Ramadaan 1438 series: DUA OF MAKARIMUL AKHLAQ – SUPPLICATION FOR NOBLE MORAL CHARACTER
By Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 19 June 2017 at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
We were discussing Part 5 of this Dua wherein Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) says:
أللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّد وَآلِ مُحَمَّد
“O Allah, bless Muhammad and Muhammad’s Household
وَأَبْدِلْنِي مِنْ بِغْضَةِ أَهْلِ الشَّنَئانِ الْمَحَبَّةَ
and replace for me the animosity of the people of hatred with love”.
We have already discussed these 2 sentences of Part 5 and the importance of seeking love which is the foundation of religion.
The Imam then continues as follows:
وَمِنْ ظِنَّةِ أَهْلِ الصَّلاَحِ الثِّقَةَ،
“And (replace) the suspicion of the people of righteousness with trust/confidence
وَمِنْ عَدَاوَةِ الأَدْنَيْنَ الْوَلايَةَ،
“And the enmity of those close with friendship
وَمِنْ عُقُوقِ ذَوِي الأَرْحَامِ الْمَبَرَّةَ،
“And the disrespect of womb relatives with devotion”.
In essence these sentences continue with the same theme of wanting one’s negative qualities to be converted into positive ones. It covers 3 things:
– wanting confidence in place of suspicion
– friendship in place of enmity
– devotion in place of disrespect from relatives
AVOIDING PEOPLE’S SUSPICION
Suspicion itself is considered to be a very negative trait for a Muslim as it’s based upon conjecture instead of concrete proof. We thus find that Almighty Allah says in Surah Hujarat Verse 12:
يَا أيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ
“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion. Indeed some suspicions are sins”.
This verse indicates that in certain cases suspicion is considered to be more than a negative trait but actually a sin.
However the Imam is not referring to himself wanting to be protected from having suspicion of others but is referring to its opposite and that is he does not want others who are actually good people to have suspicion about him. In other words he does not want to be the subject of suspicion.
One of the issues that one needs to consciously avoid in this regard is to be “at the wrong place at the wrong time”.
For example it could be that you are somewhere and need to urgently use the toilet and can’t find any facility nearby and the only one available is inside a pub where alcohol is consumed. So due to an emergency you use its toilet and when exiting the pub you bump into people that you know who suddenly assume that you were inside the pub to consume alcohol.
And in today’s time they could take a picture of you with their phone and place it on Facebook and paint a completely false image of you to the world which would even taint the thoughts of the righteous people who know you.
CHOOSING YOUR COMPANY CAREFULLY
This issue is a principle issue that we must take heed of. The narrations of the Prophet (sawa) and the Imams (a.s) are filled with admonition to avoid situations where you find yourself in a compromising position which provides people with an opportunity to accuse you.
Prophet (sawa) says: “the most vulnerable people of being accused are those who socialise with people who are accusable”. If one socialises with bad people, then one should not blame others if they speak about it. For example if you hang out with gangsters or drug dealers then it’s quite possible for people to think of you to be a gangster or drug dealer as well. No amount of taking an Oath in Allah’s name will help you as we must maintain our personal dignity.
Imam Ali (a.s) also thus says: “sitting in the gatherings of evil people causes you to inherit the suspicion of good people “.
Imam Ali (a.s) also says: “save yourself from places of accusation”.
Another beautiful hadith states: “may Allah have Mercy on the one who protects himself from people backbiting him”.
ACTING IN LINE WITH YOUR POSITION
There is an issue in Fiq called “Murowwa” which refers to the need for an individual to act in terms of his position and personality.
If your position demands from you to dress in a certain manner then you should do so and not wear clothing which is not suitable for your personality.
Example if a Mowlana walks into the mosque with a very short pants and a sleeveless vest or runs like that on the open road, it may technically just about cover the bare minimum Fiqi requirements of covering your owrah but such dress would be wholly inappropriate for him. It may be just about appropriate for a regular athlete but not for a Mowlana who leads people in Salaah.
And this may differ from society to society. While it may be acceptable for a Mowlana to run on the open road in a full length track suit, it may still be wholly inappropriate for him to dress in that manner in a Holy place like Qum or Najaf and still lead Salaah.
ACTING IN LINE WITH THE DECORUM OF A PLACE
When women walk openly in society they are required to dress in proper hijab, but when coming to the Mosque then it is expected to be even more particular about ones dress due to the respect that needs to be accorded to the spiritual space of the Mosque.
Similarly while certain movies and music are not under normal circumstances considered to be Haraam, it is appropriate to play such movies in the Mosque.
Thus you see that our complex here in Ottery particularly has this separate hall facility for such activity as we will not play movies in the main Mosque.
FRIENDSHIP IN PLACE OF ENMITY
During the era of Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) there was extreme animosity towards the Ahlul Bait (a.s) due to extreme propaganda which resulted in people accusing the Imams of being misguided and being innovators, etc.
These were tools used by Bani Umayya to turn the people against the Ahlul Bait (a.s) and they were successful to some extent on even impacting the thoughts of good people.
The Imam is thus praying for such enmity to be converted into friendship and is indirectly teaching us that we do not live in a vacuum and since we are “social animals” that we are dependant on people.
One thus cannot have the attitude in life of having absolutely no concern for what people think of you. While we should always live a principled life which is not based on other people’s ideas, due to our interdependence with the rest of society, we need to be cognisant of what they think of us.
CONVERTING DISRESPECT FROM RELATIVES INTO DEVOTION
وَمِنْ عُقُوقِ ذَوِي الأَرْحَامِ الْمَبَرَّةَ،
“And the disrespect of womb relatives with devotion”
Here the Imam raises a serious issue in relation to Akhlaq. “Rahim” in Arabic means “womb” and thus ذَوِي الأَرْحَامِ refers to people who share the womb, in other words blood relatives like brothers, sisters, first cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.
The Quran and Ahadith have numerous narrations which address this issue.
Almighty Allah says in Surah Ra’d Verse 21:
وَالَّذِينَ يَصِلُونَ مَآ أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ وَيَخَافُونَ سُوءَ الْحِسَابِ
“And those who join what Allah has commanded to be joined and they fear their Lord and they dread the terrible reckoning”.
One of those matters that must be “joined” as referred to in this verse is family relations.
In Surah Muhammad Verse 22 to 23 we read:
فَهَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِنْ تَوَلَّيْتُمْ أنْ تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأرْضِ وَتُقَطِّعُوا أرْحَامَكُمْ
“Then if you turn away (from Jihad) you are solely expected to do mischief in the land and sever your ties of kinship”.
اُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ فَأصَمَّهُمْ وَأعْمَی أبْصَارَهُمْ
“Such are they whom Allah has cursed so He made them deaf and blinded their sight”.
The principle point in this Dua and in Islam is that it believes in love and friendship of a society. It then considers the family unit to be the main basic building block and foundation of that society. When family relations are broken for whatever reason, it brings instability to that home, especially the children who now become lost and under the influence of outsiders of whom one has little knowledge instead of the direct family.
One of the major victims of families being broken is when people become Shia and their family disown them. While one must stand for the truth that you believe in, we always highly recommend that you should respect your family and never be the ones to cut ties.
To be continued…….