The 9 Characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman (7/10) – Refusal To Attend Immoral Gatherings

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بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

And those who do not witness to falsehood [az-zur],
and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with dignity.
[Al-Furqan 25:72]

🌸 Seventh Characteristic: They Do Not Associate Themselves With Immoral Gatherings and Activities

Today, we will look at the seventh characteristic of the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman, which Allah s.w.t. describes in this ayah as “those who do not bear witness to falsehood [az-zur].” [Az-zur] refers to a gathering of immoral activities. Ibn Kathir rahimahullah wrote in his tafseer with regard to this ayah: “they do not attend it, and they are not present when it happens.”

So what this ayah means is that the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman never attend gatherings of lewdness, immorality, indecent, and disbelief. The ‘Ibad-ur Rahman will never associate themselves with these sort of gatherings as well as gatherings that consist foul speech and false words. The ‘Ibad-ur Rahman also does not give false testimony, i.e. deliberately lying to someone. This is similar to the following authentic hadith:

Rasulallah (ﷺ) said thrice,
“Shall I not inform you of the biggest of the great sins?”
We said, “Yes, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ).”
He said, “To join partners in worship with Allah, to be undutiful to one’s parents.”
He (ﷺ) was lying down, then he sat up and added:
“And I warn you against giving forged statement and a false witness;
I warn you against giving a forged statement and a false witness.”
The Prophet (ﷺ) kept on saying that warning until we thought that he would not stop.
[Sahih Bukhari]

Immoral Gatherings and Activities: [Az-Zur]
According to Ibn Al-Jawzi rahimahullah, there are 8 scholarly opinions regarding [az-zur]:

  • It means idols belonging to the mushrikun. This is the opinion of Adh Dhohahk from Ibnu ‘Abbas.
  • It means music. This is the opinion of Muhammad ibn Al Hanafiyah and Makhul.
  • It means shirk. This is the opinion of Adh Dhohak and Abu Malik.
  • It means games in the times of jahiliyyah. This is the opinion of ‘Ikrimah.
  • It means lies / falsehood. This is the opinion of Qatadah and Ibnu Juraij.
  • It means false witness i.e. to lie deliberately. This is the opinion of ‘Ali ibn Abi Tholhah
  • It means the festivity and celebration of the mushrikun. This is the opinion of Ar Robi’ ibn Anas.
  • It means treacherous or treasonable assemblies. This is the opinion of ‘Amr ibn Qois.

All of these opinions support each other to mean that [az-zur] refers to a gathering of immoral activities. From these, we can conclude that:

  • The ‘Ibad-ur Rahman will not attend any gathering that promotes shirk – this includes non-Islamic celebrations such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day.
  • The ‘Ibad-ur Rahman will not attend gatherings that promote vice, lewdness, and falsehood such as music concerts and treacherous assemblies.

Are we of those who think it’s okay to celebrate Christmas and its ilks? Are we of those who love to go to concerts? Are we of those who attend treasonable rallies? There are sufficient evidences in the ahadith as well as consensus among majority of our righteous scholars that all of these are prohibited in Islam, and all of them are rightfully and beautifully summed up in this characteristic of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. Suffice to say that the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman are not those who blindly follow society’s philosophies, but they are those whose actions are defined by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Truly, they should be our aspirations!

How The ‘Ibad-ur Rahman Responds To [Laghw]
The ayah continues:

…and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk [laghw],
they pass by it with dignity.
[Al-Furqan 25:72]

[Laghw] means
1. Shirk
2. Sin
3. Statements of indecency
4. Any word, talk, or conversation that is thoughtless (done without thinking), and of no benefit
5. Meaningless and useless actions or pastime

The ayah says that the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman do not attend where [laghw] occurs, and if it so happens that they pass by it, they do not let it contaminate them in the slightest. If they pass by shirk, sinful and/or useless conversations and activities, they leave them in a dignified way.

My brothers and sisters in Islam, ‘Ibad-ur Rahman do not hang out until 2 in the morning, or spend hours and hours on non-beneficial matters, or love gossiping. Indeed it is difficult to avoid gossip circles nowadays, because it has become a societal norm. But if we want to be one of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman, we have to learn to remove ourselves from such situation and not let them contaminate us. Don’t let football matches, video games, movies or TV dramas make you waste hours and hours of precious time.

I want to share with you something that I heard in a khutbah: We usually would make a 5 or 10 years plan to accomplish certain goals in life – be it for career, wealth, etc and there is nothing wrong with that. But we always forget to plan the same for our last, yet greatest, destination ever – the Hereafter. How do we practically plan for it?

It all boils down to:
How will I spend my time today?
What am I going to do afterwards?
How am I going to spend tomorrow?
What am I doing with my free time?
When am I going to stop watching so much TV?
When am I going to erase those useless games?
When am I going to stop wasting time?
When am I going to hold myself to a higher standard – if not today?

We have very little time on this earth, half of our life is spent sleeping, another 8 hours at work, a few more hours spent in commuting, and so forth… so what little time do we have left? A day will come when a janazah announcement will be made – and it’s going to be mine and yours. It’s going to happen and it’s not like we’re getting further away from that day – we’re only heading closer.

O Muslims, make the best of this world in order to earn Jannah. Make serious commitment to live our days differently. Hold ourselves to a higher standard. Heed this advice by Ibn Al-Jawzi rahimahullah:

“This world is the harvest field of the Hereafter;
and in it there is business, the profit of which will be visible in the Hereafter.
So whoever utilizes his free time and good health in the obedience of Allah,
he is the blessed one.
And he who utilizes them in the disobedience of Allah,
he is the one who is unjust to himself,
because the leisure time is affected by busyness and health is affected by sickness.”
[Fath al-Bari 11/230]

May Allah s.w.t. give us the understanding on the value of time – Allahumma ameen.

🌸 ‘Ibad-ur Rahman Characteristics Recap 🌸

7th Characteristic
They do not give false testimony. They do not attend sinful and immoral gatherings, such as gathering that promotes shirk and foul speech, music concerts, or treacherous assemblies. They do not participate useless conversations and past time. If they come across such gathering, they will stay away and leave in an honorable manner

Tafsir Ibn Kathir
Who Gets Allah’s Mercy by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan