Ramadan Reflection #5: Repel Evil With Good

When I look at the intense craziness happening in the world, I am reminded of the example of the Rasool, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, time and time again. Despite the immense backlash the Prophet faced in Makkah, the torture and humiliation of his followers, he was still kind to those whom oppressed him the most. In this, as always, there are many gems for us.

The Prophet’s return to Makkah after its conquest has many lessons for us in his interaction with those who mistreated him and his followers.

Khalid ibn Waleed, a name we are familiar with, was responsible for a huge amount of death and injuries of Sahabah in the Battle of Uhud. Clearly at that time, he was on the other side. After the Conquest of Makkah happened, he fled the city. He assumed, as many would, that he was going to be punished for his previous actions. The Prophet found his brother was like where did Khalid go? He’s such a great guy, an intelligent man. He didn’t mention negative qualities – he only focused on the positive. His brother later tells Khalid that the Prophet was speaking so highly of you, welcoming you back. This simple act turned the heart of Khalid. He became one of the heroes of Islam, as many of us know him now, and carried the Muslims to countless victories.

Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan, hired Wahshi to kill Hamza ibn Abdul Mutalib, the Uncle of the Prophet (S) during the Battle of Uhud. She then personally mutilated his body, took out his liver, and chewed on it. Imagine the amount of hatred that leads a person to do such a thing. Later during the Conquest of Makkah, Abu Sufyan left Makkah to approach the Muslims to broker a peace deal and he was granted protection. He came home and Hind, his wife, ordered people to go kill her husband because she felt he begged for his life. She was still staunchly against them. Yet even her heart was melted by the generosity, kindness, respect given by the Prophet despite everything she had done.

There are so many stories with this similar theme: even when the Prophet was met with hatred, violence, and evil, he repelled it with good. He was kind, he was generous, he was positive. He looked for the best in people, even in those who killed his family and closest companions. He truly gave everyone a chance until their last breath. He did not *judge* anyone solely based on their actions and have them room to improve. He saw potential in those we would condemn to hell on first glance.

It is a tough act to follow. From seeing people murdered senselessly around the world to those who oppress others in school or work or home, we tend to let only our anger colour our judgement of that person. Most of us will not experience the former extreme. Still, it is a huge struggle to be the better person, the bigger person, to be kind to someone who has wronged you beyond relief. Some situations may not require it. But many situations, especially those in our daily lives, would benefit immensely from us being kind instead of angry, generous instead of vindictive, and positive instead of critical. Like Allah swt promises, only good will come out of goodness. It sure doesn’t hurt to try it.


Ramadan Reflection Day 18: How Much Do We Care?

In Sahih Bukhari, there is the story of AlFadl ibn Abbas who was riding in a group with Rasul Allah, sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He happened to see – and stare at – a beautiful woman who came to ask Rasul Allah a question. The Prophet noticed this and instead of making a rude comment or embarrassing him, he subtly reached out for his chin and turned his face so he wouldn’t be staring at her.

We all know that we’re supposed to lower our gaze. That’s not the point I want to make. What I do want to bring attention to is the manner in which The Prophet advised ibn Abbas. There was no yelling or screaming or a khutbah on the evils of zinna. He didn’t place even turn to the woman and place the blame on her – something we see too much in our day. He gently, kindly, lovingly turned his face away. The point was made. The reminder was given. Without any fireworks.

We know Rasul Allah, sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa salaam cared about his companions AND about us. Truly, deeply cared. That’s why he was the best of example. He’s meant to be emulated. Because he cared, he didn’t embarrass others. He knew we all make mistakes. He didn’t condescend or belittle. He’s human too. He sincerely wanted the best for each one of us, especially in the akhirah, so he acted in the best manner.

When we interact with others and hurt them in some way, we say we do it out of love. Because we care. But do we? Yes, sometimes hurt will be involved. But was yelling necessary? Was turning someone away from the deen necessary? Was giving in to our anger necessary? If we actually cared, if we actually loved those whom we advise, perhaps we would act in a slightly different manner.

Ramadan exposes us to hundreds of people at a time – at iftars, at taraweeh, at the mosque for salah. Lack of food and sleep (and sometimes common sense) gives us the excuse to lash out for people when we see things we may not like. If we do so, we would be losing the point of fasting: to always be conscious of Allah. It doesn’t matter if we’re fasting or not – the way we treat others is always being watched. Just as in the example of the Prophet speaking to the bedouin who urinated in the mosque and in this one, the Prophet didn’t flip out. He cared and loved. Let us let the month of mercy put this mercy back into our lives. Bi’idnillah, we’ll see the same mercy enter our lives as well.

Ramadan Reflection Day 3: To Change or Not To Change…

For a lot of people, Ramadan is their changing ground. They enter this month with the intention of improving some aspect of their life. It is amazing – Ramadan should be the month to recharge, to improve and carry over into the year.

One of things I’ve seen is how difficult we make it on our fellow brothers and sisters to change. For example, if a sister decides she’s going to wear hijab for the month – maybe to try it out, maybe to practice, maybe as a test to continue on into the year – people around her may not be so supportive. ‘Oh, she’s just wearing it for the month.’ ‘Hey, look at you just being religious for a few days. Let’s see how long that lasts.’

No person is immune from mistakes or the perfect in their deen. So what gives you or I the authority to look down and talk down to someone who is taking that step to their Rabb? I mean, what are you going to gain if she wears hijab, or prays, or stops listening to music? Or not? Your deeds are between you and Your Rabb just as her deeds are between her and Her Rabb.

I’m not saying to ignore a friend who may be struggling to strive towards the deen. Be supportive. Remember, if you are fortunate enough to be so-called ‘religious,’ that you once didn’t wear hijab and didn’t pray. You may still also back-bite and listen to music and commit sins the general public doesn’t see day in and day out. You’re human. Just like everyone else.

In Sahih Muslim, there is the story of the bedouin who urinated in the masjid. The sahabah were ready to pounce on him and scold him yet Rasul Allah, sall Allahu ‘alayi wa sallam, told them to leave him alone so he can finish his business (finish peeing!!!). He then approached him and *kindly* explained what the masjid is for and that one can’t do their business inside. Sweet, simple, and understanding.

Imagine if the bedouin was accosted by the ‘religious’ folk and humiliated in front of them. He probably wouldn’t return to the mosque, let alone want to practice his deen. The Prophet (SAWS) taught us that our actions and reactions have a much bigger effect on encouraging people to change than our words do. Be the living, walking, talking example.

Again, taqwa comes into play. How would you encourage a friend if you knew Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala was standing behind you, watching? I highly doubt anyone would poke fun or discourage a good action. You would try to act your best and help the person from the goodness of your heart – because any khayr he or she learns from you will only be sadaqah jariyah for you. So remember Allah subhanhahu wa ta’ala IS watching. At all times. Shaytaan isn’t around this month to blame for any petty feelings. So the change comes down to you and your nafs. Change your outlook on those who are new to the deen and you’ll see wonderful changes within your life and others, bi’idhnillah.