Characteristics of a Muslim

أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Sifaat and its necessity

The first thing that comes is aaamal (deeds). The sifaat (attributes/chacteristics) then comes with the maturity of the amal and the weight of the amal is to do with the sifaat. Without sifaat, the amal remains empty. Ikhlas (sincerity) is the last thing to come along with the sifaat. This ikhlas is what exalted the sahaba e rizwanullah ajmaeen that even if we were to spend an amount of gold equivalent to the size of Mount Uhud, we would not even come halfway up to their level. If there are two persons reciting same amount of Quran and doing the ruku and sujud in a similar way in a fajr prayer, and if one has sifaat and the other do not, then there will be a huge difference in the weight of the amal of two persons as that of a difference between the heavens and the earth.  Same goes with the fasting of two persons; one with sifaat and the other without sifaat for the weight of the amal will be very different. This sifaat has taqwa (piety), generosity, humbleness, politeness, forbearance, patience, gratitude and ikhlaas. These are all sifaat. Truly speaking, it takes time to get the sifaat. The beauty of one’s religiousness is to with the sifaat. Let Allah SWT grant us eeman with sifaat, for it brings attraction or gravity in one’s religiousness. Sometimes we see that certain individuals will be practicing deen like they will offer salah, fast etc., but as they are devoid of sifaat, people tend to turn away from them and they would wish that he doesn’t come to them. On the other hand, when Allah SWT grants one sifaat along with practicing deen, people will be attracted towards him because of the barakaat of sifaat. So sifaat is very essential.

The Humility of the pious

The sifaat comes along with the amal and it increases the weight of the amal, the kashish (attraction) in one’s religiousness and the acceptance of his amal. It is through the sifaat that one’s amal is accepted. Innallaaha yuhibbul muttaqeen. Allah ﷻ loves the muttaqeen (pious). Piety is the sifaat here. Innallaaha yuhibbul muhsineen. Allah ﷻ loves the muhsineen (doers of good). Ihsaan is the sifaat here. Innallaaha yuhibbul saadiqeen. Allah ﷻ loves the truthful. Here sidq is the sifaat. Sifaat exalts a person. Sometimes a person may not be accepted by his amal as such or by some extra-ordinary amal but sifaat will lead him to acceptance by its special glory. The second level of religiousness is to obtain the sifaat. One of the akhlaaq of the friends of Allah ﷻ is that they think they are the worst faasiq of all and they think that they are not fit that Allah ﷻ accepts their duaas. These are the sifaat of people of Allah ﷻ but we say sometimes, “I am so righteous but why Allah ﷻ is not accepting my duaas”. When we think like this the friends of Allah ﷻ think that it is only the grace of Allah ﷻ that they are getting the tawfeeq to even sit before Allah ﷻ for they are not fit to be chosen. Because of the barakaat of this sifaat, there is always humility and politeness inside them and this is a great bounty. If not for this thought, the man will have so many diseases in the heart that he will neither walk properly nor talk properly but with such thoughts, his heart will remain in control and will have the humility.

Powerful stories from the past

The people of Allah SWT will so think worst of them that they will avoid mingling with people and it is said that they will avoid the istisqa (where people gather together to pray for rain during the time of drought) for they think because of their sins, others’ duaas may not be accepted and the mercy of Allah ﷻ will not turn towards the people because of them. Allahu Akbar! Sayyidina ibn Jubair  said that during the rule of a King in Bani Israel, there was a famine. The king said that if Allah ﷻ sends down the rain, it will be good and if not he will punish Him ﷻ. The people astonished asked the king how he will punish. The king said that he will kill all His ﷻ friends and obedient slaves and that is how he will punish Allah ﷻ. Now this is a very daring statement and this king is worth of a punishment but Allah ﷻ sent down the rain out of His ﷻ grace. Malik bin Dinar (RA) was asked why he is not coming for istisqa when he said that he is such a sinner and fears that instead of rain, stones do not shower as a punishment because of him. He used to tell, “You people think that there is a delay in rain when I think there is a delay in showering of stones”. Once Isa ؑ went for istisqa and he cried a lot praying for the rain but it didn’t rain. Seeing this, the Prophet Isa  turned to the people and said that whoever committed any sin should leave.  Everyone left thinking of their sins and thus showing humility except a man. Isa ﷺ asked him, “Didn’t you ever commit a sin?” The man replied, “I didn’t commit any sins but yes one time my eye fell on a woman and as a punishment I removed that eye with my finger”. Allahu akbar! Hearing this Isa  asked him to make duaa to Allah ﷻ for the rain. The man asked Allah ﷻ for the rain and immediately the sky became cloudy and the people witnessed the rain pouring down.

Once Musa ؑ went for istisqa continuously for three days but the rain didn’t come. So Allah ﷻ sent the wahi (revelation) that there is a tale bearer among them and until he leaves them, He ﷻ won’t accept their duaa. Musa  asked Allah ﷻ to identify that person to him when Allah ﷻ replied, “O Musa! I am forbidding you from tale bearing and should I become One who does that? I have put screen on that slave’s sins and I will not expose him” So Musa ؑ asked all the people to seek forgiveness for tale bearing and they sought forgiveness and the rain showered. Hazrat Sufan At-Thawri (RA) said that there was a famine for continuous seven years during the time of Musa  and the Bani Israel were eating dead animals and they prayed deep from the heart to remove the drought but Allah ﷻ didn’t send the rain and sent wahi to Musa ؑ that even if they become like a dry well making duaas and doing His ﷻ ibaadat (worship), He ﷻ will not lift the drought until they give the rights to the people deserving that. In another such occasion, Allah ﷻ didn’t send the rain in spite of their duaas sending wahi to Musa ؑ that how He ﷻ can accept their duaas when they have come with unlawful bodies raising their hands that ate haram food for duaa. Yet in another such occasion, when Bani Israel were eating dogs and dead animals out of severe drought and they were pleading for the rain, Allah ﷻ sent wahi to Musa  to tell them that even if they keep walking and fall on their knees getting tired and even if their aamal reach the heavens and even if their tongue gets dry making duaas, He ﷻ will not accept their duaas and will not show mercy towards the one who is crying until they stop violating other’s rights and give back the rights to those who deserve that. Musa  commanded Bani Israel to give back the rights that they took illegally but they denied saying they didn’t violate any rights and so how they can give up. This descended Allah’s ﷻ wrath and they died out of hunger.

The present day muslims and the traits of Bani Israel

It is the barakat of the duaa of Huzur ﷺ that we are not punished like this for who doesn’t have these traits of Bani Israel in us. It is the mercy of Allah ﷻ that we don’t face the poverty even for a day or else what are those triats that we do not have in us or in our society? What are our hands, limbs and eyes doing? This is just because of the duaa of Huzur ﷺ. The reality is as far as those slaves on whom Allah ﷻ has special mercy and grace; they will always have an eye on their mistakes and sins and they will think themselves as worst sinners all the time. This is the sign of Allah’s ﷻ special grace on them. It is a very dangerous thing that a person is a sinner and at the same time, he remains satisfied with himself. Jaafar bin Munabba (RA) used to say, “It is better I feel regretful forgiving others than feeling regretful punishing others”. Another pious buzurg used to say, “It is your injustice that you show hostility towards others when they disobey Allah ﷻ while you don’t show any such hostility towards your nafs when it disobeys Allah ﷻ”.  This is injustice that you get angry when others transgress when you don’t get angry when your nafs transgress. Showing hostility towards one nafs is to leave it in hunger and deprive it from a comfortable bed just like one will do to the one towards whom he has hostility. One should not show pity towards nafs but show the anger. One should not deal with a nafs like a lover deals with his beloved fulfilling all its desires. A great buzurg said that once he asked his nafs to do ibaadat and it denied and so he punished it by eating less food and sleeping less. This is a revenge, an evil for an  evil.

Tolerance and forgiveness

It is said that excess tolerance leads to muhabbat (love). If one tolerates someone more, then this will lead to muhabbat that even an enemy will start loving. Forgiveness and tolerance are great qualities. Once a man, who did some crime was brought before Abdullah bin Zubair  for punishment. Abdullah bin Zubair  asked for the whip to lash him. The man requested Abdullah bin Zubair , “I ask you by the One before whom you will stand humiliated on Qayamat than I am standing humiliated before you to forgive me”.  Hearing this Abdullah bin Zubair  got down his throne and rubbed his face against the earth saying he forgave him. Hazrat Qatadah (RA) was asked who has the highest rank and he replied that the one who forgives more.  A woman stole chador and Quran sheriff from Malik bin Dinar (RA) and started running. Malik bin Dinar (RA) started running behind her saying, “Listen I won’t punish you. You can have the chador but give me the Quran”. It was said not to take revenge on an oppressor but to show mercy towards him and seek forgiveness for him. When ibn Malik (RA) was lashed, he first forgave the lasher. Similarly when Ahmad bin Hanbal (RA) was lashed, he forgave the one who lashed him and he used to say, “What will a man loss if Allah  ﷻ doesn’t punish another because of him.” If I forgive a man, what will I lose when I will get reward and because of me, the other person was forgiven? Kab ibn Al-Ahbar RA used to say when a man is patience over the difficulties from his wife, Allah ﷻ will grant him the reward of patience of Ayyub . When a woman is patient over the transgression of her husband, then Allah SWT ﷻ reward her like that of Asiya bint Muzaahim, the wife of fir’aun. This is because the difficulties from one’s own will be felt very heavy.

Azmat of Muslims in the heart

Another quality of friends of Allah ﷻ is that they will have azmat of muslims in their heart. Abu Bakr Siddeeque  used to say not to look down any muslim for an ordinary muslim too will have high rank before Allah ﷻ. Abdullah bin Abbasused to say to honor a companion is a virtuous act of high rank. He used to turn towards Kaaba and tell, “O Kaaba, Allah ﷻ exalted and honored you but when it comes to a believer, his honor is greater than you”. This is the sifaat to respect the believers and to care for the companions and those who sit with us. Because of this the religiousness gets attraction and because of this, one gets acceptance. Ikrimah  used to say, “Be aware of giving torture to ulema (religious scholars) for it will pain the Prophet ﷺ as the ulema are the heir of the Prophet ﷺ and this is valid when the ulema are on the haqq”. Abu Hurairah  used to say the position of believers is much closer to Allah ﷻ than those angels who are close to Him ﷻ. A pious man was asked that hands are more expensive than 500 dinar and why is that hands are chopped off for five dirhams. He replied that when hands are chopped, not just the dirhams are considered but other crimes are considered like he first stole the things of a muslim, he hurt the muslim, he did not have regard for the Muslim’s respect and his privacy and thus other crimes are involved. Pay attention towards your nafs and see if you have respect for the ulema and leave the ulema, do you revere the honor of muslims? Or did you look down the muslims and have attacked their dignity? If so, you have joined the fussaaq (open and rebellious sinners) by looking down the muslims and so seek forgiveness from Allah ﷻ and repent to Allah ﷻ that you will not do so further.

Tolerating difficulties from one’s spouse

One of the characteristics of the people of Allah ﷻ is also that they would be patient over the difficulties arising from their wives. They take the mukhaalifat (contrariness) from their wives as a sign of their mukhaalifat with Allah ﷻ. When they act as a mukhaalif (opponent) with Allah ﷻ, Allah ﷻ makes their wives as mukhaalifs to them so they understand how distasteful this mukhaalifat is. Sometimes Allah ﷻ makes His ﷻ close slaves understand that when we are displeased with such acts of our own close ones, how it can also displease Allah ﷻ when we act like that to Allah ﷻ for we also belong to Allah ﷻ. If the evil of our own close people can make us feel this bad, then how much Allah ﷻ would feel bad with our evilness? When Allah ﷻ says, “Ya ayyuhalladhina aamanu” “Oh you who believe”, Allah ﷻ adopted the style of extreme closeness that “you are Mine”. It is obvious that the mistakes of one’s own people affects deep. Sufyan At-thawri (RA) used to say that the one who married brought dunya inside his house, the one who brought the dunya inside the house has married the daughter of a shaytan and the one who married the daughter of shaitan will see the effects of work of shaitan. Sufyan At-Thawri (RA) is taking about the marriage that is not based on the deen but on dunya here. It comes in a hadeeth-e-shariff that the one who marries to seek the pleasure of Allah ﷻ, Allah ﷻ will be sufficient for him and he will remain protected.

Ali bin Abu Talib  said that five things make a man fortunate.

1)      A wife who acts in accordance with his temperament

2)      Righteous children

3)      Righteous friends

4)      Good neighbors and

5)      His livelihood is based in his homeland

Rasoolullah ﷺ used to pray, “Ya Allah! I seek refuge in You from three kinds of people- a person who is heedless of deen, an evil neighbor and a wife who tortures her husband.” Malik bin Dinar (RA) didn’t marry after his wife’s death and when asked about it, he said that he fears any such contact and if he is able to divorce his own self, he would have done so for he sees himself as very evil. That is he doesn’t want anything to be hindrance in the talluq of Allah ﷻ.

The sifaat of pious women

A pious buzurg said when following six things are found in a woman, she is completely righteous. They are:

1)      She establishes five times salah

2)      She is obedient to her husband

3)      She keeps her husband happy

4)      She protects her tongue from backbiting and tale bearing

5)      She doesn’t have desire for the worldly things and

6)      She is patient during the times of difficulty

This is for both a wife and a father that her daughter develops these characteristics. Let Allah ﷻ grant us all the sifaat with righteousness. Let righteous sifaat be sought from Allah ﷻ because of which one’s deeds gets heavy and gets attraction in religiousness. Sometimes we get to see a traveling companion whose akhlaaq so excels that we remember him throughout our life. We don’t remember his salah but his akhlaaq. Similarly when we have business dealing with someone of excellent akhlaaq, we remember him throughout our life like what a good man we met. Sometimes the reverse too can happen. A person might be praying even nafil salahs but he might not truthful in his dealings and so he was cursed the whole of life and he gives a bad name to the religious people. The truth is that the deen is spread with the sifaat because the fragrance of sifaat spreads outside. So develop sifaat and develop attraction and gravity within oneself with the amal. Let it be asked to Allah ﷻ and let the efforts be taken. Let Allah ﷻ grant us all the tawfeeq to achieve this. Ameen

-Morning Tarbiati Majlis (23.03.2012)

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