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Ethics & Values New Muslims

Honesty in Islam

Believers are honest and pure-hearted

“When honesty is lost, then wait for the Hour (the Day of Judgment).”

These are the noble words of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

They paint a picture of the time leading up to the Day of Judgement, when righteous people will be sorrowful due to the lack of honesty around them. In the 21st century, we live in a world where honesty is still valued and yet shunned at the same time. We expect people to be honest in their dealings and transactions with us; yet we watch and applaud television shows and movies that promote and encourage lying and deceitfulness in our society.

With our negligence, we teach our children that dishonesty is acceptable. When we expect our children to tell the caller on the telephone we are not home, whereas we are, this is a lesson in deceit for the leaders of tomorrow. When we refuse invitations and pretend we are busy, this is lying. We admonish our children for lying, yet the reality is we have been their teachers. Whether we tell lies, or we allow our children to live in a world surrounded by deceit, the lesson is learned and the honesty begins to disappear from the hearts of the next generation.

Furthermore, honesty incorporates the concepts of truthfulness and reliability and it resides in all human thoughts, words, actions, and relationships. It is more than just accuracy; it is more than just truthfulness. It denotes integrity and moral soundness. Islam commands truthfulness and forbids lying. Almighty Allah commands believers to be honest:

O you who believe! Fear God and be with those who are true. (At-Tawbah 9:119)

A true believer, one who is truly submitted to Allah, has many characteristics by which he or she can be identified. The most obvious of these are honesty of character and truthfulness of speech. Prophet Muhammad was a perfect example of honesty. Even before his prophethood, he had earned the titles of the trustworthy and the truthful.

The trustworthy Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) once gathered all the people of Makkah and asked them, “O people of Makkah! If I say that an army is advancing on you from behind the mountains, will you believe me?” All said in one voice, “Yes, as we have never heard you telling a lie.” All the people, without exception, swore to his truthfulness and honesty, because he had lived an unblemished and extremely pious life among them for forty years.

The Prophet’s honesty was described well by Abu Sufyan. When he sent a letter to Heraclius, the Emperor of Byzantium, inviting him to Islam, the Emperor sent for the Meccan trader, Abu Sufyan. Even though he was at that time a dire enemy of Islam, he spoke the truth about Prophet Mohammad. When asked about the Prophet, he said, “He neither tells lies nor betrays others; he bids people to worship Allah alone and orders us to observe Prayer, honesty, and abstinence.”

This honesty, an essential ingredient of the Muslim character, includes being truthful towards Almighty Allah, by worshipping Him sincerely; being truthful to oneself, by adhering to Allah’s laws; and being truthful with others, by speaking the truth and being honest in all dealings, such as buying, selling, and marriage. Cheating and deception should never exist among believers. A believer should be the same on the inside as he is on the outside.

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) warned us of the dangers inherent in dishonesty, and informed us about the benefits of living in an honest way. He reportedly said, “Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he is written in the sight of Allah as a truthful person. Falsehood leads to wickedness and evil-doing, and wickedness leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man keeps on telling lies till he is written before Allah as a liar.” (Al-Bukhari)

A true Islamic society is based upon honesty and justice, and is intolerant of dishonesty in all its various forms. Honesty in all business transactions is emphasised, and Prophet Muhammad exhorted Muslims to be scrupulously honest in all their dealings. `Abdullah ibn `Umar was once described as the “brother of the night”, for he would stand at night performing Prayer, weeping, seeking Allah’s forgiveness, and reading the Qur’an. One day, he was sitting among some close friends and he read the following verses:

Woe unto those who give short measure, those who, when they are to receive their due from people, demand that it be given in full; but when they have to measure or weigh whatever they owe to others, give less than what is due. Do they not know that they are bound to be raised from the dead [and called to account] on an awesome Day, the Day when mankind shall stand before the Sustainer of all the worlds? (Al-Mutaffifin 83:1-6)

Then, `Abdullah wept until he was faint and kept repeating the words (the day when mankind shall stand before the Sustainer of all the worlds). He was amongst the most honest and trustworthy men, but being reminded of the punishment for those who are deceitful filled him with fear.

Therefore, a Muslim seeking to please Almighty Allah and follow the path of righteousness should be aware of the dangers of deceit and dishonesty. However, he should equally know that Allah is All-Merciful and All-Loving, willing to forgive even the gravest sins for those who repent and strive for His sake. Honesty is very important in the life of a believer.

In a hadith on honesty, the Prophet is reported to have said, “Honesty descended from the Heavens and settled in the hearts of men, and then the Qur’an was revealed and they read the Qur’an and also learnt from the Sunnah. Both the Qur’an and the Sunnah strengthened their honesty.” (Al-Bukhari)

For those who wish to be among the truthful, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has left us with these words of guidance, “Let he who believes in Allah and the Last Day either speak good or keep silent.” (Muslim)

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This article was originally published on islamreligion.com. It has been taken with modifications from onislam.net


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Categories
Articles of Faith New Muslims

Emigration to Madinah: Lessons for New Muslims

The mountain of Thawr

Emigration to Madinah: Lessons for New Muslims. What lessons does the Prophet’s Hijrah offer on the life of a Muslim?

The early Muslim community suffered a lot before they were ordered to leave Makkah and go to Madinah.

The persecution exercised against Muslims increased especially after the death of Prophet Muhammad’s beloved wife, lady Khadijah and his uncle, Abu Talib. At a certain point, it was necessary to look for a new soil to plant the seed of Islam, to spread the word of God, and to practice Islam in a secure and receptive environment.

I am not going to give a detailed account of the events of the Prophet’s emigration to Madinah. Such details can be found in the Hadith Collection of Al-Bukhari (hadith no. 245). However, I am going to mention some lessons that can be drawn from this great event in the history of Islam.

The first lesson is patience. By patience I mean enduring the hardships put forward by the people of Quraish to check the tide of Islam. Muslims were boycotted; they were not allowed to buy and sell in the open market or engage in any business. However, they persevered and accepted the tribulation.

After the command of emigrating to Madinah, Muslims left behind everything they loved, their families, friends, their country, etc. Why did they do that? Because they put their trust in God and cherished hope in His mercy that He will make a way out for them. In Madinah, Muslims were free to practice their religion and they were able to establish a new state.

New Muslims can learn from this lesson that there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

You might be treated badly or ridiculed by your families, neighbors and friends. Therefore, do like what the early Muslims did; endure the hardships with patience. Do not lose hope. Rest assured that your decision to take Islam your way of life will not let you down.

Put Your Trust in God

Nothing on earth should make you give up. See how the Prophet behaved when he was in the cave and the people of Quraish were following him. His friend Abu Bakr  reported that: ”I was in the company of the Prophet in the cave, and on seeing the traces of the pagans, I said, “O Allah’s messenger if one of them (pagans) should lift up his foot, he will see us.” He said, “What do you think of two, the third of whom is Allah?” (Al-Bukhari)

Put your trust in God and be sure that He is always there to help you.

Although the people of Quraish were hostile towards the Prophet and wanted to put an end to his life and message, they used to call him the truthful and the trustworthy. They used also to entrust him with their valuables. What a contradiction!

His honesty was put to test when he was ordered to emigrate. What would he do with the valuables entrusted with him? Would he use it to make his emigration plan successful? Would he give it to his followers? On the contrary, the Prophet asked his cousin `Ali ibn Abi Talib to delay his emigration for three days so that he can return to people their valuables.

We learn from this situation that when you are put to test, do not forget your principles. Do not forget what your religion asks you to do. Islam urges you to be honest with all people, Muslims and non-Muslims.

If a colleague or friend entrusts you with something and it happens that you are not in good terms with him, do not give yourself excuses misusing the trust. You have to return it to him immediately. By this you will be teaching him something about Muslim’s ethical code.

A Professional Guide

When the Prophet and Abu Bakr decided to leave Makkah, they wanted to get the job done professionally. Therefore, they hired `Abdullah ibn Urayqit, a non-Muslim who was a professional guide in Makkah, to act as their guide. Lady Aishah reported that:

“Allah’s Messenger and Abu Bakr had hired a man from the tribe of Bani Al-Dil from the family of Bani `Abd ibn `Adi as an expert guide, and he was in alliance with the family of Al-`As bin Wa’il Al-Sahmi and he was on the religion of the people of Quraish. The Prophet and Abu Bakr trusted him and gave him their two she-camels and took his promise to bring their two she-camels to the cave of the mountain of “Thawr” in the morning three nights later. And (when they set out), `Amir ibn Fuhairah and the guide went along with them and the guide led them along the sea-shore.” (Al-Bukhari)

We learn from this situation that there is no problem to seek the help of people of other faiths as long as they are qualified enough and have more experience than Muslims. If it happens that a new Muslim is in trouble and the solution to his trouble is in the hand of someone who belongs to another religion, he should seek his help as long as he is a trustworthy person.

If there is a vacant job for which two persons apply, Islam teaches that proficiency comes before piety. Take the professional even he is not Muslim. By this, you are doing the Muslim who is not qualified enough a favor. He will learn more and gain more experience so that next time he will be accepted.

In Madinah

After the Prophet arrived to Madinah, the people of Madinah welcomed him and protected him as they would protect themselves and their families. The Prophet ordered that each Helper (one of the Ansar) would have an Emigrant (Muhajir) brother.

In their new life after conversion, new Muslims should interact with their Muslim community and they have to adapt to the customs of their community. New Muslims are the emigrants and Muslim communities are the helpers (Ansar). Muslim communities should welcome new Muslims and help them.

Another important lesson of the Hijrah is how the Prophet approached those who showed interest in Islam. When he met the first delegation of the Khazraj he just told them about Islam and only urged them to read the Qur’an. Next year he told them about the acts of worship, manners and virtues. In the second Aqabah pledge, the Ansar accepted to protect the Prophet and his followers as mentioned above.

This is how new Muslims should be approached. First, they have to be convinced of God’s Oneness. In later stages, they can learn how to perform the Prayer, pay the zakah, observe fasting, etc.

It is noteworthy that what we celebrate on the month of Muharram is the beginning of applying the Islamic calendar because the emigration took place in the month of Rabi` Al-Awwal not in Muharram.

So, let’s make the new Hijri year a new start

for all of us.

Let’s make it a turning point in our life.

Let’s start a new leaf.

Let’s purify our intentions in every action we do and make it only to please God the Almighty.

Let’s apply the actual meaning of Hijrah as the Prophet is reported to have said: “An emigrant is the one who abandons what Allah has made unlawful.” (Al-Bukhari)

 

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Categories
Ethics & Values New Muslims

Between a New Hijri Year and a Leaving One

Just a few days remaining from the current (Hijri) year and a new one will start, and such is the course of life. Once man is born, he or she uses up their predestined age. Allah (Glory be to Him) precisely determined everyone’s lifetime. When the life comes to the end, none can prolong it even a second. Allah says:

between a new hijri year and a leaving one

Determine to lead the coming year with success. Try to avoid the mistakes and get rid of unavailing things that waste your time.

When their time has come, then they will not remain behind an hour, nor will they precede (it). (Yunus 10:49)

That limited and exactly determined period of time, one should make use of it and never waste even a second. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stressed on the importance of making use of life before death strikes. He said:

“Make the most of five things before five others: life before death, health before sickness, free time before becoming busy, youth before old age, and wealth before poverty.” (Al-Hakim)

So, it is most required to be keen on utilizing it in good things and not to waste any part of it in what displeases Allah. The Prophet notified of the significance of time and indicated that it is a favor from Allah but most of people are unaware of it. He said: “There are two blessings which many people do not make the most of and thus lose out: good health and free time.” (Al-Bukhari)

On the Day of Judgment, one will be called to account about his life and how he spent it. The Prophet said:

“The son of Adam will not be dismissed from before his Lord on the Day of Resurrection until he has been questioned about five things: his life and how he spent it, his youth and how he used it, his wealth and how he earned it and how he disposed of it, and how he acted upon what he acquired of knowledge.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Undoubtedly, one will be called to account about the passing year and will be questioned about everything he did in it. He will be asked about bad deeds, negligence, imperfect worship, the major and minor sins, etc.

Likewise, one will be praised and rewarded for the good deeds and acts of worship.

Before this moment of reckoning comes, is not better to ask yourself and call it to account before you?

Is not better to review this year and think a while about what you did in it?

I suggest you the following stances to think about to have a good end of this year:

1- Thankfulness

One should constantly express gratitude and thanks to Allah, as He helps and gives us the ability and time to accomplish things. At the year-end, one should be grateful to Allah Who prolonged his life and gave him the time to carry out what he wanted.

A lot of good things, hopes and success of course happened, and one certainly got new friends, achievements and positions. Does not all of this require thankfulness? Just being alive until reading these lines is a blessing that you should thank Allah for. So, you should show gratefulness to Allah for that year.

2- Review

By the end of year, a businessman usually checks his business to know if he loses or wins. The same should Muslim do. He should review his deed and whether they will make him win or lose Paradise. Ask yourself, “Will your deeds during this year open the doors of paradise or the Hellfire for you?” Allah talks in Surat Al-Mutaffifin about the description of Paradise and after mentioning a number of its attributes and the characteristics of its people He said:

So for this let the competitors compete. (Al-Mutaffifin 83:26)

So, did you win this competition in this year? Will you win the race of Paradise?

new hijri year

By the end of year, one should review one’s knowledge and whether one have learned new things or not.

3- Determination

A full year has now elapsed, but still many things undone. Now, think deeply about the reasons that impeded you from accomplishing them. It would have been better if you already achieved these things.

So, determine to lead the coming year with success. You might have been occupied with fruitless things or pointless reasons. Try to avoid the mistakes and get rid of unavailing things that waste your time. Get prepared for your goals and hopes and do not miss your priorities.

4- Reflection

Allah Almighty says:

And say, “My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” (Taha 20:114)

The most favored people are the people of knowledge:

Are those who know equal to those who do not know? (Al-Zumar 39:9)

By the end of year, one should review one’s knowledge and whether one have learned new things or not. How many verses of the Qur’an did one memorize? How many hadiths did one learn?

Knowledge is of utmost importance. So, do not miss it.

5- Repentance

During the past year, you might have got weak and overwhelmed by desires. Then, you wronged yourself and fell into that which Allah has forbidden. However, Allah’s mercy encompasses all things. Whoever repents after doing wrong, Allah will accept his repentance, for Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

But whoever repents after his wrongdoing and reforms, indeed, Allah will turn to him in forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Al-Ma’idah 5:39)

The gate of repentance is open and will continue to be open until the sun rises from the west.

So, finish your year with good repentance.

May Allah forgive me and you and grant us success!

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