Ramadan Lectures- Pearls1- Morals 1436H- Lesson (9): Holding onto a Good Thought of Others.
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Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Creations, and Peace and blessings be upon our prophet Muhammad, the faithful and the honest.
 Oh, Allah, we know nothing but what You teach us. You are the All- Knower, the Wise. Oh Allah, teach us what is good for us, and benefit us from what You taught us, and increase our knowledge. Show us the righteous things as righteous and help us to do them, and show us the bad things as bad and help us to keep away from them.
  O Allah our Lord, lead us out from the depths of darkness and illusion, unto the lights of erudition and knowledge, and from the muddy shallows of lusts unto the heavens of Your Vicinity.


 Mr. Bilal:

Beware of having ill thoughts about your Lord
You would better hold onto a good thought of Allah
You should not hold onto a good thought of yourself ever
and with a greater reason nor should the oppressor,
criminal or ignorant hold onto a good thought of himself
Whatever goodness and piety you have
they are but the Graces of the Glorified Lord
All these Graces are not from you
but they are from the Most Gracious, so be grateful

 The topic of our episode today is Holding onto a Good Thought of Others. How should we hold onto a good thought of our Lord? How should we hold onto a good thought of Muslim brothers? Is it acceptable to hold onto a good thought of ourselves, or should we accuse ourselves of falling behind so that we may double our efforts in order to be better? This is a new episode and a new pearl of the pearls of Shari'ah, and I hope that we comprehend its meanings and full dimensions with your blessing company, so let us start our discussion.

 In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, Who created man and taught him eloquence. May He bless and grant peace to our Master Muhammad, the Faithful and the Honest, and may Allah bless his folks and companions.

 Dear spectators, may Allah grant you happiness and goodness wherever you might be. In this new episode of your show Pearls, we will display a new pearl of the pearls of Islam, but let me first welcome our guest Dr. Muhammad Rateb Al Nabulsi, welcome sir.

 Dr. Rateb:
 May Allah bless you, and may Muslims benefit from your efforts.

 Mr. Bilal:
  Mr. Rateb our pearl today is Holding onto a Good Thought of Others. In fact this concept has many levels, the first of which is to hold onto a good thought of Allah, so let us start with it. In fact, the majority of people exaggerate while holding onto a good thought of Allah in the sense that they fall short in obeying Him (and obviously they excuse their shortcoming by holing onto a good thought of Allah) as they adopt the following Hadith:

((I am as My slave expects Me to be))

 Thus, they assume that (despite their shortcomings) Allah will forgive them and will have mercy on them. On the other hand, some people fall into despair of getting Mercy from Allah, so how can we hold onto a good thought of Allah from the perspective of Share'?

Virtue is in the middle between two extremes:

 Dr. Rateb:
 In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord (the One and Only) of the Worlds, and blessings and peace be upon our Master Muhammad, his folks, his companions, his descendants and all those who allied with and followed him, and be pleased with them and us, O Lord of the Worlds.

 May Allah bless you; this is a very delicate question, and the answer is: Virtue is in the middle between two extremes, the first extreme is to think ill of Allah which is but ignorance, and it entails Allah's Aversion towards whoever has such a thought. The second extreme is to hold onto a good thought of Allah in a naive way. Some people long to enter Paradise without putting forth any effort, while aiming at Paradise without striving for it, is a sin. This is a naive way of thinking, so if you long to a Paradise that is as wide as the heavens and the earth, you should abide by Allah's Method, apply it, refrain from transgressing Allah's Limits, enforce Halal, prohibit Haram, apply Islam in your household, follow Islam at work and seek knowledge. There are lots of missions you have to fulfill, and when you do so, you are following the Right Path.

 Being so naive (in yearning for Paradise without striving for it) is like the one who finds a horseshoe, and he says, "My future is guaranteed now", and upon being asked, "How?" He answers, "All I need is two horses and a carriage, so I can be a coachman." This is ridiculous, so keep in mind that longing to enter Paradise without striving for it is a sin.

 Man in the worldly life can never acquire the doctorate degree before he gets elementary certificate, intermediary certificate, high school certificate, university degree and M.A, so how come we want to claim Paradise, which is as wide as the heavens and the earth without paying its price, without putting forth reasons to deserve it, without commitment, without abiding by Halal and avoiding Haram, without asking for Allah's Help and without knowing what is awaiting after death? This is but naivety the majority of people show, and it is day dreaming and wishful thinking. Allah the Almighty says:

﴾Who think evil thoughts about Allah, for them is a disgraceful torment,﴿

[Al-Fath, 6]

 This means that in order to get the desired results, we should put forth the right premises. Who is the idiot? He is the one who expects a right result from a false premise.

 Mr. Bilal:
  We should abide by the Divine Method, we should take the first step on the path to Allah, and then we should hold onto a good thought of Allah, only then we can say that we hold onto a good thought of Allah as we should be, right?

Abiding by Allah's Method:

 Dr. Rateb:
 Allah the Almighty says:

﴾ Verily! Those who brought forth the slander (against 'Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her)﴿

[An-Nur, 11]

 It was a very grave incident to accuse the Mother of the Believers (i.e. 'Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her) of the most precious thing the woman owns (i.e. her honor):

﴾ Verily! Those who brought forth the slander (against 'Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) the wife of the Prophet PBUH) are a group among you. Consider it not a bad thing for you.﴿

[An-Nur, 11]

 There is profound wisdom behind that incident; Allah tested and sifted the believers, whereas the hypocrite expressed their ill thoughts. The main point is that being Muwahid (the man who believes in Allah Alone) does not excuse man from responsibility (for his deeds):

﴾ Verily! Those who brought forth the slander (against 'Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) the wife of the Prophet PBUH) are a group among you. Consider it not a bad thing for you. Nay, it is good for you. Unto every man among them will be paid that which he had earned of the sin, and as for him among them who had the greater share therein, his will be a great torment.﴿

[An-Nur, 11]

 When you believe that there is a punishment for sins, you prove that you are a true believer, but when you pin your hopes on the Divine Forgiveness (without striving to deserve it), you should reconsider the following Ayah:

﴾ Then, verily! Your Lord for those who do evil (commit sins and are disobedient to Allah) in ignorance and afterward repent and do righteous deeds, verily, your Lord thereafter, (to such) is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.﴿

[An-Nahl, 119]

 This Ayah is crystal clear. Yet, there is prevailing naivety among people, and most of them invoke Allah asking for His Forgiveness without putting forth whatever that makes them deserve that Forgiveness. What should we do to deserve the Divine Forgiveness? We should put forth the means in order to deserve it. The Prophetic supplication goes as follows:

((O Allah! I beg You for that which incites Your Mercy and the means of Your Forgiveness))

 No one can attain Allah's Forgiveness without striving, without caring and without seeking religious knowledge. Even in the worldly matters, no one dares to put the abbreviation Dr. before his name without acquiring the doctorate degree. If he does, he will be punished by the law. Hence, how can man long for the Paradise which is as wide as the heavens and the earth without striving, without seeking knowledge and without commitment?

 Mr. Bilal:
 We have finished talking about holding onto a good thought of Allah which is manifested in worshiping and obeying Him out of fear and hope, and let us move to talk about holding onto a good thought of believers:

﴾ Why then, did not the believers, men and women, when you heard it (the slander) think good of their own people and say: "This (charge) is an obvious lie?"﴿

[An-Nur, 12]

 This Ayah seems to indicate that if a believing brother shows a bewildering behavior, I should give him the benefit of the doubt, and this is how I hold onto a good thought of him, right?

Make excuse for your believing brother:

 Dr. Rateb:
 It was reported, "Give your brother up to seventy excuses."

 Mr. Bilal:
 Does this manifest holding onto a good thought of him?

 Dr. Rateb:
 Yes, sure it does.

 Mr. Bilal:
  I would like to move to the third kind which is holding onto a good thought of one's ownself. Is it preferable to hold onto a good thought of one's ownself, or should man accuse his ownself of falling short?

Whoever points the finger of blame to his ownself shall sublime in the Sight of Allah:

 Dr. Rateb:
 One of the notable followers of the companions said, "I met 40 companions, and each one of them used to accuse his ownself of hypocrisy, because they realized the Greatness of Allah, of the Hereafter and of the Islamic Aqeedah." Thus, they never stopped accusing their ownselves of hypocrisy. The more man accuses his ownself, the higher his rank in the Sight of Allah will be, whereas the more he resorts to naive assurance of salvation (without striving for it), the more degraded he will be in the Sight of Allah.

 Mr. Bilal:
  Let us furnish the religious foundation of this concept after we have discussed the different kinds of holding onto a good thought, which are holding onto a good thought of Allah and holding onto a good thought of our believing brothers. As for thinking of one's ownself, man should accuse his ownself of having shortcomings instead of resorting to naive misconceptions (of awaiting forgiveness without striving to deserve it). Yet, he should do that moderately.

 Dr. Rateb:
 Yes, this is true. Otherwise, his constant accusation will turn into unhealthy situation.

 Mr. Bilal:
 Let us consider the following Qudsi Hadith:

((Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Allah the Exalted says: 'I am as my slave expects me to be, and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me inwardly, I will remember him inwardly, and if he remembers Me in an assembly, I will remember him in a better assembly (i.e., in the assembly of angels)."))

[Agreed upon, on the authority of Abi Hurairah]

 As if Allah the Almighty wants us to hold onto a good thought of Him according to the right way which you have just mentioned. Let me continue the Hadith:

((…when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me inwardly, I will remember him inwardly…))

[Agreed upon, on the authority of Abi Hurairah]

How does Allah mention His servant when the latter holds onto a good thought of Him ?

  Dr. Rateb:
  When you remember Allah, you are actually doing an obligatory act of worship, but when Allah remembers you, He will give you abundant yet limitless bestowal. He will grant you wisdom with which you gain happiness even if you lose everything else, and by losing which you will become miserable even if you own everything else, and He will give you contentment and security. Allah the Almighty says:

﴾ (So) which of the two parties has more right to be in security? If you but know." It is those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah and worship none but Him Alone) and confuse not their belief with Zulm(wrong i.e. by worshipping others besides Allah), for them (only) there is security and they are the guided.﴿

[Al-An'am, 81-82]

((My houses on earth are the Masajid, and those who attend them regularly are My endeared visitors. Congratulation to My servants who purify themselves in their houses before they come and visit Me (in the Masjid). Those deserve to be welcomed warmly.))

[Abu Na'eem, on the authority of Abi Sa'ed Al-Khidri]

 How does Allah honor His servant in the Masjid? He does so by giving him wisdom with which he may turn his enemy into a friend, with which he manages his life with limited financial means (because without wisdom man tends to waste money) and with which he lives in happiness with the right wife instead of living miserably with the wrong one even if she is very beautiful:

﴾ And he, to whom Hikmah is granted, is indeed granted abundant good.﴿

[Al-Baqarah, 269]

 The ultimate Divine Bestowal ever is wisdom, and this cannot be acquired but through establishing a connection with Allah:

﴾ Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying, etc.). I will remember you﴿

[Al-Baqarah, 152]

 This means: If you remember Me in your Salah, I will bestow wisdom, security, tranquility, with which you will be happy even if you lose everything else, successful marriage, dutiful children and other endless graces upon you.

((Adhere to righteousness even though you will not be able to do all acts of virtue.))

[Malek, by Balaqh Malek]

 Righteousness leads to wisdom, happiness, spiritual stability, optimism, self-esteem, right decision making, disciplined household, pious wife, dutiful children and a noble mission to fulfill in life.

 There is a huge difference between the one who lives his life with an exalted mission to fulfill and the one who just makes a living in life. Billions of people came to the worldly life and they died unknown. The believer, on the other hand, comes to the worldly life and leaves his influence after he dies. Although the companions dies 1.400 years ago, we still say, "Our Master Umar", "Our Master Khalid" and "Our Master Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq" may Allah be pleased with them. Acquiring these exalted ranks was not an easy job nor was it easy for them to leave their influence. Hence, you choose to be either an obstacle in the way of the enemy's plans, or an insignificant person to them, given unless man knows his Lord, he is trivial.

 Mr. Bilal:
  May Allah bless you. I would like to move to the last part, which is about how we can apply holding onto a good thought of others. Some people think ill of others even if they show them goodness. On the other hand, some people do things which may give contradictory impressions, in the sense that their action might be interpreted in a way which makes people think ill of them especially when they do not give an explanation of their behavior, given "Clarification wards off Shaitan", so how do we handle these two cases?

Encouraging Muslims to hold onto a good thought of others in general:

 Dr. Rateb:
 If there is no reason to raise doubts, man should not think ill of others, and if he does, it will be a grave error, such as doubting someone's own wife without any indication. However, if there are indications like seeing his wife hanging up the phone immediately upon his arrival, this will give the husband an excuse to have doubts. Thus, doubting others without any indications is oppression, whereas holding onto a good thought of others after having an indication that raises doubts is naivety.

 It was said, "Protect yourself from people by doubting them, for doubting them prevents evil", but when there is no reason for doubting others, this is considered a big oppression. Some people doubt their wives without any reason, and this is a grave mistake that is made against the wife. It is fine to have doubts when there is an indication, but if there is an indication, and the husband does not have any doubts, this proves his naivety. Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "I am not a deceiver nor will I allow anyone to deceive me." It means: I am not malicious to deceive others, and I am not naive to be deceived, which is a delicate stance one can take.

 Mr. Bilal:
 What if someone does something which might give two different impressions and he does not explain his deed to people?

Avoiding ill thoughts by explanation:

 Dr. Rateb:
  I would like to draw your attention to a very crucial point. If someone travels, and he asks his brother in law to look after his wife in his absence, but he does not tell the neighbors that this man is her brother, his reputation will be endangered, because the neighbors do not know that this is her brother, and all they know is that a strange man is visiting her in his absence. Thus, clarify to others, lest you put yourself in a suspicious situation.

((Safiyyah bint Huyai (may Allah be pleased with her), the Mother of the Believers, said: I came to visit the Prophet (PBUH) while he was in the state of I'tikaf [(seclusion) in the mosque during the last ten days of Ramadan]. After having talked to him, I got up to return. The Prophet (PBUH) also got up with me and accompanied me a part of the way. At that moment two Ansari man passed by. When they saw him they quickened their pace. The Prophet (PBUH) said to them, "Do not hurry. She is Safiyyah, daughter of Huyai, my wife."))

[Sunan Abi Dawood, on the authority of Safiyyah]

 Clarify things, dear brother, since "Clarification wards off Shaitan". Thus, if you travel for a month, and you ask your wife's brother (your brother in law) to look after her and meet her needs, you should inform all the neighbors that you will be on a travel, and that your brother in law will visit your wife. However, if you do not inform anyone about that, all the neighbors will have doubts about the strange man who is visiting your wife in your absence. In such situations, guard yourself from others' ill thoughts. However, in other situations, doubting people saves man from troubles.

 Mr. Bilal:
 You mean that man can avoid doubts by clarifying things to people since "Clarification wards off Shaitan", right?

 Dr. Rateb:
 Yes, "Clarification wards off Shaitan."

 Mr. Bilal:
 The Prophet PBUH clarified to people that the woman they saw with him was his wife Safiyyah.

 Dr. Rateb:
  I would like to give you an example of the situation where doubting people saves man. If someone asks you to buy things for him, and he gives you money, you should give him receipts of the things you buy to prove that you pay all the money he has given you, and do not count on the idea that he trusts you. Instead, you should be very careful in such a situation, and you should give the accurate receipts.

 Mr. Bilal:
 I should not do something which may raise others' doubt.

 Dr. Rateb:
 Definitely, and the clearest example is the clarification of the Prophet PBUH to the people when they saw him with the woman who turned to be his wife Safiyyah.

 Mr. Bilal:
 On the other hand, my brother should give me the benefit of the doubt if one day my behavior bewilders him, which is different from seeing an indication of a suspicious matter, for this is completely something else.

Abstaining from propagating mischief among those who believe:

 Dr. Rateb:
 If you see something which bewilders you about someone you know, you should confront him. In other words, if you think something bad of someone, you should verify it with him instead of spreading it among people which is a grave error.

 Mr. Bilal:
 Those who do so are the ones who like that (the crime of) illegal sexual intercourse should be propagated among those who believe (as described in the Noble Quran).

 Dr. Rateb:
  It breaks my heart to see a Da'iyah (caller to Allah) attacking another Da'iyah on TV channels on air. You should go to him, talk to him on the phone or send him an email to understand his excuse and then find a kind way to pass your advice to him, so that he may accept it and thank you for it. Going on air and attack him is not a proper way at all.

 Mr. Bilal:

((Narrated AbuHurayrah: The Prophet (PBUH) said: "To harbour good thoughts is a part of well-conducted worship."))

 We should first hold onto a good thought of Allah the Almighty, and then we should hold onto a good thought of our Muslim brothers, cooperate with them and consult them about the issues we disagree upon.

Holding onto a good thought of others:

 Dr. Rateb:
 If you doubt something about a brother, you should ask yourself, "Is it possible for someone (i.e. him) who knows Allah, knows the Hereafter, knows that there will be reckoning and punishment and who memorizes the Quran to commit such a grave error?" Well, there must be an excuse, or maybe you misunderstood his discussion, so before thinking ill of him, ask him about the matter.


 Mr. Bilal:
 May Allah reward and bless you Dr. Rateb. I think we have embraced all the dimensions of holding onto a good thought of others in the limited time we have, and I invoke Allah the Almighty to help us apply what we have tackled today.

 Dear spectators, at the end of this episode of your show Pearls, I would like to thank you for bearing with us, and I invoke Allah to bestow good health upon you. Until we meet next episode, I will leave your religion, trust and last deeds in the Care of Allah.

As-Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatu Allah wa Barakatoh.

Translation  : Noura Sharabi
Edited by      : Kawthar Hajj Saleh