June 3, 2012 § 4 Comments
How many hearts have been lost in an effort to win arguments? And yet, as human beings it is natural and even our right to disagree, and to think critically. One of the most difficult challenges of character for Muslims of every background is being able to practice hilm (forbearance) during times of anger and disagreement—that is to be able to disagree with a dignified and generous spirit, and to think critically without being argumentative, stubborn, and condescending. It is because we as a community fall into this so much, and on so many levels, that I found this issue to be a relevant reminder to myself and others.
The activist argues about strategy, the student argues about fiqh and other branches of knowledge, the community leader argues in the board room, and the Imam with those who disagree with his style or approach. Whether it be with our family, friends, community members or the Islamophobe—we often find ourselves in situations where anger and argumentation can creep in, sour the mood, and sully the spirit. Below is a collection of Quranic verses, Prophetic narrations, and sayings of righteous people mostly taken from Sa’eed Hawwa’s work “Selected Writings on Purifying the Soul.” These statements remind us to prevent anger and argumentation from getting the better of us.
May Allah help us to remember that when we deal with people, our transactions are actually with Him and not His creation. As such, may awareness of His presence (ihsan) bring goodness from our speech and characters during times of difficulty as well as ease. Ameen.
1. “And when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with ‘Salamaa’ (peaceful words of gentleness).” (Qur’an, 25:63)
2. “If they pass by some vain speech or play, they pass by it with dignity.” (Qur’an, 25:72)
3. “And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys… But of the people is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening Book.” (Qur’an, 31:19-20)
4. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) said: “He who gave up disputing while he is right, a palace of high rank in Paradise will be built for him. He who gave up disputing while he is a fabricator, a palace in the center of Paradise will be built for him.” (al-Tirmidhi who declared it as hasan)
5. “There are no people who went astray after having been guided except for indulging in disputation.” (al-Tirmidhi)
6. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ repeated three times, “Those who search deeply for confusing questions have perished.” (Muslim)
7. “Do not dispute with your brother, ridicule him, nor promise him and then break your promise.” (al-Tirmidhi)
8. Bilal ibn Sa’d radiAllahu `anhu (ra) said, “If you see a disputing, arrogant, and bigoted person, bear in mind that they are utterly lost.”
9. Luqman `alayhi assalam (as) said to his son, “O son! Do not dispute with the knowledgeable lest they detest you.”
10. `Umar (ra) said, “Do not learn knowledge for three things and do not leave it for three things. Do not learn it to dispute over it, to show off with it, or to boast about it. Do not leave seeking it out of shyness, dislike for it, or contending with ignorance in its stead.”
11. It was narrated that Abu Hanifa said to Dawud al-Taa’i, “Why do you prefer seclusion?” Dawud replied, “To struggle against myself to leave disputing.” Abu Hanifah said, “Attend meetings, listen to what is said, and remain silent.” Dawud said, “I have done so, but I have found nothing heavier than this.”
12. `A’ishah (ra) narrated that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “The most hated person with Allah is the most quarrelsome person.” (al-Bukhari)
13. Ibn Qutaybah said that his disputant said to him, “What is the matter with you?” He replied to him, “I will not dispute with you.” The disputant then said, “Thus you have come to know that I am right.” Ibn Qutaybah responded, “No, but I respect myself more than that.” At this the disputant retracted and said, “And I will not claim a thing that is not my right.”
14. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The one initiating abuse incurs the sin of abusing as long as the other did not return it.” (Muslim)
15. “The believer does not curse.” (al-Tirmidhi who declared it hasan)
16. “The believer does not defame, abuse, disparage, nor vilify.” (al-Tirmidhi, sahih)
17. “Do not invoke Allah’s curse, His anger, or Hellfire.” (al-Tirmidhi who declared it hasan sahih)
18. “Men accustomed to cursing will not be intercessors or witnesses on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim)
19. Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (ra) narrated, “I asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ about what saves me from Allah’s wrath, and he said, “Do not become angry.” (al-Tabarani and Ibn Abdul Barr) Ibn `Umar, Ibn Mas’ud, and Abu Darda’ (ra) relate similar conversations on their own behalf.
20. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “He who is victorious over his passion at the time of anger is the strongest among you. He who forgives having the power to release (his anger and take revenge) is the most patient among you.” (a-Baihaqi in Shu’ab al-Imaan)
21. Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘The strong person is not he who has physical strength but the person is strong if he can control his anger.” (al-Bukhari and Muslim)
22. `Umar ibn Abdul Aziz wrote to one of his governors and said, “Do not punish at the time of anger. If you are angry with any man, keep him in detention. When your anger is appeased punish him in proportion to his crime.”
23. ‘Ali ibn Zaid mentioned, “A man of the Quraysh spoke harshly to the Caliph `Umar Ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz who remained silent for a long time and then said, “You wish that the devil rouses in me the pride of the Caliphate and I treat you so rudely that you can take revenge tomorrow (in the Afterlife) on me.”
24. Ibn ‘Abbas (ra) narrated, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “And when you get angry, keep silent.” (Ahmad, Ibn Abi Dunya, al-Tabarani, and al-Bayhaqi)
25. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Anger is a burning coal. It burns in the heart.” (al-Tirmidhi and al-Bayhaqi)
26. “When anyone of you gets angry, let him perform ablution because anger arises from fire.” (Abu Dawud)
27. “Nobody swallows a more bitter pill than that of anger—seeking the satisfaction of Allah.” (Ibn Majah)
28. `Umar (ra) said, “He who fears Allah cannot give an outlet to his anger (by sinning). He who fears Allah cannot do what he likes.”
29. A nomad said to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ “Advise me.” And he ﷺ said, “If a man defamed you with what he knows about you, do not defame him with what you know about him. For the sin is against him.” The nomad said, “I never abused any person after that.”
30. Al-Hasan (ra) said, “He that did not safeguard his tongue did not understand his religion.”
You thought it was over didn’t you? Here is a little something extra to encourage us not only to avoid such negative traits, but to also proactively seek positive ones in their place.
10 Reasons to Strive for Generosity of Spirit and Kindness in Speech
1. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Kind speech and feeding (the hungry) guarantee you Paradise.” (al-Tabarani)
2. “And speak nicely to people.” (Qur’an, 2:83)
3. “When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally.” (Qur’an, 4:86) Ibn Abbas commented on this and said, “He who greets you return his greeting in better words even if he were a Magian.1 He also said, “If Pharoah were to speak nicely to me, I would do so to him.”
4. Anas (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Verily there are chambers in Paradise; their insides and outsides can be seen – for him who spoke kindly and fed (the hungry).” (al-Tirmidhi)
5. He ﷺ also said, “A good word is also a charitable deed.” (Muslim)
6. “Ward off the Fire even if by giving half a date in charity. If you could not afford that then utter a kind word.” (al-Bukhari and Muslim)
7. `Umar (ra) said, “Generosity is an easy thing. It is a smiling face and kind words.”
8. Some wise men said, “Do not be stingy with a word that does not arouse your Lord’s wrath yet it pleases your brother. It may happen that Allah gives you the reward of those who do good works.”
9. “And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give to their kinsmen, the poor, and those who left their homes for Allah’s cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you?” (Qur’an, 24:22). Abu Bakr (ra) had cut off his financial support of his relative Mustah because Mustah had participated in the slander against his daughter `A’ishah (ra). After this verse was revealed, he resumed and even increased the amount he gave Mustah in financial support.
10. “Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish.” (Qur’an, 7:199)
May 23, 2012 § Leave a comment
Sajdah is a unique position or stance in the regular prayers, which a Muslim is supposed to offer at least five times a day. Although the basic purpose of obligatory prayers is not to provide an exercise for people yet it is being increasingly recognized that it has plenty of medical advantages for the human body. Here it is worth mentioning that Holy Prophet Muhammad has mentioned in a hadith in Ibn Majah that prayer is a cure for many diseases. The fact is that a person who offers his prayers regularly that too in the mosque is protected from many diseases which he many not even know.
The position of Sajdah in which the forehead touches the earth is exclusively associated with the Muslim form of prayer. It is the climax of a Muslim’s prayer and as mentioned in a Hadith a Muslim is nearest to Allah in this position.
Abu Huraira (radiAllahu anhu) reported that the messenger of Allah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“The nearest a servant comes to his Lord is when he is prostrating himself, so make supplication (in this state)” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
A’ishah Siddiqa (radiAllahu anha) narrates that The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to prolong the prostration to such an extent that one could recite fifty verses (of the Qur’an) before he would lift his head [Sahih al-Bukhari]
In another Hadith narrated by Anas bin Malik (radiAllahu anhu) the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) advised Muslims to perform Ruku (bowing) and Sajdah properly.
In another Hadith the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) advised to perform Sajdah and Bowing calmly and to get up only when the body has come to ease.
In supplication for the victory, He (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also performed long bowing (Ruku) and Sajdah in the special prayers at the time of eclipse. Hence the first positive effect upon a person who prostrates or does Sajdah is that he comes nearest to Allah and hence in that condition he can supplicate. This is a great psychological advantage and it gives relief to the person concerned as life is full of worries and in this position he gets at least a transient refuge from the agonizing problems. When a person goes to the position of prostration Sajdah his whole body is in active motion. This position can be considered as a mini dive as the musalli (one who offers prayer) goes to rest his forehead on the ground while his hands are placed at the sides. This brings most of the body muscles if not all in active motion and serves to give them some exercise.
The hands are then specifically stretched out and thence the forearm as well as arm muscles are supposed to bear the weight in the Sajdah position. It gives good exercise to the muscles of the upper limb. The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in a hadith advised not to put the forearms flatly on the ground but to keep them elevated above ground and this is better for the forearm and arm muscles.
Sajdah is a unique position as this is the only position in which brain (or head) becomes lower than the heart and hence for the first time the blood gushes towards the brain with full force whereas in all other positions (even when lying) brain is above the heart when it has to work against gravity to send blood to the brain.
In the position of Sajdah due to the increased blood supply the brain receive more nourishment and it has good effect upon memory, vision, hearing, concentration, psyche and all other cognitive abilities. People who offer their prayers regularly have more will power and can cope with the difficulties of life in a much better manner. They have less incidence of headaches, psychological problems and other defects of cognitive function.
In the unique position of Sajdah the neck muscles get best exercise. They have to bear the load when the forehead lies at the ground hence the neck muscles become stronger. One can note the tense pressure at the neck muscles in the position of Sajdah specially the active motion of the neck and the facial muscles when the head is being lifted. (e.g. one inch above the ground) and it will be noticed that they are in a very active motion.
More strong cervical muscles mean the cervical vertebra will be better protected. Strength of cervical muscles is important as the head rests upon cervical vertebra supported by cervical musculature.
In fact head performs rotator movements over the cervical vertebra. In any accident cervical neck examination is especially important to the physicians because of its extraordinary importance.
It is uncommon that a person who offers his prayers regularly will get the usual neck myalgias or cervical spondylosis as the neck muscles particularly become very strong due to the 34 sajdahs offered daily in five prayers.
Position of Sajdah is also said to be a good treatment for the retroversion of uterus, a disease of women.
Most of us do not know that the position of Sajdah is an excellent exercise for men (for manpower). It may be a good information to the Viagra dependents. While getting up from Sajdah the perennial muscles are one of those muscles which have to pull the trunk back to sitting position and they contract actively. Similarly while standing up from Sajdah the perennial muscles are again actively mobilised and this gives much strength to the muscles important for manpower.
The unique position of Sajdah also has positive effects upon the back muscles as while going into Sajdah and getting up from it the back muscle contract actively and they become stronger. Probably it is because of this reason that a person who is regular in prayers will uncommonly get backache.
After performing Sajdah either the musalli stands up or he sits to pray Attahiyyat. In this position the person sits calmly while his hands rest at his thighs which are folded backwards. This is much similar to the relaxation position of Yoga and has soothing effect upon one’s health and mentation.
The Prophet Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to elongate the position of Ruku (bending) and Sajdah positions and he advised to do so. In the light of the above facts it is appropriate to say that from medical point of view as well this advice is a golden rule for health.
Finally it must be reminded that prayer is not meant to be an exercise. However there are a lot of medical advantages associated with it.
Still the best blessing is the peace of mind, which a person derives by the accomplishment of his duty to Allah by fulfilling an obligation.
Dr. Muhammad Karim Beebani