“On the authority of Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Do not be envious of one another; do not artificially raise prices against one another; do not hate one another; do not turn one’s back on each other; and do not undercut one another in business transactions. And be, [O] servants of Allah, bretheren. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He does not wrong him. He does not fail him [when he needs him]. He does not lie to him. And he does not show contempt for him. Piety is here” – and he pointed to his chest three times. “It is enough of evil for a person to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All of a Muslim is inviolable to another Muslim: his blood, his wealth and his honor.” (Recorded in Muslim)
“Piety is here” – and he pointed to his chest three times.”
For us, as human beings, our most important concern should not be our appearance, or the colour of our skin, or the amount of money we have. In fact, it is not even our outward actions that are of the utmost importance. The most important concern for us is what is in our hearts, and piety or taqwa is a matter of the heart. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said:
“Verily, Allah does not look at your bodies or your shapes. But He looks at your hearts.” (Recorded in Muslim)
To have taqwa, is to fear Allah in our hearts and to strive to protect ourselves from His anger or punishment. The minimum aspect of taqwa, is to obey Allah and not disobey Him. To achieve a higher level, one must put some distance between oneself and anything that could anger Allah. The people of taqwa, will leave even permissible deeds out of fear that there might be something harmful in them. Leaving these doubtful or permissible deeds then acts as a barrier between the believer and any acts of disobedience. When a believer performs all the obligatory deeds that they are capable of and stays away from all the forbidden and doubtful matters, and when they further perform the recommended acts and stay away from the disapproved ones, they are truly deserving of the title muttaqeen “the people possessing taqwa“.
Allah, all praises and glory be to Him, says in the Qur’an:
“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female , and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable among you in the sight of Allah is the one with the most taqwa. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (Surah al-Hujuraat:13)
The beauty of this is that only Allah knows what is in the hearts of the people. We as human beings, can’t determine what is inside someone’s heart. We should therefore not look down on anybody, because they may in fact be very beloved to Allah. A person may look contemptible from a wordly point of view, and yet they may be very beloved to Allah due to their taqwa. Allah tells us in the Qur’an:
“O believers! Let not a group of you scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let [some] women scoff at other women for it may be that the latter are better than the former.” (Surah al-Hujuraat:11)
Outward appearances and ‘status’ should therefore not be our basis for judging others. This point is illustrated in a very telling hadith:
“A man passed by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and he [the Messenger (peace be upon him)] asked someone who was siting next to him, “What do you think of that man?” He said, “He is from the noblest class of people. By Allah, if he were to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage, his proposal would be accepted. If he were to intercede on behalf of another, his intercession would be accepted.” The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) kept quiet. Then another man passed by and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) asked the same man “What do you think of that man?” He replied, “He is from the poor Muslims. If he were to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage it would not be accepted. If he were to intercede on behalf of someone, his intercession would not be accepted. And if he were to speak, no one would listen to his speech.” The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) then said, “This [poor] man is better than an earth full of the other [type of man].” (Recorded in al-Bukhari)
SubhanAllah this should give us such a long pause for thought.
This is the exact opposite of the criteria that most people use to judge others. The heartbreaking point that is illustrated here is that because of people’s perceived status, they are given preference over others who are in fact more beloved to Allah. Many times, when it comes to the marriage of their children, parents look for the suitor with the best status, the best job, the best tribe, the best family, but not, the best taqwa. The Prophet, peace be upon him, advised us to choose the partner that is the most pious, and that is better for us.
On the Day of Judgement, the true ‘value’ and ‘worth’ of people will be shown, and it will not be the worldly criteria that matter. It will not benefit us that we were wealthy, or from an important family, or were the Managing Director of such and such a company. The only thing that will matter is what matters to Allah – and that is the state of our hearts.