Why Should We Study Akhlaq?
Akhlaq means Behaviour or Conduct.
To have good Akhlaq is very important but at the same time it is very difficult. Prophet Muhammad (S) has explained:
"I have been sent to complete the nobility of your character."
This means that out of all the tasks which Allah sent the Prophet (S) to us for, one of the most important was to teach us perfect Akhlaq.
To gain the best Akhlaq can be compared to climbing out of a deep, dark cave. Imagine trying to climb out from a cave as deep as the world. In the cave, our eyes are useless, we cannot see anything. We have to feel our way with our hands. As we climb higher, we begin to see the light, and our eyes start to open. In the same way, when we try to improve our character, we take one step at a time, higher and higher. The higher we get the closer we get to the light of Allah, and the better our Akhlaq becomes.
Once we get out of the cave, we are surrounded by light and we can see for miles and miles. We can see the sky and the sun. When we reach the top of our character, our soul is surrounded by Allah's light, and it can see through all the darkness that the world tries to attract us with.
It can see the path towards Allah.
It is hard work to reach that stage, but it is one of the tests in life, and the only way that we will become true followers of the Prophet (S).
In Surah an-Nur ayat 35 and 36, Allah explains
I am the Light of Heaven and Earth and I shall guide those whom I wish. This light is found in those houses where Allah's praise is offered day and night. The people of these houses are such that nothing tears them away from the remembrance of Allah and it is these people whom Allah will guide onto the right path.
Light is there to guide us in the dark. What Allah is explaining to us is that He will guide us with His light, and will help us to climb out of the cave.
How can we improve our Akhlaq ? We can improve our Akhlaq by trying to be good at all times, whether this is at home, or in the Mosque, at school or with our friends. Whenever we do something wrong we should ask Allah for forgiveness. We must also try our best not to repeat the same mistake again.
CONCEPT OF SIN
A sin is what a person gets for doing a BAD DEED. Think of everything you do as if it were being marked by Allah. If you do a good deed you get a blessing (Thawaab), and if you do a bad deed you get a sin (Gunah).
On the day of Judgement (Qiyamat), Allah will see how many "marks" you have. If you have more Thawaab you will go to Paradise (Jannat) and if you have more sins you will go to Hell (Jahannum). Only those people who have more Gunah than Thawaab will go to Jahannum.
Allah explains to us that
Whatever sins you do whether BIG or (SMALL) in public or in secret He knows them all.
He also says that He will forgive those who do Taubah (ask for forgiveness) and who do not keep on repeating the Gunah.
Two men came to our Sixth Imam (A) saying that they wanted to do Taubah for their sins. The first man said to Imam (A) that he had done plenty of little sins (Gunahe Saghira), and the second man said that he had done two very big sins (Gunahe Kabira).
Imam (A) told the first man to go and pick up one small pebble for each small sin that he had done. He told the second man to go and pick up two very large boulders for his two big sins.
After a while the two men came back and asked Imam (A) what to do next. Imam (A) said that both men should go back and put every single stone back in the same place where they had found it.
The man with the boulders found it very difficult to lift them and put them back where he had found them, but he managed to do it.
The man with the small stones did not know where to put the pebbles because he had so many and could not remember where he had picked all of them.
The moral of this story is that it is very difficult to repent for those sins which are small but done often.
It is important that we keep doing Taubah and praying that Allah forgives us for our sins, He is the Most Forgiving and the Most Merciful.
Which sins do you think people commit often ?
HURMAT OF A MOSQUE
Hurmat means great RESPECT or REVERENCE. When we go to a Mosque or Imambara, we should realise that we have come to remember Allah.
There is a difference between a Mosque and an Imambara. A Mosque is where prayers are offered.
An Imambara can be used for many things, such as gatherings, food, prayers and lectures.
This means that you can do certain things in an Imambara that you can not do in a Mosque.
When you are in a Mosque, you MUST be quiet. People will be praying and it would be VERY rude to talk. If you have to talk, it should NEVER be about things which are not important.
When you are in a Mosque or an Imambara, your mind should be thinking about your creator.
In an Imambara, it is all right to talk, BUT on certain occasions only. If there is dinner or tea being served, you may talk, but when there is a lecture or du'a being recited, you should keep quiet and remain in one place, without moving and causing disruption.
If you see someone making a Mosque Najis, it is WAJIB for you to tell him to stop. It is also WAJIB to clean it and make it Tahir.
You should NEVER run around in a Mosque/Imambara or use it to play games in.
You should behave in a Mosque AS IF it belonged to Allah.
Although we know that Allah does not need a house, we should pretend that Allah was watching us and that we are close to him.
THE MOSQUE IS WHERE WE GET CLOSEST TO ALLAH IN OUR HEARTS.
When entering the Mosque, we should say:
"In the name of Allah, I put my trust in Allah and there is no power except that of Allah."
When leaving the Mosque we should say:
"In the name of Allah, I seek the protection of Allah from Shaitan."
Why should we remain silent in a Mosque?
The reason why we should be silent in a Mosque is so that we can learn and understand more about Islam.
This means that when someone asks us any questions, we can help them by answering and so please Allah.
We can also set an example to others and so gain Thawaab (reward) from Allah. Ayatullah Khumeini has said that
"The one who shows the path of virtue is as worthy as the doer of it"
This means that if you show someone how to be good, and do something generous, you get as much Thawaab as the person who does the deed.
When a lecture/du'a is in a language we can not understand, we should remain silent so as not to disturb others who are listening.
In conclusion, we should remain silent ANYWHERE where Allah is being praised or remembered. This is to respect the One Who created us.
RESPECT TO PARENTS
Respect means to listen someone, and have regard for them. It also means to think that someone is important, and pay attention to them without making faces or feeling bad.
Allah explains in Qur'an (2:83) to Obey Him and respect our parents. This shows how important it is to listen and obey the wishes of your parents.
There is a hadith that says
"Heaven lies under the feet of your mother."
This means that a person who pleases his mother, and makes her satisfied with him, will find heaven much easier to get to. Our Holy Prophet (S) explains that
Whomsoever displeases their parents, their Ibadaat (prayers) are not accepted.
This hadith tells us that Allah will not accepts a person's prayers, if that same person displeases his parents. Since one of Allah's greatest commands is to obey our parents, how can we go against that?
Children brought up in a western society do not see respect shown to parents around them. After marriage, it is normal to leave parents alone and send them to old peoples' homes.
Islam tells us that this is not the right thing to do. One should always help their parents, and never leave them alone in hardship or trouble.
When you wake up in the morning, one of the first things you should do is to go and say "Salamun Alaykum" to your parents.
Duties to Parents
1. Never raise your voice to them.
2. When they first enter a room, stand up if you are sitting.
3. Do not interrupt them when they are speaking.
4. Do not correct their mistakes in front of others.
Allah loves the person who respects his parents so much, that he is blessed with Thawaab. Ayatullah Khumeini has said,
"Looking at the face of your mother or father with respect is like looking at the KA'BA, the reward is the same."
It is very important to keep yourself clean. If you do not look after your body, you will end up catching germs more easily, and this will make you unwell. You will leave a bad impression on others, who will remain away from you. You will not feel fresh and active, but will feel depressed and lazy. When you make yourself clean, neat and tidy, you feel fresh and more healthy.
Try to keep clean at all times, but special attention should be given when in the toilet, when eating food, and when getting ready to offer prayers.
How should you keep yourself clean?
When you go to the toilet, you MUST ALWAYS use water to clean yourself. If you use tissue paper only then you will be Najis. This means that you will not be able to touch Qur'an or pray Namaaz.
On leaving the toilet, it is your responsibility to leave it as clean or cleaner than it was when you entered. You should also wash your hands properly. This makes sure that all the germs which you can catch are killed, and do not spread to food, or other areas.
At home you should keep yourself clean by brushing your teeth in the mornings and evenings, by washing your face when you get up, and by taking a shower regularly.
Our Eighth Imam (A) explained that:
To be pure and clean is amongst the habits of the Prophets.
When you are ready to eat, you should wash your hands so that there is no dirt on them when you eat. It is also recommended that your hands should be slightly wet when eating. If your hands are dirty, you may swallow some dirt with your food. This could be bad for you because you don't know what you have touched during the day.
Allah says in the Holy Qur'an is Surah al-Baqarah (2:222)
... For God loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.
Not only should you keep yourself clean all the time, but you should also keep the things around you clean. You should clean your own room and try to wash your own dishes. If you see a mess somewhere and you know that you did not do it, you should still try and clean it up. This is important for public places like the Mosque or school. If everyone picks up a bit of rubbish, or clears some mess, the place will be spotless and tidy and everyone will benefit.
Prophet Muhammad (S) has said:
Cleanliness and Purity are Part of Faith
BRAVERY AND COWARDICE
Bravery means to be able to face up to difficulties without running away, or taking the easy way out. Another word for bravery is courage.
Bravery does not occur only in battles, or in films, but in everyday life.
One example of bravery is "sticking up for your beliefs". If you are at school and someone offers you something Haraam, you should say "No thank you, I am a Muslim and this is against my religion." This does not mean that you go around picking fights with anybody who offers you anything. It means you should refuse politely and explain them why.
The opposite of bravery is cowardice, and this means to have a weak character when dealing with people. If for example someone offers you something Haraam and you accept it to make the other person feel good, that is cowardice and is not allowed. You should refuse, but you must be polite.
Prophet Muhammad (S) has said:
It is not good for a man of faith to be a miser or a coward.
One of the reasons for this, is that if you are a coward, it is because you are afraid of other people, or what they might think.
If you have faith in Allah, then why should you be afraid of others. He will be there to help you.
You should always do what is right, because even if other people are against you, Allah is always with those who are right.
If you have Allah on your side, then what do you have to be afraid of?
TO BE MERCIFUL AND TO BE GENTLE
To be merciful means to be kind and good.
We say that Allah is the Most Merciful. This means that Allah is the Kindest and always helps us when we need it.
We should always help anybody when they ask. If somebody does something wrong towards us we should forgive them and be kind towards them, this is what merciful means.
It is good to help someone when they ask for it, but it is even better to help someone who is in difficulty, without them having to ask. Some people have dignity, which means they have self respect. If they are in a problem, they will not ask since they do not want people to feel pity for them. It is up to you to keep your eyes open, and see when people need help.
If you can help them, then you should do so. If you
cannot help them, then try to find someone who can.
To be gentle also means to be kind towards somebody.
If someone did something you did not like, you should not get angry and shout, but you should be polite and explain until they understand what they did wrong.
How should you behave in the following places:
You are playing with your friends, and one of them falls down and gets hurt. All your friends start laughing.
You are playing, and someone you do not know falls and gets hurt. All your friends start laughing.
You are on the way to school, and you see a bird which has had its wing broken, what should you do.
You see a little boy being bullied by others, how should you react?
CONDUCT IN PUBLIC
Leaving a bad impression means that people will not have respect for you.
It is wrong to behave badly at home, but it is also incorrect to behave badly in front of others, because not only are you spoiling your own name, but the name of you parents and teachers.
How you behave with others, says a lot about yourself. If you share you food, then it shows you are not selfish, if you talk and laugh with others, it shows that you are not proud.
How would you behave in the following ?
You are invited to a friends house for a birthday party. At lunch time, you all sit down to eat, but one of your friends is by himself, and no one has called him.
You go out to play with your friends, and they start to speak badly about someone who you don't like either.
Your father brings you to the Mosque, and tells you that he has to go out, and will pick you up later. When he leaves, you see your friends go behind the Mosque to play.
You are serving in the Mosque, and one of the older volunteers tells you to sit down, and calls you a "silly little boy". How do you react?
You are in Madressa, and the teacher is late in the class. All your friends start throwing chalk, and playing around. What would you do?
Hospitality means to be polite to people when they come to your house and to treat them with respect.
How should we be polite?
There are many ways, some of them are:
a) If the guest is a Muslim, you can start by saying SALAAMUN ALAYKUM.
b) You can speak in a low voice instead of shouting.
c) You can offer the guest something to drink.
d) You can just talk with the guest and not leave him alone in a strange room.
Why should we be polite to guests?
The reason why we should be polite to guests is so that they fell happy. Allah will be pleased with us and we will get Thawaab. Our parents will also be pleased with us.
If you are polite towards guests and other people, they will come to respect you.
How should you behave when :
Someone comes to your house when you are tired and sleepy?
A friend visits you just when it is time for Maghrib?
It is dinner time, and you have a guest?
Your cousin is spending the day with you, and he breaks one of your toys?
If someone did not have any hospitality, how would they behave?
To be kind means to be gentle and friendly. It means to care for things or people.
One should always be kind to people and help them.
Allah is THE MOST KIND, this means that He is very gentle to us, and is always there to turn to when we need help.
Allah has been very kind to us, so we should also be kind to others.
If you are kind to others, then they will always be kind to you. The same way if you are mean to others than everyone will be mean to you.
It is not always easy to be kind, especially when someone is bad to you. If you can be kind and gentle even then, then you will gain Thawaab, and you will also earn the other person's friendship.
Kindness always pays, because if you are kind to others, then one day when you are in difficulty, people will remember and say, "Oh, he helped me when I needed it, let me help him now."
Allah tells us in Qur'an (Surah 5, Ayat 14) that when people do things which are wrong, we should try and forgive them..
"..but forgive them and overlook (their misdeeds): for God loves those who are KIND."
This means to be mean and cold hearted. To be cruel is very bad, and is the opposite of kindness.
If for example, something bad happens to someone, and instead of helping them out, you laugh at them, then that is an example of being cruel.
Islam is a way of life based on kindness, and it is totally against cruelty.
In the time of the Holy Prophet (S), people used to tie up prisoners of war, whether they were male or female. When the Holy Prophet (S) came back from the war-front, he saw this and became very angry. He ordered the people to untie the prisoners immediately and to give them water and food. He said that the ladies and children should be kept under shade and should be looked after. After some of the prisoners realized how fair and kind the Holy Prophet (S) was, they became Muslims.
This shows that the only way to show the beauty of Islam to the non-Muslims, is to show them what Islam teaches us. Never be cruel, always be fair.
Honesty means truthfulness, sincerity.
We have all heard about the English saying "Honesty is the best policy", but what does it actually mean? It means that if you make honesty a part of your character it will not only make your life easy but will also include you among the people "liked" by Allah.
If you are not honest, you will have to remember what you have lied about and to keep your lies from being discovered you may have to keep on lying and so will form a habit.
The importance of truthfulness is emphasized in the following Ayat of the Qur'an in Surah 9 (9:119)
O you who believe! Be careful of your duty to Allah, and be with the truthful.
In Suratul Baqarah, Ayat 177, some qualities of pious persons are mentioned, amongst which one is sincerity.
Allah also says in the fifth Surah, Ayat 119 that Qiyamat is the day when truthfulness will be the "the profit" for the truthful people and they will gain Allah's pleasure to "pave their way to Heaven."
To be rude means to talk in such a way as to insult someone or make them feel bad. It means to be impolite, or to have no respect for other people.
To be rude is a bad habit. It can make you lose your friends and may make people dislike you.
Sometimes people are rude and they do not even realise it.
Some examples of being rude are:
1. Answering back to your parents.
2. Not listening when someone is talking to you.
3. swearing or using other bad language even if you are angry.
4. Arguing when your parents ask you to do something.
5. Telling jokes which are filthy/crude
You should never be rude to people because you will lose your respect.
There is a saying in English, that "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all."
Laziness means to avoid work, or putting in the least amount of effort to get something done.
Laziness is a very bad habit, because you waste time, and time is the most valuable thing you have.
Allah has given you a certain amount of time to live on this earth, and if you waste it, you are showing that you are ungrateful.
An idle person is Shaytan's best friend. Idleness means doing nothing, and when you are doing nothing, just killing time, then Shaytan starts putting thoughts into your mind, and tells you to do things which you would otherwise avoid.
If you are tired, and are relaxing, that is not being lazy, that is alright. However, if you are sitting around all day, with nothing to do, just watching television or sleeping late for no reason, then that is laziness.
You should never say that I am bored !! That is only what people who have no imagination say. If you have finished doing all your work, then pick up a book and read. You don't have to read only for studies, you can find good story books which improve your imagination. Find an interest or a hobby to keep you occupied, read Qur'an or try and learn something new and exciting.
Imagine, the whole world is there to see, and someone can say that they are bored and have nothing to do, IMPOSSIBLE !!
A Muslim has been told that he should never be lazy, because he has to work for two lives. Most people do their work and then take it easy. A Muslim, however, has to work for both this life and the next life, because he knows that there is going to be a life after we die. We should work for the next life while we have the time, to make sure that we will benefit on the Day of Judgement.
Haste means to do something in such a hurry that you are not thinking as clearly as you could do. When you are hasty, then the chances are that you will make mistakes.
If you take your time, and do things at a steady pace, then you will have a chance to think about what you are doing, and so you will do it properly. But when you are in a rush, then your mind is working very fast, and you might forget something which will cause a lot of problems later on.
There is a saying in English, that "Haste is waste."
This means that if you rush something, then you may forget a small point, which will cause you even more bother than if you took your time and did the job properly in the first place.
One of the most important things which you should never rush is your prayers. If you hasten your prayers, then you will not be paying attention to Allah, and this shows that you are ungrateful. Hurrying prayers also means that you will not gain as much benefit from it.
Always take your time to do things. Think before you act. Do not take so much time that you don't get anything done, but at the same time do not be so hasty that you forget something, and then have to do it all again.
The main thing that you SHOULD make haste in, is rushing to say prayers on time, or Namaze Jamaat. If you hear Adhaan, then you should rush to join the prayers.
What should you do if :
You are in the middle of your prayers, and your cousins come home to play.
You are doing your homework in your room, and you know that the FA Cup Final is going to come on television in 10 minutes.
You are eating your food at the table, with your family, and your friend calls on you to play.
What would a hasty person do in the above, and what could the results be.
Boasting is part of showing off.
A person can show off in many ways. He can show off his clothes by the way he wears them, he can show off money by spending a lot in front of people, but when the person shows off by talking, than this is called boasting.
Why is boasting bad?
We know that showing off is a way of acting that makes you feel BETTER (superior) to others. By doing so, others are made to feel small and unimportant. This is one reason why it is bad.
Allah does not like people who show off, because HE has made all people equal. So a person who shows off thinks that he is better than others and so is becoming proud.
31:18 "And swell not your cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for God does not love any arrogant boaster."
Just because we should not boast, it does not mean that we cannot be happy. We can be pleased, and tell our friends and family, but it should be because we are happy, and not to show off.
How would a boaster talk about the following events, compared to a person who was taught not to boast?
Coming first in the school exams
Reciting du'a in the mosque in front of many people
Winning a medal in the Madressa Sports Day
Beating your friend in a game. (tennis or scrabble etc..)
Giving a speech in public
Vengeance means to "strike back" at somebody because they did something bad to you. It means to take revenge.
Allah tells you that you are allowed to take revenge if you wish (provided it is within the shari'a) BUT, IT IS BETTER TO FORGIVE.
In English there are a few sayings which also tell you to leave aside revenge:
a. To forgive and forget
b. To bury the hatchet
The Prophet (peace be upon him) has said that one of the most holy things is to forgive someone who has harmed you.