In our journey of life, there are a lot of things that as human beings we give importance to. And on the flip-side, there are many things that to our person are perhaps not that important.
However, as Muslims, we define anything to be important or unimportant based on what Allah and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) decide for us to be important or not.
There remains a problem, however. We have come at the crossroads of times in such a way that we find lots of things emphasized or perhaps even overemphasized while other things are not considered that important at times.
In many places we notice that the hijab seems more important to maintain than the prayer. In other communities people will all pray but have bad business practices. And it goes on and on.
What actually is important? What are the things that we seriously overlook at times? And how do we solve something like this?
This article will look at two such problems that have become commonplace. The aim would be that we get pathways out of these problems, and that these pathways help us navigate through other problems in our lives as well.
Among the worst of problems that we find today among us, as Muslims, is poor manners. It is something that is hardly talked about seriously. And yet it can destroy our good deeds completely. The Prophet (peace be upon him) narrated to us what would happen to a man on the Day of Judgement.
The man will have done lots of good deeds. However, he was bad mannered to other people. He took the rights of other people, and on the Day of Judgement the people will seek justice from Allah. And Allah will start giving away all his good deeds to those he has harmed, until no good deeds will remain.
And then Allah will start putting the sins of the other people on his back, until every person he has hurt and maimed will have been recompensed. Such is the seriousness of manners.
The man was on the doors of paradise and he ended up in hell by losing all of his good deeds due to his ill manners.
Do we want to give up all our good deeds? Or do we want to give up our good deeds by being harsh and foul mannered to those whom we love? Do we want that our parents, spouses, children, employees stand on the Day of Judgement to take our good deeds from us? Can we afford something like that?
It is not only the fear of punishment that should make us well-mannered, it is also from the greatest emulation of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to be good mannered as he said:
I have been sent only to perfect good character. (Narrated by Ahmad)
In fact even Allah Himself says about the Prophet:
You are upon the highest station of character. (Quran 68:4)
The Prophet also said:
Nothing is weightier on the Scale of Deeds than one’s good manners. (Narrated by Bukhari)
Do we not want that our scales will be heavy on the Day of Judgement?
He also said:
The best among you in Islam are those with the best manners. (Narrated by Bukhari)
Do we not want to be part of those who are the best in their Islam?
He also said that:
The most beloved slaves of Allah are those with good manners. (Narrated by at-Tabarani)
Do we not want to be among the most beloved of Allah? Isn’t the love of Allah enough for us that we give up on any foul manners?
Can we spend every night in prayer? We cannot, but we can earn that reward. The Prophet also said:
If one has good manners, one may attain the same level of merit as those who spend their nights in prayer. (Narrated by Bukhari)
The challenge is to be good to those who have not been good to us. It is the characteristic of the Muslim to behave well, and be nice even when one tries to provoke them.
What we need to do is to remind ourselves of how important it is. Is it ever worth losing our good deeds for a few moments of anger? Is Paradise not worth it as a prize if we can just hold our anger and annoyance just a bit?
We need to make a habit of reminding ourselves every time we slip up in our manners. So for the next time we lose our cool, let us do the following few actions:
- Immediately seek forgiveness from Allah.
- Seek forgiveness from the person we have hurt.
- Do an additional small good deed hoping that Allah wipes out our sin.
Arrogance and the Ego
The second problem that we will discuss is one that probably leads to us losing our temper, or our manners at times- arrogance. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
No one who has the weight of a seed of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.
“But a man loves to have beautiful clothes and shoes.”
The Prophet said:
Verily, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.
How do we react when someone says something that is true but we do not like it? How do we react when we are in an argument and our opponent says the truth? Do we accept it, or do we keep on arguing because we are arguing? Or do we reject the truth because we do not “feel like it”?
Do we look down upon another person because they wear clothes that are not “nice” in our dictionary? Do we look down upon another person because they are of the different gender? Or different race? Do we look down upon someone because they may have less money than we do? Do not have the same grades as we have, or a job as well as ours?
Arrogance is a deadly disease. And it is the sin that made Satan lose out on his guidance. In fact one of the cures for arrogance is pondering on the story of Iblis himself.
Iblis was so good in his worship that Allah allowed him to join the ranks of the angels. He would strive to worship Allah just like how the angels worshiped Allah. And yet, because of his arrogance he was banished.
He worshiped Allah more than probably all of us combined. He knows Allah. And he has seen paradise. And he knows more Quran and hadith than all of our scholars. He saw the Messenger of Allah. He saw the companions… And yet, he has been shielded from guidance only because of his arrogance.
Is that something we want for ourselves? Do we want to end up like Iblis?
There are 3 things we can do if and when we feel too proud of ourselves or too arrogant.
- Ponder on the story of Iblis
- Remind ourselves of some failings and weaknesses that we have
- Look at the Majesty of Allah’s creation and understand how weak and tiny we are
(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)