Monthly Archives: April 2008

Risala – To a Young Man on the Edge

Ya Walad – with these words our great scholars and Awliya have started their letters of counsel and guidance on the path of our sublime Deen. They were in every case words on the future life of the youth so that he should achieve maturity, and strengthen the Muslim community not only by good actions in their service but by obeying the command to set up a family, treating both the wife and later the children of the next generation with that wisdom and compassion that would guarantee that the Deen of Islam would flourish as promised by the Merciful Lord, and spread in increase and nobility.

Ya Walad – today this does not happen. Today the Muslim youth is living in such a chaos, in such a disaster zone that he not only is frankly ignorant of the Deen but also ignorant about life. In the Qur’an, which, I can assure you, you have never been taught, Allah, glory be to Him, addresses the kuffar – and warns them: and the muminun – and guides them: and mankind itself, the human race – both guiding and warning them.

You will not know that to the palaeontologists who study the evidence of mankind’s presence on the planet, it is marked by the indication that the human species had human burial sites. In other words the human species begins with the knowledge that human life is sacred. Burial honours the dead. Man is buried with honour because he is in life the container or the vessel of a Divine Contract.

In Surat al-A’raf (7:172) we find:

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When your Lord took out all their descendants
from the loins of the children of Adam
and made them testify against themselves
‘Am I not your Lord?’
they said, ‘We testify that indeed You are!’
Lest you say on the Day of Rising,
‘We knew nothing of this.’

It is this Contract which elevates mankind above all the creation. With it comes the gift of self-awareness, of the faculty of recognition, that is seeing the object and also evaluating it. This entails the capacity to reflect, that is both the ability to see the object or the event and attach a meaning to it. Access to the mithal is itself the means to recognising Allah’s Names and Attributes. This, oh youth! is who you are.

Allah explains in Surat al-Baqara (2:29-33):

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It is He who created everything on the earth for you
and then directed His attention up to heaven
and arranged it into seven regular heavens.
He has knowledge of all things.

When your Lord said to the angels,
‘I am putting a khalif on the earth,’
they said, ‘Why put on it one who will cause corruption on it
and shed blood
when we glorify You with praise
and proclaim Your purity?’
He said, ‘I know what you do not know.’

He taught Adam the names of all things.
Then He arrayed them before the angels and said,
‘Tell me the names of these if you are telling the truth.’

They said, ‘Glory be to You! We have no knowledge
except what You have taught us.
You are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.’

He said, ‘Adam, tell them their names.’
When he had told them their names,
He said, ‘Did I not tell you that I know
the Unseen of the heavens and the earth,
and I know what you make known
and what you hide?’

Here Allah the Glorious tells you openly:

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It is He who created everything on the earth for you.

And in the last ayat He warns:

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and I know what you make known
and what you hide

Ibn Taymiyya has told us that if we want to understand the human situation today which may seem incomprehensible, because so complex, we must go back to its beginning where the primal model of mankind will be clear to us, that is, with the first family of mankind, that of Sayyiduna Adam, ‘alayhi salam.

In Surat al-Ma’ida we are told (5:27-31):

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Recite to them the true report of Adam’s two sons
when they offered a sacrifice
and it was accepted from one of them
but not accepted from the other.
The one said, ‘I shall kill you.’
The other said, ‘Allah only accepts from people who have taqwa.
Even if you do raise your hand against me to kill me,
I am not going to raise my hand against you to kill you.
Truly I fear Allah, the Lord of all the worlds.
I want you to take on both my wrongdoing and your wrongdoing
and so become one of the Companions of the Fire.
That is the repayment of the wrongdoers.’

So his lower self persuaded him to kill his brother,
and he killed him and became one of the lost.

Then Allah sent a crow which scratched at the earth
to show him how to conceal his brother’s corpse.
He said, ‘Woe is me! Can I not even be like this crow
and conceal my brother’s corpse?’
And he became one of those who suffer bitter remorse
on account of that.

Here we see the confirmation of the previous ayats which informed us that Allah knows both the seen and the hidden. What is of importance to us in this is that the matter not just of killing but of human life itself is a matter of the profoundest and gravest implication.

Now we can categorically deduce from this that taking the life or lives of another or others having this importance – the taking of one’s own life is of the same spiritual significance.

In the ayat which follows, Allah the Almighty grants authority for the killing “in retaliation or for causing corruption on the earth.”

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unless it is in retaliation for someone else
or for causing corruption in the earth

However, you cannot kill you!

Let us look coldly at the event itself and its intention before we examine the ugly and sordid background that has made the earth a suicide zone of young men and women who have been ordered into dementia.

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, declared in a renowned Hadith: “The ‘Amal is by the Niyyat.” This means the action is not a thing in itself. It springs from the inward – from the self. Whatever the situation, whatever the role of others, whatever urgency may be found in the event – at the moment of making a human action – this must be understood – that same human action cannot take place as event in-itself. It begins as conscious intention. The action is triggered by the order that the Niyyat be fulfilled. That is: the action is the firing of the lethal bullet. The trigger awaits its order to fire. The subject, his finger pulls the trigger. The finger obeys the order of the subject. In law, and therefore, in reason, the subject is responsible. If the action is haram, then the subject is criminal and answerable.

I say, oh youth, that before we can examine who and what has led to the momentous moment of the suicide action – it must be clearly understood that you are responsible. And as we shall see, guilty of a terrible crime whose end is not your demise or the havoc and murder around you, but in the Next World where a terrifying punishment awaits this absolute and unconditional failure of yourself to recognise who you were, and what Allah had created you for – nothing less!

In Surat an-Nisa (4:29) Allah the Powerful declares:

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You who have iman! do not consume one another’s property
by false means,
but only by means of mutually agreed trade.
And do not kill yourselves.
Allah is Most Merciful to you.

Ya Walad! You dare not act in this matter without being fully aware that this is an affair in which there has been no doubt whatsoever through the long centuries of historical Islam. Let us first look at this uncompromising ayat and how our renowned mufassirin have put this ayat to the point of test and examination.

Firstly: Imam Al-Qurtubi. He says:

“The people of interpretation have agreed that it means ‘do not kill one another’.
It allows for the meaning of a man who kills himself through his anxiety over Dunya and the search for wealth, so that his obsession with this illusion leads to ruin.
It also includes the meaning of ‘do not kill yourself’ in a state of distress or anger.
And all of these are forbidden.”

Secondly: Abu Bakr Ibn al-‘Arabi in his renowned Ahkam-ul-Qur’an.

“There are three different judgments on this.
One: Do not kill the people of your Millah (community).
Two: Do not kill one another.
Three: Do not kill yourselves by doing what has been forbidden to you.
These are all correct, though some have more validity with regards to the Deen and a more complete meaning.
And the one I consider most correct is the third, and the previous two are included within it.”

Thirdly: Ruh al-Ma’ani.

“One: It means ‘do not kill one another’.
Two: Another judgment is that it means: ‘Do not send yourselves to destruction by committing wrong actions like consuming one another’s property by false means, or by any other acts of disobedience which deserve punishment.’
Three: Another judgment is that it means a prohibition of killing oneself in a state of anger or difficulty.
Four: It is also said that it means ‘Do not put yourself at risk in battle by taking on an enemy you cannot overcome.’
Five: And it is said the meaning is: ‘Do not trade in enemy lands so that you find yourself alone! And from this Imam Malik takes a proof that it is makruh to trade in enemy lands.”

Fourthly: Ibn Juzayy (and the Sultan al-‘Ulama of our time, Shaykh Shadhili an-Nayfar, said of him: “Among the mufassirin he has the last word!”):

“Ibn ‘Atiyya says, ‘The mufassirin agree that the meaning is ‘do not kill one another’.’
And I say that the expression encompasses the meaning ‘killing one’s self’, that is suicide. For this was how ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas understood it, and the Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not disapprove of this when he heard it.”

Fifthly: Ibn ‘Atiyya.

“The mufassirin have agreed that intended in this ayat is the prohibition on people killing each other.
And it contains the meaning of a man who kills himself, having made the intention to do so.
And the prohibition contains all these elements.”

Ibn Juzayy’s conclusion has to be seen in the confirming Hadith in Imam Muslim’s Collection on the authority of Abu Hurayra, who told that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

“He who killed himself with a weapon will exist forever in the Fire of Jahannam. He will have that weapon and be thrusting it into his stomach forever. He who drank poison and killed himself will be taking it in the Fire of Jahannam where he is doomed to remain forever. He who killed himself by flinging himself from the top of a mountain will be perpetually plunging downwards in the Fire of Jahannam, forever.”

Thabit bin Dahaq reported the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as saying:

“He who killed himself with a thing will be tormented on the Day of Rising with that very thing.”

Now according to the primal Madh-hab of the ‘Amal Ahl-al-Madinah, suicide was utterly unknown as a method of warfare and could only be imagined as the last recourse of a man in terminal agony who could no longer bear the pain. Further, among us all, there is a legal term called the ‘Ijma of the Community. This expression is to define the blessed situation of the Muslim ‘Ummah as defined in the statement of the Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “My people cannot go entirely wrong.” In other words the Muslim Jama’at in every time and at every place is protected by the Book, the Sunna, and the ‘Amal of the People of Madinah, the Place of the Deen.

So it has been through centuries that the curse of suicide, induced by other men who do NOT die, has only manifested once. When it did it manifested amongst a body of men who adhered not to Islam but to the post-Islamic religion of the Shi‘a, and that in a most extreme form. We mean by this the Isma‘ili deviants in the Lebanon whose activities ended in the aim of assassinating the great Muslim ruler, Salahuddin. We will examine these evil people, later.

Before that we must force your attention on a matter which young men before you with this sick ambition of self-inflicted death seem never to have considered.

As a result of the impact of these suicide-bombers and their macabre publicity, some ignorant and unbalanced youths have copied the suicide-bombers and car-drivers in, as it were, a spontaneous copy-cat act of self-immolation, saying, “How spectacular. Our lives are worthless. Let us copy these men. Let us go out with a bang. Let us make the late TV news and the morning paper!” These small groups of what we may call ‘improvisers’ are few, indeed a bi-product of the main body of suicide-bombers, who are part of an organised social activity.

In general, the matter proceeds as follows:

1. A political leadership which is local, hidden and anonymous directs the affair. They constitute a Secret Society. No one elected them. Nor did they stand out and declare themselves publicly as Renewers of the Deen. They are leaders without legitimacy. There was no Bay’at. No acclamation. There is no territory that can be declared a State under their aegis. They are not prayed for from the mimbar, and no Islamic Dinar and Dirham are struck in their name. Zakat is not collected by Collectors in their name, nor is Zakat paid by them to an Amir. They are, in Islamic terms, outlaws. Also, their continued vagabond existence grants kuffar armies the right to massacre Muslim families, bomb Muslim villages and cities, as well as persecute, torture and humiliate innocent Muslims on a world scale.

2. These robber barons of the political class have licensed their military ‘wing’ to prepare and groom the young men, and now even women, to kill themselves, so that in their programme a fantasised day will come that the ‘enemy’ will submit to their Terror. Here is where we reach the heart of darkness.

3. Worse than the leadership – below them come the executioners. The true Assassins. The suicide-bomber is not an assassin. He wreaks havoc. In that havoc are innocent men, women and children, often with Muslims among them. But the one with the Semtex strapped to his belly is not the assassin. He is the victim. Just as the sexual pederast grooms his victim to submit to seduction, this political pederast grooms his victim to submit to death. Is it his son he sends to death? Is it his neighbour’s? Or does he send them off to die but his son is safe? Do the parents know him?

The high Islamic ethos of the Sahaba and ever-after of Muslim fighting men and of great Sufis has been what we call preference – Tafteel. It was demonstrated at Badr and the first ghazwats. A Companion dying of thirst and wounds refuses the water-casket. He passes it on to his suffering brother. He in turn refuses it for the man dying next to him. And so the water-casket is passed down the line. It is preference. Let me die so that he can live. These men who strap on the dynamite, tying it around these pure, deceived youths’ bellies – they represent the cynical abolition of the Muslim ethos. No. They will not die – let the next generation die. Let the evil old ones live. They do not believe in the battle. They do not fight. They do not believe in the future. They have sent it to its death. They do not believe in Allah. They do not trust in His Mercy.

Allah the Exalted says in Surat al-Ma’ida (5:11):

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You who have iman! remember Allah’s blessing to you
when certain people were on the verge
of raising their hands against you
and He held their hands back from you.
Have taqwa of Allah.
The muminun should put their trust in Allah.

In Ruh al-Ma’ani this ayat is examined:

“…it is an indication of what more than one collected from Jabir. He related that the Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stopped at a place to rest, and the people split up looking for shade under the trees. He hung his weapon on a tree, then a bedouin came and took his sword. He unsheathed it. He then faced the Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and asked, ‘Who will protect you from me?’

The Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, answered: ‘Allah!’ The bedouin repeated it two or three times, and each time he replied ‘Allah!’ So the bedouin finally put the sword away. The Messenger then called his Companions and told them about what the bedouin had done. The bedouin was sitting next to him but he did not punish him.”

The ethos of suicide-bombing – its leaders, its military wing, its helpless victim youths – it is all an antithesis of Islam, an anti-Islam. Full of hate. Full of fear. Full of menace and threats. Devoid of hope. Devoid of Tawakkul. Devoid of Iman. Devoid of ‘Ibada. Devoid of men. No Jama’at. No Amir. Nothing! Nihilism – the bastard child of capitalism.

* * * * *

Footnote: The Isma‘ili terrorists were led by a hidden leader who hung out in the mountains from where his adepts initiated youths to participate in assassination projects with promises of the Garden and its Houris. When they were killed they were buried in special ‘Martyr Cemeteries’ – drawings of their faces were posted on their headstones and the next batch of terrorists were, as part of their indoctrination, sent to meditate on their coming immolation, by sitting among the graves. Their leader was called ‘The Old Man of the Mountains’. Their enemies were the christians and the Muslim leadership. Once people seemed to have taken Terror to its limits the Sect then declared that the time had come for the new dispensation. They abolished Islamic Shari‘at, permitted everything haram to be halal with the New Tolerance, and made all religions equal and identical. In other words the Isma‘ili creed sees Terrorism not as a prelude to an Islamic State, but rather as a releasing element to bring on the post-religious, thus to them, post-Islamic future. An end world – where nothing matters any more.

We seek the protection of Allah, the Mighty, the Great.

Allah the Exalted declares in Surat al-Ma‘un (107:1-3):

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In the name of Allah, All-Merciful, Most Merciful

Have you seen him who denies the Deen?
He is the one who harshly rebuffs the orphan
and does not urge the feeding of the poor.

* * * * *

Source: Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi

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Asking Questions

As for the Messenger of Allah (SAAS), he used to do wudu’ (ablution) while the Companions would see him. They would then copy him without being explained by him that this is a rukn and that is an adab. And when he (SAAS) used to pray they would see him and pray as they had seen him praying. (Similarly) when he performed hajj, people saw him and did as they saw him doing.

This was his (SAAS)’s general practice. He did not explain that obligation (furud) of wudu were six or four. Neither did he prescribe that if a man performs wudu without observing muwalat (1)(continuity) judgement would be made on the validity or invalidity of his wudu. On some occasions, however, he used to explain such things.

The companions rarely asked him about such things. It is reported on the authority of ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abbas (RA d.68/687), as saying: “I have never seen a people better than the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (SAAS). They did not ask him (about anything) until he passed away except for thirteen questions, all of which are (mentioned) in the Qur’an. These include, “They ask you about the fighting in the sacred month, say fighting in it is a serious (offence)” (2), and “They ask you about menstruation” (3). He added: “They used to ask questions only about those things which were beneficial for them.”

‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar (RA d.73/692) said : “Don’t ask about that which did not happen, because I heard ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA d.23/643) cursing the one who asks questions about that which did not happen”. Al-Qasim (b. Muhammad b. Abu Bakr al-Siddique) said: “Indeed you ask about (such) things, which we didn’t use to ask. You delve into things, which we didn’t use to delve in and you ask about things I don’t know what they are. Had we known them it wouldn’t have been permissible for us to hide them”.

It is reported on the authority of ‘Umar b. Ishaq as saying: “Certainly the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (SAAS) I met were more than those I missed. (But) I never came across a people who were more lenient in their attitude and less strict than them”.

It is reported on the authority of ‘Ubada b. Busr al-Kindi, who was asked about a woman who died with a people and did not have a legal guardian (wali). (In response) he said: “I have met people who were not as much strict as you are, and who did not use to ask questions like yours”. These traditions are related by al-Darimi (d.255/868).

 

 

[Shah Wali Allah Al-Dihlawi, Difference of Opinion in Fiqh, Ta-Ha Publishers, 2003, p22-23]

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(1) Muwalat: to perform all actions of ablution continuously and in their exact order and sequence.

(2) Al Baqara: 217

(3) Al Baqara: 232

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Allah Knows Best – The Value of Being Impartial

Impartiality is a value, and it is a noble one. It exists in a spirit of objectivity and a love of knowledge, which despises prejudice towards any position or party.

Our pious predecessors expressed their impartiality with the simple phrase: “I don’t know.” They used to say: “Half of knowledge is to recognize that you do not know something.” They also said: “Whoever refuses to admit that he does not know, that person will soon be disgraced.”

Another way of expressing one’s neutrality and impartiality on an issue is to say: “Allah knows best.” This is more eloquent, since it comes with the added meaning of affirming Allah’s knowledge of all things.

Scholars of Islamic legal theory refer to this neutrality as suspension of judgment (tawaqquf). This is a specific scholarly position towards a matter of Islamic faith or Islamic Law, where the scholar determines the evidence to be equally weighted towards two variant rulings.

It is also an expression of extra caution in matters where a person fears speaking about a matter outside the scope of his or her knowledge. It is not a legal pronouncement, but rather a deferment of the matter to others. It is a sign of integrity and personal strength.

The Caliph `Umar b. al-Khattâb once, while delivering a sermon on the pulpit, read the verse 31 form Sûrah `Abasa: “And fruits and fodder.”

The word translated here as “fodder” and also sometimes as “herbage” or “grasses” is the Arabic word abb. `Umar admitted on the pulpit that he did not know what this word means.

The very same admission has also been related from Abû Bakr.

We would be hard-pressed to find in our history any Islamic scholar who never admitted he did not know certain things or who never declined to answer certain questions that were asked of him.

This holds equally true for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Someone once asked him: “Which land is most beloved to Allah, and which land is most despised by Him?”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “I do not know until I ask the angel Gabriel.”

Thereafter, Gabriel informed him that the most beloved places are the mosques and the most disliked are the marketplaces. [Musnad Ahmad, Musnad Abî Ya`la, and Mustadrak al-Hâkim]

In stark contrast to the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him), the Companions, and the eminent Islamic scholars throughout the ages, we find many laymen who are quite willing to speak with authority on every matter, great and small, regardless of how well informed they are. Sometimes, they take sides just to dispute. So if one person says “true” the other says “false”. If one says “lawful” the other says “forbidden”. Many people speak hastily before giving the matter sufficient study. Had they only done their research, they would easily have seen how wrong they are. Alas, some people are just not prepared, mentally or emotionally, to deal with difficult issues and to research them with the required degree of thoroughness and rigor.

The media has emboldened the general public even further. Many people now regard it as a weakness when a scholar remains silent on an issue or admits he does not know the answer. They feel ashamed themselves not to have an opinion about everything, even if it is a singularly difficult question of Islamic Law or a tenet of religious belief. Every topic has become the same – politics, economics, ancient and modern history – and it makes no difference how much specialization is required to do justice to the matter.

What makes matters worse is when people become polarized about these opinions. They identify themselves and others on the basis of the views that they hold. Then they rally to defend their views using whatever means and resources are at their disposal, often belittling and berating their opponents in the process. It is sad how people invest so much energy into these conflicts, where none of the opposing parties has any real appreciation of the issues or the alternatives. So often, such people become fully distracted by these arguments from the essential truths of their faith and from the worship of their Lord. Instead, their hearts become full of resentment and rancor towards others.

Once before I made an observation, comparing extremists in the West and among ourselves. I said that some extreme factions in the West have started to declare: “You are either with us or against us.” At the same time, some extremists among the Muslims say: “You are either with us or against God!”

This is why a scholar of jurisprudence once observed: “I find that the general public is more zealous about issues of Islamic Law than the scholars are.”

The reason for this is that a scholar who gives legal verdicts knows the issues and all the opinions and proofs that surround them. He knows the evidence for each opinion, and he knows who held it among the Companions, the Successors, and the leading jurists. On this basis, he gives preference to one opinion while being fully aware that other legitimate opinions exist that are also supported by evidence. Because of this, he does not state his opinion forcefully, nor does he become overzealous about it, nor does he overreact. On the other hand, we have a novice student or an average Muslim who receives this verdict from the scholar without having the proofs of the other opinions mentioned to him and without the issue being placed in a proper and objective framework. His heart becomes filled with the verdict and he sees it as if it is the religion itself. He becomes zealous about the legal opinion that he receives from the scholar and combative with anyone who disagrees with it, even if the one who disagrees with him is capable of juristic reasoning and might possibly be the one holding the correct opinion.

Al-Shâfi`î, universally recognized as one of the greatest scholars of the Sunnah, used to say: “I believe my opinion to be correct, while entertaining the possibility that it may be wrong. I hold my opponent’s opinion to be wrong, though I entertain the possibility that it may be correct.”

We need to get used to showing respect to ourselves and to others. We need to respect the very values that we believe in and not use them as a means to elevate our disagreements to the level of being some sort of conflict between truth and falsehood or between faith and unbelief.

Source: Islamtoday

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Shaykh Muammad al-Ta’wil: The Special Characteristics of the Maliki Madhhab

“…This madhhab is the one that [our] fathers and grandfathers chose out of faith, conviction, authority, and proof, and casted off all other madhhabs that preceded it which some nations attempted to impose on them forcefully. In spite of that [coercion, it] only increased their faith, tenacity, and attention to judge from it in their devotional acts and interpersonal dealings; in their mosques, courts, market places, homes, and the rest of their private and public life. They sought out no substitute for it from the time they first came to know it. They used it to settle their disputes, unify their voices, secure their nation, and protect themselves from dispersion…”

Source: Lamppost Productions

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سُوۡرَةُ حٰمٓ السجدة / فُصّلَت

وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ .34

وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ .35

Fussilat

The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allâh 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. (34) 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. Paradise and of a high moral character) in this world. (35)

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The Danger of Self-Justification

All of us – to a greater or lesser extent – have a tendency to justify and rationalize our mistakes. It is part of our mindset that makes us try to flee from criticism and from having to make amends. At the very least, we sometimes try to find an excuse for our errors instead of shouldering the full weight of the blame.

This mindset can surface in all kinds of situations, even in our most private thoughts. It is a mindset bolstered and nourished by emotion, and if it comes to dominate our thinking, we can lose the ability to distinguish right from wrong.

This is because the power of emotional sentiment and self-interest, when coupled with a self-justifying mindset, is persuasive and dangerous. A person with this frame of mind is always ready to cover up his bad deeds or make them seem less onerous than they really are. The person does this at the expense of reason and logic. He ceases to think clearly. He only sees what serves his selfish interests, what absolves him from blame and responsibility.

In his mind, the fault is always someone else’s. Worse still, it is never just an innocent mistake. That other person is always deliberately and maliciously in the wrong and without any excuse.

When we let our thoughts take us in this dangerous direction, we cease to be self-critical. Instead of acknowledging our mistakes and resolving to avoid them in the future, we become determined to commit the same mistake again and again.

The most serious problem is a person’s ability to justify to himself his deliberate errors and misdeeds. It is possible for a person to convince himself that his worst transgressions and acts of injustice are true and correct. He can reconcile in his mind the most blatant contradictions with far-fetched interpretations that make integrity and deception synonymous terms. He ceases to distinguish his rights from the rights of others, his personal interests from the needs of society.

The self-justifying mind is one of oversimplifications. It is also very dismissive. It plays down the harm that one’s bad and selfish deeds causes for other people, for society, and for the environment. When it cannot deny that harm, it always finds a way to rationalize it. By doing so, it belies the basic values and ethics that the person would otherwise be very well aware of and that are essential for the proper functioning of human society.

Turning a blind eye to one’s mistakes is an easy to avoid guilty feelings and a sense of responsibility. However, this means that those mistakes will never be confronted and remedied. They invariably becoming larger, uglier, and more deeply-entrenched over time. Ignoring mistakes or justifying them does not make those mistakes go away. The only way we can make positive changes within ourselves is to be true to ourselves and in our dealings with others.

[exerpted from the Arabic article “al-`Aql al-Tabrîrî fî al-Fi`l al-Ijtimâ`î”]

Source: Islamtoday

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Kullama Nadayt Yahu

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