6. KEEPING GOOD COMPANY:
One of the most important things we must do, which sadly many people neglect, is that we should avoid bad company. People we should avoid taking as friends are those who speak too freely, who miss Salah, who do not dress modestly, who backbite, slander etc.
The company of such people is poison; just even sitting and talking with them will lead one to commit sins. Just as a person who sits for a long time with a perfume seller begins to smell nice, and a person who sits by a gutter cleaner begins to smell awful, similarly a person who spends time in the company of the wicked eventually gets affected badly by them.
Rather, we should seek out pious friends who fear Allah Ta’ala and who have the qualities of humility, charity, compassion, modesty and knowledge. If we sit with them we will always benefit and they will be a means for us to get closer to Allah Ta’ala!
The Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:
“The case of the good companion and the bad companion is like that of the seller of musk and the blower of the bellows (iron-smith). As for the seller of musk, he will either give you some of the musk, or you will purchase some from him, or at least you will come away having experienced its good smell. Whereas the blower of the bellows will either burn your clothing, or at least you will come away having experienced its repugnant smell.”
[Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
“All friends will be enemies of one another on that Day (Day of Judgment) except those of the virtuous.”
7. HAVING FEAR AND HOPE IN ALLAH:
“Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.”
(Surah Yusuf 12:87)
One must be hopeful of Allahs mercy and forgiveness and fearful of His punishment. It is this fear that should lead one to seek Allahs forgiveness with hope. Allah says:
“Know that Allah is severe in punishment and that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”
(Surat al-Maaidah 5:98)
In the above verse, Allah gives us reason to fear because His punishment is justly severe, as well as good reason to have hope, since He is the Most Forgiving and Merciful. There should be a balance between fear and hope and not too much or too less of one or the other.
We should always remain between fear and hope. For, the right and the approved kind of fear is that which acts as a barrier between the slave and the things forbidden by Allah. But, if fear is excessive, then the possibility is that the man will fall into despair and pessimism.
On the other hand the approved state of optimism is of a man who does good in the light of the Shari’ah and is hopeful of being rewarded for it. Or, conversely, if a man committed a sin, he repents sincerely, and is hopeful of being forgiven. Allah (swt) said:
“Verily, those who believed, and those who migrated and fought in the way of Allah, it is they who are hopeful of Allah’s mercy. And Allah is very Forgiving, very Merciful.”
In contrast, if a man indulges in sins and excesses, but is hopeful that he would be forgiven without doing anything good, then, this is self-deception, mere illusion and false hope. Abu ‘Al Rowzbari has said, “Fear and hope are like the two wings of a bird. If they are well balanced, the flight will be well balanced. But, If one is stunted, the Right would also be stunted. And, to be sure, if the two are lost, the bird will soon be in the throes of death.” Allah has praised the people of hope and fear in the following verse:
‘Is one who worships devotedly during the night, prostrating himself or standing, fearing the Hereafter, and hoping for the mercy of his Lord (is equal to him who doesn’t do these things)?’
(Al Zumar, 9)
Hope then also demands fear. If that was not the case, one would be in a state of false security. Conversely, fear demands hope. Without that it would be despair.
Fear and hope, both should be equally proportioned in our hearts, in our worship, and in our dua to Allah. Allah says:
“Call out to Him with fear and hope.”
(Surat al-Araaf 7:56)
“They forsake their beds to call their Lord in fear and hope.”
(Surat as-Sajdah 32:16)
8. VOLUNTARY FASTING FOR THE PLEASURE OF ALLAH:
Fasting in general and voluntary fasting in particular is a great worship. Fasting is not restricted to Ramadhan, but it is an act of worship that can be [and should be in some cases] performed at any time and at any place except when not recommended. Indeed, it is a worship that draws the believer closer to Allah and closer to perfection.
FASTING MONDAYS AND THURSDAYS:
`Aa’ishah (RadiyAllahu Anha) said: The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, used to fast Mondays and Thursdays”
Abu Hurairah (RadiyAllahu Anhu) reported that the most the Prophet, SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, would fast would be Monday and Thursday. He was asked about that and he said:
“The deeds of people are presented to Allah on every Monday and Thursday. Allah forgives every Muslim except for those who are deserting each other. He says: “leave them for later.”
INTENTION FOR VOLUNTARY FASTING.
As opposed to Ramadan, the intention does not have to be made before dawn. The person can intend fasting [and start fasting] after dawn any time [even after noon] given that he did not eat anything. `Aa’ishah said : The Prophet, SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, came to us one day and said,
“Do you have any [food]?”
We said “No”
“Therefore, I am Fasting.”
[Muslim and Abu Dawood]
FASTING THREE DAYS OF EVERY MONTH (WHITE DAYS):
Abu Tharr Al-Ghefari (RadiyAllahu Anhu) said:
‘The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, said:
“O Abu Tharr! if you fast three days of every month, then fast the 13th, the 14th and the 15th [these are call the al-ayaam al-beedh, the white days]”
[Ahmad, an-Nasaa’i and at-Tirmithi; Sahih]
“Fasting and the Qur’an will intercede for the slave on the Day of Resurrection. Fasting will say: ‘O My Rabb! I prevented him from food and desires, so accept my intercession for him.’ And the Qur’an will say: ‘I prevented him from sleep during the night, so accept my intercession for him.’ He (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said: “And they will (be allowed to) intercede.””
[Ahmad, at-Tabarani, Al-Hakim, Sahih]
So let us get closer to Allah by fasting Mondays and Thursdays or at least 3 days every month on the 13th,14th and 15th. If we leave something for the pleasure of Allah then we will get MUCH greater in return!
9. SINCERELY REPENTING TO ALLAH:
Allah says: O son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky and you would then seek My forgiveness, I would forgive you.
When a person sins and then sincerely turns to Allah for forgiveness, one will find Allah ready to accept his repentance and to forgive him, as this verse indicates:
“And whoever does a wrong or wrongs himself, but then seeks forgiveness from Allah, he will find Allah forgiving and merciful.”
(Surat an-Nisaa 4:110)
Everyone commits sin and does wrong, but Allah is always willing to forgive and He always gives them a chance to repent and seek His forgiveness. A believer should never forget the fact that Allah is so forgiving. If Allah had willed, He could have held everyone accountable for his or her sins, but He has decreed that He shall allow His servants to seek His forgiveness and that He shall in fact forgive who and what He wills. In fact, Allah commands that His servants seek His forgiveness:
“And seek Allahs forgiveness. Certainly, Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”
(Surat al-Muzzammil 73:20)
Repentance is an act, which purifies the soul and brings the servant closer to Allah. It puts the heart at rest from guilt. It protects one from falling prey to his desires and lusts and increases his faith.
We must ask ourselves this question: Would we be willing to forgive anyone who hurts us and disobeys us constantly as easily as Allah is Able to forgive? Most probably, the answer would be no. But our Creator is the Most Kind and He is the Most Perfect.
“Lo! Allah is a Lord of Kindness to mankind, but most of mankind give not thanks.”
(Surat al-Baqarah 2:143)
In this Hadithi Qudsi, mankind is encouraged to seek Allahs forgiveness and repent, but there are five conditions of repentance, which must be met for ones repentance to be accepted. The first and most important is that the act of repentance be sincerely for Allah alone. Secondly, the person must feel remorse and guilt over his actions so much so that he wished he had never done it in the first place. The third condition is that the person must immediately cease performing the wrong and sinful act. Fourthly, the repentant person must have a firm intention to never commit the sin again. And lastly, the person must repent before it is too late, meaning before death approaches.
However, there is a condition. One must not associate any partners with Allah, which is shirk. And Allah does not forgive shirk and if one dies without believing in Allah alone as ones Creator, then he will be doomed to the Hellfire for all of eternity. So, Allah emphasizes the importance of calling on Him alone. He is Alone and needs no partners, associates, wives, children, etc. There is no god, but Allah. None forgives sins except Him, so one who is seeking forgiveness should seek it only from Allah.
Allahs forgiveness and mercy is far greater and vaster than the sins of the creation. One must always have trust and hope in Allah in both good times and bad times and especially when seeking Allahs forgiveness. And the believer who calls out to his Lord for forgiveness demonstrates his true weakness and that he is totally dependent on the Creator.
When one confesses his sins to Allah and sincerely repents with hope in Allahs mercy, the heart should come to peace and the soul should feel rest. When a person has hope, he has no reason to despair because it only leads to destruction. Allah gives hope to all, especially those who despair that there is no reason to despair because Allah is the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy. Allah praises those who repent and turn to Him:
“And those who, when they commit a lewd act or wrong themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins and who forgives sins except Allah? And they do not persist in what (wrong) they were doing while they knew it. For such, the reward is forgiveness from their Lord and Gardens with rivers flowing through, wherein they shall abide forever. How excellent is the reward of the doers (of good)!”
(Surah Aal-e-Imran 3:135-136)
10. HAVING GOOD MANNERS, CHARACTER AND BEING HUMBLE:
Many of us think that “a perfect Muslim” is simply one who is correct in the observance of the salah (ritual Prayer), the fasting, the zakah (payment of a certain portion of one’s wealth to the poor), and the Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah). This indeed is not the case.
If the ritual observances do not help the person to be humble, virtuous and truly God-fearing, then he or she is not a real Muslim. A Muslim should be good and just in dealing with others, no matter their religion, and take special care to keep away from all the shameful and sinful things Allah (God) has forbidden.
One can never get close to Allah by being arrogant, full of pride and having a bad character and manners. Those who have humility and are humble and have good character and manners are the closest to Allah and Allah raises their ranks in the hereafter.
THE SUPERIORITY OF GOOD CHARACTER:
Hadrat Abu Darda, may Allah be pleased with him, relates that the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:
“Nothing is heavier in the scales of a believer on the Day of Judgement than his good behaviour. Allah detests a person who is obscene and shameless.”
HAVING HUMILITY AND BEING HUMBLE:
The Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:
“He who was humble for the sake of Allah by one degree, Allah (SWT) would then elevate them to a degree till they reach the uppermost of high Orders, and he who was arrogant to Allah (SWT), Allah (SWT) would then lower him for a degree till he reaches the lowest of low Orders.”
[Narrated by: Muslim (Hadeeth: 6535]
Al-Nawawi (r.a.) said:
The Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:
“And no one humbles himself before Allaah but Allaah will raise him (in status).”
Humbleness is to know the value of oneself, to avoid pride, or disregarding the truth and underestimating people. As the Prophet, SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, said, according to Muslim and others,
“Al-Kibr is rejecting the truth and looking down upon people”
[Muslim, Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud].
Humbleness is for one who is important and significant and he fears to gain notoriety or to become too great among people. Humbleness is that one should humble himself with his companions.
Humbleness is to humble oneself to one who is below you. If you find someone who is younger than you, or of less importance than you, you should not despise him, because he might have a better heart than you, or be less sinful, or closer to Allah than you. Even if you see a sinful person and you are righteous, do not act in arrogance towards him, and thank Allah that He saved you from the tribulation that He put him through. Remember that there might be some riyaa’ or vanity in your righteous deeds that may cause them to be of no avail, and that this sinful person may be regretful and fearful concerning his bad deeds, and this may be the cause of forgiveness of his sins.
Humbleness is that your deed should not become too great in your eyes. If you do a good deed, or attempt to get closer to Allah ta`ala through an act of obedience, your deed may still not be accepted,
“Allah only accepts from those who have taqwa (fear of Allah).”
(Surat al-Maida: 27)
Humbleness is that, when you are advised, if Shaytaan calls you to reject the advice, you must negate him. Because the purpose of advice is that your brother points out the defects that you have.
The arrogant never gives credit to anybody or mentions good about someone, and if he needed to do so, he would also mention five defects of that person. But if he hears somebody reminding him about his own defects, he will not be flexible nor comply due to his inferiority complex. This is why it is among man’s moral integrity to accept criticism or comment without any sensitivity or discomfort or feelings of shame and weakness.
We can summarize the teachings of Islam about the Muslim character in the following list:
◆ Be truthful in everything, don’t lie.
◆ Be sincere and straightforward, don’t be hypocritical.
◆ Be honest, don’t be corrupt.
◆ Be humble, don’t be boastful.
◆ Be moderate, don’t be excessive.
◆ Be reserved, don’t be garrulous.
◆ Be soft-spoken, don’t be loud.
◆ Be refined and gentle in speech, don’t curse and use foul language.
◆ Be loving and solicitous to others, don’t be unmindful of them.
◆ Be considerate and compassionate, don’t be harsh.
◆ Be polite and respectful to people, don’t be insulting or disrespectful.
◆ Be generous and charitable, don’t be selfish and miserly.
◆ Be good natured and forgiving, don’t be bitter and resentful.
Share and be content with what Allah has given you, don’t be greedy.
◆ Be cheerful and pleasant, don’t be irritable and morose.
◆ Be chaste and pure, don’t be lustful.
◆ Be alert and aware of the world around you, don’t be absent-minded.
◆ Be dignified and decent, don’t be graceless.
◆ Be optimistic and hopeful, don’t be cynical or pessimistic.
◆ Be confident and have deep faith, don’t be doubtful and wavering.
◆ Be spiritually oriented and not materialistic.
◆ Be confident of the mercy of Allah, don’t be despairing and lose heart.
◆ Be diligent and vigilant of your duties, don’t be negligent.
◆ Be thankful to Allah and constantly pray to Him, don’t be forgetful of His innumerable blessings.
Finally as the righteous say, “The love of Allah is the axis around which all good revolves.” If you fall in love with Allah, and then strive to be true in your love–in accordance with the way of the Beloved of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), then you’ll find nothing but increasing light and contentment in your life.
AND ALLAH ALONE GIVES SUCCESS!