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Sonny Bill Williams: Islam Made Me the Man I Am Today

Sonny Bill Williams

“It’s made me become content as a man, and helped me to grow. I’ve just got faith in it and it has definitely helped me become the man I am today.”

It was in the cave of Hira’ that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received the first revelation of the Qur’an. For rugby’s original wild child Sonny Bill Williams, meeting a Tunisian family who lived with their five children in a one-bedroom flat in the south of France proved pivotal to his conversion to Islam.

The New Zealander’s unshakeable belief in the Almighty has proved to be the making of one of the island nation’s most gifted, and controversial, sports stars.

“I was real close with them, and I saw how happy and content they were. And to see how they lived their lives, it was just simple,” Sonny Bill Williams, a prodigious rugby talent, professional boxer and tattooed poster boy, tells CNN’s Human to Hero series.

“One thing I’ve learned over my career is that simplicity is the key. On the field, off as well.”

“I’ve become a true Muslim,” added Williams. “It’s giving me happiness. It’s made me become content as a man, and helped me to grow. I’ve just got faith in it and it has definitely helped me become the man I am today.”

The Williams of today does not visibly bear the scars of the 15-year-old who was thrust into the unrelenting drinking culture of one of Australia’s top rugby league clubs and shamed by national media after being caught in a compromising position with a model.

A man who quit that scene, walking out on his contract to take up a lucrative offer to switch codes and join a French rugby union club, requiring a substantial compensation payout.

A man who rejected a reported record $5 million deal to stay with Toulon and returned to Aotearoa (the land of the long white cloud) to follow his dream of playing for the prestigious All Blacks, but found himself a fringe figure for 2011’s long-awaited World Cup triumph on home soil.

He’s been battered in a boxing ring, criticized for landing another big-money deal in Japan, and is now back in the sport where he’s most at home.

And still controversy follows him.

World Cup Mission

This weekend Williams will continue his bid to become the first player to win the World Cup in both union and league, as the Kiwis take on Australia in the final.

His mere presence in the squad caused a storm, as he only made himself available the day after it was named, reversing his earlier decision. It meant one unlucky player had to make way.

“I thought I was doing a good thing, you know, staying true to myself,” says the 28-year-old, who had just completed a triumphant return to Australia’s National Rugby League competition, winning his second title and subsequently deciding to extend what had initially been planned as a one-year stint with the Sydney Roosters club.

“Then obviously there was a bit of a falling out, because one of the players was taken out of the squad, one of the young boys, and I just got absolutely hammered.

“And it just made me think, you can’t please everyone, you know? If you go about trying to please everyone, there’s going to be endless struggles.

“As long as you are happy with the man you see in the mirror, it’s all that counts I guess.”

The Battle Within

When Williams, who stands at 6 foot 4 inches and weighs in at 17 stone (108 kg), looks at himself in the mirror, it is surprising to hear him admit to vulnerability.

“My toughest opponent is probably myself, I guess, mentally,” Williams says in his quiet voice, a gentle contrast to his powerful physique.

Stripped to his trunks in the boxing ring, you can see the rippling muscles and elaborate tattoos that have made him a pinup.

“Overcoming the mental struggles that you have out on the field, it’s been probably the biggest one for me. The reason I feel so mentally strong now is because of boxing and going through those tough times,” he adds.

“I’ve always had battles inside my head where I had to think where I was going to go.”

Fighting Fit

Williams is close friends with fellow Muslim Anthony Mundine, a former Australian rugby league star who became a boxing champion and has helped the Kiwi fulfill his ring ambitions.

Williams’ last fight, back in February, earned him the little-known WBA International Heavyweight title, and some punishing blows from South African journeyman Francois Botha in a reduced 10-round bout.

“Every sport has helped me excel in another. Boxing has given me the mental strength to know that I can face anything on the field, without a doubt,” he reflects.

That sixth fight is likely to be his last for a while, as he focuses on his rugby goals. Rugby is a de facto religion in New Zealand, a country where the gods play with an oval ball and where institutionalized faith is losing ground with its general populace – just over 50% said they were Christian at the last completed census.

He is back playing the sport that is perhaps closest to his heart; his dad played it, and his mum’s father was a renowned coach in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, where he grew up.

Family means everything to him. His parents are separated, but he brought his father to Sydney with him and sees his mum when he can. He has bought both of them houses.

“My mother and my father were really big on manners,” Williams recalls.

“Almost to the point, you know, that when I got a bit older it made me a bit too shy, I never said anything out of turn. But they’ve molded me to the person that I’ve become.”

He’s always been competitive – even if it meant finding a short cut to finally beat his older brother “the biggest influence on my sporting career”  in their regular childhood running races – and he had been pegged as a future athletics champion before choosing rugby league.

“I’ve always loved sport. It’s funny, it’s all I ever thought I was good at. Whatever sport was there, whatever ball I could pick up, whatever bat I could try, I’d give it a crack.”

Finding the Key

Williams became the youngest player to be signed by an NRL team, winning his first Grand Final as an 18-year-old with the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2004, and was the youngest to represent New Zealand’s Kiwis league side.

“I grew up as a Christian, like many Polynesians do, and moving to Australia suddenly when I was 15, I learned a lot about Muslim faith,” he says.

It was in Toulon where, having fled Australia under threats of lawsuits from his jilted employer, his conversion to Islam was realized.

Having to adhere to the rule of Ramadan fasting has given him a new perspective on some of the things we take for granted.

“When you do Ramadan and you go for the whole month, you’re that much more appreciative of being able to eat food and drink water – that’s what it’s designed to do,” he says.

But faith in the divine can only do so much, he says, the rest is up to you.

“To be the best you definitely have to have some God-given talents, but you also have to have the drive and the will and the dedication,” Williams explains.

Simplicity is the key and I just try to keep things as simple as I can. But I never lose that one thing that’s got me there; that’s drive, working hard, doing all the little things, ticking all the boxes.”

“Blessed and forever grateful to the Most High”, Sonny Bill Williams said on his Twitter account (@SonnyBWilliams).

The Next Challenge

Having switched allegiances so often, Williams finds himself having to work hard to earn acceptance, which means trying to break some of his own habits.

“I’d like to be a bit more trusting, letting my guard down a little bit more. I’m too serious sometimes, bro, as you can tell,” he acknowledges, before breaking into a big grin.

“And in a team environment sometimes I’m too intense, you know, sometimes I’ve got to sit back and just relax. Just chill out. But it’s just how I’m made. I’ve always been competitive.”

Williams admits he would be tempted to try another of rugby’s formats, Sevens, which will make its Olympic debut at Rio 2016.

“That would be a dream come true. If I had the opportunity to give it a crack, I definitely would,” he says.

“But there’s so much talent in New Zealand that it’s probably almost a distant dream at this stage.”

Whatever he decides to do after his new Roosters deal ends next year – he has hinted he will return to union ahead of the 2015 World Cup – it’s a fair bet that Williams will succeed.

He has won titles almost everywhere he has been, and that has been driven by something deep inside him.

“I just don’t want to fail, to be honest. I don’t want to let my family down, I don’t want to let myself down,” Williams admits, falling back into his earnest, serious tone.

“That’s probably the biggest thing I fear. I’m confident as a man, these days, and I know what I can achieve if I put my mind to it.”

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Source: Cnn.com

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The Muslim: The True, The Best & The Ideal

`Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him), said, “The Muslim is he from whose tongue and hands Muslims are safe. And the Muhajir (immigrant) is he who abandons all what Allah has forbidden.” (Al-Bukhari)

muslim

The best Muslim is defined as he who offers food to the needy and greet every one with peace.

The hadith implies that the perfect Muslim is he who refrains from abusing people physically, verbally, and mentally. In return, people will trust him and feel secure and comfortable when dealing with him.

The Basic Islam

The basic Muslim as mentioned in other traditions is he who fulfills the five pillars of Islam: testifying that there is no God but Allah and Mohammad is His messenger, offering prayers in time, gave obligatory charity (zakah), fasting the month of Ramadan, and performing pilgrimage to Mecca if one has the means to afford it.

The True Islam

The above hadith defines the Muslim as he from whose tongue and hands Muslims are safe. Scholar of Islam say that hadith refers to the perfect or true Muslim.

The true Muslim is he who, in addition to believing and performing all the pillars of Islam, refrains from harming anybody either by words or actions.

It stresses that the real Muslim avoids causing any kind of harm to people. In other words, one cannot be a true Muslim unless his religious practices of Islam are reflected in his dealings with people in real life.

The true Muslim does not only meet the basic requirements but also is always striving to be a peaceful person who respects the rights of people and refrains from causing any sort of harm, damage, or injury to them either by words or actions.

But he who practices the pillars of Islam and various acts of worship, but at the same time, he treats people with bad manners and pays no respect to their rights, is unable to understand the reality of Islam. Such a person has indeed failed to realize the significance of the acts of worship and the wisdom and spirit behind them.

The Best Islam

Moreover, according to other traditions, the best Muslim is defined as he who offers food to the needy and greet every one with peace.

`Abdullah ibn `Umar said that a person asked Allah’s Messenger, “Which Islam is the best?” He replied, “To offer food and greet with peace those whom you know and those whom you don’t know.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

Offering food symbolizes benefiting people by actions; food is mentioned here because it is easy and available, everyone can donate some food. Greeting people with peace symbolizes benefiting them by nice, encouraging, and supporting words; peaceful greeting is mentioned because it is simple and no one has an excuse not to do it.

Accordingly, the best Muslim is he who does not only abstain from harming people but also is doing his best to be beneficent to people as much as he can by words and actions.

The Ideal Muslim

The ideal Muslim not only acts with people with kind, pleasant, peaceful, and respectful manners; and is beneficent to them but also keeps himself away from nonsense and useless words and actions. He does not waste his time and/or efforts in vain actions and purposeless speeches. The

Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Part of someone’s being a good Muslim is his leaving alone that which does not concern him.” (At-Tirmidhi)

The True Muhajir

The Prophet gave orders to his Companions to migrate to Madinah to escape the persecution of Quraish. They migrated to Madinah gradually and secretly; they left behind their houses, wealth, and possessions for supporting Allah and his Messenger.

The immigrant was honored for his great sacrifices and given the title of “Muhajir”. And he was promised a great reward from Allah. The immigration had stopped after the conquest of Makkah.

The hadith defines the true Muhajer as the one who, in addition to migrating from his homeland to the land of Islam, keeps himself away from all sorts of evil practices; and abandons whatever Allah has forbidden.

But he who migrated from his homeland to the land of Islam, and but does not refrain from indulging in sins and misconduct, has indeed failed to achieve the purpose behind his migration.

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The article is excerpted from the author’s  “The True Muslim” , published by Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait.

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Islam: The Religion of Nature

By Muhammad Al-Ghazali

Islam has called itself a ‘Natural Religion’ which is free from all these impurities :

Islam The Religion of Nature

Islam has called itself a ‘Natural Religion’ which is free from all impuritiesز

So (O Prophet) set your face steadily and truly to the faith. (Establish) Allah’s nature on which He has framed mankind. There is no change in what Allah has created; that is the standard religion; but most among mankind do not understand. (Ar-Rum 30:30)

The function of the eye is to see until there is some disturbance in it. The ear hears the sound till it becomes deaf.

The function of the nature is to follow the right path, and to rush towards it with such alacrity as the water rushes down from a height, unless it is overcome by corruption and wickedness, which may take its reins in hands and turn it away from the path of righteousness and blessings.

The disturbing things, which corrupt nature are sometimes the result of the past centuries or sometimes they are the creation of the lowly environment and ha bits and customs, or both these things together are responsible for the disturbances.

These things are a great danger for the nature of man. They cause a variety of diseases in it. The real jihad of a reformer is to fight these inhibitions and customs and to weaken their strength. He tries to relieve nature of these dangers in order that its original purity may be regained and it may be able to fulfill its real responsibility.

Islam has given a full clarification of this method.

After explaining the natural religion in the above quoted verses, the Qur’an says immediately thereafter :

Turn back in repentance to Him, and fear Him; Establish regular prayers, and be not you among those who join gods with Allah, those who split up and become sects, each party rejoicing in that which is with itself. (Ar-Rum 30:31-32)

Remaining on the Right Path

To encourage faith in place of disbelief, righteousness in place of wickedness, to adopt the policy of fearing God, in place of disturbed thoughts in respect of Allah the righteous people’s unity of thought and action-these are the manifestations that show that man has remained on the righteous nature. This has been clarified in the following verse of the Qur’an:

We indeed created man in the best of moulds, then we have abased him to be the lowest of the low, except such as believe and do righteous deeds. (At-Tin 95:4-6)

What is the best mould or form of man? The understanding of Truth and adopting it, fulfillment of its requirements and meeting of its demands.

This is called the attachment to virtuousness and decency, and consideration of these two good qualities in man’s individual and collective life is the real achievement. And attempts to make them operative in all the departments of life is the real mould and form.

But there is a very large number of people who do not reach this high level. They remain attached to the earth only.

They follow their own desires, and express disobedience of God’s commands. In this way they fall to the lowest level

The Qur’an has called this “Asfala safileen” (lowest of the low), to which Allah has thrown such people.

To throw the men of such nature to the lowest level is according to the divine law regarding guidance and transgression. And these laws are true and based on justice. The Qur’an mentions them as under:

And Allah will not mislead a people after He has guided them, in order that He may make clear to them what to fear (and avoid)-for Allah has knowledge of all things. (At-Tawbah 9:115)

In Surah Al-A`raf this law of guidance and transgression has been mentioned thus:

Those who behave arrogantly on the earth in defiance of right-them I will turn away from My signs; even if they see all the signs, they will not believe in them; And if they see the way of right conduct, they will not adopt it as the way of error is the way they will adopt; for they rejected Our signs, and failed to take warning from them. (Al-A`raf 7:146)

Who is it then that remains on the ‘best mould’ and keeps himself away from the indignities of the world? In the verses of the Surah At-Tin occurring immediately after those quoted above the answer is given:

Except such as believe and do the righteous deeds. (At-Tin 95:6)

Thus, the outcome of faith and the righteous deeds is the excellence of moral character.

There Is a Counter to the Wicked Nature

Islam’s stand ,in relation to man’s pure nature and its strength and firmness has been discussed. As regards its dealings with the devil-like natures, that has also been made clear. Islam warns mischievous-natured people. It entrusts its reins in the hands of the healthy intellect; it encourages it to bow down to the pure nature and to surrender itself to Allah.

The prophet has hinted at some of these kinds of natures :

“The son of Adam reaches the old age and two of his habits do not leave him. One is greed and the second is the unending succession of hopes.” (Muslim)

“The worst evil found in man is the frightening cowardice and the un-dignifying miserliness.”(Abu Dawud)

“If the son of Adam is given a valley of gold, he will desire to have another one. And if the other is also given, he will be greedy to have the third one. The hunger of Adam’s son will not be satisfied except when his remains are mixed with the dust. And the one who turns to Allah, Allah accepts his repentance.” (Al-Bukhari )

The Qur’an has mentioned some of the habits:

Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet, women and sons; heaped up hoards of gold and silver; horses branded (for blood and excellence) ; and (wealth of) cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the possessions of this world’s life; but in the nearness to Allah is the best of the goals ( to return to ). (Aal `Imran 3:14)

The first thing Islam wants man to pay attention to is this that to run after the carnal desires of the self and to follow its unending demands will never satisfy self and make it contented. Truth and right path will not be acceptable to it.

The condition of the self is that when its one desire is satisfied, it immediately demands to have some other desire satisfied. It is always busy in eating, drinking, and having a good time, and greedy with desire to have more and more of everything. It has no hesitation in committing sin and acts of aggression and cruelty.

Therefore, Qur’an has forbidden men to follow the desires that have been considered haram (prohibited):

Nor follow you the lusts (of your heart), for they will mislead you from the path of Allah; for those who wander astray from the path of Allah, is a penalty grievous, for that they forget the Day of Account. (Saad 38:26)

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The article is excerpted from the book  “Muslim Character” , an American-English translation of Muhammad Al-Ghazali’s Khuluq Al-Muslim

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For an Ideal Personality: The Prophet’s Moral Teachings

The Prophet’s moral teachings show that Islam had come to illuminate the lives of the people with the light of virtue and good manners, to create in them brightness of character, and to fill their laps with the pearls of good conduct. It made the stages that came in the process of achieving this great objective as an important part of the prophethood.

Prophet's Moral Teachings

Morality is the name of the principles of life which the religion must adopt for the respect of its standard-bearers.

Similarly, such moral teachings declared all attempts to create disruption in these stages as an expulsion from the religion and equivalent to throwing away the yoke of faith from one’s neck.

The position of morality is not like that of the means of pleasures and luxuries, from which indifference may be possible. But morality is the name of the principles of life which the religion must adopt and must care for the respect of its standard-bearers.

Islam has enumerated all these virtues and principles and has encouraged its followers to make them parts of their lives, one after another.

If we collect all the sayings of the Prophet about the importance of good moral character, then a voluminous book will be prepared, about which many of the great reformers will be ignorant.

The Prophet’s Moral Teachings

To enumerate these virtues we quote some examples of how strongly and emphatically Islam has called upon the people to adopt good moral character.

Usamah ibn Sharik says:

“We were sitting in the presence of the Messenger of Allah so quietly as if birds were perched on our heads. Nobody had the courage to open his mouth. In the meanwhile some people came and asked: “Amongst the slaves of God who is the dearest to Him.” The Prophet replied: “One who has the best moral character.” (lbn Habban)

Another tradition has it:

“They asked what is the best thing given to man ?” He replied: “Best moral character.” (At-Tirmidhi)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked: “Which Muslim has the perfect faith ?” He answered: “He who has the best moral character.” (At-Tabarani)

`Abdullah ibn `Ammar has reported:

“I have heard the Prophet as saying: ‘Should I not tell you who amongst you is the most likeable person to me And who will be the nearest to me on the Day of the Judgment l’ He repeated this question twice or thrice. The people requested him to tell them about such a person. He said ‘He who amongst you has the best moral character.’” (Ahmad)

In another hadith, he has said:

“On the Day of Judgment there will be nothing weightier in the balance of a momin than the goodness of character. Allah dislikes an obscene and a rude talker and the bearer of a good moral character reaches to the level of the observer of the prayer and fasting, on account of his character.” (Ahmad)

There would be nothing surprising if such teachings were to come from a philosopher who was busy in his campaign of moral-reform. But the great surprise is that these teachings come from a man who strived for establishing a great new faith, when all other religions turn their attention first only towards the performance of worship and such other religious rites.

Between Belief and Morality

The last Prophet gave a call for the performance of various forms of worship and for the establishment of such a government that was involved in a long-drawn war with its large number of enemies.

In spite of the expansion of his religion and the immense increase in the various tasks of his followers, the Prophet informs them of the fact that on the Day of the Judgment there will be nothing weightier in their balance than their good moral character, then definitely this reality is not hidden from him that in Islam the value of morality is very high.

The fact is that if religion is the name of good conduct between man and man, then on the other hand in its spiritual sense it is also the name of the best relationship between man and his God, and in both these aspects there is the same reality.

There are many religions which give this glad tiding that you may embrace any belief, your sins will be washed away and offering fixed prayers of any religion will cancel your mistakes.

But Islam does not believe in this. According to it, these benefits will be available only when the axis and centre of belief is a conscious step towards virtue and payment of the compulsory dues, and when the proposed worship can become the real source of washing away the sins and generating the real perfection. In other words evil can be removed by those virtues which man makes his own and by which he is able to reach high and lofty standards.

Goodness of Character

The Prophet (peace be upon him) has very forcefully emphasized these valuable principles so that the Ummah may understand it very clearly that the value of morality may not go down in its eyes and the importance of mere forms and shapes may not increase.

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) has reported:

“Allah’s Messenger has said: ‘A slave achieves, by means of the goodness of his character, great position and high honour in the Hereafter, though he may be weak in matters of worship; but on account of his wickedness of character he is thrown in the lowest recesses of the Hell.” (At-Tabarani)

`A’ishah narrates: “I have heard the Prophet as saying: ‘mu’min (believer), by goodness of his character, achieves the high position of the one who observes fast and offers prayers.” (Abu Dawud)

Ibn `Umar is reported to have narrated: “I have heard the Prophet as saying :

“A Muslim who observes moderation in matter of worship, on account of the goodness of his character and decency achieves the position of that man who observes fast and recites Allah’s verses during prayers in the night.” (Ahmad)

Abu Hurairah has quoted the Prophet as saying: “A mu’min‘s (believer) nobility is his religiousness, his tolerance is his intelligence, and his lineage is his goodness of character.” (Al-Hakim)

Abu Dharr has narrated: “Successful is the man who had purified his heart for faith, kept his heart on the right lines, his tongue was truthful, his self was content, and his nature was on the right path.” (Ibn Hibban)

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The article is excerpted from the book  “Muslim Character” , an American-English translation of Muhammad Al-Ghazali’s Khuluq Al-Muslim

published by Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait.

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There’s No Belief Without Truth

Allah has created this whole universe on the basis of love, and has demanded of the people that they should build up their life on the foundation of truth, to make truth and straight dealing a practice of their life, and should give place to truth only in their talks and dealings.

When this clear sense is lost sight of by people, and false stories, superstitions and absurd beliefs rule their self, ideas and thoughts, then hardness and harshness are generated in them they move away from the right path, and they totally give up those realities the adoption of which was necessary.

For this reason, the strong and firm pillar of a Muslim’s character is straight dealing. It is his duty to be attached to truth in every matter and to see every problem and affair through the glasses of truth, to keep it before him in every decision is the clearest manifestation of his dealing and treatment.

Similarly, the construction of the society in Islam is made on this foundation that mere conjectures and superstitions should be opposed baseless things and imaginary stories should be thrown outs doubts and misgivings should not be encouraged, because strong and firm realities only deserve to be manifested; they should have their imprint on the society s and their help should be taken in strengthening various relations.

What the Prophet Taught about Truth

Allah’s Messenger has said:

“Keep away from ill-thinking, because ill-thinking is the greatest falsehood.” (Al-Bukhari)

Another hadith says:

“Leave alone doubtful things, follow those matters in which there is no doubts for truth is a means of satisfaction and falsehood is the cause of doubts and misgivings.” (At-Tirmidhi)

The Qur’an has expressed condemnation of those communities who follow conjectures and superstitions that have filled their brains with absurdities and has staked their present and future, with the help of the false stories, on the gamble of corruption and disruption:

They follow nothing but conjecture and what their own souls desire, even though there has already come to them Guidance from their Lord. (An-Najm 53:23)

But they have no knowledge therein. They follow nothing but conjecture and conjecture avails nothing against Truth. (An-Najm 53:28)

Liars in Islam

Since Islam respects truth most strongly, it turns away liars very harshly. It admonishes them very severely. `A’ishah narrates:

“Allah’s Messenger did not hate anything as strongly as he hated falsehood, If he received information that a particular man has told a lie, he used to throwaway that man’s respect and honour from his heart till the time he was not informed that he has repented for it.” (Ahmad)

Another narration by her states:

“For the Messenger of Allah falsehood was the worst habit in a person, If any man told a lie in his presence, that man’s thought always troubled him until the time he was informed that he has repented.” (Ibn Habban)

This habit of the Prophet is not at all surprising. This was the policy of our forefathers. Their relations were formed on the basis of righteousness and good moral character. They knew each other.

If anyone had blemishes in his character, and if he could be singled out on account of his misdeeds, then his position in that society would be like the position of a man suffering from an infectious itching disease in a healthy society, and he was not considered deserving of any respect until he was not cured of that defect.

The distinctive characteristic of the Muslim society in its first period was truth, disciplines, tolerance and cautious manner of speaking, Falsehood, breaking of promises, false accusations, and baseless things are the signs of disruption or of breaking away relation from religion. Or if they are to be termed as having relation with the religion, then it would be caused the religious business of the false accusers, deceivers and tricksters, or the religiosity of liars and promise breakers.

Falsehood… A Great Curse

Falsehood is such an evil that discloses the internal corruption and wickedness of the liar; and this is a name of the wrong dealing which only acts in spreading evil. so much so that even without the needs that are troublesome or the forcing inclinations it leads persons to committing sins.

Some evils are such that a man is involved in them totally. They are like diseases which require a very long –drawn treatment; they are like fright and cowardice, which always hinder the progress of a coward and a frightened man, or like greed which makes men miserly and stingy.

When some people come out for jihad to accompany the soldiers. they are shivering in their boots. Or some other people who are terrified when they work out the amount of Zakat that they have to pay. What is the comparison of these coward and miserly natures with those brave and generous natures which rush towards death laughing and which spend their wealth in the cause of Allah most willingly!

Here some excuse can be found for such person as they become a prey of their fears and doubts when called upon to offer sacrifices

But there can be absolutely no excuse for those who make lying their habit and who for the whole of their life go on deceiving people by their falsehoods.

Allah’s Messenger said:

“All the evils can be found in a mu’min (believer), except dishonesty and falsehood.” (Ahmad)

The Messenger of Allah was asked whether any Muslim could be a coward. He answered : “Yes.” He was asked:

“Can a mu’min (believer) be a miser ?’ He said that yes, he could be a miser. He was again asked: “Can a mu’min be a liar?” He replied: “No !” (Malik)

The replies of the Prophet show that these factors of deficiency and weakness enter some persons’ nature and when they are called upon to do their duty or pay the dues of Arab and His slaves, then these factors adversely influence them. But this does not mean that miserliness is tolerated and cowardice is a lesser evil.

How is “ possible when non-payment of zakat and running away from jihad are acts which touch the borderline of infidel (kufr)”!

The extent to which a liar and a defiant person may spread falsehood and however wide this extent may be his sin before Allah will be to the same extent. Journalists, who misguide the people by false news, politicians who misrepresent important public problems and slaves of selfishness who cast aspersions against eminent persons and ladies of good character-all these sections commit terrible crimes and their punishment is very severe.

Allah’s Messenger said:

“One night I saw two men. They came to me and said: ‘Any man whom you see talking by widening his jaws, consider him a liar, He tells a lie which is copied through his medium, till it is talked of in the whole world. He goes on doing this till the Doomsday.” (Fathul Bari)

Making false promises to their subjects by the rulers also comes in this category, because the falsehood spoken from the pulpit spreads to the four corners of the world.

It is in the Tradition that “Three persons can never enter Paradise. First the old man who commits illegal sex, second the man who tells lies and third that poor man who indulges in pride.” (AI Bazzar)

Falsehood against the Religion

To invent lies against Allah’s religion is the worst evil. One who has the slightest relation with Allah and His Messenger will never indulge in this kind of activity.

This is the worst kind of liar, and the consequences which he will have to face are terrible.

The Prophet has said: “The consequence of inventing falsehood against me is not as bad as it is for inventing falsehood against anybody. Let the man who purposely and wittingly makes a false statement about me make his destination Hell.” (Al-Bukhari)

In the list of false charges and accusations are included all those inventions and absurdities which the uneducated have fabricated against Allah’s religion, which have no place in the faith. The general public has taken them to be the religion though they have nothing to do with it. In fact they are nothing but mere pastime and plaything.

Allah’s Messenger has warned his followers against the sources of these invented absurdities, has admonished them to be wary of adopting other ways than those directed by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. He has said:

“In the last period of my Ummah there will come people who will be deceitful, liars. They will tell you things which you would never have heard, nor have your forefathers heard them. Be wary of them; let them not misguide you and let them not involve you in corruptions.” (Muslim)

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The article is excerpted from the book  “Muslim Character” , an American-English translation of Muhammad Al-Ghazali’s Khuluq Al-Muslim, published by Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait.

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Speak a Good Word or Remain Silent

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent.” (Muslim)

Learn more from the video below…

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Source: edc.org.kw

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The True Muslim: How to Apply it to Your Life?

By Zeinab Hassan Ashry

`Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him), said, “The Muslim is he from whose tongue and hands Muslims are safe. And the Muhajir (immigrant) is he who abandons all what Allah has forbidden.” (Al-Bukhari)

The hadith warns Muslims not to rely only upon their declaration of Islam, acts of worship, and their good deeds such as Hijrah -migration from the land where one cannot practice his faith freely to a land where he can- and urges them to continue fulfilling their duties toward Allah and toward people in order to perfect their Islam.

It reminds them that they could not be true Muslims unless their deeds and sayings are free from all sorts of defects and imperfections. And they could not be true Muhajirs (migrating for Allah’s sake) unless they abstain fully from all sorts of evil.

Respect People’s Rights and Feelings

Islam guards the life, money, property, religion, mind, dignity, and honor of every human being whether he is a Muslim or a Non-Muslim. The Prophet said in his farewell pilgrimage sermon:

“Your lives, your honor, and your properties are sacred to each other as the sacredness of this, your day, in this, your month, and in this, your year.” (Muslim)

It is not permissible to say or do anything, no matter how little it is, that might hurt others’ feelings such as laughing at someone’s physical handicap, deformity, or poverty.

It is reported that Abdullah ibn Mas`ud had thin legs. Once his leg was uncovered and upon seeing his leg some people laughed. The Prophet said, ”Are you laughing at his leg? By Him in whose hand is my soul, his leg in the scale of Allah is heavier than the mountain of Uhud.”

Think Good about People

In Islam, every person is innocent unless there is a strong evidence against him. The relationships amongst Muslims should be based upon mutual trust not upon mistrust, doubts, and bad suspicion. Allah (Exalted be He) enjoined Muslims to avoid suspicion as much as they can so that they would not commit something wrong:

O you who believe! Avoid indulging in much suspicion as much as possible for suspicion in some cases is a sin and spy not on each other. (Al-Hujurat 49:11)

It is not permissible for Muslims to indulge in baseless and unjustified suspicion, for this kind of suspicion is a sin that would lead to many other evils such as severing good relationship between people, accusing people of defects which are not in them and maybe entangling them in baseless charges.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ”Avoid suspicion, for spreading suspicion is the most dishonest form of speech.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said, ”If you have suspicion, do not pursue it.” (At-Tabarani)

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The article is excerpted from the author’s  The True Muslim, published by Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait.

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Social Maladies Believers Are Commanded to Evade

By Dr. Ahmad Al-Khalidi

To found a strong sound society, the Qur’an guides Muslims to avoid social maladies such as believing wicked persons, laughing at others, calling others with their nick names, suspecting good people, backbiting and spying at others; as they certainly lead to the weakness of the societal bonds and corruption to its bases.

Such evil social manners are criticized in the Qur’anic speech dialogue in Surat Al-Hujurat, hence believers are commanded to evade such bad traits.

The Qur’anic speech dialogue is abundant with real ethical lessons which are very helpful for young Muslims to keep their good relationship with others. It is of extreme importance for parents at home and tutors at educational institutions to guide young Muslims to such kind of moral education which contributes a lot in building up a sound Islamic character.

Besides, they have to be aware of good conduct within their own Muslim community so as to lead a warm friendly relationship with the members of the group they live with.

Dr. Hazimi, (who is this gentleman?) states that Islamic ethics occupy a high position and a great rank, in the human civilization, which are derived from the Creator of Mankind and personified in the character of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in such a way that Allah praises him in the Qur’an in this way:

And you are on an exalted standard Of character. (Al-Qalam 68:4)

Besides, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) praises the Muslims who enjoy good manners.

On the authority of Jabir ibn `Abdullah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Of the most beloved among you to me and the nearest session of you to me in the Garden are those of the best of manners among you, and of the most detested among you to me and the farthest sitting from me are the chatters, the boasters and the mutafayhiqun (those who are arrogant when they speak)”. They (the Prophet’s Companions) said, “we know the chatters and boasters but who are the “mutafaihiqoon”? He said, “the arrogant.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Ideal world

The Islamic society is a world that has its own procedures in ascertaining words and actions and making sure of their source before judging on people; it is a world that has its own psychological etiquette in feelings towards one another; at the same time it has its own behavioral etiquette in dealing with one another and it is a world of clean feelings, ensured and protected honour in presence and absence. Nobody is judged by suspicion nor the safety or honour of people are exposed to harm.

Ascertaining the truth

Believers should not believe a wicked person when he tells them any news until they ascertain the truth lest they should do harm to other people who may be their relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbors or others.

To cite (Ali 1934:1404 what is this?), “All tittle-tattle or reports emanating from persons you do not know- are to be tested, and the truth ascertained, if believed and passed on, much harm may be done, of which you may have cause afterwards to repent heartily. Scandal or slander of all kinds is here condemned. That about women is specially denounced.”

O you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest you harm people unwittingly. (Al-Hujurat 49:6)

Laughing at Others is a Part of Bad Manners

Likewise, another verse in Surat Al-Hujurat prohibits believing men to ridicule one another that they may be better than them. It also prohibits believing women to ridicule one another that they may be better than them, nor defame each other nor call one another by offensive nicknames unless one is known with a nick name and he does not worry if he is called with such nickname.

O you who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not desist are (indeed) doing wrong. (AL-Hujurat 49:11)

`Ali, (1934:1405) points out that “mutual ridicule cease to be fun when there is arrogance or selfishness or malice behind it.

We may laugh with people to share in the happiness of life; we must never laugh at people in contempt or ridicule. In many things they may be better than ourselves.”

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Social Diseases and Their Impact on the Islamic Personality

By Dr. Ahmad Al-Khalidi

Social Diseases and Their Impact on the Islamic Personality

The following verse clearly highlights the social diseases that cause societal problems among people of the same community. Such diseases are so dangerous that they can weaken the strong relationship between people and corrupt the life of any social establishment.

That is why Allah prohibits offensive suspicion, spying as well as backbiting and portrays the backbiter in a disgusting image where he sits by his dead brother and snaps his flesh.

O you who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on 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, Most Merciful. (Al-Hujurat 49:12)

Allah addresses believers and calls them to avoid the bad manners mentioned in the above verse. Let us consider each of these social diseases one by one, starting with suspicion:

Suspicion

First of all, this verse enjoins believers not to suspect innocent people; evil suspicion of good people is considered sinful; but they can suspect wicked people who are known of their wickedness. However, believers should not speak out of such suspicion, otherwise they would be sinful.

There is another kind of harmful suspicion which its danger mainly refers to the person himself who may keep saying to himself, “Allah will not forgive me”. Being desperate of Allah’s mercy and His forgiveness may lead him to follow the footsteps of the Satan which eventually may lead him to Hell. To cite Sahih International. com, “The example of unlawful assumption is to keep saying to himself that Allah will definitely punish or torture me and lose total hope in the forgiveness and mercy of Allah”.

However, the Prophet (peace be upon him) says: “You should have good hope with Allah till your death-bed.” (Muslim)

Besides, Allah says in a hadith Qudsi: “I treat my servant the way he feels about me.”

Moreover, Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Messenger of Allah said, “Allah the Exalted says: ‘I am as my slave expects me to be.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Kinds of Suspicions

Imam Abu Bakr Al-Jassas divided suspicion into four categories as described in his book Ahkam Al-Qur’an. These four categories are: 1- Unlawful (haram), 2- Mandatory (wajib), 3- Permissible (mustahab), and Acceptable (mubah).

The example of unlawful suspicion is to keep saying to himself that Allah will definitely punish or torture me and lose total hope in the forgiveness and mercy of Allah; while the example of mustahab suspicion is to keep good feelings about every Muslim. It is, however, permissible to use precautions in daily dealings without considering someone a thief or a traitor without a just cause.

The example of wajib suspicion is that if, for example, you do not know the direction of Qiblah and there is nobody to guide you, it is permissible to use your best judgment. And the example of acceptable suspicion is that if one is not sure of completing three or four rak`ahs in salah, it is acceptable to use the most prevalent assumption in mind.

Spying

Spying is also one of the worst social manners. It is not allowed and it is shameful to snoop at people’s own life or private works or tasks and disclose their secrets. However, to quote Sahih International website, ” if there is a possibility of another party harming you or harming another Muslim, then such spying is allowed”

Backbiting

Let us now think about backbiting. It is narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Backbiting is talking about somebody which if he heard, would grieve him.” (Muslim)

Hence, to cite Sahih International.com, “it is not allowed to talk about somebody in his absence, even if what was narrated was true. If it was not true, then it would be a bigger sin and it is called buhtan.

Moreover, backbiting violates the rights of Allah and the rights of people simultaneously. Hence, it is necessary to ask for forgiveness from the victim first, since Allah will not forgive until the victim forgives. If the victim has died or is untraceable  or, if something worse may happen if the victim is asked for forgiveness, then ransom has to be done.

Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah said, “The ransom for backbiting is to pray to Allah for forgiveness by saying, “O Allah! Forgive my sins and his too.”

Al Sa`di (1995) sees that the person who injured his brother (with backbiting) should repent to Allah, apologize to his brother, ask Allah forgiveness for him and praise his brother instead of dispraising him.

Al-Baz (2007) recommends the Islamic society “to make sure of the news they receive lest the haste and uncertainty in getting them should cause bad results and harmful effects on individuals and societies.”

On the other hand, Al-Baz includes that believers should believe a trustworthy Muslim when he brings news and sayings to them if they have not experienced any lies on his part. It is prohibited for any Muslim to satire or ridicule any person because of being inferior to him in property, body, or social rank. Al-Saboni (1981) points out that the ideal society indisposes backbiting, spying and offensive suspicion.

For a Powerful Sound Society

Actually, all this teaches us lots of practical ethical rules of paramount importance and necessity for building up a powerful sound society; such rules are so effective that they contribute a lot in educating and building up the Islamic personality that enjoys pure heart, clean feelings, chaste tongue and righteous manners.

Not only this, these codes are so effective that they combine the society with strong bonds and firm ties; ties of honesty and purity, belief and piety, honour and respect, as well as mercy and kindness. On the other hand, this society denounces envy and suspicion, slander and dishonor along with mockery and satire. Besides, this society has its own capability to live and continue through its own spiritual moral system. It is actually a real ideal world.

Educational Lessons

Young Muslims should avoid the following ill manners:

– believing the news or sayings coming from a wicked person,

– mocking or laughing at others because of being inferior to them,

– calling others with their offensive nick names,

– suspecting innocent people,

-spying at others, and backbiting them.

Educational Significance

Warning learners against the results of bad manners, leaving many things to avoid something evil among them, keeping the honour of persons in their presence as well as in their absence, employing the interrogation technique as a means of reproach in the educational situation, employing rebuke technique in reforming the deviant manners, portraying disgusting imagery to disincline learner from evil manners, and manipulating  the preaching technique in education.

 

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Patience: A Tower of Light for the Muslim

The Prophet said: “ Patience is a light.” (Muslim)

In the intricate paths of life when difficulties and hardships confront a man, and the darkness of adversities an suffering becomes long, it is patience only that acts like a light for a Muslim, that keeps him safe from wandering here and there, and saves him from the muddy mire of disappointment, desperation and frustration.

Patience is such a basic quality that a Muslim needs it to shape his life in this world and in the next. On this basis only he should attend to all his work. He should make it a torchlight for guiding his way, else he will be defeated in the field of life. He should prepare his self to tolerate the hardships and difficulties, and should not holler or raise hell. He should not sit waiting for the results, however late that may take. He should not run away from responsibilities, whatever they may be.

No doubts and misgivings, no hardship of trouble should prompt his intellect to indulge in violence. He should have plenty of self-confidence. He should not be frightened by the dark clouds appearing on the horizon of life, even if they may be appearing continually, nay, he should be fully sure that these clouds of adversities and hardships will disappear, and the clear and bright atmosphere of success and glory will appear again.

Therefore, the demand of wisdom and farsightedness is that its coming should be awaited with patience, peace and conviction.

The Almighty God has stressed this point sufficiently that no man can escape tests and trials, so that man may be alert and ready at the time when these hardship and difficulties descend on him, and he should not be frightened by these heavenly and earthly tribulations, and need not be disappointed and disheartened.

And verily We shall try you ill till We know those of you who still hard (in the cause of Allah) and the steadfast, and till We test your record. (Muhammad 47:31)

The poet has expressed the same idea in these words:

“We had anticipated the hardships of the night before their coming. So when they descended, there was no addition to our knowledge.”

Undoubtedly if accidents and debacles are faced with a clear sight and full preparations, it will prove advantageous for man and this will help in stabilizing and consolidating his position.

The Two Pillars of Patience

Patience relies on two important realities. The first reality is concerned with the nature of this worldly life. Its details are: Allah has not made this world a house of peace and satisfaction or of rewards and recompense, but He has made it a house of trials.

The time that a man spends in this world is really a time for unending experiences. He comes out of one trial in order to undergo another trial which is harder and different from the one through which he has already passed, that is man is tested once by one thing and again by its opposite, as iron is first heated in the fire and then it is put in the water. Similarly man is tested by favorable as well as opposing means.

When Allah blessed Prophet Sulayman (Solomon) with a grand and magnificent empire, he knew about these natural laws of the world. He had said:

This is of the bounty of my Lord, that He may try me whether I give thanks or I am ungrateful. Whoever gives thanks, he only gives thanks for (the good of) his Own soul,’ and whoever is ungrateful (is ungrateful only to his own soul’s hurt). For surely, my Lord is Absolute in independence, Bountiful. (An-Nahl 16:40)

The causes of trial through sadness and hardships are vague and unfixed. However, we can understand them properly by the example of the soldiers fighting in the battlefield. In the battlefield some groups are made to fight till they have to lose their valuable lives, so that the lives of other groups may be saved. The security of other sections is dependent on the remaining groups being made to fight in new battles.

This strategy is followed in the wider interest of the country and for- greater advantages, by the great leadership of the army In this fighting the life of a man has no importance, because the problem is much wider.

Same is the position of luck or fate. A certain man is put to different kinds of trials, till he falls down defeated, as there is no other way for him, except that he should greet the hardship that has arrived with patience and submission. Since this life is a testing ground, we should strive hard for success in it.

What is the trial or examination of life? It is not words that they can be written, or talks to which attention may be paid.

The questions of the examination are these hardships and difficulties which confront a man, and which open before him the path of fright, terror, and frustration. Examination is the name of the anti-reality defects which prompt a man to be jealous and nourisher of rancor against his sincere friend; examination is the name of the tyrannies for which a nation occupies the place of god and the other people offer their blood as sacrifice for retrieving their usurped rights.

The history of life on this earth from the first day tin today is very sorrowful. The right thing is that man should himself make his own way in this life, and he should be sure that the way to his destination is fun of thorns and filth.

The second reality is concerned with the nature and temperament of faith.

Faith is the name of the relationship between man and his Lord. As in the relationship of men, the true friendship and sincerity can only be judged when it is confronted with unfavorable and bitter conditions, when they have to deal with the hardships brought about by the vagaries of time, and when they are surrounded by various kinds of problems.

At such a time a man’s real worth and sincerity is known. Exactly similar is the case of faith. To find out the truth and sincerity about faith it is necessary that a Muslim be tried, he should be put in the crucible of fire to see whether he comes out glowing like the gold or whether he will be burnt away with the impurities.

Do men imagine that they will be left (at ease) because they say, We believe, and will not be tested with affliction?

Verily, We tested those who were before you. Thus Allah knows those who are sincere, and knows those who feign. (Al-`Ankabut 29:2,3)

Undoubtedly, Allah’s knowledge covers all manifest and concealed matters, and from this examination there will be no addition to His knowledge, because He knows all the conditions from the beginning till the end.

The Divine knowledge cannot be made a basis for man’s reckoning. His reckoning will be on the basis of his own personal deeds. If some criminals deny their crimes, then on the Day of Judgment in what way proof can be brought against them except by putting them to trial in this world and man’s own parts of the body may give evidence against him?

About such people the Qur’an has to say this:

And on the Day We gather them together.. We shall say to those who ascribed partners (to Allah).. Where are (now) those partners of your make-believe ? Then they will have no contention except that they will say.. By Allah, our Lord, we never were idolaters. See how they lie against themselves, and (how) the thing which they devised has failed them. (Al-An`am 6:22-24)

How can the reckoning of such criminals be taken in the light of the Divine knowledge? Their justifiable retribution will be proper only when all their misdeeds are placed before them. Their efforts and striving to create corruption and mischief among others and all their misdeeds will be repeated before them.

On these two bases the foundation of patience has been kept. And for this reason religion demands it, but he who shuts his eyes from realities by force of his nature is dumbfounded when he has to face hardships and his hands and feet become inactive when he has to fight difficulties. His rashness dislikes waiting and patience and he is unable to tolerate it.

Therefore, when anything untoward happens, or he has to suffer some kind of failure, or when he meets with an accident, the earth with all its great vastness becomes narrow for him, and the conditions become exasperating for him.

He wants to come out of these conditions in the twinkling of an eye, but it is obvious that in this effort he will not ; be successful for it is against the temperament of the world and the religion, It is proper for a Muslim to learn to be patient and to wait and to wait for long.

Man is made of haste. I shall show’ you my signs, but ask Me not to hasten. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:31)

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The article is excerpted from the book  “Muslim Character” , an American-English translation of Muhammad Al-Ghazali’s Khuluq Al-Muslim published by Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait.

 

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