An Islamic treasury of virtues

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An Islamic treasury of virtues

  1. 1. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsTABLE OF CONTENTSTable of Contents................................................................2Foreword...........................................................................341. god’s people ..................................................................36 Those who show mercy will be dealt with mercifully ........................................................................................36 Whatever happens is the will of God .........................36 Remaining steadfast in the face of persecution .........36 The most worthwhile work is preaching the word of God.................................................................................37 The preacher of God’s word wishes people well, no matter how they treat him ...........................................37 A good deed is of no value if it makes one proud.....38 Of all actions, the most sublime is remembrance of God.................................................................................38 An able and righteous man – the most treasured asset ........................................................................................39 Qualities of leadership .................................................40 ~2~
  2. 2. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsWhat those who sit with leaders should be like ........41Sycophantic subordinates portend disaster ...............42Lip service is not proof of real attachment .................42Even self-sacrifice is of no value without totalsincerity .........................................................................43It is wrong even to hint a partnership with God .......43Have trust in God right up till the end.......................44Thinking of God in moments of crisis ........................44On hearing the Hereafter mentioned, he waived hisclaim...............................................................................46Fear of God made the stick fall from his hand...........47Fearing God’s punishment, even when one is dealingwith the lowly ...............................................................48The greatest favour to seek from God is forgiveness 48Avoiding anger .............................................................49Knowing the world, but not the Hereafter.................50They will be of good cheer on meeting God ..............50What really matters is the man within .......................51 ~3~
  3. 3. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents Extending unstinted support.......................................52 In between two possibilities ........................................52 The heart and the tongue: of all things the best and the worst ........................................................................53 Obedience to the Prophet, come what may ...............54 Sincerity and piety the essence of Islam .....................54 True faith brings visions of unseen realities ..............55 The Qur’an is for admonition, not just for recital ......56 Bear hardship with patience, and one’s sins will be forgiven in the next world ...........................................57 The eminent should grieve for the lowly ...................572. What is Faith? ...............................................................59 Lose all, gain all ............................................................59 Knowledge is more than just information..................59 Affluence is the greatest trial .......................................59 All man’s sins, except pride, may be forgiven ...........60 The Prophet’s way of giving advice............................60 When evil lives on ........................................................61 ~4~
  4. 4. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsRemaining on speaking terms .....................................61Follow in the footsteps of the early Muslims: that isthe only way to reform ...............................................61Hoping for something is not enough. It must beworked for .....................................................................61Not hating even the direst of enemies ........................62A true believer shows no hesitation in answering thecall of the Almighty ......................................................62The God-fearing treats others best ..............................63Bowing at the very name of God.................................63Salvation is for those who tread the path of theProphet and his Companions ......................................64Conversing with God more and with men less .........65Remembrance of God the greatest act of worship.....65God’s own are those who accept the Qur’an .............65Liking criticism .............................................................66Rising above love and hate ..........................................67Patience and forbearance in the face of ignorance ....68Swallowing one’s anger increases one’s faith ............71 ~5~
  5. 5. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents Immune to flattery........................................................71 To praise someone to his face is to destroy oneself ...72 Not letting praise go to one’s head .............................72 Blessed are those who tolerate the severity of the righteous........................................................................73 Receiving praise, not with conceit, but with humility ........................................................................................74 Reject reproof and you reject what is good ................75 Working in one’s own sphere, and avoiding conflict with the government of the day ..................................75 Fearing no one in giving admonishment ...................76 Reckon with oneself before being reckoned with......76 Learning from everything that happens.....................77 Meditation the greatest of activities............................77 The Companions worshipped by thinking of God and the Hereafter .................................................................78 In everything there is a lesson to be learned..............78 The nature of a true believer........................................783. Worship .........................................................................80 ~6~
  6. 6. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsWorshipping God and not harming others................80Knowing God is the greatest worship ........................80Good Character-the very essence of religion .............81It is the spirit of worship that is important ................81Lodge God in one’s heart: that is the best of states ...82Remembering God is a constant state of prayer ........82God looks after one who prays to Him ......................83To help a Muslim in need is a great act of worship...83Truly destitute are those bereft of God’s grace in theHereafter........................................................................85Hastening to pray in times of difficulty .....................85Letting one’s heart be moved by the Qur’an..............87Prayer places one under divine protection ................87Congregational prayer brings one closer to God.......87Self-seeking places one far from God .........................88A show of piety is not reverence .................................88Keeping within the bounds of propriety when fasting........................................................................................89 ~7~
  7. 7. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsThe state induced by prayer should be abiding ........89God can hear even the smallest whisper ....................90Religion is worthless if its end is material gain .........91True worship entails meekness and humility beforeGod.................................................................................91God loves the humble cry of His servant ...................92How to be prudent .......................................................92Mention what is good: pass over what is evil............93Three all-embracing duties ..........................................93True knowledge is that which induces fear of God ..94No one is exempt from danger of going astray .........95How saint-worship gradually turns into idol-worship........................................................................................95The law of God is applicable to everyone ..................96When those bound for Paradise find their way barred........................................................................................97Only disinterested action is of moral value................99Between hope and fear.................................................99 ~8~
  8. 8. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents There is charity in forgiveness...................................100 The corrupting influence of power ...........................101 Those who do not fear God cannot understand the state of mind of those who do ...................................101 Sometimes the obscure are more amply rewarded than the famous ..........................................................103 Preferring to be unostentatious .................................103 Living in fear of Doomsday .......................................104 Setting no special value upon one sown actions .....105 The worth of honest earnings....................................1064. Sincerity.......................................................................107 Being sincere means abstaining from what is forbidden .....................................................................107 Weighing up one’s actions before they are weighed up on the divine scales of justice...............................107 Do not regard knowledge as a means to personal prestige ........................................................................107 Lust for fame the worst single danger-for man .......108 Acting ‘to be seen by men’.........................................108 ~9~
  9. 9. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsFearing God in one’s dealings with men..................109Putting oneself in others’ shoes and not entertainingsuspicions ....................................................................109Rejoicing in the Muslims’ prosperity........................110Avoiding retaliation for the sake of God..................110One who will be saved from Doom on the Day ofJudgement ...................................................................112Hardness of heart comes from using religion forworldly ends ...............................................................112The Day of death will be the great awakening ........112Worldly attachment bars the gate to eternity ..........113Standing on the brink of Hell-fire .............................113Thinking nought of one’s actions..............................114The greatest deeds are the most difficult of all ........114Only the Muslim who is true to his faith can enterParadise .......................................................................115Regarding one’s deeds as of no special value..........116It is hypocrisy to join a movement because of itsworldly success ...........................................................116 ~ 10 ~
  10. 10. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsBy performing small tasks a man does not demeanhimself .........................................................................117Having bad relations with anyone is no reason todeny him his rights.....................................................117Being satisfied with God’s bounty and alwaysthirsting for knowledge..............................................118By making no efforts, man loses what he hopes togain...............................................................................118Leave justice to God ...................................................118Being conscious of one’s own faults, not of others..119Bowing to the will of God and to His Messenger....119He whose heart is free of hate will enter Heaven....120Reforming others and being ready to be reformedoneself ..........................................................................120The least one can do is not harm anyone .................121Worship is more than a set of rituals ........................121Why try to make a god of oneself?............................121While worshipping God, respect the convenience ofothers ...........................................................................122 ~ 11 ~
  11. 11. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents The simpler the ceremony, the greater the blessing 122 Choose the simpler, not the more difficult way ......123 Making things unnecessarily difficult for oneself does not constitute piety .....................................................123 Religious leaders should have consideration for their congregations ..............................................................124 Rather than from outward actions, greatness comes from inward grace ......................................................124 No rigidity in religion ................................................125 God looks not just at actions but at their motives ...1255. Piety .............................................................................127 Piety leads one to press onwards in spite of all obstacles.......................................................................127 Giving oneself up to God and wishing others well.127 The self-destructiveness of worldly greed ...............128 The true intellectual is a man of great piety.............129 Showing no favouritism.............................................129 Self-appraisal first and foremost ...............................130 Taking no advantage of one’s position.....................131 ~ 12 ~
  12. 12. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsJustice, even towards enemies...................................131The feelings inspired by faith are misinterpreted bythe profane...................................................................132Self-Reliance ................................................................133Preferring God to riches.............................................133No affliction is worse than hardness of heart ..........133Unwillingness to make sacrifices leads to self-destruction...................................................................134Do not become unbalanced by love or hate .............135No Paradise without the sacrifice of life and property......................................................................................135Things asked for and things given freely are in twoseparate categories......................................................136Keeping out of the limelight ......................................137True knowledge is fear of God..................................138Lost to the world.........................................................138Conceit: the most evil trait .........................................138Fearing God in matters that concern the weak ........139Remaining detached from the material side of life .140 ~ 13 ~
  13. 13. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsWhen pleasures seem empty .....................................140Man proposes, God disposes.....................................141Retribution here and now ..........................................141When death is nigh.....................................................142Salvation is all .............................................................142The joys of a pious household ...................................143The call of paradise.....................................................143Take what is gladly given; do not ask for more.......144Preoccupation with prestige can lead straight toperdition ......................................................................145Giving up this world for the next..............................146Selflessness in worldly matters .................................146No Islamic revolution without Islamic individuals 147There are times to remain silent and times to speakfreely ............................................................................147Two eyes that shall be saved from the Fire ..............148One has to lose in order to gain.................................148 ~ 14 ~
  14. 14. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents Worldly attachment hinders acknowledgement of the truth..............................................................................149 Beyond the call of duty ..............................................150 To live, one must come to terms with dying............151 True religion brings about radical changes in one’s life.................................................................................152 Repentance is to be ashamed of what one has done152 Have dealings with men as if they were dealings with God...............................................................................1526. Humility ......................................................................154 Respect means something more than the making of gestures........................................................................154 Refraining from acquiring unnecessary tastes.........154 Conceit takes one far from God.................................154 The bravest is the most in control of himself ...........155 Giving one’s best, but without conceit .....................156 Never considering oneself above serving God ........157 Having regard for necessities rather than formalities ......................................................................................158 ~ 15 ~
  15. 15. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsKindness to animals ...................................................159Accepting all food without demur............................159God does not like pride in His servants ...................160Avoid functions whose sole purpose is ostentation160To humble oneself is to raise oneself ........................161The Prophet did not allow his hand to be kissed ....161Heaping scorn on truth is an act of pride.................161Sitting among people with no thought for position 162Having due regard for people who are of no specialimportance...................................................................162The self-belittler is great in the eyes of God.............163Simplicity of Dress......................................................163Good manners at meal times .....................................164What it pleased the Lord to give to His Prophet .....164The secret of contentment is being happy with whatone has .........................................................................165The parting of the ways .............................................165The servants of God must live in humility...............166 ~ 16 ~
  16. 16. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents7. Trust In God................................................................167 The Countless Blessings of God ................................167 Devotion to God: food for the soul ...........................167 Constant fear of God ..................................................167 No limit to God’s mercy.............................................168 All power is in the hands of God ..............................168 Everything happens through the instrumentality of God...............................................................................169 Even the most ordinary things are great blessings..169 Islam: a practical guide to daily living .....................170 Meet your Lord with a clean record .........................170 It is only under stress that a man appears in his true colours..........................................................................171 Being content with what God ordains......................1718. Manners In Speech .....................................................172 There is virtue in refusing to retaliate.......................172 Not being offended when criticized .........................172 Discord and the truth .................................................173 ~ 17 ~
  17. 17. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsAn oath is an oath .......................................................174Halting in one’s steps on hearing the Qur’an ..........175Truth should be unclouded by prejudice .................176Appreciating criticism ................................................178Delivering justice regardless of rank ........................178Public speaking and public silence ...........................179Answer, but do not rebuke ........................................180No response to vain words ........................................182Refraining from derision............................................182Holding one’s tongue: the key to righteousness......183Never expressing disdain for food............................184Answering criticism calmly .......................................184Deferring to the better-informed...............................185Speaking with caution................................................186Criticise freely, but avoid wrangling ........................187Criticise constructively. Avoid unjust accusation ...187A sign of true learning: the ability to take criticism 188 ~ 18 ~
  18. 18. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsRefrain from untruths ................................................188In shielding others one shields oneself .....................189A liar is a hypocrite.....................................................190Viewing statements from a particular standpoint...190Think before you speak..............................................191Speaking much is not a sign of great knowledge ....191Wrongful accusation is the worst of crimes .............192One who does not control his tongue is evil ............192Being sparing of words is a sign of sincerity ...........192In the tongues of men are both Heaven and Hell....193Remaining silent is, in itself, a good deed................193One who fears God holds his tongue .......................194Most sins are committed by the tongue....................194Knowing when to speak and when to remain silent......................................................................................194Avoid looking askance at others ...............................195The cautious tone of one who fears God ..................195 ~ 19 ~
  19. 19. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents Openness to admonition: a sign of Islamic character ......................................................................................196 One who craves God’s mercy shows compassion to others ...........................................................................197 Both good and evil in what we say ...........................197 Thankfully accepting one’s lot ..................................197 Gauging one’s own strength before testing it on others ...........................................................................198 What a believer’s speech should be like ...................198 A good Muslim is one of good character .................199 Vain talk in itself is a sin ............................................1999. Manners In Society .....................................................200 God will do unto you as you have done unto others ......................................................................................200 Returning good for evil ..............................................200 Patience the best armour............................................200 To wish others harm is to harm oneself ...................201 To collaborate in injustice is sinful............................201 Justice for the weak and strong alike ........................202 ~ 20 ~
  20. 20. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsGranting forgiveness to one who seeks it.................202Three types of vilification mentioned in the Qur’an202How a believer should treat others...........................203Being sparing of words and not thinking ill of anyone......................................................................................203Being kind to adversaries...........................................204Suppression of anger leads to a strengthening of faith......................................................................................204Worshipping God and living in harmony with others......................................................................................205Not acting on suspicion..............................................205Confirming the truth of statements at their source .205The evils of society stem from the evils in individuals......................................................................................206If the door is not opened for you, leave without takingoffence..........................................................................206Putting one’s parents before oneself .........................207How Muslims bring calamity upon themselves......207Being unperturbed by directness ..............................208 ~ 21 ~
  21. 21. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsNo man is self-sufficient ............................................209Not allowing disagreement to sour a relationship ..209Remaining united and never being the first to attack......................................................................................209Hate whittles away a man’s religion ........................210Arguments over religious matters nullify piety ......211Dispute is the mark of decline...................................211A believer is satisfied, not by giving vent to his anger,but by controlling it ....................................................211Thriving on criticism ..................................................212Remaining calm in the face of criticism ....................212It is not for a Muslim to fight another Muslim ........214It is for God to judge...................................................214Not permitting disagreement to undermine mutualrespect ..........................................................................214Moderation in both friendship and enmity..............215Wisdom should go hand in hand with bravery.......215An oath of secrecy.......................................................216 ~ 22 ~
  22. 22. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents When it is prudent to make no reply ........................217 Learning the facts by asking the right questions .....218 In dealings with others, good intentions by themselves are not enough ........................................219 A believer should not involve himself in matters, which he is unable to deal with effectively ..............22010. Giving For The Cause of God..................................221 Wealth can be of use in this world and the next......221 One’s next of kin have the greatest right to one’s charity ..........................................................................221 A believer had best earn his own living ...................222 Extravagance is committed at the cost of worthwhile expenditure .................................................................223 Trusting in God, not wealth.......................................224 Building more for the Hereafter than for this world ......................................................................................224 Not even martyrdom cancels out an unpaid debt ...225 Spending what one has in order to escape the Fire.225 ~ 23 ~
  23. 23. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents Muslims should be dearer to each other than money ......................................................................................226 Spending for the cause of Islam in times of distress226 Thrift, even in the midst of plenty ............................227 Being punctilious in paying people their dues ........227 A piece of good advice is more precious than a material gift .................................................................227 Considering a man inferior on account of his calling is a mark of ignorance ....................................................228 Wealth and power breed hatred and enmity...........228 Prosperity the greatest trial........................................229 Three things, which must remain inviolate .............230 One does not lose by giving.......................................230 One who gives receives..............................................23011. Islamic Values ...........................................................231 Look before you leap..................................................231 Bearing with minor afflictions...................................231 Peace at any price .......................................................232 ~ 24 ~
  24. 24. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsThe laws of cause and effect applied to the Prophet’soffspring just as they did to others............................233Tactful answers in delicate situations.......................234Making straight for the hereafter and leaving theworld by the wayside.................................................235Retreat and fight another day....................................236The importance of learning in Islam .........................237The cure for anger is silence ......................................237Dealing with matters in a tactful manner.................238Rigidity is not the sign of religion.............................239Keeping one’s demands within the bounds of reason......................................................................................239Showing tolerance and understanding.....................240Being methodical ........................................................240Speech is silver: Silence is golden .............................241The price of preaching what is good.........................242Refusing power to avoid dissension.........................242Killing Muslims to gain power is to be abhorred ....243 ~ 25 ~
  25. 25. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents Man’s greatest struggle is with his own desires ......244 The devil in man .........................................................244 The actions most pleasing to God are those, which are persevered in...............................................................245 God stays with one who is failed by his fellow men ......................................................................................246 Grievances arising from misunderstanding.............247 Speak no ill of the dead ..............................................247 Allowing for others’ self-respect ...............................248 Satan arouses suspicion .............................................249 Charity is for everyone to give ..................................250 God’s favourite servants are those of the finest character ......................................................................250 Paying others what is due to them............................251 Justice for all ................................................................251 It is a wise man who fears God .................................25212. Islamic Character......................................................253 Suppressing one’s anger is a sign of good character ......................................................................................253 ~ 26 ~
  26. 26. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of ContentsThe actions, which will take us to heaven................254Compassion for all creatures .....................................254How a preacher of the word of God should act ......254Four important pieces of advice................................256Being a humanitarian .................................................256Cheats are not true Muslims......................................257The deeds dearest to the companions.......................257Not indulging in vain talk or wishing anyone ill ....258The fine sensitivity taught by Islam..........................258Pardoning a servant....................................................259Barbaric behaviour is to be abhorred at all times ....259Never delay the payment of wages ..........................259Praying for wrong-doers............................................260To curse a Muslim is a great sin ................................260To look down on another Muslim is to place Islam injeopardy .......................................................................261A man’s greatest weakness is his offspring .............261 ~ 27 ~
  27. 27. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents The role of the head of a household..........................262 No Muslim should ever consider another Muslim inferior .........................................................................262 Alarming a Muslim brother is a serious fault ..........263 A marriage without invitations.................................263 Caring for one’s household is no less important than the holy struggle .........................................................264 Refraining from subjecting people to inconvenience ......................................................................................265 The polite way of seeking permission to enter a house ......................................................................................266 Who should be invited to share food........................266 Doing one’s family bidding is no mark of faith.......267 A Muslim must suppress his desires ........................268 For one Muslim to sever relations with another Muslim is as bad as killing him .................................26813. Justice.........................................................................270 Parity before the law ..................................................270 Never sacrifice the truth to arrogance and jealousy271 ~ 28 ~
  28. 28. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents Great and small weigh alike in the scales of justice 271 A good leader must ensure that his orders are effectively carried out.................................................273 Impartial decision-making.........................................274 Making the Qur’an one’s greatest preoccupation ...274 No adverse reaction to rude behaviour....................275 When the elite prove trustworthy, others follow suit ......................................................................................276 Putting allegiance before controversy ......................276 What pleases and displeases God .............................27714. Unity ..........................................................................279 In latter days fraternal strife will be the greatest destructive force..........................................................279 A spiritual bond should remain untarnished by personal differences....................................................280 Restraining one’s hand and one’s tongue from attacking one’s brethren.............................................280 Remaining neutral in a fratricidal war .....................281 ~ 29 ~
  29. 29. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents It is a ruler’s duty to reform others, but those others are responsible only for themselves..........................281 Bearing personal affronts with good grace ..............282 Unfailing obedience to one’s commander................283 Offer a ruler advice in private–not in public............283 Communal sentiment belongs to the days of ignorance .....................................................................284 Never stoop to controversy .......................................285 A grievance at home should not mean desertion to the enemy...........................................................................287 Fighting one’s own people deprives one of God’s succour.........................................................................288 Declining power in the interests of unity .................289 Worship, unity and good intentions.........................290 Keeping contention out of religious affairs..............290 Good deeds are nullified by disputes over religious matter...........................................................................291 Remaining with the flock...........................................29215. Divine Succour..........................................................293 ~ 30 ~
  30. 30. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents God cares for those who do their duty to Him ........293 Wisdom: God’s greatest gift ......................................294 The danger of action without knowledge ................294 Seeing the positive aspect of misfortune ..................294 Correcting a false impression even at the expense of one’s own prestige ......................................................296 God helps those who help others..............................297 Insight comes with true faith.....................................299 God’s mercy for the merciful.....................................300 With God’s help a handful can conquer a multitude ......................................................................................300 Their greatest strength was Islam .............................301 Those who serve God alone shall be raised above other men.....................................................................302 Secrecy is of the essence in launching an attack ......30416. Earning A Living ......................................................305 It is best to work for one’s living ...............................305 The breadwinner should not consider himself superior to others........................................................305 ~ 31 ~
  31. 31. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents Running to another’s assistance is a great religious duty ..............................................................................305 One’s trust in God is one’s greatest strength ...........306 Honest partners have a third partner in God...........307 Acting as spokesman for the humble in position ....307 God’s generosity to the generous..............................307 The value of right action ............................................308 The greatest charity is that bestowed upon the most ill-provided for............................................................309 The greatest in intelligence is the least attached to the world............................................................................309 The best provision is that which has been earned...309 Avoiding condescension ............................................31017. Calling Mankind To The Truth ...............................311 The message revealed to the Prophet .......................311 Admonishing in general terms..................................311 The power of the Qur’an to inspire faith..................312 The Hereafter: all-important to the Prophet, but not so to his opponents..........................................................312 ~ 32 ~
  32. 32. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Table of Contents Bringing Islam without condescension, to everyone ......................................................................................313 Unadulterated truth is pure anathema to many......314 Speaking the language of one’s hearers ...................315 Failure to reform should never elicit curses.............315An Islamic Treasury of Virtues .....................................318 ~ 33 ~
  33. 33. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues ForewordFOREWORDOne way of presenting Islam is by means ofinterpretation, that is, by scholarly additions andexplanations which make Islamic teachings moreunderstandable and, in consequence, moreeffective. This has always been, and always will be,a part of Islamic daw’ah.But another way of presenting Islam is to translateit into another language without any alterations,additions or explanations. This is the methodadopted in this book, in which the sayings anddeeds of the Prophet Muhammad, upon whom bepeace, and his Companions have been collected andpresented in a simple, straightforward style. Theonly additions are the separate headings underwhich the different sayings and incidents appear.For centuries the lives of the Prophet and hisCompanions have served as models of a truly Godfearing existence for all mankind, and will continueto do so until Doomsday. Hence God’s preservationof this page of history with such exactitude thatanyone who is sincere about learning from their ~ 34 ~
  34. 34. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues Forewordexample can know, even today, every detail of howthey lived and died.The present book, being a judicious selection from thedeeds and saying which make up this model, gives anauthentic picture of the Islamic way of life. With thisbook to throw light on the traditions of the Prophetand his Companions, one can pattern one’s life in sucha way as to be certain of receiving God’s succour andblessings during one’s life time, and His rewards inthe Hereafter for the good deeds done in this life.Besides being an aid to personal study andindividual training, this book will be of greatbenefit when read out at gatherings and inmosques, providing, as it does, valuable materialfor congregational recitations. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan February 14, 1985The Islamic Centre1, Nizamuddin West MarketNew Delhi-110013 ~ 35 ~
  35. 35. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s people1. GOD’S PEOPLETHOSE WHO SHOW MERCY WILL BE DEALTWITH MERCIFULLY“The Merciful One shows mercy to the merciful,”said the Prophet. “Be merciful with those on earth.The One in Heaven will be merciful with you.” (AHMAD, ABU DAWUD, AL TIRMIDHI)WHATEVER HAPPENS IS THE WILL OF GODWhen certain people offered to guard Ali (Thefourth Caliph), the son of Abu Talib, the latterreplied, “Destiny is man’s guardian.” According toanother tradition, he said, “No man will taste thejoy of faith until he realizes that he could neverhave escaped what has befallen him, nor enjoyedwhat escaped him.” (ABU DAWUD, SUNAN)REMAINING STEADFAST IN THE FACE OFPERSECUTIONDuring the Abbasid Caliphate the emergence of the ~ 36 ~
  36. 36. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peopleMutazilite creed 1 stirred up controversy amongMuslims, as a result of which Imam Ahmad ibnHambal had severe punishments inflicted uponhim. Yet he refused to alter the position he hadadopted. Hafiz ibn Hajar tells us that he was beatenso severely as to make “even an elephant flee.”Note:1. Its adherents believe the word of God to have been created in subjecto, and to consist of letters and sound; copies thereof being written in books, to express or imitate the original.THE MOST WORTHWHILE WORK ISPREACHING THE WORD OF GODThe Prophet said: “That God should grantguidance, through you, to just one person is betterfor you than everything on which the sun rises.”THE PREACHER OF GOD’S WORD WISHESPEOPLE WELL, NO MATTER HOW THEYTREAT HIMThe Prophet besieged Taif for more than twentydays. When it became difficult for the Muslims to ~ 37 ~
  37. 37. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peoplecontinue with the siege, he ordered them towithdraw. It was then suggested that the Prophetbring down a curse upon the heads of theThaqeef tribe, but the Prophet merely raised bothhands and prayed: “Lord, guide the Thaqeef, andbring them into the fold of Islam.” The Prophetwas likewise told of the contumacy and disbeliefof the Daus tribe, and again it was suggested thathe should invoke a curse upon them, but theProphet’s response was again to pray. “Lord,guide the Daus,” he begged, “and bring them intothe fold of the faithful.”A GOOD DEED IS OF NO VALUE IF IT MAKESONE PROUDIbn Ataullah As-Sikandari wrote in his book, Al-Hikam: “A sin which makes one meek and humbleis better than a good deed which makes one proudand arrogant.”OF ALL ACTIONS, THE MOST SUBLIME ISREMEMBRANCE OF GODAbu Darda reports the Prophet as asking hiscompanions: “Should I not tell you of the action ~ 38 ~
  38. 38. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peoplethat is best and most pure in the presence ofyour Lord; the action which will raise you up inthe sight of God, and is better for you than greatexpenditure of gold and silver; better too thanthat you should meet your enemies in battle,striking their necks and they striking yours?”“Do tell us,” the Companions replied, “It isremembrance of God,” said the Prophet. (AL-TIRMIDHI, SHAMA’IL)AN ABLE AND RIGHTEOUS MAN – THE MOSTTREASURED ASSETZayd ibn Aslam reports, on the authority of hisfather, that Umar ibn Khattab asked some of hiscompanions to tell him about their ambitions. “Iwould like to have this house full of money, sothat I could spend it in the path of God,”volunteered one. Another said that he wouldlike gold-yet another mentioned pearls-so thattheir wealth could be spent in the furtherance ofGod’s cause. “What I would like more thananything,” said Umar, “would be to have thishouse full of men like Abu Ubaidah ibn alJarrah, Muadh ibn Jabal and Hudhaifah ibn al ~ 39 ~
  39. 39. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peopleYaman, so that I could use them for God’swork.” (AL TARIKH AL-SAGHIR)QUALITIES OF LEADERSHIPIn the context of his relationship with the CaliphUmar, Abdullah ibn Abbas says that he servedhim better even than the members of his ownhousehold, and that “he used to seat me next tohim and showed me great respect.” He relateshow one day when he was alone with him in hishome, he suddenly heaved such a deep sigh thatit was as if he was about to surrender his soul.Abdullah enquired. “Is it because of someapprehension that you heave this sigh?” “It is,indeed,” he replied, and asking Abdullah tocome nearer, he told him that he did not know ofanyone capable of taking on ‘this work’ bywhich he meant the caliphate. Abdullah ibnAbbas then mentioned six names, and asked theCaliph if he did not know them. Umarcommented on each one of them in turn and thensaid: “One who is firm but not overbearing, softbut not weak, generous but not extravagant, ~ 40 ~
  40. 40. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peoplethrifty but not miserly – only such a person is fitfor this task.” According to Abdullah ibn Abbas,only Umar ibn al Khattab himself possessed allthese qualities. (KANZ AL-UMMAL)WHAT THOSE WHO SIT WITH LEADERSSHOULD BE LIKEAbdullah ibn Abbas tells of how his father oncesaid to him: “My boy, I see how the Commanderof the Faithful, Umar ibn al Khattab, invites youto his meetings and takes you into his confidence.He also turns to you as well as to the otherCompanions for advice. I am going to give youthree pieces of advice which are worthremembering: firstly, fear God, and never let it besaid of you by Umar that you told a lie; secondly,keep his secrets well, and thirdly, never speak illof anyone in his presence.” Amir says that eachone of those pieces of advice was better than athousand. “Better than ten thousand,” rejoinedAbbas. (AI-TABARANI) ~ 41 ~
  41. 41. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peopleSYCOPHANTIC SUBORDINATES PORTENDDISASTERAishah reports the Prophet as saying: “When Goddesires the good of someone in a position of power,he assigns to him an honest counsellor, one whoreminds him of God’s word when he forgets it, andwho assists him when he remembers it. And whenhe desires the opposite for anyone, He gives him anevil counsellor, one who does not remind him whenhe forgets and does not assist him when heremembers.” (ABU DAWUD, SUNAN)LIP SERVICE IS NOT PROOF OF REALATTACHMENTJubair ibn Nufair relates how, as his father wassitting with Miqdad ibn Aswad one day, a passerby,on seeing a Companion of the Prophet said: “Howfortunate are those two eyes that have seen theProphet! By God, if only we could have seen whatyou saw and shared in your experiences!” Nufairsaid that he was impressed by the man’s words; heseemed to have spoken well. But Miqdad – may ~ 42 ~
  42. 42. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peopleGod be pleased with him looked towards the manand said: “No one whom God has saved from beingpresent at those hours should desire to have beenthere. Who knows how they would have acted inthose circumstances? By God, many of whom Godcast into Hell came to see the Prophet, such as didnot accept what he said, or believe in his mission.”EVEN SELF-SACRIFICE IS OF NO VALUEWITHOUT TOTAL SINCERITYA certain Muslim participated in the Battle of Uhud(3 A.H.) and died fighting. When his mother learntof the death, she cried out for her “martyred” son.“Hold your peace,” the Prophet told her “How doyou know that he has been martyred? He used toindulge in vain talk and was miserly with things thatit would have done him no harm to give away.” (At-TlRMIDHI, SHAMA’IL)IT IS WRONG EVEN TO HINT A PARTNERSHIPWITH GOD“That which God wishes, and you wish, will cometo pass,” said a certain individual to the Prophet. ~ 43 ~
  43. 43. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peopleThe latter showed his intense displeasure at thisremark. “Have you set me up as a compeer withGod?” he asked. “Say, rather, that which God alonewishes will come to pass.”HAVE TRUST IN GOD RIGHT UP TILL THEENDWhen the Prophet left Makkah on his emigration toMadinah, he spent the first three days in the Cave ofThur. The Quraysh, who were searching for him,eventually arrived at this cave. Abu Bakr, who wasin hiding with the Prophet, said, “Prophet of God,look how close the enemy has come. If they werejust to look at their feet, they would see us beneaththem.” “Abu Bakr,” the Prophet replied, “What doyou think of those two who have God as a third?” (AL-BIDAYAH WA AL-NIHAYAH)THINKING OF GOD IN MOMENTS OF CRISIS‘Ali, the son of Abu Talib, related how Fatima, hiswife and also daughter of the Prophet had to doall the housework herself. Her hands used tobecome blistered from working a millstone, her ~ 44 ~
  44. 44. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peopleclothes became dirty from sweeping the floor, andhaving to bring water from outside in a largeleather bag had left a mark on her neck. On oneoccasion when the Prophet had had an influx ofservants, ‘Ali suggested to Fatima that she go andrequest her father to give her one of them to helpher in her work. She duly went to see him, butthere were many people gathered at his house,and she returned home, without having been ableto meet him. The next day the Prophet came to thehouse of Ali and Fatima and asked what it wasshe had wanted to discuss with him, but Fatimaremained silent. Then ‘Ali told the Prophet thewhole story. The Prophet did not, however,accede to their request for a servant. “Fear God,”he said, “and fulfill your duty to the Lord.Continue to do your housework and, when you goto bed at night, glorify God 33 times, praise himthe same number of times and exalt him 34 times.That makes 100 times altogether. That will do youmore good than a servant will.” (AL-TARGHEEB WA AL-TARHEEB) ~ 45 ~
  45. 45. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peopleON HEARING THE HEREAFTER MENTIONED,HE WAIVED HIS CLAIMUmm Salamah tells of how two of the Ansarbrought a dispute before the Prophet about along-standing issue of inheritance for whichneither party could produce a witness. “You bringme your disputes,” the Prophet said to them,“and, when no proper evidence is broughtforward, I judge them according to my own wayof thinking. I might, on the basis of partialevidence, make a settlement in favour of one ofthe parties, but in so doing, it may be that I takeaway from the other what is his rightful due. Inthat case, the one in whose favour I passjudgement should not accept what has beenapportioned to him, for that would be like hisaccepting a firebrand which, on the Day ofResurrection, would stick on his neck.” At thesewords, both the Ansar broke down and wept.“Prophet of God!” they both cried out, “he canhave my rightful share!” “The Prophet then toldthem that in view of their changed attitude theyshould go and, seeking to do what was just andright, should divide the inheritance into two parts. ~ 46 ~
  46. 46. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peopleThen they should draw lots as to who should havewhich part. In this way, each would have theother’s approval of the share he received. (KANZ AL-UMMAL)FEAR OF GOD MADE THE STICK FALL FROMHIS HANDAbu Masud Ansari says that one day he becameangry with his slave and began beating him with astick. Just then he heard a voice from behind him“Abu Masud, realise ... ,” but, in his fury, he wasunable to recognize the voice. When the speakercame nearer, he realized that it was the Prophet ofGod. “You should realize,” said the Prophet, “thatGod has more power over you than you have overthis slave.” On hearing this, Abu Masud let thestick fall from his hand. “Never again will I beat aslave,” he vowed, “and seeking God’s goodpleasure, I hereby give this slave his freedom.” “Ifyou had not done this, you would have beentouched by the flames of Hell,” said the Prophet. (MUSLIM, SAHIH) ~ 47 ~
  47. 47. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peopleFEARING GOD’S PUNISHMENT, EVEN WHENONE IS DEALING WITH THE LOWLYOnce when the Prophet was at home with his wife,Umm Salamah, he summoned the maidservant forsome errand, but she seemed to take a long time incoming. Seeing signs of anger on the Prophet’s face,Umm Salamah got up to see what had happened tothe girl. She opened the curtain and saw her playingoutside with the goat’s kids. She called to her onceagain, and this time she came. The Prophet washolding a tooth-stick at the time, “If I had not fearedthe retribution of Judgement Day,” he said to thegirl, “I would have hit you with this tooth-stick”. (AL-ADAB AL-MUFRAD)THE GREATEST FAVOUR TO SEEK FROM GODIS FORGIVENESSAccording to Anas ibn Malik, the Helpers (MadinanMuslims) suffered from not having enough camelsto irrigate their land. They came, therefore, to theProphet, hoping that he would be able to providethem with camels, or arrange for a canal to be dug,which would bring them an abundant supply of ~ 48 ~
  48. 48. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peoplewater. The Prophet looked towards the Helpers andgreeted them thrice. “Whatever you ask of metoday, I shall certainly give you,” he said. “Andwhatever I ask of God on your behalf, He willsurely grant.” At these words, the Helpersexperienced a change of heart. “The greatest thingwe can ask for is the Hereafter,” they thought.“Why waste such a precious opportunity by askingfor the world?” Then they said to one another, “Letus take advantage of this opportunity and ask forforgiveness.” Addressing the Prophet they said,“Ask the Lord to forgive us.” “Lord, forgive theHelpers,” was the Prophet’s immediate response.“Forgive their children: forgive their wives.” (AHMAD, MUSNAD)AVOIDING ANGERAbu Hurayrah tells of how a man came before theProphet and asked him for some advice. “Do not beangry,” said the Prophet. He asked for furtheradvice, a second and a third time, and each time theProphet repeated the words, “Do not be angry.” (AL-BUKHARI SAHIH) ~ 49 ~
  49. 49. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peopleKNOWING THE WORLD, BUT NOT THEHEREAFTERAbu Darda asked certain individuals, “How is itthat I behold you full of food, but starved ofknowledge?” (JAMI‘ BAYAN AL-ILM)THEY WILL BE OF GOOD CHEER ONMEETING GODWhile still a young man, Talhah ibn Bara’ came tothe Prophet to swear allegiance to him and toaccept Islam. “I am at your behest,” he vowed tothe Prophet. “I will do exactly as you command.”“Even if I tell you to sever your relations withyour parents?” the Prophet asked. (Talha used tolook after his mother with great affection.) Talhaibn Bara’ at once prepared himself to carry outthe Prophet’s command. “Talha,” the Prophetsaid to him, “Our religion does not teach one tosever ties. I just wanted you to be absolutelycertain of your faith.”Talha ibn Bara’ came within the fold of Islam and ~ 50 ~
  50. 50. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peopleremained a fine Muslim till the day he died.When he was suffering his final illness, theProphet came to visit him and found him in astate of unconsciousness. “I think that Talha’ ssoul will be taken up tonight,” he said. Hedeparted then, asking to be informed when Talharegained consciousness.It was midnight before he did so, and he said thatthe Prophet should not be disturbed at that latehour. “He might be bitten by some harmfulcreature, or some enemy might do him an injuryif he comes out at night,” he protested. Talhapassed away that very night and the Prophet wasnot informed until after the morning prayer. TheProphet prayed, “Lord, meet him in such a waythat both he and You are of good cheer onmeeting each other.” (AL-TABARANI)WHAT REALLY MATTERS IS THE MAN WITHINA complaint was made to the Prophet about thebehaviour of Abdullah ibn Hudhaifah. It wassaid that he joked and played the fool too much. ~ 51 ~
  51. 51. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s people“Let him be,” said the Prophet, “for, deep down,he has great love for God and His Prophet.” (IBN ‘ASAKIR)EXTENDING UNSTINTED SUPPORTAbu Bakr called together the Companions and toldthem of his intention to send an expedition to Syria.“God will surely grant the Muslims His succour,”he told them, “and exalt His word.” In theconsultations that followed, some of theCompanions opposed certain of Abu Bakr’s ideas.Even so, after brief discussions, all of them-withouta single voice of dissent-urged Abu Bakr to do as hethought fit. “We shall neither oppose nor blameyou,” they assured him. (IBN ‘ASAKIR)IN BETWEEN TWO POSSIBILITIESThe Prophet often used to pray: “O turner of hearts,keep our hearts firm in faith.” Having heard himrepeat this prayer on many occasions, Prophet’swife, Aishah once asked him, “Prophet of God, whyis it that you offer this prayer so often?” The ~ 52 ~
  52. 52. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peopleProphet then explained to her, “Everyone’s heart isin between two of God’s fingers. When He wishesto set a man’s heart straight, He does so, and whenhe wishes to set it awry, He does so.”THE HEART AND THE TONGUE: OF ALLTHINGS THE BEST AND THE WORSTLuqman the Wise, an Abyssynian slave, wasonce asked by his master to slaughter a goatand bring him two pieces of its best meat.Luqman did as he was bid, then cooked the goatand brought his master its tongue and heart. Afew days later, his master asked him toslaughter another goat and, this time, bring himtwo pieces of its worst meat. Luqman again didas he was bid, but presented his master with thesame two parts of the animal-its tongue and itsheart. His master then inquired as to why it wasthat he had brought him the same parts on bothoccasions. “If both these parts are sound,”replied Luqman, “then there is nothing tocompare with them. But if they are bothdefective, there is nothing worse.” ~ 53 ~
  53. 53. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peopleOBEDIENCE TO THE PROPHET, COME WHATMAYWhen Mughirah ibn Shu’ba told the Prophet that heintended to marry the daughter of a certain person,the Prophet told him to go and see her first. He didas he was bade by the Prophet, informing the girl’sparents of his intentions and the Prophet’sinjunction. The girl’s parents were neverthelessreluctant to let their daughter appear before astranger. The girl, however, who was in the nextroom overheard the conversation and said, “If theProphet has given this order, then come and see me.If he has not, I implore you in God’s name not to doso.” (IBN MAJAH, SUNAN)SINCERITY AND PIETY THE ESSENCE OFISLAMUthman ibn Affan tells of how the Prophet said thathe knew which testimony would save one from theFire, provided it was uttered from the depths ofone’s heart. Umar offered to explain the nature ofsuch an affirmation to the Companions. He said ~ 54 ~
  54. 54. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peoplethat it was the testimony of sincerity, which Godhad prescribed for the Prophet and his companions,and the testimony of piety, which the Prophet hadpressed upon his uncle, Abu Talib, as the latter laydying: it was, ultimately, the testimony that there isnone worthy of being worshipped save God.TRUE FAITH BRINGS VISIONS OF UNSEENREALITIESMalik ibn Anas tells of how Muadh ibn Jabal camebefore the Prophet and was asked by him, “How isyour morning?” “Full of faith in God,” repliedMuadh. “Every statement applies to something inparticular, just as every statement has an innermeaning. To what does your present statementapply?” asked the Prophet. Muadh then told theProphet that he had never woken up in the morningthinking that he would live till the evening, andnever gone to rest in the evening thinking that hewould live till morning; nor did he even take onestep without the thought crossing his mind that hemight not be able to take another. “It is as though Isee all those communities, down on their knees,being called to account for their actions. Along with ~ 55 ~
  55. 55. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peoplethem are their prophets, and their idols, too, – thoseto which they used to appeal, as well as to God. It isas if I see, with my very own eyes, how the peoplein Hell are being punished and the people inParadise are being rewarded.” “You have attainedtrue realization,” the Prophet told him. “Now letthere be no falling away from it.” (HILYAT AL-AULIYA)THE QUR’AN IS FOR ADMONITION, NOTJUST FOR RECITALAishah, hearing of certain individuals who read theQur’an all night, reading it right through once, oreven twice in a night, remarked, “what is there inmere recitation?” I used to stay up all night with theProphet and, in his recitations of the chaptersentitled ‘Cow’, ‘Family of Imran’, and ‘Women’,whenever he came to a verse which contained awarning, he would pray to God and seek refugewith Him, and whenever he came to a verse bearinggood tidings, he would pray to God and express hislonging for what was mentioned in the verse. (AHMAD, MUSNAD) ~ 56 ~
  56. 56. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peopleBEAR HARDSHIP WITH PATIENCE, ANDONE’S SINS WILL BE FORGIVEN IN THE NEXTWORLDAbu Bakr once recited this verse of the Qur’anbefore the Prophet: “He that does evil shall berequited with it. There shall be none to protect orhelp him.” (4:123) “How,” he asked, “can thingsnow turn out well for us, since we shall have to payfor the evil that we do?” “May God forgive you,Abu Bakr,” the Prophet said, “don’t you everbecome ill, or feel fatigue or distress? Aren’t yousometimes afflicted with hardship? Don’t you fallinto error now and then?” Abu Bakr said that hedid indeed. “This then is the requital of your sins inthis world,” said the Prophet. (KANZ AL- UMMAL)THE EMINENT SHOULD GRIEVE FOR THELOWLYIt happened that a woman of Madinah, who used toclean the mosque, passed away. She was black-skinned and mentally deranged and there were fewto perform her funeral. Those who came to it did ~ 57 ~
  57. 57. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 1. god’s peoplenot think it proper to inform the Prophet. When hefinally heard about it, he asked to be informed ofthe death of any Muslim in future, irrespective ofhis or her status. ~ 58 ~
  58. 58. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?2. WHAT IS FAITH?LOSE ALL, GAIN ALLThe first Caliph, Abu Bakr, sent out Khalid ibnWalid on a military campaign. One of the pieces ofadvice he gave him was: “Desire of death you willbe granted life.”KNOWLEDGE IS MORE THAN JUSTINFORMATIONMalik, ibn Anas said: “Knowledge is enlightenment.It comes only to a humble, fearing, pious heart.”AFFLUENCE IS THE GREATEST TRIALSaad ibn Abu Waqqas tells of the Prophetsaying; “I fear for you in the trial of worldlydeprivation. But I fear for you even more in thetrial of affluence. You have remained patient inthe face of worldly oppression, but will you notbe carried away by the sweetness and luxurianceof this world?” ~ 59 ~
  59. 59. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?ALL MAN’S SINS, EXCEPT PRIDE, MAY BEFORGIVEN“There is hope of forgiveness for every sin thatarises from carnal desire,” said Sufyan ath-Thauri,“but not for those that stem from pride. Satansinned out of pride, while Adam erred due to carnaldesire. Adam repented and was forgiven, but thesin of Satan excluded him forever from God’sgracious mercy.”THE PROPHET’S WAY OF GIVING ADVICEThe Prophet once said of Khuzaim, one of theCompanions, “What a fine fellow Khuzaim wouldbe, if only his locks were not so long and his shawldid not drag on the ground (Abu Dawud, Sunan).”When Khuzaim heard what the Prophet had said ofhim, he took a knife and cut off his locks. In likemanner, the Prophet said of another companion,Abdullah by name, what a fine fellow he would be“if only he prayed at night.” When Abdullah heardthis, he immediately started praying at night,sleeping for only a very short time. (AL-BUKHARI, SAHIH) ~ 60 ~
  60. 60. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?WHEN EVIL LIVES ONA wise man once said: “Blessed are those whosesins die with them. Damned are those whose sinslive on after them.”REMAINING ON SPEAKING TERMSAta Ibn Hasid reports the Prophet as having said:“It is not right for anyone to break off ties with hisbrother for more than three days, with the twomeeting and ignoring each other. He who greets theother first is the better of the two.” (AL-BUKHARI, SAHIH)FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE EARLYMUSLIMS: THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO REFORMImam Malik once observed, “Latter-day Muslimscan reform only by means of that which enabledearly Muslims to reform.”HOPING FOR SOMETHING IS NOT ENOUGH.IT MUST BE WORKED FORAli, the son of Abu Talib, once exhorted the people: ~ 61 ~
  61. 61. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?“People, I urge you-and myself-to be pious andobedient. Send good works before you and cherishno false hopes. For hopes will not compensate for it.NOT HATING EVEN THE DIREST OF ENEMIESAt the Battle of Uhud, the Prophet had his teethbroken by a stone thrown at him by one of theenemy, and blood streamed from his mouth. Someof the Companions urged the Prophet to curse theseenemies who wrought such havoc. (Among themany Companions who died in the battle was theProphet’s own uncle, Hamzah.) The Prophet’sresponse to this was: “I have not been sent as acurser. I have been sent as a preacher and the bearerof God’s mercy.”A TRUE BELIEVER SHOWS NO HESITATION INANSWERING THE CALL OF THE ALMIGHTYThe chapter entitled ‘The Table’ in the Qur’ancontains this divine injunction:“Believers, wine and games of chance, idols anddivining arrows, are abominations devised by thedevil. Avoid them, so that you may prosper. The ~ 62 ~
  62. 62. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?devil seeks to stir up enmity and hatred among youby means of wine and gambling, and to keep youfrom the remembrance of God, and from yourprayers. Will you not abstain from them?” (5:90,91)When this verse of the Qur’an was revealed, theProphet, as was customary on such occasions,recited it to the Companions. When he reached theend of the verse – “Will you not abstain fromthem?” – every one of the Companions shouted out:“We have abstained from them, Lord. We haveabstained from them.”THE GOD-FEARING TREATS OTHERS BESTMaamar, who belonged to the next generation afterthe Companions, tells us that the latter used often tosay: “Your greatest well-wisher is he who fears Godwith regard to you.”BOWING AT THE VERY NAME OF GODThe Prophet was in Aishah’s chamber when heheard two men quarrelling at the tops of theirvoices outside. One of them had lent money tothe other, who now wanted to pay back less thanhe had borrowed. But his creditor was adamant. ~ 63 ~
  63. 63. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?“Never will I relent, by God!” he exclaimed. TheProphet then went out to see the quarrellingpair. “Who is this, swearing in God’s name thathe will not do good?” he asked. At the Prophet’swords, the man mellowed immediately. “It wasI, Prophet of God,” he owned up. Then headded, “He can have whatever arrangement hepleases.” (AL-BUKHARI, MUSLIM)SALVATION IS FOR THOSE WHO TREAD THEPATH OF THE PROPHET AND HISCOMPANIONSThe Prophet said: “The Jews broke up intoseventy-one sects and the Christians into seventy-two. This community will break up into seventythree, all of which will be in the Fire, except ofone.” “Which one is that, Prophet of God?” theCompanions asked him. “Those who follow mypath and that of my Companions,” the Prophetreplied. (IBN KATHIR, TAFSIR) ~ 64 ~
  64. 64. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?CONVERSING WITH GOD MORE AND WITHMEN LESSThaur ibn Yazid tells of how in the course of hisreading, he came across an interesting dialoguebetween Jesus and his disciples. “Converse withGod more and with people less,” admonishedJesus. “How can we converse with God more?”his disciples asked him, “By prayer andsupplication to Him in private,” answeredJesus. (ABU NU‘AYM)REMEMBRANCE OF GOD THE GREATEST ACTOF WORSHIPAbdullah ibn Abbas once said that he preferreddiscussing religious knowledge for a part of thenight to staying up all night in worship of God. (JAMI‘ BAYAN AL-ILM)GOD’S OWN ARE THOSE WHO ACCEPT THEQUR’ANAnas ibn Malik reports the Prophet as saying: ~ 65 ~
  65. 65. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?“Some people belong to God.” Asked who theywere, he said, “Those who adhere to the Qur’an.” (AL-DARMI, SUNAN)LIKING CRITICISMThe Caliph Umar once came to the drinkingplace of the Bani Harithah where he came uponMuhammad ibn Maslamah. “How do you findme?” he asked Muhammad. “By God, I find youjust as I would like you to be and just as itwould please any well-wisher to see you. Youare good at accumulating wealth, I see, but youkeep your hands clean of it yourself,distributing it equitably.“But,” went on Muhammad ibn Maslamah, “Ifyou adopt a crooked course, we will straightenyou, just as we straighten swords by placingthem in a vice.” At these words, Umar, thesecond Muslim Caliph, exclaimed: “Praise be toGod, who has put me among a people who willstraighten me when I become crooked.” (KANZ AL-UMMAL) ~ 66 ~
  66. 66. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?RISING ABOVE LOVE AND HATEWhen the Prophet emigrated from Makkah toMadinah, the keys of the House of God in Makkahwere in the custody of one Uthman ibn Abu Talhah,they having remained in the keeping of his familyfor several generations. One day, the Prophet askedUthman for the keys, but the latter refused to handthem over, and spoke rudely to him. The Prophetheard him out but all he said finally was: “Uthman,perhaps you will live to see the day when I shallhave these keys in my hands. I shall then be in aposition to give them unto whom I will.” “It will bea day of disgrace and woe for the Quraysh whenthe keys of the Ka’bah are in the hands of one suchas you” replied Uthman.After the conquest of Makkah, God’s Messengerreigned supreme there, and asked for the keys ofthe Ka’bah to be handed over to him. When thekeys were actually in his hands, his own cousin andson-in-law, Ali ibn Abu Talib, arose and asked forthem to be given to him. The Prophet, however, didnot respond, Instead, he summoned Uthman ibnTalhah, when he stood before him, the Prophet ~ 67 ~
  67. 67. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?handed him the keys, saying, “Here are your keys,Uthman. This is a day of righteousness andfulfillment of promises.” (IBN QAYYIM, ZAD AL-MA‘AD)PATIENCE AND FORBEARANCE IN THE FACEOF IGNORANCEZayd ibn Sa’ana, a Jewish scholar, who lateraccepted Islam, recounts how, when he saw theProphet, he recognized the signs of Prophethood inhis face. There were two things at that time whichhe had yet to see – his patience and his forbearance.He was soon to learn from his personal experiencethat the ignorance of another actually intensifiedthis latter quality of the Prophet.One day Zayd ibn Sa’ana saw the Prophet and hiscousin Ali approaching and, from another directiona man, apparently a bedouin, riding up to them ona camel. The man explained to the Prophet that hewas one of a group of people in a certain town whohad accepted Islam, having been told by him that ifthey became Muslims, they would be abundantlyprovided for by God. Now a drought had set in ~ 68 ~
  68. 68. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?there, and he was afraid that his people mightforsake Islam out of greed, for it was greed, whichhad made them become Muslims in the first place.“If you think fit,” he suggested to the Prophet, “Youcould send them some assistance.” The Prophetlooked enquiringly at Ali who, realizing what theProphet’s glance meant, pointed out that such fundswere all exhausted. Zayd ibn Sa’ana thenapproached the Prophet and offered to give himsome money in return for dates. The Prophetagreed, and Zayd ibn Sa’ana handed over eightymithqals2 of gold, all of which the Prophet gave tothe bedouin, saying, “Help them and distribute thisjustly amongst them.”A day had been fixed for Zayd ibn Sa’ana to begiven the dates owed to him, but two or three daysbeforehand, he went to the Prophet who happenedto be sitting in the shade of a wall along withseveral of his Companions, and, catching hold ofhim by the clothes, he said to him in a mostperemptory fashion, “Why don’t you pay me whatyou owe me? By God, from what I know of theBanu Muttalib, they are always putting off repayingtheir debts!” Umar, who was sitting with the ~ 69 ~
  69. 69. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?Prophet at the time, was inflamed at the Jew’swords and burst out, “Enemy of God, don’t thinkthat I can’t hear what you are saying to God’smessenger. By the One who holds sway over mysoul, it is only out of deference to him that I do notcut off your head with my sword!” The Prophet,however, continued to gaze tranquilly at Zayd ibnSa’ana. Then, turning to Umar he said, “Umar, thisman and I both deserved different treatment fromyou. You might have told me to be quicker atpaying my debts and him to be less exacting indemanding them. Go and pay him whatever is dueto him, Umar, and give him twenty sa’as3 extra forhaving alarmed him.” (AL-TABARANI, IBN MAJAH)Note:2. An Arabic weight. Richardson gives it at a dram and three-sevenths.3. The Qamus explains suwa as a certain vessel from which one drinks, and Sai, a measure of capacity. Its invariable measure being, according to ancient authorities, four times the ~ 70 ~
  70. 70. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith? quantity of corn that fills the hands of a man of moderate size.SWALLOWING ONE’S ANGER INCREASESONE’S FAITHAbdullah ibn Abbas records the Prophet as saying:“The draught of one who swallows his anger isdearer to God than any other. God fills with faithone who swallows his anger for God’s sake.” (AHMAD, MUSNAD)IMMUNE TO FLATTERYA group of individuals, addressing themselves toUmar ibn Khattab as Caliph, swore that they hadnot seen anyone more just, more truthful or moresevere on hypocrites than he was. “Next to theProphet, you are the greatest of men.” Auf ibnMalik happened to be present at the time. He sworean oath that these people had lied: “We have seenbetter than Umar since the time of the Prophet.”“Who was that?” they asked him. “Abu Bakr,” Aufreplied. Umar’s response to this was to say that Aufwas right and that they were wrong. “By God,” said ~ 71 ~
  71. 71. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?Umar, “Abu Bakr was purer than pure musk, whileI am more wayward even than my householdcamels.” (ABU NU‘AYM)TO PRAISE SOMEONE TO HIS FACE IS TODESTROY ONESELFA certain individual came before Umar and beganextolling the latter’s virtues. “You are destroyingme and destroying yourself,” was Umar’s reply.NOT LETTING PRAISE GO TO ONE’S HEADDhiba ibn Mohsin recounts how he once told Umarthat h was a better man than Abu Bakr. On hearingsuch praise Umar broke down, and said, “Just oneday and one night in the life of Abu Bakr are worthmore than the whole of my life!’ Then he asked,“Shall I tell you which day and which night I amreferring to?” “Please do, Commander of theFaithful,’ replied Dhiba. “The night I am referring towas when the Prophet fled from his adversaries inMakkah. Abu Bakr was the only man to go withhim. The day I am referring to was the day of the ~ 72 ~
  72. 72. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?Prophet’s death. That day, many Arabs went backon their pledge to Islam, saying that they wouldpray but would not pay the poor-due went to AbuBakr and advised him to be lenient with thesepeople. He said to me, “Umar, in the old days ofignorance, (that is, prior to Islam) you were a braveman. Now, in Islamic times, you have become acoward. As for myself, I will wage war on them, byGod, so long as I am strong enough to hold a swordin my hand, even if they withhold so much as apiece of string!” (KANZ AL-UMMAL)BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO TOLERATE THESEVERITY OF THE RIGHTEOUSAbu Saeed relates how an Arab desert-dwellercame to the Prophet to demand the repayment ofa debt. “I will make life difficult for you if you donot repay what you owe,”· he said. TheCompanions reprimanded him. “Shame on you,”they said to him, “do you not realize to whomyou are speaking?” He replied that he was onlydemanding what was rightfully his. Then theProphet spoke up. “Why do you not take the side ~ 73 ~
  73. 73. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?of the lender?” He then sent a man to Khaulahbint Qays, to ask her to lend him some dates ifshe had any. “We shall repay you when wereceive some,” he told her. Khaulah bint Qaysthen sent some dates to the Prophet, who notonly handed them over to the Arab, but also gavehim a meal. “You have been faithful and true,”said the Arab to the Prophet. “May God befaithful and true to you.” “The best people arethose who carefully pay others their rightfuldue,” said the Prophet. “God does not bless acommunity in which the weak cannot take fromthe strong what is rightfully theirs without fearor repraisal.” (IBN MAJAH, SUNAN)RECEIVING PRAISE, NOT WITH CONCEIT,BUT WITH HUMILITYAccording to Naafi someone launching intoextravagant eulogies to Abdullah ibn Umar,addressed him as “most noble of men, son of themost noble, “Neither am I the most noble of men,nor am I the son of the most noble,” replied IbnUmar. “I am just one of God’s servants; in Him do I ~ 74 ~
  74. 74. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?have hope, and Him do I fear. By God, you are benton destroying a man with such praise.” (HILYAT AL-AULIYA)REJECT REPROOF AND YOU REJECT WHAT ISGOODAdi ibn Hatim once said: “What is acceptable to youtoday, was abhorrent to us yesterday; and what isabhorrent to you now will become acceptable tofuture generations. You will be following the truepath so long as you continue to recognize what isabhorrent and refrain from rejecting what is accept-able; and so long as a learned man can stand upamongst you to admonish you without havingscorn heaped on his head.” (lBN ‘ASAKIR)WORKING IN ONE’S OWN SPHERE, ANDAVOIDING CONFLICT WITH THEGOVERNMENT OF THE DAYThe Prophet asked Abu Dhar Ghefari what hewould do when the leaders, or rulers started takingmore than their fair share. “I will take to the sword, ~ 75 ~
  75. 75. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?Prophet of God,” ventured Abu Dhar. “Rather thantake to the sword, it would be better to be patientuntil you meet me in the hereafter,” said theProphet. Abu Dhar never ceased to proclaim thetruth, but never-right till the moment he left thisworld-did he take up the sword against thegovernment of the day.FEARING NO ONE IN GIVINGADMONISHMENTOne who finds himself in a situation in which heis morally bound to proclaim the truth should notrefrain from doing so because he feels his ownposition to be weak. One who hesitates in thisway will be in a sorry state on the day ofJudgement. God will ask him why he did notspeak the truth. He will reply, “For fear of men.”But God will say to him, “Was not God beforeyou to be feared?”RECKON WITH ONESELF BEFORE BEINGRECKONED WITHAccording to Thabit ibn Hajjaj, Umar ibn Khattabonce said: “Weigh up your actions before they are ~ 76 ~
  76. 76. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?weighed, and reckon with yourselves before youare reckoned with; for today’s reckoning will beeasier than tomorrow’s. And prepare yourselves forthe great appearance (of Judgement Day).” (HILYAT AL-AULIYA)LEARNING FROM EVERYTHING THATHAPPENSA cart pulled by two oxen, drove past Abu Darda.He watched as one of the oxen carried on pullingwhile the other stopped. “There is a lesson even inthis,” said Abu Darda. “The one that stopped waswhipped, while the other was left alone.” (SAFAWAT AL-SAFAWAH)MEDITATION THE GREATEST OF ACTIVITIESAbdullah ibn Utbah once asked Darda’s motherhow her husband had spent most of his time. “Inmeditation, and learning a lesson from everythingthat happened,” she replied. (HILYAT AL-AULIYA) ~ 77 ~
  77. 77. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?THE COMPANIONS WORSHIPPED BYTHINKING OF GOD AND THE HEREAFTERWhen Abu Dhar died, a certain man rode fromBasra to Madinah just to find out from his wifewhat the nature of her late husband’s worship hadbeen. “He used to spend the whole day alone,engrossed in thought,” she told him. (HILYAT AL-AULIYA)IN EVERYTHING THERE IS A LESSON TO BELEARNEDDarani used to say that whenever he went out of hishouse, whatever he saw would give him a glimpseof some divine blessing and instruct him in somemanner. (IBN KATHlR, TAFSIR)THE NATURE OF A TRUE BELIEVERThe scripture, which was revealed to Abraham,contained the following passage:“A person of discernment should have certain ~ 78 ~
  78. 78. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 2. What is Faith?special moments: of communion with God; of self-examination; of reflection upon the mysteries ofcreation. There should also be times, which he setsaside for food and drink. And this person ofdiscernment should engage in activity for only oneof three purposes: to accumulate (good actions) forthe next world; to make a living for himself; toenjoy whatever pleasures are not prohibited. Heshould also be an observer of his times, a minder ofhis own affairs and the custodian of his tongue. Hisactions should be accompanied by a minimum ofwords and he should speak at length only onweighty matters of proper importance.” This isrelated as a tradition of the Prophet on the authorityof Abu Dharr. (IBN HIBBAN) ~ 79 ~
  79. 79. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 3. Worship3. WORSHIPWORSHIPPING GOD AND NOT HARMINGOTHERSAbdullah ibn Masud says that when he asked theProphet what the best of all actions was, the latterreplied: “Prayer at the proper time.” “And whatis the next best,” asked Ibn Masud, “Sparingpeople the harm your tongue can do,” was theProphet’s reply. (AL TABARANI)KNOWING GOD IS THE GREATEST WORSHIPA man came to the Prophet one day and askedhim what the best of all actions was. “Therealization of God,” replied the Prophet. Theman repeated his question, but the Prophet gavehim the same answer. “Prophet of God,” theman said, “I am asking you about actions,whereas you speak of knowledge.” “Withknowledge, the smallest action brings greaterbenefit,” the Prophet told him, “while thegreatest of actions brings no benefit, if it is ~ 80 ~
  80. 80. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 3. Worshipcarried out in ignorance.” (JAMI‘ BAYAN AL-‘ILM)GOOD CHARACTER-THE VERY ESSENCE OFRELIGIONAbdur Rehman ibn Harith ibn Abi Mirdas AsSulami recounts what happened one day when hewas in the presence of the Prophet, along with agroup of people. The Prophet asked for some waterto be brought, then dipping his hands into it, heperformed his ablutions. Whatever water was leftwas drunk by the people present. “What made youdo this?” enquired the Prophet. “Love of God andthe Prophet,” they replied. “If you wish to be lovedby God and His Prophet,” God’s messenger toldthem, “be faithful when trusted and honest in yourspeech; and be a good neighbour to others.” (AL-TABARANI)IT IS THE SPIRIT OF WORSHIP THAT ISIMPORTANTAccording to Ibn Umar, the Prophet once saidthat a man might pray, pay the poor due and go ~ 81 ~
  81. 81. An Islamic Treasury of Virtues 3. Worshipon pilgrimage – and he went on to mention allthe virtuous actions-but that he would berewarded only according to the degree of hisintellectual awareness of what he did. (AHMAD, MUSNAD)LODGE GOD IN ONE’S HEART: THAT IS THEBEST OF STATESWhen Abu Darda was told that Abu Saad ibnMunabbih had freed a hundred slaves, hiscomment was: “Certainly, this is a great act. Butlet me tell you one that is even greater: faithwhich encompasses night and day, and, onone’s tongue, the constant remembrance ofGod.” (HILYAT AL-AULIYA)REMEMBERING GOD IS A CONSTANT STATEOF PRAYERAbdullah ibn Maud once observed that a man ofknowledge was always at his prayers. Hislisteners asked him to explain this. “Thoughts ofGod are always in his heart and on his tongue,” ~ 82 ~

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