The following article is a collection of excerpts from a discourse of Hazrat Moulana Maseehullah Rahmatullahi Alayhi
It has been stated in the Hadith sharif that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) has said:
As far as Allah Ta'ala is concerned, after the performance of fara'idh (compulsory acts), the best loved act is that which makes a Muslim brother happy (provided that he himself suffers no harm) - Targib
1. AN IMPORTANT PRINCIPLE
At times, provided that there is no worldly or Deeni harm, to perform a certain task that will bring joy, bring cheer to another, bring pleasure to the person and make him happy as an act of kindness, is also an usul, a principle. This is also one type of order amongst other orders as far as the ahlullah are concerned. And whosoever does so is from the ahlullah!
2. AN INCIDENT CONCERNING HAJI SAHIB
Hadhratwala (Hadhrat Thanwi (R.A.)) related the following incident to us in his majlis:
Some folk from Ranpur and surrounding areas went to perform Haj. Whilst there they went to visit and meet Hajisahib, (i.e. Haji Imdadullah sahib (R.A.) as Hajisahib was also (originally) from Ranpur.
When one is in a foreign country and one meets somebody from one's own country, and this person is also from one's hometown, and, on top of that, it is some relative and, moreover, a very close relative - for example, without prior notification one's son or brother pitches up - and one meets him, then how great will not one's happiness be! How much will one not enquire about his health and welfare, about the well-being of relatives, of acquaintances and of the people in the neighbourhood! This is part of a human being's natural disposition of empathy.
So, these people from Ranpur arrived at Hajisahib's (R.A) place and met him. They made salam, musafahah (i.e. shook hands), and got involved in inquiring about one another's health, the health of friends, the conditions prevailing back home, and in this way the conversation carried on and on. When about to take leave, these people commented to Hajisahib (R.A) concerning their visiting him, "Hadhrat, we have wasted so much of your time! You could have been making 'Allah! Allah!' - making the zikr of Allah Ta'ala, making ibadat and you could have kept yourself occupied and busy with your shagl. That is your normal practice. By our coming here, we have obstructed you!" This is the normal habit of asking for forgiveness at the end.
3. A SUPERFLUOUS CUSTOM
It has become a baseless custom for some people to apologise in this way, and it sometimes happens that inappropriate remarks are made without there being any necessity for it. In the same way some write in their letters to me or in their islahi notebooks, "If I have written anything contrary to proper etiquette please forgive me." My reply to this is, "This statement is superfluous. My heart is clean." Before writing (or speaking) one should take care to have full control over one's pen (or one's tongue), and when one writes with vigilance (or when one speaks having pondered first and understood properly) then why should the necessity arise for apologising?
4. A MISCONCEPTION
To carry on: When these folk apologised, our Dadapir, Haji Imdadullah sahib (R.A) replied, "Is that so? To keep oneself occupied with zikr, this is ibadat? And to sit with one's friends and to converse with them in order to bring happiness to their hearts, is this not ibadat?" (This our Hadhratwala (R.A.) related to us.) "Is it correct that to be engaged in zikrullah, (what people today commonly recognise as zikrullah) that only is ibadat? And to sit with one's friends to bring cheer to their hearts and to make them happy by talking to them, is this also not ibadat?"
Just see - in his era - exactly who was Haji Imdadullah sahib (R.A)? Ask the giants, those august personages recognised as "Qutbul Irshad" - Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi sahib; "Hujjatul-Islam" - Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi sahib and "Hakimul-Ummat Mujaddidul-Ummat" - Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali (R.A.). Ask these giants who was Hajisahib (R.A) and what his qualities were!
5. SUNNAT-E-RASUL (SALLALLAHU ALAIYHI WASSALLAM)
Do you understand? This method is in accordance with the sunnat of Nabi-e- Karim (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam). We belong to his ummat, so it is him that we refer to. So much so that there is a narration of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam):
Conduct yourself with people according to their character and habits. - Hadith Tasharruf
The teaching in this statement is that in one's permissible social conduct one should take into consideration the temperaments of one's friends, so that the one should not feel anxious or be in dread of the other.
The following is narrated in the Hadith sharif: In Rasulullah's (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) majlis, tales of olden times were also related. The Sahaba Kiram (R.A.) used to relate their experiences of the days of Ignorance (Jahalat) and Huzur (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) used to listen silently. Once a Sahabi (R.A.) was relating some episode from the days of Jahalat. It so happened that the majlis sharif ended before he could finish his tale. The next day, on the occasion of the majlis, that same Sahabi (R.A.) was also present and Huzur (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) remarked, "That incident that you were relating was left incomplete. What happened subsequently?"
6. LAUGHING ALOUD
If there was any humour in the narrative, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) used to smile as well. But he never laughed out loud. The Arabic word is "Qahqahu" - to laugh loudly; burst into laughter; roar with laughter. One should not laugh loudly. As far as possible one should stifle such laughter. And as for the ahle-ilm - the scholars of Din - to laugh loudly is contrary to their honour and dignity (shan). However, if one does laugh out loud incidentally, it is not mamnu' (forbidden). Similarly, if involuntarily it should happen, then also it is not forbidden. But to deliberately laugh loudly as is practiced among the common people, is completely contrary to the shan of tulaba (students of Din) and ulema. That Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) laughed out loudly (qahqahah) is not proven anywhere, but dhahak is proven. Dhahak means "to laugh." That is, to laugh just sufficiently loudly that those nearby hear it. This is dhahak. It is stated in "Sharah Tahzib":
It is the nature of man (that if there is any amazing humorous occurrence) he tends to laugh.
It has also been proven that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) had laughed in this manner (dhahak), although it was only twice. It was not his habit to laugh, but nevertheless it has been narrated that he did. Therefore, if any alim were to laugh it would not be contrary to the sunnat. These are Dini masa'il mentioned incidentally in-between.
7. RASULULLAH'S (SALLALLAHU ALAIYHI WASSALLAM) FEAR (KHAUF)
The reason was the fear that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) had. The du'a that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) made was:
"O Allah! Make Your fear and dread dominant in me, greater than anything else!"
Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) is saying, "Grant me such fear, such tremendous fear of You, that nobody else in the whole world can experience." This is the result of ma'rifat- Ilahi - having gnosis of Allah Ta'ala. As one's ma'rifat-Ilahi increases - as one's knowledge of Allah Ta'ala increases - to that degree does the condition of the heart also becomes imbued with colours and becomes firm. I do not wish to comment further. Having made this statement I do not wish to state anything further as to the manner of the heart being coloured with splendid hues and firmness.
However, it has been established that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) had tremendous khauf. The lesson to take is this, that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) could bear that degree of fear. He could in no way transgress the limits. In no way could he move away from equilibrium. However, the Muslim Ummat could not bear such khauf. Therefore, the limits of fear were also set out, as appears in a du'a at another place:
"I seek that much of khauf of You that it is a barrier between myself and the commission of sins against You."
That is, " I desire that much khauf from You that it forms a barrier between me and sins committed against You, that I do not perform any act or any deed, anything whatsoever, contrary to Your orders."
There, the request was for "Akhwafal ashya" (extreme fear), and here, the request is for fear within certain limits. Therefore, for the general mu'minin populace, that amount of fear is sufficient that they do not do anything contrary to the orders of Haq Ta'ala. That is enough.
8. PLACES OF EVIL
Furthermore, Allah Ta'ala states in the Qur'ane Pak:
“And those who bear not false witness and, when they pass by idle talk, pass by with dignity” – (25:72)
It is the shan, the honour and dignity, of a mu'min Muslim that he does not go to places of evil. He does not sit in places of iniquity. Do you understand? This is the dignified and honourable status of a mu'min Muslim. Allah Ta'ala does not want him to sit in places of evil.
Allah Ta'ala states further: Never mind sitting in wrong places but...
If he were to pass by any evil places, places where people are sitting involved in futile activities, if this mu'min were to pass that way, he proceeds with his eyes cast down, with complete dignity and utmost grace. He passes by in such a manner that it is apparent that he does not look with contempt at those involved in those wrong activities and that he does not consider himself to be superior to them.
Wah! Wah! What a splendid statement! Is my voice reaching you or not?
To repeat: When he passes by people involved in futile activities, "marru; kirama" - he proceeds in a very cultured manner, that by his manner of behavior there is no sign of him showing any superiority and there is no evidence of him looking with contempt at them and considering himself to be better than them. The mu'min does not even incline towards them. He does not even look at them. Neither does he think himself superior, nor does he consider them inferior. Provided that he is a talib! So, never mind sitting there - rather he passes by such places. This is the shan of a mu'min Muslim.
Coming back to what I had said initially, that some actions are such that externally they do not appear to be zikrullah, nevertheless these actions are carried out to encourage others and for their dil-jo'i - to make them happy. In this event they are also included in zikrullah. They are also acts enjoined by the shariat (mamىr-behi) from among many other acts.
In any case, going back to what I was saying initially and had mentioned the situation with Haji Imdadullah sahib (R.A.) that he was conversing with others in emulating Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) with passionate love for the sunnat. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) has stated that deal with people according to their habits and akhlaq. So, whatever type of person presented himself to Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam he behaved towards them accordingly. For example, if a farmer came to him then he would converse about farming; if a merchant came to him he would converse with him along lines of business. There were lessons in these. Every action and statement of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) contained lessons and teachings for us. If our behaviour is according to these criteria, then it is sunnat, otherwise not.
9. HUMOUR IN ISLAM
For instance: Some Sahaba (R.A.) enquired, "O Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam)! You prevent us from being jocular, but you yourself are jocular?" Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) replied,
"In my jocularity there is ilm and lessons, which are not to be found in your jocularity. That is why I forbid you."
However, when a person also reaches such a comprehensive status of dignity, then he will be an exception to the rule. Occasionally, with the niyyat (intention) of sunnat, in order to bring cheer to another's heart - as a means of bringing joy - it would be permissible. On the other hand, if one's jocularity is the cause of creating discord and enmity, and the other person is offended - no matter how great a friend he may be but the jocularity is of this nature - he should refrain. He would be committing a sin. We are speaking of making hearts happy, but here his heart is grief-stricken. How can this be bringing cheer to him? How can this be considered to be making him happy? An injury has been caused. That is why Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) stated, "There is a difference between my humour and yours."
If one is not permitted to be a party to jocularity, then - Allah Ta'ala forbid! Allah Ta'ala forbid! - how can one ever be a party to others' unnecessary, futile and nonsensical deeds and activities and sinning?
Some instances of jocularity have great lessons in them. An incident comes to mind concerning a Sahabi (R.A.) and which is related in Shama'il Tirmizi sharif: The Sahabi's (R.A.) name was Zahir. He was a peasant, i.e. he lived in a farming area. Occasionally when he came to Madina Munawwarah he used to bring gifts from the farm to present to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam). In reciprocation Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) used to present him also with something. So that whenever he came, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) used to comment, "He is our farm, and we are his city." It so happened that once when the Sahabi Zahir (R.A.) came to Madina Munawwarah and was proceeding towards the bazar, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) also came out of his home and proceeded in the same direction. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) recognised him, upon which Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) quietly came up to him from behind and laid his hands on his shoulders. Bear in mind that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) had great strength in his arms. The Sahabi Zahir (R.A.) did not recognise who it was, and asked, "Who are you?" Through the corner of his eyes his gaze fell on the mubarak hands and he realised immediately that it was Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam). Immediately he stepped backwards with the intention of pressing his back against the mubarak breast of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) with this thought in mind, "When will this opportunity arise again? If my back were to touch the mubarak breast of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) I will possibly be saved from the fire of Jahannam!" With his hands still on the shoulders of Zahir (R.A.). Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, "Who is there who will buy this slave?" Abdullah - the bondsman of Allah; the slave of Allah. This was in a manner of speaking. Zahir (R.A.) was not a slave in the shari' sense of the word. But was he not a slave of Allah Ta'ala - Abdullah? How did Zahir (R.A.) respond?
Is my voice reaching you?
Zahir (R.A.) said, "O Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam)! Who will buy me? (That person who is of no use to himself, how can he be of use to others?) Who will buy me?" Huzur Akram (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam), (the sheikh), replied, "That is what you are saying. Ask Allah and the Rasul of Allah of what degree of worth you are, of what great value you are!"
This incident appears, on face value, to be of a humourous nature, but in reality it has great ta'lim (lesson/s - teaching/s) in it. It is proof of ease in methodology. What great and glad tidings are not contained in it! Huzur Akram (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) is congratulating him and that he is happy with him. Credence should be placed on this statement.
Excerpts taken from "For Friends"