations). Instead, what usually happens is that rumors get spread and backbiting becomes the order of the day - and in these days of the Internet the evil is magnified when the matter gets immediately sent around the world! Some zealous individuals may believe it is their duty to even physically confront the individual when they had nothing at all to do with the matter in the first place and all their information is gotten second-hand! When good people are attacked and vilified, it is very discouraging to others and demoralizing to the community!
Ironically it could be that after such treatment is shown to be clearly unjust, it still leads to the residual effect of creating distrust and disdain of those who initiated such actions and any good they attempt is rejected or negated and relationships get tarnished. They may just try to take a low profile so as to give the impression they had nothing to do with the fitnah they instigated and may even start to point fingers at each other!
A Wake Of Destruction
How sad is the resultant build-up of animosity between Muslims and the infusion of partisanship with innocent Muslims being pushed to take sides in disputes and an "You are either with us or against us" attitude develops that poisons relations in the community often over matters most really have no idea about in detail. The above even seems a case of the hunters "shooting themselves in the foot", as they alienate those who would be their allies, and give the impression of companions who turn upon themselves and people who don't know who their friends are.
In these times of confusion with so many parties and ideologies all claiming to be correct, the effect of harsh treatment may be to further distance Muslims from the truth, making them defensive, or more clinging to the parties of misguidance, wallaahul-Musta'aan! In the end the ranks of the Muslims are weakened and dissension and argumentation helps the cause of the deviants and the enemies of Islam.
We are not those who believe the word bid'ah should never be mentioned or pointed out and that we should remain silent about it when it is plain and obvious. This is a "head-in-the-sand" approach that only encourages more innovation. Muslims need badly to be educated about Islam and what is bid'ah and what is not along with what its dangers are and who is an innovator and who is not and whose place it is to make such determinations.
None of the above described scenarios included the person who practices innovation, teaches it, advocates it, and calls to it even after having been repeatedly given clear evidence they understand that clearly refutes their position. Such is the bona fide innovator who is deluded into believing that his whims and desires are determiners of what is or is not Islam. Such a one is dealt with in an altogether different manner which indeed may entail using harshness and even this should be determined by the people of knowledge and not just anyone who thinks that what they have done is sufficient.
The scope of this article prevents us from addressing how to handle each of the cases above in detail, but the main point we hoped to make is that great thought must be given before treating a Muslim with harshness as to the consequences and justice of such action. The intent should be to guide one's brother or sister in faith for the sake of Allah. We must remember that the foundation of dealing with other Muslims in general is one of employing kindness, having patience and overlooking of faults, while harshness and sternness are the exception and not the rule, wallaahul 'Alam.
What follows is a body of evidence from the Qur'aan and the authentic Sunnah to substantiate the above so that it is clear that there is a genuine basis for it and not merely emotionalism.
May Allah forgive me for any errors and verily He is the Generous Provider of Success and all praise is His.
From The Abridged Tafseer of Ibn Katheer
Aali Imraan 159
And by the mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; also pardon them, and ask forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs...
Among the Qualities of Our Prophet Muhammad are Mercy and Kindness
Allah addresses His Messenger and reminds him and the believer of the favor that He has made his heart and words soft for his Ummah, those who follow his command and refrain from what he prohibits.
And by the mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently...
meaning, who would have made you this kind if it was not Allah mercy for you and them?
Qatadah said that, And by the mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently... means, "with Allah's mercy you became this kind."
Al-Hassan Al-Basri said that this indeed is the description of the behavior that Allah sent Muhammad with. This aayah is similar to Allah's statement, Verily there has come unto you a Messenger from among yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He is anxious over you (to be rightly guided, to repent to Allah); for the believers he is full of pity, kind, and merciful (9:128)
And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; (5:159)
The severe person is he who utters hash words and "harsh-hearted" is the person who heart is hard. Had this been the Prophet's behavior, "they would have scattered from around you." However Allah gathered them and made you kind and soft with them, so that their hearts congregate around you."
'Abdullah Ibn 'Amr (radiallahu 'anhu) said that he read the description of the Messenger of Allah in previous Books, "He is not severe, harsh, obscene in the marketplace or dealing evil for evil. Rather he forgives and pardons." [Fathul-Bari 8:449]
Verily there has come unto you a Messenger from among yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He is eager for you; for the believers he is full of pity, kind and merciful. But if they turn away say: "Allah is sufficient for me. There is no God but He, in Him I put my trust and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne. [At-Tawbah 128 - 129]
This is similar to His other statement: And be kind and humble to the believers who follow you. Then if they disobey you, say: "I am innocent of what you do." And put your Trust in Allah the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful. [26:215 - 217] -
From The Ideal Muslim
The true Muslim is sincere towards Allah his Book, His Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and to the leaders and the masses of the Muslims as is stated in the hadeeth: The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Religion is sincerity." We asked, 'To Whom?' He said, "To Allah (by obeying Him attributing to Him what He deserves and performing jihaad for His sake); to His Book (by reading it, understanding it and applying it to one's daily life); to His Prophet (by respecting him greatly and fighting on his behalf both in his lifetime and after his death, and by following his sunnah); to the rulers of the Muslims (by helping them in their task of leading Muslims to the right path and alerting them if they are heedless); and to their common folk (by being merciful towards them). [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim)
It is no surprise, then, that the Muslim should be sincere towards his brothers and not cheat them or mislead them. Sincerity in this sense is one of the most basic principles of Islam which the first believers pledge to adhere to when they gave allegiance to the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam). This is confirmed by the statement of Jarir Ibn Abdullah; "I gave allegiance to the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and pledged to observe regular prayer, to pay zakat and to be sincere towards every Muslim." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) "
In the hadeeth quoted above, we see that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) summed up Islam in one word, naseehah, showing that sincerity is the central foundation of the faith. For without sincerity a man's faith is invalid and his Islam is worthless. This is the meaning of the hadeeth of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam): None of you truly believes until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim) This is impossible to achieve unless one loves one's brother with all sincerity. No doubt this level of love for one's brother is very difficult to attain, but it is not impossible as long as one is constantly aware that liking for one's brother what one likes for oneself is one of the conditions of faith, and that religion is sincerity. Indeed it is the natural attitude of the sincere Muslim who truly understands Islam" - The Ideal Muslim pp 142
Abu Hurairah (radiallahu 'anhu) used to say: The believer is the mirror of his brother. If he sees any fault in him he corrects it. [Al-Bukhaari in Al-Adab al-Mufrad]
Abu Hurairah reports from the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam): The believer is the mirror of his brother. The believer is the brother of a believer: he protects him from ruin and guards his back. [Al-Bukhaari in Al-Adab al-Mufrad]
A man should help his brother whether he is a wrong-doer or is wronged. If he is a wrong-doer then he should stop him, and if he is wronged he should defend him. [Muslim]
"The true Muslim does not forsake his brother, whether he is a wrongdoer or is wronged. Islam teaches him to like for his brother what he likes for himself: as long as he would not like for himself to be a wrongdoer or to do wrong, then he would not like this for his brother either. So if his brother is wronged, he stands by him, supports him and defends him, and if he is a wrongdoer he stands by him and stops him from doing wrong. This is indeed true sincerity and true kindness. These are two qualities that distinguish the true Muslim at any time and in any place." - The Ideal Muslim pp. 146 -147
"The true Muslim who is adhering to the teachings and values of his religion is kind to his brothers and is good-natured and easy-going towards them. In this he is following the guidance of Islam which encourages good characteristics. Allah describes the believers as being ...lowly [or humble] with the believers, mighty against the kaafirs [5:54] This suggests gentleness, modesty and good dealings with one's brothers in faith to an infinite degree of kindness, which is most akin to humility.
This message is reinforced by the teaching of the Prophet which encourages the Muslim to be kind in a way that will add beauty to life. This is seen in the hadeeth: "There is not kindness (rifq) in a thing but it adds beauty to it, and there is no absence of kindness but it disfigures a thing." [Muslim]
The Muslim sees a clear picture of the Prophet's character (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) in his seerah which is full of kindness, gentleness, honor and good manners. He was never known to use obscene language or to curse or insult a Muslim". - The Ideal Muslim pp. 147
"The true Muslim does not gossip of backbite about his brothers and friends, or backbite against them. he knows that gossip is haraam as the Qur'aan says; Nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay you would abhor it. But fear Allah; for Allah is Oft-Returning, All-Merciful [49:12]
The true Muslim who is infused with Islamic teachings and manners will be horrified by the depiction given in the Qur'aan of one who gossips as being like the one who eats the flesh of his dead brother. This will deter him from gossiping and if he is guilty of this sin, he will hasten to repent sincerely as indicated at the end of the aayah quoted. He will restrain his tongue and speak only good of his brother, remembering the words of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam): Do you know what gossip is? They said "Allah and His Messenger know best." He said, "It is saying about your brother something which he dislikes," He was asked, "What do you think if what I say about my brother is true?" He said, "If it is true then you have gossiped about him, and if it is not true then you have slandered him." [Muslim]
The true Muslim avoids the sin of gossiping directly or indirectly, abhorring the idea of being one who eats the flesh of his dead brother and fearing lest his tongue leads him to Hell." - The Ideal Muslim pp 148 "
...Gossip is a bad characteristic which does not befit a real man. Rather it is a feature of two-faced coward who look like men, those who gossip to people about their brothers and friends, then when they meet them they smile warmly and make a display of friendship. Hence, the true Muslim should be furthest removed from gossip and fickleness, because Islam has taught him to be a real man, to be straightforward and to fear Allah in all his words and deeds. It has made him thoroughly despise hypocrisy and fickleness. The two-faced person is regarded as being one of the worst people in the sight of Allah, as the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: You will find among the worst people in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection, the one who is two-faced, who approaches some people in one way and others in another." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim, et al]" - The Ideal Muslim pp 149
From Riyadhus Saaliheen: CHAPTER 74 CLEMENCY, TOLERANCE AND GENTLENESS - Commentary By Hafiz Salahuddin Yusuf
Allah, the Exalted, says: "...who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers)." (3:134)
"Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (i.e., don't punish them)." (7:199)
"The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e., Allah orders the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly) then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient - and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the Hereafter, i.e., Jannah and of a high moral character) in this world." (41:34,35)
"And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives that would truly be from the things recommended by Allah." (42:43) 632.
Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said to Ashaj Abdul-Qais (May Allah be pleased with him), "You possess two qualities that Allah loves. These are clemency and tolerance." [Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadeeth teaches us to adopt a patient, mild and discreet attitude towards others. Moreover, there is a provision for praising somebody in his presence, provided there is no likelihood of his being conceited. The Hadeeth also provides inspiration for the cultivation of good habits.
633. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Allah is Forbearer (Rafeeq) and loves forbearance (rifq) in all matters." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: Mildness also brings human beings closer to one another, and on this count, Allah likes it very much.
634. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Allah is Forbearer and He loves forbearance, and rewards for forbearance while He does not reward severity, and does not give for any thing besides it (forbearance)." [Muslim]
Commentary: Mildness is the opposite of harshness. Allah enjoins softness and dislikes stiffness in human relations. Allah assures of reward for gentle behavior in society, not for unkindness or anything like that. However, inflexibility is preferred to flexibility when there arises a question of religious matters and the limits set by Allah.
635. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Whenever forbearance is added to something, it adorns it; and whenever it is withdrawn from something, it leaves it defective." [Muslim].
Commentary: To be soft-spoken is such a quality that by virtue of which a man is not only endeared to people but also to Allah. And by being bereft of it, he not only becomes a contempt incarnate in the eyes of people but also with Allah.
636. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A bedouin urinated in the mosque and some people rushed to beat him up. The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: "Leave him alone and pour a bucket of water over it. You have been sent to make things easy and not to make them difficult." [Al-Bukhari].
Commentary: This Hadeeth brings into light the fact that leniency is also vitally needed in the sphere of education and discipline. This is particularly true in the case of ignorant and ill-bred people. This is so because if they are treated unkindly, they will become more indocile on account of their wild temperament and foolishness. A kind handling is indispensable for putting them to discipline, even if they make desperate blunders. This Hadeeth is very beneficial with regard to the way of da`wah, guidance and practical education. Another point this Hadeeth discloses is that the flow of water can wipe out dirt and impurity, and make the place free from its effect.
637. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Make things easy and do not make them difficult, cheer the people up by conveying glad tidings to them and do not repulse (them)." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadeeth informs us that preaching, sermons, religious discourses and moral advice all should concentrate on such things as may be helpful to people in being inclined towards gaining religious knowledge. Likewise this aspect should also be kept in view in the exposition and interpretation of religion. Moreover, the tone and mode of expression of religious leaders should not be repulsive and based on sectarian hatred, rather it should pull hearts to religion. In brief, preachers and `Ulama' must be regardful of the central point of the cause to which they are dedicated.
638. Jarir bin `Abdullah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "He who is deprived of forbearance and gentleness is, in fact, deprived of all good." [Muslim].
639. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A man asked the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) to give him advice, and he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Do not get angry." The man repeated that several times and he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) replied (every time), "Do not get angry." [Al-Bukhari].
Commentary: This Hadeeth has already been quoted. Yet the compiler has repeated it on account of its relevance with this chapter. It is to be noticed that an advice should be made as circumstances demand. When the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) perceived by his insight that the visitor was a person of sharp and fiery temper, he repeatedly advised him to resist anger.
640. Abu Ya`la Shaddad bin `Aus (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Verily Allah has prescribed ihsaan (kindness) for everything. So when you kill, you must make the killing in the best manner; when you slaughter, make your slaughter in the best manner. Let one of you sharpen his knife and give ease to his animal (in order to reduce his pain)." [Muslim].
Commentary: By killing is meant the killing of a harmful animal, or the killing of a murderer as retribution and the killing of the enemy in the battlefield. All these situations warrant killing but with a stress on moderation, thanks to Islamic teachings. A believer is told not to let his passions of enmity go wild, and even an enemy or a criminal ought not to be put to a torturous death. In the Pre-Islamic Period of Ignorance it was a prevalent practice that the limbs of a victim were mutilated before he was finally killed. Islam has forcefully forbidden this inhuman custom, stating that the victim should be beheaded with the one swing of sword. Similarly, there are specific instructions regarding an animal's slaughter. First, the knife should be sharpened. Second, the animal must not be slaughtered from its nape, because in both ways it will suffer pain. This Shari`ah rule ensures quick death of the animal. In modern Europe, an animal is slaughtered with one stroke of a cutting-machine. Apparently this method seems to be easy and smooth, yet in this way the animal's blood doesn't flow out from its body completely. So the consumption of the meat of such a kill is injurious to human health. Due to this reason, Islam considers the discharge of blood as a prerequisite to Halal (lawful). Certainly, only the Islamic way of slaughtering an animal is more sound, scientific and wholesome.
641. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: Whenever the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was given a choice between two matters, he would (always) choose the easier as long as it was not sinful to do so; but if it was sinful he was most strict in avoiding it. He never took revenge upon anybody for his own sake; but when Allah's Legal Bindings were outraged, he would take revenge for Allah's sake. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: The two things between which Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would make his choice could be religious or worldly. For instance, if he were asked to award one of the two punishments to somebody, he would choose the milder one. And if he had the liberty of choice between two obligations, he would opt for the easier one. Between war and peace he would always go for peace, provided it involved the interest of Islam and Muslims. Moreover, in all matters he used to take the line of least resistance, in case it went without the disobedience of Allah. In this Hadeeth, a principle has been defined for Muslims in general as well that they are free to take to an easy way but this must not entail a loophole in respect of the Shari`ah. Secondly, the most excellent character of Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) also comes to our view that he never retaliated for personal reasons. His extraordinary concern for the sanctity of Islamic Law is also displayed by the fact that he could never brook the transgression of Allah's limits, and the transgressor was sure to be punished by him. The Prophet's attitude also explains and delimits the sphere of morality that to let the violator of Divine law go scot-free must not be counted as a sign of good manners. Rather it reflects the lack of religious sensibility. Not to take exception to lapses in mundane affairs surely speaks of moral excellence, but we are not allowed to dispense with the evasion of religious rules.
642. Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Shall I not tell you whom the (Hell) Fire is forbidden to touch? It is forbidden to touch a man who is always accessible, having polite and tender nature." [At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary: The Hadeeth throws light on a kind bearing which is rooted in Faith and saves man from Hell-fire. The second lesson is that prior to discussing something important with somebody we should make him attentive and receptive, so that he may take interest and put faith in what we tell him.
FROM CHAPTER 49 MAKING JUDGEMENT OF PEOPLE KEEPING IN VIEW THEIR EVIDENT ACTIONS AND LEAVING THEIR HIDDEN ACTIONS TO ALLAH (SWT)
391. Abu Abdullah bin Tariq bin Ashyam (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "He who professes La ilaha illallah (There is no true god except Allah), and denies of everything which the people worship besides Allah, his property and blood become inviolable, and it is for Allah to call him to account". [Muslim].
393. Usamah bin Zaid (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) sent us to Huraqat, a tribe of Juhainah. We attacked that tribe early in the morning and defeated them, (then) a man from the Ansar and I caught hold of a man (of the defeated tribe). When we overcame him, he said: `La ilaha illallah (There is no true god except Allah).' At that moment, the Ansari spared him, but I attacked him with my spear and killed him. By the time we went back to Al-Madinah, news had already reached Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam). He said to me, "O Usamah, did you kill him after he professed La ilaha illallah (There is no true god except Allah)?" I said, "O Messenger of Allah! He professed it only to save his life." Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) repeated, "Did you kill him after he had professed La ilaha illallah?" He went on repeating this to me until I wished I had not embraced Islam before that day (so that I would have not committed this sin). [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Another narration is: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Did you kill him in spite of his professing La ilaha illallah?" I said, "O Messenger of Allah! He said out of fear of our arms." He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Why did you not cut his heart open to find out whether he had done so sincerely or not?" He continued repeating it until I wished that I had embraced Islam only that day.
Commentary: The relevance of this Hadeeth with the present chapter is evident from the fact that it stresses that injunctions of Islam will be enforced on every Muslim according to his apparent condition. It is a very wise course indeed for the reason that it has closed the door of retaliation; otherwise, everyone could kill his enemy on the pretext that the victim was not sincere in his profession of Islam. In order to rule out the possibility of any such mischief, probing into the true condition of the heart is ruled out. A Muslim has to be treated according to his apparent condition only.
395. `Abdullah bin `Utbah bin Mas`ud reported: I heard `Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) reported saying: "In the lifetime of Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) some people were called to account through Revelation. Now Revelation has discontinued and we shall judge you by your apparent acts. Whoever displays to us good, we shall grant him peace and security, and treat him as a near one. We have nothing to do with his insight. Allah will call him to account for that. But whosoever shows evil to us, we shall not grant him security nor shall we believe him, even if he professed that his intention is good." [Al-Bukhari].
Commentary: This Hadeeth also proves that the injunctions go with the apparent acts of a person and not with will and intention. It also indicates that a good intention does not waive the Qisas and establishing the justice.
Allah, the Exalted, says: "And those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly, they bear (on themselves) the crime of slander and plain sin." (33:58)
CHAPTER 31 MAKING PEACE AMONG PEOPLE
Allah, the Exalted, says: "There is no good in most of their secret talks save (in) him who orders Sadaqah (charity in Allah's Cause), or Ma`ruf (Islamic Monotheism and all the good and righteous deeds which Allah has ordained), or conciliation between mankind." (4:114)
"...and making peace is better." (4:128)
"So fear Allah and adjust all matters of difference among you." (8:1)
"The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion). So make reconciliation between your brothers." (49:10)
CHAPTER 26 UNLAWFULNESS OF OPPRESSION AND RESTORING OTHERS RIGHTS
Allah, the Exalted, says: "There will be no friend, nor an intercessor for the Zalimun (polytheists and the wrongdoers), who could be given heed to." (40:18)
"And for the Zalimun (wrongdoers, polytheists and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) there is no helper." (22:71)
203. Jabir bin `Abdullah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Beware of injustice, for oppression will be darkness on the Day of Resurrection; and beware of stinginess because it doomed those who were before you. It incited them to shed blood and treat the unlawful as lawful." [Muslim]
210. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "He who has done a wrong affecting his brother's honor or anything else, let him ask his forgiveness today before the time (i.e., the Day of Resurrection) when he will have neither a dinaar nor a dirham. If he has done some good deeds, a portion equal to his wrong doings will be subtracted from them; but if he has no good deeds, he will be burdened with the evil deeds of the one he had wronged in the same proportion". [Al-Bukhari].
Commentary: This Hadeeth tells us that if one does not compensate a person who has been harmed by one and has not been pardoned for it, then it would have a serious consequence in the Hereafter. Its detail is mentioned in this Hadeeth. Thus, negligence in the case of public rights, which we take very lightly, is in fact ruinous.
211. `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`as (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "A Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hands the Muslims are safe; and a Muhaajir (Emigrant) is the one who refrains from what Allah has forbidden". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: The Hadeeth shows that a true Muslim is one who does not do any harm to others, overtly or covertly. Similarly, the true Muhajir is one who avoids disobeying Allah. Thus, if a person leaves his hearth and home to emigrate to some other place but does not save himself from sins, his emigration is of no avail.
CHAPTER 75 FORGIVENESS OF THE IGNORANT
Allah, the Exalted, says: "Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (i.e., don't punish them)." (7:199)
"So overlook (O Muhammad), their faults with gracious forgiveness." (15:85)
"Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you?" (24:22)
"And who pardon men; verily, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers)" (3:134)
"And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives, that would truly be from the things recommended by Allah." (42:43)
Commentary: ...The responsibility of preaching is not a bed of roses but a thorny path to tread on. It is not the welcome and applause which is meted out to him, but people's taunts, reproaches and insults are heaped on the preacher. Consequently, patience, self-possession, self-control and tolerance are vital to braving trials and tribulations in the way of Allah.
647. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "The strong man is not the one who wrestles, but the strong man is in fact the one who controls himself in a fit of rage." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: People are usually impressed by the physical power and strength of somebody. But the real strength of a man lies in the fact that he should be able to wrestle with his passions in a fit of anger and avoid committing an act for which he may subsequently regret. This is a common observation that wild anger leads to many a wrongdoing of which man repents later on or sheds tears over the ruin resulting from it.
CHAPTER 27 REVERENCE TOWARDS THE SANCTITY OF THE MUSLIMS
Allah, the Exalted, says: "And whosoever honors the sacred things of Allah, then that is better for him with his Rubb". (22:30)
"And whosoever honors the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety of the heart". (22:32)
"And lower your wing for the believers (be courteous to the fellow believers)". (15:88)
"...if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind". (5:32)
222. Abu Musa (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "The relationship of the believer with another believer is like (the bricks of) a building, each strengthens the other." He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) illustrated this by interlacing the fingers of both his hands. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadeeth enjoins unity in the Muslim community, each member of which is like a brick, which, when they are all combined, lend strength to each other. Similarly, Muslims are like hands and arms, which physically joined together, are bound to co-operate with one another.
224. Nu`man bin Bashir (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadeeth has the same purport which is mentioned in the previous Hadeeth. It says that Muslims are akin to a living person. When he feels pain in one of his eyes, for example, his entire body feels it. When he suffers from a headache, he feels its pain throughout his body.
225. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) kissed his grandson Al-Hasan bin `Ali (May Allah be pleased with them) in the presence of Al-Aqra` bin Habis. Thereupon he remarked: "I have ten children and I have never kissed any one of them." Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) looked at him and said, "He who does not show mercy to others will not be shown mercy". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
226. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: Some bedouins came to Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and asked: "Do you kiss your children?" He said, "Yes". They then said: "By Allah, we do not kiss them." The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) replied, "I cannot help you if Allah has snatched kindness from your hearts". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
227. Jarir bin `Abdullah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "He who is not merciful to people Allah will not be merciful to him." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: Kind treatment to Allah's creatures is very much liked by Allah. Even animals and birds are included in this category. Kind treatment with them makes a person eligible to the Mercy of Allah. Decent behavior with people has been specifically mentioned in this Hadeeth although all creatures are covered by it.
233. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. So he should not oppress him nor should he hand him over to (his Satan or to his self which is inclined to evil). Whoever fulfills the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever removes the troubles of his brother, Allah will remove one of his troubles on the Day of Resurrection; and whoever covers up the fault of a Muslim, Allah will cover up his fault on the Day of Resurrection". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadeeth is extremely important for the reason that it advises Muslims to live like family members. It says that one does not like to subject one's own son, brother, etc, to suppression, nor leaves him helpless in trouble, but helps him when he is in need of it, endeavors to relieve him of hardship and admonishes him when he does anything wrong. Almighty Allah is pleased with such behavior and gives him best reward for it in this world and the next.
234. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "A Muslim is a brother to a Muslim. He should neither deceive him nor lie to him, nor leave him without assistance. Everything belonging to a Muslim is inviolable for a Muslim; his honor, his blood and property. Piety is here (and he pointed out to his chest thrice). It is enough for a Muslim to commit evil by despising his Muslim brother." [At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary: This Hadeeth deals with the subject discussed in the preceding one. In fact, it elucidates the points raised there. Now, the heart is one thing which no one can check out; Allah Alone knows about it. The case of those who openly lead a sinful and impious life is of course quite different. To show hatred and disgust against such people is warranted by Faith.
235. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Do not envy one another; do not inflate prices by overbidding against one another; do not hate one another; do not harbor malice against one another; and do not enter into commercial transaction when others have entered into that (transaction); but be you, O slaves of Allah, as brothers. A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim; he neither oppresses him nor does he look down upon him, nor does he humiliate him. Piety is here, (and he pointed to his chest three times). It is enough evil for a Muslim to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for his brother-in-faith: his blood, his property and his honor". [Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadeeth elaborates the importance of mutual brotherhood and goodwill among the Muslims. They are warned against jealousy which is a very malicious moral disease. One who suffers from it does not like to see others in happy circumstances and wants that they are deprived of whatever good they have. This Hadeeth also prohibits Muslims from mutual hatred, enmity and indifference to others because all such things go against the concept of Islamic fraternity. The Hadeeth also warns Muslims against Najash (false bidding to raise the price in an auction) as it is clear deception and fraud is opposed to goodwill for others, while Muslims are required to express for each other goodwill, not ill-will. This Hadeeth also prohibits making one bargain over the others because it generate malice and enmity.
236. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "No one of you shall become a true believer until he desires for his brother what he desires for himself". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadeeth deals more comprehensively with the subject discussed above. When a Muslim likes the same thing for another Muslim which he does for himself, then he will be obviously expressing goodwill to his fellow Muslims. When Muslims adopt this attitude at the community level, no Muslim will be an enemy of the other. In fact, each Muslim would then be a well-wisher and helper of other Muslims. May Allah enable us to adopt this attitude.
237. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or is oppressed". A man enquired: "O Messenger of Allah! I help him when he is oppressed, but how can I help him when he is an oppressor?" He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "You can keep him from committing oppression. That will be your help to him". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadeeth contains a very comprehensive injunction to eliminate disturbance and tyranny in the Muslim society. It not only ordains helping the oppressed but also encourages people endowed with moral courage to stop the oppressor's oppression. Doing so requires great courage and boldness, but Muslims would be able to do full justice to their duty of wishing well to their fellow Muslims when they develop the moral courage to stop the oppressor from tyranny, or at least protest against it verbally.