Don’t Be Hasty In Judging Someone

June 24, 2012 § 2 Comments

Judging someone, that is the favorite past-time of most people, myself included. Worst still, we are too quick to do that without taking due time and considerations, often enough making fools of ourselves. Perhaps the following incident could offer us some useful thoughts.

rear angle on the mausoleum of imam al-shafi'i

rear angle on the mausoleum of imam shafi’e (Photo credit: Jess Gambacurta)

Imam Ahmad used to mention the virtues of his great sheikh, Imam Shafi’e to his wife. He would mention to her the extensive and superb knowledge of Imam Shafi’e as well as his ‘Taqwa’ (piety).

One day, Imam Ahmad invited Imam Shafi’e to come to his home for a visit. When the time for dinner arrived,
Imam Shafi’e ate until he was full and went to the guest room for some sleep.

On seeing this, the startled wife of Imam Ahmad said to him: “O Ahmad, my beloved husband! Is this the same Shafi’e that you used to tell me so much about?

Imam Ahmad said: “Indeed he is!

And she said: “I noticed 3 things about him worthy of criticism! Firstly, when we served him the food, he ate plenty of it! Secondly, when he went into the guest room, he went to sleep without standing up to perform the Tahajjud (night prayer)! Lastly, when he prayed Solat ul Fajr with us, he did not perform the wudhu (ablution)!

So Imam Ahmad went to Imam Shafi’e to ask him about these matters his wife noticed. Imam Shafi’e gently explained to him, like a father would to his son :

O Ahmad! I ate plenty because I know for certain that your food is ‘Halal’ and indeed you are a generous man! And the food that comes from a generous man is a cure, while the food that comes from a stingy man is a disease! However, I didn’t eat plenty of food in order to achieve my fill; rather I ate plenty of your food in order to derive the cure from it!

As for the reason I didn’t stand up at night to perform the Tahajjud, when I laid my head down to get some sleep, I looked and all I could see was the Book of Allah (Qur’an) and the Sunnah of His Prophet SAW right in front of my face! So I deducted 72 fiqh-related benefits from them for the Muslims to benefit from. Hence, Thus there was no opportunity for me to stand and perform the Tahajjud!

As for the reason why I prayed Solat ul Fajr without performing ablution, by Allah! my eyes never tasted the sweetness of sleep in order for me to renew my wudhu. I was awake the whole night, so I prayed Solat ul Fajr with the same wudhu I had for Solat ul ‘Isha.

That is how the great Imam Shafi’e normally make full use his time, remembering Allah SWT and the Prophet SAW. And he was famously known to maintain his wudhu from ‘Isya to Fajr. Perhaps, the singularly most important I learned from this wonderful story is how quick are we to offer judgment of someone. Let’s not be hasty in that, eh?


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