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!
The clerk of Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba (radiallaahu `anhu) narrated, “Mu`awiya (radiallaahu `anhu) wrote to Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba (radiallaahu `anhu): Write to me something which you have heard from the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) .” So Al-Mughira (radiallaahu `anhu) wrote: I heard the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) saying, “Allah has hated for you three things:
1. Vain talks, (useless talk) that you talk too much or about others.
2. Wasting of wealth (by extravagance)
3. And asking too many questions (in disputed religious matters) or asking others for something (except in great need).
Vain talk is a waste of time.
Extravagance is a waste of wealth.
Asking too many questions is a waste of intellect.
Why would Allah like it for you to waste away the blessings He gave to you? These resources, if used the right way, could bring immense benefit to the individual and the community as a whole.
To avoid useless talking, avoid talking about people and events. As the saying goes: “great minds discuss ideas”.
To avoid waste of wealth, spend less. :P And do lots of Sadaqah.
To avoid asking too many (useless) questions, think before you speak, really. Getting into the how’s and why’s usually leads to such questions. A good solution is to think whether getting the answer to a specific question will bring you closer to Allah, or give you a plan of action. For example, the answer to “How old was `A’isha (radiallaahu `anhaa) when she got married?” won’t do you much good. Increase in knowledge, yes. But does this knowledge result in `amal? I highly doubt it.
Be wise and and avoid doing stuff that Allah does not like. :)
Narrated Abu Barza:
Allah’s Apostle disliked to sleep before the ‘Isha prayer and to talk after it.
Sleeping before ‘Isha prayer won’t let you sleep after it, so quit it. :P
Talking after ‘Isha prayer is disliked when it’s in vain. When we sleep, our spirits (arwaah) leave our bodies. And according to a Hadith, they ascend towards Allah (SWT). He keeps whichever ruh He wills and sends back the rest. That’s how people die in their sleep. Anyway, we must prepare for our death every night. Imagine that you’ll be meeting Allah (SWT) and prepare accordingly. What would you want your last ‘amal to be? Vain talk or prayer?