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Live by these principles (II)

More of the principles that we should be cultivating and implanting into our daily lives:

To steer clear of adultery and illicit relations: These illicit relations and perversions bring the greatest harm to individuals, families and societies. Refraining from and observing proper behaviour in such matters, leads to a healthy, happy upright and moral society. Regrettably nowadays these illicit relations have become a bane to society and this have led to many family breakups and the added heartache and misery to all those concerned.

We should all be committed to a lifestyle that is pure, clean and socially responsible. Islam and indeed all major religions teach that one should not come even close to adultery or fornication. 
‘Nor come near to adultery for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road to other evils’. (17:32)

In the Bible: “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20: 14); And Matthew 5; 28

To respect the sanctity of life and not to kill anyone: Some people may read this and ask ‘but what about the reports of many people being killed by Islamic militants’? Let us be clear about this, Islam does not allow the killing of innocent people. Some of these terrorist groups use the name of Islam for their own selfish and nefarious agenda. In some sections of the media there is an agenda, politics plays a major role too, to tarnish the name of Islam by adding the title ‘Islamist’ to any misdeed carried out anywhere in which a Muslim is involved.

Never will we read any report that says a gunman has killed people: for example the Danish student who killed over 70 school kids, being labelled with his religion.  Hitler killed millions but never has his religion ever been mentioned. Islam recognizes the sanctity of life and we should not do anything that may jeopardize it. One should avoid aggression and violence, because these things lead to murder. Every Muslim must be committed to peaceful ways. However, justice must be maintained, because just punishment brings safety and protects life.
Qur’an: ‘And kill not one another..’(4:29).In the Bible: “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13

To be humble and have no arrogance: Moderation and balance is the best thing in one’s behaviour as well as in one’s attitudes toward others. A Muslim should be a dignified and humble person. A Muslim should not not boastful, arrogant or pompous. Muslim thanks Allah for all His gifts and the ultimate praise and glory belongs to Allah.
‘Do not swell thy cheek with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for Allah does not love an arrogant boaster. And be moderate and your pace, lower your voice….(Quran 31:18-19)

“Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour [is] humility” (Proverbs 18:12). “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted”. (Luke 14:11)
To be careful with your money and not to be extravagant: A Muslim should live a balanced life style. Extravagance is frowned upon and not recommended, but also one should not become stingy and miserly. Importantly, money should be earned in Halal (lawful) ways and be spent in the correct manner. This must also be applied to all resources that Allah has given us. Careful, wise and responsible use of resources is a very important commitment of Muslims.

‘Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not miserly, but hold a just balance between those extremes… (Quran 25:67). And ‘…wear your beautiful apparel… eat and drink, but do not waste by excess, for Allah does not love the wasters’ (Quran 7:31). Further: ‘…but squander not your wealth in a manner of a spendthrift. Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the evil ones…… (Quran 17: 27).

The Bible says: ‘For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some covet after, they have erred from faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows’.  (1Timothy 6: 10) I have created the waster to destroy (Isaiah 54:16)
To fulfil the promises and your commitments: Promises and contracts are an important part of our daily lives. When promises are not kept, people lose trust in each other and the whole society becomes weak. Our commitment must be to speak the truth, to be honest and when we make a pledge we do our best to fulfil our pledges. However this commitment does not end with those around us but must include the commitment that we make to our Lord and Creator.

‘Those who faithfully observe their trusts and their covenants ….these will be the heirs, who will inherit Paradise; they will dwell therein forever’ Quran (23: 8-11). ‘O, you who believe, fulfil your undertakings…’ (Quran 5: 1)
“When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay”. Ecclesiastes 5: 4-5. “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips”. (Psalm 89:34)

Refrain from Gossip and backbiting.
Many of us are prone to gossiping about others; to some it has become an important past time in their daily lives, they hunger for it. This includes back biting, carrying of tales, ridiculing and even making fun of others. This can be hurtful to the person being spoken about because when we do so, we do not realize the difference nor make the distinction between truth and falsehood of our assertions and accusations.

‘Woe to every slanderer and backbiter.’ (Qur’an 104: 1). ‘O you who believe avoid suspicion as much as possible; for suspicion in some cases is a sin: and spy not on each other nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. (Qur’an 49:12). And, ‘those who love (to see) scandal published broadcast among the Believers, will have a grievous Penalty in this life and in the Hereafter’.  (Qur’an 24:19). Bible “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much. (Proverbs 20:19)

Enjoining good and forbidding wrong

We have been directed to enjoin good and guide people to what is right. Many of us see so many wrongs being committed yet we keep quiet and look the other way. We fail to differentiate between good and bad and as a result there is so much evil in this world. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to remind one another of our obligations to our Lord and Creator.

‘Evil and good are not alike, even though the plenty of evil attract thee. So be mindful of your duty to Allah’ (Quran 5: 100). And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends, one of another; they enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency..’ (Quran 3: 100)
These are but a few, among the many of the universal principles that we should attempt to live by – but the greatest is that we should live a life that is in congruence with the ways of our Lord and Creator.

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The Model Personality of a Muslim

23rd September 2020

A Muslim is expected to be and should be a living example of the teachings of the Quran and the ‘Sunnah’ (the teachings and guidance of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).

He should follow these in all his worldly affairs, relations, and situations – starting with his relationship with his Lord, his own self, his family and the people around him. One of the distinguishing features of the (ideal) Muslim is his faith in Allah, and his conviction that whatever happens in the universe and whatever befalls him, only happens through the will and the decree of Allah.

For the ease of writing this article I have made use of for want of a better word, the generic term ‘he’, ‘his’, ‘him’ and the male gender, but it goes without saying that these standards apply equally to female and male Muslims.

A Muslim should accept, recognise and sense that he is in constant need of the help and support of Allah, no matter how much he may think he can do for himself. He has no choice in his life but to submit to the will of his Creator, worship Him, strive towards the Right Path and do good deeds. This will guide him to be righteous and upright in all his deeds, both in public and in his private life.

This must the basis of his attitude towards this worldly life in his body, mind and soul. A Muslim should pay constant attention to his body’s physical, intellectual and spiritual needs. He needs to take good care of his body, promoting its good health and strength. For example he should not eat in excess; but he should eat enough to maintain his health and energy. Allah, The Exalted, Says “…Eat and drink; but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters.” [Quran 7: 31]

The Muslim should keep away from alcohol, drugs and stimulants in fact the consumption of alcohol is prohibited for every Muslim.  He should also try to exercise regularly to maintain his physical fitness. The Muslim also keeps his body and clothes clean, he bathes frequently.

The Prophet placed a great emphasis on cleanliness and bathing. As a matter of fact that when a Muslim performs his daily five times prayers or even when he takes the Quran to read, the precondition is that he should be in a state of ‘purity’. Purity in this case means that he should have performed ‘wudhu’, which means that he performs the washing of his hands, face and feet. A Muslim is also concerned with his clothing and appearance but in accordance with the Islamic ideal of moderation, avoiding the extremes.

As for his intellectual care, the Muslim should take care of his mind by pursuing beneficial knowledge. It is his responsibility to seek knowledge whether it is religious or secular, so he may understand the nature and the essence of things. Allah Says: “…and say: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” [Quran 20: 114]

The Muslim should not forget that man is not only composed of a body and a mind, but that he also possesses a soul and a spirit. Therefore, the Muslim pays as much attention to his spiritual development as well as to his physical and intellectual development, in a balanced manner which ideally does not concentrate on one aspect to the detriment of others.

A Muslim should also maintain and have kind, respectful and generous attitude towards all people, starting with his family. A Muslim must treat his parents with kindness and respect, compassion, politeness and deep gratitude. He should recognize and accept their status and his duties towards them. Allah Says “And serve Allah. Ascribe nothing as partner unto Him. (Show) kindness unto parents…” [Quran 4: 36]

Towards his wife, a Muslim should exemplify good, kind and loving treatment, intelligent handling, deep understanding of the nature and psychology of women, and proper fulfilment of his responsibilities and duties in keeping and ensuring a happy family life and a home.

With his children, the Muslim is a parent who should understand and undertake his responsibility towards their good upbringing, showing them love and compassion, influence their Islamic development and giving them proper education, so that they become active and constructive elements in society, and a source of goodness for their parents, community, and society as a whole.

With his relatives, the Muslim maintains the ties of kinship and knows his duties towards them. He understands the high status given to relatives in Islam, which makes him keep in touch with them, no matter what the circumstances.

With his friends and neighbours, the Muslim illustrates good treatment and consideration of others’ feelings and sensitivities. He turns a blind eye to their faults while taking care not to commit any such errors himself. The Muslim relationship with his wider circle of friends is based on love for the sake of Allah. He is expected to be loyal and does not betray them; he should be sincere and does not ‘cheat’ them; he should be gentle, tolerant and forgiving; generous and he supplicates for them.

In his social relationships with all people, the Muslim should be well-mannered, modest and not arrogant. He should not envy others, fulfil his promises and be cheerful. He should be patient and avoid slandering and uttering obscenities. He should not unjustly accuse others nor should he interfere in that which does not concern him.

He should refrain from gossiping, spreading slander and stirring up trouble – avoiding false speech and suspicion. When he is entrusted with a secret, he keeps it. He respects his elders. He mixes with the best of people. He strives to reconcile between the Muslims.

He visits the sick and attends funerals. He returns favours and is grateful for them. He calls others to Islam with wisdom, example and beautiful preaching. He should guide people to do good and always make things easy and not difficult.

A Muslim is expected and should be fair in his judgments, not a hypocrite, a ‘yes man’ or a show-off. He should not boast about his achievements and deeds. He should be straightforward and never deceitful or twisted, no matter the circumstances. He should be generous and not remind others of his gifts or favours. Wherever possible he relieves the burden of the debtor. He should be proud and not think of begging.

These are the basic standards by which the (ideal) Muslim, in fact every other faith and religion expects believers to structure their life upon. Now how do we measure up and fit into all this? Can we honestly say that we really try to live by these ideals and principles; if not can we really call ourselves a true Muslim or a believer of our Lord in any other religion or faith?

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Test of our Moral Character

1st September 2020

‘You shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and your personal selves; and shall certainly hear much that will grieve you……..but if you persevere patiently and guard against evil – then that will be the determining factor in all affairs’ (Quran 3: 186)

Morality, integrity and upright conduct and behaviour are held in high esteem by all people in their customs, traditions and behaviour in all religions. But regrettably in this day and age many of us seem to be ‘pushing’ them away and placing them to the ‘rear’.

Despite the fact that these are a fundamental part of the Message of all the Prophets of The Almighty (peace be upon them all), so much so that the last of the Prophets – Muhammad (pbuh) – said: “I was sent (specifically) to perfect good moral character.”

Morality and moral character and behaviour is something that we all ‘agree’ with but regrettably in today’s world many of us seem to be putting this aside. You find that even those who campaign against moral character and act immorally and unscrupulously would admittedly speak highly of moral character and admit to its virtue.

No need to make a show

A person might adopt good manners under certain circumstances, simply because they are fundamental or he might do so little by little. Even this is something good. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh): “Knowledge is attained only through learning and gentleness is attained only through being gentle. Whoever is intent on attaining goodness will be given it and whoever keeps away from evil will be spared it.”

However, it is not at all praiseworthy for a person to make a ‘public’ show of good character in order to take advantage of others or win them over for some personal benefit or ulterior motive. The true test of a person’s moral fibre is constancy. This is why the old Arabic saying goes: “You see the true character of people when you travel with them.”

First test of moral character

A person’s true character shows forth when he is at home in how he deals with his wife through the long years, during hardship and ease, when things are going well and when things go wrong. This is where he has to hold himself together and where his patience is tested. His ability to keep clear of pride and arrogance, to remain gentle and tolerant, and to exhibit good conduct are all tested during his married life and his family life.

The same can be said regarding friendships when a person is constant and sincere regardless of the ever changing circumstances. How often does a person see his friend as the one whom he can rely on in need, only to find that “friend” adds to his hardships when that time of need arrives? Long term acquaintance and association reveal how shallow and superficial a person’s moral character really is.

The test of power

There is another important test of moral character that shows how true or false a person’s morals are, and that is the test of power. A person who is weak might exhibit good moral conduct and present a passive, gentle personality and character. He does not do so because it is part of his nature, but simply because he does not have the power to behave in any other way.

An Arab poet once said: ‘Oppression is human nature, so if you find someone abstaining from it, there is some reason why’. These words also echo what was said by Aristotle who said: “Oppression is part of human nature. Only one of two reasons withholds people from it: religiousness or fear of reprisal.”

When a person is in a position of strength, then his true moral character shows forth. If a person who attains power, wealth, or prestige continues to uphold his moral values, maintains his affection for others, remains humble, and shows mercy and kindness to those who ‘ill’ treat him, this is a sign of the true decency of his character and the true goodness of his person. Alas, how often do we find people who are not corrupted by power, fame, and sudden wealth?

How to behave in disagreement?

A third test of moral character is disagreement. Most people exhibit good conduct with those who agree with them and share their way of thinking, on account of their common interests. However, when differences arise, whether ideological or material, people tend to expose their true selves.

A person of dignity and good character will remain composed and sensible. He will express and express his disagreements in a clear and precise manner. Moreover, he will be respectful when doing so and avoid accusatory, insulting, and offensive language.

His moral character will prevent him from conducting himself in a mean and lowly fashion, so he will be able to retain his composure while talking to others, in spite of his disagreement with them. He will not react emotionally in a way that detracts from his character and merely demonstrates his inability to prevail on the strength of his opinion.

However some of us in the same situation, will start cursing and hurling accusations at our opponents, acting as if only we are right and everyone else is wrong. Our misplaced anger will destroy the ‘face’ of our good character. We may go so far to invent and create lies and make false claims. We might even resort to deceptive arguments to make our opponents stumble and deliberately take the words of others out of context.

People like to say that disagreements do not spoil their interpersonal relationships and it is good that they say so, but what really counts is how they conduct themselves in actual practice, not just in theory. “And do not let the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just. That is nearer to piety.” (Quran 5: 8)

We must learn how to translate our moral values and principles from ‘theory’ into a practical way of life, into something that endures in our hearts, minds and actions throughout our lives and our relationships, no matter how long they last.

They must be values that stay with us even if we become powerful ‘big shots’ or attain to high administrative office, or a prominent media spot, or social prestige, or success in business. We must learn to tolerate even when we disagree with one another, so we do not have to be always faced with the choice of either destroying our relationships or remaining silent whenever we disagree or see someone making a mistake.

Morality is the foundation of our life.

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Think about your life to come

25th August 2020

With the current lock down in place and the uncertainty and fear in our hearts and minds about Covid – 19 and all the related problems we are more focussed on the present life and our daily existence and think very little of the life after death to yet come.

I have taken the liberty, or shall I say the opportunity and have decided instead to use the following light hearted words that carry a very profound meaning and I am sure that during these trying times they will find appeal with many readers.

Over time I have read these messages that some of them were shared with me by friends and I have taken to reading them whenever I need some inspiration or even just a smile, or just a small reminder that life needn’t be that serious if we can see the truth beyond the humour, and the humour beyond the truth.

I hope that you too will find as much inspiration and enjoy them as I still do whenever I read them. No fire and brimstone or table- thumping lectures here just a common sense approach to life through a light hearted clever play on words.

Life has its daily challenges but remember, like a rose, life was meant to have its thorns. Just as the crushing of a rose flower brings out its sweet perfume, so the difficulties of life release the sweetness within us. If we let them, they can bring out qualities such as love for others, tenderness, compassion, humility and closeness to loved ones. But more importantly it should bring us closer to our Lord and Creator.

You can be sure of 10 Things Allah Almighty Won’t Ask..

Allah Almighty won’t ask what kind of car you drove, He’ll ask how many people you drove who didn’t have transportation…

Allah Almighty won’t ask the square footage of your house, He’ll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.

Allah Almighty won’t ask about the clothes you had in your closet, nor what labels they had, He’ll ask how many less fortunate people you helped clothe.

Allah Almighty won’t ask what your highest salary was; He’ll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.

Allah Almighty won’t ask what your job title was; He’ll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.

Allah Almighty won’t ask how much money you made; He’ll ask you how you spent it.

Allah Almighty won’t ask how many friends you had; He’ll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.

Allah Almighty won’t ask in what neighbourhood you lived, He’ll ask how you treated your neighbours.

Allah Almighty won’t ask about the colour of your skin, He’ll ask about the content of your heart and character.

Allah Almighty won’t ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation; He’ll lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven, and not to the gates of Hell.

So what are you waiting for……..?

 Some things we need to ponder upon….

  • Give Allah what’s right — not what’s left.
  • Man’s way leads to a hopeless end — Allah’s way leads to an endless hope
  • A lot of kneeling will keep you in good standing
  • He who kneels before Allah can stand before anyone.
  • In the sentence of life, the devil may be a comma –but never let him be the period.
  • Don’t put a question mark where Allah puts a period.
  • Are you wrinkled with burden? Come to the mosque for a face-lift.
  • When praying, don’t give Allah instructions — just report for duty.
  • Haven’t been to Mosque recently, hurry up, before six strong men arrive to carry your body to the mosque…….. for your funeral prayers.
  • We don’t change Allah’s Message — His Message should change us.
  • The mosque is prayer-conditioned.
  • When Allah ordains, He sustains.
  • WARNING: Exposure to Allah may prevent burning.
  • Plan ahead — It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
  • Most people want to serve Allah, but only in an advisory position.
  • Suffering from truth decay? Brush up on your reading the Al-Quran.
  • Exercise daily — walk with Allah.
  • Never give the devil a ride — he will always take over and want to drive – to places he wants to take you to.
  • Nothing else ruins the truth like stretching it.
  • Compassion is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back.
  • He who angers you controls you.
  • Worry is the darkroom in which negatives can develop.
  • Give Satan an inch and; he’ll be a ruler.
  • Be ye fishers of men — you catch them and He’ll clean them.
  • Allah doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
  • Read the Al-Quran — It will scare ‘hell’ out of you.

 

Smile, think and even seriously ponder over the subtle messages of these little gems of wisdom – they may just help us all to look at life from a more positive angle and who knows maybe embrace a life changing attitude.

Money can build a house but it takes love to make it a home. Faith gives us courage to face the present with confidence and the future with expectancy. Listen with your heart as well as with your ears.

When you pray, you open a channel to the reservoir of Gods almighty power

Worry ends where faith begins

If we never experienced failure we would never appreciate success

Faith is the soul of success. The people who accomplish the most do so not because they never run into problems, but because they believe there is a solution for everyone.

God’s message and guidance is like a radio station broadcasting all the time. You just have to tune in and receive His signals.

To feel rich, count the things that you have that money can’t buy.

No problem is too big or too small to take to God in prayer. Many consider prayer a last resort, but God meant it to be our first and surest line of defence.

You don’t have to walk life’s path alone; the great God of the universe will take your hand and walk by your side. As busy as He is, He is never too busy for us.

 

Faith and trust go hand in hand. If you have faith in Allah, you’ll trust Him to answer your prayers in the way He knows is best.

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