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Thursday, January 03, 2019

Are you religious? What does it mean to be religious?



Often, I meet people who might look outwardly relgious but when I see them practice I often find them lacking in certain aspects. I wonder if it is my error by being judgemental. Rather it is often about them committing sins that need censure.


Basics

In the Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the following meaning of adjective of the word religious, "very careful to do something whenever it can or should be done." (http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/religious)

In Arabic, the word for a religious person is mutadayyin متدين that means pious, godly, devoted, and religious. (Hans Wehr p.306.)

The word religion in Arabic means dana to mean profess a religion or conviction [ibid]. Therefore, to be religious you must profess to do everything that needs to be done.


What needs to done?

The obligations are meant to be done and they are the five pillars and anything there is punishment attached to in the Quran.

Not to do any of the following: cheating, stealing, killing, lying, false oaths, disbelief, drink wine, illegal fornication, leave prayer, not pay zakah, consume interest, oppress people, consume the unlawful, deceive, backbite, talebear, curse, lie about Allah and His Messenger, and so on.

You can find more details on this in the books of major sins/kabair.


Why was character praised?

Ponder over the many perfections of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings be upon him), how many things did he do in an excellent manner, but one particular ayah in Surah Al-Qalam verse four is the subject of what is necessary for the believer after the pillars.

وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ

"You truly have great character." 

It can be translated in a few different manners but the emphasis of the Arabic cannot be fully translated into another language. Allah (the Exalted) addresses the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings be upon him) directly using the kaf al-Khatab meaning you. The laam of the next word is emphasis that he truly possesses. Khaliq means to make pieces of leather to make for something or to make something from nothing. Great giving us an explanation that his character was praiseworthy.


Imam Al-Nasafi (may Allah show him mercy) said,

وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ } قيل: هو ما أمره الله تعالى به في قوله:{ خُذِ ٱلْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِٱلْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِض عَنِ ٱلْجَـٰهِلِينَ } [الأعراف: 199]. وقالت عائشة رضي الله عنها: كان خلقه القرآن أي ما فيه من مكارم الأخلاق. وإنما استعظم خلقه لأنه جاد بالكونين وتوكل على خالقهما.

"You truly have great character." It was said he was doing that which Allah commanded in the other ayah, "Maintain forgiveness, command the good and turn away from the ignorant." (Al-Araf 7:199). Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, "His character was the Quran." Meaning what it contains of honourable characteristics. It is worthy of it being great because the honour of the [creator of the] universe and his reliance upon his creator."


Imam Al-Tabarani (may Allah show him mercy) said,

ويقال: " إنَّهُ صلى الله عليه وسلم احتملَ للهِ في البلاءِ إلى أنْ قالَ حين شُجَّ في وجههِ: " اللُّهُمَّ اهْدِ قَوْمِي فَإنَّهُمْ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ " فأنزلَ اللهُ تعالى { وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ } " قال الجنيد: (سَمَّى خُلُقَهُ عَظيماً لأنَّهُ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ هَمٌّ سِوَى اللهِ تَعَالَى). وَقِيْلَ: إنه صلى الله عليه وسلم عاشَرَهم بخُلقهِ وزايَلهم بقلبهِ، كان ظاهرهُ مع الْخَلقِ وباطنهُ مع الحقِّ! وَقِيْلَ: سَمَّى خلقَهُ عظيماً لاحتمالِ مكارمِ الأخلاق فيه.

"He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) bore, for the sake of Allah, the tribulation in the tribulation when he was wounded in the face, "O Allah guide my people because they do not know." Therefore, Allah the Exalted said, "You have the greatest character." Al-Junaid said, "His character was called great because he did not any other concern other than Allah the Exalted." Someone said, "He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said being with [excellent] character and not with his heart, his outward was with creation and his internal was with creator. Someone said, "His character was called great because he bore honourable character."


The supplication made by the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) is a testimony to his mercy and proof that Allah did send him as a mercy. It was made for pagan Quraysh to accept Islam, which they did after the opening of Mekkah. Similarly is a hadith in Imam al-Bayhaqi's Al-Dalial Al-Nabuwwah, in which Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) was tending to the wounds of her father (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him).


Sheikh Yusuf Al-Nabhani in Al-Nawar Al-Muhammadiyyah Vol 2, "Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) was asked about his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) she said, "His character was the Quran." His speech was in accordance to the Quran in detail and clarification, his knowledge was the knowledge of the Quran, he wanted and acted upon was necessary and recommended in the Quran, he turned and left what was forbidden in the Quran, his desire was that what was desired in it, he abstained [of worldly things] was what is said to be abstain from, he disliked what it disliked, he loved what he loved, and he sought to implement its commands.  She (may Allah be pleased with her) saw him as an explanation [in terms of] knowledge of the Quran and the Messenger, he gave the best expression of all this, therefore she said, "His character was the Quran."


Ibn Ajibah (may Allah show him mercy) said,

قال ابن جُزي: وتفصيل ذلك: أنَّ رسولَ الله صلى الله عليه وسلم جمع كل فضيلة، وحاز كل خصلة جميلة، فمن ذلك: شرف النسب، ووفور العقل، وكثرة العلم والعبادة، وشدة الحياء، والسخاء، والصدْق، والشجاعة، والصبر، والشكر، والمروءة، والتوءدة، والاقتصاد، والزهد، والتواضع، والشفقة، والعدل، والعفو، وكظم الغيظ، وصلة الرحم، وحُسن المعاشرة، وحسن التدبير، وفصاحة اللسان، وقوة الحواس، وحسن الصورة، وغير ذلك، حسبما ورد في أخباره وسِيرَه صلى الله عليه وسلم، ولذلك قال: " بُعثت لأتمم مكارمَ الأخلاق "
ابن البزار

"Ibn Juzzy said specifying that, "the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) had all honourable virtues and possessed all beautiful qualities. From them are: honourable lineage, vast intellect, great knowledge and worship, great shyness, generous, truthfulness, courage, patience, gratefulness, natural disposition, thoughtful, thriftiness, abstinent, humility, sympathy, just, pardoning, hiding the faults of others, maintaining family ties, excellent company, excellent reflection, eloquent tongue, powerful senses, excellently presented, and so forth. Return to the hadith and to his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) life story. This is why he said, "I was only sent to complete honourable character." [Al-Bazzar].

Each of these words deserves explanation.

Honourable lineage
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was from the descendants of Ismail (upon him peace).

Vast intellect
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) this was a condition of Prophethood. The Prophets would use their intellects to spread their message.

Great knowledge and worship
His (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was given to him by Allah the Exalted. He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) once spoke from Fajr to Isha and spoke about all the major events until the end of time.

Great shyness
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was known for being very shy. Shyness is praiseworthy except for a student knowledge that is too shy to ask a question.

Generous
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) would give out everything he had and he would not rest until he would give out to help Muslims.

Truthfulness
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was known to be the most truthful person and this is proven by the pagan who refused him! Add to their error when they did not follow him (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him).

Courage
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) would go and speak to people about Islam which put his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) life at risk. However, he would do that without fear.

Patience
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was patient with the Mekkan becoming Muslims and was trying for twenty years.

Gratefulness
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) taught us who to be grateful.

Natural disposition
His (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) natural disposition was wonderful and a delight for everyone to be around.

Thoughtful
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) did not rush into anything rather he would think about matters and not proceed without thought.

Thriftiness
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) did not spend his money for no reason. He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) spent money on necessitates and a large amount was given away in charity.

Abstinent
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was concerned about gathering worldly items because he was comfortable with what he had and did not desire what others have.

Humility
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was humble which is extraordinary when reflecting on the blessings and rank he has.

Sympathy
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) had sympathy for all people no matter of their creed, race or anything else. He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) wanted to relieve all suffering in the world.

Just
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was just to everyone he met. He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) gave everyone their rights.

Pardoning
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) forgave the entire pagan population of Mekkah even though they fought him for twenty years.

Hiding the faults of others
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) would not be fussy about peoples minor errors that were sins.

Maintaining family ties
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) kept calling members of his family to Islam even though they opposed and slandered him.

Excellent company
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was a delight to be around and would make everyone feel like the most person in the world.

Excellent reflection
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) would reflect deeply on matters and think about what was best for the Muslims. From his time until the end of time.

Eloquent tongue
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) never swore or used his tongue to commit sin, ever. He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) would speak using beautiful words.

Powerful senses
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) had powerful sight, hearing and so forth.

Excellently presented
He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was presentable, his clothes were clean, he was neat and looked impeccable, all the time.

These are all Sunnah but how many have forgotten these simple basics?


How are you religious?

You are not religious if you practice the pillars of Islam and do any of the following: harm, beat people, you are not religious if you beat your wife, you are not religious if you kill people, you are not religious if you swear all the time, make people uncomfortable, slander and backbite people, watch things that are unlawful for you to do on your computer/tablet/phone, and so on.

Practicing the five pillars alone means you have started but are not practicing yet. Like a man who has put one foot on the ladder, he has not started to climb the ladder.


Woe betide the prayer?

أَرَأَيْت ٱلَّذِي يُكَذِّبُ بِٱلدِّينِ * فَذَلِكَ ٱلَّذِي يَدُعُّ ٱلْيَتِيمَ * وَلاَ يَحُضُّ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ ٱلْمِسْكِينِ
فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ * ٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ عَن صَلاَتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ
. ٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ يُرَآءُونَ
وَيَمْنَعُونَ ٱلْمَاعُونَ

"Have you seen those who deny the religion? He refused the orphan and do not give food to the poor? Woe betide the prayers who are neglectful about their prayer, they have pretence in it, they prevent giving to the needy." Quran 107:1-7.

The denier of the religion was a hypocrite [reason for revelation for the above] they denied part of faith. However, part of his rejection of faith was the rejection of doing good to orphans or feeding the poor. His rejection of the good action lead to him denying the religion. He also denied being held into account for his actions. 

We can also look at this hadith as we are denying something fundamental when we refuse to assist the poor and orphaned. Therefore we look are neglectful about our prayer. Prayer also means supplication. We are asking for the help of Allah but we are not helping others. We are praying for others to see us praying in the masjid, which means are worship is empty as large treasure chest. From the outside, it looks wonderful but once it is opened, the reality is clear. It is completely empty and who would want a treasure chest without any treasure?! Even a small amount of good done consistently is better than a great deal rarely.



Further evidence

Ponder this hadith:
عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال: قيل للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: يا رسول الله ((إنَّ فلانة تقوم الليل وتصوم النَّهار، وتفعل وتصَّدَّق، وتؤذي جيرانها بلسانها؟ فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: لا خير فيها، هي من أهل النار. قالوا: وفلانة تصلي المكتوبة وتَصَّدَّق بأثوار (قطع من الأقط، وهو لبن جامد) ولا تؤذي أحدًا. فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: هي من أهل الجنة))
أحمد
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "Someone asked the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him), "O Messenger of Allah, a particular female prays all night, fasts all day,  works, gives charity, but harms her neighbour with her tongue?" the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, "there is no good in her and she is one of the inhabitants of the fire." They asked, "A particular female prays five times a day and gives [some food] but does not harm anyone." The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, "She is one of the people of paradise." (Imam Ahmed)

This hadith further illustrates the fact that a person cannot think that their life is fine when they harm other people yet pray all night! Here she is applying all her obligations and more but is harming her neighbour by slander, backbiting, lies and so forth. For this reason she is one of the people of hell. Even though she was not just doing obligations but she was also doing more voluntary actions. She was spending her night in prayer and her day in extra fasts but because of her bad character, she was in perpetual loss without knowing it. Then compare this to another woman who prays just her obligations and her neighbours some food. I was unable to identify the type of food. She was one of the people of paradise because of fulfilling the right of the neighbour. How many people are treating their neighbours with disrespect by harming them by their unruly antics, yet claim to be religious or otherwise?


Real bankruptcy

أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهم عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ : أَتَدْرُونَ مَا الْمُفْلِسُ قَالُوا : الْمُفْلِسُ فِينَا مَنْ لا دِرْهَمَ لَهُ وَلا مَتَاعَ ، فَقَالَ : إِنَّ الْمُفْلِسَ مِنْ أُمَّتِي يَأْتِي يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ بِصَلاةٍ وَصِيَامٍ وَزَكَاةٍ وَيَأْتِي قَدْ شَتَمَ هَذَا وَقَذَفَ هَذَا وَأَكَلَ مَالَ هَذَا وَسَفَكَ دَمَ هَذَا وَضَرَبَ هَذَا فَيُعْطَى هَذَا مِنْ حَسَنَاتِهِ وَهَذَا مِنْ حَسَنَاتِهِ فَإِنْ فَنِيَتْ حَسَنَاتُهُ قَبْلَ أَنْ يُقْضَى مَا عَلَيْهِ أُخِذَ مِنْ خَطَايَاهُمْ فَطُرِحَتْ عَلَيْهِ ثُمَّ طُرِحَ فِي النَّارِ
Muslim

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) asked, "Do you know who the bankrupt are?" They replied, "The bankrupt is he without wealth or property." He said, "The bankrupt at those of my nation who come on the day of judgement with [all their] prayer, fasting and charity [fully completed so no obligation is left]; [yet he has] abused someone, accused someone, confused the wealth of someone, shed the blood of someone and stuck someone. He [gives away] a good action for them [each sin]. This good action in exchange for this, when the good actions are exhausted, then he will be ruled to take their sins. Then he is thrown into the fire." Muslim

Here, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) wanted to expand the mindset of people from merely looking at the world to looking at the afterlife. First by thing, their understanding then by causing them to ponder about what's beyond death. There are other narrations in which gold and silver coins are mentioned, as being a person who is bankrupt. Muflis means to be bankrupt, insolvent and ruined. (Hans Wehr p. 726.)

So despite this person not missing any obligations to Allah (the Exalted) he was found wanting in terms of fulfilling the rights to creation. Because of this, he is one of the most bankrupt of the Muslims. The other worldly bankruptcy is about actions not money. The main reason for his ruination is that he did not resolve the difficulty in the world and left it without rectification. Then judgement is done by Allah (the Exalted) when there is only actions to be exchanged. No pardoning can occur at this time. The bankrupt has abused someone verbally or physically, both can be included here. He could have slandered, insulted or backbitten him. Accusation of someone is when someone makes a claim that a crime has taken place. However, it is found to be untrue, after the deliberation of a judge. He could have accused someone of fornication and his story was inconsistent with others. Therefore, he was lashed for making a false claim. He cannot, thereafter, be a witness ever in the Shafi Madhab or he can give witness if he repents in Hanafi. Consuming the wealth of someone is when wealth of someone is taken by force or oppression. Then it is never returned to them. This often happened with the wealth of orphans was usurped by uncles or other family members. He struck or shed the blood of someone. This is stark warning for 'gangsters' who think they can do what they like and come to Jummah and be forgiven. It is not a simple as that, the gangster, like everyone else, should repent and rectify the wrong he did with people. So even if he is praying in the first line but is drug dealing, committing legal fornication, pimping, driving like a mad man in 20 mph zones and so forth of similar crimes; he is not religious. He will give his good actions and if he has no good actions then he will take their sins, even disbelievers will attain justice on the day of judgement. Treating people badly because of their religion is a crime and they will receive punishment.

After all this, when he thought he was in a good position, he will be thrown into hell because he has more evil deeds than good. 


To conclude

Your religiousness depends not just on your act of worship with Allah but what you do with your relationship with creation. Slandering people on social media means you are not religious. Wearing tradition dress does not mean you are more religious than others spreading lies about people means you are not religious. Warning people by slander or backbiting does not mean you are religious.

The character of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) is there for us all to follow until the day of judgement and an ignoramus disregards it. I am accusing myself too of not being, as I should.

If you think religiousness is just about your prayer then guess again and re-read this work.

Unless you have added excellent moral conduct of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) to your religious obligations then you are bankrupt. Then we you call up the bank thinking that you have millions you will find the bank account empty. When do you call up the bank? The day of judgement...
I hope I have made my point clear.



Examples of how he was like the Quran or another article

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