|NOT Rejoicing Over People’s Troubles
Reported by Wasila bin al-Asqa’i (r) that Muhammad (S) said:
“Do not rejoice over the troubles of your brother, lest God might have mercy on him and involve you in this trouble.” (Tirmizi)
Transliteration: “La Tuzhirish Shamatata Li Akhika; Fa Yarhamahullahu Wa Yabtaliyak.”
Note: Rejoicing over anyone’s trouble is indecent according to Islam. For a believer, such behavior would be utterly unacceptable. Such rejoicing indicates a substandard attitude and may earn the displeasure of God. Moreover, God may turn the situation around and place the person rejoicing in a similar situation.
A believer’s conduct toward others–Muslims or non-Muslims–can be only one way: rejoice over others’ happiness and feel sorrow when others are sad or troubled. That is a sublime teaching of Islam.
The aspect of Muslim personality that is emphasized here also reinforces another general point. Islam is not merely a matter of form and legal codes. For example, a person may offer Salat most meticulously but may not strive to stay clear of indecency (Fahisha) and vices (Munkar).
There is no legal code to prosecute such a person who simply does not benefit from the value system of Islam. Similarly, a Muslim is not subject to a penal code for rejoicing over other people’s troubles. He cannot, however, avoid God’s judgment on such conduct.
|Imam Zijad’s Corner: Reminders about Importance of Communication in Islam
Islam textual references remind us of a number of important aspects related to the concept of communication and ways we communicate with others in all our relationships.
First of all, Muslims must always remember, without a doubt, that they are servants of Allah, created by Him, and given the ability to communicate intelligently: Allah tells us in the Qur’an, “Allah, Most Gracious! It is He who taught the Qur’an; He has created man; He has taught him speech (and has given him intelligence).” (55:1-4)
Secondly, we also must remind ourselves often that we will account for every good and bad thing that we say. We will be rewarded for our good words, and we will be reprimanded for every bad word that we say. Almighty Allah cautions us: “Not a word does he/she utter, but there is a watcher by him/her ready (to record it).” (50:18)
Further, the Quran directs its followers towards effective communication skills and that they, for their own sake and the sake of others, need to apply some of these skills in their lives.
a. “Invite people to the way of your Lord with wisdom and counsel. And argue with them in the best of manners.” (16:125)
b. “So (Prophet) it is through mercy from Allah that you are gentle to them. Had you been rough and hard-hearted they would have from around you (will not listen to you). So, pardon them and seek forgiveness for them.” (3:159)
c. “Good and evil are not equal. Repel evil with what is best and you will see the one you had mutual enmity with him will turn as if he were a close friend.” (41:34)
Likewise, the Messenger (pbuh) warned us about the way we use our tongue. It was reported that Sufyan b. Abdullah asked the Messenger (pbuh): O Messenger of Allah, what do you fear most for me? Thereupon he (Muhammad) took hold of his tongue and said “this.” (Tirmithi)
|Imam Zijad’s Corner: Types of Communication-An Islamic Perspective
Basically, there are two types of communication: 1) verbal communication and 2) non-verbal communication.
1) Verbal communication:
In this type of communication, we present our thoughts, emotions, wills and wishes through conversation and speaking. The Qur’an mentions this type of communication in the following verses:
a. “And my brother Haroon is more eloquent than me in speech; so, send him with me as a helper to bear me out. I am afraid they will give a lie to me.” (28:34)
b. “We did not send any messenger but (speaking) in the language of his people, so that he might clearly convey the message to them.” (14:4)
This is the easiest and simplest mode of communication. If we fail to represent our thoughts effectively, it will result in miscomprehension and the listener will ignore the importance of our conversation. Sometimes due to this miscomprehension or defective communication conflicts arise between individuals/parties.
2) Non-verbal communication:
In our daily life, we frequently present our emotions, feelings and thoughts without speaking, through gestures and various body organs e.g. movements of head, hands, arms, eyes, eye’s brow etc.
This type of communication is also found in the life of the Prophet (pbuh) as his companions used to know he was annoyed, his unwillingness and disapproval from his cheeks, eyes, and color of the face. Similarly, the third type of Hadith which is known as “Hadith Taqreeri” is justified from the quietness and positive gestures of the Prophet (pbuh).
In our daily routine life, we answer many questions through movements of head or face. Similarly, we use our hands for giving various signals. Undoubtedly, the combination of both verbal and non-verbal communication makes an impact – positive or negative – on our relationships and the directions in life.
|A FEW EXAMPLES OF JUSTICE IN EARLY ISLAM
Islam’s greatest contribution to social justice was the example it set in according to honor and respect to all people — weak or strong, kings or commoners – whether in family circles, social life, positions of power, or in government. By the same token, no one is above the law.
Here are only a few examples of incidents illustrating justice in the history of Islam:
1. Ali ibn abi Talib, the fourth Caliph, lost his coat of armor. One day, he saw a Christian of Kufa selling the same coat of armor. This case was brought to the Qadi (judge) Shurayh bin al Alharith. Ali went to his court as if he were a commoner. Since he was asked by the judge to produce two witnesses, Ali brought forward his son Hasan and his servant Qambar. The Qadi rejected the evidence of Hasan on the grounds that it is not appropriate for a son to testify in support of his father. Thus Ali, the reigning Caliph, lost his case. However, the Christian of Kufa was so impressed at the Muslim judge’s display of such equality, that he himself admitted Ali was the rightful owner of the armor. (Azmath-e-Sahaba, pp. 32-33).
2. Once during the reign of ‘Umar Faruq, the second Caliph, Amr ibn al-Aas, who was then governor of Egypt, arranged a horse race in which his own son, Muhammed ibn Amr, was to participate. But when his son’s horse lost to a young native Copt, the enraged son lashed the Copt boy with a whip, saying, “Take that! That will teach you to beat the son of a nobleman!” The Copt youth complained to the Caliph in Medina, who called an inquiry. When it was found that the beating was unjust, he immediately sent an emissary to summon the governor and his son immediately from Egypt. When they arrived, Caliph Umar Faruq handed the Copt boy a whip to flog the guilty party, just as he himself had been flogged.
Thus in the presence of governor Amr ibn al-Aas, the Copt boy whipped his son, stopping only when he was satisfied that the punishment was sufficient. Then the Caliph himself addressed the governor, saying: “O Amr, since when have you enslaved people who were born free? (Azmat-e-Sahaba, pp. 40-41)
3. During the Caliphate of the same ‘Umar Faruq, Palestine was conquered and the Caliph thus had to travel there to sign certain agreements with the conquered nation. When he left Medina, he was wearing rough clothes and had only one servant and one camel. He said to his servant, “If I mount the camel and you go on foot, it will not be fair to you. And if you mount the camel while I go on foot that will not be fair to me. And if we both sit on the camel’s back, that will be an injustice to the camel. So, it would be better if all three of us took turns.”
So, taking it by turns, ‘Umar Faruq would ride and the servant would walk, and vice versa, and then both would take a turn of walking so that the camel should be spared. Traveling in this manner, they reached the gates of Palestine, where the inhabitants gaped at the sight of the Caliph going on foot while his servant rode the camel, for it was the latter’s turn to ride as they approached their destination. In fact, many Palestinians failed to make out who was the Caliph and who was the servant. (Taamir ki Taraf, pp. 56-57).
In effect, Islam generated an intellectual and moral revolution based on its radical renewal of justice-based principles and their practical applications to daily life throughout virtually the entire known world of that time. This revolution was so powerful that its effects were still being felt a millennium later.
After the earthly passing of the Prophet, came Sahaba (or era of the Prophet’s Companions), followed by Tabi’in (era of the Companions of the Prophet’s Companions); together these periods are known as the Golden Age of Islam. But the effects of the Islamic ethical revolution lasted far beyond this time, continuing to leave their imprint on human society through succeeding centuries.
It is unfortunate that today’s leadership in Muslim majority countries do not consider these noble examples and too often act contrary to these examples.
Imam Zijad’s Corner: Islamic Methodology for Conflict Resolution and Building Peace
The purpose of Islamic law (maqasid of Shari’a) is to maintain peaceful, healthy, meaningful relationships with God and with all of humanity. This relationship is often disrupted by conflicts, whether interpersonal, communal, national or international. Its restoration is essential for the sake of fairness and justice and peace. Peace-building efforts work towards preventing an escalation of conflict and establishing a durable and self-sustaining peace.
Peace is intimately tied with justice and justice is tied with forgiveness in its Islamic understanding. You cannot achieve one without the other and the third. Legitimate grievances of the affected party must be addressed, if real and the necessary peace for normal life is to be achieved.
The Qur’an addresses the community of those who believe: “O You who believe! Stand out firmly for God, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear God. For God is well-acquainted with all you do” (Al Maidah 5:8).
The Qur’an further reaffirms the previous statement: “O You who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or you kin, and whether it be against rich or poor: For God can best protect both. Follow not the lusts of your hearts, lest you swerve, and if distort justice or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that you do” (Al Nisa 4:135).
Towards this end Islamic scholars also emphasize promoting Islamic ethics in order to prevent, mediate, and resolve various conflicts. This must take place along with a personal transformation, developing spiritual awareness through constant remembering God (Thikr) and His Grace and ‘Ibadat (worship) as well as through acts of charity and love for other human beings.
One should exercise compassion and forgive others who have done us harm, and move away from greed, egocentricity, crass materialism, and harming others and work to live peacefully in cooperation with each other.
The Qur’an constantly uses the word Sulh in resolving all types of conflicts. It means seeking peace, reconciliation, compromise and settlement.
As such, during the early Islamic history Muslim jurists developed a number of legal structures and institutions, using a variety of techniques to resolve conflicts amicably, and achieve peace. Among these are the following:
- Appointment of a Justice of Peace (Qadi as Sulh) to oversee the processes of mediation, arbitration, and reconciliation to achieve settlement and peace.
- Parties in conflict have the option of resolving their dispute through a Wasta or third-party mediator who would ensure that all parties were satisfied with the outcome.
- Other practices could use tahkeem, or using intermediaries to represent the parties. These intermediaries should be able to represent the parties’ position as clearly as possible to negotiate on their behalf, and guarantee that the parties receive a fair settlement. A settlement could include a. financial compensation, b. service to the family, c. service to the community, and d. specific gestures of sympathy, or public demonstration of reconciliation.
These procedures and relevant structures need to be revived and further developed, as time and our understanding change, utilizing all possible modern techniques.
|Imam Zijad’s Corner: IMPORTANCE OF SETTING GOALS IN LIFE
As we start new 2018 year, we would like to wish you all the best in it and ask Allah to bless us, our families, our community and our great nation. We also ask of Him to bring harmony and peace into the world and thus better life for all human brothers and sisters. We also ask of Him to help us in better planning in our lives and setting goals for our own benefits and the benefits of others.
Studies have shown that the majority of people fail to set any type of goals in their life and hence drift through the oceans of life like a raft on an uncharted stormy sea. It seems that human beings take life as it comes…for granted and without serious planning.
However, some of us, at some stage of our life, have set mini goals for ourselves; we call them new resolutions. We set a goal to be better servants of God and humble before him, more patient with family members (never to yell and embarrass ourselves, we set a goal to lose weight or earn more money or stop smoking, or volunteer 2 hours for SNMC weekly, pay $30 a month in 2018…
However, we often find that soon after making these ‘promises‘ to ourselves, we either forget about these goals, or we find that we simply do not have the time to carry them out. Another year passes, and history repeats itself at the beginning of another year, and we once again set out to make a list of new/the same resolutions or goals that we would like to accomplish in the coming year. But how many of us really accomplish our goals? How many of us really take the time to plan our goals? How many of us really know which goals are important? How many of us follow up on the given promise?
When we plan a long awaited overseas (back home) journey for a holiday or even a weekend trip (or a wedding), we usually go through much planning regarding every stage of the trip (e.g. fix date, take vocation on time, tickets, itinerary, baggage, clothes, gifts, return back, etc).
However, even though we plan a holiday in such detail, it is ironic that we sometimes don’t take the time to plan our life…Let us check ourselves and we will notice that we know how to plan in some areas of our lives…not in all. Let us ask a few questions about a journey to the lands of origins – back-home from wherever it is:
Do you know where you are going?
Do you know when you are going?
Do you know when you will be returning?
Do you have the opportunity to say farewell to friends & family before you go?
Do you know what currency to take?
Do you know what provisions to take?
Have you planned adequately for the journey?
A life without a plan is a plan for failure.
People who do not set goals, drift aimlessly in life, from one day to the next, not really knowing where they are going and not knowing if they have arrived to their destination.
Setting goals is important since it gives direction, meaning and purpose to our life. Goals can be long term, medium term and short term. Ultimately, the short term and medium term goals must link up to the long-term goals so that there is harmony and direction in our daily activities.
We will never know what we are capable of achieving if we do not set high enough goals for ourselves. The Messenger Muhammad (S) said: “The one whose two days are equal in accomplishment is in loss.”