The Scorpion
This is a parable about an old man who used to meditate each day by the river near his home.

 One morning he saw a scorpion floating on the water.

When the scorpion drifted near the old man, he reached to rescue it but was stung by the scorpion. 
A bit later he tried again and was stung again, the bite swelling his hand painfully and giving him much pain.

 A young man passing by saw what was happening to the old man and yelled at him,

“Hey, you foolish old man, what’s wrong with you?
 Only a fool would risk his life for sake of an ugly, evil creature. 
Don’t you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?”

 The old man turned around and calmly replied,

“My young man, just because it is in the scorpion’s nature to sting, does not change my nature to save.”


Surah Al Mumtaninah

(That Which Examines)
60:7
 
It may be that Allah
Will grant love (and friendship)
Between you and those whom
Ye (now) hold as enemies.
For Allah has power
(Over all things); And Allah is
Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
 
 

Even with Unbelievers or our enemies, unless they are rampant and out to destroy us and our Faith, we should deal kindly and equitably, as is shown by the Prophet Muhammed Salallaahu ‘aliahi wa’sallam’s own example. Do good to them, and lend a helping hand to help without expecting to get anything back.

Alhamduli’Allahi Rabbil-‘Aalameen wa-Salaatu wa-Salaamu ‘alaa Ashrafil-Anbiyaa-e-wal-Mursaleen, wa ba’d.

Assalaamu `Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuhu

The Battle With Two Wolves

Unknown AuthorThis is a story, from an unknown source, tells us about: quote –  “an old man who told his grandson one evening after prayers about a battle that was going on inside himself.

He said, “My child, the battle is between two wolves, one of whom is so evil, full of anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, hypocrisy, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is so good, full of rememberance of Allah Ta’ala, faith, joy, peace, love and compassion, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, and truthfulness.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,”Which wolf will win?”

The grandfather simply replied, “The one I feed.” – unquote.

~ What the grandfather said is certainly food for thought ~

Imam Ibn ul-Qayyim al Jawziyyah’s article entitled “The Ways of Satan in Leading Humans Astray”  explains that one of the ways in which Satan leads human beings astray is by ‘feeding’ them with  impressions of evil looking good. On this point, ibn ul-Qayyim wrote the following:
 
Quote: “From his strategem is that he always bewitches the mind until he can deceive the person. No one is safe from his bewitching except whomsoever Allah wills. He makes good looking to him what harms him the most, until he imagines that it is the most beneficial act for himself. And he makes him flee from the most beneficial act until he thinks it is something harmful to him. Certainly, there is no god but Allah.
 
How many humans have been tested by such sorcery? How many hearts have been kept from Islam, faith and goodness (by such sorcery)? And how many support and present falsehood in the best form and hate truth and present it in the worst form (because of his deception)? And how much falseness is adorned and shown in a desirious manner to the alert? And how much falseness is spread among the wise?
 
Satan is the one who bewitches the mind until it follows different desires and various evil opinions. He makes them follow every path of misguidance. He leads them to actions, one after another, that cause their destruction. He makes appealing to them the worship of idols, the breaking of familial relationships, the killing of daughters, marrying one’s mother and so on. And he promises them the victory of paradise with their infidelity, wickedness and acts of disobedience. He presents to them polytheism in the most honorable fashion. And he presents rejection of Allah’s attributes, of His transcendence and of His speech in the guise of anti-anthropomorphism of Allah. He presents abandoning ordering good and eradicating evil in the guise of having mercy for others, behaving with others in a good manner, and applying the verse, “O believers, you are in charge of your own souls” (al-Maidah 105). And he presents turning away from what has come from the Messenger in the guise of blindly following the Imams (taqleed) and the sufficiency of following one who is more knowledgeable. And he presents hypocrisy and compromising with respect to Allah’s religion in the guise of being flexible and mixing admirably with the people.” – unquote.
 
In another beneficial excerpt “Perfecting One’s Character from “The Magnificent Journey” Imam Ibn ul-Qayyim al Jawziyyah explains three conditions needed to acquire good manners/character, meaning proper nature, controlling one’s nafs and sound knowledge. He wrote:

Quote: “The Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam used to make a number of supplications related to good character.

“O Allah, guide me to good character, none guides to good character but You…” [Muslim]

“O Allah, I seek refuge in you from bad character, deeds and desires.” [at-Tirmidhee]

“O Allah, You perfectly created me, so perfect my character.” [Ahmad]

“O Allah, I seek refuge in you from disability and laziness; from cowardice and avarice; from decrepitude and harshness; from negligence and impoverishment, from lowness and humiliation. And I seek refuge in You from poverty and disbelief; from sinfulness, disunity and hypocrisy; from notability and riyaa’ (show off)…” (Ahmad, Maalik, Bazaar, Haithami and ibn `Abd al-Barr authenticated it).

Three Conditions to Acquire Excellent Manners

This is one example of the excellent manners with which Allah (ta`aala) has equipped his Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam). He described him as,

“Verily, You (Muhammad) are on an exalted standard on character.” (68:4)

`Aa’ishah, radhiallaahu `anhu, described him as, “His character was just (a reflection of) the Qur’aan.” (Muslim, Aboo Daawood, Ahmad).

Such excellent character cannot be attained without three conditions:

1. The foundation must be good. If one has a rough and dry nature, it will be hard for him to submit to this (excellence of character) through knowledge, will, or practice. On the other hand, a mild and smooth nature will be ready and willing to receive the plowing and the seeds (to prepare it for character excellence).

2. The soul must be strong and capable of conquering calls of laziness, transgression, and desire. Those matters contradict perfection, and souls which cannot defeat them will always be defeated and conquered.

3. (One must possess) a discerning knowledge of the truth of matters, enabling one to put them in the rightful position, and to distinguish between flash and cancer – between glass and jewels.

If these three qualities are present in a man, and Allah’s facilitation helps him, then he will be among those whom the best (husnaa) has been decreed and for whom Allah’s care has been secured” – unquote. (Published by QSS). http://www.islaam.com/Article.asp?id=94

Now that you’ve finished reading the above advice, 
 which wolf would you feed?

  Alhamduli’Allahi Rabbil-‘Aalameen wa-Salaatu wa-Salaamu ‘alaa Ashrafil-Anbiyaa-e-wal-Mursaleen, wa ba’d.

Assalaamu `Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuhu

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

The Farmer, the Imam and Chicken Feathers

This is a story about Abdul, a farmer who once unthinkingly spread tales slandering his friend. But later found the rumours to be false and hoped to make amends for the smut he had smeared on his friend’s reputation. 
He sought the counsel of an Imam, a religious man, esteemed and wise, who heard the farmer’s story through and felt he must advise. 
The kind Imam said: “If you would have a mind again at peace, I have a plan whereby you may from trouble find release. Go fill a bag with chicken down (feathers) and to each dooryard go and lay one fluffy feather where the streams of gossip flow. 
Abdul did as he was told and to the Imam returned. Elated that his penance was a thing so quickly earned. 
“Not yet,” the old Imam said sternly, “Take up your bag once more and gather up the feathers that you placed at every door.” 
Abdul, eager to atone, went hastening to obey, no feathers met his sight, the wind had blown them all away!!!

In her article “Smearing the Smut,” Michelle Al-Nasr wrote the following: – quote:

“Let us be realistic, everyone has gossiped to some extent. Not many can claim perfection in this department. But some of us, more than others – and you know who you are – make it a career to smear smut about everyone and to everyone.

There is a difference between idle talk and gossiping; and a big difference between gossiping and spreading smut. So first, let us sort out the who’s who in the group of the gap.

Different people, of course, fall into different categories. There are The Babblers: who like only to hear themselves talk, and never let you get a word in edgewise. I tend to be one of these types, Allah help me! Then, there are The What-ifs: people who like to contemplate what could have been. Next, there are The Reminiscers: people who like to talk about stuff that already happened over and over. You also have The Optimists and The Pessimists: their names are pretty self-explanatory. Finally, you have the last two categories, namely and by far the worst of the bunch: The Gossipmongers and The Smutsmearers.

In order to understand where people are coming from, even when looking to our own actions, we have to begin by asking the question of: why?

Why do people, or do I, hurt others by spreading gossip and slander?

To answer that question, we need to bring about some understanding. It is important to understand that The Gossipmongers gossip to fulfill a need.

Their need covers two reasons:

a) Their need for attention, or,

b) Their need for interest in their lives

That is it, these are the main reasons why people gossip, just something to talk about. Most of all, it makes someone feel important to spread gossip and stories because they are the newsmakers. This all seems harmless enough, that is, if it does not hurt others right? Well, not always and not exactly. Because, by passing on tales of others, you slowly lose your standards and sometimes just slip. Have you ever left a conversation in regret, wishing you had not told some confidential information confided to you?

Many of us have, regrettably so because it is too easy to get wrapped up in the moment. So, if you ever find yourself with The Gossipmongers – whether you are being one or listening to one – what should you do?

We know that the Prophet, Sal-Allahu alaihi wa sallam taught us that, “Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest of faith.” (Muslim). Say something, change the subject, and alter the focus-put the art of interruption into practice. If, for any reason, you can not say something then get up and walk away. You will feel better for it.

Now, let us move on to the last category, The Smutsmearers, These are the worst of the worst. The Smutsmearers make up stories, spread nasty rumors and do not care if they hurt anyone in the process-their ultimate goal is to hurt someone’s feelings.

The Smutsmearers do what they do for one reason only: they hate themselves and lash out at others to make up for their own shortcomings. There is no other reason; it comes from hurt they want to share with others. This way, in their pain, they will not be alone; and they will do anything to take the attention away from themselves so no one will notice their flaws. Take a close look at a certified Smutsmearer and you will not find a happy person, I guarantee it.

If you ever find yourself in this category, you need to take a cold hard look in the mirror and ask yourself why you would want to hurt others and spread lies, and also asks why you do not like yourself. Then you need to find a way to make some changes for the better, or it will get worse. So, how do you deal with a Smutsmearer? The answer is simple: you do not.

You do not deal with them at all. You make certain that they are not a part of your circle of friends. Why? Because, if your circle of friends contains one Smutsmearer, you too will one day enter the realm of telling fiendish fables that will inevitably do someone great emotional damage. So, which category of conversation will it be? It all starts and ends with you.” – unquote. (Source: Al Jumu’ah Vol. 14 Issue 12) 

An excerpt from the Al-Bayaan magazine, issue #152, p. 138, the author, Badr al-Suhayl wrote the following:  – quote: “Many Muslims show a great deal of piety by refraining from eating imported meats, especially tinned meat; they are very cautious about this matter for fear that it may have been slaughtered in a manner that goes against shari’ah. This is a commendable effort, but there are other kinds of meat which are so subtle that even the pious do not detect them and the cautious do not spot them. The reason for that is that the meat which they want to avoid is visible and tangible, nothing is hidden from those who keep watch because the one who eats it will be seen doing so, whilst this is not the case with regard to the other, but both of them are described as eating. Allah says in Surah al-Hujurat 49:12 (interpretation of the meaning):

“Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?” (referring to human flesh, i.e., gossip).

Yes, this is what Allah calls it: “Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?” There is a great deal of evidence to show that it is haraam, to point out how dangerous it is and to demonstrate the abhorrence of being caught indulging in this sin. It was narrated  that Ibn Mas’ood said: “We were with the Prophet Sal-Allahu alaihi wa sallam when a man got up and left. Immediately another man spoke disparagingly of him. The Prophet Sal-Allahu alaihi wa sallam said to him: ‘Clean between your teeth.’ He asked, ‘Why do I need to clean between my teeth? I have not eaten any meat.’  The Prophet Sal-Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, ‘You have eaten your brother’s flesh.’” (Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani).-unquote

Al-Hasan Al-Basree (rahimahullaah) said, “Whoever does not guard the slips of their tongue has not understood their Deen.” So, if you find yourself unable to do three things, then you do three (other) things: if you cannot do good, then stop doing evil; if you cannot benefit people, then do not harm them; if you cannot fast, then do not eat the flesh of the people. 

If there is one thing that you remember after reading this,  let it be the following commandment of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, memorise it and teach it to at least one other person: (the translation of the meaning)

“Not a word does he utter, except there is a sentinel (angel) by him, ready (to record it).” (Surah Qaf  50:18)

Muhammad Alshareef

Aasiyah, the wife of Fir’own. Her Eeman in Allah thrived under the shadow of someone that said, “I am your Lord, Most High!” When news reached Fir’own of his wife’s Eeman he beat her and commanded his guards to beat her. They took her out in the scalding noon heat, tied her hands and feet and beat her perpetually. Who did she turn to? She turned to Allah! She prayed, “My lord, build for me a home with you in Paradise and save me from Fir’own and his deeds and save me from the transgressive people.” It was narrated that when she said this, the sky opened for her and she saw her home in Paradise. She smiled. The guards watched astonished, she’s being tortured and she smiles? Frustrated, Fir’own commanded a boulder to be brought and dropped on Aasiyah, to crush her to death. But Allah took her soul before the boulder was brought and she became an example for all the believing men and women till the end of time: [And Allah has set forth an example for those who believe: the wife of Fir’own (Pharaoh) – when she said, “My Lord, Build for me a home with You in Paradise, and save me from Fir’own and his deeds, and save me from the transgressive – disbelieving people.] -Tahreem 66/11 In the hadith of Jibreel, when he came to the Prophet (SAL ALLAHU ALAYHI WA SALLAM) and asked him about Islam, Eeman, and Ihasan, the Prophet SAL ALLAHU ALAYHI WA SALLAM said about Eeman, “Eeman is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His Messengers, the Final Day, and the divine decree, the good and the bad thereof.” For the past few weeks we have been reflecting on this hadith, only glimpses. Today we shall conclude with the last article of Eeman: to believe in the Divine decree, the good and the bad thereof. As you and I travel though life we find ourselves in one of two situations. Either something good is happening in our lives and in which case – as Muslims- our role is to thank Allah for the blessing. Or something bad is happening to us, something we dislike and our role here is to be patient (Sabr). This is the formula for a happy life, a life cruising towards the pleasure of Allah. Sabr or Shukr, the worry stops here. The Messenger of Allah (SAL ALLAHU ALAYHI WA SALLAM) said, “Strange is the affair of the Mu’min (the believer), verily all his affairs are good for him. If something pleasing befalls him he thanks (Allah) and it becomes better for him. And if something harmful befalls him he is patient (Saabir) and it becomes better for him. And this is only for the Mu’mmin ” Ibn Al-Jowzee said, “If this Dunya was not a station of tests it would not be filled with sicknesses and filth. If life were not about hardship, then the Prophets and the pious would have lived the most comfortable of lives. Nay, Adam suffered test after test until he left the Dunya. Nuh cried for 300 years. Ibrahim was thrown into a pit of fire and later told to slaughter his son. Ya’qub cried until he became blind. Musa challenged Fir’own and was tested by his people. Eeasa had no provision except the morsels his disciples provided him with. And Muhammad (Sal Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam) met poverty with patience, his uncle – one of the most beloved relatives to him – was slain and mutilated and his people disbelieved in him … and the list of Prophets and the pious goes on and on.” What happens to us happens by the will of Allah. It is an article of our Eeman in Qada’ and Qadr that we are pleased with Allah’s choice, Good or seemingly bad it is all the test of this Dunya. How could we imagine that we shall not be tested when those who were better than us suffered what they suffered. They however came away with the pleasure of Allah, Subhaanahu wa Ta’Aala. Al Hasan ibn Arafah narrated, “I visited Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal after he was whipped and tortured. I said to him, “O Abu Abdillaaah, you have reached the station of the Prophets!” He said, “Keep quiet. Verily, I saw nothing more than people selling their Deen. And I saw scholars that were with me sell their Faith. So I said to myself, ‘Who am I, what am I. What am I going to say to Allah tomorrow when I stand in front of Him and He ask me, “Did you sell your Deen like the others did?” So I looked at the whip and the sword and chose them. And I said, “If I die I shall return to Allah and say: ‘I was told to say that one of Your Characteristics was something created but I did not.’ After that, it will be up to Him – either to punish me of be Merciful on me.” Al-Hasan ibn Arafah then asked, “Did you feel pain when they whipped you?” He said “Yes, I felt the pain up to 20 lashes then I lost all feeling (They whipped him over eighty times). After it was over I felt no pain and that day I prayed Dhuhr standing.” Al-Hasan ibn Arafah started weeping when he heard what had happened. Imam Ahmad questioned him, “Why are you crying? I did not lose my Eeman. After that why should I care if I lose my life?” They were better than us but this was how they were tested. Let us discuss some facts about these tests of life, the good and the bad that befalls us: § Much of what befalls us – the hard times – is the direct result of ourown sins. Allah Ta’aala says [And whatever misfortune befalls you it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much.] – Sura 42/30 Muhammad ibn Seereen used to say when his debts piled up and he felt sad, “I know that the cause of this sadness is a sin I committed over 40 years ago.” § People understand that when something bad happens it is a test from Allah. But dear Brothers and Sisters, the good things that happen to us are also a test. Allah ta’aala says [And we tested them with good (blessings) and evil (calamities) in order that they might turn back] – A’raf 7/168 Abd alMalik ibn Ishaq said, “There is no one that is not tested with health and prosperity to measure how thankful he is (Shukr).” And the Companion – AbdurRahman ibn ‘Awf (RADI ALLAHU ANHU) said, “We were tested with hardship and were patient. And then we were tested with prosperity and we were not patient. Because of this Allah states: [O ye who believe! Let not your wealth or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that, then they are the losers.] – Munafiqun 63/9 § Patience must happen from the beginning, not three days later or one day later, at the first news of the calamity, when it first happens. The Prophet (SAL ALLAHU ALAYHI WA SALLAM) said, “Verily patience (is only Sabr when practiced) at the first hit (of news).” § There are things that contradict Sabr. Tearing ones shirt, for example, slapping ones face, slapping hands, shaving ones head, and cursing and wailing. Umm Salamah narrates: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAL ALLAHU ALAYHI WA SALLAM) say, “Any Muslim that says when a calamity befalls him that which Allah commanded him: To Allah we belong and to him we return. O Allah reward me in this calamity and give me better then it – (any Muslim that says this) Allah will grant him better than (that which he lost).” – Muslim § These tests and hardships wash our sins. Aisha (RADI ALLAHU ANHA) said, “Verily fever sheds sins like a tree sheds leaves.” § The hardships that befall us distinguish the believers from the insincere. Shumayt ibn Ajlaan said, “The pious and the ungrateful are hidden by health. Yet when calamities befall the two men are separated (by how they react).” Allah says in the Quran [Alif/Laam/Meem..Do people think that they will be left alone because they say, “We believe,” and will not be tested? Indeed We tested those who (lived) before them] Al-Ankaboot 29/1-3 Part II: Towards Sabr Ali (RADI ALLAHU ANHU) said, “Verily Sabr is to Eeman what the head is to the body. When the head is cut off, the body falls. (He then raised his voice) Verily there is no Eeman for he who has no Sabr (patience).” There are three types of Sabr that the Muslim must have: a. Sabr in the obedience of allah. For example, One must be patient and perform their Fajr at it’s time. b. Sabr in not disobeying Allah. Like someone might say, “I just have to insult him.” No, we are command by He who gave us our tongues to not follow the whispers of Shaytaan. And we must have Sabr in not disobeying Allah. c. Sabr in what Allah Decrees on us. For example, if our child was to pass away we should be patient and seek the reward of Allah in our patience and say only that which is pleasing to Allah. There are two keys. If we understand them we shall open the door to Sabr in our lives: The First Key: know that our souls, families and wealth do not belong to us, they belong to Allah. He gave it to us as a loan to see what we would do with it. And when he takes it back He is taking back what belongs to Him. We had nothing before the blessing and we’ll have nothing after it. We did not create the blessing from nothing, so how can we claim that it belongs to us. The Second Key: We are on a journey and the destination is the hereafter – Paradise or Hell. We shall be leaving the Dunya behind us and we’ll come back to Allah by ourselves. This is what needs our focus. And if Allah is pleased with us then no worry. If He is not pleased with us then all worry. Let me draw your attention to a verse. Listen carefully. Allah revealed: [Guard strictly the (five obligatory) prayers, especially the middle Salah and stand before Allah in obedience.]- alBaqarah 2/238 The verses before this deal with divorce. The verses after it deal with divorce. Why was this verse placed in the middle? The Ulama’ have suggested, Wa Allaahu a’lam, that in the hard times that a person goes through (especially in a divorce) they should not forget the remembrance of Allah, the Salah. And it is that Salah coupled with Sabr that will pull them through. [O you who believe! Seek Help in Patience and Salah. Truly, Allah is with those that are patient.]-Baqarah 2/153 In conclusion, Allah ta’ala wants us to give pass on the following good news: [And give good news to the patient who, when afflicted with calamity say, “Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.”/They are those on whom the Salawat (i.e. the blessing and forgiveness) of their Lord is upon them, and who shall receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones] -Baqarah 2/157 Allah promised anyone who wants to work on his or her patience three things: Forgiveness, Mercy, and guidance. Who could ask for more?

Idris Tawfiq

Some people always look angry, don’t they? You can see it on their faces. These people look as though they will explode any minute and vent their anger on the first person who gives them the chance to do so. Heaven help the waiter who is late with the coffee or the gas station worker who makes a mistake with the change. There is no pleasing such people. They are the most difficult people to work or to live with.
There is a big difference, though, between being angry and showing your anger. People show their anger in different ways. For some, it is precisely the kind of explosive outburst we have just mentioned. For others, they can be just as angry, but they express their anger quietly. There is a difference, too, between things that make us angry and things that annoy us.

Annoyance

All of us become annoyed, now and again, by the routines of life. Being kept waiting for people who are late for an appointment is annoying. Not finding the right can of baked beans in the supermarket is annoying, especially if you have been looking forward to them! Such things, though, in Allah’s scheme of things, are not world shattering. We can get by with life’s little annoyances.

Being angry, though, is a different matter. If we find ourselves getting angry and losing our temper over small things, we need to take a look at ourselves and ask what is causing this anger. Are we angry with others just because we got up late or we didn’t have any breakfast? If this is the case, there is really no excuse for our anger. Are we finding fault with others when really the blame lies squarely on our own shoulders? As Muslims, we should try to tame this sort of anger. This is not how Muslims behave. At the present time, many eyes are on Muslims, looking for yet another excuse to find fault or to point an accusing finger. We should never let our own behaviour be the reason others think ill about Islam.

There are, on the other hand, things that cause us to be angry. Some things really make us mad. In these cases, being angry is quite justifiable and as Muslims we are right to be angry. We read in a translation of the meaning of the Qur’an:

(O ye who believe. Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves or your parents or your kin.](An-Nisaa’ 4:135)

Justice

Justice should be so important to us that we should seek justice, even if it costs us dearly. Justice is one of the attributes of Almighty Allah. He is just in all that He does. As Muslims we should be keen to see justice prevail, and we should be angry when people are dealt with unjustly.

There are small things that make me angry because they involve people. It really makes me angry, for example, when I see someone who has a lot of money treating someone with little money in an unkind way. You know the kind of people I mean. The kind of man with a big car, who drives fast and hoots his horn to make people get out of the way, just to show how important he is. Or the man who insists on being served before anyone else, just because he has more money than they have. I was in line at the airport once and a “celebrity” turned up and pushed right to the front of the line. “Don’t you know who I am?” he said. The man behind him had a great reply: “You are a human being, just like everyone else!”

These kind of people make me angry because they are not fair to others. Instead of thanking Allah for the good things they have in life, they boast of the vastness of their riches and abuse those who have none. In fact, anyone in a position of authority who abuses that authority makes me angry. As Muslims we should care for the poor and the weak. Caring for them means speaking out on their behalf, too.

Unfortunately, in our world there are some situations that cause us to be rightly angry. When we see the terrible suffering of our brothers and sisters in Palestine, who are humiliated daily by occupation soldiers and are denied basic human rights and, in some cases, access to their land and their family, this is an evil that causes us to be angry. Having foreign occupation soldiers in Muslim lands makes me angry. Muslims being targeted in many societies because of their religion makes me angry. The list goes on, but I think you get the idea. Injustice is the greatest cause for anger in our world.

What we do with our anger and how we respond to injustice are what makes us different from others. For example, when those cartoons appeared in Denmark about our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him), we had every cause to be angry. Burning flags and throwing stones, though, did not seem to me to be the right response. Such a response played right into the hands of those who want Islam and Muslims to look bad. Boycotting goods, speaking out, writing to MPs and ambassadors all seemed ways of showing how angry we were.

Final Thoughts

Similarly, if we are really angry about what is going on in Palestine, we could do something tomorrow to stop it. We could boycott Israeli goods and the goods of those who support Israel. This would have an immediate effect. Money talks. But often, all we are prepared to do is just talk to ourselves. Anyone can burn a flag or throw stones. Giving up our favourite fizzy drinks might hurt us more, but it cuts off money to those who provide bombs and bullets that kill Palestinian women and children. This is a real focus for our anger.

There is a lot, then, that can make us angry. Knowing how to control and channel our anger is what is most important. Otherwise, our anger just costs us a lot of emotion but achieves little else. As Muslims, we need to be wise. We also need to be very calm and to remember that Allah, not us, is in control of all things. If our anger is just bad temper, then it is inexcusable. If it is righteous anger, we should learn how to make our feelings known. If the world’s Muslims could channel their righteous anger into the proper ways of combating injustice and oppression, then perhaps the world would sit up and listen to us. If we are just angry young men and women, no one will bother about us at all.

Latiefa Achmat

People may not always think too much about themselves and their behavior; they may spend many years of their lives with bad and destructive habits, until they finally realize that they are violent and that the people they love are afraid of them. It is hoped that the following information will help violent people, as well as the people around them, to understand the signs of violence and what can be done to help overcome them.
A violent person has a low threshold of anger. This means that it does not take much to make him or her angry and react aggressively. A violent person also does not like to be opposed; is unable to deal with opposition. Some people may be born with characteristics that incline them to violence, but the environment at home and the example of family can either reduce the effect of these characteristics or develop them. A personality trait can be developed over time and usually becomes full blown by the time the person reaches 17 years or so. After this age, violence is often a choice, whereas before that it can be considered a behavioral pattern that is often affected by peer pressure.When my friend was 17 years old, she was sitting in school and her friend leaned over and talked to her. The teacher turned around at that moment and saw my friend being spoken to by another girl. For some unknown reason he chose to throw the duster at my friend. The injustice was obvious in the eyes of all the class that they collectively urged her to throw the duster back at the teacher!

My friend recalled that she didn’t really want to do that and didn’t see what good it would do, but because of the encouragement of her classmates, she submitted and threw the duster at the teacher, with a perfect aim, I might add. She was thrown out of the classroom for the rest of the year and suffered a lot because of this. When she tried to explain to those in authority the injustice that had happened to her, no one would take proper notice because all they could see was what she had done and how outrageous it appeared.

Violence is not the answer; it was a hard lesson for my friend. Had she remained calm and reported the incident, things would have been very different. This is an example of violence that is a conscious choice. Obviously, the consequences are negative. Of course the teacher was violent himself, but my friend submitted and got caught up in the net and cycle of violence.
Just like any negative behavior, violence can be unlearned. It is a matter of learning how to use your energy in a positive way. Violent people have a lot of energy. Finding the root of the person’s problem is the starting point. Perhaps that person had negative situations at home or at school; perhaps he or she was abused, bullied, or neglected. It could be one of many things. One of the biggest ways a person can learn to be violent is by being treated in extreme ways. The person may have been given no boundaries or the person may have been over-disciplined; this is where frustration and resentment creep in.
If you are a young person and find yourself continually behaving in a violent way, here are some things that you can do.

  1. Establish Prayer, because being close to Allah keeps you calm and balanced.
  2. Try to count to a certain number before you react.
  3. Avoid situations where you know you will have a clash of opinions, especially with your peers.
  4.  Don’t carry weapons, because you may get angry, lose control, and use them.
    Make sure you get enough sleep. Even people who do not have a problem with violent behavior can become moody and irritable when they do not get sufficient sleep.
  5. Try to keep your stress level down, for example, have a good diet and eat nutritious food, don’t overload yourself with work, try to be moderate in everything, and avoid any kind of intoxicant.
  6. Keep your wudu at all times, because that keeps Satan away from you. Of course, he will always be trying to make you angry, because that leads to negative behavior.
  7. Keep company with nonviolent friends; with balanced and positive people. If you hang out with violent people or gangs, you will end up doing what they do because of peer pressure.
  8. Avoid watching violent films and playing violent video games, because they will stimulate you and let you enter a world of unreality, where there are no consequences and no punishments, which is not true in the real world.

One time, there were three boys who watched a film and they saw someone being hanged. After watching this film they began to enact it and they hung one of their friends, just like they had seen in the film. The boy died, even though they didn’t intend to kill him. They thought it was just a game.

Films also glamorize violence and make violent people into popular heroes that young people emulate. Since we live in a world of films and imagination, we must learn to tell the difference between reality and fantasy.
Here are some tips on how to stop being violent.
Avoid intoxicants because they feed your sense of unreality, which is bad for you.
Keep yourself busy doing positive and beneficial activities.
Enroll in some kind of community work where you do things for other people who can’t do those things for themselves. In this way, you will have a sense of strength without having to be violent.
Play nonviolent sports-tennis, squash, gymnastics, swimming and so on.
Try to trace the source of your anger. Some thing must have happened at some time during your life that made you feel as you do. All people have the potential to be angry and violent, but some curb it while others don’t. If you are one of the people who don’t, then try to find out why.
Learn to deal with the violent urges that stem from anger and be aware of how anger and violence may be accepted in your society, even though it is wrong behavior. To shed more light on this point, imagine there are twins and one is raised in a nonviolent society while the other is raised in a violent society. They will both learn different ways of dealing with their anger and violence. Try to find out how you fit into all this.
Develop good communication skills so you can express yourself as this will help you to keep within your anger threshold. A friend of mine was living in a foreign country and could not speak the language well. Whenever she was in a confrontation she would find herself getting angry very quickly, simply because she couldn’t make herself understood. The same applies when we try to speak to people of our own language and culture but we cannot get our point across. This results in frustration, anger, and violence.
Look at the reasons for your violent behavior and then adjust that behavior. For example, if you find that you get violent when you mix with certain people, then stop mixing with them! Also, be careful of overreacting. Plan for yourself, taking into account the people around you. For instance, a common problem is that young people often don’t ask for permission to go out to an important function until the day arrives, then they just throw the situation at parents, who might react and say no simply because it takes them off guard. The answer for this would be to ask permission in advance and get them used to the idea.
Finally, keep the channels of communication open with your parents, brothers, and sisters so you can receive guidance and advice from them. Choose a relative who is close to you in age, one who has experienced adolescence recently and so can empathize more. Discuss your problems, fears, and concerns; recognize your emotions and give them their right-meaning don’t suppress your emotions but do this is a positive, nonaggressive, nonviolent way

http://mozaffar.progressiveislam.org/?p=457

Anger seeps through your system like a devil pulsating through your arteries. It consumes you. It becomes the eyes with which you see. It becomes the mind with which you think. It becomes the hands with which you strike.

There is that one type of anger that you turn to in that split second. You’re facing a sudden conflict, and in that split second you have to make your choice. It is fight or flight. Do you fight? Or, do you turn away? If you fight, you know it will be bad. But, in that split second, you don’t give yourself the time to think. In many cases, you turn away. When your guard is up, it is easy to turn away. Meaning, it is easy to keep control.

But, if you are communicating with a loved one, your guard is already down. When you are with loved ones, you cry more quickly. You laugh more quickly. You relax more quickly. Because your guard is down.

Or, when you are scared you are unable to pull up your guard. Your mind is racing left and right for some comfort. As a result, you aren’t thinking straight. Thus, you leave yourself with less choices.

If Anger is one of your common choices, then you will reach for it to give you the sense of protection. You seek it to provide a response to your fight or flight scenario, or to give you protection from your fear. And if you do it again, you will keep doing it again and again. The more you reach for it, the more it becomes you. And the results will be horrible.

There is the other kind of anger that seeps through your system. While the prior Anger is (essentially) Rage, this latter Anger is far more devious and calculating. When you experience a rupture in your life, you may seek glue from this Anger. And when you do, this glue becomes the glue that holds together your whole person. You no longer see people as humans. You see people as allies or adversaries. You see people as accomplices and victims. The only rule this Anger follows is to destroy, humiliate and feed itself. It is an appetite.

And the results will be horrible.

Patience and GratitudeBy Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

An abridgement of his original work entitled, “Uddat as-Sâbireen wa Dhâkirat ash-Shâkireen” © 1997 TA-HA
Translator’s Afterword

We are living in a time of great confusion, a time where Muslims are only just beginning to rediscover their identity after centuries of decline and subjugation to others. Indeed, we are still dazzled by the achievements of others, and it is a constant strug­gle to reassert our Islâm in the face of overwhelming pressure from Western media and technology.

Human knowledge may have advanced in leaps and bounds over the past few decades (and let us not forget that the scientific and medical progress of the West is bat on a foundation laid down by Muslims!), but it is clear that people are thirsting for more than technology alone can offer. This is evident in the spread of “new-age” movements and cults, and also in the phenomenon of “self-improvement” and “personal-development” books, sales of which have mushroomed in recent years.

Such “motivational” books and the tapes and courses that are also available are well presented and appear very attractive. Muslims, too, may be avid consumers of such material. But this material, which is overwhelmingly Western in orientation, only serves to further confuse the Muslim, who is already suffering from the identity crisis that has blighted followers of Islâm for far too long. No doubt Islâm has also the answers, so why can we not find information on “self-improvement” in Islâmic texts?

In fact, when we familiarize ourselves with our Islâmic heritage (turâth), we will find that our forebears had a great deal to say about the human condition. They examined the universe, and human beings, in the light of the Qur’ân and Sunnah, and wrote much that is still pertinent to everyday life so many centuries later. The problem for English-speaking Muslims is that, if they cannot read Arabic, this wealth of knowledge is inaccessible to them. Fortunately, however, many individuals and organizations are now making the effort to translate important books into English, so as to make the treasures of our heritage available beyond the Arabic-speaking world.

One of the most vital qualities for any person to attain is that which is known in Arabic as sabr: patience or perseverance. Anyone who wishes to be a better student, a more successful businessman, a wiser parent, needs patience. Similarly, anyone who wishes to fulfil his duties towards Allâh, to observe all the prayers and fasts required by Islâm, to treat other people well and to overcome his own shortcomings and failings (Jihâd an-nafs) also needs patience. Patience and gratitude are the keys to success in this world and the next, as we have learnt from reading the words of Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah.

May Allâh guide us to His Way and help us to be among

as-Sâbirîn and ash-Shâkirîn

Patience and GratitudeBy Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

An abridgement of his original work entitled, “Uddat as-Sâbireen wa Dhâkirat ash-Shâkireen” © 1997 TA-HA

Chapter 17: The Sahâbah and Tabi‘în on gratitude
· Gratitude of different faculties
· Prostration of gratitude
· All the good deeds of man cannot pay for one blessing of Allâh

Salmân al-Fârsî (RA) said: “There was a man who was given many of the luxuries of this world, and then they were taken away from him. But he continued to praise and thank Allâh until everything had been taken from him, even his bed. And then he still praised and thanked Allâh. Another man, who had also been given many of the luxuries of this world asked him, ‘What are you praising and thanking Allâh for?’ The man said, ‘I am praising and thanking Him for blessings which, if others asked me to give them to them in return for all that they have, I would never give them up.’ ‘What can they be?’ asked the second man. ‘Can’t you see?’ asked the first man. ‘I have my eyesight, my tongue, my hands, my feet…'”

Mukhallad ibn al-Husayn said: “The definition of gratitude is abstaining from wrong action.” Abû Hâzim said: “Every blessing that does not bring you closer to Allâh is a disaster.” Sulaymân said: “Remembering His blessings makes one love Allâh.”

Hammâd ibn Ziyâd narrated that Layth ibn Abî Burdah said: “I went to Madînah, where I met ‘Abdullâh ibn Salâm, who said to me: ‘Would you like to visit a place visited by the Prophet (SAAS), and we will offer you sâwiq and dates?…’ Then he said: ‘When Allâh gathers people on the Day of Judgement, He will remind them of His blessings. One of His slaves will say: “Remind me of something,” and Allâh will say: “Remember when you faced such-and-such adversity, and you prayed to Me, so I relieved you of it. Remember when you were travelling in such­and-such a place, and you asked Me to give you a travelling companion, and I did so… Remember when you asked for the hand of so-and-so the daughter of so-and-so, and others also asked for her hand, so I gave her to you to marry; and kept the others away.” His slave will be standing before his Lord, Who will remind him of His many blessings.'” Then the narrator of this story (Layth) wept and said, I hope that no one will stand before his Lord in this way, because the one who does so will be punished.” (i.e. if Allâh has to point out that which should be obvious, this is a sign of a person’s ingratitude, and he will be punished.)

Bakr ibn Abdullâh al-Muzânî said: “When a man faces affliction, he may pray to Allâh and Allâh may deliver him from adversity. Then Shaytân comes to the man and whispers, ‘It was not as bad as you thought,’ Thus the man’s gratitude will be weakened.” Zazan said: “The right of Allâh over the man who is enjoying His blessings is that such a man should not use His blessings in order to commit wrong actions.” A man of knowledge said: “The blessing of Allâh to us in keeping the luxuries of this world away from us is greater than the blessing of that which he has given us, because Allah did not like His Prophet to have the luxuries of this world. So I prefer to live in the manner which Allâh preferred for His Prophet than to live a life which He dis­liked for him.”

Ibn Abi’d-Dunyâ said: “It was narrated to me that some scholars said: ‘The scholar should praise Allâh for having deprived him of the luxuries of this life, in the same way that he should praise Him for what He has bestowed upon him. How can you compare the blessings and luxuries for which he will be accountable to the deprivation of luxuries which is a relief from being tested, and which keeps his mind free to worship and remember Allâh? So he should give thanks to Allâh for all of that.'”

It has been said: “Gratitude is giving up wrong action.” Ibn al­Mubârak said: “Sufyân said: ‘He does not understand religion properly who does not count affliction as a blessing and ease as a disaster.'”

Gratitude of different faculties
A man said to Abû Hâzim: “What is the gratitude of the eyes?” He said, “If you see good things, you speak about them, and if you see bad things, you keep quiet about it.” He asked, “What is the gratitude of the ears?” He said, “If you hear something good, you accept it, and if you hear something bad, you reject it.” Then he asked, “What is the gratitude of the hands?” He said, “Do not take what which does not belong to you, and do not hold back from paying the dues of Allâh (zakât).” Then he asked, “What is the gratitude of the head?” He said: “To have knowledge in it.” Then he asked, “What is the gratitude of one’s private parts?” He quoted: “‘Who guard their private parts, except from those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess – for (in their case) they are free from blame, but those whose desires exceed those limits are trans­gressors'” (al-Mu’minûn 23:5-7).

As for those who only pay lip-service to gratitude, and do not give thanks with the rest of their faculties, are concerned, they are like a man who has a garment and all he does with it is touch it, but he does not put it on: it will never protect him from heat, cold, snow or rain.

Prostration of gratitude
When the Messenger of Allâh (SAAS) used to receive good news, he would prostrate himself (sujûd) and give thanks to Allâh. Abdu’r-Rahmân ibn ‘Awf (RA) narrated: “The Prophet (SAAS) entered upon us in the mosque, stood facing the qiblah, then prostrated himself and remained in sujûd for a long time. I said to him: ‘O Messenger of Allâh, you prostrated yourself for such a long time that we thought Allâh had taken your soul.’ He said: ‘Jibrîl came to me with good news. He told me: “Allâh says, ‘Whoever sends blessings on you, I will send sixty blessings on him in return, and whoever salutes you, I will salute him in return,’ so I prostrated myself and gave thanks to Allâh.'” (Ahmad)

Sa‘îd ibn Mansûr narrated that Abû Bakr (RA) prostrated himself when he heard the news that Musaylimah had been killed, and Ka‘b ibn Mâlik (RA) prostrated himself when the Prophet (SAAS) told him the good news that Allâh had forgiven him.

All the good deeds of man cannot pay for one blessing of Allâh
A worshipper worshipped Allâh for fifty years, so Allâh told him that He had forgiven him. The man said, “O Allâh, what is there to forgive when I have not committed a wrong action?” So Allâh caused a nerve in his neck to give him pain, so he could not sleep or pray. When the pain eased and he was able to sleep, an angel came to him, so he complained to the angel of the pain he had suffered. The angel told him: “Your Lord says to you that your fifty years of worship is to pay for the soothing of your pain.”

Ibn Abi’d-Dunyâ mentioned that Dâwûd (AS) asked Allâh: “What is the least of Your blessings?” Allâh revealed to him: “O Dâwûd, take a breath.” Dâwûd did so, and Allâh told him: “This is the least of My blessings on you.”

From this we may understand the meaning of the hadîth which was narrated by Ziyâd ibn Thâbit and Ibn ‘Abbâs (RA): “If Allâh was to punish the people of heaven and earth, He would have done that without being unjust towards them, and if He were to have mercy on them, His Mercy would be far better for them than their deeds.” (Abû Dâwûd)

In a sahîh hadîth the Messenger of Allâh (SAAS) said: “No one will attain salvation by virtue of his deeds.” The people asked, “Not even you, O Messenger of Allâh?” He said, “Not even me, unless Allâh covers me with His mercy and blessings.” The deeds of a man cannot pay for even one of the many blessings of Allâh, because even the smallest of Allâh’s blessings and favours far out­weigh the deeds of man. So we must always bear in mind the rights which Allâh has over us.

Patience and GratitudeBy Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

An abridgement of his original work entitled, “Uddat as-Sâbireen wa Dhâkirat ash-Shâkireen” © 1997 TA-HA

Chapter 16: Ahâdîth on gratitude

It was reported that the Prophet (SAAS) stayed up all night, stand­ing until his feet became swollen. When he was asked, “Why are you doing this, when Allâh has forgiven all your past and future wrong actions?” he replied, “Should I not be a grateful slave?” (al-Bukhârî, Muslim)

The Prophet (SAAS) told Mu‘âdh (RA): “By Allâh, I love you, so do not forget to say at the end of every salâh, ‘O Allâh, help me to remember You and to give thanks to You and to worship You well'” (Ahmad, at-Tirmidhî).

Hishâm ibn ‘Urwah said: “Among the du‘â of the Prophet (SAAS) is: ‘O Allâh, help me to remember You, to give thanks to You and to worship You well.'”

Ibn ‘Abbâs (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAAS) said: “There are four qualities, whoever is given them has truly been given the best in this world and the next. They are: a grateful heart (that is thankful to Allâh), a remembering tongue (that mentions Allâh often), an en­during body (to persevere through the trials which Allâh may send), and a faithful wife (who does not cheat him of her body or his wealth).”

Al-Qâsim ibn Muhammad reported from ‘Ā’ishah (RA) that the Pro­phet (SAAS) said: “No blessing is bestowed on a slave and he realizes that it is from Allâh, but the reward of giving gratitude for it is written for him. Never does Allâh know the regret of His slave for a wrong action he has committed, but Allâh forgives his wrong action before the slave seeks forgiveness. No man buys a garment with his own money then puts it on and thanks Allâh, but Allâh will have forgiven him all his wrong action before the garment reaches his knees.”

The Prophet (SAAS) said: “Allâh is pleased with His slave if, when he eats something, he thanks Allâh for it, and when he drinks something, he thanks Allâh for it” (Muslim).

Shu‘bah said: “At-Fadl ibn Fudalah narrated that Abû Rajah al­ ‘Utaridî said: ‘Once we saw ‘Imrân ibn al-Husayn wearing beautiful clothes that we have never seen before or since. ‘Imrân told us that the Prophet (SAAS) said: “If Allâh bestows His blessing on His slave, He likes to see the effect of that blessing on him.” ‘”

Ibn Shu‘aib narrated from his father and grandfather that the Prophet (SAAS) said: “Eat, drink, and give sadaqah without be­ing extravagant or showing off, as Allâh likes to see the effect of His blessing on His slave.”

Shu‘bah narrated from Abu Ishâq from Abu’l-Akhwas who nar­rated that his father said: “I came to the Messenger of Allâh (SAAS) looking dishevelled and scruffy. He asked me, ‘Do you have any possessions?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He asked me what sort, and I told him, ‘I have all sorts. Allâh has given me camels, horses, slaves and sheep.’ The Prophet (SAAS) said: ‘If Allâh has given you all of that, then let Him see His blessing on you.'”

Abu’d-Dunyâ narrated the hadîth of Abû ‘Abdi’r-Rahmân as-Silmî from ash-Sha‘bî, from an-Nu‘man ibn Bashîr, who said: “The Mes­senger of Allâh (SAAS) said: ‘Speaking of Allâh’s blessing is gratitude and ignoring it is ingratitude (kufr). The one who does not give thanks for a small blessing will not give thanks for a great blessing, and the one who does not give thanks to people will not give thanks to Allâh. To be with a group is a blessing, and to be alone is a punishment.'”

Ibn Abi’d-Dunyâ narrated that ‘Ā’ishah (RA) said that the Prophet (SAAS) entered upon her one day and saw a small piece of bread on the floor, so he picked it up and wiped it, then told her: “O ‘Ā’ishah, treat the blessings of Allâh with respect, for when it departs from a household it may never come back to them.”

Ad-Darwardî narrated from ‘Amr ibn Abî ‘Amr from Sa‘îd al-Maqburî from Abû Hurairah (RA) that the Messenger of Allâh (SAAS) said: Allâh said: ‘The position of the believer in relation to Me is of the best: he praises Me even when I am pulling the soul from his body.'”

Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAAS) said: “If any of you would like to see the great blessing of Allâh on him, then let him look at those who are less fortunate than him, not those who appear better off than him.”