Sunday, 17 August 2008

Lets Leave It In The Past

Sometimes a person needs to make a mistake to become better. However, not everybody understands this statement and often we find people who live very tough lives because of the criticisms they receive from others with regards to their ‘past’; their days of ignorance. This is a problem which is destroying society and causing severe harm to the hearts of young Muslim boys and girls who want to change but are caught out by envious, hate filled colleagues. This article will probably be lengthy but I urge you to read it in its fullest so that you may understand that the great, early Muslims who came before us also slipped up to become better. I begin by putting forth a Hadith which must be carried out by every Muslim,

"A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. So he should not oppress him nor should he hand him over to (evil). Whoever fulfils the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfil his needs; whoever removes the troubles of his brother, Allah will remove one of his troubles on the Day of Resurrection; and whoever covers up the fault of a Muslim, Allah will cover up his fault on the Day of Resurrection". (Bukhari)

This Hadith deals with a few issues that need to be highlighted:

1. To oppress another Muslim and beckon him towards evil is completely Haram.
2. Whoever helps his brother with regards to anything good, Allah will help him.
3. This is very important: whoever covers the sin of another, Allah will cover his sin on the day of Qiyamah.

Some from amongst us have led an alternate life prior to their reformation and recognition of Allah. They have lead a life full of various sins ranging from fornication, drugs, alcohol, assault, gang wars and many other vices of evil. However the guidance of Allah is such that He mentions,

“So, whomsoever Allah wills to guide, He makes his heart wide open for Islam, and whomsoever He wills to let go astray, He makes his heart strait and constricted, (and he feels embracing Islam as difficult) as if he were climbing to the sky.” 6/125

When a person changes himself so that he may befriend Allah, he needs the full support of all of his friends. Often we see that when a person does decide to change himself, all of his friends turn against him and they feel that he is a hypocrite. If he urges them to pray their salaat or advices them in relation to Islam, he becomes severely hated and he gets interrogated,

“Who are you?! Who gave you the right to speak to us about Islam when you had a girl, drunk alcohol, done drugs?! Go sort yourself out you hypocrite.”

Sisters suffer similarly, when Allah gives them the ability to cover themselves with the Hijab, Abaya and Niqab, they will not be encouraged by their one time friends but they will be mocked and ridiculed as being those people who would take pictures of themselves excessively and bathe in perfume and make up. There are people in the community who like to raise their fingers and point at others saying Astagfirullah but they never ever question their own wrong doing. These people are such that they will happily exploit the past sins of their brothers and sisters but not ever recognise the simple fact that, while they themselves have stayed corrupt, their friends have exceeded them in matters of religion and are now firm believers. This is something that needs to be erased from society as we must all help one another change. There is a perception that,

“If you are bad once, you are always bad.”

This is not the case at all, this is the intellect kept by a bewaqoof. Let us look at the lives of those people who came prior to us.

Hazrat Fuzail ibn Iyaaz (May Allah have mercy upon him) was the chief of a band of highway robbers. He was alive in the time of the Tabi’een (a nation that came after the Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) and were known to be blessed). He operated in the desert looting and attacking passing caravans. He was a real stud and had a girlfriend who he was in love with too. However, even while a bandit, he wore simple garments and woollen topi. A tasbeeh was always strung around his neck and he always performed prayer in congregation. Infact he would banish any member of his clan who did not pray in congregation. He was deeply in love with his girlfriend and would send her his share of the looted wealth. One day he went to meet her in the sacred city of Makkah and on his way, he heard the verse of the Qur’an being recited,

أَلَمۡ يَأۡنِ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَن تَخۡشَعَ قُلُوبُہُمۡ لِذِڪۡرِ ٱللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ ٱلۡحَقِّ

“Has the time not yet come for those who believe that their hearts should be humble for the remembrance of Allah and for the truth that has descended (through revelation)?”

This verse pierced the heart of Hazrat Fuzail and he began to weep terribly whilst saying,

“Alas! How long will I continue to ruin my life? The time has come to travel in the path of Allah.”

He flipped his life around and he soon after came to be known as the ‘Aabidul Haramayn (Worshipper of the Two Sacred Mosques) because there was not a portion in either mosque where his tears did not fall out of the fear of Allah. Abdullah ibn Mubarak (may Allah have mercy upon him) mentions,

“When Fuzail ibn Iyaaz died, the heavens and the earth wept. An eerie silence was perceived.”

This was a person who would rob people of their wealth and had a relationship with a girlfriend but look at the reformation. Are we going to call him a hypocrite for changing and then advising people to change also? Let us look at Hazrat Bishr Haafi (May Allah have mercy upon him).

Hazrat Bishr Haafi had a problem that many of the youth suffer from today – alcohol. He would walk the roads slumbering and falling over completely intoxicated. He would drink all day long and one day he was walking when he saw the name of Allah on a piece of paper which had been dropped on the floor. Hazrat Bishr was a true lover of Allah and His Messenger (may peace and blessings be upon him) and so he picked up the piece of paper, perfumed it and placed it on a high shelf before proceeding towards the pub. In the same locality there was a respected buzrug (elderly wise person), that night when he went to sleep, Allah came into his dreams and said,

“Go to Bishr and tell him: You have perfumed and honoured My Name, I shall cleanse you of your sins and elevate you.”

The buzrug thought that this dream was shaytaani (influenced by shaytaan) and thus did wudhu, performed 2 rak’aat nafl and then went back to sleep. He had the same dream again and again performed wudhu and prayed as he could not ever imagine Hazrat Bishr befriending Allah. It was then when he fell asleep the third time that he had the same dream again and he realised that he had to go find Hazrat Bishr in the early hours of the morning so that he could convey the message of Allah. He searched for Hazrat Bishr everywhere until he found him... in the pub... lying knocked out on the floor. When the buzrug conveyed the message, Hazrat Bishr left all of his sins and continued to tread upon the path of perfection.

Hazrat Bishr became so loved by his Allah that it is narrated from Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (May Allah have mercy upon him),

“When his hand would touch any unlawful thing it would not cooperate (his hand would become momentarily paralysed, in this way Allah would protect him from doubtful matters.)”

After Hazrat Bishr’s death, he came in to a buzrug’s dream. Thereupon the buzrug asked Hazrat Bishr,

“How did Allah deal with you?”

Hazrat Bishr replied,

“He reprimanded me and said, ‘Bishr, why did you fear me so much? Were you not aware that I am the All Merciful, the Very Merciful?”

My friends, this was the situation of another great ‘Aabid from the time of the tabi’een, are we going to remember him for his drinking or for his worship? Today we see brothers and sisters wanting to change but the second they try to do so, the people in the community begin to highlight the people ‘they were’ and refuse to accept the people ‘they are’ now. Are we going to label Hazrat Bishr a hypocrite for he was once a drunkard but he rectified himself so much so that he was one of the greatest Wali’s (friends of Allah, saints) to have ever lived. Finally, we recall the life of Abdullah ibn Mubarak (may Allah have mercy upon him).

Hazrat Abdullah ibn Mubarak was a man who had another ailment that many young Muslims suffer from today. He was in love. In his neighbourhood there was a beautiful young maiden whom he had fallen in love with intensely. His love for her continued for a very long time and it was of a very deep, passionate nature. One winter night, he stood near her house hoping to get a glimpse of her. He stood watching the entire night until morning but his efforts were in vain as he did not get to see her. By being rejected, he felt so much anguish and sorrow that he said to himself,

“If I had spent the night in worshipping Allah, it would have been a thousand times better than what I have done.”

Allah’s mercy then opened his heart and that perishable love was replaced by Divine Love. He no longer felt the need to embark on a relationship with this beautiful maiden. Hazrat Sufyan Thawri (may Allah have mercy upon him) once came into the dreams of a buzrug where he was asked,

“How did Allah deal with you?”

Hazrat Sufyan replied,


“Allah Ta’ala forgave me.”

It was then said,

“What about Abdullah ibn Mubarak?”

He replied,

“Allah has included him in that group of His devotees who are daily admitted into the Divine presence.”

My friends, can we not see the trend in these people? Prior to their reformation, they lived lives which were completely against the essence of Islam. However we remember them today in the highest opinion because of their change. In Hazrat Fuzail we had a bandit who robbed people, in Hazrat Bishr we had a alcoholic, in Hazrat Abdullah ibn Mubarak we had an intense lover but after their reformation we found great Friends of Allah. If this was the situation of people who lived in a time which foretold to be blessed by the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) then who are we today to ridicule and deride those people who have suffered from similar ailments? Who are we to bring up the past of a person when he/she has left that life? It is very sad that we see people around us upset and depressed because they are being persecuted by people with animalistic behaviour. When a person reforms himself to become a slave of Allah then everyone should take that person as an example. It is quite disgusting that we see people hating on those who have become reformed and thinking themselves as better. I ask you, who is better, the sister who has committed sins but repents and puts on her Hijab so that she can advise others to do the same or that sister who looks at sisters with a ‘bad past’ and then exploits them? Hazrat Molana Saleem Dhorat Saheb mentions,

“Look into yourselves my friends, what are you?

Imagine a big beautiful garden, with thousands of wonders to view and smell. However somewhere in the garden a dog has come and relieved itself. Now if you went into the garden would you pay any attention to the excrement? Definitely not!

However, if a pig were to stroll in, it would miss out all the flowers and beauty and would certainly trace the excrement”.

A person who always looks for faults in others has the similitude of an animal. Who are we to degrade those who are higher in Imaan and in the sight of Allah than we are? A lot of questions need to be asked to ourselves, the phrase Astagfirullah rolls of the tongue so easily but if a person were to look in the mirror and assess his own self, he would not be able to enumerate his istigfaar.

My final advice to brothers and sisters who may be suffering from these problem is this: Never let the perception of others be the perception that you keep of yourself because everyone struggles at different levels but people will never understand as people are unforgiving but Allah is the Oft-Forgiving; so continue to forgive people as many times as you expect Allah to forgive you. Sometimes... a person needs to make a mistake to become better and Hazrat Fuzail, Hazrat Bishr, Hazrat Abdullah are all examples of this.

“All of the son of Adam are sinners but the best amongst those who sin, are those who repent.”

I urge those of you who read this to copy and paste this and turn it into a forwarded email so that many people can benefit from this. Please make sure you add the link to the website so that it can be accessed by many other people. May Allah give us the ability to live life without making major mistakes but also give us the ability to rectify ourselves. Ameen.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jazakallah for this piece of writing. I hope people learn from reading this as it is an important issue which people are sometimes faced with.
Allah can only judge a person who has changed from their past, it is not for other people to make comments or spread around.
Jazakallah again!

Mohsin Mahmood said...

Mashallah. What a beautiful article about changing for the better of islam, our religion! Inshallah people take notice of the importance of this text and change because no one knows how much time they have left on this earth...

Anonymous said...

MashAllah,an excellent and very benificial article..things like this make someone re-evaluate themselves and change their attitude to other muslim brothers and sisters inshAllah!May Allah forgive us all inshAllah

Anonymous said...

mashallah

Anonymous said...

mashallah

Muslimah MS said...

MASHA'ALLAH THIS ARTICLE IS SOO BEAUTIFULL !!