Aoudhubillahi minash shaitan nirrajeem
All praise is for Allah. We praise Him and seek His help and ask Him for forgiveness. And we believe in Him and trust in Him. We seek refuge in Allah, from the mischief of our souls and from our evil deeds. He whom Allah guides none can mislead and whom He leaves to stray none can guide. And, we bear witness that there is no god except Allah Who is Alone and has no partner, and we bear witness that Sayyidina Muhammad Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam is His servant and Messenger-May Allah bless him and (likewise) his family and Companions. And may He favor him and give him peace.
We have it from Abu Musa al-Ashari Radiyallaahu anhu that the Messenger of Allah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam has said “A Muslim is he from whose tongue and hands other Muslims are Safe.” (Tirmizi, Book of Faith, Chapter 12)
1. He is Not a True Muslim
This Hadith is transmitted by Sayyidina Abu Musa al-Ashari Radiyallaahu anhu and it implies that a Muslim is one who does not cause trouble to another Muslim by his tongue or by his hand. The hadith describes a Muslim and tells us that only he is a Muslim who has these attributes. Therefore, if other people are not safe from the hand or tongue of a Muslim then truly this man is not entitled to be called a Muslim. He is like one who does not offer Salat. Although no jurist will decide that such a man is a non-Muslim because he neglects regular Salat yet he is not truly entitled to be called a Muslim because he does not observe the most significant of the duties imposed by Allah. In the same way the person whose hand and tongue cause trouble to other people is not called a disbeliever by a jurist but, in the light of this Hadith, he is not entitled to be called a Muslim because he does not behave like one.
2. What Is Social Living
There are five sections in Islam.
- Dealings or Behavior.
- Character and Manners; and
- Social living.
This Hadith is the base on which the fifth section stands. No one lives alone in this world; neither is he asked to live alone. So, he has links with someone or the other-his family, friends, neighbors, and other people, where he buys or sells or he works. How, then should he conduct himself with these people. This is the principle and rule of social living and it is a significant part of religion. Unfortunately, due to our negligence and irresponsible attitude that we have cast it aside and do not even consider it as part of religion. We do not pay heed to the commands of Allah and His Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam in this regard.
3. Importance of Social Rules
Allah has given particular importance to social rules for us. We can see it in the way the Qur’an deals with one of the principles of social living: to seek permission before entering anybody’s house. The Arabic word for seeking permission is Istizan Allah has revealed two complete rukus
(Sections) in the Qur’an to describe istizan. We can gauge the importance attached to it from the fact that the command to offer Salat is discussed some sixty-two times in the Qur’an but it is left to the Holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam to describe how to offer it. The Qur’an does not tell us the method of offering it. But, details of istizan are mentioned by the Qur’an itself and not left for the Prophet # to describe. Besides, a large portion of surah al-Hujurat is devoted to social laws. Thus, on the one hand such a great importance is attached to social conduct and on the other we ignore that in our daily life and do not even know its rules.
4. Maulana Thanavi (Rahmatullahi Alaih) Revives Rules of Social Way of Living
In his times, Allah has caused Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi Rahmatullahi alaih to revive those sections of religion that had been put in the background. People had forgotten that these were part of our religion. Maulana Thanavi recalled their significance and taught us their rules .It was in his khanqah that he gave it practical shape. It was supposed previously that a khanqah is a recluse: people sit in rooms and chant ‘Allah’ ‘Allah’ and occupy themselves in zikr (remembrance of Allah, devotional exercises) and worship. Maulana Thanavi did not lay as much emphasis on zikr and optional worship as he placed on social conduct. He educated his disciples to avoid inconveniencing other people. He used to say that when his disciples failed to observe the devotional exercises that he prescribed, he felt sorry for their dereliction but when he learnt of one of them violating social conduct or causing hardship to someone he felt hatred for that man.
5. First Become a Human Being
It is known, too, that Maulana Thanavi Rahmatullahi Alaih frequently said, “If you wish to become a Sufi or an ascetic then you will find many other khanqahs for that purpose where you may go. If you wish to perfect yourself as a human being, you should come here. We mold them here. To become a Muslim, a Scholar or a Sufi is the next step and it is a higher status. You must first enter the human field, and come out of the rows of animals. You can only achieve that by learning the Islamic etiquettes of social living and behaving according to them.”
6. Three Types of Animals
In his ahya ul Ulum, Imam Ghazali Rahmaatullahi alaih has said that Allah has created three types of animals. One of these types are beneficial to mankind and it is very rare that they harm man. Examples of this type are: cows, sheep, and so on. They are beneficial because they give milk and when they do not, they are slaughtered for their meat; that is, they give up their lives to benefit man. These animals do not harm anybody. The second type includes animals that are always harmful to man and there is no apparent benefit from them. Examples of this kind are snakes, scorpions, beasts of prey, and so on; they are all harmful animals. They bite man. The third kind of animals are those animals that neither benefit nor harm. These are found in the wild and include fox, jackal, and others. Man does not gain from them nor is harmed by them to a noticeable extent. After recalling these types of animals, Imam Ghazali Rahmatullahi Alaih addresses man and says, “O Man! You are the Best creation and you enjoy excellence over all animals. If you do not behave as a human being but wish to live as an animal then at least imitate the first kind of animal who benefits other creatures but does not harm them, like the cow and goat. But, if you wish to stoop lower then become like the third type that neither harms nor benefits. If you are not like either of these and cause harm to other people instead of benefitting them then you have grouped with the second type of snakes and scorpions, and the like.”
7. They Are Human Beings
So we see that the question of Muslim or non-Muslim, scholar or not, ascetic or not, is not of immediate import. The first thing for a man is to behave like humans. To do that it is necessary that he tread the Islamic Social way of living. He should not be responsible for causing even the slightest of inconvenience to anyone else, by his hand or tongue or through any effort whatever. Once Maulana Thanavi Rahmatullahi alaih said in a spirit of humbleness, “Even I am not a perfect and complete human but-praise be to Allah – I have seen what human beings are like. So I cannot be deceived by a bull who claims to be human. So I will aim at that, Inshaa Allah, and will not be deceived into behaving like a bull”.
8. Save Other People from Harm
As far as voluntary devotional exercises are concerned, no one will be taken to task for omitting these forms of worship but if anyone observes them, he will be rewarded for that in the Hereafter. Nevertheless, these are virtuous deeds, and one must accustom oneself to do them. On the other hand, if anyone is behind the hardship another person suffers then he has committed a grave sin and he will be taken to task for that commission. This is why Shari’ah tells us to abandon voluntary worship when there is a possibility of helping someone out of difficulty or saving him from that.
9. Importance of Congregational Salat
We know that men are urged strongly to offer their obligatory Salat with the congregation. It is so important that the Holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam said, “I feel like appointing someone else to lead the congregational Salat when the time comes and go out myself to visit every house and see if anyone has stayed behind. Then, I should set the houses of those who remained behind a fire because they neglect their duties to Allah.” This shows the importance attached to congregational Salat. Some of the jurist regard offering Salat with the congregation as sunnah muwakkadah but some othres give it the higher status of wajib. Prayer in congregational form is a perfect form while in an individual capacity is an imperfect form. We also have the example of the Holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam when he was ill before his death and could not walk with ease and had appointed Sayyidina Abu Bakr Radiyallahu anhu as Imam in his place. At such a moment too, he came to the mosque to offer the congregational prayer supported by two men. This stresses the importance of Salat with the congregation.
10. When Is One Not Allowed To Go To The Mosque?
The jurists have decided unanimously that a man who is ill and smells badly then he must not go to the Mosque. It is not merely that he is allowed to stay away from congregational prayer but he is not even allowed to join it, and if he joins it, he will be committing a sin. If he joins the congregation, he will inconvenience other people because of the bad odor. We must see that such an important thing as congregational Salat is disallowed if it becomes a cause of inconvenience to other people.
11. Causing Hardship to other People When Kissing the Black Stone
We all know the importance of the Hajr Aswad (the Black Stone, at Ka’bah). We are told that kissing the Black Stone is like shaking hands with Allah, and it effaces a man’s sins. The Holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam and his companions Radiyallahu anhum themselves kissed the Black Stone which also highlights its importance. In spite of that we are advised that if in attempting to kiss it we might push other people and cause them difficulty then it is not proper to kiss it; rather that is sinful. Shariah is very particular that one does not cause another man even a little bit of difficulty. Such important forms of worship as congregational Salat and kissing the Hajr Aswad are abandoned only because we might not hurt anyone else; thus, the lesser forms that are voluntary should also be postponed when such a situation arises.
12. Reciting the Qur’an Loudly
We may cite the example of reciting the Qur’an, too. It is such a virtuous act that the reciter is rewarded tenfold on reciting each letter. In other words a person amasses rewards when he recites the Qur’an. Of all the devotional exercises, recital of the Qur’an is the most excellent. Then, an audible recital is preferred. An audible recital secures more reward than an inaudible. But, if there is a likelihood of disturbing someone’s sleep because of the sound then it is not allowed to recite audibly.
13. How did the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam Arise for Tahajjud Salat
The Holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam woke up in the night for Tahajjud Salat. Never in his life did he miss the Tahjjud Salat. But, Allah and His Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam made it easy for us and did not say that the Tahajjud Salat was obligatory for us although it was so for the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu alaihi wasallam. He never missed it. In spite of that we are told in a Hadith that whenever he got up for Tahajjud he was very quiet and never made a noise or let the door squeak lest the sleep of any of his wives be disturbed. The Qur’an and Hadith tell us that we must not cause the slightest difficulty to anyone.
14. Praying On the Thoroughfare
It is not proper to offer prayer at a place where people pass by. Some people do not heed this. Take for example the mosque. Although the front rows are vacant, some people pick up the very last row and offer their Salat there. The result is that those who have to go out of the mosque or come into it, find it difficult. Either they make a detour round such people or commit a sin by walking in front of them. To offer Salat in such a manner is not proper. Rather, it is a sin.
15. ‘Muslim’ includes Security
The Hadith we are discussing may be repeated here “A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand other Muslims are secure”. The word Muslim is an Arabic word whose root is seen lam meem which is also the root word of the word meaning security. Thus implied security or safety is included in the word Muslim.
16. The meaning of as-salam ‘Alaikum
When non-Muslims meet they greet each other with a ‘hello’, ‘good morning1, namstay or ‘adab’. They have different words of greetings, but, the Islamic form of greeting is as-salam ‘alykum meaning Peace be on you. Apart from greeting, these words offer a prayer for the safety of the person greeted whereas every other form of greeting does not include any prayer. The addressee receives no benefit thereby. But when a man greets the other with as-salam ‘alay kum Wa rahmat Allah Wa barkatuhu he prays for three blessings as we see in the meaning of these words: Peace be on you and the Mercy of Allah and His Favors. This is a supplication and if it receives the approval of Allah even once, the person addressed benefits for the rest of his life from the blessings. Besides, by using these words the addressee is assured of safety and security at the hands of the speaker. The former is then confident that he will not suffer hardship through the latter. A Muslim, when he greets in this way, conveys to the other that he has brought the message of peace for him and will not torment him.
17. The Meaning of Security from the Tongue
The Hadith describes a Muslim as one from whose tongue and hand other Muslims are safe. To be safe from the tongue is to be satisfied that he will not say anything that might dishearten the other, cause him difficulty or displease him in any way. So, even when that man is to be censored such words may be used as do not cause heart-burning. For instance, he must be told in simple terms that his action was not proper or that he must re-consider his behavior or that it was not in line with Shari ah. He must not be cursed or taunted. Anything said in an indirect manner that injures is taunt and it causes a deep wound. The Arabic couplet further explains:
“The wound caused by the sword heals sooner
or later but when it is caused by the tongue it
leaves a lasting impression”.
It is better, therefore, to tell anyone plainly that he has wronged rather than taunt him. The Qur’an says:-
O you who believe! Fear Allah and speak words straight to the point (Al-Ahzab. 3370)
Indirect speech is neither desired nor liked. In the present times, we are used to oblique references and round about approach. The listener is hurt by that. People who speak in this manner gain the appreciation of the masses and are said to possess good sense of humor as an orator.
18. A Unique Incident of Oblique Speech
Someone wrote an article in which he commented on one of the books of Maulana Mahmud ul Hasans Rahmatullahi alaih while making the comments he called the Maulana an infidel or unbeliever. One of the sincere disciples of the Maulana retaliated by citing a literary Persian poem
which, by today’s standards, was a high-ranking criticism with a taunting bent. The poem was (translation)
If you call me an infidel, it pains me not,
Because the light of falsehood never kindles.
You have called me an infidel. In answer, I
call you a Muslim, Because falsehood can only
be repulsed with falsehood.
This means that you have lied by calling me an infidel, so I lie by calling you a Muslim or that ‘you are not a Muslim’. A poet or a literary person would applaud such a response because it is a biting literary reply. The second poet starts by calling him a Muslim but he clarifies his statement when he says that a lie is responded with a like lie. ‘You spoke a lie by calling me an infidel so I speak a lie by calling you a Muslim’. When this man presented his poem to the Maulana, he commented, “You have composed an excellent poem but you have turned the table on him and called him an unbeliever which is not our approach. We do not call anyone a disbeliever.” So, he did not send the poem to the man who had criticized him. Then, the Maulana revised that poem and made an addition, too. He wrote (translation)
If you have called me an infidel, it pains me not
because the light of falsehood never shines. In
answer, I call you a Muslim and instead of the
sour dose, I feed you sugar. If you are a believer
it is indeed very good. But if you aren’t then the
recompense of falsehood is always falsehood.
Ponder over it! That man labels him an infidel, so consigns him to Hell. But, the Maulana could not tolerate even a sentence of biting language against that man which would transgress the limits. Such unseemly language would be used here in this world. We will have to account in the Hereafter for the tongue’s utterance. “Why had we used such a word for another person? Therefore, we must exercise care and speak plainly and say exactly what we mean.
19. An Incident about a Biting Tongue
My respected father, Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi Rahmatullahi alaih used to say that some people have a biting tongue. Such people will always taunt or raise objections. Such behavior causes heart burns. My father narrated an incident to support his point. A man visited a relative. When he went there he found the daughter-in-law of the house very angry. She was speaking rudely to her mother-in-law who was seated nearby. The man asked the elder woman what had angered her daughter-in-law. She said, “There’s nothing, I spoke only two words of reproach and am being punished for that. She is running wild since then and is very angry.” The man asked her what it was that she had spoken and she said, “I only said that her father was a slave and her mother was a slave. Since then she is wild with anger.” Look at that! Those were only two words according to the elder woman. But, they were such words as irritate a person. Taunting words ruin families and create hatred among family members. We must keep away from using them. We must always speak clearly and in a straightforward way.
20. We must think before we speak
Before we speak anything, we must ponder over the consequence and on how the other person would take it. We must also see how these very words we wish to speak to other people would be received by us if they were spoken to us. The Holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam has taught us the principle:
“Prefer for other people what you prefer for yourself.“ (Tirmizi, Book of Az-zahd (piety))
The Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam has put an end to the setting up of two standards, one for ourselves and one for the others. If Allah grows this attitude in our hearts then we will be free of all the bickering and hatred that we see around us.
21. The tongue is a great Blessing
The tongue that man has is one of the great blessings of Allah on him. We are enjoying its gratis and it works round the clock from birth to death. We can only understand its value if we imagine ourselves without it. Those who are down with paralysis and cannot speak; they try their best but cannot utter a word. They wish to convey their inner feelings to their dear ones but cannot do so and it is then that they realize the value of the tongue. But, we use this blessing of Allah from morning to evening, day in and day out, like a sharp weapon without thinking for a moment what words we utter with it. This is very wrong. The correct thing is to weigh out words before we speak. If we do that then instead of being a means to deliver us to Hell, the tongue will take us to Heaven and amass for us a wealth for use in the Hereafter, Inshaa Allah.
22. Let Us Accustom Ourselves to Think Before We Speak
We are told in a Hadith that it is mainly the tongue that will be responsible for flinging its owner face down into Hell. Therefore, we must think before we speak. This does not mean that a man should wait for some time during which he thinks before saying something but when he accustoms himself to think before speaking then he will do it spontaneously. Allah then makes his tongue value its words before it utters them and it will only utter the correct words, never the wrong ones that displease Allah and hurt other people.
23. Maulana Thanavi’s Case
There was an attendant of Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi Rahmatullahi alaih. He was called Bhai Niaz. He was a very cossetted servant and even visitors of the Maulana loved him. He made himself felt by exercising authority on visitors to the khanqah always giving instructions and he was aided in this behavior by the strict system that ruled the khanqah. One of his disciples complained to the Maulana about this man’s behavior and told him that he was a rude man who scolds many visitors. The Maulana did not like that so he summoned Bhai Niaz and reproached him for his rude behaviour and wished to know why he did that. In answer, Bhai Niaz said, “Maulana, fear Allah. Don’t lie!”. He was not addressing these words to Maulana Thanavi but he had meant to refer to those who had brought about the complaint. They should fear Allah and not lie. On hearing him, the Maulana lowered his head and went away from there saying, “Astaghfir-Allah (I seek Allah’s forgiveness.)” Those who saw this happen were surprised that a menial could speak in this manner to the Maulana who instead of taking him to task for that went away saying AstaghfirAllah. Later on, the Mawalana explained that he had erred in scolding Bhai Niaz without first giving him an opportunity to explain and that is why he had said AstaghfirAllah. The Shariah directs us to allow the accused to defend himself. The truth is that when Allah gives someone the power to recognize truth from falsehood he takes care not to exceed the limits. May Allah give us also such an understanding! Aameen.
24. It is not proper To Hurt a Non-Muslim Too
Some people suppose that this Hadith excludes the non-Muslims from its application because it defines a Muslim as one who does not hurt another Muslim with his tongue or hand. They contend that the Hadith does not disallow us to hurt a non-Muslim. They are mistaken in thinking so. Muslims are mentioned in the Hadith because generally they live in a Muslim surrounding and have to deal with each other, otherwise the scope of the Hadith extends equally to Muslims and non-Muslims. It is not allowed to cause inconvenience to a non-Muslim too in times of peace. Nevertheless, when Muslims are at war with the infidels then it is a part of the activity to hurt them in pursuance of the objective to diminish their status; but it is not allowed to hurt those unbelievers who are not engaged in war with the Muslims.
25. Evidence In Support Of This Statement
We find evidence to support our contention in the case of Hazrat Musa Alaihissalam who lived under the rule of the Pharoah in Egypt where everyone was a disbeliever except Hazrat Musa Alaihissalam. It happened that an Isra’ili and a Qubti (copt) were engaged in quarrel. Hazrat Musa Alaihissalam slapped the Qubti who died because of it. Although the man was an unbeliever, Hazrat Musa Alaihissalam considered himself a sinner because he had inadvertently brought about his death.
And they have a crime against me; so I fear they Will Slay me. (Ash-Shuara. 26:14)
Hazrat Musa Alaihissalam considered the inadvertent killing of the unbeliever to be a sin. The question arises that the man was an unbeliever and slaying the unbelievers is an act of Jihad, then why did Hazrat Musa Alaihissalam call it a sin and sought the forgiveness of Allah for that? The answer is that although the Qubti was a non-Muslim, in times of peace when Muslims and non-Muslims live together the rights enjoyed by Muslims and non-Muslims are similar so that just as it is wrong to hurt a Muslim so too it is wrong to hurt an unbeliever. It pertains to-human rights and the first duty of a man is that he acts like a human being and thereafter he many become a Muslim and a Sufi. It is part of human behavior that he refrains from causing inconvenience to anyone else without distinction of Muslims and non-Muslims.
26. To Retract On a Promise Is Like Hurting the Other Person with the Tongue
There are certain things that are the same as hurting with the tongue but some people do not consider them in this way. An example is to go back on one’s promise. If anybody assures another person that he will be with him at a certain time or do a certain task for him at the agreed time and then fails to do it then that person to whom the promise was made faces difficulty. The man who had given out the assurance commits the sin of failing to keep his promise and also the sin of causing inconvenience to the other man. This is a form of hurting someone with the tongue.
27. Greetings while the Qur’an is recited
Sometimes, we do not realize that we are hurting someone with our tongue. We suppose that we are being virtuous but actually we are being sinful because our behavior is causing difficulty to someone else. For instance, to greet another person with as-salamu-‘alay-kum is an excellent thing and rewarding too. But, Shari ah has seen to it that when others are liable to be inconvenienced, the greetings must not be exchanged; it has given instructions on this matter. In fact, on some occasions instead of being rewarding it is sinful to offer greetings to another person. If a man is reciting the Qur’an then he must not be saluted. The salutation will interrupt him and he will have to stop the recital and turn towards the person greeting him which is an inconvenience to him. So, the greeting causes him difficulty with the tongue. In the same way, it is not allowed to salute those already sitting in the mosque because they are remembering Allah, and are engaged in devotional exercises. They have the name of Allah on their lips and they will be disturbed if anybody salutes them.
28. Greetings When a Meeting Is In Progress
The jurists opine that when someone speaks to other people who listen to him attentively then a new-comer must not salute them even if they are talking about worldly matters. Those people were attentive to the speaker and their attention would be diverted if anyone interrupts them with the salutation. The interruption would be in bad taste. Thus, we are commanded that when we go to an Assembly and the proceedings are on then we must sit down quietly without offering the salams. A salutation at that time will be like hurting them with the tongue. It may be gauged from this principle how very particular Shariah is in forbidding us from inconveniencing other people.
29. Salutations to One Who Is Eating
Although it is not disallowed to salute a person who is eating his food, it is certainly a disliked behavior to do so if that person is likely to be inconvenienced. That person is not engaged in worship but only eating his food so if anyone salutes him, the mountains will not fall down on him. However, there is a possibility of being disturbed and feeling bad when someone salutes at such a time. In the same way, if someone is seen to hurry along somewhere, it is not correct for us to salute him and extend the hand for a handshake. One must understand by the way he was walking he must be in a hurry. It was not a proper time to salute him and shake hands with him. He should have been allowed to go where he was going. The salutation at such times is like hurting other people.
30. Prolonging Conversation on the Phone
My respected father Rahmatullahi alaih used to say that telephone is also an instrument through which other people may be harmed. Rather, it is a tool that may be used to create unlimited hardships to other people. Thus, if anyone rings another person and engages him in a long conversation without even considering that he might have been busy in some other task then he is causing him inconvenience. My father, Mufti Muhammad Shafi Rahmatullahi alaih has commented in the Ma’ariful Qur’an that before the caller engages in a long conversation he must let the called person know his intention and ask him if he has that much time or should he call later. He Rahmatullahi alaih has said that this is part of etiquettes of telephonic conversation, and he has defined the long conversation as spanning over five minutes! This is mentioned in the interpretation of surah an-Nur and my father was very particular in observing it.
31. Use of Loudspeakers
Another example of causing hardship by the tongue is the misuse of the loudspeaker in the mosque. If a few people are to be addressed within the mosque perhaps the internal loudspeaker would suffice. But, if the external loudspeaker is also used then the entire neighborhood is compelled to listen to the address. Some of these people may be reciting the Qur’an or occupied in other tasks or resting. Someone may be ill, they are all subjected to hardship by the tongue.
32. An Incident of the Times of Hazrat Umar Radhiyallahu anhu
In the times of Hazrat Umar Faruq Sayyidna someone used to come to the Masjid Nabavi and deliver sermons. The abode of Hazrat Aishah Radhiyallahu Anha was just next to the Masjid Nabavi. Although there were no loudspeakers in those days yet this man’s voice was loud and could be heard by Hazrat Radhiyallahu Anha in her room while she was occupied in different household chores or some form of worship like the recital of the Qur’an. She sent a message to Hazrat Umar Radhiyallahu Anhu that this person delivered sermons near her house in a loud voice which disturbed her. She requested that this man may be asked to deliver his sermons elsewhere or subdue his voice. Hazrat Umar Radhiyallahu Anhu summoned the man and explained to him that his behavior annoyed the Mother of the faithful, Hazrat Aishah Radhiyallahu Anha; so he must discontinue his preaching there. That man obeyed and discontinued his preaching for some days. After a few days, however, he again continued his sermons. When Hazrat Umar Radhiyallahu Anhu was informed of that, he summoned him again and warned him that if he did not cease he would smash his rod on him. That is, he would beat him with the rod until it broke up.
33. Our Behavior Today
If we look at our behavior today we have set aside these principles. If someone is delivering an address in the mosque, he torments the locality around him. The loudspeaker blares at full volume and nobody in the neighborhood is allowed to sleep or rest. If anyone asks them to lower the volume, they taunt him that he is preventing religious effort although it is the speaker in the mosque and the responsible men there who violate the principles of Shariah. They are responsible for the hardship other people suffer. The truth is that it is part of the etiquette of a religious scholar (‘Alim) that he keeps his voice only that high as his audience can listen to him. The voice of an Alim must not go beyond his listeners. Violation of these principles amounts to causing hardship with the tongue. Allah has blessed us with this tongue that we may remember Allah with it, we may convey the truth and we may soothe the hearts of other people but not that we may hurt them.
34. A Woman of Hell
A Hadith tells us that the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam was asked about a woman who fasted during the days and kept vigil in the night but she was rude to her neighbors. The Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam said that the woman would go to Hell. Maulana Thanavi Rahmatullahi alaih says in explanation of the Hadith “People must not be put to difficulty unnecessarily and this is more important than individul worship.” That is, fair dealing with other people takes precedence over worship. Maulana Thanavi Rahmatullahi alaih then says that the question of mutual dealings has been shelved these days and no one even tries to explain what it means arid what we are required to do in this regard.
35. Causing Hardship with the Hand
The second thing that the Hadith under discussion calls for is to refrain from hurting anyone with the hand. Sometimes it is very obvious that we are putting someone to hardship, for example when we beat him. But sometimes we put him to hardship but our society does not think of that in those terms, although there are So many ways in which we may cause hardship to another person. By mentioning the hand, the Hadith includes all the deeds performed by man because he performs most of them by his hand. The Ulama include all the deeds performed by man whether he uses his hands for that or not.
36. To Put Something Out Of Place
We can give the example of people living together. There are many things of common use, for instance towel, utensils, soap and so on. If one member uses any of these things and then does not replace it at its proper place, the others are inconvenienced when they have to look for it here and there. The first person is responsible for the inconvenience and it is a hardship to which the others are put which the Hadith forbids us to do.
37. A Grave Sin
My father taught us even those things which we consider trifle. When we were young we too would commit such mistakes. We would use something and then misplace it and, not finding it at its proper place, he would have to search for it. He told us once that apart from being bad manners, it was a grave sin not to put something back at its proper place after use. This misdeed causes inconvenience to a Muslim and it is a grave sin to do that. Before that we had not known that it was a grave sin to put anything at a wrong place. This was an example of hurting anyone with the hand.
38. Causing Hardship to Family and Relatives
It must be understood that the foregoing does not presuppose that those with whom we live together are strangers alone. They could be our family members and relatives too. Generally, we do not feel that we are causing hardship to our close relatives like wife, children, brothers and sisters; some people say that it does not matter if these relatives suffer hardship because they are relatives, after all. This is a wrong approach. It is not the fault of those people that they are our relatives that we cause them hardship. We must remember that our beloved Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam woke up for Tahajjud Salat and was very quiet in everything that he did lest he disturb Hazrat Aishah Radhiyallahu anha in her sleep. So, just as we are forbidden to cause hardship to strangers so too we must not cause hardship to the folk of our homes and our relatives.
39. To stay away At the Times of Meals
For instance, it is a grave sin for a man to be away from home at the times of meal after assuring his family members that he will be there and have his meal with them so they are kept waiting and wondering where he is. It often happens that such a man does not worry about his family members or his commitment and eats out while they wait for him. He is committing a grave sin in this manner because he hurts someone whom Allah has joined to him in marital relations. Such a man must inform his family members if he is delayed so that they are at rest concerning him. But people do not think of it from this angle because a wife is supposed to be a subordinate and she may be put to inconvenience, although it is wrong and forbidden, and a grave sin to do so.
40. It Is Forbidden To Dirty the Thoroughfare
Another example of hurting someone by the hand is to throw something on a thoroughfare, a banana peel or any dirty thing. The passers-by will suffer because of that or someone may slip and fall down when he puts his fool on it. The person who is responsible for that will be answerable on the Day of Resurrection for his misdeed. Even if no passer-by is inconvenienced yet because of dirtying the thoroughfare the person throwing it will have committed a sin. We are told about the Holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam that whenever he was travelling and felt the urge to urinate, he would search for a proper place to do it in the same manner one looks out for a place to build his house. He did this to avoid dirtying a pathway and thus causing the passers-by an inconvenience. The Holy Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam has said, “Faith has over seventy branches, the most excellent of these is to declare the kalimah, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”. And the humblest form is to remove offensive and injurious things from the thoroughfare.” These things could be a thorn or a peel and their removal is the most minor form of faith. Thus when removal of injurious things from the road is a branch of faith the throwing of such things on the road could be a branch of disbelief.
41. It Is Forbidden To Cause Mental Agony to Any one
Maulana Thanavi Rahmathullahi alaih has said that the Hadith under discussion refers to actions of the tongue and hand but it also includes any action by the tongue or hand that causes someone else a mental agony. For instance, if a man borrows money from someone and promises to return
it at a certain date then he must return it by that day. If he cannot repay the sum borrowed on the promised day then he must request for more time but he must not try to fool the lender and cause him mental torture. Let not the lender keep waiting for the debtor to make an appearance so that the poor fellow cannot make a proper planning because he does not know when he will get back his money.
42. Agonizing One’s Servants
Maulana Thanavi Rahmatullahi alaih goes so far as to say that a person must not at once ask his servant to do more than one task in sequence. In this way, the master frees himself of remembering the tasks but shifts the responsibility of remembering them on his servant. If it is not necessary to do so then the servant must not be burdened with the responsibility to remember. He must be asked to finish a task and when he is through, he should be given the next task, and so on in this manner. The Maulana said about himself that he always followed this method. After his servant finished one task, he instructed him to do the other and then the next. The Maulana said, “I remember the duties my servant has to be instructed with and I do not shift the burden to his memory. He is thus not under a mental pressure. He knows that when he has completed one assignment, I will instruct him with the next.” The Maulana Rahmatullahi alaih was a far-sighted man.
43. Where Should One Wait for a Worshipper Engaged In Salat
Continuing with examples of how one does inconvenience other people, we may cite the case of a man waiting for another who is offering his Salat. Such a man must not sit next to the worshipper so that he senses that the man is waiting for him and his attention is diverted into hurrying through the Salat. The worshipper feels he must not keep the man waiting so hurries through the postures of prayer. The proper thing for the man who is waiting is to wait at some distance so that the worshipper is not disturbed and offers his Salat peacefully. He” may meet him after he finishes his Salat without knowing that someone was waiting for him. The first method of sitting next to the worshipper making him realize that someone waits for him is wrong. It causes him mental agony. Al Hamdulillah, our elders and teachers applied themselves equally to all branches of religion. They did not take up one or two branches and exclude the rest, the Qur’an says
O you who believe! Enter completely into Islam (Al Baqarah. 2:208)
Let it not be that you, O Believers! Pay attention to the branch of worship like Salat, Fasting and so on, but by-pass social conduct, fair dealing and good manners as prescribed in Islam.
44. Adab ul Mu ‘ashirat
Maulana Thanavi Rahmatullahi alaih has composed a small book in Urdu by the name of Adabul Mu ashirat. It is worth reading. The Maulana Rahmatullahi alaih has stated in the book that he could not write down all the social etiquettes in the book but he has nevertheless collected there in as many as he could recollect. He has suggested that the reader would read the book and go on behaving as the book wants him to behave and gaining knowledge of all the social etiquettes as prescribed by Islam. Allah will open up his mind for him. Thus it is a part of social manners that a man may park his car in such a way that no one else is obstructed; it is also part of religion. We have forgotten these things today and are, therefore, sinful. At the same time we present a wrong picture of religion. Anyone looking at us would say that we are regular at Salat but careless in cleanliness and quick at causing hardship to other people. We must try to think what picture of Islam our behavior presents to a non-Muslim, would he be attracted to it after observing us? Or, would he be repelled? May Allah guide us! Instead of behaving as good specimens of Muslims, and inviting other people to Islam by our conduct, we have become instrumental in turning them away from Islam. We have paid scant attention to the branch of social manners.
May Allah cause us not to be neglectful in this regard-myself and everyone else. May He inspire us to comprehend correctly and to conduct ourselves fairly on all branches of religion. Aameen
And our concluding prayer is: “Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds!”.
-Discourses on Islamic way of life by Mufti Taqi Uthmani Sahib (DB). Volume-8