Bismillah

Frazzled, short of time, in a hurry, with no time to talk – does that describe you? Whether you are a religious teacher, an administrator, khateeb, curriculum planner, halaqah leader, children's program coordinator at the mosque, or a volunteer for any other da'wah-based good work that comes your way in the path of Allah; you might not realize that you are taking your work a tad bit too arduously, resulting in an impending but impairing burnout. When a person feels chronically tired, irritable and stressed, it is a sign that they need to slow down, be it corporate work, housework (for homemaking mothers/women in particular) or even sincere da'wah work.

Irritability, fatigue and lack of recreation is a wake-up call for a da'ee to realize that he or she is swerving away from the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم]. He had more roles to play on a communal and familial level than any of us, yet he knew how to strike the perfect balance in his life that enabled him to stay positive, cheerful, easygoing, focused (on both work and worship) and most of all, sporting a smiling countenance and a relaxed demeanor whenever anyone met him.

How did he do it? What did he do that kept him stress-free and relaxed?

gate

Hang out with friends outdoors; play games:

Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ashari: “I performed ablution in my house and then went out and said, “Today I shall stick to Allah's Apostle and stay with him all this day of mine (in his service).”

I went to the Mosque and asked about the Prophet. They said, “He had gone in this direction.” So I followed his way, asking about him till he entered a place called Bir Aris. I sat at its gate that was made of date-palm leaves until the Prophet finished answering the call of nature and performed ablution. Then I went up to him to see him sitting at the well of Aris at the middle of its edge with his legs uncovered, hanging in the well. I greeted him, and went back and sat at the gate.

I said, “Today I will be the gatekeeper of the Prophet.”

Abu Bakr came and pushed the gate. I asked, “Who is it?” He said, “Abu Bakr.” I told him to wait, went in and said, “O Allah's Apostle! Abu Bakr asks for permission to enter.” He said, “Admit him and give him the glad tidings that he will be in Paradise.” So I went out and said to Abu Bakr, “Come in, and Allah's Apostle gives you the glad tidings that you will be in Paradise” Abu Bakr entered and sat on the right side of Allah's Apostle on the built edge of the well and hung his legs n the well as the Prophet did and uncovered his legs.

I then returned and sat (at the gate). I had left my brother performing ablution and he intended to follow me. So I said (to myself). “If Allah wants good for so-and-so (i.e. my brother) He will bring him here.” Suddenly somebody moved the door. I asked, “Who is it?” He said, “'Umar bin Al-Khattab.” I asked him to wait, went to Allah's Apostle, greeted him and said, 'Umar bin Al-Khattab asks the permission to enter.” He said, “Admit him, and give him the glad tidings that he will be in Paradise.” I went to “Umar and said “Come in, and Allah's Apostle, gives you the glad tidings that you will be in Paradise.” So he entered and sat beside Allah's Apostle on the built edge of the well on the left side and hung his legs in the well.

I returned and sat (at the gate) and said, (to myself), “If Allah wants good for so-and-so, He will bring him here.” Somebody came and moved the door. I asked “Who is it?” He replied, “Uthman bin Affan.” I asked him to wait, and went to the Prophet and informed him. He said, “Admit him, and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise after a calamity that will befall him.” So I went up to him and said to him, “Come in; Allah's Apostle gives you the glad tidings of entering Paradise after a calamity that will befall you.””

Uthman then came in and found that the built edge of the well was occupied, so he sat opposite to the Prophet on the other side.

Said bin Al-Musaiyab said, “I interpret this (narration) in terms of their graves.”

[Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 57, Number 23]

The above narration is significant in many aspects, but the point for narrating it here, is to show how the Prophet [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] and his companions 'hung out' together in a casual way. None of them appears to be stressing about any urgent matter, or rushed for reaching somewhere. Notice the way they all stay in the state of ablution as a habit, and of the eagerness with which each companion sought the company of our beloved Prophet – and surprisingly – got it.

Why would the Prophet decide to sit on the wall of a well with this legs dangling inside? Didn't he have important matters to attend to? Why would Abu Musa decide to dedicate a whole of his day to play the role of gatekeeper of the Prophet? Doesn't this hadith make clear how all of them were adorably normal people, ones we can relate to now, centuries down the road?

As da'ee's who should be eager to incorporate the sunnah into our lives, we must try to strike a balance so that we always have time in the week or the month to hang out like this with people whom we love for the sake of Allah.

Unfortunately, though, I sometimes come across colleagues at dinner parties or weddings, who use even these social gatherings as 'strictly business' or networking opportunities. Taking out their journals, planners or blackberries, they attempt to engage people they have met after a long time in future work opportunities. They do not realize that one of the signs of being a workaholic is not to be able to divorce yourself from your work even in places or situations that are intended to make you enjoy yourself and simply let go and have fun. Holding mini-work meetings at social get-togethers, and discussing nothing but work, work and work is not part of our Prophet's sunnah.

Sport with little children (not just your own):

lunapic-father-n-son

The Prophet would not rebuke or scold children. He'd joke and play with them, and allow them their little quirks. He would allow the children to come close to him, touch him, sit in his lap, and he'd talk to them in a manner they'd be endeared to.

Anas Bin Malik narrated that, “The Prophet was the best amongst people in conduct and manners. I had a brother called Abu Umair and he was weaned at that time. When the Prophet would see him, he used to say, 'Abu Umair! What has done the Nughair (an Arabian bird)?'” [Sahih Muslim]

Notice the mention of the nughair in a way that rhymes with the child's name!

Narrated Umm Khalid (the daughter of Khalid bin Said) “I went to Allah's Apostle with my father and I was wearing a yellow shirt. Allah's Apostle said, “Sanah, Sanah!” ('Abdullah, the narrator, said that 'Sanah' meant 'good' in the Ethiopian language). I then started playing with the seal of Prophethood (in between the Prophet's shoulders) and my father rebuked me harshly for that. Allah's Apostle said. “Leave her,” and then Allah's Apostle (invoked Allah to grant me a long life) by saying (thrice), “Wear this dress till it is worn out and then wear it till it is worn out, and then wear it till it is worn out.” (The narrator adds, “It is said that she lived for a long period, wearing that (yellow) dress till its color became dark because of long wear.”) [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 305]

As for those of us who dash out of the room the instant an infant or toddler does something in its diaper, the narration below should act as a reminder to increase our the level of tolerance for little children's needs:

Narrated Lubabah daughter of al-Harith, “Hussain ibn Ali was (sitting) in the lap of the Apostle of Allah. He passed water [urinated] on him. I said, “Put on (other) clothes, and give me your wrapper to wash”. He said, “The urine of a female child should be washed (thoroughly) and the urine of a male child should be sprinkled over*.”” [Abu Dawud, Book 1, Number 0375]

*[Note: this ruling applies only if the child is still being breastfed]

Continue reading Part II of this post.

14 Responses

  1. Amatullah

    Jazaaki Allahu khayran Sadaf! MashaAllah, your posts are always my favorite :) May Allah increase you in all that is good, Ameen.

    InshaAllah the next two days will be reserved for articles on da’ee burnout.

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  2. kishwar

    assalam o alaikum sadaf,
    had been waiting for this article ever since u mentioned u were working on it…and it has been worth the wait…
    mashaAllah, a good topic and a good article on it…..it was much needed for all, tho i am not a daee like you but i understand the importance of this.

    keep it up sister…..ive got to comment on another post of urs too, i read that last night while my baby kept me awake……

    May Allah grant u enormous reward for the dawah ur doing……thru ur pen

    Thanks

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  3. ummimaryam

    Mashaallah.Excellent post.Jazakumallahu khairaa sister.Looking forward to read the rest of it..

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  4. hayat

    Machallha what a good reminder and best lesson my allha give you jenetul ferdos ya reb.
    keep up the best work and you will get your reward in akira

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  5. Sista

    MashAllah, what a lovely reminder. =)

    I wanted to share this hadith:
    Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Give due respect and regard to your children and decorate them with the best of manners.” [Abu Daud]

    Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wasallam) would be the first to give salaam to children as he would pass them, thereby teaching them Islamic manners with his own example. He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) would have sweets and dates for them. Once the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) was giving one of his grandsons a ride when somebody remarked, “What an excellent ride you have!” to his grandson. Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) immediately drew attention to the child instead by saying, “Don’t you see what an excellent rider I have!” This was the nature of Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), that he would give love and importance to children.

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  6. Ameera

    Jazakillah… how true it is that we all need to give ourselves periods of rest and not feel guilty about it. It’s strange how we pass through different periods of learning and awareness – not long ago, I was confused about the right way of spending my time. I observed a certain classmate, whose excellent conduct and love for Islam convinced me that everything she was doing was right. I tried to elulate her in how she spent her time – always busy studying, grabbing every moment she got in medical college – the five minutes between classes or while having her lunch – to open her textbook and memorize a paragraph.

    However, after trying to implement the same plan for myself, feeling its Islamically the only way to not waste time, I realized it just wasn’t right. I couldn’t keep up with it and I realized that all I was doing was study, study, study… people around me couldn’t engage me in a conversation ebcause I had my nose in my books. It took some time but I realized finally that a balance is required in everything we do and thinking that studying constantly is a way to minimize wastage of time, is actually not reasonable at all.

    I started noticing incident in the Sunnah like you’ve mentioned in this blog post, about relaxing and just “hanging out” together, getting a chance to catch up on each others’ lives, share anecdotes. This makes sense, Alhamdolillah… so goodbye boring studious Ameera and a hello to a more relaxed and easy-going student InshAllah. :)

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  7. Sadaf

    Bismillah

    Jazaakunn Allahu Khairan sisters! May Allah grant us all the wisdom to become like the Prophet [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] in word and deed.
    I have noticed many, many da’ees swerving away from the “middle/moderate path” and towards workaholicism because of a lack of knowledge. May Allah grant us more and more knowledge of Deen.
    Ameen.

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  8. Faiez

    JazakAllahu khayr for this article, some du’aat feel the need to be machines and only hurt themselves AND their da’wah by not chilling out. People don’t like being around someone who’s easily irritable and gives standard answers devoid of human personality and emotion.

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  9. Mustafa

    Jazaakillahu khayran for this. Some things that struck me about this prophetic “chilling out”:

    * Simplicity – No fancy equipment required, no TV, no computer, just some water

    * Seclusion – There was a “gate” preventing the outside world from barging in. Turn your phones off!

    * Physically soothing environment – What’s more relaxing than being in the water?

    * Worthy companions – Not everyone is good to chill out with. Some just add to the stress!

    * Decompression – No intense mind games (crosswords, anyone?). No chatter. Only you and your thoughts. Sometimes it can be be Salah, but sometimes it can just be sitting there.

    Salallahu alaa Muhammad wa sallam

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  10. Um e Abdullah

    Jazak Allah khair sadaf, i loved this and needed to read it as i think i’ve been doing just this…….heading for a burnout……i wish we could be as realxed as the Prophet (saw) and as positive and still get so much done in our lifetime. ameen

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  11. Massoud V.

    It was narrated from ‘Ali, that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said concerning the urine of a nursing infant: “Water should be sprinkled over the urine of a boy, and the urine of a girl should be washed.”

    [Sunan Ibn Majah (#525), Sunan Abu Dawud (#378) (Sahih-Ali Za'i) . . . and others. It is classed as 'Hasan (Sahih)' by At-Tirmidhi (#610) (Sahih-Ali Za'i), and Sahih by Ibn Khuzaimah (#283 and #284), Ibn Hibban (#247), Al-Hakim (1/165 and 166) and Adh-Dhahabi concurred]

    According to Zubair Ali Za’i, the Hadith is Hasan due to the virtue of its many witnesses. As for Al-Albani, he graded it as Sahih.

    It should be noted, however, that the Hadith itself is possessive of a weak chain due to Qatadah’s Ana’nah (see Zubair Ali Za’i’s comments), however the Hadith’s many Shawahid (witnesses) raise its status . . .

    And Allah knows best.

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  12. laraib

    Asalam o Alikum sadaf your posts are really informative iam also a beginner blogger and i want your permission to copy this post for my blog as my blog is about “mental health”?

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