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Lessons in Staying Behind – Part 7: To Bring Joy to Another Muslim

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

When I had offered the Fajr prayer on the 50th morning on the roof of one of our houses and while I was sitting in the condition which Allah described (in the Qur\’an) i.e. my very soul seemed straitened to me and even the earth seemed narrow to me for all its spaciousness, there I heard the voice of one who had ascended the mountain of Sala\’ calling with his loudest voice, ‘O Ka\’b bin Malik! Be happy (by receiving good tidings).\’

After reflecting on the more obvious lesson of this part of the hadith, we take a moment here to reflect on yet another lesson.

Ka\’b (radhiAllahu anhu) says that he heard one ‘calling with his loudest voice.\’ The caller\’s voice was not raised in search of a livelihood through selling some goods in the marketplace, nor was it a call for help. In fact, his ‘calling\’ and rushing to inform Ka\’b of the good news was none but a reflection of the pure hearts and selfless character of the companions. It is an example of their hastening towards good, more specifically, in fulfillment of the teaching to give glad tidings and bring joy and happiness to other Muslims.

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It is narrated in the hadith: “The most beloved of people according to Allah is he who brings most benefit, and the most beloved of deeds according to Allah the Mighty, the Magnificent, is that you bring happiness to a fellow Muslim, or relieve him of distress, or pay off his debt or stave away hunger from him.” (al-Tabarani, hasan).

When we find that a certain matter will bring joy to another Muslim, be it good news, success, a good dream about him or anything close to this, then it is befitting that a believer rushes to deliver this source of happiness to his brother. On the contrary, hiding the good that we see or hear about our fellow Muslims is a characteristic of those who carry envy and jealousy in their hearts; they hide the good yet are quick to spread the bad. As for the true believer, the joy of his brother is his own.

The fact that this act was one performed by the angels clearly points to its elevated status. Allah says regarding the angels, when they came to give Ibrahim (alayhi’l-salaam) the good news of a son, Ishaq (alayhi’l-salaam),

قالوا لا توجل إنا نبشرك بغلام عليم

“[The angels] said, ‘Fear not. Indeed, we give you good tidings of a learned boy.‘” (al-Hijr 15:53).

With the right intention, the act of giving good news to Muslims becomes one of worship, hence leading us to understand the vast meaning of worship in Islam. Beyond the obligations of prayer, fasting, Hajj and zakah, we are blessed with many gates of good that lead to Allah\’s pleasure. The gate of bringing joy to others opens to several doors, a few of which we\’ll look at below.

A Gift

It could have been of little monetary value, but most of us can recall a gift that touched us deep down. Gift giving is even a source of joy for the giver, whose pleasure increases when they see the pleasant reaction of the one who received it.  The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love to one another.” (Al-Bukhari).
But worry not if your circumstances do not permit gift giving, you may spread smiles through a few good words.

A Good Word

Miserliness shouldn’t lead us to withhold from uttering a few simple words, sweet in nature, that we know will result in a stronger resolve, a more confident youngster, more hope for a desparate one, or simply a brighter day for another Muslim. A sweet, kind, encouraging or loving word may take a few seconds but may leave its mark for decades.
Allah (subhanahu wata\’ala) says,

وَقُولُوا لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنًا

“And speak to people good [words].” (al-Baqarah 2:83).

The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) taught us, “Save yourself from the (Hell) Fire even with half a date (to be given in charity). And if you do not find a half date, then with a good pleasant word.” (Bukhari).

One example of a good word that is likely to relieve your fellow Muslim is interceding for them when they seek to fulfill a need. Allah (subhanahu wata\’ala) says,

مَّن يَشْفَعْ شَفَاعَةً حَسَنَةً يَكُن لَّهُ نَصِيبٌ مِّنْهَاَ

Whoever intercedes for a good cause will have a reward therefrom” (alNisaa 4: 85).

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was an example in bringing joy to his cCompanions through kind words. Anas (radhiAllahu anhu) reported: “There was a man from the desert people whose name was Zahir. He used to bring gifts from the desert to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), and in return the Prophet would provide him with whatever he needed when he went out to fight. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Zahir is our man of the desert, and we are his town-dwellers.’ The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) loved him very much, and he (Zahir) was an ugly man. One day the Prophet came to him whilst he was selling some goods. He embraced him from behind. The man could not see him, so he said, ‘Let me go! Who is this?’ Then he turned around and recognized the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), so he tried to move closer to him once he knew who it was. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) started to say, ‘Who will buy this slave?’ Zahir said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, you will find me unsellable.’ The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘But in the sight of Allah  you are not unsellable,’ or he said, ‘But in the sight of Allah you are valuable.’ “(Ahmad).

Short, light words, yet weighty in their effect on the heart.

A Smile

When circumstances do not permit you to give gifts or when you have trouble releasing kind words to others, you can always just smile. It is among the simplest of deeds that bring joy to others and is regarded as an act of charity.

Perhaps your smile would have an effect that no gifts or words could do.  Jarir (radhiAllahu anhu) described the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), who carried the burdens of an entire nation on his shoulders, saying,  “Since the time I became Muslim, the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, never saw me without smiling at me.” (Bukhari).

Whether it is a good word or a kind gesture, let us with one another, seek reward through echoing the words of the caller; ‘O Ka\’b bin Malik! Be happy!’

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Mariam is of Middle Eastern origin, raised in North America, not quite settling in one specific place. After living up in the North of North America, she has shifted continents and currently residing in a rapidly flourishing, historical city located in the desert of Arabia. She is a recent graduate of the American Open University, with a Bachelors in Islamic Studies. She believes that regardless of where a person is, writing is a tool to reach out and express that which inspires, touches and affects them. So she writes; perhaps that which inspires her will be a source of good for at least one other person.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Nayma

    July 20, 2011 at 8:22 AM

    Perhaps your smile would have an effect that no gifts or words could do. Jarir (radhiAllahu anhu) described the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), who carried the burdens of an entire nation on his shoulders, saying, “Since the time I became Muslim, the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, never saw me without smiling at me.” (Bukhari).

    This is so true Sister Mariam. Many a time when I see a sister smiling at me, my burdens are lifted and I feel refreshed. That person did not have to do a single thing for me. But was kind enough to smile to another sister. Jazak Allahu khairan for your enlightening article.

  2. ummahmed

    July 20, 2011 at 8:47 AM

    Jazakumallahu khairaan kaseera…Excellent article…Every sentence in the article is a good reminder for me..

  3. Ify

    July 20, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Lovely series Mariam, always a pleasant surprise to find another installment, you and my tajwid teacher were missed at Ilm Summit :)

    • Mariam E.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:31 AM

      Jazaki Allah khayr, we definitely missed you too! Your kind words always make me smile.

  4. abu bakr bin joseph

    July 20, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    the article is good alhumdulila.may Allah help us to practise in our daily life.ameen.

  5. ZAI

    July 20, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    Beautiful article and great examples from the life of the prophet (s).
    I’ve always loved the tender beauty and compassion demonstrated in the Hadith about Zahir, as well as many other Hadith of this nature. It’s great to be reminded of this aspect of Islamic teaching.

    I don’t think a lot of people realize how much a lot of these simple actions can mean to other people.
    Something we don’t think is a big deal, could be the world to even a stranger having a hard time or a bad day. Kindness goes a long way…

  6. Yasmin Raoufi

    July 21, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    Beautiful article. I love the idea of gift giving and I am glad to know that giving small gifts is recognized as a good deed in Islam.

  7. amina

    July 21, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    True words,dearest Sister ..

    May Allah grant us tawfiq for treading the path of Sunnah in all actions of our life.

    Sometimes , its important to discern the reason for these smiles esp. today where plastic affections pour in

    plenty or in ghair mehram interactions where only through Taqwa can hikmat prevail.

    May Allah guide us all till we reach Jannah inshaAllah Aameen.

    JazakAllahu Alf Khair!!

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