In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Dear brothers and sisters, May God’s peace, grace and blessings be upon you!
Imam Ahmad narrated on Abu Hurayra’s authority –God’s mercy be upon both of them- that the prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, said: “A man’s nobility is his dīn, his magnanimity is his reason, and his noble descent is his good character”.
It is stated in Lisān al-‘Arab that: “Magnanimity is being human… and al-Aḥnaf -God’s mercy be upon him- noted that: magnanimity is decency and profession… another scholar added: magnanimity is not to perpetrate in secret what you may shy away from in public”.
Hence, good character and dīn are inextricably intertwined in Islam and that magnanimity is a hybrid of a sense of humanity, noble manners, a sound reasoning and a dignifying profession.
In this regard, God’s Messenger, God bless him and grant him peace, has urged us to seek the faithful and virtuous woman for marriage. In parallel fashion, he has equally encouraged women to marry men with similar qualities.
Imam Ahmad has related that Abu Sa’īd Al-Khudri reported the Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, as saying: “A woman is married for one of three attributes: for her wealth, for her beauty, or for her dīn. So you should marry the one with dīn and noble manners, (otherwise) you will be a loser! [lit. your hand be besmeared with dust.]
Noble manners are the second pillar of the believer’s character [man and woman]. The prophet’s, God bless him and grant him peace, ḥadiths evince that a man or a woman might have some piety in them, but their moral flaws keep them from satisfying the requirements of the mission of preserving fitra through childbirth and upbringing. With these aims in view, Islam has approved of marrying the man and the woman exhibiting both these traits: dīn and nobility. Dīn with no nobility does not count, and neither does the reason nor lineage when they lack magnanimity and good manners.
One of the issues that da’wa [Call] has been afflicted by in our time and in all times is the emergence of some people who, whether jointly or separately, rely heavily on the appearances of religiousness. They attach paramount importance to particulars; they might even wear special clothing and lay undue stress on Mustaḥabb (1)Mustahabb [Arabic مستحبّ /mustaḥabb/, literally “recommended”] is an Islamic term referring to recommended, favored or virtuous actions. [recommended] as if they were obligations. However, in the midst of appearances and particulars, there lies a terrifying moral void. How can we be Muslims when the basic elements of humanity, morals and reason are not reflected in us?
Another point that da’wa has been afflicted by is the deceitful façade of “religious commitment”. Once the young man and woman record their names in the troop of the “religiously committed”, there is nothing wrong if they were without nobility, and nobility is dīn, without morals, and morals are the counterpart of dīn, and without reason, and reason is an integral part of magnanimity.
We would not be Muslims if we abrogated the importance of morals, reason and magnanimity to our quest for spiritual maturity. Lying also at the core of this quest is the “concept” of humanity, i.e. the sum of the virtuous qualities which have grown to be a matter of human consensus. The tearful worshipers in mosques devoting themselves wholeheartedly to Qur’ān recitation and remembrance of God [ad-dhikr] cannot aspire to be the People of Light and Spirituality unless their practical conduct towards others is both ethical and magnanimous. They are called to assess the sum of their actions against the standards of the mind, civility, competence, utility and prowess.
Imān and noble manners are but one thing. Imām Ahmad related from Amr-Ibn-‘Abasa –May God be pleased with both of them- that the Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, said: “Islām is to speak courteously and feed others generously. I [Amr-Ibn-‘Abasa] asked then: And what is Imān? He, God bless him and grant him peace, answered: patience and forgiveness. I inquired: And which [attribute] of islām is more excellent? He replied: The one from whose harm [be it verbal or physical] the Muslims are safe. I said: Which Imān is best? He replied: noble manners.”
Hence, if feigned religiousness was ever to have a virtue, it would be to inhibit the person in question from reaching the summit of imān. The Imāms of Hadith: al-Bukhāri, Muslim and Ahmad related on the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Āṣ that it was not the nature of the Messenger of God, God bless him and grant him peace, to talk indecently [Faḥish], nor did he engage himself in obscene language [Mutafaḥḥish], and that he used to say: “the best amongst you are those who have the best manners”. And in al-Muwaṭṭa’, it is pointed out that the Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, said: “I was sent to perfect good manners”.
God’s Messenger, God bless him and grant him peace, has notified us that it is not through religiousness that one can attain the station of high spiritual honorability [al-khayriya]. Better imān is rather achieved through better manners, especially with regards to a man’s spouse – the conservator of values and the preserver of fitra. The mother of the believers ‘Āisha –May God be pleased with her- reported that the Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, stated: “The best amongst you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best among you to mine” [text narrated by at-Tirmidhi].
Good manners is a criterion that the Prophet tendered to this Ummah, he so adamantly recommended it for Muslims to realize that God does not accept a monastic “celestial” religiosity. In stark contrast, he insisted that our conduct towards the people in Earth be furnished with the standards of the populace of Earth. Here I simply cite some instances from the Ḥadīths of the Prophet:
“Oh Mu’ād, make your manners good for the people!” [al-Muwaṭṭa’]
“The Mūmin attains by his noble character the rank of day fasters and night vigilant”. [Abu-Dawūd]
“The believers with the most complete imān are the best in manners and the nicest to their partners”. [at-Tirmidhi]
“The Mūmins who show the most complete imān are those who have the best behavior, and the best among you are those who are the best to their wives.” [at-Tirmidhi and Abu-Dawūd]
As one can easily discern, behaving decently towards the wife has been constantly reiterated throughout the sunna. One of the miserable phenomena from which the “religiously committed” men and women suffer is the complete failure of their marriages, except for few cases. For the young man and the young woman regard the religious appearances as the utmost noble deed. Only when their magnanimity is put to the test of daily deportment, does it unveil fatuousness, frivolousness along with other forms of meanness which therein lie and are traceable to either lowness of essence or to improper spiritual training or to both of them.
May God’s peace, grace and blessings be upon you!
Invoke God for your brother Abdessalam Yassine
Salé, on Friday, 22 Rabī’-I 1409.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Mustahabb [Arabic مستحبّ /mustaḥabb/, literally “recommended”] is an Islamic term referring to recommended, favored or virtuous actions.|