The Conduct of a Muslim

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

We thank and praise Allah SWT, The Truth, and Who enjoins truthfulness as a way of life for all mankind. We bear witness that there is no other god worthy of worship but Allah, Who has no partner. And we bear witness that Sayiddina Muhammad SAWS is His Messenger — the living symbol of truthfulness, trustworthiness and justice. O Allah, bestow Thy choicest blessings upon him, his friends and relatives, all those who strove their entire lives in search of the Truth, and many of whom sacrificed their lives for the perpetuation of truth.

My dear Brothers and Sisters

During the past few weeks we have focused our khutbahs on the everyday life of a Muslim: his daily ‘ibaadah, how he cleans and dresses himself and cares for his body, how he educates himself and his children, how he earns his livelihood, and so on. And in all our daily actions one message stands out clearly: the message of Tauheed. Whatever we do, whatever we say or even think, we must harmonise our actions and behaviour, with the Will of Allah, the natural law of creation, we must conform to the values of Islam! In this khutbah we hope, Insha-Allah, to look at the conduct of a Muslim, our virtues, and forms of behaviour, those small things in life which can bring so much peace and contentment and its neglect so much dissension and untold misery.

Allah SWT places a great deal of emphasis on truthfulness as a basic quality which all Muslims should have. Again and again in the Qur’an Allah urges us to adhere to the truth at all costs, even if it goes against those whom we love. In fact, a Muslim should stand out as one who is always truthful and who loves the truth and would die for the Truth. If a non-Muslim politician can stand up and proclaim to thousands that he is prepared to die for what he believes is right, how determined should we not be to dedicate our entire lives to LIVE the Truth ? In Surah ‘Asr Allah SWT enjoins us to go out and proclaim the Truth:

“By (the Token of Time (through the ages),

Verily man is in loss,

except such as have faith and do righteous deeds,

and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth,

and of Patience and Constancy.”

(Q. CII: 1-3)

We start with ourselves. Our truthfulness is not merely the words that we speak, although this is the most obvious way to reveal our truthfulness or lack of it. We know we can speak something and believe something else. When you commit yourselves to Truth, then it transforms your whole body and soul. If this living personality of mine: these hands, this heart and mind, if every drop of blood that flows in this body is steeped in truth, then my words and my actions, my thoughts and my prayers are sincere and can only reflect genuine truthfulness. For then I am sincere and genuine when I say: “Verily my prayers, and my spirit of sacrifice, and my life and death are all for Allah, Lord of the Worlds…”

Can you and I honestly say that we have committed ourselves unequivocally, unconditionally to the Truth? The question may be very painful, but it forms the basis of our existence as Muslims and sooner or later we must come to grips with ourselves. If the answer is yes, then, Algamdulillah, we are truly free. We can free ourselves from the stranglehold of our own passions, we can rise above the shackles of enslavement, and the fears of oppression: Our commitment to the truth has made us spiritually FREE.

Truthfulness, justice, sincerity and honesty all flow from the same fountain. You cannot be trustworthy and sincere unless you are truthful. You cannot love and practise justice unless you love truth. Let us consider Sayeddina Umar’s RA love for truth and justice in this incident in Makka. Performing the Tawwaaf with S. Umar was his close friend and king of a neighbouring state, Jabala. As Jabala was walking around the Ka’aba, an Arab peasant accidentally trod on the point of his scarf and it was dragged off his shoulders and fell on the floor. The king became so angry that he did not wait for the peasant to apologise or explain, but hit the man with his full force in his face, bruising him rather badly. The man complained to the Caliph Umar about his treatment and explained that he had not seen the point of the scarf on the ground as he walked. S. Umar asked his friend the King Jabala if he had assaulted the man and he replied ever haughtily, “Perfectly true, this rascal trod on my scarf and uncovered me in the House of Allah.” The Caliph reminded him sternly that it was an accident. But the arrogant king was as defiant as before and replied: “I care not, and had it not been for my reverence for the Kaa’aba and the fact that I dare not shed blood within the Sacred City, I would have killed him on the spot!”

Jabala was a powerful ally and personal friend of the Caliph and he seemed convinced that S.Umar would not lay a finger against him, a king. But he was wrong. In a calm, but stern voice S. Umar replied: “Jabala, you have confessed your guilt, and unless forgiven by the complainant (the peasant), you must submit to the law of retaliation and be beaten by him in return. The king was shocked and answered proudly: “I am a king and he is but a peasant!” S.Umar replied: “You are both Muslims and before Allah, you are equal.” He proceeded with the dispensing of justice.

Our Nabi, the teacher of Umar and the other Sagaabats, was known as Saadiq Al-ameen, the Truthful, the Trustworthy. The critics of Islam often find fault with Islamic concepts or with the Muslim Ummah, but never question the truthfulness of the Nabi Muhammad SAWS. Because of his glowing example, the quality of truth was so deeply imprinted in the hearts of the Sagaabats that they not only loved it, but suffered the severest hardships for the sake of truth. In fact, years after the Nabi’s death, when they compiled the Hadith, there was agreement amongst the compilers that no companion of the Prophet SAWS uttered a deliberate falsehood and if a narrative can be traced to one of them, there would be no doubt to its authenticity.

If we love we would spend endless hours, days and even years proclaiming the truth. Thus Allah SWT emphasises patience and perseverance as essential qualities of a Muslim’s character. Consider the sublimity of the Nabi’s advice to Abu Bakr while they were hidden in the cave on their flight to Madeenah. The search party could be seen at the mouth of the cave and the Prophet calmly consoled his friend: “Have no fear, for Allah is with us….” (Q. IX: 40) Patience (Sabr) and Prayers are the doors to help from Allah SWT, as Allah reminds us in the Holy Qur’an:

“O ye who believe! Seek help with patient

perseverance and prayer: for Allah is with

those who patiently persevere.”

(Q.II: 153)

Another virtue flowing from a truthful personality is courage. After our commitment to truth, our personality is free of fear and we would courageously stand up for truth and justice.

Rasoolullah SAWS reminds us: “The most excellent Jihad is the uttering of truth in the presence of an unjust ruler.”

But courage is not displayed only in the wake of battles or facing the enemy. Every day of our lives we need to show some courage and face up to the problems confronting us. A local personality was recently asked to name his most courageous act and he replied: “To get up in the morning and face the day.” At work we often do not have the courage to ask for a raise. Or we allow the boss to do with us as he pleases. Concerning our ‘ibaadah we may think: “I have been so negligent in my salaah or I have been so untruthful and I do not have the courage to start NOW.” How can I regain my courage ? Allah SWT gives us the answer:

“He said: Fear not: For I am with you:

I hear and see (everything).” (Q. XX: 46)

Allah SWT has made us and accepts us as imperfect beings and He reminds us that the doors of mercy are always open. It is never too late for us to repent. We have a direct link with Allah through our salaah, through our tasbeegh and du’ahs. We can speak to Him when our faith starts to flay and grow weak, and Allah promises us: “Call upon Me: I will answer your prayer.”

As Muslims our courage is counterbalanced with our humility. It is our salaah that has taught us to be humble. Let others sing our praises, we are ever-thankful to Allah SWT for the gifts He is constantly bestowing on us. Your achievements in your studies, in your career, in sport or in business are a result of your personal efforts BLESSED by Allah SWT. The very fact hat Allah SWT has honoured you with success makes you humble. Arrogance and boastfulness is a sign of a misplaced thankfulness. The arrogant person thanks himself for his own successes.

In his arrogance he often humiliates and derides his brother whom he considers as inferior to him. Consider carefully the wisdom contained in these two verses of the Holy Qur’an:

“O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame, nor be sarcastic to each other by (offensive) nicknames: ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed: and those who do not desist are (indeed) doing wrong.”

“O ye who believe! avoid suspicion as much as possible: for suspicion in some cases is a sin: and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother ? Nay, ye would abhor it…but fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.” (Q.49: 11-12)

To be sarcastic, to call each other offensive nicknames and to laugh behind the backs of others Allah condemns in the strongest terms. So often a brother or sister does not speak as well as you do or has misunderstood what you are trying to tell him. His answer is not merely some empty words. No, they represent HIM. By laughing at him you destroy his dignity and self-respect, that special quality which Allah has given all humanbeings. Respect the opinion of your brother, even if you don’t agree with it. Let him also have an opinion. You may try to convince him that he is wrong, but also in a civil and respectful manner.

One, who sows suspicion by telling untruths about his brother, has a deep-seated spiritual problem. The tongue merely expresses what is in the heart. His heart is black: he is the one who would “eat the flesh of his dead brother”. Our Nabi Muhammad SAWS warned the Sagaabats about the dangers of the tongue, as he said:

“A Muslim is he from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe.”

In conclusion, Brothers and Sisters, let us strive in our daily lives to be true in our words as well as in our deeds. It is so easy to promise but more often so difficult to fulfil that promise. So why promise unless you are very certain that you can keep your word. One simple way to remain truthful is to speak little, but always the truth, offer little but honour your offers. Make few promises, but keep every one. May Allah SWT open our hearts to the truth and let the truth remain our beacon in life, Insha-Allah,

Ameen! Aqeemus salaah!

* This khutbah was delivered in Cape Town, South Africa.