SURAT-U-NUH Q19.58-9, Q71.21-8

This surah is quite sad.
noah
It is about one of the first messengers of Allah, Nuh (ASW) who believed and tried to bring people to the religion of monotheism. He had called them day and night but seemed to only succeed in sending them further away. He called them one-on-one, addressed them in public but they simply refused to listen!

Finally, he was fed up and beseeched Allah to preserve the small group of believers he had and destroy the unbelievers before they increased in numbers and corrupted the small group. Allah responded to his prayer and the Great Flood happened.

If only Nuh (ASW) were around to see what is happening. How that small band he feared would be corrupted and beseeched Allah to preserve their iman has spawned such evil that has pervaded the world. How disillusioned, demoralised, defeated and deflated he would feel if he could catch a glimpse of us now; the children of the believers he feared would be polluted.

We have really lost it; our compass, GPRS, our sense of direction is gone with no Islamic knowledge to navigate us back to safety – to Jannah. It is never too late to retrace our steps to the Straight Path. ‘Verily, He is Oft-Forgiving’ and Merciful too.

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REPEL EVIL WITH GOOD Q41.34-6

Has anyone ever told you ‘stop talking to me like am a child!’ only for you to make a mental note to reserve that tone for children? No, don’t do that. Even kids don’t like being spoken to like that. No one does.

When learning different Nigerian dialects, most people will ‘advise’ you to learn insults first so you are aware when a speaker insults you and respond likewise (at least, that is my experience). Some of us actually go ahead to learn these rude words and whip them out at the nearest opportunity like at the market, during road rage, to the waiter or servant, etc. While we do this, we relish the surprised expressions on our opponent’s face because of our gutter mouths.
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Is this necessary? Is it necessary to perfect your backhand slap for your servant? Or your supercilious glance for your subordinates? Why do we keep the word ‘infidel’ on the tip of our tongues ready to brand fellow Muslims with it? Why do we address security men, front desk officers, nurses, cleaners, etc like they are beneath us? To earn their respect? To get our demands answered on time? To compensate for the lack of love at home? Just because we can? Do we really believe such abominable manners will yield positive results? Such people who are treated with disdain tend to feel oppressed. They may be compelled to obey but they will not respond out of respect either. Respect is reciprocal.

That waiter you so saucily ordered to get you a drink may spike it with some urine or saliva; the servant you yelled at to bring your meal may add some drops of sputum. A housemaid may take out her frustration on your children; your son may take it out on his younger sister.

Without a doubt, people push our buttons especially our children, but we should repel evil with good. Responding to people with kindness and love yields better results. Don’t reserve that tone for the children; drop it completely. Don’t save those insults for a rainy day; drop them from your vocabulary entirely.

I DON’T KNOW Q6.116, 119

One of the reasons arguments are discouraged is that they often degenerate into saying things we are unsure of, things that are untrue and indeed, things we have no knowledge about. Worst is it devolves into a shouting match where the participating parties insult each other!
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How many times do you begin an argument and find yourself giving false or assumed definitions just to prove that you are right, to impress, to save face, to show your opponent that your view is the only correct one? We end up misleading others like the Qur’an mentioned in 6.116 and 119. We should avoid misleading and being mislead.

It doesn’t have to be an argument that will bring this deceit to the fore. A child could ask a question, our boss could ask our opinion, we could be giving an interview, a stranger could be asking directions, a rival could be trying to upstage us…the Nigerian viral video ‘My Oga at the Top’ is a perfect illustration.

It doesn’t kill to say ‘I don’t know.’ If anything, it is more mature, shows credibility and speaks volumes about your integrity. Alternatively, you could say, ‘I am sorry, I can’t remember at the moment,’ or ‘Tell you what; I’ll find out and let you know.’ We cannot know everything, all knowledge is with Allah.

i-Report Q2.30, Q11.15-6

Have you observed a trend? It’s called i-reporting. We all want to be the first to relay news; we are all wannabe reporters, thanks to our smartphones and other gadgets. Our house is burning- we stop on the stairs to twitpic. Our baby was delivered just minutes ago and she’s already been ‘liked’ 50times on Facebook. We just came to after general anaesthesia for a 6-hour surgery – we ask for our phones to tweet. Unfortunately, bad news trumps good news so we hurry to share the gory images on Instagram, unsavoury details on Facebook, distasteful videos on Youtube, unfounded rumours on Blackberry Messenger and revolting language on Whatsapp.


In essence, we’ve effectively lost our sensitivity and humanity. What for? So that our sensational report can get the highest number of likes and retweets; perhaps our tweet can be featured on CNN or The Stream on Al-Jazeera. Arguably, our lack of ethics may spring from a deficiency of proper training on journalism but are we really so unfeeling, callous, apathetic, inhumane? Is our compass of conscience so broken?

An accident occurs on the highway – we all screech to a halt and whip out our camera- phones with major megapixels and take gruesome snapshots to quickly send to friends and gossip sites; our safety and the victim’s feelings distant from our minds.

We witness a near-mobbing commonly referred to as jungle justice but instead of dissuading others from the act, or at least parting from such a gathering to look for an enforcer of the law, we scan for a vantage point from which to record the events and share with people while exclaiming, ‘you won’t believe what I saw today!’ Someone’s daughter is stripped naked, raped and left to die in indignity yet we hasten to the shallow grave to take snapshots, instead of calling for the emergency organisations.

Without a doubt, i-reporting can be used for good but we should remember that we are humans, first of all; wannabe journalists, a distant second, even third or fourth. We should consider if we would hurry to reveal the victim’s nakedness and vulnerability if they were related to us. Audhubillah, but if you were dying and clinging to life by a thread, your hijab off, clothes shredded, body parts at improper angles you cannot correct, would you want that to be your last image beamed across to millions of viewers? Would you want that final picture to be one taken by an over-eager amateur reporter? Would you want to be seen in such a helpless state, robbed of your dignity? Even in the media, such images have the eyes or faces blurred out.

I am just advocating that we use our discretion when ‘filing’ these reports. When feasible, we should seek to help these people out of their predicament. We should not assault people’s senses with gory images because we want to convey information; these victims are humans like us. The necessary messages can be passed across while still preserving our brother’s or sister’s dignity.

May Allah guide us to what is right.

PS. Innalillahi wa ina ilaihi raajiun to those who lost their lives in Nyanya Park, Abuja on 14-04-14.

TRANSIENT Q23.112-3, Q30.55

image credit: phocabulary.com

image credit: phocabulary.com

This life is ephemeral. How long is the average life span compared with eternity? As an adult, you will flippantly tell a teenager to stop worrying that her breasts haven’t grown or that he has lot of pimples because you know that teenage is a very transient period. Things will change once they add on a couple of years.

Our first day at primary or secondary school always seemed so important that we could hardly sleep. We were so excited and scared of what the day would bring that we would check and recheck our uniform, new underwear, socks, shoes, books and bag.

On the ride to school, we wouldn’t be able to sit still. If we are asked what happened that first day, only some of us would readily recall. If asked about the second day, only a handful of us (if at all) will remember sketchy details. Alright, let’s say that is a distant memory. What about if I asked you what you had for lunch 5days ago; or your outfit Wednesday last week?
Our lifespan with respect to eternity is likewise; even more so.

On the Day of Judgement (after being dead for centuries), if Allah asks about what we did on earth, it will be such a distant and insignificant memory. The only memory of significance will be how much time we spent doing what Allah ordered us to do.
Our sojourn on Earth is just that: a sojourn, a trip, a journey, a fraction of a whole. We shouldn’t lose sight of our focus and future in the Hereafter. May Allah make it easy and remind us constantly of our purpose on Earth.

Rabbana atina fiddunya hassanatan, wa fil aakhirati hassanatan wakinna adhaaba naar.

WHILE WE WATCHED Q4.36

We were waiting under the eaves of a building, seeking shelter from the rain. We were about six, huddled in a bid to avoid the cold showers. From where we stood, we saw a young boy of about 10 years old in that cold Jos rain pushing a wheelbarrow containing a sack of potatoes (or something equally heavy) that was easily double his weight.

in.reuters.com

in.reuters.com


He trudged along with his arduous task, his only protection from the deluge being his threadbare clothing. I doubt he had footwear. I thought of how he may not have had a meal that day and watched him squinting as the rain threatened to blind him.

Where were his parents, I wondered. The wheelbarrow caught on a stone and its contents toppled over, dangling; precariously clinging to his barrow by a few of the bands he used to secure the sack. We watched, unspeaking, as he struggled valiantly to steady the wheelbarrow and hoist his burden back onto it. The ropes impeded his progress and the rain entered his eyes. He refused to give up and persisted in his seemingly hopeless task. I got tired just looking at him. We all huddled in our paltry shelter, pitying him but none stepped forward.

But then, she did; a well-dressed young lady of slight build. She had her hijab on and a satchel on her dainty shoulders and looked like an undergraduate. She approached him without a word and silently, they untangled the ropes painstakingly. Once the sack was free, they hauled it back onto his cart and re-secured it. By now, the rain had fizzled to a drizzle but we still watched, perhaps ashamed, perhaps relieved. After the task was completed, he thanked her and she went on her way.

I wondered what we would have said to her if she had returned to the eaves where we crowded.

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A PERFECT EXAMPLE II

contd. from A Perfect Example.

The Prophet(SAW)’s servant, Anas –after serving the Prophet(SAW) for ten years said:

I swear with Him who sent him the Truth that he never blamed me even once for doing something he didn’t like, and that whenever he heard his wives blaming me for something, he always asked them to stop.

The Prophet (SAW) never in his lifetime criticised his beddings. If they made his bed for him, he would lie on it. if not, he would lie on the floor without quarrelling with anyone for that. He used to cobble his shoes and stitch his clothes by himself and assist in other household works.

image credit: aproudmuslim.com

image credit: aproudmuslim.com


The Prophet(SAW) was extremely shy to the extent that he was never able to fix his gaze on a person’s face. He used to respect every invitation be it from a free man or from a slave. He used to accept any gift, however little it may be, and he used to reward it and eat of it, except it be sadaqah.

The Prophet(SAW) never used to be angry for anything done to him, except his anger be for his Lord. He always followed the truth, and executed what was just even if it was detrimental to him or his companions.

In one of his battles, he was in dire need of helpers and he was offered the assistance of non-believers but he rejected that saying,

‘I am not going to attain my victory with polytheists.’

The Prophet(SAW) sometimes tied his stomach with stones due to hunger. He used to eat whatever was available. He never disdained eating any type of food, as long as it was lawful food. He never ate food in a reclining position, or on a table. His handkerchief after food used to be at the sole of his feet. He never ate food to his satisfaction for three consecutive days till he returned to his Lord, not due to poverty and not due to miserliness. He just preferred it like that. He used to visit the sick and attend the funerals of the dead, and walk among his enemies without a bodyguard.

He was the most modest of men and the most silent of them when there was nothing to talk about and the most eloquent when there was a message to convey.

He used to wear any dress available and ride any animal and carry on his donkey with him, even a slave. He sometimes used to walk long distances barefooted and bareheaded. He was however, particularly interested in good perfumes. He abhorred evil smells.

He used to sit with the poor and he used to dine with them. He used to honour men of esteem and draw them closer to him by doing good to them. He used to do good to his relatives but never placed them above those who were better than they.

He was never harsh or rude to anyone. He always accepted the apology of anyone who apologised to him. He sometimes joked but he always said the truth even in his jokes. He used to laugh but never with a guffaw. People used to raise their voices over his and he would be patient. He had male and female slaves. He never distinguished himself from them in food or dress.

The Prophet (SAW) never despised a poor man solely because of his poverty and he never had a reverential awe of a king just because of his position. He invited all to Allah on equal basis.
He always met people with the greeting of salaam. If someone shook his hand, he never withdrew his hand till the man withdrew his. Whenever he met his companion, he always stretched his hand first to him for a handshake. He always sat down with the remembrance of Allah and always got up with the same.

If someone came to him and met him praying, he would shorten his prayers and then turn to them and say: Do you have any problem? After solving the man’s problem, he would return to his prayers, if he so wished.

The Prophet (SAW) in the midst of his companions never had any seat reserved for him. It was always his custom to sit wherever there was space. And in most cases, he would sit facing the Qiblah.

The Prophet(SAW) used to honour anyone who entered upon him, with a pillow (cushion). If the person declined to accept it, he would insist. He used to pay equal attention to all sitting with him, giving everyone the impression that he was the Prophet(SAW)’s most beloved one in the group.

Whenever the Prophet(SAW) got up from a meeting, he would say:

Glory to You, oh Lord, and praises. I bear witness that there is no god but you. I seek your forgiveness and return to you with my sins.

Then he would add: this is what Jibril taught me.

O servant of Allah!
This is a brief description of the general conduct of the apostle Allah chose for you as your teacher and friend.

It is not a story told just for fun. It is a model we are all required to emulate in our daily lives (Q33.21) Imam Tirmidhi has explained that the verse is commanding every Muslim to obey the Prophet(SAW) and to follow his footsteps in everything.

May Allah the Almighty help us all in that and in every other thing that will draw His blessings nearer to us in this world and in the next. Ameen.

And finally, here’s a link to get a better glimpse of the Rasul(SAW) here