This is an extremely fundamental piece of advice and a foundational pillar for the existence of peaceful families and societies. It is, after all, among the most salient features of none other than Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), that he never oppressed anyone, though he was oppressed by many. Instead he forgave those who oppressed him and never took revenge for his personal self.
The advice that Moulana (Rahmatullahi Alayh) gave was very much evident in his own life. He endured whatever difficulties came upon him but did not oppress anyone. This trait, among many others, was the direct result of the excellent nurturing of his mother. Describing the tarbiyat (nurturing) of his mother, Moulana (Rahmatullahi Alayh) explains: “From the time that I was a little child my mother instilled in me the quality to accept and acknowledge my mistake. It was also impressed upon me to immediately apologize and seek the pardon of seniors or juniors if I have erred. It was due to this training that I was never prepared to take on a fight. If ever I exceeded the limits, especially with regard to any family person, servant, or the child of any servant, she would immediately make me apologize and seek forgiveness.”
Moulana (Rahmatullahi Alayh) further elaborated by relating the incident of his childhood when he once hit the child of the maid. As soon as his mother was informed, she immediately called Moulana and the child whom he had hit. She then instructed the child: “You hit Ali too. Hit him now, in front of me.” The poor child was overawed and did not have the courage to hit Moulana. His mother then took the hand of the maid’s child and hit Moulana with it. She then instructed Moulana to also seek the child’s forgiveness. After this incident in his childhood, he never deliberately caused any inconvenience to anyone.
It was such exemplary training that instilled in Moulana (Rahmatullahi Alayh) this great quality – that if he erred in any matter he would unhesitatingly seek the pardon of the next person. Thus the first lesson was: “Never be the oppressor, rather be the oppressed one.”
Moulana (Rahmatullahi Alayh) was sharing with his family the summary of his study of history and explaining the factors which are the root cause of the rise and fall of families and communities. The lesson he was imparting was nevertheless ingrained in him from his childhood. This can be gauged from the following incident. Moulana (Rahmatullahi Alayh) explains: “When I was a little child, we had a maid who took care of me as well. She used to seat me in her lap and feed me. One day during an errand she took me along. On the way she passed by a house where some food was being served which was actually an offering made on the third day after the passing away of some person. Being a very poor woman she sat there to partake of the food. I was a little child and hence I also extended my hand to partake of the meal. She immediately held back my hand saying: “You do not eat this. This is not for you.” (The food of offerings on graves and in the name of saints, etc., is impermissible.)
Subhanallah! This was the calibre of even the maid of that time. This reaction is also evidence of the degree of caution that was generally exercised with regard to halaal and haraam by every person in his family, that even the maid was so conscious of it. Despite Moulana (Rahmatullahi Alayh) only being a child at that time, she still protected him from the doubtful food. Nowadays, doubtful food is consumed without any concern while an effort is even made to make the unlawful into lawful!!!
When the type of caution and restraint with regard to halaal described above was the norm, righteousness and piety prevailed in the society. The direct link between righteousness and pure sustenance is understood clearly from the Qur’aan, where Allah Ta`ala says: “O Messengers, eat from the pure sustenance and perform righteous actions.” The consumption of doubtful or haraam wealth will have the opposite effect. History also bears testimony, as Moulana explained that, the consumption of doubtful and haraam was a major contributing factor to the destruction of great families.
Moulana (Rahmatullahi Alayh) lived by this rule – to always treat one’s relatives well even though they are indifferent to one. On many occasions a relative came and spoke harshly to Moulana (Rahmatullahi Alayh). The general response in such situations was that before the person had left Moulana (Rahmatullahi Alayh) would have given him some mithai (sweetmeats) to eat. Some people actually joked about it, that if anyone wanted to eat some mithai, he should say some harsh words to Moulana. On one occasion a relative spoke harshly to him. Moulana (Rahmatullahi Alayh) placed a hundred rupees in an envelope and together with one set of clothing presented it to the person who spoke harshly to him.
Moulana’s practice was in conformity to the Sunnah. In fact, this was the practice of all the lovers of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). Imaam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi Alayh) was one such Aashiq (true lover of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)). He had a neighbour who used to regularly abuse him verbally. The day the neighbour had abused him, Imaam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi Alayh) would send him a gift. After many days had passed in this manner, and after having received many gifts from Imaam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi Alayh), the neighbour felt that the Imaam had great affection for him. He therefore stopped his abuse. However, he noticed that the gifts had also stopped coming. Hence he came to Imaam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi Alayh) and asked: “What type of recompense is this? As long as I abused you, you sent me gifts. When I stopped abusing you, you stopped sending me gifts!” Imaam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi Alayh) replied: “Brother, as long as you abused me, I made sabr (exercised patience). Thus, you were actually building my paradise for me (by giving me the occasion of making sabr and thereby enabling me to attain great rewards). Therefore in return I was giving you some worldly benefit. When you stopped building my paradise, I stopped your worldly benefit!”
Allahu Akbar! Look at their mindset. If only we develop the same mindset, we will also enjoy peace within ourselves and spread peace and happiness around us as well.
All the three advices mentioned by Moulana (Rahmatullahi Alayh) have been greatly emphasized in the Qur’aan and Sunnah. Those who lived by it prospered and flourished. Those who abandoned it deprived themselves and eventually fell into destruction.
It is therefore the duty of every Muslim to make his utmost effort to live by these great lessons and to also pass it on to others.