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[7] The Ujub [Self-amazement] In Our Era Is Extremely Frightening, So, Must Be Reminded About Overstating Deeds, Considering Deeds of Others Lesser, Seeking Credit For What One Has Not Done or Wanting Recognition For a Station One Has Not Attained!

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Allaah [The Exalted] said:

لَا تَحۡسَبَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَفۡرَحُونَ بِمَآ أَتَواْ وَّيُحِبُّونَ أَن يُحۡمَدُواْ بِمَا لَمۡ يَفۡعَلُواْ فَلَا تَحۡسَبَنَّہُم بِمَفَازَةٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡعَذَابِ‌ۖ
وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ۬

Think not that those who rejoice in what they have done (or brought about), and love to be praised for what they have not done,- think not you that they are rescued from the torment, and for them is a painful torment. [Surah Aal Imran. Aayah 188]

They rejoice in what they have brought about of bidah and misguidance, and love to be praised for following the Sunnah and sincerity. [i.e. they want to be praised for what they do not deserve with regards to following the sunnah and having sincerity] (1) They want to be praised for that which they have not done and (praised for some) truthful (statement) they have not uttered, so they combine evil doing and its statement, and rejoice in that. And they love to be praised for some good they have not done. (2)

[لَا تَحۡسَبَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَفۡرَحُونَ بِمَآ أَتَواْ – Think not that those who rejoice in what they have done (or brought about)]- Meaning, the rejoicing (accompanied) with insolence and boasting, thinking that they have done a favour to Allaah and Allaah’s Messenger. [بِمَآ أَتَواْ – what they have done (or brought about)]- Meaning, the deeds by way of which they seek to get close to Allaah as they claim. [وَّيُحِبُّونَ أَن يُحۡمَدُواْ بِمَا لَمۡ يَفۡعَلُواْ – and love to be praised for what they have not done]- Meaning, they want people to praise them for what they have done, such as feigning righteousness to the people in order to be praised, even if they have not performed an act of righteousness- similar to what the people of the Scripture did, (who) concealed the characteristics of the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] and did not make it known, and then said, “Now we have overcome Muhammad when we say that he is not the Mubash-shar bihee (the Messenger whom Prophet Eesaa mentioned as the good tidings). (3)

This noble Aayah applies to the People of the Scripture who rejoiced in the knowledge they possessed, but they did not submit to the Messenger in obedience and claimed that they were the ones upon what is correct in relation to their situation and statements. Also this applies to everyone – such as those who adhere to innovation in religion – who innovates in the religion, either statement or deed, rejoices in it, calls to it and claims that he is right and others are wrong. This Aayah shows that the one who loves to be praised and commended for some good he has done and adherence to the truth- neither out of showoff nor wanting to be heard and praised, this is not blameworthy; rather this is one of those affairs that are sought after about which Allaah informed us that He rewards the good doers, and that He rewarded the best people amongst His servants with this, just (as He infomed us that Prophet Ibraaheem [peace be upon him] said: [وَٱجۡعَل لِّى لِسَانَ صِدۡقٍ۬ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرِينَ – And grant me an honourable mention in later generations. (Surah Ash-Shu’araa Aayah 84)]. And Allaah said:

سَلَـٰمٌ عَلَىٰ نُوحٍ۬ فِى ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ
إِنَّا كَذَٲلِكَ نَجۡزِى ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ

Salamun (peace) be upon Nuh (Noah) (from Us) among the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)! Verily, thus We reward the good doers. [Surah Saffaat. Aayaat 79-80]

The pious worshippers of the Most Merciful (i.e. Allaah) say: [وَٱجۡعَلۡنَا لِلۡمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا – and make us leaders for the pious. (Surah al-Furqan. Aayah 74)] (4) That Allaah makes them leaders of the righteous people, is that Allaah guides them, grants them success, bless them with beneficial knowledge and righteous actions–outwardly and inwardly–without which [sound] leadership in the religion cannot be achieved. This is different from [merely] seeking leadership, for indeed its seekers hasten to obtain it in order to achieve their goals, (such as) exaltedness in the earth; enslavement of the hearts to them, attachment to them and aiding them in all their goals, whilst they are exalted and everyone subservient to them. This pursuit of leadership brings about corruption-which none can enumerate except Allaah- such as rebellion, envy, transgression, enmity, oppression, trials, being ardent in defending oneself at the expense of violating the rights of Allaah, exalting those despised by Allaah and belittling those honoured by Allaah. (5)

This Aayah [Aayah 188 in Surah Aal Imraan] includes two types of people: The people of the Scripture who rejoiced in what they did by concealing the characteristics of the Prophet and not believing in him, and loved to be praised for what they have not done when they pretended to the people that if the Messenger – who is mentioned as good tidings (by Eesaa)- is sent, “We will believe in him”.

The second group are the hypocrites, because the hypocrites rejoice in what they do and say, “We have submitted in Islam” in the presence of Muhammad and his companions, whilst their affair is the opposite of that, and they loved to be praised for what they have not done with regards to sincerity, love for Allaah and His Messenger, and obedience to Allaah’s Messenger.

From the benefits of the Noble Aayah: (a) A warning against the rejoicing (that is accompanied with the feeling that one) is doing a favour to Allaah and His Messenger or the rejoicing (accompanied with) deception and betrayal such as (what the) hypocrites (do). (b) A warning to the person against loving to be praised for what one has not done. This happens a lot, sometimes a person clearly states that he has, whilst he is lying, and sometimes he pretends (or play with words) so the listener thinks that he is the doer, whilst he is not. (6)

The Behaviour of The Pious Predecessors

Abdullah Ibnul Mubaarak [may Allaah have mercy upon him] was asked about self-amazement, so he said, “To consider yourself as having something which none else besides you has”. (7)

Bishr Ibn Al-Haarith [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Self-amazement is that you overstate (or increase) your deeds, consider the deeds of the people or someone other than yourself to be lesser”. (8)

Imaam Fudayl Bin Iyaad [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “The highest level of (good) manners in our view is that a person knows his rightful place”. (9)

Narrated Husayn bin Abdir Rahmaan, “I was with Sa’eed Bin Jubair when he said, ‘Who amongst you saw a shooting star last night?’ I said, ‘I did’. Then I said, ‘I was not in prayer, but was stung by a scorpion’ [i.e. the reason why I was awake and saw the shooting star was because I got stung by a scorpion]. He said, ‘Then what did you do?’ I said, ‘I performed Ruqyah’”… to the end of the hadeeth (9.1)

Husayn said, ‘I did’ [i.e. I saw the shooting star]. Then I said, ‘I was not in prayer, but was stung by a scorpion’ [i.e. that is the reason why I was awake and saw the shooting star].

Question: Why did Husayn Bin Abdir Rahmaan [may Allaah have mercy upon him] mention – in addition – that he was not in prayer after informing Sa’eed Bin Jubayr that he saw the shooting star last night?!

Answer: Imaam Sa’di [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “That is because Salaf [i.e. the pious predecessors] were far removed from praising a person for something he does not possess”. (9.2)

Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “He (i.e. Husayn) said this lest the people think that he was standing in prayer and thus he is praised for that which he did not do. This is opposite of what some people do, for they rejoice that people assumed that they were standing in prayer. This is tantamount to a deficiency in one’s Tawheed. Husayn’s statement is not viewed from the angle of show off, rather it is a good deed. And it is not like that one who abandons acts of obedience to Allaah out of fear of Riyaa, for indeed shaytaan plays about with a person (in this affair) and beautifies for him to abandon deeds out of fear of Riyaa; rather one should perform acts of obedience to Allaah, but nothing should be in your heart that you want to be seen by people. (9.3)

Al-Allamah Saaleh Aala Ash-Shaykh [may Allaah preserve him] said, “He (i.e. Husayn) made this statement out of fearing that those who were present would think that he saw the shooting star whilst he was in prayer (i.e. Tahajjud), so he negated that from himself. This shows the virtue of the Salaf [pious predecessors], their eagerness for sincerity, being distant from showing off and adorning oneself with something one does not possess. (9.4)

Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] was asked: “May Allaah have mercy upon a person who knows his limitations and worth” Does this (saying) have an (established) source and has it been transmitted in a hadeeth?

Answer: I do not know of an (established) source for it; however its meaning is correct. (That is) because when a person knows his (limitations and worth), he will be humble in the presence of his Lord. He will worship Allaah and will know that he is not free from being in need of Allaah in the twinkling of an eye. If he knows himself, he will know his status amongst the people and this knowledge will (prevent) him from being haughty towards them- because haughtiness is from the major sins and looking down on the people is from the forbidden affairs. That is why when the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) warned against haughtiness (or pride), they (i.e. the people) said: “Everyone of us loves that his clothes and shoes are nice;’’ so he (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: “Indeed, Allaah is beautiful and He loves beauty; haughtiness (or pride) is to reject the truth and look down on the people.” So when a person knows his (limitations and worth), he will know his rank amongst the people. He will place himself in his (rightful) place; humble himself in the presence of his lord and in the presence of Allaah’s creation. And whoever humbles himself to Allaah, Allaah will raise him. (10)

Imaam Ash-Shawkaanee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Among the reasons that leads to the abandonment of fairness and thus distances one from the truth -leads to concealment of truth and not clarifying that which Allaah has obligated – is love of high status and wealth. Both these affairs are a greater enemy to a person than two hunting wolves just as Allaah’s Messenger described (see footnote a), because indeed that was the reason that led the people of the scripture to distort Allaah’s Books and concealed that which came to them of clear proofs and guidance, such as what happened to the Jewish Rabis, and indeed Allaah informed us about this in His Mighty Book and the Messenger (also) informed us about it in the authentic narrations. (10.1)

Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi [may Allaah protect him] said: Knowledge is not merely about studying and obtaining certificates, rather the goal (or aim) is to acquire sound and precise understanding – sound understanding in affairs of Aqeedah, worship, good manners, good etiquettes and everything related to the life of a believer. It is obligated on the believers to carry out everything related to their lives based on the Book of Allaah and the [authentic] sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam]. The believer performs acts of worship sincerely for the Sake of Allaah because Allaah commanded him [or her] to be sincere. [Allaah (The Blessed and Exalted) said]:

وَمَآ أُمِرُوٓاْ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ مُخۡلِصِينَ لَهُ ٱلدِّينَ حُنَفَآءَ وَيُقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَيُؤۡتُواْ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ‌ۚ وَذَٲلِكَ دِينُ ٱلۡقَيِّمَةِ

And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him), and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and give Zakat: and that is the right religion. [Surah Al-Bayyinah’ Aayah 5] (11)

Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi said: We have been commanded to learn; therefore, it is obligated on us to learn, act and call to the (religion ordained) by Allaah [The Blessed and Exalted] based upon the path which Allaah has ordained and clarified for us- the path which the Messenger clarified for us and applied, and was applied by his companions after him. They spread Islaam in the entire world – in different nations. And this knowledge and goodness was spread mostly through (excellent, praiseworthy etc) manners – through patience, forbearance, firm fulfilment of obligations and responsibilities, truthfulness, honourable behaviour, nobility, noble mindedness, fulfilling promises and what is similar to that. These [excellent, praiseworthy etc] manners became manifest to the people, so the hearts, ears and eyes of the nations accepted this guidance, which the companions of Muhammad [sallal-laahu-aalayhi-wasallam] carried. (12)

Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi said: Good manners is a necessity in the path of seeking knowledge, and (when dealing with) the scholars and elders. It was said to king Abdul Azeez [rahimahullaah]: “How do you view the people?” He said, “The people in my view are three types: a man who is older than me, so he is placed in my father’s position; a man who is in my age group, so he is placed in my brother’s position, and a man who is younger than me, so he is like my son”. Therefore, a Muslim behaves towards his brothers in this manner. He places the people in these different categories. The student of knowledge should respect the elders, honour his contemporaries and shows mercy to those below his age. The one who is old in age is like his father, the one in his age group is like his brother and the one below him in age is like his son. (13)

Footnote a: Imaam Muhamad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Two hungry wolves let loose on a flock! Then what will remain from the flock?! Even when a single wolf stops eating because its stomach is full, it still kills the rest of the flock; then what about two hungry wolves let loose on a flock!! Not a single will remain. Likewise, a person who craves for wealth or status will corrupt the religion. And because of this it is obligated on a person that his intention is far removed from this- far removed from craving for wealth and status in the religion. We ask Allaah to aid us to accomplish this. There are many people who do not give concern except to wealth or status, so that they are pointed at (i.e. recognized). This destroys the religion because one’s soul inclines towards wealth and status and as a result of this a person forgets what is more important – the affair of the religion (i.e. sincerity etc). (14)

We ask Allaah for humility and good manners saying: [اللهم كما حَسَّنْت خَلْقِي فَحَسِّنْ خُلُقِي – O Allah! Just as You made my external form beautiful, make my character beautiful as well].

[Ref 1: Madaarij as-Saalikeen 1/84]
[Ref 2: An Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 3: Tafseer Surah Aal Imraan by Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen]
[Ref 4: an Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 5: An Excerpt from ‘Ar-Rooh’ pages 487-489’By Imaam Ibnul Qayyim]
[Ref 6: Tafseer Surah Aal Imraan by Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen]
[Ref 7: Tazkirah Al-Huffaaz. 1/278]
[Ref 8: Hilyatul Awliyaa 8/348]
[Ref 9: Hilyatul Awliyaa]

[Ref 9.1: See the full hadeeth in Saheeh Muslim 220]
[Ref 9.2: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Qawlus Sadeed Sharh Kitaab At-Tawheed’. page 77. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 9.3: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Qawlul Mufeed Alaa Kitaab At-Tawheed’. Vol 1. Page 97. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 9.4: An Excerpt from ‘Sharh Fat-hul Majeed Li-Sharh Kitaab At-Tawheed. Vol 1. Page 162’. Slightly paraphrased]

[Ref 10: Noor Alad-Darb: cassette: 250]

[10.1: Adabud Talab Wa Muntahaa Al-Adab. Page 93. Slightly paraphrased]

[Ref 11: Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm. Page 72]
[Ref 12: An Excerpt from Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm’ page 86. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 13: An Excerpt from Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm’ page 123. slightly paraphrased]

[Ref 14: At-taleeq Alaa Siyaasah Shar’iyyah. pages 454-455. slightly paraphrased]

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