Showing posts with label good manners. Show all posts
Showing posts with label good manners. Show all posts

Thursday, January 23, 2020

'Good Life': Prophetic Teachings



‘Bear in mind that the present life is just a game, a diversion, an attraction, a cause of boasting among you, of rivalry in wealth and children. It is like plants that spring up after the rain: their growth at first delights the sowers, but then you see them wither away, turn yellow, and  become stubble. There is terrible punishment in the next life as well as forgiveness and approval from God; the life of this world is only an illusory pleasure. So race for your Lord’s forgiveness and a Garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for those who believe in God and His messengers: that is God’s bounty, which He bestows on whoever He pleases. God’s bounty is infinite.’ (57:22) 

Leading a good life is an all-embracing aspiration for every human person in this world. And yet, what it means to lead a good life? In life’s varied settings, values professed by a person would guide the decision on what is ‘good’ for him/her under the conditions of individual and social life. Perhaps in shaping one’s frame of reference in such critical junctures, an ethical and spiritual outlook intuitively appeals to the human mind. Certainly, the teachings of religion -rooted as it is in the wisdom of the ages- offer fascinating ideas to reflect on, especially for those who are at the crossroads of life journeys. 
Those who struggle with life’s contingent circumstances could find profound insights, generative of amazing hope of Divine mercy in the rich legacy of Islamic teachings. The Islamic Way, or the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), offers us glimpses of a good life for anyone hoping to embark on a journey in the highway to God. Muslim saints of the past have preserved in their books some of these appealing pieces of advice on leading a good life left behind by that great prophet of human kind. For the benefit of our readers, we reproduce below the gist of certain vital advices in the words of the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa) describing what it takes to lead a good life:
I. Ibn Abbas (ra) reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age; your health before your illness; your riches before your poverty; your free time before your work; and your life before your death.” (Attributed to Shu’ab al-Imān).
II. Abu Dharr reported: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, instruct me.” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “I advise you to be mindful of Allah Almighty, for it will beautify all of your affairs.” I said, “Tell me more.” The Prophet said, “You must recite the Quran and remember Allah Almighty, for you will be mentioned in heaven and you will have light upon earth.” 

I said, “Tell me more.” The Prophet said, “You must observe long periods of silence, for it will drive away Satan and help you in the matter of your religion.” I said, “Tell me more.” The Prophet said, “Beware of too much laughter, for it will deaden the heart and take away the light on your face.”
I said, “Tell me more.” The Prophet said, “Speak the truth, even if it is bitter.” I said, “Tell me more.” The Prophet said, “Do not fear the blame of any critic in the matter of Allah.” ----[Attributed to Shu’ab al-Imān]

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Teachings for A Blissful Life


The Book of God, the Holy Qur’an, contains enduring teachings, useful for our every day life. The wisdom underlying those ethical principles are so profound and so true that it is by following those teachings that humans can hope for remaining on the correct and straight path of spiritual quest- the Way of seeking God. In his writings, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian used to provide fascinating interpretative expositions on Qur’anic verses in order to substantiate and illuminate his spiritual themes. While not a literal translation of Qur’anic verses, these explanations of the Promised Messiah (as) often tease out the subtle points of wisdom contained within those verses in a succinct and accessible language for everyone. 

Reproduced below is a collection of Qur’anic verses, as explained by the Promised Messiah (as), revealing the ethical and moral universe in which God expects and invites man to abide by, so as to enable him to attain a blissful and heavenly life in this very world.


1. ‘God commands you to abide by justice and fairness. But if you wish to attain greater perfection, then treat people with compassion and do good even to those who have done you no good. And if you aspire to even higher perfection, then be of service to others out of personal sympathy and natural impulse, without any desire to win gratitude or to put anyone under obligation, and be kind to them just as a mother is kind to her children out of a natural urge. God also forbids you to commit excesses, to remind people of the good you have done them, or to be ungrateful to those who have been kind to you’. (Al-Nahl, 16:91).

2. This theme is further elaborated in the following verse: when the truly righteous feed the poor, the orphan and the captive, they do so selflessly, only out of love for God, and say to them: ‘We only serve you for the sake of God, from you we require neither gratitude nor reward.’(Al-Dahr, 76:9-10)

3. With regard to retribution or forgiveness, the Holy Quran teaches us: 

The retribution for an injury is an injury to the same extent. Tooth for a tooth, eye for an eye, and abuse for an abuse, but whosoever forgives — and the forgiveness results in reformation rather than mischief, and he who has been forgiven rectifies his behaviour and desists from evil — his forgiveness is better than retribution, and the forgiver shall have his reward [with God]. It does not teach us that, having been struck on one cheek, we should in all circumstances turn the other cheek also, for this goes against true wisdom. Doing good to an evil-doer can be as unjust as doing evil to a good man. (Al-Shura, 42:41)

4. The Holy Quran further says:  

i.e., if someone is kind to you, show him even greater kindness. All rancour between you will thus turn into a friendship so close that it borders upon kinship. (Ha-Mim al-Sajdah, 41:35)

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Finding ‘Balance’ in the Trials of Life


The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) is reported to have said:

'This life is the dwelling of crookedness; not straightness, and the residence of sadness; rather than happiness. Those who acquire knowledge in its true reality will not feel joy in times of ease, nor grieve in times of hardship. 

Verily, Allah the Exalted has created this life as a test and the Hereafter as the dwelling of recompense. He made the test of this life a reason behind earning the reward of the Hereafter and the reward in the Hereafter as compensation for the test in this life. He takes so that He gives and tests so that He recompenses.

The life of this world vanishes rapidly and changes suddenly. Therefore, beware of its sweetness so as to avoid the bitterness of its depriving, and beware of its delights so as to avoid the pains they lead too. 

Do not excessively build a life that Allah has decided is bound to destruction, and do not recline to (or like) it. Verily, Allah has ordained on you that you should avoid its danger. Otherwise, you will expose yourselves to His Anger and justifiably earn His Punishment."

This prophetic wisdom is, in many ways, also a summation of the Qur’anic message on the fleeting nature of our fortunes in this world, and that everything is subject to a law of nature or the Divine Law. The Holy Qur’an says, “No misfortune can happen, either in the earth or in yourselves, that was not set down in writing before We brought it into being- that is easy for God- so you need not grieve for what you miss or gloat over what you gain.” (57: 23) Long ago, Luqman the Wise counselled his son to endure with fortitude what befalls and the Qur’an notes: “Bear anything that happens to you steadfastly” (31:17).

Our Wishes and Divine Expectations

The Qur’an alludes to the wisdom behind this balanced approach to our earthly life’s contingent circumstances- fortunes and misfortunes; situations that can and will evolve in the fullness of time in the life of a believer. With a deeply flawed sense of the human self- "foolish and unjust", according to the Qur'an- man is inherently incapable of making the wise decision as regards what is harmful or beneficial for him without Divine guidance. Our wishes, desires and inclinations are to be tempered in accordance with Divine commandments and expectations wherever applicable, depending on the varied circumstances of one’s life. 

Allah (swt) encourages the believers to trust in His better knowledge of how things will turn out to be in the end, and of what benefits a person in his present life and the Hereafter. Submission to God and adherence to Divine expectations would better serve and suffice the believer's larger interests, says the Qur’an in its own inimitable style: 

“You may dislike something although it is good for you, or like something although it is bad for you: God knows and you do not.” (2: 216)

“Live with them (your wives) in a goodly manner: if you dislike them, it may well be that you dislike something which God might yet make a source of abundant good." (4:20) 

One of the Divine revelations recieved by the Promised Messiah (as) in the previous era on the same theme is as follows: 

"God will bestow your reward in full and will be pleased with you and will perfect your name. And it is possible that you hold something dear, yet in reality it is harmful for you; and it is possible that you dislike something , yet in reality it is beneficial for you. God Almighty knows the end results of things and you do not know." [Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Part IV, p. 391, UK: Islam Int'l Publications, (2016). 

Imam Ibn al Qayyim al-Jawziyya (691-751 AH; 1292-1350 CE), the medieval polymath and classical commentator of the Holy Qur’an, has left behind a deeply insightful exposition on this theme of the Qur’an, advising the believing servants on how to profit from these profound words of the Book of God.

Friday, October 19, 2018

'Cultivate Refined Habits'


I have chosen to address you in this Friday Sermon today on “Perfecting Good Manners”. Every good Muslim must necessarily have a good behaviour and good manners in his everyday life. He must understand that good behaviour in this life on earth is essential to lead an honourable life. The Muslim, in addition, has the sacred duty to have a good behaviour because therein contains high moral values.

And these moral values ​​have a particular importance. They are signs of happiness and success here in this life on earth, but much more so in life after death. It has been reported that our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) said: “I have been sent to perfect good moral character.” (Musnad Ahmad).

He also said: “The dearest and the closest of you to me on the Day of Resurrection will be those who will be best in behaviour.” (Tirmidhi).

When his companions questioned him about what most cause people to enter paradise, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) replied, Taqwa (piety, righteousness, fear of Allah) and good manners (or character).” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah).

This is why Muslims must pay special attention to moral values ​​and must give them special importance because they represent the signs of happiness and success in this present life and in the hereafter.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Ramadan: 'Cultivate Good Manners'


The month of Ramadan leads us to cultivate good manners. In a Hadith, the Messenger of Allah, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) said:

(1)  Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.) (Bukhari).

(2) Fasting does not just mean giving up food and drink, rather fasting means giving up idle speech and obscene conduct. If anyone insults you or treats you in an ignorant manner, then say, ’I am fasting, I am fasting.’ (Bukhari).


These two narrations point to the importance of truth and good manners. Thus, this blessed month teaches us not only to abstain from food and drink but also to refrain from such connexions and actions that can hurt people and violate their rights.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, when describing a true believer: “A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand Muslims are safe.” (Bukhari).


Therefore, it is up to us as individuals to examine our shortcomings, and seek improvement and bring ourselves closer to the way (Sunnah) of our Prophet (pbuh) as well as to aspire to the excellence that is mentioned in the following words (of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)): “I guarantee a house in Jannah (Paradise) for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a home in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun; and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners.” (Abu Dawud).