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Imam al-Ghazali on Guarding the Tongue

Shaykh Walead Mosaad presents Imam al-Ghazali’s thoughts on guarding the tongue to protect the heart from nonsense and make room for dhikr of Allah.

Imam al-Ghazali puts a particular emphasis on the importance of guarding one’s tongue and that the tongue is indeed like a double-edged sword. It can do much good but it can also do much harm. There are two major things we need to know about what we say.

    1. 1. What we say is significant, it’s not insignificant.

 

    2. It has an effect.

It affects other people who are in earshot of it. It can affect people who may not even be in earshot of it, by hearsay. Someone might say, “Well, I heard NN say this and this about you.” And if you actually said that or you disseminated that, then it does have the potential to do a lot of damage.

Speech Is Not Just Verbal

While the pre-modern books such as the Ihya are talking about things we actually say, that we pronounce [verbally], obviously, that extends to any which way we may communicate. That includes not just what we say, but what we write, what we tweet, what we disseminate. Even what we retweet. What we propagate. We may not have said it, we may not have originated it, but if we contribute to its dissemination, then we have a role in whatever they said or what is retweeted in affecting other people. It’s significant.

How often have people’s reputations been completely maligned, if not destroyed, based upon something that happened on the social media, or something along the lines of the Internet? This is particularly important because as some of our ulama have stated, there’s this type of call you out, gotcha, culture that we have going on. Many people assume that somehow that’s supported by our Islamic principles. That if someone makes a grievous error, then we need to name and shame.

If they’re caught on camera doing something or saying something or maligning someone or even saying something that’s racist or abusive to other people, and we catch them on camera, then there’s this automatic assumption: name and shame. Let’s make these people famous. Let’s put them out on the Internet. Let’s get their photo everywhere, so everybody knows who they are.

When I see stuff like that, my next question is, and then what? Now we know who they are. Now what? Are we supposed to completely erase them from humanity, because they said something under their breath, even if it was to one of our Muslim sisters that was offensive? Does that fit the offense? Can they be completely maligned and destroyed, and lose their job, and publicly humiliated?

It’s a very powerful tool, especially now when we have access to these tools that – depending on how many followers someone may have or other people may have – within a matter of minutes something can exponentially be spread to all parts of the globe. That power, and it is powerful, wasn’t there ten years ago, let alone 20 and 30 and 40 and and 50 years ago.

The Book and the Wisdom

I think it behooves us to be even even more careful. To heed the words of our Imams, of our ulama, like Imam al-Ghazali and others, who pondered these issues and studied the Qur’an and Sunna very closely. They arrived at this articulation of the hikma, the wisdom. And the Qur’an refers to the Sunna itself as hikma, as wisdom. Everything about our Sunna is wise. Everything about what the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, did – the way he acted, his mannerisms, the way he treated people. There was a wisdom about it. Nothing was done in vain. Nothing was haphazard.

One of the Sahaba asked him, “Are we taken to task by what we say?” You read the hadith and it is as if he’s surprised. Is that like a big deal? The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, replies back very emphatically: “Are people not dragged on their noses [or on their faces] to Hellfire as a result of what their tongues harvest?” In other words, it does have an effect. The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, talked about the night of ascension where he saw some of the types of punishment people go through. Among them were the people who backbite, who slander. They will have punishments that reflect what they did in the dunya.

Think of the dunya the life that we live now. It’s representative of something that is more figurative and metaphoric. When we get to the Akhira, those things that are metaphoric will now be literal. The one who slanders will, literally, be carrying the weight of his tongue. It will become huge and he’ll have to carry it on his back like a satchel or a burdensome thing. Why? Because that’s exactly what happened in the dunya.

Speak Only of What Concerns You

Sura al-Hujurat 49:12 gives us a very physical description of the person who backbites. “Would you like to eat the dead flesh of your brother?” One of the hadith mentions that there were two women who were fasting and they started backbiting people and they became very ill. Then they regurgitated, they threw up, and the hadith says that meat and bones and blood came out. And the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “These two were backbiting.” It became literalized within them, because that’s how ugly it is in the eyes Allah, Exalted and Most High.

Imam al-Ghazali goes in an order of least worst to the worst. From the one that is it’s bad but not really bad to the last thing he talks about; the one that’s really bad. He says, “The first one is to speak about those things that do not concern you.” We know the hadith. “From the good Islam, the good din, of the person – the woman or the man – is to leave that which does not concern one.”

The question will be, “What is it that concerns me then?” Well, the Sunna makes tafsir of the Qur’an, and the Qur’an makes tafsir of the Sunna. So when the verse says, “There is no good in their private conversations (najwa),” talking about the Quraysh, “except for three things: to enjoin to charity or something that is good or to rectify between two people or two parties; ” (Sura al-Nisa 4:114) This is good speech. These are examples of things that would concern us. It means that pretty much everything else is going to fall at least in the category of not concerning us.

Giving Yourself a Break

Obviously, there is the other concept also. What we call istijmam (recreation), which is like tarwih (relief). You do need to go to less serious times in order to have aid and help for your more serious times. We are human beings. We can’t be very on 24/7. We’re not angels in that regard.

Some of the Sahaba complained to the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. They said, and I paraphrase, “You know, when we’re with you we find that we are on, but when we go back to our families and our homes and so forth it’s not the same thing. Is this a sign of nifaq (hypocrisy)?” – Even Umar ibn al-Khattab and Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, Allah be pleased with them, were part of this conversation. – The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “No. If you were to do that, then, the Angels would have greeted you in the streets as you walk, but some time for this and some time for that.”

So there is a halal type of taking a break, istijmam, and things like this. But we have to be careful that that thing of itself doesn’t lead us to falling into something that would be blameworthy, something that would be either makruh, disliked, reprehensible, or haram. People want to take a break and watch a little bit of the game, and enjoy the athleticism of the athletes. I’m not going to say that’s wrong. Athleticism and paying attention to one’s physical prowess and things like this, that is part of the din. We can’t deny that. If you’re not healthy physically, it’s going to be very difficult for you to be healthy spiritually. They go hand in hand.

At the same time we should recognize that it’s very easy to fall into a cycle where these things dominate our thoughts and our attention and our time. It’s about indibat. It’s about trying to do it in a way so that we’re not falling into a place where we lose sight of what’s important.

Excessive Speech

So fudul al-kalam, it’s about leaving that which is doesn’t concern one. It’s better to err on the side of caution. The Sahaba used to count the number of words they would say in the day. I’ll bring up social media again because social media makes you feel like whatever you have to say is important. It also makes you feel like “I need to have an opinion about this thing.” If you see other people putting their opinions, “Well, I have more followers than them I should have an opinion too. I should be getting those likes and comments as well, because I have to say when I need to say and so forth.

We have to be very, very careful with that impulse and recognize it as a nafsani impulse. It’s an impulse of the nafs. It’s an impulse of the ego. It’s not something that the din is going to exhort you to. The din will tell you that you have good counsel for the people, no matter where it comes from. It doesn’t have to be you, and actually, preferably, it shouldn’t be you. I prefer it not to be me. I prefer that it be someone else who can do a better job than I can.

Imam al-Ghazali is strict in that sense. He’ll say, “Where you went on your trip and who you saw and what you did and how much you pay for the onions at the market are all things that are in the category of not that important.” Obviously, he’s addressing people who are not from the awwam. He’s addressing people who have made a commitment to living a life dedicated to the prophetic principles and ideals.

If that’s what you want to do, then what it’s saying is, if you’re going to go that route, then go all in. Do it the right way. Don’t just focus on the ritual aspects of the din: the number of prayers and number of days that you fast and things like this, and then neglect what really is the important underpinning of the whole thing altogether, which is to avoid those things that the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, avoided. Avoid the haram and embody the character of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him.

What Distinguishes the Awliya

How many of the people who can boast of their ritual prayers, how many prayers they’ve done, how many days they’ve fasted, how much money they give to sadaqa. Then this comes emblematic of the din. It’s an aspect of the din, even pillars of the din, but it doesn’t mean that that’s the measure of where one is with one’s relationship with Allah Most High. Especially if you want to have a committed, dedicated, principled way about living your life. These are the things one has to be aware of. These are the things that separate the people who are true awliya and then those who just make claims.

Another thing is talk that is a trivial or repetitive of something that’s not important. Sometimes people just speak so that they can bring people’s attention to themselves. They’re looking for people’s attention. This is called fudul al-kalam. Remember these are in increasing order, so these are the two least bad ones. As we go to the three, four, five, six, all 20 of them, they get worse and worse.

The third one is to talk about things that are actually haram to be doing. Haram to do, but then you go speak about them. You talk about some illicit type of gathering that took place. “I couldn’t believe I saw that roulette wheel on TV, and look at how much money that guy made from a slot machine, and wow, that’s interesting. Look at that drunk person and how much of a fool he made out of himself,” and things like this.

That’s talking even in a condemning way. To talk about it in a praiseworthy way is even worse. I would also include in this, the mushahadat, the things that we see, that we look at, that also depict things that are haram. They should also be avoided. There’s a general principle: “Everything that is not permissible to speak about, it’s also not permissible to look at or to engage with. The images that enter us, we think that are innocuous and don’t have a long-term effect, they do have an effect. They stay with you. Especially images, pictures, or video, because any type of simple reminder will have you recollect them, as long as they’re imprinted on your heart.

Free Up Your Memory

Ibn Ata’illah al-Sakandari says, “How are you going to reach a greater understanding of the divine, Allah Most High, and the pictures of the forms are imprinted on your heart?” They occupy your thoughts. Your subconscious works continuously and your subconscious can work for you or against you. You may not be actively watching that last movie or listening to that last pop song or rock song but your subconscious may be busy with it. And when your subconscious is busy with it that means it’s not busy with other things.

One of the things about creative people is that even when they’re not actively doing something creative their subconscious is helping them do that creative thing. That’s why ideas come to them sort of spontaneously, but they’re not really that spontaneous, because in the background you were working on it to begin with. If we’re going to use an example of software: you have an app running in the background. Your subconscious is kind of like that app. It’s running in the background. If you have too many other apps open that are nonsense, then they’re taking up all of your computer power, your RAM, your memory, and as a result the thing that’s in active mode doesn’t run that well.

The app that you’re on right now which is you as well as the things that you’re doing. I would venture to say that this is one of the the secrets of dhikr, of the remembrance of Allah Most High. It is one of the reasons why the ulama say that it’s better to do dhikr and with no hudur, no presence of mind, than to avoid dhikr. It’s obviously better to have dhikr and have hudur or presence of mind and heart, but that doesn’t preclude you from doing dhikr even without that, because that has a benefit as well.

Even when only the tongue is working it’s at least getting you on a spiritual level, so that even when you’re not doing the dhikr actively with your tasbih or reading the Qur’an, it begins to get imprinted upon the conscious of your spirit. Then it’s working for you even when you’re not actively doing it. And the adverse is true. When you’re working with nonsense things, those things are also working against you even when you are not actively doing them.

Increasing Presence with Allah

That’s why when people ask, “How do I have more presence of mind and heart in the prayer? I just get in the prayer and I’m just busy and I can’t focus and I can’t concentrate.” The problem is not your prayer, the problem is what you’re doing outside of the prayer. When you begin to have hudur or presence outside of the prayer, then you have presence inside of the prayer, because they feed off one another.

That is why in the hadith of Bukhari, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, mentioned that “If the prayer time is upon us and the food is ready at the same time, then begin with the food.” Why begin with the food? Because that is what’s keeping you busy. You’ll be not focused in your prayer. So when you go into the prayer and you’re not focused on the food, you’ve at least removed the busyness and the lack of focus at least with the food.

During Ramadan for example ,also a hadith of Bukhari, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, would single out a particular space in the Rawda, in his masjid, and pray in that space consistently, because it helps one focus better. All the things that would lend us to focus more not just in the prayer but outside of the prayer, if it leads us to a greater focus, then that thing becomes meritorious in and of itself.

Imam Malik is reported to have said, “If I knew that sitting on a pile of trash would bring my heart closer to Allah, then I would do it.” Because the point is to bring you closer to Allah Most High. That’s the whole idea. Sometimes a sin brings you closer to Allah. Ibn Ata’illah al-Sakandari said, “Perhaps a sin that breeds within you, that engenders within you humility and a sense of poverty towards Allah Most High, a sense of a need of Allah Most High, is better than obedient acts that breed within you arrogance and haughtiness.” If it makes you arrogant and it makes you feel like you’re better than everybody else, and that you have a degree over others. If that’s what your ‘ibada is doing for you, it’s having the opposite effect.

Humility Is the Child of Dhikr

The effect it should have is to make you more humble, to make you more agreeable with people. Not more difficult with people. More agreeable, more humble, easier to get along with. The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “The closest people to me on the day of judgment will be the ones who are best in character,” the ones who get along with people very easily and people get along very easily with them “and they lower their wing for people.” He always had a smiling face. He always greeted people with a smiling face. He had that quality about him, Allah bless him and give him peace.

So, aimless disputatious and arguing about things that may in and of themselves be haram to argue about and discuss. These would be discussion many people have about political realities or political situations and things like this, and then people have heated arguments. It happens in Ramadan so much too, because our routines are upended a little bit and we see each other more often and so there’s more of a opportunity for people to start talking about things like that. That has a you know a damaging effect on the heart. You come away with conversations like that and you feel constricted.

Obviously, it takes two people to to engage in it. What do you do when somebody is talking about things like that? How do you disengage? Either you try to change the topic or you could say, “You know what? I rather talk about something else.” Sometimes you just have to walk away, but exhaust the other possibilities first. Do it in a nice way, but if that doesn’t work … at the end of the day we’re all responsible for ourselves.

 


 

Just Forgiving–Shaykh Abdul Rahim Reasat

Forgiving someone is perhaps one of the most difficult virtues we are called upon to practice. Shaykh Abdul Rahim Reasat discusses the theme of forgiveness in the life of the Prophets, as well as the Companions.

We all are wounded at some time or another. Some wounds afflict the flesh, sapping our strength and affecting our ability to function as we did before. Usually, the skilled hand of medicine can mend these wounds.

Others, however, are deeper. They cannot be nursed, bandaged or even seen by those around us; yet their pain is just as keenly felt, if not more. Sometimes it is a harsh sentence from a loved one; or the betrayal of a friend; or unfair treatment from others. Whether real or perceived, these wounds are a part of life felt by everyone – even the elite of the Messengers, those of great resolve (Uluʾl-ʿAzm): Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, ʿIsa and Muhammad (Allah bless them and grant them peace).

The followers of Musa frequently said hurtful things about him, despite all that he had endured and done for them, which made it all the more painful. The Qurʿan tells us his pained response to them, ‘My people! Why do you keep offending me when you know that I am the Messenger of Allah [sent] to you?’ (61:5).

When wrongfully accused of being unfair, the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) consoled himself with the knowledge that people have treated other Messengers like this before him. He said, ‘May Allah be kind Musa; he was insulted with worse than this and was patient’ (Bukhari).

The Example of Abu Bakr

If this is the case, then how are we – as believers – to treat those who wrong us and cause us pain? What kind of response should we demand from ourselves? But, more importantly, how can we transform what hurts us into what heals us?

To answer these questions, let us look at a significant event in the life of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace): the false accusation of infidelity which was levelled against his wife ‘Aʾisha, the daughter of Abu Bakr. In this incident and the verses revealed regarding it, are a multitude of lessons for us all, as well as foundational principles for a healthy society. It behoves every believer to study it detail.

In short, ʿAʾisha was accidentally left behind when the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and a group of his followers we returning from a military campaign. She waited where they had camped the night before only to be noticed by Safwan b. al-Muʿattal, a young, righteous man of Quraysh, whose job was to pick up any items the army may have left behind. Upon seeing her he said nothing more than ‘We belong to Allah, and we are to Him returning’ expressing that he realised that the whole scenario was a test from Allah. He then gestured to ʿAʾisha to mount his camel and, without a word or a backwards glance, led her to where the rest of the army had next set up camp.

ʿAbdullah b. Ubayy, the chief of the hypocrites, wasted no time in spreading false rumours about the two; and unfortunately, several of the good believers, in moments of weakness, got caught up in the matter: Hassan b. Thabit, Hamna bint Jahsh, and Mistaḥ b. Uthatha all spread the vicious rumours. They circulated around Medina, causing a great deal of trouble amongst the Muslims for a month until Allah revealed verses exonerating ʿAʾisha. The latter three repented, and were given the punishment for falsely accusing a chaste woman. Ibn Ubayy was not punished because Allah had promised a terrible punishment for him in the Afterlife.

Our focus here, however, shall be on Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, the foremost of this umma, and the father of ʿAʾisha. His virtues and rank in Islam are unrivalled by anyone who is not a prophet, and his close relationship to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is known to all. He was also the cousin of Mistah b. Uthatha, who, incidentally, was also related to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Let us now imagine what Abu Bakr and his family must have endured during this time. The pain this rumour brought on them must have been immense. As must have been the pain he felt on behalf of his daughter and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) due to his immense love for them. When ʿAʾisha learned of the accusations he expressed that his family had never been accused of such a thing in the jahiliyya, so how was it possible that they do such a thing after having been honoured with Islam?

Not knowing the facts with certainty for over a month must also have taken its toll on him. In fact, as the verses were being revealed, ʿAʾisha – unfazed due to being her being certain of her innocence – noticed fear on the faces of her parents, lest the rumours be proved true.

It is difficult to imagine the full impact of these rumours on Abu Bakr given his social and religious standing, righteousness, great love for ʿAʾisha, and close relationship with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace). However, what is clear is that he must have felt betrayed, and a great deal of anger towards Mistah. Mistah was a close relative – and not only that – but Abu Bakr had been financially supporting him since they left Mecca due to Mistah’s poverty.

Before progressing, it is important to realise that events which hurt us  are always beneficial for us in the long term. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘No Muslim experiences any  tiredness, illness, worry, grief, offence, depression – not even being pricked by a thorn – except that Allah wipes out some of his sins [because of it]’ (Bukhari). Everything benefits the believer. The intelligent believers seek to maximise this benefit.

How Abu Bakr Was Called to Forgive

Abu Bakr did not respond by directing any verbal or physical aggression towards Mistah – which speaks volumes about his virtue and the supreme standard of conduct he imbibed from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) over the years. But, due to the pain caused to him by Mistah, he vowed that he would never give Mistah any more money after that day. This is a very understandable and human response; it embodies the restraint he showed due to the impact of religion on his life, and that he deeply felt the pain of this incident – something which makes his overall reaction even more amazing.

Allah, however, wanted to call him – and by extension, us – to an even higher standard of conduct. He revealed a verse addressing Abu Bakr primarily, but we are more in need of its instructions than he was.

‘Those of great religious virtues and wealth from amongst you should not swear that they will not give [anything] to close relatives, nor the destitute, nor to those who have emigrated for the sake of Allah. So pardon fully and overlook out of kindness. Do you not greatly desire that Allah forgives you? And Allah is All-Forgiving, Ever-Kind’ (24:22).

First, the verse clearly established the great virtues of Abu Bakr, which is a way of praising him, appealing to those praiseworthy qualities, and preparing him for another great quality he can add to these virtues. We should take this as in invitation for us to take on this noble quality too, as we are in much more need of virtues than Abu Bakr.

Next, Allah reminded Abu Bakr of the wealth that he had, which he spent on Mistah. In this is a reminder to us that all that we have is a gift from Allah, and that any favours we do to others are purely from the favour of Allah upon us.

Also, if those who we have been kind to do something to hurt us, then we should think of our sins in the face of the uncountable favours of Allah. Realising this means that we should go out of our way to embody the kindness Allah shows us despite our sins when dealing with those who have hurt us.

Allah then used a very interesting rhetorical device in the verse: He mentioned three qualities of Mistah – being a close relative, being poor, and being someone who left his home, wealth and property, to emigrate to Medina for the sake of Allah. Allah separated each of them with  the conjuction ‘wa’. The effect of this is that we are made to think that there are three individuals being discussed – not one. This a common usage in the Qurʾan, and its purpose here is to highlight each quality as being important enough to make Mistah deserving of the financial support he was getting.

His being related to Abu Bakr meant that Abu Bakr should take care of him for the sake of Allah, and the ties that bind them. In fact, those closest to us can usually cause the deepest pain, as was the case here, but that pain does not end the relationship.

His poverty made him deserving of financial aid because Allah has distributed His blessings amongst His servant so those who have more can give to those who have less. Helping the poor should not be seen as a favour to them; rather, it should be seen as means of thanking Allah for what we have been given.

Emigrating from Mecca to Medina was a great act Mistah did for the sake of Allah, and consequently, Allah praised him by mentioning it, and deemed him worthy of receiving continued financial support from Abu Bakr for it. Leaving one’s home, loved ones, friends, and comforts for the sake of Allah is a difficult experience, and usually riddled with tests and trials. In this is a reminder to us that we should never forget the good others have done, whether it is to us, or in general.

The verse then calls to two monumental character traits: ʿAfuw and Ṣafḥ. The former has a meaning of covering up and looking away from something which is usually given a lot of focus. Khalil b. Ahmad al-Farahidi, the great polymath, genius and authoritative scholar of Arabic, said the word implies not punishing someone who deserves punishment.

How Do We Forgive?

This is significant because the Qurʾan does not call us to put ourselves in the life of fire from someone who is actively trying to harm us. Rather, we learned from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) that ‘the believer is not bitten [by an animal] from the same hole twice’ (Bukhari). Practical steps to ensure one’s safety should be taken.

However, this does not mean that one should fixate on the harm others cause us as this usually makes the pain worse and longer lasting. Pardoning someone despite their wrongs is beneficial to one’s mind, body, and soul. Fixating on wound makes one angry, resentful and mistrusting of others. The constant dwelling triggers the body’s fight or flight response, exposing oneself to more stress and illness in the long term. It also prevents one from being a kind, forgiving person who wishes well for all of humanity – which is central to good character and the sunna of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

The latter trait discussed is ṣafḥ, which has a sense of turning oneself from something so one’s side faces it, and not focusing on the cause of pain. Some Qurʾanic philologists have suggested that this implies an underlying sense of kindness which would be the motive of such an act.

The verse then focuses on a very strong motive indeed: self preservation. It asks ‘do you not greatly desire that Allah forgives you?’ We are told to respond to the offences we receive from others in the way we wish Allah to respond to our crimes: forgiveness. There is a great dichotomy in not forgiving the servants of Allah, yet wishing for Him to forgive our sins.

Rather, what is implied in the verse is that forgiving – just forgiving – is a means to being forgiven by Allah. The verse ends with a strong, emphatic statement which can only be understood as a promise of forgiveness and more favours from Allah to those who forgive others: ‘And Allah is All-Forgiving (Ghafur); Ever-Kind (Rahim).’

The word gha-fa-ra – the root of the name al-Ghafur – has a sense of forgiving something that deserves punishment. Coupled with it is a nuance that implies Allah’s hiding one’s faults from others, and protecting one. The name al-Ghafur has a sense that no matter how great the amount of sins one has, nor their severity, Allah is prepared to forgive them.

The name al-Rahim comes from a root which implies a strong, inherent desire to do good to others and to be kind to them, and the name itself suggests that Allah is eternally like this. Exegetes of the Qurʾan mention that coupling these two names together means that Allah not only forgives criminals, but He then goes on to shower His gifts on them too. If that is the case with criminals, how will He be towards the righteous such as Abu Bakr.

Upon hearing this verse Abu Bakr exclaimed, ‘Of course; I do greatly desire that Allah forgives me!’. Thereafter, he not only forgave Mistah, but he actually doubled the amount of money he regularly gave him, and thereby embodying the meanings of the two names too.

All that remains is for us to to ask ourselves how we will respond to those who have hurt us…


Shaykh Abdul Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. He moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time, such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.
In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies in Fiqh, Usul al Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.


Resources for Seekers

 

 

How Do I Repent from Gossiping About People?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

How do we repent from gossiping about people and even calling someone sex worker ? The people gossiped about don’t know about it. Can this sin be forgiven without implementation of Hadd punishment? Is it enough to just ask Allah’s forgiveness as they don’t know about it?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

Yes, it is possible to repent from this sin. Generally if telling the person you were backbiting about will make matters worse then the Ulema encouraged not telling that person. It would be wise to perform an act of worship, like giving charity, and donating the reward to the person one said things about.

Also, one of the gracious character traits Islam encourages is to conceal the faults of others. The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Whoever veils a Muslim Allah will veil him in this worlds and the next’ (Muslim). This is if one is certain that the individual in question has committed a sin, and he wants it to be kept private – as long as this doesn’t entail harm to another. If, however, one is not sure then it is from the manners of Islaim to not spy and to provide seventy excuses for the person. Allah said, ‘Believers, shun most suspicions: indeed, most suspicions are a great sin’ (49:12).

May Allah pardon our faults and veil us and all the Muslims in this world and the next.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

Day 21: Be A Guardian – 30 Deeds 30 Days

Day 21: Be a Guardian

Allah’s name Al-Ghaffar, can be simply translated as “The Most Forgiving.” A deeper meaning implies that Allah covers up our shortcomings with a sheltering veil. No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes. Part of Allah’s mercy is that He can ensure that no one else finds out about your faults.be a guardian

This Ramadan, try to emulate this noble character trait. If you hear something that someone did, don’t pry deeper. If you know of something they did, ensure that it doesn’t get past you, unless you really need to. Be a guardian for others. After all, we know that if a Muslim covers the faults of others, Allah will, in turn, covers theirs.


Bring new life to this Ramadan by enrolling in a FREE On-Demand course.

Day 7: Stop Gossip-30 Deeds 30 Days

Day 7: Stop All Gossip

The tongue can kill or heal, build or destroy. A physical scar heals faster than the scarring from harsh words. In the Quran, we are promised spiritual success -and also material success-if we speak well and are conscious of Allah. We also hear hadiths that say that a good  Muslim leaves what doesn’t concern them.

This Ramadan, stay alert during iftar gatherings and while browsing social media. Watch yourself and make sure that you don’t engage in anything hurtful, degrading, or pointless. If someone comes out, try to change the subject, or kindly advise them if you’re sure you can do it in a beneficial way. It’s harder than it sounds, but the effects are better than they sound.


Bring new life to this Ramadan by enrolling in a FREE On-Demand course.

I Need to Get Things off My Chest. Can I Confide in My Husband or Is That Gossiping?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I am trying to cut out gossiping. I struggle to hold things in because I have OCD and anxiety. Can I confide in my husband? He doesn’t gossip at all, and will keep what I say confidential.

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for clarifying this matter.

Permissible Backbiting

Please refer to this article – When Is Backbiting Permissible?

In short, for the sake of your emotional health, you are permitted to confide in someone who can help you.
Please do your best not to give identifying information such as the person’s name or other incriminating details. Be as vague as possible, and give only just enough information in order to help you reduce your anxiety. For example, it would be better for you to say something like “So-and-so did this and it really upset me.” It would be impermissible for you to specifically name the person who upset you, unless your husband is capable of righting that wrong. In other words, it is impermissible to name someone just for the sake of venting.

For your long-term recovery, I suggest that you consider seeing a counsellor, therapist or psychologist.

I pray that Allah grants you lasting healing, and places tranquility in your heart.

Please see:

Slander, Backbiting and Talebearing

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Paulo Philippidis

Commit to Speak Ill of No One (30 Deeds, 30 Days), by Shaykh Walead Mosaad

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Speak No Evil: Commit to Speak Ill of No One During Ramadan – and Beyond, by Shaykh Walead Mosaad

30 Days, 30 Deeds
Sacred Acts to Transform the Heart

Every night, our scholars in residence explore one simple deed that could have far reaching spiritual impact on our lives – and the lives of others. Every day we’ll make the intention to put that teaching into practice. Whether it’s forgiving someone who’s wronged us or putting service to others at the top of our list of priorities, these powerful lessons will remind us of the great gift the Prophet ﷺ‎  gave us: the best of character.

Daily at 8:10 pm EST. Attend in person at SeekersHub Toronto or watch live.

 

Let’s #GiveLight to Millions More

We envision a world in which no one is cut off from the beauty, mercy and light of the Prophetic ﷺ example. A world where the dark ideology of a few is dwarfed by radiant example of the many who follow the way of the Prophet ﷺ. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support. This Ramadan, we need you to help us #GiveLight to millions more. Here’s how.

Mind Your Own Business (30 Days, 30 Deeds), by Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes

Mind Your Own Business (30 Days, 30 Deeds), by Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes

30 Days, 30 Deeds
Sacred Acts to Transform the Heart

Every night, our scholars in residence explore one simple deed that could have far reaching spiritual impact on our lives – and the lives of others. Every day we’ll make the intention to put that teaching into practice. Whether it’s forgiving someone who’s wronged us or putting service to others at the top of our list of priorities, these powerful lessons will remind us of the great gift the Prophet ﷺ‎  gave us: the best of character.

Daily at 8:10 pm EST. Attend in person at SeekersHub Toronto or watch live. 

Let’s #GiveLight to Millions More

We envision a world in which no one is cut off from the beauty, mercy and light of the Prophetic ﷺ example. A world where the dark ideology of a few is dwarfed by radiant example of the many who follow the way of the Prophet ﷺ. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support. This Ramadan, we need you to help us #GiveLight to millions more. Here’s how.

Photo by Lucas Moratelli.

Day 8 In A Nutshell – War Is Good For Business, #YourRamadanHub Xtra

If you missed the livestream of the two extraordinary short talks Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes gave, you can listen to them in full on the SeekersHub podcast on iTunes (please subscribe for automatic updates). In the meantime, we present you with #YourRamadanHub Xtra – the best of the day’s events in a nutshell.

Let’s #GiveLight to Millions More

We envision a world in which no one is cut off from the beauty, mercy and light of the Prophetic ﷺ example. A world where the dark ideology of a few is dwarfed by radiant example of the many who follow the way of the Prophet ﷺ. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support. This Ramadan, we need you to help us #GiveLight to millions more. Here’s how.

What To Do When You Hear Slander and Backbiting

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When a poor opinion of others occurs to mind, recognize that it is a type of whispering the devil has sent your way. You should consider it a fabrication, as he is the most evil of evildoers, and Allah has said, “When an evildoer brings you news, verify it before you harm others in ignorance and are then sorrowful over what you have done.” It is therefore not permissible to lend credence to the devil.

If there happens to be some circumstantial evidence that indicates impropriety, but it is also possible that the charge is not true, it remains impermissible to harbor malignant thoughts towards another.

Tenuous Threads

One of the signs of having such thoughts towards others is that your heart is no longer the same with respect to them; you flee from them and find their company burdensome; you are unable to give them due consideration, to be hospitable towards them or to feel pain at their situation.

That is simply because the devil tries to convince the heart, with even the most tenuous of threads, of the evilness of another. He even throws into the heart the idea that this observation of another’s state is actually due to one’s own perspicacity, intelligence, and sharpness of mind, and that after all a believer can see clearly with the light of the Divine, while he is really speaking through the deception of satan and his darkness!

Even were one trustworthy person to tell you something about another person, do not lend credence to it, but do not at the same time consider it false. This is just so that you don’t end up thinking badly of another.

Do The Opposite

Whenever a malevolent thought towards another Muslim comes to mind, respond by doing even more to treat him well and honor him. That alone angers the devil and drives him away from you, such that he no longer throws those kinds of thoughts your way, for fear that you would respond by busying yourself with prayers for that person.

Whenever you learn of the misstep of another Muslim, through clear proof that does not admit doubt, advise them secretly. Do not allow yourself to be deluded by Satan, who calls you towards speaking about them behind their backs.

When you admonish them, do not do so happy that you’ve managed to come across a deficiency on their part, such that they have to look up at you in your position of strength, while you look down at them as if they are nothing.

Rather, have as your ultimate goal ridding them of this sin, while being in a state of sorrow, the way in which you would be sad over your own character when it is found to be be in some way deficient.

It’s Not About You

And finally, let it be the case that this person’s leaving off this blameworthy trait without you having said anything is more beloved to you than them having done so due to your having admonished them.


May Allah reward Shaykh Shuaib Ally for unearthing this valuable advice from Imam al-Ghazali, as quoted in Nawawi’s Adhkar.

 

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