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‘Ibad-ur Rahman – Humility & Gentleness | Part 2

Bismillah
Rabbi Zidnee Ilman
“My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”

In part 1 of the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman series we learnt who are the special slaves of Allah . Today, we shall learn their first characteristic, humility and gentleness, in sha’ Allah.

WaAAibadu arrahmaniallatheena yamshoona AAala al-ardi hawnanwa-itha khatabahumu aljahiloona qaloosalama
And the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman are those who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness [hawna], and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness.
{Surah Al Furqan 25: Verse 63}

Audio – Recitor (Maher al-Muaiqly) (Fast)

Audio – Recitor (Hani Ar Rafai) (Slow)

This is the first ayah that describes 2 beautiful characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman.

First characteristic: They have humility (tawadhu‘)
We live in a time where it is encouraged to announce, gloat, and boast of oneself. We think it’s ‘cool’ when we walk a certain way – some men try to imitate the ‘swag’ of music rappers, while some women try to imitate models on the runway. Let’s be honest, who do we aim to please when we walk with these sort of ‘swag’?

On the contrary, the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman are those who walk on earth with hawna. Hawna means dignity, serenity, calm, tranquility. They do not have arrogance or pride in their steps. Allah  Himself has forbid us to walk proudly, boastfully:

And walk not on the earth with conceit and arrogance.
Verily, you can neither rend nor penetrate the earth,
nor can you attain a stature like the mountains in height.
{Surah Al-Isra 17: Verse 37}

This does not mean that we should walk like sickly people, or worse, show off fake humility in the way we walk. If we study the seerah of RasulAllah , we learn that he  walked quickly yet calmly, and he  did not walk with his chest pushed out in pride.

This characteristic also covers other aspects on how we carry ourselves in the society – such as the way we drive, and the way we interact with others. Let’s do a personal litmus test:

  • How do we behave towards other drivers on the road?
  • How do we behave towards the waiter or waitress serving our meal?
  • How do we behave towards men who work as garbage collectors?

Do we look down upon them? Do we behave like we are above them? Allah says:

And indeed We have honoured the Children of Adam.
{Surah Al-Isra 17: Verse 70}

None of us has the right to look down on another human being. So beware of the arrogance that can be manifested in our facial, body expressions and actions. We need to be sensitive and be aware how we behave towards people, in all situations. Remember that, as Muslims, everything we do is supposed to be an act of ‘ibadah. Just like how we pray lillahi ta’ala (for the sake of Allah ), we should also walk on this Earth and behave towards others lillahi ta’ala. I pray Allah grant us tawadhu‘ and remove any ounce of arrogance in our hearts – Allahumma ameen.

Second Characteristic: They are courteous, even when treated harshly
Allah says in the second part of the ayah:

“…when the foolish [Al-Jahilun] address them (with bad words)
they reply back with mild words of gentleness [salaam].”
{Surah Al-Furqan 25: Verse 63}

The word jaahil in Arabic is the opposite of ‘aaqil (a person of aql – intellect). One of the meanings of jaahil is someone who has no control over their emotions – they tend to be rude, insulting, disrespectful, etc. If a bad word comes to their mind, it comes out immediately from their mouth – there is no thought process.

Notice also that Allah didn’t say “IF Al-Jahilun address them…” but He  said, “WHEN Al-Jahilun address them…” indicating that we cannot run away from the fact that we will face a lot of temperament from a lot of people. But when the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman are confronted with such people, people who insult them with bad words, they do not respond in the same manner; they forgive and overlook, and say nothing but good words. They do not respond with sinful words. They speak calmly. They are courteous.

All of these are included in the word salaam. This is the sunnah of RasoolAllah  – the more ignorant the people, the more patient he  would become. This is as Allah  says:

And when they hear Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk), they withdraw from it and say:
“To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you [salaam].
We seek not (the way of) the ignorant.”
{Surah Al-Qasas 28: Verse 55}

And in another surah, Allah  says:

The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better, then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.
But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient, and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in this world and in the Hereafter).
{Surah Al-Fussilat 41: Verses 34-35}

Ibn ‘Abbas explained this ayat:
“Allah  commands the believers to be patient when they feel angry, to be forbearing when confronted with ignorance, and to forgive when they are mistreated. If they do this, Allah  will save them from the Shaytan and subdue their enemies to them until they become like close friends.”

SubhanAllah!

The key of having such beautiful characteristic is already mentioned in the aforementioned ayat of Surah Al-Fussilat: We must have patience. Without patience, this will be a very difficult thing to do! Sometimes even our own spouse, parents, and siblings get emotionally angry towards us, and at times, we just don’t know why they speak badly to us.

But wait! Don’t retaliate, don’t get angry back at them. Our anger drives people away from us, and even worse, away from the deen. Remember the story of Musa with Fir’aun? When Musa confronted him, Fir’aun addressed Musa  in a very condescending manner, which is probably enough to make most of us all boiled up! Not only that, Fir’aun tried to kill Musa , killed thousands of babies, called himself God… There are just so many reasons to hate Fir’aun. Yet Musa  was commanded by Allah  to speak to him in a good manner. Allah  says to Musa  and Harun :

“Go, both of you, to Fir’aun verily, he has transgressed.
And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allah).”
{Surah Ta-Ha 20: Verses 43-44}

If that was how a prophet of Allah  spoke to his enemy, then what about us towards our spouse, children, parents and siblings? Our family deserves the softest responses from us.

So when someone who cannot control their emotion, who is angry, obnoxious, arrogant, ignorant, insulting, or rude talks to you, choose to reply in calm and kind words. We need to learn to calm down and deal with people peacefully. Speak to disarm their anger. Speak to defuse the situation. Let’s learn to be merciful and courteous to people, both Muslims and non-Muslims.

It is also important to note that out of all the characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman, the first mentioned by Allah  are these two traits. It emphasizes how adab and akhlaq are super important in this deen! This reminds me of the following two hadith:

RasulAllah said, “By his good character a believer will attain the degree of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day.”
[Sunan Abi Dawud | Grade: Sahih]

Abu Hurairah  narrated that RasulAllah was asked about that for which people are admitted into Paradise the most.

The Prophet  said, “Taqwa of Allah , and good character.”
[Jami’ At-Tirmidhi | Grade: Sahih]

Alhamdulillah, we have covered the first two characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. Our goal is now to do self-assessment and do our best to align our character with these two beautiful traits. Please be advised that this article is in no way condoning physical or emotional abuse. If you are a victim, please seek professional help immediately.

We will continue with the subsequent characters of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman in the next posts, in sha’ Allah.

‘Ibad-ur Rahman Characteristics Recap

1st Characteristic

They have dignity, serenity, calm, tranquility in their steps and behavior towards others. They do not have arrogance or pride. They are humble.

2nd Characteristic

When they are confronted with insulting and rude people, they do not respond in the same manner. They say nothing but good words. They do not respond with sinful words. They speak calmly. They are courteous.

References:
1. Tafsir Ibn Kathir
2. Tafsir Surah Al-Furqan by Dr Abdullah Yasin
3. Who Gets Allah’s Mercy by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

Authored by Aida Misr
Edited by
Shamsiya Noorul Quloob

"Convey (knowledge) from me even if it is just one ayah." [Bukhari 3461]

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