Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Do Not Despise The Poor - Part 3 of 3

A Life of Negligence

How can one who cares for the Hereafter live a life of enjoyment, fulfillment of desires and then sleep peacefully when he / she does not know whether if he / she belongs to the people of Paradise or the people of Hell. It is also Allah's kindness to us that He does not allow such an anxiety to dominate everyone, otherwise the entire work and administration of the world would be disturbed and upset. So Allah does not make such extreme cases of anxiety a regular feature.
The Holy Prophet SAW has warned his Ummah at many places against negligence which prevents them from thinking which course - right or wrong - they are taking. They are advised to consider from time to time whether the path they are following leads to Paradise or to Hell. They should also keep a vigilant eye on their acts and deeds.

Do Not Be Proud Of Physical Health, Strength & Beauty

Abu Hurairah RA has narrated that the Holy Prophet SAW said:

"On the Day of Qiyaamat, a great man will be brought fat and bulky in body, yet he will not be equal in weight even to the wings of a mosquito." (Bukhari)

This entire worldly pomp and power, this physical strength and health and beauty will be of no avail in the Hereafter. This is because the man, inspite of all his greatness, power and beauty, did not work during his worldly life to please Almighty Allah; so he has not the least value in the sight of Allah. The intention of this Hadith is also to emphasise that man should not feel proud of his apparent beauty, health and strength, his wealth and status, as these worldly gifts may not be of any value in the sight of Allah. The real value lies in assuring that a man's deeds are righteous and he is following the path shown by Allah and His Prophet SAW.

The Woman Who Used To Sweep The Prophet's (SAW) Mosque

Abu Hurairah RA has related an incident which occured during the days of the Holy Prophet SAW. He has narrated that there was a black woman who used to sweep the Prophet's (SAW) mosque from time to time. The Holy Prophet SAW then noticed that he (SAW) did not see that woman for some time. He (SAW) then and asked his noble Companions RA about her. The noble Companions RA replied that she has passed away.

The Holy Prophet SAW then complained to them that they did not inform him of her death. The CompanionsRA did not say anything in reply but it appeared from their attitude that they regarded that woman too ordinary to tell the Holy Prophet SAW about her death. The Holy Prophet SAW then asked the Companions RA the way to her grave which he visited along with the Companions RA and offered there her funeral prayer. Such was the way the Holy Prophet SAW remembered that black woman, honoured and felt for her.

The Injunction about Offering Solatul Janazah on Graves

The general condition about funeral prayers is that if anyone's funeral prayer has been offered, then it is not lawful to offer the funeral prayer again at the grave of the dead. If a dead body has been buried without funeral prayer, the order of the Shari'ah prescribes that funeral prayer may be offered at the grave before the body has not become decomposed. It is not lawful to offer the funeral prayer at the grave when as much time has passed as the body take to decompose.

Graves Are Cells Of Darkness

Returning to the story, the Holy Prophet SAW offered funeral prayer at the grave of that woman as a special tribute to her and to show this to the noble Companions RA.

After having offered the funeral prayer, he (SAW) is reported to have said:

"The graves are filled with darkness, but by the blessings of my prayer Allah illuminates these graves, by His mercy."

Do Not Despise Anyone

The Holy Prophet SAW did all this to warn the people that it was not good to despise any man or woman and to consider him or her worthless, simply because he or she had no status and standing from the worldly point of view. This was because none knows what rank he or she occupies in the sight of Allah.

The People With Dishevelled Hair

The Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW is reported to have said:

"There are many people with dishevelled and uncombed hair on their heads. Their bodies and faces are dusty, as they earn their livelihood by hard labour. They command no respect anywhere in the world and are likely to be turned out by force if they visit any house. They are worthless from the worldly point of view, but if they swear by Allah about anything, Allah shall fulfil their oaths."

That is, if they say an oath, that such and such thing shall be done, Allah by His grace and power, does that thing. If they swear by Allah that such and such thing will not happen, Allah stops the execution of that thing.

Our Behaviour With The Poor

All these Ahadith show that we should not judge the value of anyone by his outer appearance and condition.

We admit and declare verbally that all Muslims are brothers, high and low, poor and rich, are equal before Allah and that the poor and the deprived have great value in the sight of Allah. Do we keep these principles in view when we actually deal with them? Do we follow these golden rules in dealing with our servants, our subordinates, and the poor and depressed persons whom we happen to come across during our daily lives? What actually happens is that we preach and listen to the golden principles of behaviour but we forget them in our actual practices and dealings.

Those Who Shall Enter Paradise and Hell

Usamah RA was a favourite companion of the Holy Prophet RA. He was the son of Zayd ibn Harith RA - an adopted son of the Prophet SAW. In other words, he was an adopted grandson of the Holy Prophet SAW.

He narrated that the Prophet SAW said:

"I was standing at the gate of Paradise..." (This might have been during the Mi'raaj (ascension), because on that occasion, the Holy Prophet SAW was taken to see Paradise and Hell. Or it might have been on some other occasion during a vision Allah knows better.)

"I saw that the people of Paradise belonged mostly to the humble and the poor classes. I also saw that those who were regarded in the world as fortunate, prosperous, wealthy and high placed in their worldly lives were detained at the gate of Paradise and could not enter it."

This may mean two things; either they were entitled to enter Paradise, but were subject to stern reckoning of their deeds after clearing which they could enter Paradise. Therefore, they were detained at the door. Some of them had been ordained to enter Hell.

The Prophet SAW went on saying:

"Standing at the gate of Hell, I saw that the majority of inmates of Hell were women..."

The Poor Will Be In Paradise

This Hadith has two parts. It said in the first part that most people in Paradise appeared to be from among the poor classes as has already been mentioned. The poor class does not necessarily include only the needy but it also includes those who are humble by their nature and temperament.

Why Will Women Be In Hell More In Number?

The other part of the Hadith tells that the majority of the inmates of Hell appeared to be women.

Addressing women, the Holy Prophet SAW is reported to have said, in another Hadith:

"I was shown that you form the major part of the inmates of Hell."

It appears from this that the number of female dwellers of Hell will be greater than that of its male dwellers. This, however, never means that a woman shall enter Hell only for being a woman. That is not so. In another Hadith, the Holy Prophet SAW has mentioned the reason for this.

While addressing women, he SAW is reported to have said:

"Women form a greater part of the population of Hell."

When the women asked the reason for this, the Holy Prophet SAW mentioned two reasons for this.

Nabi SAW said:

"You frequently indulge in cursing and defaming one another on small and trivial issues."

Women are more involved to these vices than men.

Ingratitude To The Husband

The other reason for this is for a woman to be ungrateful to her husband. In such cases, her husband tries his best to please her with hard-earned money, yet instead of thanking him, the wife generally utters words of ingratitude.

These are the two main reasons which will drive most of women to Hell.

The Sin Of Ingratitude Amounts To Disbelief

Ingratitude is a contemptible act in all circumstances. It is highly disliked by Allah. In the Arabic language and in the terminology of the Shari'ah, ingratitude is called Kufr (disbelief), because an infidel (disbeliever) actually shows ingratitude to Allah, for the countless blessings granted by Him and thus he attributes a partner to Allah, or denies the unity of All-Compassionate Allah by his ingratitude.

Prostration before Husbands

The holy Prophet SAW has said in a Hadith:

"If I were to command anyone in this world to bow down before anyone other than Allah, I would command the wife to bow down before to her husband."

The intention is to tell that it is among the obligatory duties of a woman to obey her husband and not to be ungrateful to him, because this will be showing ingratitude to Allah. Allah is displeased with a woman's ungratefulness to her husband. That is why he (SAW) told women that they will be sent to Hell for this sin.

Two Formulas For Safety From Hell

Allah has clearly prescribed the rights of a husband and his wife against each other. Our sisters must remember that he (SAW) took special care to address an assembly of women and told them that these two sins are the causes for their entering Hell in larger numbers. Who knows better the secrets of Allah's Deen and the natural tendencies of the members of his Ummah more than the Holy Prophet SAW? There is none other than he (SAW) who can correctly diagnose the disease and prescribe the right remedy for its cure. Thus, the Holy Prophet SAW has prescribed two formulas for women to save themselves from the torment of Hell.

These are: to refrain from the sins of:
( a) Cursing and taunting one another, and
(b) Being ungrateful to their husbands.

The Angels Curse Such A Woman

The Holy Prophet SAW has gone to the extent of saying that if a wife disobeys her husband's call to go to his bed or if he passes a night in which she does not fulfil her husband's desire and he is displeased with his wife; the angels curse that woman the whole night.

Control Your Tongue

It has been said that the number of women entering Hell will be larger than that of men. This saying is being used by some ill-diposed persons as an argument to accuse that women have been degraded to such an extent that even Hell will receive a larger number of women than men. It should be borne in mind that women will not be thrust into Hell for being women; they will enter Hell because of their sins and misconduct, the sins of the tongue, in particular.

The Holy Prophet SAW has said that of all limbs, the tongue is the most notorious in pushing man into Hell. The tongue is instrumental to many grievous sins if it is not kept under strict control. Women are advised to use their tongues with due care so as not to utter words to hurt the hearts of others, particularly of their husbands. Allah has commanded the wife to keep their husband pleased and satisfied in all conditions. She can save herself from the torment of Hell by correcting herself and following strictly the laws of the Shari'ah. This responsibility lies equally on men and women both. We know that Allah appointed head of the women of Paradise and that leader is Fatimah RA. Allah has not debarred women from Paradise, but has declared them to be entitled to Paradise. The whole matter depends on the good deeds they do and the straight path they follows.

The Importance of the Rights of the People

There is another important point emanating from this Hadith which demands attention. The Holy Prophet SAW did not say that a larger number of women would enter Hell because they are more deficient in worship, offer less optional prayers or are slack in reciting the Holy Qur'an or in remembering Allah. The reasons mentioned by the Holy Prophet SAW for women entering Hell is their indulgence in the sin of cursing and taunting one another and by being ungrateful to their husbands. Both these sins are related to the rights of Allah's servants which they violate.

This brings out the importance of discharging fully the rights of Allah's servants. This is indeed more important than the offering of optional prayers and doing other optional items of worship.

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