We wake in the morning and go about our day. We never give much thought about our actions our words. At night there will be some who will make (muhaasabah) take stock of all they did during the day, others will be too tired to even think and some will think nothing about their words and actions for the day.
I love this saying of Ameerul Mu’mineen ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (radhiyAllahu ‘anhu), “Take stock of yourselves before you are brought to account (on the Day of Judgment); Weigh yourselves before you are weighed, and prepare yourselves for the great judgement.”
We get upset because someone did not greet us first, or did not invite us, or they were dressed better, or their children excelled in certain regard over ours, or they did not reply to our message… how we were hurt and offended. Do we ever think that we possibly may have offended our children, our spouses, our parents, our friends? It takes a split second to pass a hurtful remark, turn one’s face, or even wish evil in our anger of us not being acknowledged by another. That split second could cost you your jannah and eternal doom (na’oothubillah) and misery.
What we must remember is intention (niyyah). Small word, but is the pivot of faith. Without it, it is as if there was no action at all. In the words of Sayyidunaa ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (radhiyAllahu ‘anhu) “Laa ‘amala li-man la niyyata lahu” meaning “One who has no intention has no (virtuous) deeds. What has this to do with taking stock of oneself? Everything.
Example: “Woman A” is furious that “Woman B” did not go up to her to converse with her. “Woman B” did however greet (salaam).
There could be many reasons for this but “Woman A” believes that “Woman B” was plain nasty. If this has happened to you, ask yourself, “Why am I feeling upset?” You should be able to trust yourself and do some introspection as to why you are very much perturbed by what happened.
If “Woman A” was hurt because she felt that “Woman B” was close to her, it’s normal to feel a little hurt. In her hurt as is the tabiyyah (nature) of a woman, she misunderstands. However, “Woman A” should also be mature enough to understand that you do not own people nor whom they hold close to their hearts. She should not make hurtful remarks to “Woman B” or spread slander about her. “Woman A” must remember the words of our beloved Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) “Indeed a servant may say a word which he doesn’t realize and it will make him fall into the fire further than the East and West. [Bukhari, Muslim]
And in the words of the Holy Qur-aan “And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting)…” [Surah al-Hujaraat, verse 12]
“Woman B” should also have made more of an effort to talk even just a little to others, or at least smile.
If “Woman A” felt hurt because she “deserved” to be greeted and spoken to by “Woman B”… There is a problem. What makes us so deserved? Let us ask ourselves. Is it our piety which by the way NO ONE can think of themselves, as that is only for Allah to decide. Is it our circle of friends? Our money? Our lineage or is it our education that makes us feel superior over the next?
Who are we? Now we would be a good time to check and really make sure that we are ALL the children of Aadam (Alayh-is Salaam), all EQUAL infront of Allah, only higher with regard to taqwa (fear of Allah) and that only Allah can judge.
There steps niyyah in. If “Woman A” usually feels the need to be seen by others, or heard- in other words, if her niyyah was (in this instance) recognition, even the tiniest fraction of (habbah min khardal) a mustard seed… If this is where the anger and resentment of “Woman A” has stemmed from, then “Woman A” seriously needs to make taubah and correct her attitude.
Ultimate recognition or acknowledgement comes only from Allah. He is al Muthill (The One The One whose wisdom produces circumstances of humiliation and disgrace or The One who creates the appearance of dishonor or degradation) and al Mu’izz (The One who grants honor and power. The One who strengthens and glorifies). Hence ultimate judgement is with Allah alone. Allah grants honour to whom He wills and degrades out of His wisdom whom He wills. We may deem success and honour to be something completely in contradiction to what Allah holds honourable and successful.
Before Islamic awareness several years ago in South Africa, people would envious of each other’s assets, their money, or their kids excelling in school. These days it is sad to see this happen in matters of religion where the sanctimonious self is groomed. “I will not greet her because she does not cover her hair or attend my class”. Or “I have to rub shoulders with him because he is an Aalim who is well known”. Or “Who does she think she is? Two years ago she didn’t even cover her hair, now all of a sudden she is such a pious Muslimah!”. If we are even thinking these things leave alone backbiting, we have wronged ourselves a great deal. Saying out loud is even worse! Rasoolullah (Salallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) is reported to have said “When I was taken up into heaven, I passed by people who had copper claws tearing at their faces and chests. I asked, ‘Who are these O Jibreel?’ He replied: ‘They those who ate the flesh of people and insulted their honour. [Ahmad, Abu Dawood] Allahummah fazhnaa minhu!
We do these things with the wrong niyyah and it gets us nowhere but closer to Shaytaan and feeds our base nafs. If we have even greeted another Muslim with ulterior motives and not for the pleasure of Allah, then this is shirk asghar (lesser polytheism). (Allahummah fazhnaa minhu – Allah save us from that).
For example, A person becomes a khateeb but then thinks how well an orator he is… These actions which start out as an action whose origin is for Allah, then it subsequently becomes corrupted by a desire to display one’s self, is in vain. Although al-Hasan al-Basri is reported to have held that such a desire, in itself, does not invalidate the proper intention that was the origin of the act, but we shan’t go into deep academic ikhtilaaf (differences). The topic is to correct our intention and to take stock of ourselves. Sufyaan Thawri is reported to have said, “Nothing is more difficult for me to treat than my intention for indeed it turns on me!”
No one is perfect and our nafs and Shaytaan have sometime or other teamed up against our own selves to bring out petty, hyper-sensitive insecurities which grow into ugly monsters of hurt to others.
So when we lay down to sleep, let us remember that it may our last night on earth or the person we hurt intentionally or unintentionally. If we were too busy working, instead of taking a few minutes to take an interest in our children or play with them, or if a spouse had worked and “brought his/her work home with them”, let us take stock of ourselves. Life is short. If you have a friend who reminds you in a nice way about your short-comings, value that person, because we can’t always see our faults or accept them acquiescently.
Let it not be too late before we realise that we can not take our words back. Abu Hurairah (radhiyAllahu ‘anhu) narrated that Rasollullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said “Whoever has oppressed another person concerning his reputation or anything else, he should beg him to forgive him before the Day of Resurrection when there will be no money (to compensate for wrong deeds), but if he has good deeds, those good deeds will be taken from him according to his oppression which he has done, and if he has no good deeds, the sins of the oppressed person will be loaded on him.” [Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43, Number 629]
May Allah forgive and protect (myself first) us from all the evil mentioned. May Allah Most High grant us tazkiyyah (purification of our souls), truthful tongues and open hearts.
If the author of this post has in any way, hurt any one out there knowingly or unknowingly, I humbly ask for forgiveness and seek pardon from Allah Most High.