Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Being Gentle...like a butterfly

The idea of being a stoned face, mysterious individual with a sense of firmness sounds appealing to some; when this type of character exudes from a person, a sense of dominance can emanate from within the heart. This eventually leads one to become ill mannered and arrogant which in turn changes a person into a prideful being. As a result, this firmness which seemed to be awe inspiring has now taken a person to the banks of Jahannam. It is for this reason that Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam said, "Harshness does not exist in something except that it makes it repulsive. Indeed Allah is compassionate and He love compassion.”

Unfortunately, we live in very rough society; such an environment has almost nurtured us to be hostile naturally. I understood this perfectly when I recently went to Madinah. I had left the hotel to go to the Prophet’s salallahu alayhi wasallam Mosque for Iftar when a brother suddenly grabbed my arm 20 meters away from the mosque. I instantly took him to be a trouble maker but I soon realised he was actually calling me to sit and break my fast with him. I watched him and found his courteous behaviour to be ever so pleasant. I then began to question myself as to why I had been so firm with him. I realised that it was the society that I had come from which told me to be defensive and sceptical as opposed to being gentle and friendly.

The sunnah or Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam teaches us differently. It teaches us to be gentle and soft to every living and lifeless thing. During the battle of Uhud, Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam commanded the archers to remain on a hill close to the battle until the war was won. Due to a misunderstanding, they left their positions which resulted in the death of 70 companions. However, Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam was not harsh to them, nor was he aggressive. Rather, he was understanding and sympathetic; he accepted their reasons and pardoned them. He himself states in one hadith, “Forgive right-acting people for their mistakes.” Such behaviour brought about the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala and He notably mentions in the Qur’an,

“It was a mercy of Allah that you were soft and gentle with them. If you were rude, harsh, hard hearted, then they would have fled away from you. Pardon them, seek forgiveness from Allah for them and in future, consult them in the matter”

Softness is truly a characteristic which we must inculcate into our life. However, this does not mean that we become naive. If we live in such a place where there is much trickery and deceit, then it is not an act of piety to be forbearing. On the other hand, this is foolishness as a person is asking to be hoaxed.

Being gentle should be within us naturally. When a person is gentle, it beautifies him as a person and also wins the heart of people. Rasulullah salalallahu alayhi wasallam said, “Softness does not exist in anything except that it beautifies it.” However, in order to bring this characteristic within ourselves, we must aim to become tolerant. A person can only learn to forgive and be soft to others once he has subdued his nafs to such an extent that he does not become angry at petty things. When a person is able to blow away his annoyance, signs of compassion may then prevail in him.

Showing kindness to animals is enough for Allah Ta’ala to forgive a person. Imam Bukhari rahimahullah relates a narration in which a person fed a thirsty, ailing dog water which cured him. As a result, Allah Ta’ala forgave his sins. On the other hand, the hadith that Imam Bukhari rahimahullah brings thereafter shows the state of a woman who treated her pet so poorly that it was completely malnourished. As a result of her hard heartedness, Allah Ta’ala entered her into the fire. If this is the case with regards to animals, then what can be said for humans and especially our Muslim brothers and sisters?

There are some misinformed people who try to use Hadhrat Umar radiallahu anhu as their justification to being harsh. Such people quite simply do not know who Hadhrat Umar radiallahu anhu was. He was a soft, loving, caring man who shed tears for the sake of this Ummah. Such people who claim that he was harsh and stern know very little of him. His firmness was to those who had disobeyed Allah Ta’ala and caused pain to the Muslimeen but besides that, he was merciful to the believers as well as the non believers. Many narrations can be put forth of his softness. Let it be remembered, that he was a person about whom people used to say prior to his acceptance of Islam, “There is more chance of Umar’s donkey accepting Islam!” However, his heart was thereafter nurtured by the one who has been titled as the Mercy to Mankind; surely then, such characteristics would have been found in him also. Finally, I conclude with the hadith:

"Whoever has been given his portion of compassion has been given his portion of good. Whoever is denied being given his portion of compassion has been denied his portion of good. Good character will be the weightiest thing in the believer's balance on the Day of Rising. Allah hates a coarse, foul-mouthed person."

May Allah Ta'ala bless us with such characteristics. Ameen.


Anonymous said...

I have a few questions regarding women in Islam, and I'd be grateful if you can answer them.

Firstly I am really confused with what exactly is a women's position in Islam. Is she meant to just stay at home, or is she allowed to have a career? I don't understand what her position is meant to be, as there's much ambiguity over this.

Secondly what is the Islamic dress code for women? I understand that she has to cover her whole body.
(except hands and face, although some argue that face is compulsory.)

But I was just wondering where does the abaya/jabba come in here? Is this the Islamic dress code, or merely a cultural one?

Abu Huzayfa said...

Assalamu Alaykum,

The answer to your first question can be found in a previous post:


The second question on that page answers yous query. It has been answered by Sheikhul Hadith Maulana Abdur Rahim sahib (DB).

In relation to the second question. I wrote a detailed answer to a similar question in the early years of my studies. The following are just relevant snippets which you may find useful:

Allah Ta’ala highlights the principles of the Islamic dress code in the Qur’an. He says

“O children of Adam, verily we have bestowed upon you clothing which conceals your places of shame and which is a means of adornment. And the clothing which contains the fear of Allah is superior.” (Surah A’araf 7:27)

This is the principle of dress.

The first criteria that Allah Ta’ala mentions is that the clothing should be that which “conceals your places of shame”. Many people feel that this is quite simply in relation to the private parts and thus they feel it is only that part of the body that they must cover to an extreme degree. However, we find that Shari’ah has given us that which is known as the Aurah (satr). The satr is that part of the body which must be concealed from others. In clothing these areas, the verse of the Qur’an is acted upon. It is key to note that both men and women have their own special types of satr. The navel until the knees must be concealed for the man. However, for a woman the entire body is her satr except the hands and the face. This is an outline of what the criteria is with regards to the woman.

Anything which fails to meet this criteria is not considered to be clothing from an Islamic perspective. For example, if a man was to leave his house in only his boxers, he is considered to be naked in the eyes of Shari’ah. In the same context, if a woman was to leave her house in something which reveals that which should not be seen, then Shari’ah considers her to be naked despite the wearing ‘some clothing’. If this one condition is missed, then there is a problem as stated.

The idea of modesty will always be different in different communities. Indian Muslims will feel that the wearing of Shalwar Kamees in public is modest, British Muslims will feel that the wearing of jeans and t shirts in public is acceptable, some may feel the saari is modest etc. The examples are endless. The end result of these various opinions will be a conflict in the practise of Islam. For example, a person who wears a saari thinking it to be modest may go into another Muslim country only to be ridiculed for being immodest. The reason for this abuse is due to some Muslims recognising the saari to be immodest. In this manner, tension, friction and debate is created among the Muslims and no application of the verses of the Qur’an will be accepted in consensus.

It is for this reason that Shari’ah has prescribed a clothing. This clothing does not differ from Arab to Indian but is a clothing and a prescription for all. ‘Modest’ is only that which Allah Ta’ala and His Rasul salallahu alayhi wa salam have defined as modest. Thereafter, the practise of this modesty is present for all to see in the lives of the Sahaabiaat radiallahu anhum. Hazrat Aishah radiallahu anha once said, “No doubt, the women of the Quraish have great virtues butI swear by Allah, I have not seen women better than the women of the Ansaar. They were the strongest believers in the Qur’an and in revelation. When Allah Ta’ala revealed the verse,

“And they should wear their scarves over their chests.” (Surah Nur 24:31)

Abu Huzayfa said...

Every man recited the verse to his wife, his sister and to every mahram of his. Every one of these women took their best shawls and wrapped it around themselves because of their strong faith in what Allah has revealed in His book. The following morning they all performed prayer behind Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wa salam with their shawls wrapped (and protruding above their heads because of its large size) and looking as if there were crows perched on their heads.” (Hayaatus Sahaabah, Tafseer ibn Kathir & Abu Dawud)

Hazrat Mufti Taqi Usmani damat barakatuhum gives a very nice explanation to the verse mentioned in the beginning of this article. He says,

“There are three conditions that must be met in order to fulfil the fundamental objective of clothing.

1) The clothing must not be so small or short that despite it being worn, parts of the satr are still apparent. It will be thus be said about this type of garment that it does not do the job it was made for as ‘kashf aurah’ (opening of the satr) has occurred.

2) The second scenario is of such a cloth which does cover the satr however, the clothing is so thin that parts of the body can be seen through the cloth. i.e. it is see through

3) The third scenario is of that cloth which is so tight that the shape of the body parts can be seen.” (Islaahi Khutbaat 5/267)

Within the three criteria mentioned above, there is also another matter intertwined with these conditions. That is that the clothing worn must not be so dazzling and colourful that it catches the eyes of people and wreaks attention.

Ibn Jasaas rahmatullahi alayh mentions, “If the Qur’an has mentioned that the sound of jewellery (anklets etc) is included in showing ones beauty (impermissibly) and has forbidden it, then the wearing of decorated coverings is forbidden also.” (Masaa’il Maa’ariful Qur’aan p.136)

Similarly, Allamah Mufti Rashid Ahmad Sahib rahmatullahi alayh mentions in Ahsanul Fatawa, “Whichever type of clothing shows the outline and shape of those parts of the body which are compulsory to cover is haraam to wear for both men and women. It is even haraam to look towards it!

Thus, if a person does not conform to the above conditions in her clothing, then she has not fulfilled the criteria of the satr and it is as if she is undressed in the Islamic sense. This will now be discussed.


Anyway, that answer goes on to discuss other issues which are all intertwined with one another. I think the above is sufficient.

The wearing of Abaya/Jilbab etc is emphasised as this is what our womenfolk (may Allah Ta'ala shower His love on them) have been wearing for many years. It has almost been passed down to them as 'Tawatur at-Tabaqa' i.e. one generation to another. The styles etc differ but it is something which is recognised now as Islamic garments. There may be other types of clothing which do the same job as a jilbab etc but the jilbab etc is something which is used out of ease due to its plethora. Thus it is easy nowadays to go into a shop and ask for a variety of different jilbabs.

Wallahu a'lamu bis sawaab

ocean_blues said...

Jazak'allah khair. I just needed some clarification of what exactly 'modesty' is. Your reply was much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

AssalamuAlaykum, a very inspiring post, jazakAllah.

I have always been in the habit to forgive and forget those who hurt me intentionally or unintentionally, but recently I have been stuck in a scenario where an individual who is very close to me have hurt me countless times but each time I forgave and forgot and moved on, but it has come to a point where I can’t do it anymore because each time they apologise I know its fake, they will only hurt me again. For the sake of Allah s.w.t I can take the pain and forgive them again, but is there any ruling within the boundaries of Islam where I do not have to forgive them because I have a reason not to? is the reson good enough?

Abu Huzayfa said...

Assalamu Alaykum,

Indeed your issue is one which is sensitive and we ask Allah Ta'ala to ease your affairs. Ameen.

One must remember that forgiveness is a good thing and it should be maintained as much as possible but it is also important to be a smart person. A person is only hurt when has has kept some sort of hope or expectation in another person. If you know the person who is hurting you will continually do so, then don't keep such high hopes in him. The ahadith mention that a Muslim is not deceived by the same trick twice; if you know there is a person in your life who is of no benefit to you then you should not give him so much power (by feelings/friendship etc) that he can destroy you and fear no recompense. I am not saying that you should not forgive him or cut off from him but rather, it would be wise to keep him at a distance.

If you knew harm was to come your way by the means of some arrow, you would move out of the way; in the same way, keep your distance from those whom you expect some distress from.

Anonymous said...

JazkaAllah, that’s a very helpful and benefiting advice, I really appreciate it, JazakAllah, May Allah reward you for your time and effort, Ameen,

I came across this very meaningful quote, thought I’d share it here…

'Allah has created angels having reason but with no desires, animals have desires but no reason, but man has both reason and desires. Therefore, if one’s reason is stronger than his desires, he is like an angel. On the other hand, if his desires are stronger, he is like an animal. [ibn Al-Qayyim – "The Way to Patience and Gratitude."]