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

ibadur-rahman-7

A Project in collaboration with The Ideal Muslimah.
Articles authored for The Ideal Muslimah are available here.

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

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References:
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
Rumaysho.com
Islamqa.info
Who Gets Allah’s Mercy by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

The 9 Characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman (2/10) – Humility and Gentleness

ibadur-rahman-2

A Project in collaboration with The Ideal Muslimah.
Articles authored for The Ideal Muslimah are available here.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

And the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman are those
who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness [hawna],
and when the foolish address them (with bad words)
they reply back with mild words of gentleness.
[Surah Al-Furqan 25:63]

This is the first ayah that describes 2 beautiful characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman:

🌸 First Characteristic: They have humility (tawadhu’)

We live in a time where it is encouraged to announce, gloat, and boast oneself. We think it’s “cool” when we walk a certain way – some men try to imitate the ‘swag’ of music rappers, while some women try to imitate models on the runway. Let’s be honest, who do we aim to please when we walk like that?

On the contrary, the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman are those who walk on earth with [hawna]. [Hawna] means dignity, serenity, calm, tranquility. They do not have arrogance or pride in their steps. Allah s.w.t. Himself has forbid us to walk proudly:

And walk not on the earth with conceit and arrogance.
Verily, you can neither rend nor penetrate the earth,
nor can you attain a stature like the mountains in height.
[Surah Al-Isra 17:37]

This does not mean that we should walk like sickly people, or show off fake humility. If we study the seerah of Rasulallah ﷺ, we learn that he walked quickly yet calmly, and he did not walk with his chest pushed out in pride.

This first characteristic of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman also covers aspects on how we carry ourselves in the society – like the way we drive, or the way we interact with others. Let’s do a personal litmus test:

  • How do we behave towards other drivers on the road?
  • How do we behave towards the waiter or waitress serving our meal?
  • How do we behave towards men who work as garbage collector?

Do we look down upon them? Do we behave like we are above them? Allah s.w.t. says:

And indeed We have honoured the Children of Adam.
[Surah Al-Isra 17:70]

None of us has the right to look down on another human being. So we need to be aware of arrogance that can be manifested in our facial and body expressions. We need to be sensitive how we behave towards people, in all situations.

Remember that, as Muslims, everything we do is supposed to be an act of ‘ibadah. Just like how we pray lillahi ta’ala, we should also walk on this earth and behave towards others lillahi ta’ala. May Allah s.w.t. grant us tawadhu’ and remove any ounce of arrogance in our hearts – Allahumma ameen.

🌸 Second Characteristic: They are courteous, even when treated harshly

Allah s.w.t. says in the second part of the ayah:

“…when the foolish [Al-Jahilun] address them (with bad words)
they reply back with mild words of gentleness [salaam].”
[Surah Al-Furqan 25:63]

The word [Jaahil] in Arabic is the opposite of [‘Aaqil] (a person of aql/intellect). One of the meanings of [Jaahil] is someone who has no control over their emotions – they tend to be rude, insulting, disrespectful, etc. If a bad word comes to their mind, it comes out immediately from their mouth – there is no thought process.

Notice also that Allah s.w.t. didn’t say “If Al-Jahilun address them…” but He said “WHEN Al-Jahilun address them…” indicating that we cannot run away from the fact that we will face a lot of temperament from a lot of people.

But when the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman are confronted with such people, people who insult them with bad words, they do not respond in the same manner; they forgive and overlook, and say nothing but good words. They do not respond with sinful words. They speak calmly. They are courteous. All of these are included in the word [salaam]. This is the sunnah of Rasulallah ﷺ – the more ignorant the people, the more patient he ﷺ would become. This is as Allah s.w.t. says:

And when they hear Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk), they withdraw from it and say: “To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you [salaam].
We seek not (the way of) the ignorant.”
[Surah Al-Qasas 28:55]

And in another Surah, Allah s.w.t. says:

The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal.
Repel (the evil) with one which is better, 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 this world and in the Hereafter).

[Surah Al-Fussilat 41:34-35]

Ibn ‘Abbas r.a. explained this ayah:

“Allah commands the believers to be patient when they feel angry, to be forbearing when confronted with ignorance, and to forgive when they are mistreated. If they do this, Allah will save them from the Shaytan and subdue their enemies to them until they become like close friends.”

The key of having such beautiful characteristic is already mentioned in the aforementioned ayah of Surah Al-Fussilat: We must have patience. Without patience, this will be a very difficult thing to do!

Sometimes even our own spouse, parents, and siblings get really angry towards us, and we just don’t understand why they speak badly to us.

But don’t retaliate. Don’t get angry back at them. Our anger drives people away from us, and even worse, away from the Deen. Remember the story of Musa ‘alayhi salam with Fir’aun? When Musa ‘alayhi salam confronted him, Fir’aun addressed Musa in a very condescending manner – which is probably enough to make us really angry! Not only that, Fir’aun tried to kill Musa, killed thousands of babies, called himself God… there are so many reasons to hate Fir’aun. Yet Musa was commanded by Allah s.w.t. to speak to him in a good manner:

(Allah says to Musa and Harun):
“Go, both of you, to Fir’aun verily, he has transgressed.
And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allah).”
[Surah Ta-Ha 20: 43-44]

If that was how a prophet of Allah spoke to his enemy, then what about us towards our spouse, children, parents and siblings? Our family deserves the softest responses from us.

So when someone who cannot control their emotion, who is angry, obnoxious, arrogant, ignorant, insulting, or rude talk to you – choose to reply in calm and kind words. We need to learn to calm down and deal with people peacefully. Speak to disarm their anger. Speak to defuse the situation. Let’s learn to be merciful and courteous to people, both Muslims and non-Muslims.

It is also important to note that out of all the characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman, the first mentioned by Allah s.w.t. are these two traits. It emphasizes how adab and akhlaq are super important in this Deen. This reminds me of the following two ahadith:

Rasulallah (ﷺ) said:
By his good character a believer will attain the degree
of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day.
[Sunan Abi Dawud | Grade: Sahih]

Abu Hurairah narrated that Rasulallah (ﷺ) was asked about
that for which people are admitted into Paradise the most, so he said:
“Taqwa of Allah, and good character.”
[Jami’ At-Tirmidhi | Grade: Sahih]

Please be advised that this article is in no way advocating that one should be patient over any type of physical or emotional abuse. If you are a victim, please seek professional help immediately!

Alhamdulillah we have covered the first two characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. We will continue with the subsequent characters of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman in the next posts, insya Allah.

🌸 ‘Ibad-ur Rahman Characteristics Recap 🌸 

1st Characteristic
They have dignity, serenity, calm, tranquility in their steps and behavior towards others. They do not have arrogance or pride. They are humble.

2nd Characteristic
When they are confronted with insulting and rude people, they do not respond in the same manner, they do not respond with sinful words. They say nothing but good words. They speak calmly. They are courteous.

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References:
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
Tafsir Surah Al-Furqan by Dr Abdullah Yasin
Rumaysho.com
Who Gets Allah’s Mercy by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

The 9 Characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman (1/10) – Introduction

Ibadur-Rahman 1

A Project in collaboration with The Ideal Muslimah.
Articles authored for The Ideal Muslimah will be available on their website, insya Allah.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

In the last several ayat of Surah Al-Furqan, Allah s.w.t. describes nine (9) beautiful characteristics of a special group of faithful, believing slaves called ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. Who or what is ‘Ibad-ur Rahman?

A slave of Allah s.w.t. in the Qur’an is referred to as [‘abd], and has 2 plurals: [‘Abeed – عَبِيدٌ] and [‘Ibaad – عِبَادٌ]. Both plurals in simple English translation mean “slaves (of Allah)”. However they actually carry a different meaning altogether from one another.

‘Ibaad VS ‘Abeed
The plural [‘Ibaad] refers to slaves of Allah s.w.t. who do fall into error, who do make mistakes – but they always repent to Allah for the sins they did. They have a strong desire to constantly rectify themselves, to continuously strive to be a better person than yesterday – all done solely for the sake of Allah.

Meanwhile, the plural [‘Abeed] also refers to slaves of Allah s.w.t. who err and make mistakes – but the difference is that this group do not want to rectify themselves nor want to repent. They have no desire in becoming better slaves of their Rabb.

[‘Ibaad] is what we should strive to be – slaves of Allah who are imperfect, but when fall into sin, they swiftly make tawbah and constantly want to rectify themselves.

It was narrated from Anas r.a. that Rasulallah ﷺ said:
“Every son of Adam commits sin,
and the best of those who commit sin are those who repent.”
[Sunan Ibn Majah | Grade: Hasan]

So immediately from the get-go, Allah s.w.t. is already letting us know that the people mentioned in the last few ayat of Surah Al-Furqan are special than the rest. But on top of that, not only does Allah call them [‘Ibad] – He s.w.t. also calls them ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. Think about it: Allah s.w.t. has many Beautiful Names, He could choose to call them ‘Ibadullah or ‘Ibad-ul Khaliq, yet He chooses to describe them as ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. Allah s.w.t. chooses to associate His Rahmah (Mercy) with this special group of ‘Ibad, subhanallah. And at the end of this series, we will discuss about the amazing rewards that will be granted upon these special slaves.

Every believer has aspirations to become better, and everyone has bad traits they want to get rid of. So as we go through the series, think deeply: Which of these traits that I do not have, that I have to work on? With that goal in mind, we will be discussing the 9 characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman in the next several posts, insya Allah.

May Allah s.w.t. help us all become ‘Ibad-ur Rahman.

Note: Some may have translated that there are between eight to thirteen characteristics of ‘Ibadur-Rahman mentioned in Surah Al-Furqan – these opinions do not contradict one another.

The Three Beautiful Things

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3 beautiful characteristics mentioned in the Qur’an:

Beautiful Patience
صَبۡرً۬ا جَمِيلاً [Q70:5]
Beautiful Forgiveness
ٱلصَّفۡحَ ٱلۡجَمِيلَ [Q15:85]
Beautiful Departure
هَجۡرً۬ا جَمِيلاً۬ [Q73:10]

🌹Beautiful patience means you do not whine about your life, you do not complain about it to anyone except ONLY to Allah s.w.t., like the way of Ya’qub a.s. Make du’a to your Rabb who can easily remove the difficulties you’re facing and change the hearts of the people who have wronged you.

🌹Beautiful forgiveness is when you’ve forgiven someone, you do not rebuke them, you do not lash back at them, you do not snub them. But you say: It’s okay. It’s forgotten. This is a beautiful characteristic of Yusuf a.s. towards his siblings, who threw him into a well out of jealousy when he a.s. was young and ended up being sold as a slave. Even after all these injustice, and especially even after being granted a high, prominent status in Egypt, Yusuf a.s. said to his brothers: “No reproach on you this day, may Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.” [Q12:92] {Between me and you: I forgive you and I shall not disgrace you; and between you and Allah: Then I ask Allah to forgive you.}

🌹If people increase in harming you despite your beautiful patience and beautiful forgiveness, then depart beautifully like the way of Ibrahim a.s. He a.s. gave the best da’wah to his father, the best da’wah that any child could do towards his parent. But when his father threatened to stone him, he a.s. said: “Peace be on you. I will ask Forgiveness of my Rabb for you. Verily, He is unto me, Ever Most Gracious. And I shall turn away from you and from those whom you invoke besides Allah. And I shall call upon my Rabb; and I hope that I shall not be unblest in my invocation to my Rabb.” [Q19:46-48]

Notice in all three stories above, all of them forgive those who have hurt them,
all of them ask Allah s.w.t. to forgive those who have wronged them,
all of them think well of Allah s.w.t. despite being tested,
and all of them hope for their rewards only from Allah s.w.t.

If there is something legal that you can do to relieve your suffering, then by all means, take the initiative. And while doing so, remember that the Rabb who rewards Ya’qub a.s., Yusuf a.s., and Ibrahim a.s. is the same Rabb who will reward you for your own beautiful patience, for your own beautiful forgiveness, and for your own beautiful departure.

Of Humility

Do not let people’s praise get to our head. Do not be proud of our looks, wealth, knowledge, or piety. Our achievements are nothing in comparison to the great sahabah, yet they were the most humble of people. ‘Utbah ibn Ghazwan r.a., who was one of the first to accept Islam, and who courageously fought in many battles including the battle of Badr, the battle of Uhud, and the battle of the Trench, said:

“I seek refuge with Allah that I should consider myself great,
while I am insignificant to Allah”.
[Sahih Muslim]

So who are we to think and talk big about ourselves?
Be humble o Muslims!

Helping The Family With House Chores (especially for the sons & husbands)

 

‘Aishah r.a. was asked:
“What did Rasulallah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) used to do inside his house?”
She r.a. answered: “He used to keep himself busy helping members of his family,
and when it was the time for the prayer, he would get up for prayer. [1]

Sheikh Ibn ul-Uthaymeen rahimahullah explained:
“So for example, if a person is in his house, then from the Sunnah is for him to make tea himself, cook if he knows how, and wash what needs to be washed.
All of this is from the Sunnah.
If you did that, you will receive reward like the reward of Sunnah in emulating the Messenger sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam and out of humility to Allah.” [2]

Subhanallah. House chores are not a burden, they’re not trivial, mundane or insignificant – we just need to correct our intention when doing them 🙂 And not only will we be rewarded for emulating the Sunnah, but through these actions, love and affection can also be nurtured between the spouse and family members. We gotta stop idolizing celebrities in dramas and movies that have a very skewed definition of what a real man/person is. Because the complete definition is in the Sunnah and the seerah of our beloved Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam ❤
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References:
[1] Sahih Bukhari
[2] Sharh Riyad as-Saliheen 6/224

Knowledge Should Lead To One’s Improvement

“O my son,
when you have written down ten Ahadeeth,
look and see if you notice an improvement in the way you walk,
in your level of patience,
and in your degree of self-dignity.
For if you do not see any such improvement,
then know that your knowledge harms you and does not benefit you.”

Sufyan At-Thawri
advice from his mother rahimahullah
(The Biography of Sufyan At-Thawri, pg 21)

———————-

How many of us have attended classes and listened to heartfelt reminders regarding the Deen, or read something really beneficial on FB, so we shared and retweeted them manifold on the social media …but at the end of the day, we’re like: “Yeah it was a nice speech / post, but I’m still gonna do what I’m gonna do anyway.”

We close our FB, we return to our homes, and nothing changes.

So this is a reminder for me, and then to others. Knowledge should and must benefit ourselves foremost before anyone else, and something is seriously wrong if we’re gaining knowledge, but there is no improvement in our akhlaq. Abdullah Ibn al-Mubarak rahimahullah said:

“One doesn’t become noble with any type of knowledge
if he doesn’t beautify his knowledge with good conduct.”

(Adab Shar’iyyah 4/208)

#PracticeWhatYouLearn
#PracticeWhatYouPreach