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         Volume 10 |Issue 30 | August 05, 2011 |


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The Straight Path


Be it one's responsibilities towards one's parents or to other fellow human beings, Islam clearly defines the rights of individuals. Of them one of the most important perhaps is one's duties towards one's parents. Allah glorified be He says in the Quran:

"We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination." [Q 31:14]

Our Creator tells us that it is our duty to look after our parents and to love them and to take care of them. We must not do anything which will hurt our parents. Allah commands that we should be thankful to Him and our parents. In a Hadith from At-Tirmidhi, the Prophet (Peace be upon Him; PBUH) said," Allah's satisfaction is the parent's and His wrath is theirs."

Islam teaches us that one should not be unkind to one's parents. Narrated by Abu Bakr: Allah's Messenger ( PBUH) said thrice," Shall I inform you of the biggest of the great sins?" We said," Yes, O Messenger of Allah." He said, "To worship anything or anyone besides Allah and to be unkind and undutiful to one's parents." (Sahih Bukhari 8:5976)

The mother, in Islam, has a special status, and this is indicated in a Hadith. Narrated Abu Hurairah: A person came to Allah's Messenger (PBUH) and asked, "Who among people is most deserving of the best treatment and companionship by me?" The Prophet (PBUH) said," Your mother"; the man said, "Who is next?" The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Your mother." The man further asked, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, “Your mother." The man asked for the fourth time, "Who is next?" The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Your father." Three fourth of our love goes to our mother and one third of it goes to our father.

Islam reminds us of the importance of being nice to our relatives and warns us never to sever the ties of kinship. Allah the Almighty proclaims, "Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives..." (Q 4:36)

It is interesting to note that most of the passages of the Quran that talks generally about good manners are always preceded by the worship of Allah, which reconfirms the fact that behaving well with fellow humans is given utmost importance in Islam. Severing blood ties is also a major sin in Islam, the Prophet (PBUH) mentioned, "The one who severs ties of blood relations will not enter Paradise." (Sahih Muslim 6:6521)

He (PBUH) also stated, "He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain good ties of blood relationship."

This Hadith tells us to extend hospitality to relatives and emphasises that one should maintain relations with them at all costs. It is to the extent that if the relatives misbehave and try to sever ties, one should put all his efforts not only to maintain the relationship but also to uphold their rights, as it is compulsory to do so.

Allah the glorified states," Indeed Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving ( help and rights) to relatives." (Q 16:90).

Furthermore, the Prophet (PBUH) said, " Allah the almighty says: 'He who maintains good ties with relatives, I maintain good ties with him; and he who severs the relatives' ties, I sever ties with him'."

Devouring the rights of relatives is one of the reasons that causes displeasure and wrath of Allah the Almighty. Whatever rulings apply to the neighbours, most of them apply to general people as well. The Most High reveals: "Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour farther away, the companion at your side, the traveller…Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful." (Q 4:36)

Islam recognises even the person around you as your neighbour. There are several Hadiths which mention to give kind treatment towards one's neighbour. The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Arc Angel Gabriel continued to recommend me about treating the neighbours kindly and politely, so much so that I thought he would order me to make them as my heirs." (Bukhari 8:6014). He (PBUH) also mentioned, "He will not enter paradise, whose neighbour is not safe from his evil conduct." (Muslim 1:172)

Being just is one of the basic qualities of a Muslim. Allah mentions:

"O believers, be persistent in standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness." (Q 5:8)

"O believers, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor... So follow not (personal) inclination, lest you not be just." (Q 4:135)

A Muslim should love fellow human beings. The Prophet (PBUH) mentioned, "None of you will attain perfect faith, unless he likes for his brother what he loves himself." (Muslim 1:170)

As a Muslim, whatever you like, you must share it with everyone. If you buy for yourself a perfume of a good brand and you intend to give someone a perfume, if you can afford it, you must give him the same quality of perfume you use.

One of the few conditions to be a Muslim is that he should not abuse his tongue. It has been narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said," Whoever believes in Allah and the Last day, speak good or else remain silent." (Muslim 1:176)

This Hadith also indicates that we should not backbite and slander about anyone. It was asked to the Prophet (PBUH), "What is backbiting?" He said, "When you say something about your brother that he dislikes." It was said: "What if I am telling the truth?" The prophet said: "If what you are saying is true then it is backbiting and if it is not true, then you have slandered him." (Sunan Abu Dawud 5:4874)

The Lord of the Worlds tells us:
"Woe to every scorner and mocker." (Q 104:1)

"O believers, avoid much (negative) assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would you like to eat the flesh of your dead brother? You would detest it. And fear Allah." (Q 49:12)

Backbiting is equivalent to the sin of eating human flesh and that too is of one’s own dead brother. Lying, cheating, breaking promises are not what a Muslim should be doing. Once while talking about the characteristic of a hypocrite, our beloved Prophet (PBUH) made the following statement: "The characteristics of a hypocrite are four: when he speaks he lies, when he makes a covenant he betrays it, when he promises he breaks it and when he disputes he resorts to obscene speech and does so in an imprudent manner." (Muslim 1: 210)

Moreover, the Messenger (PBUH) mentioned that a believer cannot be a liar. He also said, "Whoever swears a binding oath falsely let him assume his seat in hell fire." (Sunan Abu Dawud 4:3242)

Lying in itself is a major sin and an accursed practice. It becomes all the more despicable if a man tells a lie in an oath.

Muslims must be generous as Allah mentions several times in the Quran not to be stingy and to be generous. The Prophet (PBUH) was the most generous man among all the people. Whenever anyone asked for something, he never said no.

We must always be humble and kind even with those who are unkind and harsh towards us. "And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth with humility, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace." (Q 25:63)

In an authentic tradition the Prophet (PBUH) said, "Allah has revealed to me, that you must be humble towards one another, so that no one wrongs anyone else or boasts to anyone else." (Abu Dawud 5:4895)

All these statements do not imply that one should behave like a sick person, making a show of their humility. Rather Muslims should be humble and walk with dignity not pride and arrogance.

Among the qualities of a believer is that he should no be envious. He (PBUH) said, "Avoid envy, for envy devours good deeds just as fire devours firewood."

Allah extends His hand of bounty to those who do good for he says, "Allah loves the doers of good."(Q 3:148)

And Allah knows best.


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