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Archive for February, 2012

Nowadays, it is very common to hear phrases such as ‘Omg, you will not believe this…’, ‘Guess what just happened..’ Usually the continuation of sentences like these is not very pleasant, but rather it’s gossip.

We hear it on a day to day basis, at school, universities and in the workplace. It happens all the time as though it is no longer taboo to talk about others in their absence. Sadly, it’s so regular that it is difficult to refrain from joining in, or even just to avoid listening to it.

As Muslims, striving to better ourselves and avoid ill behaviour, we need to recognize the gravity of such conversations, and find ways to steer clear of them. 

The Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

“The majority of man’s sins emanate from his tongue” – (Tabarani)

 Even if we have avoided major sins such as lying, mistreating our parents and so on, we may have accumulated mountains of sins, just because of what we say. Gossiping is one way of misusing our tongues, and there are others – for example judging others and expressing it, but that’s another story for another time.

Allah (swt) has also cautioned us in the Qur’an:

“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear God. Verily, God is the one who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” (49:12)

It’s believed by many scholars that just listening to gossip/backbiting is equally as bad as joining in, because it is as though we are approving it. Listening to people talk about others will taint our opinions of them, even when we make a conscious effort not to be affected by the negative attitudes we hear. 

Also, if these people are gossiping about others, who’s to say that they don’t gossip about you when you aren’t around? We certainly wouldn’t like it if we knew we were being talked about in that manner.

Now that we’ve understood the dangers of gossiping, that it may prevent us from entering Jannah and that Islam teaches us to have good character in all our affairs, how do we go about avoiding it?

There are a few ways and it all depends on your own personal preference and character –

1)   Stop the gossip

As we know from another hadith by our beloved Muhammad (saw) –

“Whoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand, and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue, and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith.” (Muslim)

So, when we hear someone gossiping, we should try to stop it. We can teach and help others to refrain from such activities and remind them that it isn’t right. You will find that many Muslims and non-Muslims are very receptive and also agree that it’s improper and offensive and will stop. Not only have you now gained ajir for not committing a sin, but you’ve also gained reward for helping others to avoid it too.

Also, being a good example in front of non-Muslims gives them a better opinion about the character of a Muslim. At the end of the day, we are walking representations of Islam and we should always aim to portray the teachings of the beautiful religion through our everyday actions and decisions. In fact, in doing this, you are carrying out your duty in regards to dawah. Your continuous grasp on morals and strong principles may affect someone to accept Islam. And what a reward that would be!

Of course, remember that when telling others to refrain from gossiping, it should be done so with the utmost manners (otherwise it defeats the whole point of having good character!).

2)    Change the subject

Find a topic that would interest your colleagues/classmates, or something of higher importance that would easily guide them away from the initial gossip.

3)    Leave the conversation/busy yourself

It is understandable that sometimes it is difficult to stop gossipy conversations in certain settings. The hadith says the one who cannot stop an evil action by hand or tongue is the weakest of faith; but it’s not to say that you aren’t a good Muslim.

Everybody is different in the way that they behave and undoubtedly in their personalities too. Some situations, as in the workplace for example, it becomes very awkward to start preaching good manners to your supervisors and managers, and you may not feel it is appropriate in your particular position.

In circumstances like these, you could leave the conversation by walking away or by getting on with work to show that you are not a part of the discussion, and you might notice that they are then no longer involving you. Some may view this as secluding oneself, or being antisocial, but it is far better to pass up on ill-intentioned talk that will affect our hearts than to join in. Also, you are not cutting ties or avoiding them as individuals but rather just the particular conversations.

With time, they may come to realise you are never a part of their gossiping sessions and will automatically not involve you. Again, this will give them respect for you and if they see that all the Muslims they encounter are the same with regards to this, they will associate good character with our beautiful and perfect religion.

For any of you reading this feeling a bit uneasy because you would like to avoid these situations but feel it is very difficult, just remember that Rasul Allah (saw) said:

“The reward is according to your expenses or the hardship (which you will undergo performing it)” – (Bukhari)

Of course in Islam, we shouldn’t make things difficult for ourselves but we should remember that we will be rewarded according to our struggles. So InshAllah we can follow the way of the Prophet (saw) and put our trust in Allah when we find ourselves in difficult positions like these.

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We have phones so we can contact our family and friends from wherever we are. But when we’re gone, the phones are of no use to us. We can’t call anyone from the grave. 

We have cars to get us from A to B. But when we’re gone, the cars are of no use to us. We can’t drive those cars to bring us back. 

Good deeds (and the ajir/reward from them) are the only things we need in this life, and can also take with us when we’re gone. 

“Whatever is with you, will be exhausted, and whatever is with Allah (of good deeds) will remain.” – (Quran 16:96)

We may want and need these things in this Dunya, but we also need ajir and thawab to help us in our journey to Allah (swt), to gain the Akhira, to enter Jannah. 

So why not try and find ways to get ajir even after you’ve left the Dunya. As Rasul Allah (salAllahu alaihi wa sallam) says:

“When a man dies, his good deeds come to an end except three: ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge and righteous offspring who will pray for him.” (Sahih Muslim)

Here are 7 examples of such deeds:

  1. Give a copy of the Quran to someone. Each time one reads from it, you gain
  2. Donate a wheelchair to a hospital. Each time a sick person uses it, you gain
  3. Participate in welfare projects, eg, building a Masjid, hospital, school, a homeless shelter
  4. Place a water cooler in a public place
  5. Plant a tree, you gain whenever a person or animal sits in its shade or eats from it
  6. Pass on your knowledge to others who will benefit and also pass it on to generations
  7. Raise your children with high Islamic values so that InshAllah they will be righteous and do the same, and pray for you

And a bonus 8th deed is to share this message with everyone you know. Even if one person applies any of the above, you will gain InshAllah.

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“An Islamophobe is a person who does not know how to think for himself or does not want to think for himself but instead let’s the media control his thinking.” – Abdul Bary Yahya

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Sometimes when we embark upon a new journey or aim for particular goals, whether they are in our personal lives, our careers or studies, we may find ourselves not doing very well, or even failing. We spend so much time and effort working towards our goals, but in the end, it feels like a slap around the face. It’s most disheartening when we’ve tried over and over, but still it seems we’re not getting anywhere. We feel like our efforts for weeks, months and years went out the window in an instant as if they were worth nothing. 

I wanted to take my time to remind you and myself that our efforts never go to waste. Whenever we feel this way, we should remember Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala’s words – 

“Indeed, this is for you a reward, and your effort has been appreciated” – Quran 76:22

Alhamdulilah, our efforts are recognized and are appreciated, and we still get a reward whether or not we succeed. As long as we are sincere about our actions, and we are ultimately doing it all for His sake, we will get rewarded for every step of the way, big or small, even if we fail. Even when we only intend to do good, but cannot do it, we are being rewarded. This is the level of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala’s appreciation. SubhanAllah! So when this is the case, then He is without doubt rewarding us for all our efforts and struggles too.

Our negative emotions and our feeling to give up come from the infamous Shaytaan. “You won’t succeed in your job, just forget it”, “You can’t make amends with your mother, so give up”,  “Did you really think you as one individual could help the unfortunate, it’s pointless”  Yup, you guessed it, that’s all him! Shaytaan tries to deceive us by telling us to give up and to doubt and question ourselves, our abilities and make us forget the benefits of our actions and our efforts. Allah rewards us further when we ignore Shaytaan and try again, because we are placing stronger trust in Allah to help us through it, even when we know it is difficult for us. 


But of course, Allah (swt) also knows it is difficult for us. But we should keep trying, and Allah will not forget our efforts. Of course, sometimes we should think about whether it is our tactics that need amending. For example, if we study hard time and time again but still fail the exam, although we should keep trying, it may be that we must change how we study (so that it is more effective) and then try again. Allah knows our struggle and pain and we will be compensated for it in whichever way Allah sees fit.

If you don’t see the outcomes you hoped for in this life, then maybe Allah (swt) will reward you with something far better in the next. Keep your hope in Allah strong InshAllah.

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