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Open mouths, closed minds

Open mouths, closed minds

By Zawjah Ali

Karachi, Pakistan

 

You walk by a cafe and see a girl and a boy in college uniform having lunch.

What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you come across such a scene?

That they’re bunking class and/or dating, right?

Well, this happened to me during my high school days in Karachi, Pakistan.

I asked my brother, who is three years younger to me, to pick me up as I had to shop for something important. We first went to a food court to have lunch. As I was talking to him and satisfying my hunger simultaneously, three girls passed us by, saying out loud: “lage raho lage raho” (keep going, keep going).

I did not understand what they meant at first, but when I turned back and saw the awkward look on my brother’s face I realised what they meant. Once I understood, my blood boiled up with anger, compelling me to react. My brother asked me to continue eating and ignore them. “You can’t change their mentality. You know what the truth is, so stay calm,” he said.

The whole incident became a ghost of a memory until I was reading Surah Noor one day.

 

Indeed, those who came with falsehood are a group among you. Do not think it bad for you; rather it is good for you. For every person among them is what [punishment] he has earned from the sin, and he who took upon himself the greater portion thereof – for him is a great punishment.

Why, when you heard it, did not the believing men and believing women think good of one another and say, “This is an obvious falsehood”?
Why did they [who slandered] not produce for it four witnesses? And when they do not produce the witnesses, then it is they, in the sight of Allah , who are the liars.

And if it had not been for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy in this world and the Hereafter, you would have been touched for that [lie] in which you were involved by a great punishment
When you received it with your tongues and said with your mouths that of which you had no knowledge and thought it was insignificant while it was, in the sight of Allah , tremendous.
And why, when you heard it, did you not say, “It is not for us to speak of this. Exalted are You, [O Allah ]; this is a great slander”?
Allah warns you against returning to the likes of this [conduct], ever, if you should be believers.
And Allah makes clear to you the verses, and Allah is Knowing and Wise.
Indeed, those who like that immorality should be spread [or publicized] among those who have believed will have a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter. And Allah knows and you do not know.
And if it had not been for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy… and because Allah is Kind and Merciful.
O you who have believed, do not follow the footsteps of Satan. And whoever follows the footsteps of Satan – indeed, he enjoins immorality and wrongdoing. And if not for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy, not one of you would have been pure, ever, but Allah purifies whom He wills, and Allah is Hearing and Knowing.

(Qur’an 11-21)

These verses talk about an incident where certain accusations were made on Aisha (رضي الله عنها). We all are aware of the story of al-ifk, of how the innocence of Aisha (رضي الله عنها) was challenged. The verses shook me up as I realised how easily we indulge in making false accusations and spreading what we’ve heard without confirming and validating. What our eyes witness is often half the truth, the other half depends on us. It is not necessary that every couple our eyes spot is in unlawful romance. There are sacred relations of father and daughter, brother and sister. We judge others by their apparent actions and justify ourselves by the intentions we hold. Is that fair? Instead, I believe that when we comment on others, we give a clue about who we are as a person. This particular incident has given me some very profound teachings to reflect on:

Curiosity kills the cat

Don’t be curious about other people’s affairs. Instead, take out the time to reflect on the shortcomings in your own self and try to rectify the mistakes you might have made. Instead of interfering in other people’s lives, have a thoughtful look at your own.

Pick your battle

If you have caught someone’s lies, instead of scolding or embarrassing them in front of others, ignore it and do not acknowledge. Forgive them. If you do this often enough, their own conscience will make them realise their fault. When we seek to punishment you punish, the person becomes immediately defensive. The angrier you get, the more stubborn they will become.

Be merciful

Abu Bakr ( رضي الله عنه) vowed not to financially aid Mistah after the incident of ifk. Mistah was a relative of Abu Bakr. He was a very poor person, and also a muhajir. Regarding this, Allah revealed verse 22 of Surah Noor, commanding us to forgive and overlook :

And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah , and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
(Qur’an 24:22)

We all are full of errors, so forgive others for their mistake. We often assume that we are in a special position and blame someone else for entirely messing up our life. So, we are unable to forgive someone for their mistake as we don’t consider them deserving of forgiveness.

But think about this: Are we deserving of the favours that Allah ( سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) bestows on us? We sin every day, yet He overlooks them and grants us Mercy when we repent.

Be careful of what you perceive and say

Be careful of what you perceive and say, and how your mind wanders. Avoid jumping to a conclusion without knowing the truth.

Love beyond imagination

Imagine you’re about to leave for a dinner and all of a sudden your wife realises that she isn’t wearing her favourite wrist watch. She starts searching for it everywhere. You, on the other hand, are dressed up and ready to go. What would your reaction be when you’re getting late? A furious rage accompanied by sarcasm and mean words, right? Would you be able to calmly endure the delay? I guess not.

Subhanallah! how loving and caring was our beloved Prophet ﷺ, that he asked the entire army to halt when Aisha (رضي الله عنها) told him that she had lost the necklace that was given to her by her sister, Asma (رضي الله عنها). All the companions were looking and searching for that necklace. We often crack under pressure in situations which are disturbing, but what did he  ﷺ,surrounded by enemies, accompanied by the whole army, do? Did he yell? No. He was calm and considerate, and pampered his wife in a manner that is an example for all of us.

The hidden wisdom

The army ran out of water as they were asked to stop for that necklace. They were upset because water was scarce and if they used it for drinking, there would be none left for ablution. Following that night, Allah revealed the verses on performing dry ablution (tayammum) when water is scarce. The point to ponder on is that the companions were not afraid of the enemy, nor were they irritated about staying to find a mere necklace. Their main concern was Salah (prayer). SubhanAllah! What amazing people were they! On the contrary, what is our concern? We leave prayers when we are busy shopping, and neglect Salah when we are attending guests. It’s high time that we change our priorities.  

Another lesson that we find in this incident is the patience Prophet (SAW) showed. It was through this incident that the command for tayammum was revealed, which brought so much ease for muslims in the times to come.

Better safe than sorry

Once, the Prophet  ﷺ  was outside with his wife at night. Some companions passed by and he said out loud to the companions who saw him – this is my wife. The companions were embarrassed and said RasoolAllah ﷺ, who can bat an eye on you. He ( ﷺ) knew that the whispers of Satan may sow a seed of doubt in their hearts, so he provided clarification beforehand. However, this must not be the tradition for every person.

Slander is a great sin and we must be very cautious with regards to labeling and dishonoring the dignity of chaste women. The words uttered in ignorance or in mere assumption can wreck our preparations for hereafter and it sometimes takes just a second to change things to worse.

May Allah make us from among those who have a strong conscience. Ameen.

About Zawjah Ali

The author is a mother of two with a passion for dawah through her writing. She wishes to link the principles of psychology (a study that offers keys to a lot of the locks we come across in life) with Islam. She writes under the name Zawjah Ali.

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