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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate, may Allah bless and grant peace to His beloved.

(Jakallah Khair Zakariya Goga, for the notes)

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is described by one his greatest students, Sayyiduna 'Ali ibn Abi Taalib, may Allah be pleased with him, when his son Al-Husain ibn 'Ali Taalib may Allah be pleased with him, asked him, "What was the character of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, like when he sat with his companions?"

This is important because the distinction between the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and how he was with his companions and how he was with his enemies, because with his enemies he was absolutely fair but uncompromising.
With the companions, Sayyiduna 'Ali describes him as:
"He was always with bishr, he always smiled in the face of his companions. One of his names, according to Imam as-Suyuti, is ad-dhahaak - the one who constantly smiles, and his laugh was a smile. He was always smiling and he said that – “to meet your brother with a smile is sadaqa” and know that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, only did things for reward and for teaching. Everything he did he did it to please Allah Ta'ala and so smiling in the face of his companions was one of the ways he was pleasing Allah Ta'ala and one of the ways he was teaching this ummah; that to smile is sadaqa. Some of the salaf used to say to those who frowned a lot – “may Allah not make a lot of people like that”.
And then he ('Ali) said:
"He was gentle in his disposition", Khuluq is character, and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said as a dua' "Oh Allah just as you have beautified my outward appearance, make my character beautiful also". So his disposition was easy, and one of the things that the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace said was, "ahlan wa sahlan". Ahlan means you have found your family and sahlan means the easiest land to travel on. He was the best in disposition and so he was gentle by his character. May Allah bless him and grant him peace

And then he said:
"He was soft", and Allah witnesses to that in the Qur'an when he says, "It is by a Mercy from your Lord that you were made soft" that he was gentle with them and it is a Mercy from Allah because Allah sent him as a "Mercy to the worlds". And just as the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace has said, "I was sent with the tolerant hanafi way", he was the epitome and essence of tolerance and sweetness in his character. Sayyiduna 'Ali said, "The one who came to him suddenly was filled with awe and the one who came to know him fell in love" - Allah gave him a Hayba and people witnessed that when they saw him, they felt the awe, but he also had a sweetness that the people who spent time with him they had to fall in love with the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace. And Allah says, "Had you been harsh people would have dispersed from you"

Following that, this is what he says next:
"He was not harsh nor heavy nor the one who raises his voice" Allah Ta'ala says to show the disbelievers your shiddat and mercy to the believers. So he was not harsh with his companions.

In the taurat, and this is a sound riwayaat, one of the Jews of Yemen his father gave him part of the taurat and said, "Don't open this until you hear of a Prophet from Yathrib" when he heard a Prophet was in Yathrib he took out the taurat and he read the discription of the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace. So he then went to Medina and he met with the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he looked at the description and it was an exact description of the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace and in that description was that "He does not raise his voice in the market places", which is characteristic of market places, people raise their voices and the Jew told the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace that these are your descriptions in the taurat. The Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace then asked him after gathering his companions to relate to them what he had told him. He had explained what he said, and the Messenger of Allah may Allah bless him and grant him peace said, "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah" because he believes, the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace is a believer and we should never forget that for Allah says this in the Qur'an. So when he heard that - Allah-hu-Akbar, he is in the taurat and here is a Jew whose father gave him a taurat and told him there is a Prophet coming in Medina and he bore witness.

He then said:
"He didnt say or do anything ugly", Ihsaan is to make beautiful Muhsin is somebody who makes this beautiful and the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace is the first of those the Muhsineen.

"He did not find fault in people or things". They say that never once did he find fault in food. If he liked it he ate and it and if he didnt he left it but he didn’t say anything bad about food because it is a blessing from Allah. What is interesting is a few brothers here who were in the Rihla studying and people were complaining about the food. Now, two men who recently returned from Mauritania where the food they eat in the middle of the Sahara desert a lot of dogs in this culture would not eat; and they were saying how incredible the food was!? See everything is relative, and what we must remember is that it is a blessing from Allah. It might not be what your accustomed to but it might be a lot better than what other people are accustomed too. In other words you might eat good food and then at another persons house you eat the food according to you is not that good - but - that food you don't find any good might be a Kings feast for another person on the planet.
So the point is to recognise the blessings of Allah.

ibn Abbas used to say never lose sight of the blessings of Allah because even those things that afflicts you know that it could have been worse than it is - and that is a blessing. In other words in the musibah there is a blessing in that it is not a bigger musibah than it is - so witness the blessings all the time.
With food, if it is not what you are accustomed too - it could be a lot worse, there are people that eat out of garbage cans!

He may Allah bless him and grant him peace also didn't find fault in people nor expose them, that is a very difficult thing to do because it is very easy to find fault in others. What is interesting is that the eye has a blind spot, we talked about this regarding perception, there is a blind spot in the eye - the attachment of the optic nerve, this is the point that the eye cannot see. People’s faults are there blind spot and this is why you keep company with people who show you your faults. The Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace said, "A believer is a mirror for a believer". You look in the mirror to see your faults; you look to see what is wrong not what is right, if you look to see what is right you don't need to.

A healthy person looks in the mirror to check himself and an egotist looks in the mirror to admire himself, but somebody who is healthy, they look in the mirror to rectify themselves. So the Mu'min is the mirror of another mu'min. Sidi Ahmad Zaruq siad “you should have a company of people that show you your wrong actions so that you can rectify them. “
He then said:
"........nor did he praise - Mad-dah" and Mad-dah is mubalagha in other words he may Allah bless him and grant him peace said things about people - ah-santa or ni'mal 'abd hatha, illa an-nahu la yaqul lil-layl - about ibn Umar he said that - "What an excellent person, except he doesn't get up at night", ibn Umar said after he heard that he never left Qiyamul Layl. So the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace praised him and at the same time he encouraged him to be better. So he wasn't Mad-dah, cause he could have just said "What an excellent person" and not said anything, but he wanted to not give him pride and just say "Oh what a perfect person", no for he said, ".......If only he woke at night" except he should do a little more. And ibn Umar took the maw'ida.

And then he said:
"He used to pretend not to notice things he didn't like" yataghafilu is to pretend not to notice and Sidi Ahmad Zaruq mentions in the qawa'id that there is a Hadith 2/3 of the believer is to really pretend not to be fully aware. The reason for that is, if someone says something bad to you, you ignore it and don’t take it and pretend you didn’t hear it. A lot of people, if you say something (hear something) and you don't react to it - Khalas, you just leave it. And that is what the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace did, if he heard something he didn't like he used to pretend he never heard it.

And then:
"He didn't let down anyone who had hopes in him" If somebody had a hope, if somebody came to him may Allah bless him and grant him peace with a rajaa' the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace never let him down - ever. In the Shamaa'il it is said, "He never said no to anyone". They said, The Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace was distributing and one of the Bedouin kept asking him and asking him and Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace gave him more and more until he gave him so much and he finally left and said go and catch up with this man Mohammad may Allah bless him and grant him peace because he gives like he has no fear of poverty.

He completely abandoned for himself three things:
Argumentation - the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace did not dispute. Ragib Lisbahani says argumentation is makrooh for ulema and for other than them it is impermissible. If you are Alim there is karaahiya in argumentation because of fear that you are doing it for yourself. Imam Shafi used to say that he never did once do munathara with another scholar except that he prayed to Allah to make the truth manifest on his opponents tongue, so that he could submit to it. In other words the nafs had no portion he only wanted the truth.

The Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace did not argue with people.
There was a famous munathara that took place in Egypt between two scholars and in the middle of it when it became disputation one of the scholars got up and left
Imam Maalik, in Medina, in the circle, if the people used to argue he used to get up and take his rida and shake it and say "you are a war!" and he would leave, he would just leave.

There is no benefit in argumentation. None what so ever, it is a disease of the heart and there are people who love to argue. And the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace said, "No people go astray after they were on guidance except it is replaced with argumentation" You see and this is our ummah today, everybody is arguing, nobody is listening to the other person. When the Qudama used to debate they listened to their opponents they listened to his hujajj and many times they would abandon their hujjaj because the position was stronger. But nor everybody - "Each group is happy with what they have" completely uninterested with what the other people have and just arguing points. It is a disease.
So he left argumentation and excessive speech.

They said, "He was the most silent of people but when he spoke he spoke the truth" and he may Allah bless him and grant him peace only spoke if he thought there was a reward from Allah init. And so he may Allah bless him and grant him peace left ikthar - and not just from speech but also dunya - "alhakumut takathuru" - people are entertained by buying with another in dunya, but the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace left it, he said, "Lacking, doing without is my profession" according to Sayyiduna 'Ali.

Sidi Ahmad Zaruq said, "Zuhud is absolute certainty about what Allah has and having no concern about what you own or posses" Zuhud doesn’t mean you have any dunya, it means you have no belief that your dunya enriches you. That is the difference. When I asked Sheikh Murabit-Haj about Zuhud and asked "does that mean we cant have dunya" and he replied, "Abdur Rahman ibn Awf was one the richest men and he was zaahid". So zuhud is not poverty, it is that you have no consideration for the dunya other than a wasila for aakhira and you don’t put your trust in it you put your trust in Allah.

And then said:
"He left what did not concern him" (subhanAllah)
So he may Allah bless him and grant him peace left three things for his nafs - Argumentation, speech and dunya and leaving what did not concern him.
And the gift of leaving what doesn’t concern you is barakah in time. If you look at people, they say "I don’t have any time" that is the biggest lie that every human being utters, We have nothing but time, your life is nothing but time and that is the one thing you DO have - time. And people who say that they are fooling themselves, it is a delusional state. You have no barakah in your time, that is the problem and that is because you are engaged in what doesn’t concern you.

The Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace said, "From the excellence Islam of a man is that he leaves what doesn’t concer him" - this is from the excellence Islam of a man.

Somebody asked Imam Sha'fi, "How old are you" and he said, "Does that concern you?" and the man said, "SubhanAllah, what did i say?" Imam Shafi said I asked my teacher, Malik, How old are you?" and he said "Why does that concern you?" He was teaching Imam Sha'fi - don’t ask of things that are of no concern to you, what importance is it if you know how old or how young i am? it doesn’t matter, ask things of importance and concern to you. This is part of learning how to benefit from time from speech.

Ask people what they do with their time, what do you do when your alone? How do you occupy your time. There are people who watch television - complete waste of time, People entertain themselves with music - complete waste of time. People entertain themselves with Qeela qalQaala when the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace was completely uninterested in Qeela wa Qaala - He said she said. He said, Your Lord detests for you al Qeel walQaal - he said she said, it was said, so and so said, did you hear about this or that.

And asking too many questions, ibn Abbas said what a great generation the sahaba were, they only asked 13 questions and they are all recorded in the Qur'an. The Sahabah used to love when the bedouin would come into town because they didn’t have any modesty and just asked questions. They would tell the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace in the Masjid and call him Ya Mohammad! and then Allah told them in the Qur'an not to address him like that, and so they would ask, "Tell us about so and so", the sahabah liked, they didn’t like the bad adab but they likes the question because they knew they would get more from the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace. But they (sahabah) didn’t ask questions.

So this is what he left for himself - those three things - argumentation, ikthaar and leaving what didn’t concern him.
"and he abandoned three things concerning people, he never censured anyone nor find fault in anyone................"
A man came to the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace and asked him a question, the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace replied and then the man said, "If Allah wishes and you wish O Messenger of Allah" The Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace said, "Don’t make equal with Allah, say if Allah wills thuma shi'ta ya Rasool Allah" See he didn’t say - Bid'iy, Mushrik, he taught him what the right thing was, that is all he did. He was teaching him, cause he was a teacher and he was concerned about his students.

Anas ibn Maalik said I served the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace 10 years he never once said to me if I did a thing that I shouldn’t have done "why did you do that?" or if I didn't do a thing that I should’ve done "Why didn’t you do that?" - Not once in 10 years. He came as a young boy and left a man filled with knowledge, he is one of our greatest scholars the last to die from the sahabah, taught so many hadith and taught generations of people. And he was the servent of the prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace and not once was he censured by the Prophet.

Anas also said, once the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace came and asked me to do such and such, I replied with NO. The Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace looked at me and smiled and walked out of the room. Now that is what modern psychologists call pattern interruption - you do something to completely offset somebody. He's expecting him to come down on him and he completely offset him - he smiled and walked out. A few minutes later he came back and asked, Anas did you do what I asked? Anas said, I am going right now. See Tarbiyyah Nabawiyyat - prophetic teaching.

He never once hit anybody, never raised his hand to a women, a servant or a child - its in the Hadith. Not once did he strike anyone. may Allah bless him and grant him peace

"Nor did he find fault in people". If he may Allah bless him and grant him peace wanted to say something about somebody he used to say, "What do people think of such and such" so he would always offset it and never expose the faults of anyone - never. And the man who in the Prayer replied to the one who sneezed with Yarhamukallah, the other sahabah looked over at him to say "What are you doing" so the man replied, "May your mothers weep over you, why are you looking at me like that" So they all started slapping their thighs, telling him to be quiet and so he realised that he should not have said anything. Then when they finished the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace called him and the man said, “He didn’t look at me in a mean way, he didn’t say anything mean, he didn’t strike me and he said he told me this is our pray a time of tasbeeh and hamd reminding ourselves of Allah and it doesn’t work with the speech of people.” The man said, “wAllah, I didnt see anyone before him or after him a finer teacher then the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace.”

"He never sought the nakedness of people" If somebody wanted to talk about another he used to say “Don’t tell me, i like to go out to my brothers with a free breast”. In other words nothing in my heart about them. He may Allah bless him and grant him peace didn’t like to hear bad things. Because there is something in psychology called inoculation, where somebody tells you something about somebody and it creates psychic antibodies about them, when somebody says "oh did you know so and so? he is this and that," then you see that person and that is what comes to your mind, it might not be true, it doesn’t allow you to judge for your self as it creates a type of prejudice already and the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace didn’t want that. He didn’t listen to that, and told them I don’t want to hear about it.
Abu Bakr, when the man was complaining about him, and finally when the man said something Abu Bakr started defending himself, the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace then got up and Abu Bakr later came to the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace and said, O Messenger of Allah, that man you know he was saying untruths about me when I didn’t say anything you sat and when I defended myself you got up. The Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace said, O Abu Bakr I heard the angels defending you as long as you were silent but the moment you began to defend yourself iblis came in and the Prophets don’t sit with iblis.

The other wisdom for not seeking the awraatun-naas or spying on them, is that if you expose the faults of people. Say for instance you know a Muslim and one day you see him doing something that he shouldn’t be, and then you go and tell others and this thing becomes know. Just say, you found him drinking or smoking and then he goes to the masjid and you start saying, "You that guy, we thought he’s a good muslim, no we were wrong he drinks" and then that gets around, what you do is like cutting off the door of tauba for that person. One of the impetuses for people is the social circumstance, in other words if everyone considers him a faasiq it is cutting him off. If he is hiding it, it is a sign of Iman, don’t forget that, it is not nifaaq, it is a sign of Iman. If he believes in Allah and he is doing something wrong and he is hiding it, that is a degree of Iman. Iman should be obedience to Allah but the nafs is weak, cells are weak, people are weak and they forget Allah, it is not that they want to do that, they could be shamed about it before Allah and they could make tauba, but the nufus are weak and sometimes we forget Allah, not all of us are present with Allah Ta'ala. When we are alone with our selves we don’t always remember Allah, we do things we shouldn’t do, it is only when people have the station of ihsaan that they don’t disobey Allah neither when they are present with people or alone because they are never alone and they know that. But others are weak and you should allow for human weaknesses.

When the man came to Abu Bakr and he told him he committed zina, Abu Bakr said did you tell anybody? and he said No, Abu Bakr then said, don’t tell anybody and make tauba to Allah. He then went to Umar, it was still bothering him, he went to the gentle one and then to the harsh one and told him, Umar said, Did you tell anyone? - See same school, they have the same teacher. The man replied Abu Bakr, Umar asked what did he say and the man said, "Not to tell anybody", Umar then said, "Why are you telling me, do what he said - make sitr and ask forgiveness from Allah". Finally he couldn’t take it anymore and he went to the Prophet, the Prophet didn’t want to hear it either but finally he had the Had

The point is, those were the closest to the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace and look at how they dealt with that, they didn’t publicly humiliate him, they didn’t say - you shaitan you zani, they said istitar, be veiled from Allah and ask for tauba to Allah. The Prophet said the worst people are the ones who do things in the night and then tell people about it in the day. They are the worst people, they have no shame. Haya from people is a level, there is something there, it is not nifaaq it is part of Iman for if you don’t have haya do whatever you want and so shame is to the people and shame is to Allah. The highest shame is to Allah and when you have shame with Allah your going to have shame with people, but if you only have shame with people that is still something there, the person is not completely corrupted, it is when they lose shame to the people there is complete corruption.

That is why Allah says, "you will remain good as long as you do not do major sins publicly" and now you can see it, we are doing kabaair openly in the ummah, drinking of alcohol, the haram transactions between man and women, all of things are happening now - kabaair. And the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace was asked by one of his wives, "Will we destroyed and there is righteous among us", he said, Yes, if foulness is prevalent among you. So yes, even the saliheen who are salihoon will be destroyed and then you will be raised according to you intentions.

And then he said
"He only spoke when he thought there was a reward in speaking" You know, I have told this story many times because it has had a great impact on me, but I saw a man in Mauritania in a hospital, this older man a saalih and when he spoke with me, I asked him something and he was like - Na'am...............wa ba'da thalika.......................arju..................antaqula....................Murabit-Haj........................kaifa................ and that is how he spoke and I thought that there was something wrong with him like he was slow or something and I asked a man is he ok, and he said, "SubhanAllah, this man is famous for Salaah, he has been talking like that for decades, because he takes every word he says and sees if he has a makhraj for it on yaumal Qiyamat" Every word he says, he thinks can I defend this on yaumal qiyamat. What takes us to the fire, there is a hadith, people go because of their tongues. The Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace said, one of you will say a word and gives no consideration to it and it takes him into the fire" - he says words and no consideration, there are people like that they say words, empty words about something and take no consideration for it.
SubhanAllah

So he may Allah bless him and grant him peace only spoke when he thought there was a reward init. And he spoke slowly, in fact one of the sahabah said to the tabi'een, "You speak very different from the way the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace used to speak, he used to speak slowly and with words which we could distinguish between them" which is.............I speak to fast, astaghfirullah

And then he said,
"When he spoke, the sahabah's head went down and it was as if birds were parched on their heads" They were in such utter stillness and contemplation about his words.
"And when he was silent they began to speak" In other words they felt comfortable to speak in his presence, he may Allah bless him and grant him peace let the speak, he was no tyrant, some are like tyrants and wont let others speak - no he let them speak in his company.

"They never argued in his presence" - They never used to cut off each other.
"and whoever spoke in his presence all of them listened to him until he was done speaking".

"He used to be patient with a strange person who had bad character" Some of the Bedouin, the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace said, whoever comes from the desert he becomes dry/harsh. The desert is a harsh environment, it is not their fault, the environment that produce them. Like there is Muslims that grow up in the ghettos and they become Muslim and they have some roughness around the edges you have to try to understand what their background is. They are good people but there are some rough edges. Like some of the sahabah, they had some rough edges because of the harsh environment and harshness necessitates harshness. If you are soft and marshmallow you will melt in the sun and wipe you out. So he was patient with their character if they spoke with it or in their mas'ala even then the sahabah were happy they were there because they wanted to hear the benefit of it.

"And if you see somebody who has a need, help him out with that need", said the Messenger of Allah may Allah bless him and grant him peace. He may Allah bless him and grant him peace used to help people, he would take them, even his guests he would walk out with them, in his majlis if someone got up to leave he used to go out and take him out with him, see - the height of adab - "I was only sent to perfect mans character"

Then he said:
"He never accepted any praise from somebody except he had done a good turn and that person praised him for that" - that is the only time, he may Allah bless him and grant him peace didn’t accept "What a great person" from people, only for something he had done for return

"He never used to break any body's speech" If someone spoke he may Allah bless him and grant him peace never interrupted them. In the Hadith, "Barakah remains among people so long as they don’t cut off each other in conversation" When they begin to cut each other off they cut off the barakah. And so he said, the only time he would cut speech is if the man transgressed, like the one who said "What ever you and Allah wish", he then corrected him, if someone said something incorrect he would correct him. And if it was something that didn’t need correcting from the deen he would either do it by prohibiting him from doing it if it was something related to deen and if it was something else he would get up and leave. Like when Abu Bakr began to defend himself and he got up and left, meaning he wasn’t pleased with it, he didn’t prohibit him he just got up and left.

And so this is the discription Sayyiduna ‘Ali gave to his son Hussain, and Imam al-Qaradri said a beautiful thing in his Furruq he said, "If there was no other miracle of the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace other than the Sahabah then it would be enough for his proof of Nubuwat", and the reason why they were like the way they were was because he was like the way he was. In other words, the question that Hussain put to ‘Ali is a very important Question - "How was he like with his companions" in other words he wanted to understand what was the character he displayed to produce the men he produced, and he wanted to know cause he was a little boy when he died. It is a beautiful question and Ali gave a beautiful answer.
JazakAllah khairun, inshaAllah and Allah inshaAllah make us people wAllahi that we try, we are all struggling with this, this is akhalaq and we're all struggling with this - "I was only been sent to perfect noble character" and the highest, noblest thing to do is worship Allah alone and be a Taqi, and then once your relationship with Allah is sound, then it is your relationship with others - and no-one has been given a greater tawfiq to perfect ones character is the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace and anyone who looks at his character with the eye of objectivity and justice has to come to that conclusion.

No other human has been perfect or noble in his character but the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace. We have to feel honoured, we are all in a pathetic condition and we don’t deserve the gift, but, many of the gifts we don’t deserve, but he gave it to us, we don’t deserve, we don’t deserve our messenger may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and as an ummah we're undeserving, the sahabah were deserving - but it is a gift from Allah, and so we should accept the gift with broadness of character and just thank Allah.

The thing that I counsel myself with is be like the Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace, don’t find fault in others, we should thank Allah all the time, replace complaining for gratitude and just say Alhamdolillah wa shukrillah. Just as when someone asked about Mu'awiyyah he said, "my own faults have pre-occupied my mind". And those who rectify themselves others are rectified by their rectification.
Allah yubarik feekum.

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