Lecture 10 in the Ramadaan 1438 series: DUA OF MAKARIMUL AKHLAQ – SUPPLICATION FOR NOBLE MORAL CHARACTER
By Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 5 June 2017 at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
We continue with our discussion on the second part of Dua Makarimul Akhlaq.
This is the part wherein the Imam prays for self sufficiency.
In the last part of this section the Imam asks for:
وَلاَ تَفْتِنِّي بِالبَطَرِ، وَأَعِزَّنِي، وَلا تَبْتَلِيَنِّي بِالْكِبْرِ،
“and tempt me not with ingratitude! Exalt me and afflict me not with pride!”
While the Imam desires to be honoured he is also mindful of the fact that it can easily turn into arrogance and thus simultaneously seeks protection from such an affliction.
HONOUR IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR A BELIEVER
From a Quranic perspective, a believer is always honoured. We read in Surah Munafiqun Verse 8:
وَلِلَّهِ الْعِزَّةُ وَلِرَسُولِهِ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“And honour belongs to Allah, and to His Messenger and to the believers”.
And there are many related Ahadith on this issue which makes it clear that allowing yourself to be humiliated is not acceptable in Islam.
Islam does not want you to compromise on your dignity at any price as much as possible.
Those who are self sufficient should provide those in need before they even ask.
Furthermore, honour and respect is not only related to your economical situation.
Imam Ali (a.s) says:
“A servant of his desires is more humiliated than being slave of his master”… this is because his desires will push him to do anything.
Drug addiction is one example where you become a slave of your habit and will do anything to serve it and loose your respect in that way. Such a person will even beg from a child out of desperation.They will lie and do anything just to fulfill their desire.
In recommended duahs we have duas like the one of Imam Sajjad wherein we ask “Oh Allah do not make me dependent on anyone other than you”…that’s because its humiliating to do that.
Imam Ali (a.s) says “Sufficient is for me an honour to be your servant, and sufficent is my pride that you are my Lord”!
Prophet (sawa) says “Its not acceptable for a believer to humiliate himself.”
Imam Saadiq (a.s) says “Allah the Almighty has given to the believers all their matters in their hands but has not given them that they should allow themselves to be insulted.”
Imam Sajjad (a.s) then says:
وَلا تَبْتَلِيَنِّي بِالْكِبْرِ،
“And afflict me not with pride/arrogance”.
What’s the link between honour/self-esteem and arrogance? When honour causes you to become over confident, you become arrogant thinking you are the greatest. Thus a balanced approach is critical.
THREE CONDITIONS OF THE NAFS
So to summarize what we have learnt thus far, we understand that there are 3 conditions of the nafs.
Izza is when someone looks at himself with confidence and optimistically that he is capable to do something and thus has self-respect. This must not be confused with being humble which is something else and also a positive quality with a different purpose. Izza seeks to ensure that one not humiliated.
Imam Ali (a.s) when entering one of the cities in Syria, was received by its people who came bare feet and started bowing down to Imam’s horse. Imam had an issue with that even though they said it was their culture to treat their leaders in that manner. Imam Ali (a.s) said he did not want such reception as it’s against human dignity.
He then quoted the verse of the Quran to further indicate why such behaviour was unacceptable as Almighty Allah says in Surah Israa Verse 70:
وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي ءَادَمَ
“And indeed We have honoured the children of Adam”.
Kibr on the other hand is when someone looks at himself as being better than others due to a quality in him which may or may not even exist in him! That is called arrogance.
And this is often based on so many superficial criteria like having a better car, or more money and material things or sometimes this is even based on good criteria like having more knowledge but still amounts to arrogance as such knowledge is in reality ignorance.
Ujb or conceit is when someone has an excessively favourable opinion of himself and starts thinking there’s no more improvement required in him.
REQUEST FOR PURE WORSHIP
So Imam Zainul Abideen, after requesting that he should not be tried with arrogance, now asks Almighty Allah for purity of worship and prays:
وَعَبِّدْنِي لَكَ وَلاَ تُفْسِدْ عِبَادَتِي بِالْعُجْبِ،
“Make me worship You and do not let my worship be corrupted by self-admiration”
وَأَجْرِ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَى يَدَيَّ الْخَيْرَ، وَلا تَمْحَقْهُ بِالْمَنِّ،
“Let good flow out from my hands upon the people and efface it not by my making them feel obliged!”
The Imam wants his hands to be used positively for the benefit of people and they should never in return feel that they owe him anything.
And then this second part of the dua ends with:
وَهَبْ لِي مَعَالِيَ الأَخْلاَقِ، وَاعْصِمْنِي مِنَ الْفَخْرِ.
“Give me the highest moral traits and preserve me from vainglory!”
LADY KHADIJAH (A.S) – FROM MADAM OF QURAISH TO MOTHER OF THE BELIEVERS
Today we commemorated the demise of Lady Khadijatul Kubra (a.s), Ummul Mu’mineen and wife of Prophet Muhammad (sawa).
Before she married the Prophet (sawa), this honourable lady was already known as “Madam of Quraish”.
She was also known as “the pure one” because in that extremely corrupt pre-Islamic Arabian society you could hardly find a woman who was pure and clean. She was given this title as no form of deviation touched her.
She was also an extremely successful woman in life. There were so many women in Mecca with no dignity and in that society being a woman was a curse and thus baby girls were buried alive as it was a curse and insult to the honour of her family.
It was thus extremely unusual for a woman to be such a successful business woman as her who owned more than half the goods available for sale in the market place.
In that society wherein women were regarded as nothing but shame, she reached a point where leaders like Abu Jahl and Abu Sufyan used to pay respect to her.
With such reputation, when coming to know our Prophet (sawa) who was still young and found him to have sublime character and trustworthiness and honesty, with all her great personality, she surrendered to him.
When the whole of Mecca wanted to marry her, she went for someone who supposedly had nothing in his pocket and she approached him – he did not approach for marriage. That is because her character caused her to appreciate his sublime human qualities and not material qualities.
The most amazing aspect of her life was the ever readiness in her soul when hearing that her husband was appointed as a Prophet as she immediately surrendered to him without question. Off course we believe these great people including Abu Talib, Amina, Abdullah were never idol worshippers and were muwahhid, including Khadijah.
She thus became the first Muslim!
People think that Islam looks at woman in contempt, yet the first person to become Muslim was a woman and she was the first one that he shared his secret of revelation with.
And once she became Muslim, history records that people saw three people doing strange worship in front of Kaba – Prophet (sawa), Ali (a.s) and Khadija (a.s). This means that Khadija (a.s) was a pioneer of Islam…and what a pioneer she was!
ALMIGHTY ALLAH REGARDS KHADIJAH’S ACTION AS HIS ACTION
When she accepted Islam, her unwavering spirit and devotion saw her virtually having no interest in her own material success. This same woman who was a madam was now being insulted and tortured and she literally gave everything for the sake of Islam.
And how did she gave to Islam??
Ayatullah Jawadi Amuli says something very thought provoking in this regard. He says when someone does something good, Almighty Allah rewards him as we read in various places in the Quran like Surah Maida Verse 9:
وَعَدَ اللّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ
“Allah has promised those who believe and do good deeds that they will have forgiveness and a great reward.”
This is considered to be the reward of an average believer.
But if your good action flies higher than this, and your sincerity and purity of intention reaches being annihilated in Allah (Fana fillah), it reaches the level where Almighty Allah regards your action to be His action!
Thus we read in Surah Duha Verse 8:
وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَى
“And He found you in need and made you rich.”
How did Almighty Allah make the Prophet (sawa) rich? It was through the wealth and action of Khadijah which Almighty Allah speaks of as His action!
In Surah Duha Verse 6 we read:
أَلَمْ يَجِدْكَ يَتِيمًا فَآوَى
“Did He not find you an orphan and sheltered (you)?”
Who provided this shelter to the Prophet (sawa)? It was his uncle Abu Talib (a.s)…but again Almighty Allah considers it to be His own action. This again demonstrates the spiritual status of Abu Talib (a.s) as well.
Ayatullah Jawadi Amuli then says that from this we understand something common between Lady Maryam (a.s) and Khadija (a.s).
Lady Maryam (a.s) was great and did great things which mean she was a woman of action. When Almighty Allah wants to accept someone’s deeds, then Almighty Allah says in Surah Maa-idah verse 27:
إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ
“Verily Allah only accepts from the God conscious”.
Do notice here that Almighty Allah is accepting the action itself which comes from a person of Taqwa.
But some people’s actions are such that when the quality of their action is so pure it ascends very high and in that scenario Allah does not only accept the action but accepts the whole being of the person itself.
So in relation to Lady Maryam (a.s), Almighty Allah says in Surah Aali Imraan Verse 37:
فَتَقَبَّلَهَا رَبُّهَا بِقَبُولٍ حَسَنٍ
“So, her Lord accepted her with a good acceptance”
So Almighty Allah accepted Maryam herself and not just her good action.
And this is the great commonality with Lady Khadija (a.s) in that Almighty Allah accepted Khadija herself, not just her good action.
So when people complained to the Prophet (sawa) saying “how long are you gonna cry for her”, one can understand why the Prophet (sawa) became angry at such statements as no one was comparable to Lady Khadija (a.s).
Besides her great qualities of believing in him when others rejected him, supporting him when others opposed him and giving everything for Islam, Khadija (a.s) is the only one who gave the Prophet (sawa) offspring that survived him in that she was the mother of Lady Fatima (a.s) and the Imams of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) and just this quality made her great and incomparable.
To be continued….