Who are Muslims?
English Bayan, 29 mins
17th December, 2020

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Who are Muslims?

In Islam, which is our religion, our Deen, our way of life, the primary practice which identifies a person as a Muslim is not worship. It is not worship that marks a person out as a Muslim. Rather, a person becomes a Muslim through Akhlaq, through conduct and good manners. The one who is deserving of being called a Muslim is a person who has Akhlaq-e-Husna, an elevated rank of conduct, the Akhlaq displayed by the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam, who presented it in such a way that until the generation of today, nothing of his conduct is hidden from anybody. The Hadiths, Sihah as-Sitta, Bukhari, Muslim - what are they? They all contain the Akhlaq of the Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam; they are based upon his conduct and manners. The foundation and first lesson of the Deen of Islam is Akhlaq. Akhlaq is what gives a person the recognition and the identity of a Muslim. If he doesn’t have Akhlaq, then how can he be a Muslim?

In this regard, one Hadith of the Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam is so weighty and clear cut in enabling us to understand this point. Abdullah ibn Umar radhiAllahu anh relates that the Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: “الْمُسْلِمُ مَنْ سَلِمَ النَّاسُ مِنْ لِسَانِهِ وَيَدِهِ”. If we look at this Hadith, the whole of the Deen of Islam is contained within this. Ibadah has a small part. We live our whole lives in society, in communities, amongst people, engaged in social intercourse, meeting people, seeing people, doing business, conducting transactions, having relationships, being linked, having connections, friends, relatives, kinship. Our whole lives are based on this, not upon Ibadaat, which has a small share. Allah has given us just four actions of Ibadah – Salah, fasting, Hajj, Zakah – but as for Muasharah, social intercourse, human beings range across society and communities, so this is the basis of our Deen. If we leave Muasharah, how will Ibadah assist or help us?

The gracious Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said “The Muslim is he from whom others are safe from his tongue and his hand.” Don’t give pain or hurt to anyone, whether from your hand or your tongue. What a great standard! The real Muslim is a person from whose tongue and hand others are safe; he doesn’t give them any pain or grief. Now if you look around and analyse society today, tell me – what percentage of people fall into this category, and what percentage cannot be defined in this way?

Hajj is there, Umrah is there – all the actions are there. Great big Ibadaat, lengthy worship, Muamalaat, daily recitation – everything is there, but is this characteristic and definition present within us? Are others kept safe from our tongues and hands? Muasharah starts from home, not from outside. The wife, children and family must be safe from our hands and tongues. Let us look at this Hadith and weigh ourselves: how great are we as Muslims, in the light of this Hadith? Let us analyse ourselves. If we could see how the human beings will fare in the Akhirah, in the Court of Allah where the servant of Allah will be presented, that is where the realization will occur. That is when we will comprehend the truth of the matter. Which Salah will help us? Which action? Which worship?

I remember an event. There was a pious elder who passed away, and this example illustrates that only after dying will a person find out what he is. We say that he is this and that and Shaykh-ul-Hadith and other lengthy titles that we assign in this world, but we have to arrive at Allah’s Court one day. So this pious elder passed away – and this is not an event from a long time ago; I am telling you about something that happened recently. Now after he passed away, his student or assistant or a relative or someone close to him – whoever he was – was shown something by Allah; and it happens that sometimes Allah ta’ala wants to give a specific message through someone in this way. So this individual was shown the pious elder who had died in a dream, and he asked him ‘Hadhrat, how did you fare after death? What happened? How difficult was it?’ The elder replied ‘The reality is that when a person is presented in front of Allah ta’ala, it is a different scenario. I thought I was earning for my whole life, but I couldn’t see anything at that time. I couldn’t see anything near me and was wondering where all my deeds had gone.’

This is Allah’s Court we are talking about here. So when he was presented, Allah subhana wa ta'ala asked him ‘Do you know why I am forgiving you?’ SubhanAllah! He was asked ‘Do you know the reason for your salvation?’ The elder said ‘Oh Allah, You are Khabir and Basir, all-Knowing, all-Hearing, all-Seeing – I don’t know anything about myself. I can’t see any of my actions, although I worked and made effort throughout my life and thought I was earning for the Hereafter.’ Allah said ‘Then let me remind you.’ Allah ta’ala has such detailed records of us, even though we forget most of what we have said and done. This is a great lesson for those who have Fikr and concern for the Hereafter. So Allah ta’ala said ‘Do you remember the time when you once asked your wife to make Kichri for your supper. The feeling came into your heart that day that you wanted to eat Kichri (which is a dish made of rice and dhal) so she cooked it. You waited all day for it to be ready, and you came home looking forward to eating it.’ The human being has a Nafs and his desires build up. He had it in his mind all day long that this dish was going to be cooked, a dish which he knew would be tasty and enjoyable, so the passion and keenness grew as he thought ‘Today we will have this dish because it is being cooked at home.’ So within, his Nafs was looking forward all day and was buoyed up and pumped up by the thought of the meal. So he arrived home excited at the thought of the Kichri.

Allah ta’ala gave him this report and said ‘Do you remember this now?’ ‘Yes’, he replied. The reminder continued: ‘As soon as you sat down and began to eat the Kichri, you noticed a fault, which was that there was an excessive amount of salt in the dish. Now when you felt this, you suppressed your reaction. You felt angry about the excess of salt, which was not pleasant, and your anticipated enjoyment evaporated, leaving you deflated and let down.’ Now what would happen normally in such a situation? It would be normal for a person to say something that reflects what he is thinking and feeling, at least to ask how this happened or make some reaction that would show his displeasure. But no, he was a person of high status and piety, and Allah ta’ala said ‘At that time, when you were deflated and disappointed, and with an excuse to be angry and to vent your frustration due to your hunger and because the food was not as expected, instead you put all of that to one side and in your heart you said “Oh Allah ta’ala, what has happened has happened, but for Your Sake, I will not say anything to this lady because it will break her heart if I say something.” Allah said ‘For My Sake you didn’t say anything to your wife, and you ate the food cheerfully and then went, just so that you would not break her heart and give her pain – and you did this for My Sake. So My servant, for this reason, today I open the doors of Paradise for you and forgive you.’ SubhanAllah.

My brothers, this is Akhlaq-e-Husna, an example of high-level conduct. Shall I tell you who this person was, what level of piety he had, and how much luggage he had amassed to show Allah from the hard work and labours of his entire life? This person was the first Ustadh of Deoband! Understand – the foundation was laid by him. It is said that the Madrasa in Deoband was started under a tree, and this was the first Ustadh. His name was Moulana Mahmood al-Hasan, SubhanAllah. Such great students came out from this teacher. Sheikh-ul-Hind was a student of his at this Madrasa, and if the student has this rank and status, then imagine the Maqam and Darajah of his Ustadh. He was the first Ustadh of that Madrasa, and would have taught so many Hadith and so much Fiqh – imagine yourselves what status he would have had. But in the Court of Allah subhana wa ta'ala, all of his actions had been put to the side - nothing was useful to him.

The example I am giving to you is of someone with such great status, such a great human being who had earned, collected and gathered so much for the Akhirah. He was the first and original teacher of Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband, Moulana Mahmood al-Hasan, the teacher, as I have mentioned, of Sheikh-ul-Hind, who was just one of the students from this famous Madrasa. But all of his Hadiths and teaching were put to the side, and Allah ta’ala forgave him on the basis of his Akhlaq-e-Husna, on the high level of his conduct and manners.

My brothers, striving to make one’s heart like this is called Tazkiyyah, or reformation, improvement and purification. A person works hard on his heart so that it can become like this, and this is what we call Tazkiyyah – this is the definition of Tazkiyyah. My Sheikh, Noor ‘ala Marqadah, stated that if this feeling is developed in the heart, if a good level of conduct and manners is developed, and these emotions and this positivity are acquired, then your Dhikr is definitely accepted. But if these emotions and feelings and characteristics are not developed, you can do Dhikr all your life-long, but it is a waste. If we take a Tasbeeh and do 50,00 or 100,000 times Ism-e-Dhat, we are doing Ibadah, but we need to examine where our hearts are going. How is our Akhlaq, our manners and our character in social situations?

The reason for me saying this is that just before Dhikr, I received a message from a sister which distressed my heart. She said ‘Hadhrat, do Dua for me because I am severely distressed.’ What was the cause of her distress? She said ‘In my neighborhood, there is a man who has persecuted me so much. I have tried in every way to please this family who live next door to me, but I am tired today of their bad manners and rude conduct. Please make Dua that Allah ta’ala gives me the ability to survive this situation.’ Imagine the pain and distress that this woman must be going through - and these are Muslims who must pray Salah and keeps fasts, yet this woman is making this request about her neighbour.

My brothers, our society brings up these examples, for this is not just a problem for this particular woman. Entire countries have descended into this state today. When Allah ta’ala gives Adhab, it is not due to lack of Ibadah. Whenever Allah subhana wa ta'ala has destroyed a people or nation, it is due to their Akhlaq, due to the actions they displayed in that generation. Every Nabi has given the teaching about good social conduct. And we ask ‘Where has this Corona virus come from? Where has Covid come from?’ Two million people are suffering in this country from this disease right now; thousands and thousands have met their death and passed away; hospitals are full. Where has this come from? What is this? It is due to our Akhlaq, to our conduct and character. When the extremes of Thulm and oppression are reached, when nobody hears the calls and cries of people in society, when the one who has the stick is in charge, when no one is safe from the bad Akhlaq of tongues and hands whether in the home or outside, then will Allah ta’ala allow such a community to continue to exist in the Dunya? At the moment, there is nothing – we have to look beyond this.

Allah’s Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam stated that a person is only a Muslim if others are protected and safe from him. How can we say we are Muslims? Only if others are safe from his hands and his tongue can a person be a Muslim. Today we have Khanqahs, but there is competition even in this field! Everyone wants to be a Sufi and calls are made ‘Oh, I am Wali of Allah!’ On what basis do these claims rest? ‘Oh, I did Ziyarah of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam in my dream and I meet the Walis of Allah in my dreams. I have such and such feelings and emotions.’ The life of dreams has overwhelmed this Deen of ours – has nobody read this Hadith? Actually, we have heard this Hadith many times over, but it goes in one ear and comes out the other and we do not feel that it has anything to do with us. We think we need Kashf and visions and dreams and Karamaat and miracles, and if we get this, we think we have reached the heights and are extremely pious, and that we should be accepted and acclaimed and have a following and the status of a pious elder.

Never mind piety – are we Muslims or not? That is the question. Forget about piety. Look at the example of this great personality, the head of Madrasa Deoband, whose many deeds were put to one side. He couldn’t even see one deed. And Allah ta’ala said ‘Your forgiveness is given for having protected the heart of one woman by crushing your ego and desires. You kept her heart free from pain in this way for My Sake.’ We should look at ourselves and all the actions that we do in our lives. Is there even one such action present where we have felt pity for someone for the Sake of Allah and have forgiven that person, where we have had full control and authority and the ability to take revenge on them? Today we see people taking revenge, and that is why we are destroyed as a society.

That is why Adhab comes. There is no end to this Corona. You can make so many vaccines, but there is no end - or rather, there is only one way to end it: purification and cleansing within. Have you ever heard of a disease like this in history? Look at previous generations and eras – is there any example like this, where people run away from being near to each other, avoid touching each other’s hands and bodies and keep distant in order to be saved from the disease? Only those whom Allah wants to be saved will be saved.

So real Tazkiyyah and purification is making the heart like this so that our Akhlaq becomes elevated and improved. A Muslim is one from whom other people are protected, who has mercy on others, who listens to the pleas of others. What is the condition of that poor woman who sent me this message? How do her nights pass? She can’t even sit down at home to eat because her neighbours are pestering her. They are giving her a horrible life, they are giving her mental and physical pain, such that she requests for Dua to be able to survive the pain and mental torture that is being inflicted. Will those who do such things be saved? Maybe they will avoid the police and not be punished here, but can anyone be saved from Allah’s punishment?

We need to change our direction. You are friends of Allah, you do Dhikr and Adhkar, you do Tasbeeh – you have taken hold of this, but we need to focus on our hearts and improve our hearts. I am surprised and shocked when I hear of things from this group of people, from me and you. I am talking about me and you now. This makes others become even more negative, as they say ‘Are these people doing these actions also? Are these people giving us pain?’ There is so much Fasaad and disorder due to the lack of good Akhlaq, whether in homes and families, or outside in businesses and leadership and governments. Such a strange colour has overwhelmed people, and the disease hasn’t even come yet! Allah’s Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam said that we are not Muslims. A Muslim’s quality is this alone. Allah’s Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam has defined this as a key quality and characteristic, SubhanAllah. Allah has shown us the path of {ٱهۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٲطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ}, Allah has given us a Tasbeeh in our hands, and the blessed Sunah of Nabi-al-Karim is present - and we are aware of it.

So we have to have courage and determination. At every moment, in every second, protect your hearts. Keep this Hadith in front of you and think ‘I am not a Muslim if I cause pain to others when the challenge comes.’ In every footstep of a person’s life, he gets tested, whether at work, in the role of employer or as an employee, and you have to give and take. Islam is about how we behave in wider society – Ibadah is a very small portion of Islam. A person becomes successful in the Ibadah of good manners if he is like that example I have given to you. Allah ta’ala is just, and even if we have done just an atom’s weight of goodness, maybe that will be enough luggage for your forgiveness. And this is the case for both men and women. ‘Nafsi, Nafsi’ means ‘Me, me – only me!’ If Allah ta’ala puts us in a test in such circumstances, then we need to sacrifice our egos and desires.

SubhanAllah, our Silsila, our chain of teachers, contains Hadhrat Mirza Mazhar Jaane Jaanan rahmatullah alayh, a very, very great personality. All his life, his wife pestered him. She pestered him so much and gave him so much pain that nobody was even allowed to come to knock at his door, this person who has such a high status in the Nashbandi Silsila, Hadhrat Mirza Mazhar Jaana Jaanan rahmatullah alayh. He endured this test for his whole life. Now why did Allah ta’ala give him this great status? The higher the Maqam that Allah ta’ala gives, the more the manners of that person are tested. There were so many people who honoured his status and would bow to him, but his own wife was quite the opposite. She was vehemently opposed to him! Yet, when he was about to pass away, he called his special attendant and disciple to him and said ‘I am about to pass away, but on the Day of Judgement I will certainly ask you one thing. I am leaving my wife under your protection, this woman who I could not make happy all my life’ – listen to his words, SubhanAllah! He took the blame for the matter on himself and told the whole world. ‘All life-long I could not please her and I failed to fulfil her requirements. Don’t take anything she says badly and look after her the way I looked after her.’

My brothers, this is piety, this is Akhlaq and good conduct, good character. Our Hadhrat, QaddasAllahu Sirrah, said that the definition of Wilaya is not that you can float on the air, nor is it performing lots of worship, or having people running after you acclaiming your status, or having Kashf and Karamaat and visions, or being strong on your Wazaif or recitation. No, the definition of Wilayah is that a person transforms from base Akhlaq to high level Akhlaq – then he becomes a Wali of Allah. And that is why we do Tazkiyyah and go to a Friend of Allah, obtain Dhikr, do his service and engage in Mujahidah and hard work. It is for this purpose, so that Allah ta’ala can make our hearts good and improve our Akhlaq and manners and social conduct. We do this so that the Akhlaq-e-Husna of the Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam can come into our lives.

We have these weaknesses and deficiencies because we are living in an era of extreme disorder and great Fitnahs. The Hadiths are available and the Kitabs are open and the people are listening, but there is no Amal, no practice. Is this one Hadith not enough for us? A Muslim is he from whose tongue and hands others are protected. Tell me – the whole of humanity can be improved through this one Hadith. If we do not cause pain to anyone, and don’t persecute anyone and don’t harm anyone to whom we are connected in society, not causing pain or distress, but instead, if someone gives you pain, you bear it with patience, then this society would become Jannah. Your locality and community where you live would become Paradise.

Ok, agreed, there can be issues. If the husband is excessive, then the wife should have Sabr. This is done for Jannah and to please Allah. Why should we do this? For the Sake of Allah, like in the example I gave of the pious elder Moulana Mahmood al-Hasan Sahib rahmatullah alayh. And sometimes the husband is oppressive so the wife should have Sabr, and sometimes the husband has to have patience due to the wife’s behaviour, because Allah gives these challenges and tests. If a person has Sabr and is patient for the Sake of Allah, then Allah ta’ala elevates his status. If you have a Tasbeeh in your hand and are doing Dhikr whilst arguing and fighting and quarelling, with hypocrisy and malice, and gossiping or whispering against the wife, or the wife distrusts the husband, or the husband has malice in his heart for his wife while the Tasbeeh is in his hand and he is doing Adhkar, or if there is hatred between them despite him being regular at the Masjid and making multiple Sujood and attending Dhikr gatherings, then what sort of Deen is this?

So the meaning of the Hadith is this. There is a great event of a Sahabi – but there is no time now for going into it. The main lesson is that there should be no spot or defect or malice or any bad feeling against anybody in your heart when you go to your mattress to sleep at night, You should pass the night with a clean heart. That is the objective of Tazkiyyah and purification. We should always reflect on the state of our heart – is it good? Can it be improved? Always contact your Sheikh and give feedback – ‘My heart is not right; it is not in a good state; this is still happening; my heart has not improved.’ If we have not improved our hearts and character, then our Tazkiyyah has not been successful.

May Allah ta’ala give all of us the Akhlaq-e-Husna of the gracious Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam. May we follow his example and do Amal on his Shari’ah and his Sunnah and his Akhlaq-e-Husna. Ameen.

وأخر دعوانا أن الحمد لله رب العالمين

23rd Dec, 2020