Guest post by Madiha Akhtar
Once my husband said, “Whenever you find yourself in a conservation, try to take something beneficial from it, something that can help you”. I know it sounds philosophical but the application that I saw him practice is what makes this a golden rule to live by. Let me explain further with examples.
I went to visit my grandparents and my husband accompanied me. After asking the usual questions of “how are you and kids, health, job” etc., my grandfather started to talk about his travel experiences. Right after that my husband asked him, “What do you think was their greatest strength and weakness?”. I looked at his face and then at my grandfather’s and was totally indulged in the way my grandfather explained what he found key to their success. A whole new paradigm of discussion opened up which was both interesting and beneficial.
So here is how he does it. In every gathering he asks questions which are related to the topic as well as the knowledge of the audience. This is the ultimate trick to learn from others’ years of experience. Let me share with you some more examples.
In a gathering of moms you can ask the question, “What is the single most important thing that one can give to their children?” or to a grandmother, “What is the one thing you never compromised on when it came to your children?”.
When accompanied by someone who loves cooking , “What is the simplest yet nutritious dish you make?”. In a group of friends, “How do you handle the situation when your husband is angry but you don’t know the cause?”.
So my dear friends, this is the key to learning. Now I enjoy having conversations and even making small talk with strangers when waiting in a queue or reception as I have found a way to tap others’ wisdom. Lastly, I will add just one more thing that most of the sins related to tongue are because of excessive talking and sometimes to avoid an awkward silence in the drawing room, we end up talking uselessly. SO THINK AHEAD!
Hadith no. 2674 (below) is a repeat. Read it here.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 277 :
Narrated by Anas (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) was the (most handsome), most generous and the bravest of all the people. Once the people of Medina got frightened having heard an uproar at night. So, the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) met the people while he was riding an unsaddled horse belonging to Abu Talha and carrying his sword (slung over his shoulder). He said (to them), “Don’t get scared, don’t get scared.” Then he added, “I found it (i.e the horse) very fast.”
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 278 :
Narrated by Salama (radiallaahu `anhu)
I went out of Medina towards Al-Ghaba. When I reached the mountain path of Al-Ghaba, a slave of ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf (radiallaahu `anhu), met me. I said to him, “Woe to you! What brought you here?” He replied, “The she-camels of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) have been taken away.” I said, “Who took them?” He said, “Ghatafan and Fazara.” So, I sent three cries, “O Sabaha-h ! O Sabahah !” so loudly that made the people in between its (i.e. Medina’s) two mountains hear me. Then I rushed till I met them after they had taken the camels away. I started throwing arrows at them saying, “I am the son of Al-Akwa’; and today perish the mean people!” So, I saved the she-camels from them before they (i.e. the robbers) could drink water. When I returned driving the camels, the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) met me, I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Those people are thirsty and I have prevented them from drinking water, so send some people to chase them.” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “O son of Al-Akwa’, you have gained power (over your enemy), so forgive (them). (Besides) those people are now being entertained by their folk.”
Forgiving someone when you have power over them is one of the hardest things to do, I suppose. If a ‘big guy’ took your lunch money in school, you probably had to let it go because standing up to him would mean more bullying. But if the same crime were committed by a weak little person, would you have done the same thing considering you could smash his entire being into the wall? I don’t know why there’s so much violence in my example today. :/ :P
The robber will get the punishment he deserves, in this life or the next, but your reward for forgiving him after overpowering him will be much greater than the satisfaction of seeing him get punished for his crime. Allah knows. :)
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand.” Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu) added: Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) has left the world and now you, people, are bringing out those treasures (i.e. the Prophet did not benefit by them).
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 221 :
Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu)
Abu Sufyan said, “Heraclius sent for me when I was in ‘llya’ (i.e. Jerusalem). Then he asked for the letter of Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and when he had finished its reading there was a great hue and cry around him and the voices grew louder and we were asked to quit the place. When we were turned out, I said to my companions, ‘The cause of Ibn Abi Kabsha has become conspicuous as the King of Bani Al-Asfar is afraid of him.’ “
It’s really interesting how Imam Bukhari brings these two narrations under the same heading: “I have been made victorious by awe (by His frightening my enemies) for a distance of one month’s journey”. I say this because Ibn Hajr says in his commentary that the scholars have said that the distance between Madinah and the neighboring kingdoms/empires wasn’t more than a month’s journey. See how Heraclius gets afraid after reading Prophet’s (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) letter.. this was the Divine help that the above hadith mentions.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 141 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Charity is obligatory everyday on every joint of a human being. If one helps a person in matters concerning his riding animal by helping him to ride it or by lifting his luggage on to it, all this will be regarded charity. A good word, and every step one takes to offer the compulsory congregational prayer, is regarded as charity; and guiding somebody on the road is regarded as charity.”
Taking this and numerous other narrations about charity and its rewards, I’ve come to the conclusion that a Muslim’s life is a charitable life. A lot of the small good deeds that we do, even without thinking, are counted as charity. Why is that a big deal, you ask? What’s the difference between getting rewarded for a regular ‘good deed’ and a ‘charity’? Well it’s simple, charity brings enormous rewards, as discussed in some of the previous posts:
“If one gives in charity what equals one date-fruit from the honestly-earned money — and Allah accepts only the honestly-earned money — Allah takes it in His right (hand) and then enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it); as anyone of you brings up his baby horse, so much so that it becomes as big as a mountain.” [Vol. 2, Book 24, No. 491]
You don’t have to be a billionaire supporting various causes, charities and trusts to be charitable. You just need to be a humble Muslim, helping others with your words and deeds being your nature. :)
In words of Talib al-Habib:
Shine your mercy like the sun, and be gracious as the Earth
Let your kindness come like rain that cares not whom it falls upon
And let ocean deep your wisdom be,
Your heart a lantern spreading peace
Give yourself in love of Him, be like al-Habib
Hadith no. 2534 (below) is a repeat. Read it here.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 139 :
Narrated by Anas bin Malik (radiallaahu `anhu)
I went along with the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) to Khaibar so as to serve him. (Later on) when the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) returned he, on seeing the Uhud mountain, said, “This is a mountain that loves us and is loved by us.” Then he pointed to Medina with his hand saying, “O Allah! I make the area which is in between Medina’s two mountains a sanctuary, as Abraham made Mecca a sanctuary. O Allah! Bless us in our Sa’ and Mudd (i.e. units of measuring).”
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 140 :
Narrated by Anas (radiallaahu `anhu)
We were with the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) (on a journey) and the only shade one could have was the shade made by one’s own garment. Those who fasted did not do any work and those who did not fast served the camels and brought the water on them and treated the sick and (wounded). So, the Prophet said, “Today, those who were not fasting took (all) the reward.”
Don’t miss out on the small good deeds just because you’re part of a bigger one. And don’t be lazy just because you’re fasting. :)