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My Grandfather Died Before I Had the Opportunity To Talk to Him about Islam: What Can I Do Now?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalamu Alaikum,

My grandfather recently passed away. He was not Muslim but I am unaware exactly what his views were in regards to religion. Am I guilty because I did not manage to talk to him about Islam before he died even if I had the intention to do so? Is it possible he may be categorised as someone who did not hear the true message? Is there anything I can do for him now such as prayer or charity? And also what is the purpose of illness and pain for non-muslims?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

No, you are not at fault here.

You will, insha’Allah, get the reward of your intention as “The believer’s intention is better than his action.”

As for your question on pain and suffering, please see the following detailed article: Suffering and Divine Wisdom

And please also see: What is the Fate of Non-Muslims in the Afterlife?

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Qualities & Characteristics of the Caller to God by Habib Ali al-Jifri

Linked from Habib Ali’s website:  Click here 
The Beginnings of Success
The relationship one has with their self and the ties they have with others should be established on the account that there will be an attendance before God on the final day; when all of creation will be in a state of despair and desperation. 1
Muslims testify that everything in existence maintains a perpetual state of remembering God. It is God Himself who mentions in the Quran that “There is nothing in existence except that it glorifies Him2 Just as we cannot cognise how inanimate objects glorify God, if we suffice ourselves with only our tongues glorifying Him and our spiritual states remain empty, inanimate objects won’t understand how we don’t glorify Him either.3
God says in the Quran, “And We wanted to reveal our favours upon those who are meek on the Earth, and make them leaders.”4  If you see impotence and weakness manifest intensely in a people who are recipients of a divine message, then know that it is the beginning of them having leadership (imama) conferred upon them. Before this authority is conferred outwardly it manifests evidently to the senses; it is seen, it is heard, it is felt. It resides in the heart and begins with subtle meanings that are implanted in the inward beings of people who have been appointed by God for it. God chooses the people who take charge of this responsibility, whom He described in His book as “A people who God loves and they love Him; gentle towards the believers and strong before those who disbelieve.5 This is their state whether they are in conflict or otherwise. It resides in their hearts and does not change even when they have no choice to resolve a conflict except by armed means. God mentions “It has been prescribed for you that you must fight even though you may hate it.”6 Their hate to go into conflict and fight is an attribute of their inward state. 7
We read in history that a victory was held back for an army who had Umar b. al-Khattab amongst its ranks for the reason that members of the army had neglected the customary practice (sunna) of using the siwak. How much of the community lie? How many betray one another? How many steal? How many are content with retreating at night and they are consumed with hatred and rancour for others? How many retreat at night and they feel a sense of superiority over others? Who take themselves to have better understandings than others and a loftier rank, thinking that they will be saved and everyone else is doomed. How many think in that state?8
The Power of Truth
A battle always has two sides: a side that thinks they have a right to might, a right to exert power; and a side that sees that their right is truth itself. Those from the first side see that as long as power is in their hands they possess all the rights, while the other side sees that their strength and their power lies in their standing with the truth. The world which we occupy is a stage for this battle, and it is the custom of God that those who side with the truth and see their right as truth itself, it is them upon whom God will confer custodianship of this Earth. 9
If a Muslim thinks like the one who has aggressed upon him, what is then the difference between them? How can he await success from God? God’s success is bestowed upon those who side with the truth, uphold it and remain steadfast with it. His way is not given success through violating His law. Remaining in adherence to these principles in our day and age is a jihad10
Once the companion Imam Ali b. Abu Talib, may God be pleased with him, was fighting against someone who transgressed against him. At the moment when he overcame his opponent and was about to strike him, the man spat in his face. Imam Ali paused momentarily and then walked away from the situation; he did not do anything to his opponent. When he was asked why he said “Up until the point he spat in my face I was fighting him for the sake of God. When he spat I feared that I would kill him out of anger and selfishness for what he had done to me.” Every action that is performed to help the oppressed and rectify injustice should proceed from this principle: walk on the part of truth by the truth itself. We should observe ourselves with deep insight and check ourselves and see if we are doing this for the sake of making the truth a victor or whether we’re doing this for the fervour of ignorance (jahiliya).11
By the degree that the hearts are made receptive to receive from the heart of the Messenger of God, upon him be peace, and from his characteristics, God will elect victors of the truth on the Earth. If wrongdoers inflict defeat temporarily in one’s wealth, person, and possessions, the day should never come when they defeat one in the heart, because the hope for giving victory to the truth, possessions and one’s honour begins in the heart. They must let God succeed in the heart, and if He does He will elect them to give success to truth on Earth.12
Divine Election 
Divine election, from its outset, is an affair of the unseen. However it has hallmarks, and these ultimately rest in one’s heart. To know if God has elected one, just as He chose His beloved ones , one need only to look towards the heart. Does the idea of being divinely chosen for good works resonate? Does the heart incline towards those whom God has chosen? Is the heart avid in desiring this rank from God? If these subtle signs or even some of them are discovered, then this is the beginning of the process. The Arabs say, birds of a feather flock together, so if the heart is moved at the mention of those who have been graced with being divinely chosen, then it is a sign that you are one of those people.
One of the companions came to the messenger of God, upon him be peace, and said, “I travelled through the day and night and I am filled with thirst and my mount is tired and fatigued, and it was just because I wanted to reach you before you leave this world to ask you a question.” The Prophet asked him, “What is it that you want to ask me about?” He replied, “My question is, what is the sign of those whom God chooses, and what is the sign of those whom God does not choose?” So the Prophet asked him, “In what state did you awake this morning?” Note here that the man asked about divine election and the Prophet asked him what his state was. He said, “I awoke this morning loving goodness, and joyous with any goodness I do, and saddened by any goodness that I missed….” “Enough,” said the Prophet, “these are the signs of God in those whom he chooses. If He wanted you for something else he would have prepared you for it.13 Therefore, you doing the actions which prepare you for being chosen by God are like a herald to tell your heart that God is saying to you “Come”.
Possessing a love of those whom God has chosen is a sign of being divinely chosen for the Prophet Mohammad said “A person is with the one whom they love.14 15


1 (1) Manchester 2001
2 Chapter “Al-Isra”, verse 44.
3 (12) London 2008.
4 Chapter “Al-Qisas”, verse 5.
5 Quran: Chapter: al-Ma’ida, verse 54
6 Quran: Chapter: al-Baqara, verse 216
7 (13) London 2009
8 Ibid
9 Ibid
10 Ibid
11 Ibid
12 Ibid
13 Hadith: in al-Mu’jam al-Kabir of al-Tabrani, 10/249:10312
14 Hadith: in Sahih al-Bukhari, The Book of Etiquette (Adab), Chapter: Signs of the Love of God, 8/39:6169 & 8/40:6167, and also in Sahih al-Muslim, The Book of Righteousness and Etiquette (al-Birr wal-Sila wal-Aadab), Chapter: A person is with the one whom they love, 4/2032:2639 & 4/2034:2640.
15 (15) London 2008

Prisoner found Islam — and then freedom – MercuryNews.com

Prisoner found Islam — and then freedom  – MercuryNews.com

Andre Wiley’s freewheeling youth abruptly ended the night in 1989 he fired a hail of bullets at a hamburger stand, killing a man and wounding several others because their clothing marked them as rival gangsters.

Wiley is a different man 23 years later. He’s Yusuf Wiley, 42, deeply committed to a new religion and on a mission to help California’s most troubled men, Muslim or not, purify their hearts.

Thousands of California prisoners, mostly African-Americans, have converted to Islam behind bars, but they struggle to find their place when they get out.

Wiley is an exception. Many who know him hope he also represents a change that could improve a vast state prison system with a poor record of rehabilitation. Sixty-five percent of California’s felons return to prison within three years.

For more than a decade, Wiley was a key figure spreading a deeply contemplative approach to Islam across many of the state’s 33 prisons. Religious devotion informed his activism, but Wiley said he had a broader motivation: getting therapy, counseling and fellowship to prisoners offered little from the state.

“The inmates have been the ones running the programs and giving the therapy,” Wiley said. “We don’t mind doing it. We’re trying to help each other.”

Two weeks after his release, the man who taught himself verses from the Quran in his prison cell is getting requests to teach classes at Bay Area mosques.

If Wiley were to become an imam leading worship at a mosque, “I would put him in the top 10 percentile” in the United States, said Shaykh Rami Nsour. He directs the Tayba Foundation, a religious education group that encouraged Wiley to move to the Bay Area upon his release.

“The education he’s got is very extensive,” Nsour said. “He’s not just a student. He could easily take on the duties of being an imam, leading a congregation.”

Wiley’s transformation began after a 1993 prison fight earned him nine months in “The Hole,” a windowless, high-security cell. Hopeless, alone but bound by gang allegiances, he found an almanac passage introducing Islam.

“I embraced it on the spot,” he said.

Drawn at first by the religious discipline and the discovery that his pre-slavery African forebears were probably Muslims, Wiley dug deeper into Islamic scriptures.

He found there the science of “ihsan” — a word Muslims translate as virtue, intention or doing “beautiful things” — and instruction in the careful self-examination by which the faithful can purify themselves of psychological ills.

“It’s about recognizing your heart is diseased with envy, arrogance, hatred,” Wiley said recently. “And it shows you how to rid yourself of those diseases.”

Such redemption for Muslims, Nsour said, requires a deeper commitment than the basic requirements of praying five times a day, fasting on certain holidays and a host of other traditions.

“Going inward — that’s when the change begins,” Nsour said. And that’s what Wiley did and is teaching.

Free after two decades behind bars, Wiley cheerfully engages with everyone he passes. Strangers gravitate to him, asking for money — which he gives — or to borrow his cellphone, which he offers. Many find him a model for those looking for a way out of criminality and incarceration.

“Clearly, you’ve gone through phases in your life, and there was a time when remorse was the farthest thing from your head,” California Parole Commissioner Howard Moseley told Wiley at his final parole board hearing in December, according to a transcript.

“It’s apparent that you began to make a transformation once you adopted your faith.”

Wiley joyously walked out of the Central Valley’s Avenal State Prison on May 24, escorted by prison officers who took him 200 miles north to the East Bay.

“There’s no words for it. There’s really no words for it,” he said as he walked across the Hayward grounds of the Tayba Foundation in his first hour of freedom, embracing old friends who had awaited his arrival. Many were Muslim men and fellow converts who left prison before him and found success in jobs and marriages.

Wiley caught the first glimpses of an era of American life he had missed.

“This is a laptop, huh?” he asked a friend at the Tayba office, where he now works and plans to expand his advocacy and to guide the inmates he left behind.

It was Wiley, said former inmate Malik Williams, who enabled him to begin the self-reform that finally freed him from prison.

“He’s very humble, very pious. Hundreds of people have come to his presence,” Williams said.

Williams heard about Wiley’s release and came to visit him at a Friday prayer session in Oakland. Another former inmate drove his family up from Los Angeles for the occasion.

The change pleases Sampson and Betty Wiley, his parents whose hearts were broken so many years ago by their son’s crime. Married for 59 years and members of the same neighborhood church since the 1950s, the couple took a while to adjust to his conversion to Islam. They still call him Andre, not Yusuf.

“As a member of the Church of Christ, I didn’t like it, per se, but if that’s his way of expressing himself, if that’s going to make him a stronger citizen for our country, if that puts him in proper perspective, I can tolerate it,” Sampson Wiley said. “I will love him just as much.”

Yusuf Wiley said his parents did their best to raise him, but unlike his older siblings, he got caught up in the gang violence that permeated his South Central Los Angeles neighborhood in the 1980s.

“He started living two lives,” Sampson Wiley said. “He’d go to church with me every Sunday. But when he’d leave church, he’d get into his own thing.”

Wiley pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the drive-by killing, and a judge sentenced him to 16 years to life.

He became eligible for parole in 2001, but his requests were denied every two years. The parole board said OK on his fifth try.

Avenal State Prison workers lauded him for founding a secular self-help network, the Timeless Group, which still meets weekly, and for being an influential peacemaker.

“Repentance is the leader of all change,” Wiley said. “I knew I had to repent, seek forgiveness. Every person I came into contact with who was a Crip, or a rival, I would apologize, tell them this is not my lifestyle anymore.”

Wiley has apologized to his victim’s family and says he blames no one but himself for his crime.

He wanted to move to the Bay Area instead of returning to Southern California because of the thriving Muslim community he has been a part of since the 1990s and to avoid the gangsters who still rove outside his parents’ home.

As he began to study the faith, he listened to the recorded lectures of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, an American-born Muslim convert who in 1996 co-founded the Zaytuna Institute, a Hayward think tank for Muslim scholars that is now a religious college in Berkeley.

Wiley wrote to the influential shaykh but got no response. Years later, after more study of Islamic jurisprudence, he wrote asking how the rules of fiqh, a moral and ritual code of conduct, apply to prison life.

“That got his attention,” Wiley said. “That’s when they started sending me little booklets.

Ten years ago, Nsour began instructing Wiley in Islam by letter and long-distance phone calls.

“I saw he was very, very motivated,” Nsour said. “Whatever texts I sent to him, he would soak them up, ask specific questions. We had phone lectures. He’d call me collect. For a couple years, it was three times a week.”

Wiley in turn taught fellow inmates. Nsour is confident Wiley could become a mosque leader if he wants to but also knows “there’s a greater community he wants to serve.”

California’s tens of thousands of prisoners and the legions of youths on a dangerous path to join them could find a better way with more guidance, more introspection, Wiley said.

“People don’t believe they have it in them to change until they see somebody like me who went through what I went through, coming from a gang background,” he said.

“They see hope — and that gives them a little of what they need to change.”

Shaykh Rami Nsour works with providing prison inmates with Islamic learning at Tayba Foundation and is also a teacher at SeekersGuidance

Courses Taught

A Reader on Calling to Allah, Giving Advice, and Commanding the Good

Guiding One’s Family Towards the Good: Advice & Tips

Changing Those Around One: Attaching One’s Self to Allah & the Prophetic Sunna

Attracting the Youth to the Religion

Calling People of Other Beliefs to Islam

How Do I Motivate Someone to Perform the Good?

Guiding One’s Family Towards the Good: Advice & Tips

Changing Those Around One: Attaching One’s Self to Allah & the Prophetic Sunna

My Husband Doesnt Pray: How Do I Advise Him?

The Mercy of Diversity: Cultivating Understanding Despite Difference – Habib Umar and Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

Luton is one of the most diverse cities in the United Kingdom, with people coming from and representing diverse cultures, religions, languages and experiences. It is important to acknowledge and see the strength of this diversity. This special programme brings together two of contemporary Islam’s prominent scholars, Habib Umar bin Hafiz and Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, providing a rare opportunity not only for young people but also all those who work in the frontlines of community relations to explore and get clarity on the faith’s teachings on a variety of challenging contemporary issues, particularly the challenges of living, working and making a better community together.

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on Doing Dawah

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on Doing Dawah

Click to Listen

Transcript:
“One of the things we forget as a community is that conversion is not a quick thing. We want everybody to…

‘Oh…you…I…well I told him. I spent 5 minutes with…you know…hes just a kafir…its as simple as that. I explained to him; I said the Quran’s the miracle and he said prove it and I said you have to spend 20 years studying Arabic till you could really get that one. But he disbelieved me.’

So that’s what happens. Now we forget that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was fought by Abu Sufyan for 20 years, he fought him for 18 and a half years. I mean this is seeing miracles…

This isn’t like seeing , you know, ‘Abdallah Khan, or so and so, who owns the curry shop down the street, you know, that I go to once a week, and he gives me a pamphlet, called you know, Qur’an the ultimate miracle.

I mean that, this is somebody who is actually seeing the Prophet (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and yet fought him for almost 19 years and finally converted, and when he converted he even said to ‘Abbas, the Prophet’s Uncle, when he saw all the armies amassed outside of Mecca he said…

Abu Sufyan: You know that the mulk of your nephew has certainly increased

…and Abbas looked at Abu Sufyan and said:

‘Abbas: A lam ya’ni laa ka antuslim? Isn’t it about time for you to become Muslim?
‘Abbas: Inna hu an-nabuwwa – This is prophecy.

Get rid of that criteria you’re using. And that is the point Abu Sufyan became Muslim. He had a realization, but it took all that time. We give up on people after a few minutes.”

*Taken from the lecture series “Agenda to Change our condition” Part 1, “Introduction.” This audio clip is taken from approximately 30 minutes into the lecture.

“Verily, you (Muhammad) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills.” (Quran, al-Qasas, v. 56)

“It is not for thee [O Prophet] to make people follow the right path, [260] since it is God [alone] who guides whom He
wills.” (Quran, al-Baqarah, v. 272)

Special thanks go to Br. Hassan Ismail for this post.

Video: The Qur’an 101 – A Brief Introduction to the Holy Quran – Faraz Rabbani

The Qur’an 101 – A Brief Introduction to the Holy Quran – Faraz Rabbani of SeekersGuidance from Faraz Rabbani on Vimeo.

The talk was supposed to be delivered in Gainesville, FL, at the University of Florida.

A short (30 minute) presentation by Faraz Rabbani on the reality of the Qur’an; what is the significance of it being Divine Speech; its purpose; and the reality of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) as the “Living Qur’an.” Book recommendations are also given for translation of the Qur’an; introductory books on the Qur’an; and introductions to Islam and Islamic beliefs.

The Islamic Understanding of the Environment – Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad (Inspired by Muhammad)

“The Islamic Understanding of the Environment”

Inspired by Muhammad Campaign

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

The Inspired by Muhammad campaign is designed to improve the public understanding of Islam and Muslims. It showcases Britonsdemonstrating how Muhammad inspires them to contribute to society, with a focus on women’s rights, social justice and the environment.

In this video, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad discusses the prophetic perspective on the environment.

Visit: http://www.inspiredbymuhammad.com

Why Is the Prophet’s Character Described as Being Tremendous?

Why Is the Prophet’s Character Described as Being Tremendous?

Faraz Rabbani

In the Qur’an, the Prophet is addressed directly, “Truly, you are of tremendous character.” [Qur’an, 68.4] This Qur’anic verse intrigued Muslim scholars, early and late, especially the Qur’anic exegetes and the masters of the spiritual path, especially as the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself emphasized that, “I was only sent to perfect noble character,” [Ahmad] and said, “The believers most perfect in faith are those best in character.” [Tirmidhi]

What is good character?

Good character, Ghazali explains in his Ihya’, is an inward disposition that causes one to incline towards praiseworths inward traits and praiseworthy outward actions.

How is good character manifest?

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali and others relate that the sum of Prophetic teachings is that good character is manifest in five matters:

(1) Fulfilling the rights of others

(2) Avoiding hurting or harming others

(3) Being cheerful and positive in one’s dealing with others

(4) Recognizing the good of others and reciprocating

(5) Responding to the wrong of others with nothing but the good.

These five manifestations of good character don’t only summarize the Prophetic teachings on good character, but they also summarize the Prophet Muhammad’s own character and conduct.

First. As for fulfilling the rights of others, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) emphasized that, “Give everyone who has a right their due right,” [Bukhari] and he warned against non-fulfillment of others’ rights, “Injustice shall become manifold darkness on the Day of Judgment.” [Bukhari]

Second. Avoiding hurting or harming others is a corollary of fulfilling the rights of others. However, sometimes one can fulfill others’ rights in ways that hurt them; or we follow the follow the fulfillment of rights with hurtful reminders; or strive to fulfill rights, without considering how others feel or may consider our efforts.

Third. Being cheerful and positive in one’s dealings with others. The Prophet is described as always having been full of concern, yet he was always cheerful.

Fourth. Recognizing the good of others entails not only thanking and reciprocating those who do obvious acts of good to one, but to reflect, consider, and appreciate the less-obvious (but significant) good that countless people to for one–both directly and indirectly. We owe our very lives to our parents. When did we last thank them? Our teachers, whether at school or university, have taught us so much. When did we last thank them? The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) cautioned that, “Whoever is not thankful to people is not thankful to God.” [Ahmad, Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawud]

Fifth. The greatest test of character is responding to the wrong of others with nothing but the good. This tests one’s character because one’s personal urge would customarily be to reciprocate; and one’s negative urge would be to affirm oneself. However, the way of Prophets is to respond with nothing but the good.

Upon Entering Mecca, Victorious

When the Prophet Muhamamad (peace and blessings be upon him) entered Mecca as a victor, people expected that he would seek revenge two decades of opposition, wrong, and injustice from his people. The Meccans were fearful, and some hastened to declare that, “Today is a day of slaughter.” The Prophet responded that, instead, “Today is a day of righteousness and loyalty,” and he forgave them in public address, saying, “I say to you today as Joseph said to his brothers,’There is no blame on you today. May God forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of the merciful.’ [Qur’an, 12.92] Go! For you are free.”  [Salihi, Subul al-Huda wa’l Rashad]

A bedouin once came to the Prophet, seeking some money. Without introduction or greetings, he said, “Muhammad! Give me, for you’re not giving me from your money or your father’s money.”

Despite the man’s rudeness, the Prophet gave him, and asked, “Have I pleased you?” The bedouin replied, “No, and you haven’t done me good.”

The Muslims who were standing around them were angered and surrounded the bedouin. The Prophet signaled for them to restrain, and he entered his house.

He asked for the bedouin to be invited in. When he entered, the Prophet gave him some money, and asked, “Are you pleased?” He replied, “No.” The Prophet gave him more, and asked, “Are you pleased?” The bedouin responded, “Yes, we are pleased.”

The Prophet told him, “You came to us and asked us. We gave you, and then you said what you said. As a result, there is something in the hearts of the Muslims regarding that. If you were to say in front of them what you said to me, that might remove those feelings from their hearts.” The man agreed, and mentioned the Prophet with praise and thanked him in front of the Prophet’s Companions. [Salihi, Subul al-Huda wa’l Rashad]

The Prophet was unaffected by the man’s words. His concern was for the good of the man himself and the feelings of his Companions. Why? This returns to the understanding why the Prophet character was described as being “tremendous” in the Qur’an.

Imam Junayd al-Baghdadi, one of the foremost authorities of Islamic spirituality (tasawwuf) and others have explained that, “The Prophet’s character was termed tremendous because his concern was for God alone.” [Qurtubi, Jami Ahkam al-Qur’an] What moved the Prophet was the pursuit of His Lord’s pleasure, both in acting and in responding.

This was manifest in small matters, too. Once a woman brought a baby for the Prophet to bless him. The Prophet placed him on his chest, and the child urinated. The mother reached out for the child, anxious. The Prophet signalled to let the child finish first. After that, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) calmly rinsed the area lightly. He didn’t want to alarm the child, nor make the mother feel bad.

It is also related that though he was the busiest of people, young girls in Medina would take the Prophet’s and and would take him wherever they went–and he wouldn’t let go of their hand until they let go of his. [Bukhari, Sahih]

Lessons in Mercy

We see from this that the Prophetic example is nothing but a manifestation of mercy. And any understanding of religion lacking in mercy is lacking in true understanding. After all, the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) having been, “sent only as a mercy to all creation.” [Qur’an, 21.107] The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself emphasized that, “I was only sent as a gift of Mercy.” [Bazzar and Tabarani]

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) explained, too, that, “The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful. Be merciful to those on earth and the Lord of the Heavens will be merciful to you.” [Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud, from Abd Allah ibn Amr; rigorously authentic] It is a sign of the way of traditional Islamic scholarship that this is the first hadith (Prophetic teaching) traditionally conveyed by a scholar to their students.

This mercy, manifest in good character in one’s dealings with people, is the test and barometer of faith. After all, “The believers most perfect in faith are those best in character,” as the Prophet affirmed. [Tirmidhi]

It once happened that some non-Muslims greeted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) with an insult. His wife, A’isha, insulted them back. But the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did not. Rather, he simply replied, “And upon you,” which is the standard reply to the greeting of, “Peace be upon you.” Then, he said to his dear wife, “A’isha! Allah is gentle and loves gentleness in all matters.” [Bukhari, from Ai’sha] And he also taught that, “Gentleness is not found in anything except that it makes it beautiful; and gentleness is not taken out of anything except that is makes it ugly.” [Muslim and others, also from A’isha]

The Key to All Relations

The Prophet made clear that the key to all relationships is upholding good character and maintaining it, even when tested. He said, “Deal with people on the basis of good character,” [Tirmidhi] and affirmed that, “Forbearance is the very best of character.”

Forbearance is for one not to be moved by anger or negative emotion–but to make one’s response based on reason and (for a believer) Revelation. Forbearance is, ultimately, intelligence, as it is the capacity to respond in the best of ways to each situation.

This restraint and concern for excellence and the greater good that underly excellence of character–and that made the Prophet Muhammad’s character “tremendous”–are virtues each of us would do well to strive for in our own lives and relationships, both as individuals and communities.

Faraz Rabbani is Educational Director and Instructor at SeekersGuidance (www.SeekersGuidance.com), a columnist for Islamica Magazine, Founder and Legal Advisor at StraightWay Ethical Advisory, and the author of a number of works on Islamic law and spirituality. He lives in Toronto with his wife and three lovely children.

Calling to Change: The Method of Giving Dawah

In this lecture, Shaykh Faraz discusses four considerations to take into account when calling to Allah (the Most Exalted): the call itself, the caller, the one called, and the way of calling.

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