< Thoughts & Readings

Thursday, June 03, 2004  

On Backbiting (Ghibah) God, glory to Him, said, “Let not some of you criticize others. Would one of you like to eat the dead flesh of his brother? You would abhor that. Fear God for God is Most Forgiving, Merciful” (49:12). Abu Said Muhammad bin Ibrahim al-Ismaili informed us from Abu Hurayrah, “A man who had earlier been seated with the Messenger of God stood up ad left. Some people said, ‘How weak and helpless is so-and-so!’ The Prophet said, ‘You have devoured and backbitten your brother.’” God, glory to Him, revealed to Prophet Moses, “He who dies having repented from backbiting will be the last to enter paradise, and he who dies persistent in it will be the first to enter hell.” Awf said, “I went to see Ibn Sirin and talked against the tyrant Hajjaj. Ibn Sirin said, ‘God Most High arranges things justly. As God will ask the rights of others from Hajjaj, He will ask the rights of Hajjaj from others. If you were to meet God Almighty and Glorious tomorrow, the smallest sin you have committed would be worse for you than the greatest sin committed by Hajjaj.’” It is said that Ibrahim bin Adham was invited to a banquet and attended. The other guests mentioned someone who was not among them. “What a disagreeable man!” they said. “This ego of mine has only worked upon me so that I would be present in a place where people are criticized!” Ibrahim declared. He left, and would not eat for three days. A person who maligns other people is like someone who sets up a catapult with which he throws his good deeds East and West. He criticizes one person from Khurasan, another from Damascus, another from the Hijaz, another from Turkistan—he scatters his good deeds, gets up, and has nothing left! It is said that the servant may be given his book on the resurrection day and not see a good deed in it. He will ask, “Where is my prayer, my fasting, my obedience?” and will be told, “All of your good work disappeared through your maligning of people.” It is said that God will forgive half the sins of anyone who is attacked with slander. Sufyan bin al-Husayn said, “I was sitting with Iyas bin Muawiyah and talking about somebody. He said to me, ‘Have you made any forays against the Turks or the Byzantines this year?’ ‘No,’ I said. ‘The Turks and the Byzantines are safe from you,’ he exclaimed, ‘but not your Muslim brother!’” It is also said that a man may be given his book and see in it good deeds that he did not perform. He will be told, “This is through people’s criticism of you which you were unaware.” Sufyan al-Thawri was asked about the saying of the Prophet, “God hates the carnivorous household.” He said, “They are those who malign people and eat their flesh.” Backbiting was mentioned to Abd Allah bin al-Mubarak. He said, “If I were to criticize anybody, I would criticize my parents—they have the greatest right to my good deeds!” Yahya bin Muadh said, “Let the believer’s share from you be three traits, ‘If you cannot help him, then don not harm him. If you cannot make him happy, then do not make him unhappy. If you cannot praise him, then do not blame him.'” Hasan al-Basri was told, “So-and-so has talked against you.” He sent that person a tray of sweets, and said, “It has come to my attention that you have directed your good deeds to me, so I thank you!” Ali bin Ahmad al-Ahwazi informed us through Anas bin Malik that the Messenger of God said, “To criticize someone who casts the veil of shame from his face is not unlawful.” I heard Hamzah bin Yusuf al-Sahmi say that Junayd said, “I was sitting in the Shuniziyyah mosque waiting for the arrival of a coffin I was to pray over, along with the citizens of Baghdad of all ranks who were sitting waiting for the funeral, when I saw a dervish upon whom were the marks of piety. He was begging from people. ‘Were he to do some work that would sustain him, it would be more becoming,’ I said to myself. When I returned to my house I had some of my night’s devotions to do—weeping and prayer and so forth—but all of them weighed heavily upon me. I sat awake but sleep overcame me and I saw that dervish. They were bringing him spread out upon a table, and they said to me, ‘Eat his flesh! You have slandered him!’ ‘What slander?’ I objected. ‘I only said something to myself!’ ‘You are not a person from whom that sort of thing is acceptable,’ I was told. ‘Go and resolve it.’ So in the morning I went out and did not come back until I had seen him. He was in a place where, through the pooling of water, leaves that had been discarded in the washing of vegetables were collected. I offered him a greeting. ‘Will you return to what you have done, Abu-l-Qasim?’ he asked. ‘No,’ I replied. ‘May God forgive us and you,’ said he.” I heard Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami say that Abu Jafar al-Balkhi said, “There used to be a young man from Balkh with us who would make great efforts and devote himself to worship. But he was always criticizing people, saying this person is like this, that person is like that, someone else is some other way. I saw him one day among the homosexuals in the baths. He came out from among them and I asked him, “What is happening to you?” “That which I brought down upon people has brought this down upon me,” he said. “I have been afflicted with passion for one of these—so now, because of him, I am the one who serves them. All my old states have vanished so ask God to forgive him.”" -Imam Abu-l-Qasim al-Qushayri, Principles of Sufism (Risalah Qushayriyyah)

posted by Abubak'r | 6/03/2004 02:55:00 AM |
As for him who fears to stand before his Lord and restrains the ego its desires, the Garden is shelter.
(The Snatchers:40)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The Fire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions, while Paradise is surrounded by all kinds of disliked, undesirable things."
Whoever does good at night is rewarded during the day and whoever does good during the day is rewarded at night. Whoever is sincere in abandoning a desire is saved from catering to it. God is too noble to punish a heart that has abandoned a desire for His sake.
(Abu Sulayman ad-Darani)
Beware of your ego, and trust not its mischief;
The ego is worse than seventy devils.
(Arabic Poem)
Abu Bakar Balkhi
Md Mubaraq
Md Firdaus

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I seek God's forgiveness, and do not claim that my intention in producing this Blog is confined to good religious purposes; how may I do so when I am aware of the hidden desires, egotistic passions, and worldly wishes that I harbour? I do not claim innocence for myself; the ego is indeed an inciter to evil, save when my Lord shows mercy; my Lord is indeed Forgiving, Merciful. O God! I seek Your protection against my committing idolatry [shirk] knowingly, and Your forgiveness for that of which I am not aware! I ask God to make me and all other believers benefit from this Blog and to render my production of it purely for the sake of His Noble Countenance.

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