New Year. Painting the Town Red!
In the Hadith we are cautioned about the harms of imitating other nations and customs.
The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "You will imitate the nations before you very closely to the extent that if they went into a lizard's hole, you would enter it as well” his companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, inquired: “(Do you mean) the Jews and Christians, O Messenger of Allaah?” He sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam replied: "Who else?” (Bukhaari & Muslim).
The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam also said: "The Day of Judgment will not come until my Nation closely imitates the nations before them.” It was asked: “Like the Persians and Romans, Messenger of Allaah?” He sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam replied: "Who are the nations (I could mean) except those?”(Bukhaari).
Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam “He who imitates a people will be from among them (on the Day of Judgement).” (Abu Daawood) and in another narration he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “The one who imitates people other than us (i.e., in faith) is not from us. Do not imitate the Jews or the Christians” (Tirmithi).
In Aap Beti Vol 6 of Hazrat Sheikh rahmatullah alayhi we come across the following stories that we should take heed of.
Story No. 4:
Another example of how the environment affects people, is something I have seen in my own house. When my own children were between the ages of four and seven years, and musical sounds from the street processions were heard, they used to put their fingers into their ears in order to avoid listening to the trumpets and drums. They also used to make a lot of noise while shouting that the noise from outside, was the voice of the Shaytaan speaking. They would then ask their mother or elder sisters whether the Shaytaan had gone or not.
But now I see when my grandchildren hear this same noise of trumpets and drums, they call each other to come and see what is going on. I try to make them feel ashamed, that this new trend is as a result of their mothers doing and that their acts will have an effect upon their own children.
Story No. 5:
I have also seen a practise in our whole family, that during the time of Holi (a hindu festival of colouring), no one would wear any coloured clothing. Even bride-grooms, would only wear white kurtahs and black trousers, avoiding red at all times. Nowadays this practise is not strictly adhered to.
There is another story which in my childhood, I had heard from the womenfolk of our household quite often. I do not recall having ever hearing it being related by any men: There was once a very pious man, very punctual and diligent in his performance of salaah, zakaat and his wazeefas. After his death someone saw him in a dream, where he was seen sitting comfortably on a honoured platform in a finely decorated place. However on his lips was a small snake attached.
The person seeing the dream, asked him: "Hazrat, how is it that together with this great honour afforded to you, there is a snake attached to you?" He replied: 'During the time of holi, I was eating paan. It so happened that a lean donkey passed in front of me. In jest, I spat at the donkey, and jokingly remarked: "This is holi-time. Everyone is being coloured. No one coloured you. Let me colour you also."
This story was very widely known in my family circle and I know that even the paan-eaters, used to become frightened. The ladies of the family made a special point of making bridal couples and young children aware of it.
Therefore, dear readers, parents and ulema, please do refrain from celebrating New Year and caution our family and friends to do the same.
The Preservation of One’s Deen Depends on Remaining in the Company of the Ahlullah
Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahmatullah alayh once mentioned:
This era is one of great corruption and vice. One is faced with trials and tribulations from all sides and one‟s Imaan is being constantly attacked. Therefore I regard it compulsory for the preservation of one‟s Deen that one aligns himself with the pious and righteous servants of Allah Ta‟ala and remains in their company.
I even issue the fatwa of it being fardh to remain in the company of the Ahlullah in these trying times. What doubt can there be in this? When the preservation of one‟s Imaan depends on the protection of one‟s Deen and with experience it is proven that one‟s Deen will only be safeguarded and protected through remaining in the company of the Ahlullah, then what doubt can one have in it being fardh? (Malfoozaat of Hakeemul Ummah The Preservation of One’s Deen Depends on Remaining in the Company of the Ahlullah 7/107)
Acquiring the True Love of Allah Ta’ala in the Company of the Ahlullah
Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahmatullah alayh once mentioned: The path of Deen and the path leading to the true love of Allah Ta‟ala will only be understood in the company of the Ahlullah (i.e. those who have the true love of Allah Ta‟ala and the correct understanding of Deen).
Though the kitaabs of Deen contain the laws and aadaab (etiquettes) of Islam, however through merely studying the kitaabs one will not succeed in acquiring the true understanding and essence of Deen. One will be in need of the guidance of a spiritual guide who will demonstrate the practical application of Deen to him. This principle is not confined to Deen and the matters of Deen. Instead it also applies to worldly matters. One fully understands that by merely studying medical journals and textbooks one will not succeed in acquiring sound health, rather one is in need of the guidance of a qualified, expert physician to guide him in acquiring good health. (Malfoozaat of Hakeemul Ummah Rahmatullah alayh 4/100)
Do Not Despise The Sinners
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “That person who taunts and ridicules his Muslim brother over a sin from which he has repented, will not die until he himself commits that same sin.” For example, you come to know that a certain person committed or was involved in a particular sin and you also know that this person has repented from it. To think low of him or to taunt or ridicule him because of that sin, by saying something like: “You are the one who was involved in certain evil actions”, is in itself a sin.
Through repentance a person has corrected his relationship with Allah Most High. Through repentance not only has the sin been forgiven, it has also been erased from his book of deeds! Allah Most High has erased it from his book of deeds but you, because of that sin, are thinking low of him and treating him with contempt. You are taunting and ridiculing him. This action is extremely despised by Allah Most High.
This is regarding a person whom you know has repented. If you don’t know whether he has repented or not, then there is always this possibility that he, being a mu’min (believer), has repented or will repent in the future. Therefore, if someone has committed a sin and you do not know whether he has repented or not, you still do not have the right to hold him in contempt. It is possible that he has repented. Remember! Abhorrence should be for the sin and not the sinner! Hatred should be for sins. Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not teach us to despise those who sin.
On the other hand, the sinner is worthy of pity and compassion, for this distressed person has been overtaken by a sickness. If a person is overtaken by a physical sickness, do you abhor his sickness or the person who is sick? Does the sick person become the target of your hatred? Obviously, the sick person is not deserving of your hatred. Yes, despise his sickness. Concern yourself with removing his sickness, so make du’a. The sick person should not be the target of hatred. He should be pitied for the reason that this poor person is caught up in a difficulty.
If someone is a kafir (disbeliever) then despise his kufr (disbelief), do not despise him. Make du’a for him that Allah Most High grants him guidance. Amin. How much did the kuffar (disbelievers) not persecute the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)? They shot at him with arrows, they pelted stones at him, and his body bled from various places, but the words that flowed from his mouth were the following: “O Allah! Grant my people guidance, for they do not know the reality” (of this din).
Take note that that he did not despise them because of their kufr, shirk (associating partners with Allah), oppression and transgressions. Rather, while expressing pity and affection, he made du’a for them that ‘O Allah! These people are ignorant. They are unaware of the reality; therefore they are treating me in this manner. O Allah! Grant them guidance’.
So when seeing someone involved in sin, have pity on him and make du’a for him and try to steer him away from sin. Advise and counsel him but do not think low of him. Perhaps Allah accepts his repentance and he surpasses you in the sight of Allah.
I have heard the following words of advice of Hakim al-Ummah Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi from my respected father, Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ and ‘Arif Billah Dr. Abdul Hayy ‘Arifi (may Allah have mercy on them): “I consider every current Muslim and every non Muslim, as far as the future is concerned to be superior to me.” “As far as the future is concerned” means that although the person is presently in the condition of kufr, maybe Allah Most High grants him the tawfiq (guidance) of repenting and he is freed from the burden of kufr. Thereafter, Allah Most High raises his status so high that he surpasses me!
“Every current Muslim” means that a person who is a Muslim, a person of iman (true faith), one whom Allah Most High has granted the wealth of iman. What do I know regarding his connection and status with Allah Most High? Every person’s relationship with Allah Most High is unique. How can we judge anyone? Therefore, I consider every Muslim to be superior to me.
In this statement of Hakim al-Ummah, “I consider every Muslim to be superior to me”, there is obviously no possibility of lies and deception, or that he just said it out of moral courtesy. He said it because he firmly believed it. Anyway, to think low of someone, even though it is due to his committing of sin, is not permissible.