بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say
‘I love her for her smile—her look—her way
Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day’—
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,—and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry,—
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The above sonnet very clearly explains how fleeting is the kind of love based on reasons which are fleeting as well. If you love someone for a reason that changes with time, most likely your feelings for them will change too with time because nothing stays forever. For a believer, loving his fellow Muslim brother/sister or family members for the sake of Allah SWT Alone is very important. And likewise, disliking someone for the sake of Allah SWT Alone is also important. When the only reason for loving someone is Allah SWT then even though they may do or say something which is hurtful or against your opinions/beliefs, you would be kind to them. Your personal differences and/or grudges won’t come in the way. As a result, Shaytan will have much lesser success with you and harmony will not be affected.
If Allah SWT has ordered us to forgive our family members which prevent us from fulfilling His Call then how much more so when they prevent us from worldly pursuits or are a cause of minor disturbances in our life?
Allah SWT has said in Surat at-Taghabun, ayah 14:
O you who believe! Verily, among your wives and your children are your enemies (who may stop you from the obedience of Allâh), therefore beware of them! But if you pardon (them) and overlook, and forgive (their faults), then verily, Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas RA said to a man who asked him about this Ayah,
يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَجِكُمْ وَأَوْلـدِكُمْ عَدُوّاً لَّكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ
O you who believe! Verily, among your wives and your children there are enemies for you; therefore beware of them!
There were men who embraced Islam in Makkah and wanted to migrate to Allah’s Messenger . However, their wives and children refused to allow them. Later when they joined Allah’s Messenger , they found that those who were with him (the Companions) have gained knowledge in the religion, so they were about to punish their wives and children.
Allah then Exalted sent down this Ayah,
وَإِن تَعْفُواْ وَتَصْفَحُواْ وَتَغْفِرُواْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
But if you pardon (them) and overlook, and forgive, then verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
At-Tirmidhi collected this Hadith and said that it is Hasan Sahih.
For the longest time I had this ayah noted down with me and I used to find it difficult to understand how could our own family members be our ‘enemies’. You know if Allah SWT is asking us to be cautious then that’s something to be concerned about, right? Sure there are always differences that you may have but enemies? Really? And if they really were ‘enemies’, how can one just forgive them? Because obviously it’s only family you have more expectations from and you usually feel more hurt when they out of all people say something that they knew could negatively affect you.
It just occurred to me that sometimes our love for them makes us weak. We love them because they love us or it makes us feel good. Sounds very selfish but that is true. We don’t love them for the right reasons and have a mountain of expectations from beings who are very human. Furthermore, our attachment to them makes it difficult for us to take certain decisions which may be crucial to our standing infront of Allah SWT who by the way granted us such beautiful people in our lives in the first place; as Mujahid (R) explains regarding the ayah:
إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَجِكُمْ وَأَوْلـدِكُمْ عَدُوّاً لَّكُمْ
Verily, among your wives and your children there are enemies for you;
by saying, “They might direct the man to sever his relation or disobey his Lord. The man, who loves his wives and children, might obey them in this case.”
If that wasn’t enough, our attachment to them makes us hasty in our judgement about them too which is the other extreme. How very problematic when in reality we must be more tolerant and gentle with them just like Rasulalah salalahu ‘alayhi wasalam, come what may. We are quick to forgive strangers but with our family members, we are quick to hurl a painful response back. What an easy prey are we for Iblees because when we are pleased with our loved ones, we are willing to prefer them (and thus our Nafs/desire to please them) over Allah SWT and when we’re upset with them, we’re willing to prefer our Nafs/desire/ego over Allah SWT’s Commands of fulfilling the rights of family members. Interesting, isn’t it? In both circumstances we’re yielding to our need to do whatever we feel like. As if it’s truly our Nafs we are slaves of and not Allah SWT. That’s where Allah SWT’s Legislation comes in: to protect our ownselves from our lowly desires and the evil of our Nafs and thus protect the entire society from our own harm.
In love, in attachment, in anger, in grief, in sadness, and in moments of utmost joy : a believer always prefers what Allah SWT has asked him to do. If He SWT has asked us to:
1. Be ‘Afuww : (linguistic meaning) lovingly pardon;
2. Do TasfaHu: (linguistic meaning) turn the page such that the past is history;
3. And Do Maghfira: (linguistic meaning) cover up/hide their faults,
then that is what we must do or at least strive for as long as we live.
Because the general rule is that any ayah which commands/prohibits something and begins with ‘Ya ayyuhal-ladheena Aamanu’, then acting upon what follows it is important for the completion of one’s Eeman. So if one falls short of fulfilling it then his/her Eeman is deficient. That’s a tough pill to swallow but that’s how Quraan rectifies our affairs by showing us where we’re wrong. Islam completes us as individuals and brings the best in us. If we can’t do all 3 at once, we must aim to do at least one of the above and build up from there. What is important is to pause our need to rush to become reactionary and maintain calm within ourselves for the first few minutes. Then, we must remind ourselves that we don’t love them for them but for His Sake, for the One who is Rabb al ‘Alameen; Allah SWT who is Al-‘Adheem and Al-Kabeer. We must expand our hearts and act ‘big’ for we love our family for a reason much bigger than the entire world can ever hold, i.e. Tawheed. He SWT joined us through a Covenant and through ArHaam (womb), both, which are far more serious, binding and superior than anything in this world.
So what if they say or do something hurtful once in a while? Does that negate all the times when they were gentle with us and brought comfort to our hearts? Perhaps they are not on the same page with us with their level of Eeman; they just don’t know any better. Maybe they have certain fears or inhibitions which is making them act in the way they did. Allah SWT knows but we do not. So let Allah SWT judge and don’t be a judge yourself. If one can communicate and find out the reason politely then that is ideal. However if that’s not possible, we must move on. I know this is easier said than done but Jannah is easy to dream about too than to achieve. If we correct our interactions with people and uphold nobility in action/words then most likely our minds will be less cluttered by useless, self-destructive thoughts which usually disturb our Khushoo’ or concentration in our Salah. Everything is inter-related and inter-dependent. Get the interactions right, your rituals (for e.g. Salah) will flourish. Get the rituals right and they’ll prevent you from messing up your daily interactions. Don’t believe me? Check this out! Inshaa’Allah I will explain in one of the upcoming posts what I learned regarding ‘Afuu and TasfaHu to better clarify how the meaning within their linguistic origins enriches the Command of Allah SWT.
If Allah SWT has asked us to do certain things then that means that we can do them because He SWT doesn’t burden a soul beyond its’ capacity. Correct?
The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:
“Knowledge is only attained by striving to learn and patience is only attained by striving to be patient and the one who seeks good will be given it and the one who seeks to avoid evil will be protected from it.” [Narrated by al-Tabaraani in al-Awsat, 2663; classed as hasan by al-Albaani.]
And Allah SWT knows best.
May Allah SWT help us practice the Quraan and forgive our shortcomings in our rituals and interactions. Ameen!