Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Ramadan 4, 1443: The 'real superman'

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)

1. By the declining day,

2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,

3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort 

one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.

WHILE visiting my daughter at her hostel in UIAM Kuantan, I noticed 'these beautiful phrases' written on its noticeboard. 

* When you have friends, don't expect your friends to fulfill your emptiness.

* When you get married, don't expect your spouse to fill your every need.

* When you're an activist, don't put your hope in the results.

* Don't depend on people. - Yasmin Mogahed (Writer of 'Reclaim Your Heart - Best Selling Islamic Book 2013)

Then, to whom we should depend to? As Muslim, we know the answer is Allah SWT - Creator of all the worlds and universe and of course we ourselves. But the question is how are we going 'to put into action' His orders and 'to stay away' from the things that He had forbidden? For example, Allah SWT through a 'hadith' by the Prophet s.a.w. had asked us not to get angry easily but how are we going to follow it without having the proper knowledge? 

Regarding this matter, I was amazed while listening to a 'tazkirah' by an 'ustaz' (religious teacher) recently when he said 'great people'  are not those who had being bestowed powers or with powers but rather a person 'who have the power to limit his desires and all sorts of worldly pleasures'.

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said: “The strong man is not the one who wrestles others; rather, the strong man is the one who controls himself at times of anger.” (Imam Muslim)

That is why we see that people with weak characters suppress their anger when dealing with their superiors but take it out on those weaker than them. A weak man will take his frustrations out on his family, a woman on her children, the rich on the poor. 

Giving free rein to one’s anger results only in crime against Allah’s creatures. It is natural to feel anger in certain situations but the successful person is he who is able to control the expression of his anger. Not all crimes in Islam are recognized as crimes in secular law, but what matters to a Muslim is how their action is viewed by Allah. Anger is justified when the crime is against Allah and his Messenger, but even then it is best handled with a cool mind. 

Sayidina Ali Abu Talib (radi Allahu anhu) said: “A moment of patience in a moment of anger prevents a thousand moments of regret.”

The point here is that 'great individual' or 'superman' if you wish to call him so, is a person who could control himself of his desires including his 'nafsu' (nafs). The 'ustaz' went on to elaborate by giving a simple example regarding the taking of food by an individual. He said when the food is delicious and our appetite good, then we could finish off plates after plates of the food and nobody could stop us.

But the 'real superman' is the person who knows when to stop - perhaps after having 'a small plate of food' he or she concedes that he (she) had enough...'subhanallah' (Glory be to Allah SWT) it is a very difficult thing to do.

Remember, a person who does not moderate his eating and drinking would be exposed to greed which would have the effect of spoiling his body and health. 

A Muslim is ordered to eat and drink, making sure he does not waste or exceed the right limit for Allah SWT said: "...and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance,..." (Qur'an 7:31), do not eat and drink what is harmful, especially if it is forbidden and to eat and drink moderately.

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. in a 'hadtih' said: "Man has not filled a container worse than his stomach; he should be satisfied with a few bites to survive. However, if his appetite beats him, let it be a third (of his stomach space) for his food and a third for his drink and a third for his breath." (Ahmad)

The 'ustaz' then went to tell his audience the story of Talut (Saul) who took his army through a series of tests in order to assure that his fighting force was made up only of pious yet strong willed men. From an initial recruitment of 80,000, the army that faced Jalut (Goliath) and the Philistines was a mere 300.  

One of the test was a decree by Talut that when his army passed by a river, they could only quench their thirst by taking only 'a scoop' of water with their bare hands but obviously the majority of his men failed. Yes, there was much water; the undisciplined ones drank as much they could, then they became heavy and could not continued their journey and mission.

When the two armies came face to face, Jalut challenged any man from Talut army to single, mortal combat, but the only volunteer was a small, agile youth named Daud (David).  When it became clear to Talut that no other man was willing to volunteer, he gave the young Daud permission to face the giant Jalut.  Jalut roared with laughter at the sight of the small youth, and even Talut's own army looked incredulously at the sight.

But it was Daud who came out winner. He was a 'superman'. Jalut was killed and later on the young Daud became the new king. He was none other than Prophet Daud a.s. The Qur'an says: “So they routed them by Allah’s leave and Daud killed Jalut, and God gave him (Daud) the kingdom and Prophethood, and taught him of that which He willed.  And if Allah did not check one set of people by means of another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief.  But Allah is full of Bounty to mankind and all that exists.”  (Qur'an 2:251)

The 'ustaz' reminded his audience that each and everyone of us must have limitations in our action (doings). From the story of Talut, Jalut and Daud; we could learned something - for example 'to be great' we must have disciplined in ourselves. Of course, it is hard to do so, but we must have the 'muhajadah' (struggle in rejecting vicious desires).

For Muslims the third article in 'Rukun Islam' that is fasting helps us in controlling our desires; one example is regarding food or drink. Consumption of these items are 'haram' (forbidden) during the stipulated time eventhough they are 'our own and halal belongings'. During Ramadan we are put on test - food and drinks cannot be taken during the day - and during breaking of fast, we too we told not to be a gluttonous - yes please control ourselves.

Other than 'to limit or check ourselves' in taking food and drinks, it is also required to be rational in everything we do for example when we go shopping. True it is your money and you could follow the Western concept of shopping that is 'shop till you drop' but again as a Muslim we should check again what Islam tells us about spending our money.

Yes dear readers, be rational in buying. For example buying clothes, furniture, and luxury that are not necessary is waste of money. Buy if you have or need to do them because Islam forbids stinginess but you must know the difference between economy and stinginess which the religion forbids.

To parents, be moderates in bringing up our children. Don't be too harsh or to lenient. Follow the Islamic way of bringing them up. You are allowed to use the cane, but please know and observe the 'limit'. You don't just cane your child just to 'lepas geram' (releasing your anger ) but do it in the name of Allah SWT, then you would know when to begin and to stop it. Yes, know the limitation.

'Subhanallah', dear readers; Islam teaches us to be moderate in everything we do - it is called 'wasatiyah' - choosing to be in the middle of each and every consequences. But the problem among some of us today especially among our leaders are that when they called for the 'wasatiyah' way of living, they are the ones including their wives do things such as spending money (including public money) like there is no tomorrow and the saddest part of it - like their own hard-earned money!

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