Next Chapter Previous Chapter PDF Version

All Books

Social and Moral Code of Islam

By Dr. Muhammad Sharif Chaudhry

CHAPTER 5

CHARACTER: VIRTUES

  1. Austerity

  2. Contentment

  3. Control of Tongue

  4. Forgiveness

  5. Generosity

  6. Gratefulness

  7. Hospitality

  8. Humility

  9. Kindness

  10. Mercy

  11. Modesty

  12. Patience

  13. Promise

  14. Speaking Truth

  15. Steadfastness

  16. Toleration

  17. Trustworthiness

In this chapter, virtues of human character would be discussed. The virtues are good qualities, good characteristics, merits or strengths of human character which raise human beings’ status above all other creatures and make them best of God’s creations. Many rewards have been promised in this world as well as in the next world for those who possess these virtues. The virtues of human character are numerous and no exhaustive list of them can be prepared. However, in this chapter some of the very important virtues are being discussed.

[Back to top of page]

I – Austerity

Austere, according to dictionary meanings, is defined as harsh, sober, severe, grave, rigid, rigorous, strict, simple. It also means morally strict, ascetic, chaste, economical, puritanical, self-denying, self-disciplined, plain, Spartan, severely simple, unadorned, stark. Austerity is the state or quality of being austere. However, in this section we are taking austerity in the sense of economy, simplicity, plainness, self-denial and self-discipline especially in expenses on living. In other words, austerity here means simple and economical standard of living or life style.

Standard of living is generally understood to refer to the mode of living and level of comforts a person enjoys in society. But according to economists, standard of living means the minimum amount of necessaries and comforts which man regards absolutely essential for him and for the acquisition of which he can make every sacrifice.

Islam has not decreed any fixed standard of living with any minimum or maximum ceiling for its followers. Adoption of standard of living has been by and large left to the discretion as well as to the conscience of the individual. However, it is the basic principle of the economic system of Islam that every citizen of an Islamic state should have at least basic necessaries of life. So in a society where poverty, misery and want is prevailing, no individual can be permitted to enjoy comforts of life although he is very rich, until and unless every other individual is provided with basic human needs. But with the rise of general level of prosperity in the society, those who can afford are permitted to enjoy comfortable life. In any case Islam does not permit life of luxury to any Muslim even though he is very rich. Moderation in life is the general Islamic principle which should not be lost sight of in adopting a lifestyle.

Teachings of Islam generally recommend that one should lead a life of simplicity and austerity. For a Muslim the Prophet of Islam and his companions are role model. Let us quote some Ahadith and traditions to see how the Prophet and his successors, named in history as Righteous caliphs, lived.

1.   The Holy prophet once remarked: “Successful is the man who has acted on the principles of Islam and lived on simple necessaries of life”.   (Ahmad, Tirmizi)

2.   Jabir bin ‘Abdullah reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: “There should be a bedding for a man, bedding for his wife and the third one for the guest, and the fourth one is for the Satan.”   (Bukhari, Daud)

3.   ‘Ubaidullah bin Muhdin al-Khutami reported on the authority of his father with whom he had cordial relations that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: “If anyone among you is secure in mind in the morning, healthy in body, possessed of food for the day, it is as if the whole world had been brought into his possession.”   (Tirmizi, Ahmad)

4.   ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan reported that the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: “The son of Adam has no right except to the following: a house in which he lives, a garment with which he conceals his private parts, dry bread and water.”   (Tirmizi)

5.   Abu Umamah reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying: “The most enviable of my friends in my estimation is a believer with little property who finds pleasure in prayer, who performs the worship of his Lord well, who obeys him in secret, who is obscure among them, who is not pointed out by people, and whose sustenance is bare sufficiency, with which he is content.” Then he snapped his fingers and said: “His death will come up speedily, the women who mourn over him will be few and what he leaves will be little.”
   And with this chain of transmitters, it has been reported from the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him): My Lord offered to turn the valley of Mecca into gold for me but I said: “No, my Lord, but let me have enough to eat a day and be hungry on the other.” He said this thrice or so: when I am hungry I shall make supplication to Thee and make mention of Thee and when I have enough shall thank Thee and praise Thee. And he (the narrator) said: “This is a hasan Hadith”.  
      (Tirmizi)

6.   ‘Ayesha reported: We the family of Muhammad (may peace be upon him) used to spend (the whole) month in which we (did not need to) kindle the fire as (we had nothing to cook; we had only dates and water (to fill our bellies).  
   (Bukhari, Muslim)

7.   Ayesha reported: Never had the family of Muhammad (may peace be upon him) eaten to the fill since their arrival in Madinah with the bread of wheat for three successive nights until his (Holy Prophet’s) death.   (Bukhari, Muslim)

8.   It is reported about Umar, the second Caliph, that Utbah-bin-Farqad, a governor of some province, once visited the Caliph while he was taking his meals. The governor seeing his coarse food, remarked, “why don’t you take food made of fine flour”? Umar replied, “Ibn Farqad! Is there anyone with greater resources than myself in the land of Arabia at present? Utbah said that there was none with greater resources than you. Then Umar enquired from him saying, “Ibn Farqad! Do all the Muslims get fine flour (to eat)?” He replied in negative. Then Umar said, “I would be a bad ruler if I were to take nice (and good) things for myself and leave the bad ones for the people”.

9.   Suwaid-b-Wahab from one of the children of the companions of the Prophet reported from his father that the Messenger of Allah said: Whoever gives up dress of beauty while he is capable of putting it on, (in a narration: out of modesty) Allah will dress him with a robe of honour; and whoever marries for Allah, Allah will adorn him with the crown of kingdom.  
   (Abu Daud, Tirmizi from Mu’az-b-Anas)

[Back to top of page]

II – Contentment

Contentment is satisfaction or state of happiness or complacency with what one has got. It is opposed to discontentment, unhappiness or dissatisfaction. It is a great treasure and a great virtue in a human being. Contentment saves a person from many unnecessary worries and troubles which are generally caused by discontentment. Contentment brings peace of mind which is not only essential for leading a happy life but also for concentration of mind in achieving one’s goals in life. A contented mind can concentrate on divine service and worship of Allah. A discontented or disturbed mind can hardly give proper attention to remembrance of Allah. Therefore Islam enjoins upon the believers to live a happy and contented life. The Prophet of Islam has said that wealth is not in vast riches but it is in contentment. Hence a Muslim should content himself with what Allah has given him and he should spend in Allah’s path out of that if he can afford. He should not look towards those people who are wealthier than him as it would make him discontented. Discontentment generally arises out of greed for more and more wealth and hence greed should be shunned. In fact discontentment is ungratefulness whereas contentment is gratefulness to Allah.

Belief in pre-measurement of sustenance (rizq) and pre-determination of human destiny is an article of faith with a Muslim. It teaches one to remain contented with one’s determined share of fortunes and misfortunes. There is no use to worry and grieve over what has not been given to one. It is Allah who enlarges the provision for whom He will and decreases it for whom He will. Fortune and misfortune comes from Allah. Wealth and children are a test for man. Allah has exalted some people in rank above others that He may try them.

Following are some of the Verses of al-Qur’an and Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) relevant to the subject of discussion:

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

1.   This is the scripture whereof there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who ward off (evil). Who believe in the unseen and establish worship, and spend of that We have bestowed upon them.   ––2: 2-3

2.   He it is who hath placed you as viceroys of the earth and hath exalted some of you in rank above others, that he may try you by (the test of) that which He hath given you……   ––6: 165

3.   If Allah afflicteth thee with some hurt, there is none who can remove it save Him; and if He desireth good for thee, there is none who can repel His bounty……   ––10: 107

4.   Lo! Thy Lord enlargeth the provision for whom He will, and straiteneth it (for whom He will)……   ––17: 30

5.   (O man), follow not that whereof thou hast no knowledge……  
   ––17: 36

6.   And strain not thine eyes toward that which we cause some wedded pairs among them to enjoy, the flower of the life of the world, that We may try them thereby. The provision of thy Lord is better and more lasting.   ––20: 131

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.   Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Wealth is not in vast riches but wealth is in self-contentment.  
   (Bukhari and Muslim)

2.   Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Verily Allah says: O son of Adam! Find leisure for My service and then I shall fill up your heart with contentment and I shall shut up your poverty; and If you do not do, (it), I shall keep your hand engaged in work and I shall not close up your poverty.  
   (Ahmad, Ibn Majah).

3.   Fudalah bin Obaid reported from the Messenger of Allah who said: Blessed is he who is guided to Islam and whose livelihood is just sufficient and who is contented therewith.  
   (Tirmizi)

4.   Sa’ad reported that the Messenger of Allah said: of the fortunes of the son of Adam, there is his contentment with what Allah decreed for him; and of the misfortunes of the son of Adam, there is his giving up of seeking good from Allah, and of the misfortunes of the son of Adam, there is his discontentment with what Allah decreed for him.   (Ahmad, Tirmizi (rare)

5.   Abdullah bin Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah used to say: O Allah! I ask Thee health, pardon, trust, good conduct and contentment with pre-measurement.   (Baihaqi)

[Back to top of page]

III – Control of Tongue

Tongue is the gift which God has bestowed on men. It makes the man talking animal and is a very powerful vehicle of expression. Its good use is fortune which leads man to Paradise, whereas its bad use brings misfortune and leads to Hell. Tongue is very useful not only in worldly matters but also in religions matters. So much so that no divine service, no profession of faith, no preaching of religion is possible without use of tongue. But evils of tongue on account of its bad use are also many: e.g., vain talk, telling lies, backbiting, flattery, false conversation, taking false oath, giving false evidence, frivolous jokes, immoral songs, cursing others, etc. Tongue is like a horse. If it is not kept under proper control and is let loose, it will injure the man as the unbridled horse injures its rider. So the tongue should be kept under control and put to use properly. If evil is feared from the tongue, one should keep silent.

The verses of Qur’an and Traditions of the Prophet of Islam on control of tongue, on evils caused by letting it loose and on benefits of silence are gems of wisdom and some of them are being given below:

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

1.   A kind word with forgiveness is better than alms-giving followed by injury……   ––2: 263

2.   There is no good in much of their secret conferences save (in) him who enjoineth almsgiving and kindness and peace-making among the people ……   ––4: 114

3.   Allah loveth not the utterance of harsh speech save by one who hath been wronged. Allah is ever Hearer, Knower. If ye do good openly or keep it secret, or forgive evil, lo! Allah is Forgiving, Powerful.   ––4: An-Nisa: 148-149

4.   Tell My bondmen to speak that which is kindlier Lo! the devil soweth discord among them……   ––17: 53

5.   And argue not with the people of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better……   ––29: 46

6.   O ye who believe! Guard your duty to Allah, and speak words straight to the point;   ––33: 70

7.   And who is better in speech than him who prayeth unto his Lord and doeth right and saith: Lo! I am of those who surrender (unto Him).   ––41: 33

8.   O ye who believe! Let not a folk deride a folk who may be better than they (are), nor let women (deride) women who may be better than they are; neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames……   ––49: 11

9.   ……And spy not, neither backbite one another……   ––49: 12

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.   Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, must either speak beneficently or remain silent.   (Muslim)

2.   Abu Musa Ashari (Allah be pleased with him) reported: I asked the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who is more excellent among the Muslims. Upon this he remarked: He is one from whose tongue and hands the other Muslims are secure.   (Bukhari and Muslim)

3.   Sahl bin Sa’ad (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: If anyone guarantees me what is between his jaws and what is between his legs, I shall guarantee him Paradise.  
   (Bukhari)

4.   Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as saying: A person utters something thoughtlessly and because of it, he will fall down into the fire of Hell farther than the distance between the East and the West.  
   (Bukhari and Muslim)

5.   Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) reported: Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as saying: A man utters a word pleasing to Allah without considering it of any significance, Allah exalts his ranks; another speaks a word displeasing to Allah without considering it of any importance, he will sink down into Hell on its account.   (Bukhari)

6.   Abu Abdur Rahman Bilal bin Harith (Allah be pleased with him) reported: Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as saying: A man speaks a good word without knowing its worth, Allah records for him His good pleasure till the day he will meet Him; and a man utters an evil word without realizing its importance, Allah records for him His displeasure till the day he will meet Him.   (Muslim and Tirmizi)

7.   Sufyan bin Abdullah (Allah be pleased with him) reported: I said to the Messenger of Allah, tell me some thing to which I should hold fast. He said: Say: My Lord is Allah and then remain steadfast. Then I said: O’ Messenger of Allah! From what do you fear most in my case? He said that he caught hold of his tongue and said: This.   (Tirmizi)

8.   Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Do not indulge in superfluous talk except the remembrance of Allah because much talk without the remembrance of Allah hardens the heart and those will be the farthest from Allah whose hearts are hard.   (Tirmizi)

9.   Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Every one of my followers shall be preserved except those who publish their wrong-doing. It is an impudence from a man to commit a deed at night and then getting up at dawn says, while Allah has kept it secret; So and so! I have done such and such thing last night. And he passed the night, while his Lord kept it secret; and he got up at day break disclosing the secret of Allah from himself.   (Bukhari and Muslim)

10.   Abu Zarr reported that the Messenger of Allah said: No man imputes disobedience of God to a man and imputes infidelity to him except that they return to him if the imputed man is not like that.   (Bukhari)

11.   Uqbah bin Amr (Allah be pleased with him) reported that he enquired the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) how can salvation be achieved? He replied: Control your tongue and keep to your house, and weep over your sins.   (Tirmizi)

12.   Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: When the son of Adam gets up at dawn, all the limbs humble themselves before the tongue and say: Fear Allah for our sake because we are with you; if you are straight we shall also be straight and if you are crooked, we shall become crooked.   (Tirmizi)

13.   Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: A man utters a word which be does not utter but to make men laugh thereby out of vain pleasure, he will fall down for this than the distance between heaven and earth, for he slips more by his tongue than by his feet.   (Bukhari)

14.   Ayesha reported the Prophet as saying, “I do not like to speak of anyone’s faults even if I should get such and such.”   (Tirmizi)

15.   Anas told that God’s messenger said, “Shall I not guide you, Abu Dharr, to two qualities which are very light on the back, but very heavy in the scale?” On his replying, “Certainly,” he said, “Long silence and a good character. By Him in whose hand my soul is, mankind can do nothing to compare with them.”   (Mishkat)

16.   Imran b. Hittan said: I went to Abu Dharr and found him alone in the mosque sitting with a black cloak supporting him round the knees. I asked him why he was thus solitary and he replied that he had heard God’s messenger say, “Solitude is better than an evil companion, a good companion is better than solitude, dictating what is good is better than silence, and silence is better than dictating what is bad.”   (Mishkat)

17.   Imran b. Husain reported God’s messenger as saying, “It is more excellent in God’s sight for a man to maintain silence than to engage in worship for sixty years.”   (Mishkat)

[Back to top of page]

IV – Forgiveness

To forgive means to remit, to let off or to pardon. Forgiveness is act of forgiving or state of being forgiven. Absolution, acquittal, amnesty, condonation, exoneration, mercy, overlooking, pardon, remission are its synonyms. By forgiveness we generally understand that a person is able to revenge for the wrong done to him but he does not.

Forgiveness is a virtue which is akin to mercy and kindness. It is one of the greatest attributes of Almighty God. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful and He forgives the biggest sins of His creatures if they repent, turn to Him and ask His pardon sincerely. Those of the mankind who adopt this attribute of forgiveness and forgive each other’s mistakes have been promised great rewards by Allah in this world and the Hereafter. Forgiveness does not gain but honour. A pious who is able to retaliate or get revenge forgives his foe and thus shows magnanimity and large heartedness.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a great forgiver. On the day he conquered Makkah, he forgave thirteen years of merciless persecution of himself and his companions by the Quresh, though there was none who could stop him from taking revenge. The Quresh had driven him and his companions from their home town of Makkah and had forced them to take refuge in a distant town of Madinah. The Quresh had persistently chased the Muslims in Madinah and had waged a continuous war against the Prophet. But on the day of conquest Muhammad (PBUH) forgave all his enemies. He even forgave Abu Sufian who was his greatest enemy and had led expeditions against him. Not only Abu Sufian was forgiven, but his house was also declared a place of amnesty for those who entered into it. Abu Sufian’s wife Hind who had chewed liver of Prophet’s uncle Hamzah was pardoned. What a great amnesty it was! The history of the world cannot produce another such example!

The Holy Qur’an and the Prophet of Islam have enjoined upon the Muslims to practice this virtue of forgiveness. According to the Qur’an, forgiveness is better than alms-giving followed by injury. According to a Hadith, the most honourable of Allah’s servants is he who pardons when he is in a position of power to take revenge. Following verses of the Qur’an and Ahadith of Muhammad (PBUH) throw light on forgiveness and bring home Islamic view - point regarding this great virtue.

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

1.   A kind word with forgiveness is better than almsgiving followed by injury. Allah is Absolute, Clement.  
   ––2: Al-Baqarah: 263

2.   Those who spend (of that which Allah hath given them) in ease and in adversity, those who control their wrath and are forgiving toward mankind; Allah loveth the good;  
   ––3: Al-Imran: 134

3.   If ye do good openly or keep it secret, or forgive evil, lo! Allah is Forgiving, Powerful.   ––4: An-Nisa: 149

4.   Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad), and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant.   ––7: Al-A’raf: 99

5.   And let not those who possess dignity and ease among you swear not to give to the near of kin and to the neeny, and to fugitives for the cause of Allah. Let them forgive and show indulgence. Yearn ye not that Allah may forgive you? Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.   ––24: An-Nur: 22

6.   Now whatever ye have been given is but a passing comfort for the life of the world, and that which Allah hath is better and more lasting for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord. And those who shun the worst of sins and indecencies and, when they are wroth, forgive,   ––42: Ash-Shura: 36-37

7.   The guerdon of an ill-deed is an ill the like thereof. But whosoever pardoneth and amendeth, his wage is the affair of Allah. Lo! He loveth not the wrong-doers.   ––42: Ash-Shura: 40

8.   And verily whoso is patient and forgiveth – lo! that, verily, is (of) the steadfast heart of things.   ––42: Ash-Shura: 43

9.   Tell those who believe to forgive those who hope not for the days of Allah; in order that He may requite folk what they used to earn.   (45: Al-Jathiyah: 14)

10.   O ye who believe! Lo! among your wives and your children there are enemies for you, therefore, beware of them. And if ye efface and overlook and forgive, then lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.   (64: At-Taghabun: 14)

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.   Abu Kabaha Ameri reported that the Messenger of Allah said: No wealth diminishes on account of charity, and no man pardons an oppression seeking thereby the pleasure of Allah but Allah will increase honour therewith on the Resurrection Day and no man opens the door of begging for himself but he opens the door of poverty for himself.   (Tirmizi)

2.   Aqbah-b-A’mer reported that the Messenger of Allah said: You shall keep relationship with one who cuts it off from you, you shall give one who disappointed you, and you shall pardon one who oppressed you.   (Baihaqi)

3.   Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Moses, son of Imran, had asked: O my Lord! who is the best honourable of thy servants to thee? He said: He who pardons when he is in a position of power.   (Baihaqi)

[Back to top of page]

V – Generosity

Generous means magnanimous, noble-minded; not mean or prejudiced; free in giving, munificent; ample, abundant, plentiful, bountiful, charitable. Generosity thus means magnanimity, nobleness, unselfishness, goodness, high-mindedness, open-handedness, large-heartedness, bounteousness, munificence, charity, benevolence, bounty, beneficence, etc. Generous person is he who is free and unselfish in helping the poor, in giving for the cause of public relief, charity, relief of the poor and medical relief. Such a person is open handed, large – hearted and broad – minded in giving alms and liberally helps and feeds the poor.

Distribution of income and wealth in the world is uneven and unequal. Some people are rolling in wealth while large number are penniless and destitute. This anomaly is partly due to the fact that Allah tries the men by this unequal distribution. The Holy Qur’an says: “He it is Who hath placed you as viceroys of the earth and hath exalted some of you in rank above others. That He may try you by (the test of) that which He hath given you ……”(6:165). At another place the Qur’an says: “And Allah hath favoured some of you above others in provision……”(16:71). Wealth and poverty both are trial. God sees how a man behaves in prosperity and adversity. A prosperous and wealthy man is obliged to display the virtue of charity and help the poor so that he may succeed in the test. If all the people would have been rich, there would have been no mention of charity. Charity exists because there is unequal distribution. To make the distribution fair and to check the evils of accumulation of wealth, the institution of charity has been recognized by all the religions and more so by Islam.

Islam recognizes the institution of charity as one of its chief pillars. It is the second in the five pillars on which the grand edifice of Islamic faith has been built. Besides, voluntary Charity and alms-giving, Zakat at fixed rates on certain assets has been made an obligatory contribution for the protection of the poor. The Qur’an, the revealed book of Islam and Muhammad (PBUH) the prophet of Islam have laid much stress on the payment of Zakat as well as on optional charities, and the generous people who happily discharge their financial obligations to Islamic state and society have been promised immense reward.

Following are some of the verses of the Qur’an and Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which highlight the excellence of charity and merits of the generous Muslims:

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

1.   Establish worship, pay the poor-due, and bow your heads with those who bow (in worship).

2.   Spend your wealth for the cause of Allah, and be not cast by your own hands to ruin; and do good. Lo! Allah loveth the beneficent.   ––2: Al-Baqarah: 195

3.   They ask thee, (O Muhammad), what they shall spend. Say: That which ye spend for good (must go) to parents and near kindred and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer. And whatsoever good ye do, lo! Allah is Aware of it.  
   ––2: Al-Baqarah: 215

4.   O ye who believe! Spend of that wherewith We have provided you ere a day come when there will be no trafficking, nor friendship, nor intercession. The disbelievers, they are the wrong-doers.   ––2: Al-Baqarah: 254

5.   The likeness of those who spend their wealth in Allah’s way is as the likeness of a grain which groweth seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains. Allah giveth increase manifold to whom He will. Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. Those who spend their wealth for the cause of Allah and afterward make not reproach and injury to follow that which they have spent; their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them, neither shall they grieve.   ––2: Al-Baqarah: 261

6.   Allah hath blighted usury and made almsgiving fruitful. Allah loveth not the impious and guilty. Lo! those who believe and do good works and establish worship and pay the poor-due, their reward is with their Lord and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.   ––2: Al-Baqarah: 276-277

7.   Who establish worship and spend of that We have bestowed on them. Those are they who are in truth believers. For them are gardens (of honour) with their Lord, and pardon, and a bountiful provision.   ––8: Al-Anfal: 3-4

8.   The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarer; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is Knower, Wise.   ––9: At-Taubah: 60

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.   Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: On every joint of man, there is charity on every day in which the sun rises. Doing justice between two men is charity, and assisting a man (to ride) upon his beast that it may carry him or lifting up his luggage upon it is charity, and a good word is charity and every step which he takes towards prayer is charity, and removing harmful things from the pathway is charity.   (Bukhari and Muslim)

2.   Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Verily charity appeases wrath of the Lord and removes pangs of death.  
   (Tirmizi)

3.   Abdullah-b-Masud raising the tradition reported: There are three whom Allah loves: a man who gets up at night to read the Book of Allah, and a man giving alms with his right hand which he conceals (I consider that he said) from his left hand: and a man, being in a battalion, encounters the enemies, although his companions are routed.   (Tirmizi)

4.   Marsad-b-Abdullah reported: Some of companions of the Holy Prophet informed me that he heard the Prophet say: Surely the shade of the believer on the Resurrection Day will be his charity.   (Ahmad)

5.   Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Had there been gold for me like the mount of Uhud, it would have pleased me that three nights should not pass over me with something with me therefrom except what I should keep in wait for debt.   (Bukhari)

6.   Abu Hurairah reported that a man enquired: O messenger of Allah! which charity is greatest in reward? He replied: Your charity while you are sound, greedy, fear poverty and hope for riches. Don’t put off, till when it reaches the throat, you say: such and such is for so and so, such and such is for so, while it belonged to so and so.(already)   (Bukhari and Muslim)

7.   Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: The generous man is near Allah, near Paradise, near the people and far off from Hell; and the miser is far off from Allah, far off from Paradise, for off from the people near Hell; and the illiterate charitable man is dearer to Allah than the pious miser.   (Tirmizi)

8.   Jaber and Huzaifah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Every good deed is charity.   (Bukhari and Muslim)

9.   reported that the Messenger of Allah said: There is no day wherein a servant gets up at morn but two angels do not come down. One of them says: O Allah! give the charitable man success. Another says: O Allah! give the miser destruction.  
   (Bukhari and Muslim)

[Back to top of page]

VI – Gratefulness

Grateful means thankful, feeling or showing gratitude. Gratefulness means thankfulness or expression of gratitude. Thus grateful is the person who appreciates kindness shown to him or benefits or gifts received by him. He acknowledge the favour or good done to him and expresses his thanks to the benefactor. God is very beneficent. He is the greatest benefactor Who has bestowed  upon man many gifts, favours and blessings. So man’s greatest amount of gratefulness in due to Him. Gratefulness is one of the attributes of Allah Himself who is Shakoor also. God is very Gracious and He promises highest rewards to those who acknowledge Allah’s favours and are grateful to Him. Gratefulness to Allah can be expressed by remembering Allah, by glorifying Him, by worshipping Him alone, by believing in his Oneness, by not associating any partner with Him, by obeying what He bids and by abstaining from doing what He forbids, by fearing Him, by trusting in Him, by seeking help alone from Him, and by so many other means which have been taught to man. Gratefulness can be expressed by heart, by mind and other bodily organs. Gratefulness by heart is in the form of remembering Allah; by tongue is in the form of reciting Tasbih (glorifying Allah); by ears is to hear what Allah bids to do; by eyes is to restrain the eyes from the prohibited things of Allah; by hands is to do right deeds and by feet is to walk in the path of Allah for Jihad.

After gratefulness to God comes the gratefulness to one’s parents and then to one’s teachers and then to all those who have done any good to one. One must not only acknowledge the good and express thanks but must also try to return good for good.

Following are the verses of the Qur’an and Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which enjoin gratefulness to the believers promising many rewards in this world and in the Hereafter.

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

1.   ……Lo! Allah is the Lord of kindness to mankind, but most of mankind give not thanks.   ––2: 243

2.   …… He who turneth back doth no hurt to Allah and Allah will reward the thankful.   ––3: 144

3.   And when your Lord proclaimed: If ye give thanks, I will give you more; but if ye are thankless, Lo! My punishment is dire.  
   ––14: 7

4.   So eat of the lawful and good food which Allah hath provided for you, and thank the bounty of your Lord if it is Him ye serve.   ––16: 114

5.   ……This is of the bounty of my Lord, that He may try me whether I give thanks or am ungrateful. Whosoever giveth thanks he only giveth thanks for (the good of) his own soul; and whosoever is ungrateful (is ungrateful only to his own soul’s hurt. For Lo! my Lord is Absolute in independence, Bountiful.   ––27: 40

6.   And We have enjoined upon man concerning his parents --- his mother beareth him in weakness upon weakness and his weaning is in two years --- Give thanks unto Me and unto thy parents. Unto Me is the journeying.   ––31: 14

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.   Osamah-b-Zaid reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Whoever is done a benefit and then he says to one who has done it “May Allah recompense thee with good” he has indeed fully expressed his gratefulness.   (Tirmizi)

2.   Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Whoever is not grateful to man is not grateful to Allah.  
   (Ahmad, Tirmizi)

3.   Abu Bakarah reported that when a pleasing affair reached the Messenger of Allah (or he was pleased with it,) he fell down in prostration out of gratefulness to the Almighty Allah.  
   (Abu Daud, Tirmizi (Approved, Rare.))

4.   Ibn Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Whoso has been gifted with four things has been given the good of this world and the hereafter; a grateful heart, a remembering tongue, a patient body over calamities, and a wife who does not seek breach of trust regarding herself and his property.  
   (Baihaqi)

5.   Abu Ja’far reported that the Messenger of Allah saw a man of the dwarfs and fell down in prostration.   (Darqutni (Defective)

6.   Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: A grateful eater is in the position of a patient fasting man.  
   (Bukhari)

[Back to top of page]

VII – Hospitality

Hospitality means friendly and generous reception of guests or strangers or of new ideas. In common parlance, hospitality stands for large-heartedness and broad-mindedness shown in the entertainment of guests.

The Arabs are famous for their hospitality. Even before advent of Islam i.e. in the Age of Ignorance, one of the very few virtues found in them was that of hospitality. Hatim Tai, who was an Arab, enjoyed proverbial reputation for his hospitality. His son Ali bin Hatim was brought before the Prophet alongwith six hundred men of his tribe as prisoners of war. The Prophet set all of them free for the simple reason that their tribe was well known for hospitable treatment of guests. This pre-Islamic virtue of the Arabs was not only retained but was also augmented by Islam.

The Holy Qur’an as well as Prophet of Islam have admired the virtue of hospitality and exhorted the believers to adopt this virtue. According to the Prophet, a Muslim must entertain his guests at least for three days with as good food as he can afford and if he entertains them beyond three days then he would get rewards of charity for each meal. A believer is obliged to show hospitality even to those who had failed to show him hospitality and who had not given him due entertainment. Manners of hospitality prescribed by the Prophet require that the host should bid the guest farewell at the door of his house with a smiling countenance and the guest should not leave the house of his host without his permission and should not become economic burden on his host. Relevant verses of the Qur’an and Ahadith on hospitality are given below:

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

Qur’an, in its verses numbering from 24 to 27 of Chapter 51, mentions the hospitality of Prophet Ibrahim (who was renowned for his generous entertainment of guests) and says:

“Hath the story of Abraham’s honoured guests reached thee (O Muhammad). When they came in unto him and said: Peace! He answered, peace! (and thought): Folk unknown (to me). Then he went apart unto his housefolk so that they brought a fatted calf; And he set it before them, saying: Will ye not eat.”

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.    Abu Hurairah reported God’s Messenger as saying, “He who believes in God and the last day should honour his guest; he who believes in God and the last day should not annoy his neighbour; and he who believes in God and the last day should say what is good, or keep silent.”   (Bukhari and Muslim)

2.   Al-Maqdam b. Ma’dikarib heard the Prophet say, “If any Muslim is a guest of people and is given nothing, it is the duty of every Muslim to help him to the extent of taking for him from their property and crops the amount of entertainment he should have received.” Darimi and Abu Daud transmitted it. A version by the latter has, “If anyone is a guest of people who provide no hospitality for him, he is entitled to take from them the equivalent of the hospitality due him.”

3.   Abul Ahwas al-Jushami quoted his father to the effect that he said, “Messenger of God, tell me, if I come to a man who gives me no entertainment or hospitality and he afterwards comes to me, shall I give him entertainment or treat him as he treated me?” He replied, “No, give him entertainment.”  
   (Tirmizi)

4.   Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: It is a part of sunnah that a man should go with his guest up to the door of the house.   (Ibn Majah)

5.   Ibn Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Blessing comes more quickly to the house wherein food is provided than the knife comes to the comels’ hump.   (Ibn Majah)

6.   Abu Shuraih Khuwallid bin Amr al-Khuza’I (Allah be pleased with him) has reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as saying: He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should show respect his guest according to his right. He was asked: What is his right, Messenger of Allah? He replied: It is (to serve him) for a day and a night, and hospitality extends for three days and what is beyond that is charity.   (Bukhari and Muslim)
Muslim adds: It is not permissible for a Muslim to stay so long with his brother until he makes him sinful. He was asked: Messenger of Allah how would he make him sinful? He replied: He prolongs his stay with him and nothing is left with the host to entertain him (guest).

[Back to top of page]

VIII – Humility

Humility means humbleness, meakness or humble condition, lack of pride, etc. Modesty, diffidence, unpretentiousness, lowliness, etc. are its synonyms. Its antonyms are arrogance, haughtiness, pride, pretentiousness, snobbishness, vanity, etc. Humility or modesty is one of the best virtues of human conduct and is found in the great men and the Prophets. Islam exhorts its followers to adopt this virtue of humility in their conduct and avoid pride and haughtiness. As soon as a man lowers himself by way of humility, he rises proportionately in the sight of his Creator Who makes him highly respectable among his fellows. A man is not great because he calls himself great or thinks himself great but the great man is he who is most pious and who makes himself very humble in his conduct with others. According to the Qur’an, the faithful slaves of God are those who are humble and who walk upon the earth modestly. According to the Prophet of Islam, nobody humbles himself for Allah but Allah raises him up. He is small to himself but great to the eyes of men.

Following Verses of the Qur’an and Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) highlight the view – point of Islam regarding the virtue of humility:

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

1.   We have sent already unto people that were before thee, and We visited them with tribulation and adversity, in order that they might grow humble.   ––6: Al-An’am: 42

2.   And walk not in the earth exultant. Lo! thou canst not rend the earth, nor canst thou stretch to the height of the hills. The evil of all that is hateful in the sight of thy Lord.   ––17: Bani Isra’il: 38

3.   The faithful slaves of the Beneficent are they who walk upon the earth modestly, and when the foolish ones address them answer: peace;   ––25: Al-Furqan: 63

4.   Be modest in thy bearing and subdue thy voice. Lo! the harshest of all voices is the voice of the ass.   ––31: Luqman: 19

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.   Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Chairty makes no decrease in a property, and Allah increases nothing to a servant on account of (his) pardon but honour, and nobody humbles himself for Allah but Allah raises him up.   (Muslim)

2.   Omar reported that while he was on the pulpit, he addressed: O men! Be modest, because I heard the Messenger of Allah say: Whoever is modest for Allah, Allah will raise him up. He is small to himself but great to the eyes of men. And whoso is boastful, Allah will make him low and he will then be small to the eyes of men but great to himself, till he becomes more heinous to them than a dog or a pig.   (Baihaqi)

3.   Iyad bin Himar (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Verily, Allah has revealed to me that you should adopt humility. No one should transgress against another and no one should hold himself in high esteem.   (Muslim)

[Back to top of page]

IX – Kindness

Kindness is an attribute of Almighty Allah and in showing kindness Allah does not make distinction between man and man. “Follow the divine attributes”, is the advice of the Prophet of Islam to his followers. We should, adopt this attribute of kindness therefore and show kindness to Allah’s creatures. We should be specially kind to our children, our parents, our kith and kin, our juniors, our seniors, our servants, the weak, the to distressed and other human beings with whom we come in contact. In order to invoke kindness from Allah, we should show kindness even to those who are not kind to us. We must not forget to follow the example of our beloved Prophet who gave very kind treatment even to his bitter enemies on the day of conquest of Makkah. They had persecuted the Prophet and his companions severely and had expelled them from Makkah. But despite that Prophet forgave them and treated them kindly.

Following verses of the Qur’an and Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) not only enjoin kindness but also tell of rewards for those who are kind to their friends as well as to their foes:

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

1.   And serve Allah. Ascribe nothing as partner unto Him. (Show) kindness unto parent, and unto near kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and unto the neighbour who is of kin (unto you) and the neighbour who is not of kin, and the fellow – traveler and the wayfarer and (the slaves) whom your right hands possess. Lo! Allah loveth not such as are proud and boastful:   ––4: An-Nisa: 36

2.   Lo! Allah enjoyneth justice and kindness, and giving to kinsfolk, and forbiddeth and lewdness abomination and wickedness. He exhorteth you in order that ye may take heed.  
   ––16: An-Nahl: 90

3.   Thy Lord hath decreed, that ye worship none save Him, and (that ye show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age with thee, say not “Fie” unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word.  
   (17: Bani Isra’il: 23)

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.   Jabir reported that the Messenger of Allah said: He who is devoid of kindness is  devoid of good.   (Muslim)

2.   Ayesha reported that the Messenger of Allah said: He who is given his share of kindness is given his share of the good of this world and the hereafter; and he who is deprived of his share of kindness, is deprived of his share of the good of this world and the hereafter.   (Sharh-i-Sunnat)

3.   Abdullah reported God’s messenger as saying, “All creatures are God’s children, and those dearest to God are the ones who treat His children kindly.”   (Baihaqi)

4.   Jaber reported that the Holy Prophet said: Whoso has got three things in him, Allah will make his death easy and will admit him in Paradise: mercy to the weak, kindness to the parents, and doing good to the slave.   (Tirmizi (Rare)

5.   Jarir bin Abdullah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Allah is not kind to one who is not kind to men.  
   (Bukhari, Muslim)

6.   Ayesha reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Allah is kind, He loves kindness, and He gives for kindness what He gives not for harshness and what He gives not for anything else. Muslim narrated it. And in his another narration, he said to Ayesha: You shall take to kindness, and avoid harshness and indecency. Kindness does not occur in a thing but to adorn it, and is taken out from a thing but to disgrace it.  
   (Muslim)

7.   Ayesha told that a nomadic Arab came to God’s messenger and asked, “Do you kiss children? We do not kiss them.” The Prophet replied, “I cannot help you since God has withdrawn mercy from your heart.”  
   (Bukhari and Muslim)

[Back to top of page]

X – Mercy

Mercy is one of the greatest attributes of Allah who is the most Beneficent (Rahman) and the most Merciful (Rahim). “Imbue thyself with divine virtues” is the famous Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). As Allah is merciful to us, we should be merciful to His creatures especially to the weak, to the distressed, to the people under command, to the minorities living with us, even with the animals. Mercy is opposed to oppression. We should avoid oppression and practice the attribute of mercy in our mutual dealings. However, no mercy or pity should be shown to the criminals in the matter of punishment and in the establishment of Hudood (criminal laws) and justice. The Qur’an says: “The adulterer and the adulteress, scourge ye each one of them (with) a hundred stripes. And let not pity for the twain withhold you from obedience to Allah ……”(24:2).

Ibn Umar reported God’s Messenger as saying: “Enforcing one of God’s prescribed punishments is better than forty night’s rain in God’s land”. (Ibn Majah).

Following are the verses of the Qur’an and traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) regarding mercy:

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

1.   Praise be Allah, Lord of the worlds, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

2.   Who say, when a misfortune striketh them: Lo! we are Allah’s and lo! unto Him we are returning. Such are they on whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. Such are the rightly guided.   ––2: 156 – 157

3.   Lo! those who believe, and those who emigrate (to escape persecution) and strive in the way of Allah, these have hope of Allah’s mercy, Allah is forgiving, merciful.   ––2: 218

4.   They said: Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If Thou forgive us not and have not mercy on us, surely we are of the lost.   ––7: 23

5.   ……This (Qur’an) is insight from your Lord, and a guidance and a mercy for a people that believe.   ––7: 203

6.   And lower unto them (parents) the wing of submission through mercy, and say: My Lord! Have mercy on them both as they did care for me when I was little.   ––17: 24

7.   We sent thee (Muhammad) not save as a mercy for the people.  
   ––21: 107

8.   Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves…….   ––48: 29

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.    Jarir b. Abdullah reported God’s Messenger as saying, “God will not show mercy to him who does not show mercy to others.”   (Bukhari and Muslim)

2.   Abu Hurairah told that he heard Abul Qasim’ who spoke the truth and whose word was verified say, “Mercy is taken away only from him who is miserable.”   (Ahmad and Tirmidhi)

3.   Abdullah b. ‘Amr reported God’s Messenger as saying, “Those who are merciful have mercy shown them by the Compassionate One. If you show mercy to those who are in the earth He Who is in heaven will show mercy to you.”  
   (Abu Daud and Tirmidhi)

4.   Ibn ‘Abbas reported God’s messenger as saying, “He does not belong to us who does not show mercy to our young ones and respect to our old ones, who does not recommend what is reputable and prohibit what is disreputable.”   (Tirmidhi, rare)

5.   Ayesha reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Allah does not intend to show mercy to the members of a family but to do benefit to them; nor does He deprive them of it but to injure them.   (Baihaqi)

[Back to top of page]

XI – Modesty

Modesty has many meanings. But here in this section we are using it in the sense of bashfulness, shame, decency and keeping scrupulously chaste. Chastity means abstaining from unlawful or immoral or from all sexual intercourse. The virtues of Modesty and chastity are akin virtues and are being jointly dealt in this section. Opposite of these virtues are indecency, obscenity, unchastity and shamelessness. The virtues of modesty and chastity make the difference whether the man comes from cultured background and noble family or he comes from an indecent and uncultured people. If he possesses these virtues he comes from the former type and if not he comes from the latter.

In its code of morality, Islam gives special status to modesty and chastity. The Holy Qur’an and the Prophet of Islam have exhorted the believers to keep modest and chaste, to abstain from adultery, to avoid free mixing with women out of prohibited degrees, to avoid obscenity and vulgarity in conduct and talk, and the women should cover their body properly.

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

1.   And come not near adultery. Lo! It is an abomination and an evil way.   ––17: Bani Israil: 32

2.   And who guard their modesty – Save from their wives or the (slaves) that their right hands possess, for then they are not blameworthy,   ––23: Al-Mu’minun: 5-6

3.   Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms………   ––24: An-Nur: 30-31

4.   And let those who cannot find a match keep chaste till Allah give them independence by His grace.   ––24: An-Nur: 33

5.   Afterwards one of the (damsels) came (back) to him, walking bashfully. She said: “My father invites thee that he may reward thee for having watered (our flocks) for us.”   ––28: Al-Qasas: 25

6.   And those who preserve their chastity save with their wives and those whom their right hands possess, for thus they are not blameworthy;   ––70: Al-Ma’arij: 29-30

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.    Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Indecency does not occur in a thing but to disgrace it, and shame does not occur in a thing but to adorn it.   (Tirmizi)

2.   Abn Sayeed al-Khodri reported that the Messenger of Allah was much more bashful than the virgins within their head-veils. When he saw a thing disliking to him, we could have recognized it in his face.   (Bukhari and Muslim)

3.   Ibn Umar told that God’s Messenger came upon a man of the Ansar when he was giving his brother a warning against modesty and said, “Leave him alone, for modesty is a part of faith.”   (Bukhari and Muslim)

4.   Imran b. Husain reported God’s Messenger as saying, “Modesty produces nothing but good.” A version has, “Modesty is altogether good.”   (Bukhari and Muslim)

5.   Ibn Mas’ud reported God’s Messenger as saying that one of the things people have learned from the words of the earliest prophecy is, “If you have no shame, do what you like.”  
   (Bukhari)

6.   Abu Hurairah reported God’s Messenger as saying, “Modesty is part of faith and faith is in paradise, but obscenity is a part of hardness of heart and hardness of heart is in hell.”  
   (Ahmad and Tirmidhi)

7.   Zaid b. Talha reported God’s Messenger as saying, “Every religion has a character, and the character of Islam is modesty.”    
   (Malik, Ibn Majah and Baihaqi)

8.   Ibn Umar reported the Prophet as saying, “Modesty and faith are both companions; when one is taken away the other is taken.” The version of Ibn ‘Abbas has “When one of them is taken away the other follows it.”   (Baihaqi)

9.   Abu Darda’ reported the Prophet as saying, “The heaviest thing which will be put in the believer’s scale on the Day of Resurrection will be good character; but God hates the profligate and the obscene.”   (Mishkat)

[Back to top of page]

XII – Patience

Patience is calm endurance of pain or of any provocation. It is perseverance, forbearance, or quite and self-possessed waiting for something. It is the quality of being able to calmly endure suffering, toil, delay, vexation, or the like.

Patience is an attribute only of men and not of animals or beasts who are subordinate to instincts and passions. Patience is not only to show endurance during hardships, poverty, diseases, calamities, assaults, tortures and other physical troubles but it also means resistence to temptations and control over passions, immoral and evil tendencies. The former is called physical patience while the latter is spiritual patience.

Maulana Fazlul Karim quotes Ibn Abbas who said that there are three kinds of patience in the Qur’an: patience in the discharge of compulsory injunction which carries one reward, patience over unlawful things of Allah which has got double rewards, and patience at the first attack of a calamity which carries triple reward (Ihya of Gazzali). These rewards are only to show the degree of excellence of various kinds of patience.

But a true followers of Islam is not supposed to show patience in case of evil or when religion of Islam is attacked or ridiculed. He is required to respond and stop the evil either with his hand or with his tongue and if not possible he should condemn it in his heart at least.

The Holy Qur’an admires the patience of Prophet Job (Ayub) and mentions the rewards given to him by Allah for the same. “And Job, when he cried unto his Lord, (saying): Lo! adversity afflicteth me, and Thou art most merciful of all who show mercy. Then We heard his prayer and removed that adversity from which he suffered, and We gave him his household (that he had lost) and the like thereof along with them, a mercy from Our store, and a remembrance for the worshippers;” (21: 83 – 84).

Following are the verses of al-Qur’an and Ahadith of Prophet of Islam which exhort patience to the believers and promise them immense reward:

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

1.    Seek help in patience and prayer; and truly it is hard save for the humble – minded.   ––2: Al-Baqarah: 45

2.   O ye who believe! Seek help in steadfastness and prayer. Lo! Allah is with the steadfast.   ––2: Al-Baqarah: 153

3.   And surely We shall try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops, but give glad tidings to the steadfast who say, when a misfortune striketh them: Lo! we are Allah’s and lo! unto Him we are returning,  
   2: Al-Baqarah: 155-156

4.   Assuredly ye will be tried in your property and in your persons, and ye will hear much wrong from those who were given the scripture before you, and from the idolaters. But if ye persevere and ward off (evil), that is of the steadfast heart of things.   ––3: Al-Imran: 186

5.   O ye who believe! Endure, outdo all others in endurance, be ready, and observe your duty to Allah, in order that ye may succeed.   ––3: Al-Imran: 200

6.   And obey Allah and His Messenger, and dispute not one with another lest ye falter and your strength depart from you: but be steadfast! Lo! Allah is with the steadfast.   ––8: Al-Anfal: 46

7.   And if we cause him to taste grace after some misfortune that had befallen him, he saith: The ills have gone from me. Lo! he is exultant, boastful; save those who persevere and do good works. Theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward.  
   ––11: Hud: 10-11

8.   And have patience (O Muhammad) for lo! Allah loseth not wages of the good.   ––11: Hud: 115

9.   If ye punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith ye were afflicted. But if ye endure patiently, verily it is better for the patient. Endure thou patiently (O Muhammad) thine endurance is only by (the help of) Allah. Grieve not for them, and be not in distress because of that which they devise.  
   ––16: An-Nahl: 126-127

10.   But be patient (O Muhammad) with a patience fair to see.  
   ––70: Al-Ma’arij: 5

11.   By the declining day,
Lo! man is in a state of loss,
Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to the endurance.  
   ––103: Al-‘Asr: 1-3

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.    Ibn Mas’ud reported: I am as it were looking to the Messenger of Allah who was telling a story about a prophet among the prophets. His people scourged him and shed his blood, while he was effacing blood from his face and saying, O Allah! forgive my people, because they are certainly ignorant.  
   (Bukhari and Muslim)

2.   Abu Sayeed reported that the Messenger of Allah said: There is no patient man but possesses power, and no wise man but possesses experience.   (Ahmad, Tirmizi (Rare))

3.   Ibn Abbas reported that the Holy Prophet said to the wounded men of Abdul Qais tribe: Surely there are in you two attributes which Allah likes – patience and delay.   (Muslim)

4.   Ibn Mas’ud reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Patience is half of faith.   (Abu Nayeem)

[Back to top of page]

XIII – Promise

Keeping or fulfillment of promise has been much emphasized by the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet of Islam. The Qur’an commands its followers: “O ye who believe! Fulfil your promise…” (5:1). According to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), breaking of promise is one of the characteristics of hypocrisy. The breaker of the promises would be one of the three persons against whom Allah, the Almighty God Himself would contend on the Day of Judgment. A person who has got no promise has in fact got no religion. Fulfillment of promise is one of the characteristics of the conduct of Prophets. The Qur’an praises Prophet Ishmael as a keeper of promise. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) waited for three long days for a man at a place who had promised him to deliver a thing. Fulfillment of promise is so much stressed that even the promise of a deceased should be fulfilled. Abu Bakr, the first caliph of Islam fulfilled the promise made by the Prophet to a companion after Prophet’s death.

Following are some of the relevant verses of the al-Qur’an and the Traditions of Prophet of Islam about fulfillment of promises and merit of those who keep their promises:

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

1.   Nay, but (the chosen of Allah is) he who filfilleth his pledge and wardeth off (evil); for lo! Allah loveth those who off (evil).  
   ––3: Al-Imran: 76

2.   O ye who believe! Fulfill your undertakings……  
   ––5: Al-Maidah: 1

3.   Fulfill the covenant of Allah when ye have covenanted, and break not your oaths after the asseveration of them, and after ye have made Allah surety over you. Lo! Allah knoweth what ye do.   ––16: An-Nahl: 91

4.   Come not near the wealth of the orphan save with that which is better till he come to strength; and keep the covenant. Lo! of the covenant it will be asked.   ––17: Bani Isra’il: 34

5.   And make mention in the scripture of Ishamael. Lo! he was a keeper of his promise, and he was a messenger (of Allah), a Prophet.   19: Maryam: 54

6.   And who are shepherds of their pledge and their covenant, and who pay head to their prayers. These are the heirs who will inherit paradise.  
   ––23: Al-Muminun: 8-11

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.   Abdullah bin Amr Ibn al-‘As (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Whosoever possesses these four characteristics is a sheer hypocrite and anyone who possesses one of them possesses a characteristic of hypocrisy till he gives it up; when he talks, he tells a let; when he makes a covenant, he acts treacherously; and when he quarrels; he deviates from the truth (he begins to abuse).   (Bukhari and Muslim)

2.   Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Every one who breaks covenant, will have a flag over his back on the Day of Resurrection. It will be raised higher according to the nature of his breach. Behold, there will be no bigger breaker of covenant than a ruler of the ordinary men.   (Muslim)

3.   Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Allah, the Exalted says: He will contend on the Day of Judgment against three persons. One he who makes a covenant in His name and then breaks it, he who sells a free man as a slave and devours his price; and he who hires a workman and having taken full work from him, fails to pay him his wages.   (Bukhari)

4.   Anas reported: Hardly did the Messenger of Allah address us without saying: There is no faith in him who has got no trust, and no religion for him who has got no promise.   (Baihaqi)

5.   Jabir told that when God’s messenger died and property from al-Ala’b. Al-Hadrami came to Abu Bakr, he said, “If anyone has a debt owing to him from the Prophet, or has received any promise from him, let him come to me.” Jabir told that he then said, “God’s messenger promised to give me such and such and such, spreading out his hands three times to indicate what he meant,” and that Abu Bakr gave him a handful. He counted it and found it was five hundred. Then Abu Bakr said, “Take twice as much.”   (Bukhari and Muslim)

6.   Abdullah b. Abul Hamsa said: I bought something from the Prophet before he received his prophetic commission, and as there was something still due to him I promised him I would bring it to him at his place, but I forgot. When I remembered three days later I went to that place and found him there. He said, “You have vexed me; I have been here three days waiting for you.”   (Abu Daud)

7.   Abdullah b. Amir told that his mother called him one day when God’s messenger was sitting in their house, saying, “Come here and I shall give you something.” God’s messenger asked her what she intended to give me, and when she replied that she intended to give me some dates, he said, “If you were not to give him anything, a lie would be recorded against you.”   (Abu Daud and Baihaqi)

[Back to top of page]

XIV – Speaking Truth

Speaking truth is the greatest of human character and it has been enjoined by Islam upon its followers with great stress. It is an attribute of the great Prophets of Allah like Ibrahim and Ismael and has been praised by the Quran which mentions Ibrahim as truthful Prophet in verse 41 of its chapter 19 and calls Ismael as truthful of promise in verse 54 of chapter 19. Truth is light and falsehood is darkness, and as darkness vanishes when light comes similarly falsehood vanishes when truth comes. The best man is he who is pure of heart and truthful of tongue. Truth is bitter but it is very sweet in its rewards. It greatly contributes to peace of mind and removes doubts and anxieties.

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

1.   Allah saith: This is a day in which their truthfulness profiteth the truthful, for theirs are Gardens underneath which revers flow, wherein they are secure for ever, Allah taking pleasure in them and they in Him. That is the great triumph.  
   ––5: Al-Ma’idah: 119

2.   O ye who believe! Be careful of your duty to Allah, and be with the truthful.   ––9: At Taubah: 119

3.   Of the believers are men who are true to that which they covenanted with Allah. Some of them have paid their vow by death (in battle), and some of them still are waiting; and they have not altered in the least; That Allah may reward the true men for their truth, and punish the hypocrites if He will, or relent toward them (if He will). Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.   ––33: Al-Ahzab: 23-24

4.   O ye who believe! Guard your duty to Allah, and speak words straight to the point;   ––33: Al-Ahzab: 70

5.   And whoso bringeth the truth and believeth therein – such are the dutiful.   ––39: Az-Zumar: 33

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.   Abdullah-b-Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah was asked: Who among men is the best? He replied: Everyone, pure of heart, truthful of tongue. He was enquired: “Truthful of tongue” – we know it. But What is ‘pure of heart’? He said: He is pure and pious upon whom there is neither sin, nor transgression, nor deceit, nor malice.   (Ibn Majah)

2.   Abdullah-b-Mas’ud reported that the Messenger of Allah said: You shall speak the truth, because truth leads to piety and piety leads to paradise. A man continues to speak the truth and to adhere to truth, till he is enrolled near Allah as a great truthful man. Beware of falsehood and falsehood leads to transgression and transgression leads to the fire. A man continues to speak falsehood and to adhere to falsehood till he is enrolled as a great liar in the sight of Allah. Agreed upon it, and in a narration of Muslim, he said: Truth is piety and piety leads to paradise; and falsehood is transgression and transgression leads to Hell.   (Bukhari and Muslim)

3.   Hassan bin Ali (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that he remembered (three words) from the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) Give up what appears doubtful to you and adhere to that which is not doubtful for truth is peace of mind and falsehood is doubt.   (Tirmizi)

4.   Malek reported: It has reached me that Luqman the wise asked: How have you acquired what we see meaning excellence? He replied: Truth in talk, fulfillment of trust and giving up of what is of no use to me.   (Mutta)

5.   Obadah-b-Swamet reported that the Holy Prophet said: If you guarantee me six things from yourselves, I shall then guarantee you Paradise. Speak the truth when you talk, fulfill trust when you are entrusted, guard your private parts, shut up your eyesight and withhold your hands.   (Baihaqi)

6.   Abu Zarr reported: I went to the Messenger of Allah. He delivered a very long sermon. I said: O Messenger of Allah! advise me. He said: I advise you to fear Allah as it is the best adornment for your whole affairs. I enquired: Advise me more. He said: You shall recite the Qur’an and remember the Most Glorious and Almighty Allah, because it is a means of your being mentioned in heaven, and a light for you in this world. I said: Advise me more. He said: You should take to long silence, be sure it is a means of driving away the devil and a help to you in the affairs of your religion. I said: Advise me more. He said: Be careful of excessive laughter, because it makes the heart dead and takes away the brightness of face. I asked: Advise me more. He said: Speak the truth though it is bitter. I said: Advise me more. He said: Don’t fear the slander of a slanderer for (cause of) Allah. He said: Let what you of yourself know guard you from (backbiting) men.   (Baihaqi)

[Back to top of page]

XV – Steadfastness

Steadfast means constant, firm, standing firm, firm in resolution, fixed, unwavering, unchanging, resolute, perservering, single minded, stable, steady, unfaltering, unswerving. Its antonyms are capricious, faint–hearted, uncommitted, unreliable, vacillating, wavering. Steadfastness is act of or state of being steadfast.

Steadfastness is the virtue of Prophets and reformers who constantly, steadily and firmly make struggle to achieve their mission. “Slow and steady wins the race”, is an old saying. Without being steady in one’s efforts, one cannot succeed in his objective. The life of the Prophet of Islam presents a brilliant example of a man who committed to his mission worked steadfastly in the face of heavy odds and who ultimately succeeded in converting millions to the religion of Allah. The Prophet was opposed, derided, ridiculed, abused, cursed, oppressed, and even tempted but nothing could move him an inch from the path of guidance. He was socially boycotted, his companions were subjected to atrocities, he and his companions were forced to leave their home town and seek refuge in a distant place, yet he remained undaunted. His unswerving steadfastness under the most trying circumstances ultimately crowned him with success in his noble aim.

Islam enjoins upon its followers to be steadfast and patient in the hardships and calamities of life. Both the Qur’an and Sunnah admire those who endure the hardships patiently in the path of Allah and promise them immense rewards.

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

1.   O ye who believe! Seek help in steadfastness and prayer. Lo! Allah is with the steadfast.   ––2: Al-Baqarah: 153

2.   Or deemed ye that ye would enter paradise while yet Allah knoweth not those (of you) who are steadfast?  
   ––3: Al-Imran: 142

3.   And obey Allah and His messenger, and dispute not one with another lest ye falter and your strongth depart from you: but be steadfast! Lo! Allah is with the steadfast.   ––8: al-Anfal: 46

4.   Lo! those who say: Our Lord is Allah, and afterward are upright (steadfast), the angels descend upon them, saying: Fear not nor grieve, but hear good tidings of the Paradise which ye are promised.   ––41: Ha Mim As-Sajdah: 30

5.   Then have patience (O Muhammad) even as the stout of heart among the messengers (of old) had patience, and seek not to hasten on the doom for them……   ––46: Al-Ahqaf: 35

6.   And verily We shall try you till We know those of you who strive hard (for the cause of Allah) and the steadfast, and till We test your record.   ––47: Muhammad: 31

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.   Sufyan bin ‘Abdullah (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that he said: O’ Messenger of Allah, tell me something (comprehensive) in respect of Islam which should enable me to do without asking anyone else. He said: Say, Allah is my Sustainer and then be steadfast.   (Msulim)

2.   Ayesha reported that the Messenger of Allah said: The most pleasing of actions to Allah is that which is done continuously though it be little.   (Bukhari and Muslim)

3.   Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: The religion is easy, and nobody must ever make the religion a rigour except that it will overcome him. So be steadfast and seek nearness and give good news and seek help at morn and at dusk and some part of a dark night.   (Bukhari)

[Back to top of page]

XVI – Toleration

According to dictionaries, toleration has a variety of meanings. It means to bear, to support, to allow, to permit, to endure; to bear without repugnance; to put up with; to endure with patience or impunity; to allow or to allow to exist without interference or molestation; allowance of what is not approved; to condone; to turn a blind eye to. Synonyms of this word are: Tolerance, endurance, forbearance, indulgence, broad – mindedness, large – heartedness, magnanimity, patience, fortitude, kind – heartedness, open – mindedness, condonation, liberal or charitable attitude or treatment. Antonyms of toleration are: bigotry, fanaticism, intolerance, discrimination, prejudice, bias, narrow- mindedness, repression, authoritarianism.

In the socio – political sense, however, the word toleration signifies the allowance or liberty given to minorities and political opponents to hold or express their own political or religious opinions. In other words, it stands for freedom of worship, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and other religious and political freedoms given by a government to minorities and political opponents. It is in this socio-political sense that we are taking toleration for our discussion in this section.

Being religion of nature and great champion of human rights, Islam strongly believes in policy of tolerance and indulgence. It not only tolerates difference of opinion and differences of religions but also gives full freedom to those who hold different religious or political opinions to express their views and act according to their conscience. In other words, Islam allows full religions and political freedom to religious minorities and political groups having different opinions. Followers of Islam enjoy unique positions of eminence in the history of the world on account of their golden policy of tolerance shown to minorities. True believers are known for their kind – heartedness and broad – mindedness in treatment of non – Muslims. There are many verses in the Holy Qur’an and there are many traditions of the Prophet of Islam in Hadith literature which enjoin upon the believers to follow Islamic principle of toleration towards those who happen to hold religions or opinions different from those which the Muslims hold.

Let us now glance through the verses of al-Qur’an and traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) relevant to the principle of toleration.

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

According to the Qur’an every human being is responsible and answerable for his own actions and deeds. None is accountable for others actions and none is going to bear the burden of others. Whosoever follows the path of God’s guidance, its benefits are for him and whosoever follows path of sin, its harms are for none else than him. Therefore nobody should be compelled to embrace Islam against his will. Everybody is free to follow his own path. Following are the verses of the Qur’an which highlight this theme:

1.   Those are a people who have passed away. Theirs is that which they earned, and yours is that which ye earn. And ye will not be asked of what they used to do.   ––2: 134

2.   There is no compulsion in religion…….   ––2: 256

3.   And if they deny thee, say: Unto me my work, and unto you your work. Ye are innocent of what I do, and I am innocent of what ye do.   ––10: 42

4.   Whosoever goeth right, it is only for (the good of) his own soul that he goeth right, and whosoever erreth, erreth only to its hurt. No laden soul can bear another’s load……   ––17: 15

5.   Allah forbiddeth you not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drove you not out from your homes, that ye should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo! Allah loveth the just dealers.   ––60: 8

6.   Remind them, for thou art but a remembrance, thou art not at all a warder over them.   ––88: 21-22

7.   Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion.   ––109: 6

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.    Difference of opinion among the learned of my community is a sign of Allah’s Grace.

2.   Beware! Whosoever is cruel and hard on such people (non-Muslims called zimmis or protected people) or curtails their rights, or burdens them with more they can endure, or realizes anything from them against their free will, I shall myself be a complainant against him on the Day of Judgment.   (Abu Daud)

[Back to top of page]

XVII – Trust-worthiness

Trust worthiness is a great attribute of good conduct. Trustworthy is the person who fulfills his trust faithfully. If anything is entrusted to him or any money or goods are deposited with him or any act of responsibility is assigned to him; then the trustworthy person discharges the trust, returns the money or goods, performs the act of responsibility in an excellent way to the expectation of the other person. Prophet Muhammad, even before his call to the Apostleship, was known al-Amin or trustworthy among the people of Makkah. He was loved by the people who entrusted to him their cash and valuables and had great faith in him. Muhammad (PBUH) felt his responsibility so much that when he was leaving for Madinah to escape from bitter persecution of the Makkans he made his cousin Ali to lie in his bed to handover the trusts of the people to them. Being his followers it is our responsibility to fulfill our trusts very prudently and honestly.

Trusts are of many types. Property of an orphan is a trust with his guardian, property of baitulmal (public treasury) is a trust with the caliph, money deposited in the account is a trust with the bank, even the casting of vote is a trust with the voter. All such trusts should be discharged most responsibly in fashion of a true Muslim.

The Verses of the Holy Qur’an and Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) about fulfillment of trusts are as under:

Verses of the Holy Qur’an:

1.   If ye be on a journey and cannot find a scribe, then a pledge in hand (shall suffice). And if one of you entrusteth to another let him who is trusted deliver up that which is entrusted to him (according to the pact between them) and let him observe his duty to Allah. Hide not testimony. He who hideth it, verily his heart is sinful. Allah is Aware of what ye do.  
   ––2: Al-Baqarah: 283

2.   Lo! Allah commandeth you that ye restore deposits to their owners, and if ye judge between mankind, that ye judge justly. Lo! comely is this which Allah admonisheth you. Lo! Allah is ever Hearer, Seer.   ––4: An-Nisa: 58

3.   O ye who believe! Betray not Allah and His messenger, nor knowingly betray your trusts.   ––8: Al-Anfal: 27

4.   And who are shepherds of their pledge and their covenant, and who pay heed to their prayers. These are the heirs. Who will inherit Paradise.  
   ––23: Al-Muminun: 8-11

5.   Lo! We offered the trust to the heavens and the earth and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it, And man assumed it. Lo! he hath proved a tyrant and a fool.  
   (33: Al-Ahzab: 72)

Ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

1.    Abu Hurairah raised it (to Prophet) who said: The Almighty and Glorious Allah says: I am the Third of the two co sharers so long as one of the two does not commit treachery with his friend. Then when he commits treachery with him, I go out from the midst of the two.   (Abu Daud)

2.   Abu Hurairah reported from the Holy Prophet who said: Pay trust to one who has entrusted you, and be not treacherous to one who was treacherous to you.   (Tirmizi, Abu Daud)

3.   Abu Sayeed reported that the Messenger of Allah said: The greatest of trusts in the sight of Allah on the Resurrection Day (And in a narration: The worst of men in rank to Allah on the Resurrection Day) will be (that of) the man who goes unto his wife and she goes unto him. After wards he gives out her secrets.   (Muslim)

4.   Omar reported that the Messenger of Allah said: When you find a man committing breach of trust in the way of Allah, burn his commodities and beat him.   (Abu Daud)

5.   Jaber reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Ali meetings are on trust except three – for shedding unlawful blood or for unlawful private parts or for taking away property without just cause.   (Abu Daud)

6.   Sufyan-b-Asad-al-Hazrami reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah say; It is a great breach of trust that you communicate a news to your brother which he believes true for you while you (take) it for him as untrue.   (Abu Daud)

7.   Abdullah-b-Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah said: When four things are in you, there is nothing against you in the world which may cause your loss: guarding of trust, truthfulness in speech and beauty in conduct and moderation in food.   (Ahmad, Baihaqi)

[Back to top of page]

  Next Chapter Previous Chapter PDF Version

All Books

   
 

The pages of this website are optimized to be viewed by Java script enabled Microsoft Internet Explorer® version 6 or later (only), with screen resolution of 800 by 600 pixels.

Copyright ©2003 by the author, Dr. Muhammad Sharif Chaudhry. However, no permission or royalty/fee is required, to reproduce, translate, print, or publish this book or any parts thereof, in any form, without making any change in its matter and its authorship, for a noble Islamic cause. For the purpose of the author's record, it is required/expected that the author will be informed of any republication of the contents of this book, in any form. For more details, please click here.