"So lose not heart, nor fall into despair: and you shall have the upper hand if you are believers." --
"Life is only a crossing point and a passage that is not lasting,
just like a cloud that will soon move, and a dream that one will soon wake up from..."
- Ibn al-Qayyim
Saturday, May 2, 2009 @ 8:25 PM
Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
I haven't been posting for a while, but insha'Allah I'll be updating more often. I've been doing a lot of self-reflection, and growing insha'Allah. May Allah SWT make all that we do for His sake beneficial, and May He grant us the best both in this world and the next. Ameen.
I wanted to post something I received in an email a week or so ago. Please do read insha'Allah.
Backbiting is one of those Islamic topics that often gets sidelined. Appearing as one of the frequent tarbīyyah topics in common circles and gatherings, the issue may be forgotten or ignored. This is severely problematic, as backbiting is one of the most devastating sins a person can ever commit, and not keeping ourselves reminded about it can lead to grave consequences.
To make it fresh in our minds again, let’s tackle the issue in a practical way. Here are 5 common misconceptions that we ourselves or others you encounter may have about backbiting, what is misunderstood, and how to respond to them.
Misconception #5: I’m not backbiting, I’m just saying.
When people respond with, “I’m just saying,” they’re telling themselves that what they’re mentioning is not something so bad as backbiting, it’s just “saying” things as they are. In other words, they’re trivializing the act, and telling themselves that backbiting isn’t really all that bad.
But backbiting is no walk in the park. It’s one of the most disgusting acts one could ever commit. That’s why Allah subḥāna wa ta’āla asks those who backbite, “Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother (or sister)?”1 God Himself is comparing backbiting to something vilely rancid, so no one is fooled to think it’s not an inhuman act like that of murder or rape. The imagery of you eating the dead carcass of the person you’re talking about really paints a clear picture.
Not only that, Allah is asking us if we would love eating that flesh. It’s as if He is saying not only is backbiting as disgusting as eating that person’s dead flesh, when we backbite, it’s as if we enjoy eating it, too.
Response: Describe to them how disgusting an act backbiting really is.
“You’re not, just saying. You’re going to that person’s body after their janāzah, ripping off their thigh, chewing it up, and enjoying it, too.”
Misconception #4: I’m not backbiting, everyone already knows about this person, anyway.
If a person is mentioning things about someone already known, not only are they still backbiting, they’re following the footsteps of hypocrites. The hypocrites of Medinah spread rumors about ‘Ā’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, and as a result were cursed by Allah to the depths of Hellfire.2
Hellfire, which was intensified by Allah for thousands of years, turning its flame from orange to red to yellow to black3, and burns 70 times worse than Earth’s fire (minimum 210th degree burns?)4. The same Hellfire where those who spread lies about others get hooks pierced into their cheeks and slammed back to rip off their faces, and are given scalding hot puss to drink as relief.
If everyone already knows about it, why spread it and potentially go to the horror that is Hell? And if not the Hellfire, then being punished in the grave with copper nails repeatedly scratching your face and chest off?5 The risk simply isn’t worth it.
Response: Remind them about the punishment of backbiting and how it makes spreading rumors not worth the risk.
“Mentioning what everyone already knows about somebody is a dangerous path to Hellfire. Is spreading the news so important that it’s worth living with black fire that’s 70 times hotter, boiling puss drinks and having your cheeks ripped off your face?”
Misconception #3: I’m not backbiting, I’m warning others about a person’s mistakes.
Human beings have a natural desire to warn others about harm. That’s why when they see something wrong with someone else, they’ll personally identify those characteristics as a problem, make a decision to be careful about it for themselves, and naturally want to notify others about it as well.
But that’s where the problem comes in. We want to naturally talk about someone else’s faults, but if we do, it’s backbiting. How can we get past this natural desire that’s so troublesome?
Simple. First we need to realize which of these natural tendencies is okay and which isn’t. It’s completely okay to be adverse to the faults of others. However, telling others about those mistakes, while naturally easy, is the major sin of the two.
The Prophet sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said backbiting is “talking about your brother in a manner which he does not like.”6 That means saying anything about the person that they wouldn’t want you to counts as backbiting. If you know the person you’re talking about wouldn’t like what you’re saying about them, don’t say it.
If we feel the desire to go out and warn someone about it, do so on the person with the faults in the first place in a kind and sincere manner. Our problem as Muslims is that we talk a lot about people behind their backs but never confront them in person.
Seconldy, on an encouraging note, remember that by not backbiting, we get closer to guaranteed Paradise. The Prophet sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said whoever guarantees control over what is in between their thighs and their jaws, he will guarantee them Paradise.7
This guarantee is awesome in two ways. Not only makes not backbiting easier because of the amazing goal attached to it, it comforts us in the fact that our religion understands. Notice how the Prophet sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked for whoever guarantees control, showing that he knows it’s natural to lose control. But at the same time, he’s encouraging us to take that control and work towards Paradise.
Response: Explain to them what backbiting is and the reward of abstaining from it.
“Talking about others negative traits in anyway shape or form is backbiting and none of your business, and if you stay away from it you’re working towards guaranteed admission to Paradise.”
Misconception #2: I’m not backbiting, I’ll tell them later or I don’t care, I can say it to their face.
Some people justify backbiting by thinking if they inform the person later they were talking about them behind their back, it makes the act okay. But telling someone you backbit about them after the fact is a part of the process of repenting and making up for the sin. It has to be done sincerely, with regret and shame for the act, driven by a balanced fear of Allah’s punishment and a hope in His Mercy.
Trying to justify backbiting by telling someone you backbit about them is like trying to justify believing Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, as the son of Allah by saying you will just repent later. Not only is it an imbalance between fearing Allah and having hope He will forgive you, it doesn’t make the act okay to commit in the first place.
What’s worse is when some people claim they, “don’t care” about backbiting and they supposedly can or will say what they backbit about someone to their. Not only is that even more of a misunderstanding than planning to tell them later, it just shows two things. One, they’re just a jerk. It isn’t bad enough that they’re backbiting, but they have to go and act “brave” by claiming they can tell the person the insult to their face.
In addition to being a jerk, they also need to be careful when they say, “I don’t care.” Do they really not care? And what do they not care about? They don’t care about incinerating in that 70 times hotter black fire we mentioned before? And having their cheeks ripped off your face and having to drink searing hot puss afterward? Are they really sure they don’t care? Chances are no.
Response: Backbiting about someone with the intention to tell them later doesn’t make it okay. It’s still backbiting. And claiming you, “don’t care” and can say it to their face shows that you’re a jerk and don’t care about the Hellfire.
Misconception #1: I’m not backbiting, it’s true.
This, by far, is the most common misconception and response we find Muslims making when we warn them about backbiting. They think that backbiting is only when you mention bad things about people that aren’t true. Is that really the case?
Going back to the definition of backbiting, the Prophet sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said backbiting is to mention things about your brother (or sister) which they don’t like. After the Companions heard this definition, one of them asked, “what do you think about if what I say about that person is true?”
“If (that) is actually found (in that person) what you claimed, you, in fact, backbit him. And if that’s not in that person, it’s slander,” the Prophet sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam answered.
This shows that we’ve got it all wrong. Just because what we’re saying is true, doesn’t mean it’s not backbiting. In fact, it proves that we are indeed backbiting, because backbiting is true information. If it wasn’t true, we’d be doing something worse than backbiting, slander.
That makes a whole lot of things count as backbiting. That’s why when ‘Ā’isha said about Ṣafīyya, the wife of the Prophet sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who was the daughter of a Jewish leader, that, “she’s short,” he got upset and said, “you have said a word that if were to be dropped into the sea it would contaminate it.”8
‘Ā’isha and the Prophet sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam knew about Ṣafīyya’s height. So did everyone else who saw her in Medinah, and all the people from her tribe before she married the Prophet. In other words, what ‘Ā’isha said was as true as it gets. But the fact that it was true made it backbiting. And if something as small as what she said was poison to the entire sea, what about when we talk about how people may be gaining weight, undergoing a divorce, losing their hair, struggling to control their anger, failing to give up a public sin, or anything else they wouldn’t like said about them?
Response: Inform them about truth being backbiting and falsehood being slander.
“Yeah, you’re backbiting, because the Prophet sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam if it’s true, which you’re saying it is, then it’s backbiting.”
Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said:"Sin may be more beneficial for a person, if it leads him to repent, than doing a lot of acts of worship. This is what is meant by the words of one of the salaf: 'A person may commit a sin and enter Paradise because of it, or he may do an act of worship and enter Hell because of it.'They said: 'How is that?'
He said: 'He may commit a sin and continues to think about it, and when he stands or sits or walks he remembers his sin, so he feels ashamed and repents and seeks forgiveness and regrets it, so that will be the means of his salvation. And he may do a good deed and continue to think about it, and when he stands or sits or walks he remembers it and it fills him with self-admiration and pride, so it is the cause of his doom.
So the sin may be the factor that leads him to do acts of worship and good deeds and to change his attitude so that he fears Allah and feels shy before Him and feels humiliated before Him, hanging his head in shame and weeping with regret, seeking he forgiveness of his Lord. Each of these effects is better for a person than an act of worship that makes him feel proud and show off and look down on people.
Undoubtedly this sin is better before Allah and is more likely to bring salvation than one who admires himself and looks down on others, and who thinks that he is doing Allah a favour. Even if he says words that indicate something other than that, Allah is the Witness over what is in his heart. Such a person may feel hatred towards people if they do not hold him in high esteem and humiliate themselves before him. If he were to examine himself honestly, he would see that clearly."
Anas (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) say: "Allah the Almighty said: O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great at it." [at-Tirmidhi, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal]
Insha'Allah, God willing, you are all in the best state of affairs. I finally have some time to post and insha'Allah I will be using these two weeks which I have off, to post more often.
I was going through one of my favourite websites: Sahaba.net (http://sahaba.net) and decided to read some of the stories on patience. This is one story that I had heard before and thought I should share here.
Once, a person was verbally abusing Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) while the Prophet (peace be upon him) was curiously watching with a smile. After taking much abuse quietly, Abu Bakr responded to a few of his comments. At this, the Prophet exhibited his disapproval, got up and left. Abu Bakr caught up with the Prophet and wondered, 'O Messenger of Allaah, he was abusing me and you remained sitting. When I responded to him, you disapproved and got up.' The Messenger of Allaah responded, 'There was an angel with you responding to him. When you responded to him, Satan took his place.' He then said ..
'O Abu Bakr, there are three solid truths: If a person is wronged and he forbears it (without seeking revenge) just for the sake of Allaah almighty, Allaah will honour him and give him the upper hand with His help; if a person opens a door of giving gifts for cementing relationships with relatives, Allaah will give him abundance; and, if a person opens a door of seeking charity for himself to increase his wealth, Allaah will further reduce his wealth.'
Reported from Abu Huraira in Mishkaah and Musnad Ahmad.
Patience is beautiful, and it is pure. No one said it would be easy, but insha'Allah if we strive, we'll be rewarded with peace of mind in this world and rewards in the Hereafter. Being patient in most instances involves swallowing our pride, which can be rather difficult. May Allah SWT make it easy for us. Ameen. I find one thing that helps is keeping in mind that you are 100% responsible and accountable for what come sout of your mouth. It does not suffice to say that someone made you angry; you chose to allow yourself to become angry. The fault is yours, it's up to you to fix it.
May Allah SWT increase us in patience and taqwa. May He make the straight path easy and clear for us and raise us amongst the righteous on the the Day of Judgement. Ameen.
My the Peace and Blessings of God be upon you all. I found this inspiring article about Abdullah ibn Sallam and his reaction when he saw the prophet (SAW). Please do have a read and reflect insha'Allah.
A Jewish rabbi in Yathrib
Al-Husayn ibn Sailam was a Jewish rabbi in Yathrib who was widely respected and honoured by the people of the city even by those who were not Jewish. He was known for his piety and goodness, his upright conduct and his truthfulness.
Al-Husayn lived a peaceful and gentle life but he was serious, purposeful and organized in the way he spent his time. For a fixed period each day, he would worship, teach and preach in the temple.
Then he would spend some time in his orchard, looking after date palms, pruning and pollinating. Thereafter, to increase his understanding and knowledge of his religion, he would devote himself to the study of the Torah..
In this study, it is said he was particularly struck by some verses of the Torah which dealt with the coming of a Prophet who would complete the message of previous Prophets. Al-Husayn therefore took an immediate and keen interest when he heard reports of the appearance of a Prophet in Makkah.
He said: "When I heard of the appearance of the Messenger of God, peace be on him, I began to make enquiries about his name, his genealogy, his characteristics, his time and place and I began to compare this information with what is contained m our books. From these enquiries, I became convinced about the authenticity of his prophethood and I affirmed the truth of his mission. However, I concealed my conclusions from the Jews. I held my tongue...
Then came the day when the Prophet, peace be on him, left Makkah and headed for Yathrib. When he reached Yathrib and stopped at Quba, a man came rushing into the city, calling out to people and announcing the arrival of the Prophet. At that moment, I was at the top of a palm tree doing some work.
My aunt, Khalidah bint al-Harith, was sitting under the tree. On hearing the news, I shouted:
'Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! (God is Great! God is Great!' When my aunt heard my takbir, she remonstrated with me: 'May God frustrate you...By God, if you had heard that Moses was coming you would not have been more enthusiastic.' 'Auntie, he is really, by God, the 'brother' of Moses and follows his religion. He was sent with the same mission as Moses.' She was silent for a while and then said: 'Is he the Prophet about whom you spoke to us who would be sent to confirm the truth preached by previous (Prophets) and complete the message of his Lord?' 'Yes,' I replied.
Without any delay or hesitation, I went out to meet the Prophet. I saw crowds of people at his door. I moved about in the crowds until I reached close to him. The first words I heard him say were:
'O people! Spread peace...Share food...Pray during the night while people (normally) sleep... and you will enter Paradise in peace...' I looked at him closely. I scrutinized him and was convinced that his face was not that of an imposter. I went closer to him and made the declaration of faith that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet turned to me and asked: 'What is your name?' 'Al-Husayn ibn Sailam,' I replied.
'Instead, it is (now) Abdullah ibn Sallam,' he said (giving me a new name). 'Yes,' I agreed. 'Abdullah ibn Sailam (it shall be). By Him who has sent you with the Truth, I do not wish to have another name after this day.'
Insha'Allah all is well with you and you are in the best state of affairs. Ameen.
I wanted to share this video entitled "10 Things Wasted" which is based on a lesson by Ibn al Qayyim.
The Holy Prophet (SAW) told Abu Dharr (RA): "Take advantage of five opportunities before five other things: Your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your wealth before your poverty, your leisure before your haste, and your life before your death."
May Allah SWT Grant us with the ability to take advantage of all the blessings He has bestowed on us, and May He keep us guided on Sirat al Mustaqeem. Ameen.
I was sent this story by a sister and it moved me so much that I decided to post it here. Subhan'Allah, indeed Allah SWT is Forgiving and Most Merciful.
Woe Unto You, O Dinar
There is an interesting story related about Dinâr Al’Ayyâr. Dinâr had a righteous mother who would constantly advise him to repent for his wayward, sinful existence, but as much as she tried, her words had no positive effect on him whatsoever. Then, one day, as he was walking by a graveyard, he stopped to pick up a bone; he was shocked to see how it crumbled and turned to dust in his hand. The sight of that bone had a profound effect on Dinâr. He began to think about his life and is past sins, and then he exclaimed, “Woe unto you, O Dinâr, you are going to end up like this crushed bone, and your body will turn into dust.” All of his past sins then flashed before his eyes, and he made a firm resolve to repent. Turning his gaze towards the sky, he said, “My Lord, I now turn to You in complete submission, so accept me and have mercy on me.”
With a complete changed heart and state of mind, Dinâr went to his mother and said, “Mother, what does a master do when he captures his slave, who had run away from him?” She said, “(To punish him,) the master then provides him with coarse clothing and low-quality food; and he ties his hands and feet, so that he does not make another attempt to escape. ” Dinâr said, “Then I want a garment made of coarse wool, low-quality barley, and two chains. Mother, do with me which is done to a runaway slave: Perhaps my Lord will, upon seeing my humiliation and humility, have mercy on me.” Seeing that her son was adamant and resolute in his quest, she complied.
At the beginning of every ensuing night, Dinâr would begin to cry and wail uncontrollably. And he would repeat the words: “Woe unto you, O Dinâr, do you have the power to withstand the Hell Fire! How brazen you have been to have led a life that has made you deserving of the anger of the All-Mighty!” He would continue upon that state until the morning. Turning wan and pale, Dinâr’s body slowly wasted away. Not being able to bear seeing hum in that pitiable state, his mother said, “My son, be easy on yourself.” He answered, “My mother, let me remain tired for a short while, so that perhaps I can achieve long term comfort later on. For tomorrow, I will be waiting a long time before my Majestic Lord, and I do not know whether He will order me to go to places of beautiful shade or to places of unspeakable horror.”
She said, “My son, at least rest for a while.” He said, “It is not present rest or comfort that I am seeking out. Mother, it is as if I see you and other people being led tomorrow towards Paradise, while I am being led towards the Hell Fire along with its inhabitants.” She left him then, and he returned to crying, worshipping, and reciting the Quran. One night, as he was reciting the Quran, he came across these verses:
“So, by your Lord (O Muhammad), We shall certainly call all of them to account, for all they used to do.” [Quran 15: 2, 93]
As he contemplated the meaning and the implications of the verses, he cried with such intensity that he fainted. His mother rushed to him and tried very hard to revive him, but he wouldn’t respond; she thought that he had died. Looking into the face of her precious son, she said, “O my beloved one, O the joy of my heart, where shall we meet again?” In fact, Dinâr still had some life left in him, and hearing his mother’s words , he answered with a faint voice, “My mother, if you do not find me on the wide plains of the Resurrection Day, then ask Malik, the Custodian of the Hell Fire, about me.” He then made a croaking sound and died.
After she finished washing his body, Dinâr’s mother prepared for him his funeral. She then went out and made the announcement: “O people, come to the (funeral) prayer of one who has been killed by (fear of) the Hell Fire.” People began to come from all directions; it is said that, during that era, no greater gathering came together and no amount of tears were shed as much on that day.
On the same night that his funeral was held, one of Dinâr’s friend saw him in a dream: attired in a green robe, Dinâr was prancing around in Paradise, all the while reciting the verse:
“So, by your Lord (O Muhammad), We shall certainly call all of them to account, for all they used to do.” [Quran 15: 2, 93]
During the dream, his friend heard him say, “By His and Majesty, He asked me (about my deeds). Having mercy on me, He forgave me and pardoned me (my sins). Lo! Convey news of this to my mother.”
From the Book: Stories of Repentance, By: Muhammad Abduh Mughawiri
The other day someone related to me the story of a truly remarkable scholar that I wanted to share. A student of this scholar had related this story to his son, who had related it to the person who told me. His story is truly an inspiration for us all. His name was Shaykh Abdul Hakim al Afghani. He was a big scholar who taught in Syria many years ago. At that time, it was hard to find books with heavy citation of hadith (meaning, when the ahadith were cited, explanations were often not included), thus many times the students of knowledge had to learn not only from the books, but with a scholar as well to elaborate. This scholar was very knowledgable and was known throughout the city. He charged nothing for the knowledge he gave. Some of his students would sometimes bring him food, but he would make them promise not to tell their families that it was for a Shaykh, for fear that they may give him a lot of food. Subhan'Allah, it gets even more amazing. People began to wonder where he gained his livelihood, and how he could live if he did not charge for the classes he held. One day, some of his students followed him. He left the city and made his way to a far village on the outskirts of the city where the people did not know him (in the city he was known as a big scholar.) there, his students who had followed him saw that he worked in masonry (brick-work, making bricks). Subhan'Allah, wallahu akbar! He is an amazing example for us. In this day and age when people charge an arm and a leg for knowledge, this person was truly an example to live by. Instead of reaping worldly profits from the knowledge he shared, he did whatever job he could to gain his livelihood. Now, his student (the same one who related this story to his son, who related it to the person who told me) was performing Hajj with another student many years later. They were in Madina when he had a dream. In his dream, the Prophet Muhammad SAW came to him and said "Today, the man whom the world did not affect him, has passed away." When the student woke up, he made his way to fajr when he came upon his friend. He related the dream, and his friend had had the exact same dream! They knew that Shaytan could not impersonate the Prophet Muhammad SAW in a dream, so their dream must have meant something. When they returned to Syria, they found that on that same night when they had had the dream, Shaykh Abdul Hakim al Afghani had passed away. Wallahu ta'alaa 'alam. Indeed, this serves as an amazing example for us. Insha'Allah, we can be of those people whom the dunya does not affect our faith in Allah SWT.
ya Allah, give us the tawfeeq to follow your commandments and bless us with your Mercy. Ameen.
I am nothing more than a muslimah and mu'minah, insha'Allah, who is striving to please Allah
A righteous man once said:
"Whoever enriches his outward behaviour by following the sunnah, and makes his inward soul wealthy through
and averts his gaze away from looking at what is forbidden, and avoids anything of a doubtful nature, and feeds
solely on what is halal- his inner sight will never falter."