Temper, Neighbours, Merchandise of the Fool
Issue 584 » June 4, 2010 - Jumada al-Thani 21, 1431
Al-Isra (The Ascension) Sura 17: Verse 53
Tell My servants (O Muhammad), to always say that which is best. Verily it is Satan who sows discord among men. Satan indeed is an open enemy to man.
In their discussions with the unbelievers and polytheists, in fact with all opponents of their faith, Muslims should refrain from losing their temper. Additionally, they should not resort to exaggerated and extremist statements. Even in the face of provocation from their opponents, Muslims should not utter even a word that is contrary to the truth; nor should they lose their temper at the vulgarities which are flung at them by their opponents, nor should they be provoked to the point of paying back their opponents in the latter's own coins. Instead, they should keep their composure and say only that which is balanced and true, and is in keeping with the grace and dignity of the faith which they seek to uphold.
The Quran tells believers that whenever in the course of their discussion on contentious issues with unbelievers, they feel overly provoked and overwhelmed with rage, they should immediately realize that such reactions are instigated by Satan who is keen to hurt the cause of their faith. Satan will certainly try to prompt the believers to give up, as their opponents had done, all efforts of reform, and to become entangled in futile wrangling and strife. For it is Satan's aim that all mankind remain perpetually enmeshed in such controversies.
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Abul Ala Mawdudi, Vol. 5, p. 51
Prophetic Wisdom on Neighbours
A slight nod of the head, a brief hello in the hallway or perhaps helping with a car stuck in the snow during winter. That's usually the most communication many of us have with those who are physically closer to us than most of our relatives, our neighbours.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) once said, "Jibril kept recommending treating neighbours with kindness until I thought he would assign a share of inheritance" (Bukhari and Muslim).
Wow, our inheritance.
But let's think of something smaller. How about food? It's been said that food unites. While we all have our own tastes, "American" food (i.e. fruits, veggies, chips, cookies, chocolate cake, frozen pizza, etc.) can be found in virtually all of our homes, even those who staunchly cling to their ethnic identities. When was the last time we offered a bag of chips or cookies to the kids downstairs? When was the last time we cut up some watermelon on a hot day and offered it to our neighbours?
"O Abu Dharr! Whenever you prepare a broth, put plenty of water in it, and give some of it to your neighbours," the Prophet advised his Companion in a Hadith in Muslim.
It's not just about hunger. In America, the land of plenty, Alhamdu lillah, we won't find the shortage of food we would in many Muslim countries. Here, food really is about uniting people, sharing what's common to our humanity. It's also about building neighbourly relations through small acts of kindness.
"By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer,'' the Prophet said. It was asked, "Who is that, O Messenger of Allah?'' He said, "One whose neighbour does not feel safe from his evil" (Bukhari and Muslim).
Maybe we're not so bad. At least we don't yell and scream at our neighbours, threaten them, cheat them or lie to them. But we're reminded of our negligence towards our neighbours when we realize that how we treat them relates to our relationship with God, which is the very core of who we are as Muslims.
The Prophet said, "the best of companions with Allah is the one who is best to his companions, and the best of neighbours to Allah is the one who is the best of them to his neighbour" (Tirmidhi).
After 9/11, Muslim leaders in America have emphasized the need to share Islam with our neighbours to encourage better understanding and to build bridges. The future of Islam in this country doesn't only depend on this exchange of values and information. Our very faith and connection to Allah is reflected in how we treat our neighbours. Perhaps this is the push we need to start connecting with them so we can better our relationship with God.
Merchandise of the Fool
Gambling is one of the major prohibitions and it is not a minor sin. The door is wide open before a Muslim to earn money through lawful means. Hence, he should not let others beguile him or deceive him with baseless ideas. Rather, he should be more realistic.
A Muslim is ordered by Allah to leave no stone unturned in seeking his livelihood through the sweat of his labour. In earning his living a Muslim should employ his thinking, exert physical effort to attain his goal, and burn his midnight oil to make his dreams and high hopes come true.
We can not expect a Muslim to earn his living by a stroke of luck while wallowing in deep slumber and exerting no effort. Lacking behind and lassitude are not the characteristics of a Muslim and not the norms of Islam.
Our Muslim youth should not be beguiled by such fake and illegal ambitions. Rather, they should live the reality as it is and be down-to-earth.
Referring to this in his sincere advice to his son Al-Hasan, Imam `Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) stated, 'Do not incline to hopes (i.e., while staying idle), because high hopes is the merchandise of the fool.' This also reminds us with the words of a poet: Never be the slave of hopes as hopes are the capitals of the penniless!”
IslamOnline.net - Yusuf Al Qaradawi