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An Ideal Muslim - Attributes of a Believer
by Shaykh Ahmed Abdul Mujeeb Qasmi Nadvi (translated by Muhammad Owais Jafrey)
Faith is that condition of belief from which springs forth a multifaceted act of multiplying virtues. This condition brings into bloom a life full of obedience which in turn generates such deeds that even removing a minor obstacle from someone’s path guarantees reward from Allah (SWT). In other words, a Momin becomes such an embodiment of nobility that his heart bleeds if some one gets hurt. Such a faith also creates in him the attributes of foresight, prudence, sagacity, sound judgment and understanding. That is why the Holy Qur’an time and again refers to the appealing and overpowering characteristics of a Momin to encourage believers to maintain their distinct attribute. I am quoting here some traditions of Prophet (SAW) to refresh the belief, to enliven the mind and to nourish the spirit.
Abu Hureyrah (RA) relates that Prophet (SAW) said: “A Momin is not bitten twice from the same hole.” [Bukhari & Muslim] That means that a Momin would not put his finger twice in a hole to be bitten by a snake. The tradition educates a Momin in carefulness, circumspection, foresight, precaution, scrupulousness, and vigilance. According to Prophet (SAW)’s biographer Ibn-e-Hishaam, he (SAW) first used this sentence and later it became a proverb in the Arabic speaking world. Imaam Ahmad (RehmA) writes that a faithless person by the name of Abu Ghurrah Hamji used to recite satirical poetry against Islam. He was taken prisoner at the Battle of Badr. He started pleading for forgiveness and said that he had a family and children to look after. Prophet (SAW) was moved by his petition and forgave him without ransom. Once freed, he went back on his words and started reciting poetry defaming Islam and its Prophet again. By a share coincidence, he was taken prisoner at the Battle of Uhad and pleaded for forgiveness again as before. Had he been forgiven the second time, he could have mocked and boasted to have cheated the Muslims. It was on this occasion the Prophet (SAW) uttered this immortal sentence.
Abu Hureyrah relates that Prophet (SAW) said: “A Momin is innocent, simple and good natured, and the hypocrite is cunning and mean natured.” [Abu Dawood & Tirmizi] What the tradition means that a Momin, being trustworthy himself, trusts others and can be deceived for being innocent, sincere, honest, and simple. There is yet another tradition which quotes a dialogue between Paradise and Hell. The Paradise would exclaim: “What is wrong with me that only the innocent, the simple and the weak will take me as their abode.” The answer is that a Momin dislikes finding faults, shortcomings, and weaknesses in others. He is neither curious about them, nor he is eager to publicize them. It is just against his very nature. Sahl bin Abdullah Tustari says that the Paradise is referring to people whose hearts are oblivious of every thing except Allah’s remembrance. Abu Usman (RehmA) declares that such people don’t care much about this world but are very careful about the Hereafter. Imaam Oz’aa’ee (RehmA) says: “Such people are blind towards bad things, but have an excellent vision for virtuous deeds.”
Abu Saeed Khudri (RA) relates that Prophet (SAW) said: “Be fearful of Momin’s intelligence and his foresight in understanding of the human nature, because he sees things by Allah’s given vision,” and recited Aayah 75 of Surah Al-Hijr, which reads:
“There truly is a sign in this for those who can learn…” [Tirmizi]
Scholars have interpreted the term: “understanding of the human nature” as the ability to perceive things in depth to see their real and true nature, and to deduce factual results from the analysis of situations and circumstances. No one can deceive a Momin because exposed to his penetrating eyes is the real and the fake, the sincere and the hypocrite, the honest and the cheat, and the high and the low. He sees the real worth of people and knows who is who.
Abu Hureyrah (RA) says that once Isa (AS) caught a thief red handed and reprimanded him for stealing. The thief said: “I swear by Him, Who is the Only One worthy of worship, that I did not commit theft.” Seeing the thief’s stubbornness, Isa (AS) said: “Alright, I have faith in Allah, and accept that my eyes must have betrayed me.” [Muslim] This attitude of Isa (AS) tells us that Allah (SWT)’s Greatness is embedded in the Momin’s heart and he surrenders himself in total negation of the self when the name of Allah (SWT) is mentioned. There is nothing more important to acknowledge but Allah (SWT)’s total and complete sovereignty. According to a tradition, if a slave while being punished by his owner asks for forgiveness for Allah’s sake, the master should stop his punishment then and there without least hesitation and without wasting a single moment. Instead of arguing with the thief, Isa (AS) thought to use that opportunity to educate the thief that it was the height of his insolence to swear by Allah’s and then lie. A Momin is always after the betterment of his Hereafter rather than wasting his time in the indulgence of arguments.
Abu Hureyrah (RA) relates that Prophet said: “Do not call grape by the name of Karam, as it is the attribute of a Momin’s heart.” [Sahih Muslim] The Arabic word “Karam” means kindness and generosity. Arabs used to call grapes by the name of Karam, because they used to make wine from grapes, which was their favorite drink. The then Arabs mistakenly thought that wine helps to create and promote kindness and generosity in man’s character. Prophet (SAW) disliked such an interpretation because the wine is the mother of all evils. Scholar Zamakhshari opines that Prophet (SAW) based his opinion on Aayah 13 of Surah Al-Hujuraat, which reads:
“People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should recognize one another. In Allah’s eyes, the most honored of you are the ones most mindful of Him. Allah is all knowing, all aware.”
When Allah (SWT) said the word “Honored” than it should relate to the heart of a Momin and be not associated with anything which is totally forbidden. “Honor” comes through piety and purity. [Tarjumaan-ul-Sunnah Vol. 2, p 240]
Abu Sadeed Khudri (RA) said that a Momin is like a horse tied to its peg, to which he returns after roaming around. Similarly a Momin is liable to forget but he being faith bound returns to his base. [Musnad Ahmad]
Abdullah bin Amr bin Aas (RA) relates that Prophet (SAW) said: “I swear by Him, Who posses my soul, a Momin resembles that goldbrick which if thrown in the furnace, neither changes its color, nor looses its weight. I swear by Him, Who owns my soul that a Momin is like a honey bee, which sucks nectar from beautiful flowers, turned it into the beneficial honey, and neither misuses or damages the flower petal by her weight.”
Prophet (SAW) has likened the character of a Momin to the sterling quality of pure gold and the beneficence of the honey bee. Impure gold if thrown in the furnace looses its weight after its impurities are burned and it also changes its color. A Momin is like the honey bee who feeds on the pure and fairly earned livelihood; he is a source of benefit to others and is an agent of peace and brotherhood. He does not harm others or cause any damage to the environment. By extension, this example teaches us patriotism; love for the community, respect for neighbors, and makes us aware for the better maintenance of our social, natural and physical environment. Let us listen to two other traditions:
As quoted by Abu Musa (RA), Prophet (SAW) said: “The relationship of the believer with another believer is like (the bricks of) a building, each strengthens the other.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
Nauman bin Bahsir (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
Sahl bin Sa’d (RA) relates that Prophet (SAW) said: “In the community of Momineen (believers), a believer’s place is like that of the head in the human body. The whole body suffers due to head ache, so the believer should feel the pain if others in (Muslim) community suffer.”
There is no doubt that Islam teaches sympathy, love, and promotes brotherhood, the spirit to help others in their hour of need. If a Momin can not afford to buy food for his hungry brother, he should share his own meal with the hungry. That was the spirit of love, sacrifice and mutual concern which brought into being a love-woven society. Aayah 103 of Surah Al-Imran is a clear reminder to such a quality:
“Hold fast to Allah’s rope all together; do not split into factions. Remember Allah’s favor to you: you were enemies and then He brought your hearts together and you became brothers by His grace; you were about to fall into a pit of Fire and He saved you from it – in this way Allah makes His revelations clear to you so that you may be rightly guided.”
One thing should be remembered that the more we adhere to our faith and are firm in Tawheed i.e. the belief in Oneness of Allah (SWT), the more united will be the Muslim Ummah. We are distancing ourselves from the qualities of the early Muslims. They were pure from jealousies, mutual rivalries, and envy. They never looked down upon their brother and never lashed their tongue with taunts or derogatory comments, but unfortunately we are afflicted with these vices. It is time to wake up to the realities of our faith and be aware of our rights and duties as a Muslim. Once a companion asked: “Yaa Rasul Allah, who is the best among people?” Prophet (SAW) replied: “Truthful by tongue, pure and kind at heart, and without any burden of sins, the one who does not have grudge or envy towards others [is the best.] [Ibne Majah]
Let us inculcate the attributes of a Momin’s and then invite others to embrace them.
May Allah enable us to realize the importance of the gift of life and the countless blessings we have been bestowed with and utilize our time prudently and wisely and the way it pleases Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (SAW). Aameen!
SWT = Subhanahu Wa Ta'Ala
SAW = Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam
RAnha= Radhiyallaho anha
The Friday Khutbahs are published to enhance your knowledge of Islam. The references of Quran and Hadith are the approximate translation of the Arabic text. The editors have not verified the accuracy of the the English translation. The scholarly reader is encouraged to refer to the original Arabic script if there is any doubt. Kindly notify us if the translation can be enhanced.