The Forgotten Sunnahs: Ihsan, Itqaan And Self Reliance


[dropcap size=big]D[/dropcap]o you drag yourself in to work or appointments and end up often being late?

Do you do things like cleaning at home or tasks at work just to get past the post, or do you try to do the best job possible, close to perfect?

Do you study just to pass exams or do you really try to understand the topic and work hard to be the best?

Do you procrastinate?

عَنْ أَبِي يَعْلَى شَدَّادِ بْنِ أَوْسٍ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم قَالَ: “إنَّ اللَّهَ كَتَبَ الْإِحْسَانَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ…

The Prophet ﷺ said

“Verily Allah has prescribed ihsan (doing the best job / excellence ) *in all things*” (Muslim)

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(إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ *وَالْإِحْسَانِ* وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ ۚ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ)

“Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and *ihsan* and giving help to relatives, and He forbids immoral sins, evil and tyranny. He admonishes you, so that perhaps you may take heed. ”
(Surah An-Nahl:90)

Ihsan is a comprehensive concept. It includes doing things to your best ability, excellently, completely, nicely, high quality, and doing them correctly in the right way according to the best standards and regulations (if relevant).

A Muslim who practices ihsan throughout his life is a responsible person and a person who always does a high quality job in a timely manner. He is never satisfied with anything other than a very good quality job in all that he does, being timely not tardy, being reliable, right down to washing dishes, ironing, or a workout for her/himself. As commanded excellence is required for all actions.

The Prophet ﷺ said

Allah loves to see one’s task done at the level of itqan (excellence) ”
(Sahih Muslim 1976)

And he ﷺ said

Do the best as if you see Allah, and if not remember Allah sees you
(Al-Bukhari 1897).

Claiming state benefits?

Do you take state benefits because it’s easier than doing a job that you can’t be bothered with because you’re not much better off?

Self reliance is the hallmark of an Islamic personality. The Prophet ﷺ not only discouraged begging but many times forbade even asking people for anything rather than being self reliant.

The Prophet ﷺ

“Begging is right only for three people: for one who is in *grinding* poverty, or for one who is in severe debt, or for a painful compensation for killing.”
(Sunan Abu Dawud 1641)

The Prophet ﷺ when asked what was being committed in a pledge from Muslims said:

أَنْ تَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا وَتُصَلُّوا الصَّلَوَاتِ الْخَمْسَ وَتَسْمَعُوا وَتُطِيعُوا وَلَا تَسْأَلُوا النَّاسَ شَيْئًا

“That you worship Allah and do not associate any partners with Him, pray five prayers, listen and obey (the prophet and his laws), and that you do not ask people for anything. “

Source: Sahih Muslim 1043, Grade: Sahih

‘Not asking people for anything’ here does not mean begging, it’s literally not asking for anything. This doesn’t mean never, it just means that if you can do things for yourself, do them yourself, not to generally rely on others or be lazy. The companions were so careful to obey this command that they would not ask for help even in small matters.

Awf ibn Malik said:

فَلَقَدْ كَانَ بَعْضُ أُولَئِكَ النَّفَرِ يَسْقُطُ سَوْطُهُ فَمَا يَسْأَلُ أَحَدًا أَنْ يُنَاوِلَهُ إِيَّاهُ

“Indeed, some of those people obeyed this to the extent that *if his whip were to fall from his mount (horse or camel), he would not ask anyone to hand it to him*.”

Thus the sahaba were a generation of productivity, perfectionists, self reliant, that did jobs to a high quality standard, worked hard, to the best of their ability, studied hard, didn’t waste time, kept their promises and appointments, were organised and systematic in their approach to life, because they had a vision and ambition for Allah’s deen, so Allah opened the world to them.

How many of us complain about the state of the Muslims but didn’t study hard at school, didn’t work hard in our careers, don’t do good jobs at work, or claim benefits, and go through life just getting along without ambition or a vision for their life and work? Have we even planned projects for our excess wealth (if any) for good causes beyond tactical charity towards strategic plans and projects that really help those in need and the revival of Islam?

If you look at the world today, is it the Muslims that are producing the best cars and products in the world or is it the Germans and Japanese? What do the Muslim countries produce? If you look at the working culture of the Muslims it is totally the opposite of ihsan, itqaan, and ikhlas. It is the Sunnah of Allah to reward sincere hard work, ihsan and itqaan.

Let us look in the mirror before assuming that the problems Muslims are facing are solely due to others.

Let’s look inward and strive to be better individually and as a collective.

Abu Burhan

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12 responses to “The Forgotten Sunnahs: Ihsan, Itqaan And Self Reliance”

  1. Avatar Mohammed Abubakr says:

    As Salam Alaikum,

    I searched for this hadith in Sahih Muslim but couldn’t find it. Sahih Muslim 1043 is a different hadith. Can you please provide the full reference? What is the Book No? Whose translation is this? Thanks.

    “That you worship Allah and do not associate any partners with Him, pray five prayers, listen and obey (the prophet and his laws), and that you do not ask people for anything. “ Source: Sahih Muslim 1043, Grade: Sahih.

    Mohammed Abubakr.

    • Avatar Michael says:

      ‎السلام عليكم‬

      He is the full Hadith that you may been needing to reference –

      We, nine, eight or seven men, were in the company of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and he said: Why don’t you pledge allegiance to the Messenger of Allah? -while we had recently pledged allegiance. So we said: Messenger of Allah, we have already pledged allegiance to you. He again said: Why don’t you pledge allegiance to the Messenger of Allah? And we said: Messenger of Allah, we have already pledged allegiance to you. He again said: Why don’t you pledge allegiance to the Messenger of Allah? We stretched our hands and said: Messenger of Allah. we have already pledged allegiance to you. Now tell (on what things) should we pledge allegiance to you. He said I (You must pledge allegiance) that you would worship Allah only and would not associate with Him anything, (and observe) five prayers, and obey- (and he said onething in an undertone) -that you would not beg people of anything. (And as a consequence of that) I saw that some of these people did not ask anyone to pick up the whip for them if it fell down.
      حَدَّثَنِي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ الدَّارِمِيُّ، وَسَلَمَةُ بْنُ شَبِيبٍ، – قَالَ سَلَمَةُ حَدَّثَنَا وَقَالَ الدَّارِمِيُّ، أَخْبَرَنَا مَرْوَانُ، وَهُوَ ابْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ الدِّمَشْقِيُّ – حَدَّثَنَا سَعِيدٌ، – وَهُوَ ابْنُ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ – عَنْ رَبِيعَةَ بْنِ يَزِيدَ، عَنْ أَبِي إِدْرِيسَ الْخَوْلاَنِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي مُسْلِمٍ الْخَوْلاَنِيِّ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي الْحَبِيبُ الأَمِينُ، أَمَّا هُوَ فَحَبِيبٌ إِلَىَّ وَأَمَّا هُوَ عِنْدِي فَأَمِينٌ عَوْفُ بْنُ مَالِكٍ الأَشْجَعِيُّ قَالَ كُنَّا عِنْدَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم تِسْعَةً أَوْ ثَمَانِيَةً أَوْ سَبْعَةً فَقَالَ ‏”‏ أَلاَ تُبَايِعُونَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏”‏ وَكُنَّا حَدِيثَ عَهْدٍ بِبَيْعَةٍ فَقُلْنَا قَدْ بَايَعْنَاكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏”‏ أَلاَ تُبَايِعُونَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقُلْنَا قَدْ بَايَعْنَاكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏”‏ أَلاَ تُبَايِعُونَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَبَسَطْنَا أَيْدِيَنَا وَقُلْنَا قَدْ بَايَعْنَاكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ فَعَلاَمَ نُبَايِعُكَ قَالَ ‏”‏ عَلَى أَنْ تَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلاَ تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا وَالصَّلَوَاتِ الْخَمْسِ وَتُطِيعُوا – وَأَسَرَّ كَلِمَةً خَفِيَّةً – وَلاَ تَسْأَلُوا النَّاسَ شَيْئًا ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَلَقَدْ رَأَيْتُ بَعْضَ أُولَئِكَ النَّفَرِ يَسْقُطُ سَوْطُ أَحَدِهِمْ فَمَا يَسْأَلُ أَحَدًا يُنَاوِلُهُ إِيَّاهُ ‏.‏
      Reference : Sahih Muslim 1043
      In-book reference : Book 12, Hadith 140
      USC-MSA web (English) reference : Book 5, Hadith 2270
      (deprecated numbering scheme)
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    • Avatar Ahmed says:

      Read the blogs en look at the pic, why do Emirates not believe that she is bad news, do you want more proof?

      EK management gets blamed for many things, mostly cause they do make the worst decisions, never considering employees, but……for some reason when Jade Callaghan, employee 441912, is involved they support her to the end.

      Jade however lied on her application form, she failed to declare all her tattoos, had it removed but it’s left a scar on her forearm.(for all to see)

      She failed to declare that a direct family member is banned from flying Emirates or entering Dubai as result of in flight aviation transgression.
      Is it allowed?
      All information can be verified

      Since being employeed, she has sworn at her trainer, SFS’s and threw product at a passenger on a Abudja flight.

      She has called sick on numerous occasions, alcohol related! Once cause she passed out and got sunburnt so bad that she could not fly, on record!

      Jade refuses to comply with UAE law, she posts racist remarks on twitter(#fukthatniga)(Twitter handle pudcallaghan) mocks Ramadan and Islam, see attached, posts pics of her kissing a girl on social media, has been drunk in public on numerous occasions, and she has been involved with drugs in Dubai.

      On her layovers she gets so drunk she vomits, in Frankfurt it was in the hotel bar, she proceeded to vomit in her bed and passed out in her own vomit. She has breaks the 12 hours rule because she knows they never get tested on flights back to Dubai

      She has been reported to Emirates management and Dubai Police, but they have failed to act on these reports.

      Why are they so inconsistent in their actions?

      Should I have to escalate my efforts to ensure that UAE President Sheikh Khalifabin Zayed Al Nahyan, The Chairman of Emirates UAE Police, Print Media, Online Media, Bloggers, Social Media, Emirates Customers and employees are informed of the lack of interest and consistency shown by Emirates?

      Should I accept that a expat girl can continue to break laws, behave badly and disrespect Islam without consequences?

      Maybe passengers that has traveled with Emirates should learn about her drug, sex and alcohol lifestyle! (with photo evidence) Customers must know what type of employee Emirates is prepared to employ.

      With the spotlight on Emirates, and the caliber of employees they employ being questioned by media after EK 521, not ideal?

      Post script: Jade is posting and telling her story on various blogs, it portrays Emirates and Dubai as being the worst company and country ever!


  2. Avatar Mohammad Khan says:

    Subhanallah! A much needed discussion in these times! And how simply it was written.

  3. Avatar abdulhaq says:

    great article jzk

  4. Avatar suleiman says:

    I have heard this hadith from my teachers in nigeria, and up to now they still preach and teach this hadith but i think i just understand what it is meant by the meaning of ” not beg people of anything” subhanallah. may ALLAH contiune to bless you. this simply means keep it perfect and and make a productive life style.
    thank you. jazakallahu kairyan

  5. Avatar POINT less view of things says:

    ya abaad Allah igithonee……..

    it seems God will never answer none of us…as long as we live in these environments……

    Quran in dar al Kufr…….ooh truly the shayateen are great sorcerers.

    life is pointless the west…..can anybody point to a mountain or two and how to get there…..

    p.s if I get there..nice knowing you all oh I do not nor you me…thank God and….good luck

  6. Avatar thank you for life says:

    we seek refuge from kufr and faqr…..

    yours truly soon to declare loudly….a disbeliever…so you know what you have to do to me……

    like you all a helpless person in history…….

  7. Avatar Devushka says:

    Salaam ‘alaiykom,
    What’s the linguistic and technical difference between itqaan and ihsaan?

  8. Avatar Yousra says:

    Gratitude is truly an important part of our lives if we want to welcome abundance in life. Love the #AlhamdulillahForSeries by Ayeina on this topic.

    If you have suggestions, you can submit them too

  9. Avatar Dr MF Williams says:

    Lovely mashaa Allah.

    Much love from South Africa.

  10. Avatar Mehmed Eymen says:

    JazakAllahu Khayr Akhee

    Insha’Allah more people benefit from this article
    Love from Turkey

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