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The Ideal Muslim - You & Yourself [pt. 2]

Friday, 29 August 2008

In the name of God, Compassionate, Merciful بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمِ | Peace be with you السلام عليكم

Part 2. The Muslim and his own self

Islam wants the Muslim to really stand out from people by the ultra cool appearance, dress, decent behaviour and generosity. And it takes effort to scrub up this well...

The Prophet [saw] told some of his companions who were traveling to meet some brothers:
‘You are going to visit your brothers, so repair your saddles and make sure that you are dressed well, so that you will stand out among people like adornment, for Allah does not love ugliness’
The Prophet considered a careless appearance to be like ugliness, so Islam actually stops you from looking all mussed-up. Proper Muslims doesn’t neglect themselves, regardless of how busy they are - sort of like having ‘me time’. The outward appearance of people can't be separated from the inner nature. This also applies to women wearing hijab- for they show on the outside, what they’re feeling on the inside Insha’Allah.

To strike a balance between looking good and feeling good Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] gave fabulous advice to Abd’ullah ibn Amr who prayed constantly:
‘Have I not heard that you fast all day and stay up all night in prayer?’ Abdullah said: “That is true O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet told him: “Do not do that. Fast and break your fast, sleep then get up. For your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you, your wife has a right over you, and your visitors have a right over you’


How can the Ideal Muslim achieve such a balance?

a) The Muslim and his body

The Muslim takes proper care of himself, promoting its good health and strength. So being moderate in his intake of food & drink, avoiding greed and consuming only what is needed to maintain his well-being and energy. As the Quran reads:

‘Eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for Allah does not love the wasters’ Surah 7, verse 31

The Muslim avoids drugs & stimulants, especially those clearly known to be haram-forbidden. He sleeps early and wakes early, and takes medicinal help when ill only. Everything in the Islamic lifestyle is aimed at promoting his natural health and energy, Subhana’Allah.

A strong believer is more loved by Allah than a weak one, as the Prophet [pbuh] said, so he tries his all to strengthen his body.

He exercises regularly

To eat the right stuff is one thing, but now this needs a back-up of an exercise program! Such an exercise plan is not given up either, you gotta stick with it- again in moderation though.
Moderation is the hallmark of the true Muslim world-wide. Prophet Muhammad [saas] was a keen active person; the more energetic you are, the happier you are.

His body and clothes are clean [tahoor wa’al imaan = Purity is part of faith]

The beautiful Muslim is always sparkling clean *ting*. He has high standards of personal hygiene, performing ghusl properly and wearing perfume especially on Fridays:

‘Have a bath on Fridays and wash your heads, even if you are not in a state of janabah [janabah is impurity due to sexual relations] and wear perfume’ - Bukhari


The true Muslim always smells sweet too, ahh, like a fragrant flower. ‘Umar used to say: ‘whoever spends a third of his wealth on perfume is not being extravagant’- this said at a time when people had a lot less wealth.

And the smart Muslim takes care of his mouth too. Although it may be sumthing children are taught in primary schools, adults tend to forget. Brushing teeth, visiting the dentist, to even have fresh breath- it’s a sunnah! Mash’Allah.

A’isha was asked what the Prophet used to do first when he came home. She said: ‘use the siwak’

There are many reports that describe the cleanliness and sweet smell of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]. For example, if anyone shook his hands, his beautiful scent would remain on that person’s hand for the rest of the day Subhanallah, and if he laid his hands on the head of a child, the child would stand out from others by the virtue of his sweet smell, Masha’Allah. People would even be able to tell where the Prophet [saas] had passed from his lingering sweet scent. Cool.


The Muslim has a good appearance

The true Muslim looks absolutely gorgeous. He doesn’t annoy people with his dishevelled look and attitude and looks good for his friends & blessed family.

‘Say: Who has forbidden the beautiful [gifts] if Allah, which He has produced for His servants, and the things clean and pure [which He has provided] for sustenance?...’ [7:23]


= Aisha told Makhul: ‘A group of the Companions of the Prophet was waiting at the door for him, so he prepared to go out and meet them. There was a vessel of water in the house, and he peered into it, smoothing his beard and hair. I (aisha) asked him: “O Messenger of Allah, even you do this?” He said: “Yes, when a man goes out to meet his brothers, let him prepare himself properly, for Allah is beautiful and Allah loves beauty’.

The idea is to wear what you are able to afford. Taking out a loan for a designer labelled hoody is plain stupid, but also deliberately looking trashy [inc. the punk rock style *puzzled face*] is a bad extreme the Muslim does not want to be part of:


‘O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters. Say, Who has forbidden the beautiful gifts of Allah, which He has produced for His servants, and the things, clean and pure [which He has provided] for sustenance? Say: There are in the life of this world, for those who believe, [and] purely for them on the Day of Judgement. Thus do We explain the Signs in detail for those who understand’ The Wonderful Qur'an, Surah 7, verses 31-32.

All in all, the True Sincere Muslim, is beautiful from within, and he expresses his inner beliefs and values by radiating a beautiful appearance on the outside. ‘Actions are but by intentions’, therefore if you want to please your family, friends, people and most importantly Allah, show your inner pure self by displaying the pure picture of Islam in every action. Amin.

The Muslim’s Mind

Exercising the mind by seeking knowledge, discovering signs [ayatun] of Allah is an obligation for every Muslim, because of Rasool-Allah’s saying:

‘Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim [male & female]’ Bukhari

The Muslim must continue to pursue knowledge, as long as the breath of life remains within his body, ‘from the cradle to the grave’ Inshallah. Allah has raised the status of those who have knowledge, for they alone truly fear Allah:

‘Those truly fear Allah, among His slaves, who have knowledge…’ Surah 35: 28

No Muslim would really believe in Allah except those whose minds are enlightened enough to see the power of Allah manifested in the creation of the universe and every tiny living thing- such are the People of Knowledge and Men of Understanding, Masha’Allah:

‘…Say: “Are those equal, those who know and those who don’t know?” It is those who are endued with understanding that receive admonition.’ Surah 39, verse 9

Safwan ibn [son of] Assal al-Muradi came to the Prophet [pbuh] in the mosque and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I have come seeking knowledge.’ The Prophet [pbuh] told him:

‘Welcome, O seeker of knowledge! Truly the angels [mala’ikah] surround the seeker of knowledge with their wings, gathering around him in ranks one above the other, until they reach the first heaven [the sky above our head], out of love for that which he seeks.’


Continuously seeking knowledge until death

True knowledge isn’t in the form of a paper certificate, framed on the wall r a diploma/degree that has the sole purpose of guaranteeing an income. The treasure of knowledge is to continue to read and study, increasing it day by day. A simple but powerful Quranic dua’ implores:

‘…But say: “O My Lord! Increase me in my knowledge.’ Surah 20, verse 114
In Arabic, it reads: ‘…Wa qul: Rabbi Zidni ‘illma.’



What you should know as a Muslim…

1. How to read the Quran properly. To understand the rules of reading- known as tajwíd, and to understand the meaning- tafseer. Having a sound grasp of this foundation is necessary to learn, think open-minded and really ‘see’ Islam for what it is. This will also lead to studying Arabic language in order to properly read the Quran.
2. Then the Muslim should learn the sciences of the ahadith [plural = sayings]. This means to learn how the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] have been compiled. Which ones are authentic, while some may be weaker due to the people narrating them. Also, to study the ‘seerah’- biography of the Prophet [pbuh] is essential, for his life story is the history of Islam
3. To study the main figures of Islam; the Sahabah- the Companions, and the Tabi’een- the students of these scholars. The work they did has helped us understand Islam today.
4. He should acquire knowledge on the how’s, what’s, why’s, when’s, and where’s of the pillars of Islam, to ensure his worship and daily life are in good order. This is a duty of every Muslim who isn’t a specialist in the Shariah- Islamic laws.
5. For those who are a specialist in one area of Shariah, for instance economic laws, family laws etc, he should try his best to learn & develop in this area and be successful in it. Society depends on it.


To be proficient in his specialty…
1. The Muslim turns to his own specialty and gives it all his energy and pays a great deal of attention to it. He approaches like a Muslim, with the attitude that it’s a religious obligation to work in his field of specilasisation, whether it’s in Islamic law or another religious area, or in maths, engineering, physics, astronomy, industry or genetics.
2. The true Muslim therefore becomes proficient in his own field. He spares no effort to read whatever’s been written about his topic. And he keeps up to date with whatever developments are being made in this field. The smart Muslim is the one who achieves great academic success, which will raise his status Insha’Allah. And this in turn will enhance his da’wah- spreading the light of Islam to others. So regardless of what religious/secular field he specializes in, he will, with the Grave of Allah, present it sincerely in accordance with Islam’s spirit and teachings about knowledge.
3. Islam has made knowledge a duty, whereby the one who seeks it draws closer to Allah. The early scholars of Islam used to emphasizes these sublime principles in the intro’s to their books, because through knowledge they spread Islam and presented the results of their studying purely for the sake of Allah. Subhnallah. Whether you’re studying the sciences, Masha’Allah, or keen in being creative [moíJ], if the Muslim truly understands the link it has to Allah and tries his best in learning it for the sake of Allah, He will indeed give you success and raise your status above the angels.

The Muslim searches information about other fields…

The really cool smart Muslim doesn’t restrict themselves to just one area of study, but opens to learning about anything and everything decent. Reading academic literature, cultural journals about useful branches of knowledge, and everything else interesting. In this way, the Muslim’s mind is enriched and his horizons are broadened. Mashallah, knowledge is a great key to success.

The Muslim is proficient in a foreign language…[or at least tries to be]

Don’t forget to pay attention to foreign languages, because these days, learning a foreign language is an important task for the active Muslim to understand the contemporary life.
Islam gives great incentive to learn foreign languages, so that Muslims would always be able to communicate with various nations and races, and to convey the Truth of Islam to them. Prophet Muhammad encouraged the study of other languages as it evidently shows in this hadith told by his adopted son called Zaid ibn Thabit:

‘O Zaid, learn the writing of the Jews.’ [Zaid] said: ‘So I learnt it, and it only took me a month to become proficient in it. Then I used to take down whatever letters the Propjet wanted to send to them, and I would read for him the letter they sent to him.’

In another report, Zaid said: ‘The Messenger of Allah asked me, “Do you know Syriac? I have received a letter in this language.” I said “No”. He said, “Then learn it”. So I learnt it.’

To be able to speak and understand the world’s languages will enable to Muslim to see what mankind is saying about our Deen, both negative and positive, and thus be able to defend his Ummah from evil and speak up for it as well as communicating with the diverse cultures.

The Muslim’s Soul

While the Muslim takes care of his physical and mental needs, he does not forget that he is not comprised only of a body and mind. He also has ‘a passionate, yearning soul whose higher longings motivate him’ to lift himself up by devoting himself to worship, seeking the blessings of Allah and fearing His punishment. Whatever developments and experiences the body and mind go through, the soul also requires. The soul is what keeps you alive, thriving. While scientifically the emotions and feelings we go through are controlled through chemicals and hormones, in reality it is the soul that initiates & controls these. One can try to ‘take out’ Imaan or anger and hold it in his hand, it’s impossible. Likewise the soul cannot be separated from the body or seen without Allah’s permission.


The Muslim polishes his soul through worship…

Muslims are obliged to take care of their soul, so they refine it through constant worship. They stay alert of the Devil's devious tricks and whispers. And even if in some moment of human weakness, evil thoughts come to him from shaytaan, they remembers Allah and finds their way back to the straight path:

‘Those who fear Allah, when a thought of evil from satan assaults them, bring Allah to
remembrance, and lo! They see aright’ Surah 7, verse 201

Therefore the Prophet [pbuh] used to tell his Companions ‘Renew your faith.’ He was asked ‘O messenger of Allah, how do we renew our faith?’ He said ‘By frequenting repeating la illaha illa-Allah’

The Muslim seeks to strengthen his soul thru various acts of worship for example reading the Quran carefully with understanding, and remembering Allah with humility, and praying correctly with presence of mind. He trains himself to adhere to different acts of worship until they become second nature and he cannot do without them. Thus he develops and enhances his feelings until in most cases, he becomes alert & aware, conscious that Allah is watching him in public and in private.

Muslims keep company with righteous people and join religious gatherings…

The true Muslim seeks to attain a high status by keeping company with righteous people who will teach others, and him, about Truth [haq] and Patience [sabr] and Constancy (surah al-asr). He will frequently attend religious gatherings where Allah’s name is mentioned often, where there is discussion of the greatness of Islam regarding the education & development of the individual, the family and the community. He has to be with those who ponder the might of Allah, the Subduer, the Omnipotent, from which nothing in heaven and earth can detract, and meditate on the wonder of His creation of the universe and of man. In such gatherings, souls are purified, hearts are cleansed, and a person’s whole being is filled with faith.

Whenever Abdullah ibn Rawawah met any of the Companions of the Prophet [pbuh] he used to say: ‘Come let us believe in our Rabb (lord) for a while’

The Muslim is responsible for strengthening his soul and purifying his heart . He must push himself and guard against slipping:

‘By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it, and its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right – truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it!’ Surah 91, 7-10

So the Muslim is required to choose his friends carefully and to join only those people that will increase his faith, taqwah and insight. He should avoid the bad company of those who will corrupt his soul:

‘And keep your soul content with those who call on their Rabb morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not your eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds.’ Surah 18:28
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