Showing posts with label Humility. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Humility. Show all posts

Saturday 15 February 2020

Selected Verses from Quran: Humility

Islam teaches humbleness and humility so that those have nots may not feel low and deprived when they see rich and provided moving by haughtily or in a gait that displays or effects the hidden arrogance, scorn or egotism. In fact the rich have been warned not to display a demeanor that may create a feeling of deprivation among the poor.

In Surah 31 Luqman, verse 18 Allah has warned against all ills of self portrayal, haughtiness, smugness and self elation which may cause a more sense of deprivation of those less gifted: 

وَلَا تُصَعِّرۡ خَدَّكَ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَمۡشِ فِى الۡاَرۡضِ مَرَحًا ​ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخۡتَالٍ فَخُوۡرٍۚ‏ 

"Do not (contemptuously) turn your face away from people, nor tread haughtily upon earth. Allah does not love the arrogant and the vainglorious."

Mukhtal in the original implies a person who has a very high opinion of himself, and fakhur is the one who boasts of his superiority over others. A man becomes haughty and arrogant and vain in his gait only when he is puffed up with pride, and wants that others should feel his superiority.

It is being said that the true Muslims do not walk haughtily and arrogantly like the tyrants and mischief-makers, but their gait is of a gentle, right thinking and good natured person. Walking humbly does not mean walking like a weak or sick person, nor does it imply the gait of a hypocrite who walks ostentatiously to show humility or fear of God. According to traditions, the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself used to walk with firm, quick steps. One day Caliph Umar saw a young man walking slowly like a weak, sick person, and asked him: Are you ill? When the man replied in the negative, the Caliph raised his whip, rebuked him and told him to walk like a healthy man. This shows that the humble gait is the natural gait of a noble and gentle person and not a gait which shows weakness and undue humility.

According to some commentators it means this: “Walk neither fast nor slow but at a moderate pace”, but the context shows that here the pace or the rate of walking is not the question. There is nothing morally wrong with a fast or a slow pace in itself, nor can there be a rule made for it. When a man is in a hurry, he has to walk fast, and there is nothing wrong if one walks slow when walking for pleasure. Even if there is a standard for the moderate pace, it cannot be made a law for every person at all times. What is actually meant by this is to reform the state of the self under which a person walks haughtily. The haughtiness and arrogance of a person inevitably manifests itself in his gait and style of walking, which shows the state of his mind and also the cause of his pride and haughtiness. Wealth, authority, beauty, knowledge, power and such other things cause a man to become proud and vain, and each of these gives him a special style of gait. Contrary to this, manifestation of humility in the gait is also the result of one or the other morbid mental state. Sometimes the hidden conceit of the self of a man takes on the form of ostentatious humility, piety and godliness and this is shown by his gait; and sometimes man really feels so embittered by the frustrations of the world that he adopts a sick man’s gait. What Luqman meant to say is this: “Avoid these states of the mind and self and walk the gait of a simple, honest and noble person, which neither shows any vanity and haughtiness nor weakness nor ostentatious piety and humility.”

The taste of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) great companions in this regard can be judged from a few instances. When Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) once saw a man walking with his head hung down, he shouted out to him, saying, “Walk with your head raised up. Islam is not sick.” He saw another person walking like a weak, sick man, and said, “Wretch! Do not sully our religion” Both these incidents show that in the sight of Umar religious piety did not at all require that one should walk cautiously, like the sick man and show undue humility by one’s gait. Whenever he saw a Muslim walking such a gait, he would have the apprehension that it would misrepresent Islam and would depress the other Muslims. A similar incident was once met with by Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her). She saw a person walking as if run down and exhausted. She asked what was the matter with him. It was said, “He is one of the reciters of the Quran (i.e. a person who remains engaged in reciting and teaching the Quran and in worship).” At this she said, “Umar was the chief of the reciters of the Quran, but as it was he would walk with a firm foot, and he would speak with force and strength, and he would give a good beating if he had to.” 

This command warns against the ways of tyrants and vain people and is not merely meant for the individual but also for the collective conduct of the Muslim community. It was because of this guidance that the rulers, governors and commanders of the Islamic state which was established on the basis of this manifesto, were free from every tinge of tyranny, arrogance, haughtiness, pride and vanity, so much so that even in the battlefield they never uttered a word which had the slightest indication of any of these vain things. Their gait, dress, dwelling and conveyance showed humility. In short, their ways of conduct were not those of big ones but those of humble persons. That is why they never tried to overawe the people of a conquered city by show of pomp and pride.

Thus the first characteristic of the true servants of Allah to which attention has been drawn, is their gait. This is because the gait indicates the character of an individual. If a man walks in a humble and dignified way, as opposed to a haughty, vain and proud manner, it shows that he is a noble and gentle person. Thus the different gaits of different types of people show what sort of characters they possess. The verse means to imply that the true servants of the Merciful can be easily recognized by their gait among the people. Their attitude of Allah’s worship and obedience has changed them so thoroughly that it can be seen at first sight from their gate that they are noble, humble and good natured people, who cannot be expected to indulge in any mischief. 

Yusuf Ali translates this verse as:  "And swell not thy cheek (for pride) at men nor walk in insolence through the earth; for Allah loveth not any arrogant boaster. 

The word "cheek" in English, too, means arrogance or effrontery, with a slightly different shade added, viz.: effrontery from one in an inferior position to one in a superior position. The Arabic usage is wider, and includes smug self-satisfaction and a sense of lofty Superiority.
May Allah help us understand Qur'an and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'an

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the Sūrahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. 
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given in each page. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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Sunday 28 July 2019

Understanding Islam: Traits of a True Muslim

Islam is oft portrayed by non Muslims as a militant religion, preaching hate and spreading violence around the world. This observation is often made after a suicide attack or a hate speech made by some emotional cleric or by the acts of some radical Muslims. But they fail to understand that despite all these charges, more and more non Muslims, even of other Divine faiths, are reverting to Islam and living very contended lives after coming under the fold of Islam.

What is it they find in Islam that they could not find in their religion of birth then? I  have shared many accounts of reverts herein my blog and they all confessed that it is in Islam that they have finally found peace of mind and have since then been living  a far contended life than before.

Actually the problem is that non Muslims look at some Muslims who are radicals, a behaviors that comes due to inadequate knowledge of Islam. Yes let me say that becasue many born Muslims may not have read Qur'an with its detailed meaning and with reference to the context. Thus shallow knowledge makes them emotional rather than being rationale, which in fact is the essence of Islam.

In a other forum, I came across a question about why Muslims (in fact the question should have said "Why Some Muslims') do not portray traits of a true Muslim. And my answer to them is that they have never really pondered what traits they must inculcate in them as spelt out for them in the Holy Qur'an. With this in mind, let me list down the traits of a true Muslim as spelt out in the last verses of Surah Al Furqan, the 25th chapter of the Holy Qur'an:
(25:63) The true servants of the Merciful One are those who walk on the earth gently and when the foolish ones address them, they simply say: "Peace to you";
To be a true Muslim, the basic trait is humility in everything he does. In fact the very gait of a Muslim who lives a life of humility attracts others towards him. In complete humility he always addresses the ignorant people with words of peace, and spends the night worshiping Allah and asking to be kept safe from the fires of Hell.  They are not extravagant nor stingy and they never invoke any deity but Allah.  They do not kill except for a just reason, and they do not commit adultery or fornication.  Allah is able to change the bad deeds into good for those who repent and become righteous.  The believers do not bear false witness; they pass by frivolity with dignity and take head of God’s signs and revelations.  These are the ones whose patience will be rewarded with Paradise, where they will be welcomed with greetings and salutations and shall live forever.  Prophet Muhammad is told to say that God does not care if you invoke Him or not but if you reject His revelations you will face the punishment.

As for humility, Muslims are commanded to observe humility at other places in the Holy Qur'an as well:  "And do not turn your cheek [in contempt] toward people and do not walk through the earth exultantly. Indeed, Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful." [Surah Luqman, 31:18]
(25:64) who spend the night prostrating themselves before their Lord and standing;
Humble prayer brings them nearer to Allah. And more nearer one comes to Allah, more humility and humbleness is infused in his personality.
(25:65) who entreat: "Our Lord! Ward off from us the chastisement of Hell, for its chastisement is one that clings. (25:66) Verily it is a wretched abode and resting place."
This is a prayer of humility: such a person relies, not on any good works which he may have done, but on the Grace and Mercy of Allah; and he shows a lively sense of the Day of Judgment, when every action will weigh for or against a soul. The misery which results from sin is not only grievous to live in ("an abode") but also grievous "to rest in" or "to stand in", if it be only for a short time.
(25:67) (The true servants of the Merciful One are) those who are neither extravagant nor niggardly in their spending but keep the golden mean between the two;
In ordinary spending this is a wise rule. But even in charity, in which we give of our best, it is not expected that we should be extravagant, i.e., that we should either do it for show, to impress other people, or do it thoughtlessly, which would be the case if we "rob Peter to pay Paul". We should certainly not be niggardly, but we should remember everyone's rights, including our own, and strike a perfectly just balance between them.

The true servants of Allah adopt the golden mean between the two extremes in spending their money. They neither go beyond prudence and necessity in expenditure nor live in wretched circumstances in order to save and hoard money but are frugal. This was the characteristic of the followers of the Prophet (peace be upon him), which distinguished them from the well-to-do people of Arabia, who were either spend thrifts in regard to the gratification of their own lusts or niggardly in spending their money on good works.

According to Islam extravagance is: (1) To spend even the smallest amount of money in unlawful ways. (2) To go beyond one’s own resources in expenditure even in lawful ways, or to spend money for one’s own pleasure. (3) To spend money in righteous ways not for the sake of Allah but for mere show. On the other hand, one is miserly if one does not spend money for his own needs and requirements and those of his family in accordance with his resources and position, or if one does not spend money for good works. The way taught by Islam is the golden mean between the two extremes. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has said: It is a sign of wisdom to adopt the golden mean in one's living. (Ahmad, Tabarani).

At another place Allah commands: "O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess." [Surah Al A'raf, 7:31]

Now this verse alone says it all about display of pomp and show. Unfortunately, many rich Muslims lack this quality and and are oft seen squandering money in casinos in the West, throwing lavish parties and involving in immoral activities, which are seen by non Muslims as a distaste and they wonder "Does Islam teach this ?" Well certainly not. In fact those who disregard this very verse of the Qur'an bring shame not only to them but Muslims in general.
(25:68) who invoke no other deity along with Allah, nor take any life - which Allah has forbidden - save justly; who do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse - and whoso does that shall meet its penalty;
Here three things are expressly condemned: (1) false worship, which is a crime against Allah; (2) the taking of life, which is a crime against our fellow-creatures; and (3) fornication, which is a crime against our self-respect, against ourselves. Every crime is against Allah, His creatures, and ourselves, but some may be viewed more in relation to one than to another. The prohibition against taking life is qualified: "except for just cause,": e.g., in judicial punishment for murder, or in self-preservation, which may include not only self-defence in the legal sense, but also the clearing out of pests, and the provision of meat under conditions of Halal.
(25:72) (The true servants of the Merciful One) are those who do not bear witness to any falsehood and who, when they pass by frivolity, pass by it with dignity;
Witness no falsehood has two significations, both implied in this passage: (1) They do not give evidence (in the court of law etc.) in regard to a false thing in order to prove it right, when in fact it is a falsehood, or at best a doubtful thing. (2) They have no intention to witness anything which is false, evil or wicked as spectators. In this sense, every sin and every indecency, every sham and counterfeit act is a falsehood. A true servant of Allah recognizes it as false and shuns it even if it is presented in the seemingly beautiful forms of art.

The Arabic word "laghv" used in this verse implies all that is vain, useless and meaningless and it also covers falsehood. The true servants pass by in a dignified manner if they ever come across what is vain, as if it were a heap of filth. They do not stay there to enjoy the filth of moral impurity, obscenity or foul language, nor do they intentionally go anywhere to hear or see or take part in any sort of filth.
(25:73) who, when they are reminded of the revelations of their Lord, do not fall at them deaf and blind;
The true servants of Allah do not behave like the blind and the deaf towards the revelations of Allah, when they are recited to them for their admonition. They do not turn a deaf ear to their teachings and message and do not deliberately close their eyes to the signs that they are asked to observe, but are deeply moved by them. They follow and practice what they are enjoined and retrain from what is forbidden.
(25:74) who are prone to pray: "Our Lord! Grant us that our spouses and our offspring be a joy to our eyes, and do make us the leaders of the God-fearing."
The most distinctive characteristic of the true servants is their eagerness for prayer to Allah. In (verse 65) their prayer for their own salvation and in (verse 74 ) their prayer for their wives and children have been cited: Our Lord, make our wives and children true believers so that they should practice righteousness and become a source of comfort for us. Their prayer shows that the true servants of Allah are more concerned about the salvation of their beloved ones in the Hereafter than the enjoyment of the world.

It should be noted that this characteristic has been cited here to show that the true servants had sincerely believed in the message. That is why they were so concerned about the faith of their beloved ones. It should also be kept in mind that many of the near and dear ones of the believers had not as yet embraced Islam. If a husband had embraced Islam, the wife was still an unbeliever, and if a youth had accepted Islam, his parents and brothers and sisters were still involved in disbelief, and vice versa. Therefore, the true servants wept and prayed for them, whenever the picture of their horrible state in Hell came before their eyes.

A true Muslim should there excel in piety, righteousness and good works; and become the leader(s) of the pious people so that he may lead others in the propagation of virtue and piety in the world. Incidentally, this characteristic of the true servants was in great contrast to that of the disbelievers, who strove in competition and rivalry with one another for superiority in worldly power and wealth. But it is a pity that some people in our time have misinterpreted this verse as containing sanction for seeking candidature for political leadership. According to them, the verse means: Our Lord, make us rulers over the pious people.

and for those who bear the above stated traits have a big reward i-waiting:
(25:75) They are the ones who will be rewarded for their patience: lofty palaces, will be granted to them, and they will be received with greeting and salutation.(25:76) Therein they shall abide for ever: how good an abode, and how good a resting-place!(25:77) Say to them (O Muhammad): "My Lord would not care for you were it not for your prayer. But now that you have given the lie to (the Message of Allah), an inextricable punishment shall soon come upon you."
Let us recapitulate the virtues of the true servants of Allah: (1) they are humble and forbearing to those below them in spiritual worth; (2) they are constantly, by adoration, in touch with Allah; (3) they always remember the Judgment in the Hereafter; (4) they are moderate in all things; (5) they avoid treason to Allah, to their fellow-creatures, and to themselves; (6) they give a wide berth not only to falsehood but to futility; (7) they pay attention, both in mind and manner, to the Signs of their Lord; (8) their ambition is to bring up their families in righteousness and to lead in all good. A fine code of individual and social ethics, a ladder of spiritual development, open to all.

And let me assure you majority of Muslims have these traits. It is a pity that those who hate Islam only target the deviators and radicals and call Islam with bad names.

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