The word "Islam" in Arabic means "self-devotion, submission, salvation," as well as "peace." Imam A'zam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullahi 'alaih) has defined Islam as "submission and obedience to Allahu ta'ala's commandments."
If the facts stated above are read carefully, it will automatically become clear how a Muslim should be. We shall repeat them once again, below.
First of all, a Muslim is clean physically and spiritually. But let us begin with physical cleanliness.
In several different places in the Qur'an al-kerim, Allahu ta'ala declares: "I like those who are clean." Muslims do not enter mosques or houses with their shoes on. Their carpets, their floors remain spotless and clean. Every Muslim has a bathroom in his house. Their bodies, underwear and food are always clean. In this way they do not spread microbes and disease.
The Palace of Versailles, which the French boastfully announce to the world, does not have a bathroom.
In the Middle Ages when a Frenchman living in Paris got up in the morning, he used to urinate and defecate into a chamber pot. Since there was no toilet in his house, he would take that pot and a bottle used for drinking water to the river Seine. First he would take his drinking water from the river, and then pour the urine and the faeces into the river. These lines have been literally translated from a French book entitled "Drinking-Water" (L'Eau Potable). A German priest who had come to Istanbul during the time of Sultan Sulayman the Lawgiver said the following in a book which he wrote sometime around 967 :
"I admire the cleandliness here. Everyone here washes themselves five times a day. All the shops are clean. There is no dirt on the streets. There are no stains on the clothes of the sellers. Also, there are buildings which contain hot water called "hammams," wherein people take a bath. In contrast, our people are dirty; they don't know how to wash themselves." It was centuries later before Europeans learned how to wash themselves.
As for today, foreigners who travel in the so-called Muslim countries write in the books they publish: "When you go to an
Eastern country, first, the smell of putrid fish and rubbish assaults your nostrils. There is dirt everywhere. The streets are awash with spittle and mucus. Here and there one can see heaps of rubbish and carcasses of beasts. You feel disgust as you travel through Eastern countries, and realize that the Muslims are not as clean as they claim to be." We are afraid it is true. Indeed, in countries bearing the name of Islam today, not only have they forgotten the knowledge of faith, but they also do not pay due attention to cleanliness. But, the fault lies with people who have forgotten that the essence of Islam is cleanliness. Poverty is no excuse at all for being dirty. A person's spitting on the ground or dirtying the place has nothing to do with money. Such dirty people are the wretched who have forgotten Allahu ta'ala's commandments on cleanliness. If each Muslim knew his religion perfectly and practiced it with devotion, this uncleanliness would go away automatically. Then, foreigners who visit Muslim countries would admire their cleanliness, just as they admired medieval Muslims.
A true Muslim is clean and takes great care of his health. He never consumes alcoholic drinks, which is a kind of poison. He doesn't eat pork, which has been prohibited on account of its various dangers and harms. It has been discovered that the virus causing the contagious and fatal disease AIDS, which is afflicting homosexuals, exist in pigs.
Our Prophet (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) praised the science of medicine in various ways. An example is his statement: "There are two kinds of knowledge: knowledge of the body and knowledge of religion." That is, by saying that these two are the most important sciences, the religious knowledge, which protects the soul, and the knowledge of health, which protects the body, he wanted us to strive to keep our body and soul vigorous. For all kinds of good deeds can be done only with a healthy body.
Today, all universities teach that the practice of medicine consists of two parts: The first is hygiene, keeping the body healthy, and the second is therapeutics, treatment of diseases. The first of the two has precedence. It is the primary task of medicine to protect people against diseases and to keep them healthy. Even if a sick person is cured, he may still remain invalid and defective. And now to the point: hygiene, medicine's first task is vouchsafed by Islam. In the second part of the book Mawahib-ul-ladunniyya, it has been proven that the Qur'an al-kerim promotes both aspects of medicine as expressed in some verses.
Our prophet Muhammad (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) had established close relations with the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius. They used to correspond with and send envoys to each other. On one occasion, Heraclius sent him many presents. One of the presents was a medical doctor. When the doctor arrived he came to our Prophet and said "Sir! His Majesty has sent me to you as a servant. I shall treat those that are ill free of charge." Hadrat Muhammad (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) accepted his services. As ordered, the doctor was given a house. Everyday, they brought delicious food and drink for him. Days and months passed. No Muslims came to see him. Consequently, the doctor, feeling ashamed, requested permission to leave, saying: "Sir! I came here to serve you. Up to now no sick person has come to me. I have been sitting idly eating and drinking comfortably. And now I'd like to go back home." Our Prophet (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) responded: "It is up to you. If you would like to stay longer, it is the Muslims' primary duty to serve and show honour to their guests. However, if you would like to leave now, have a good journey! But you must know that, even if you were to stay here for years, no Muslim would come to see you. It is because my Companions do not become ill. The Islamic religion has shown the way to good health. My Companions pay great attention to cleanliness. They do not eat anything unless they are hungry, and they stop eating before becoming fully sated."
With the words above, we do not mean to say that a Muslim never becomes ill. However, a Muslim who pays attention to his health and cleanliness remains healthy for a long time. He hardly becomes ill. Death is a fact of life. It cannot be avoided. Everyone will die as a result of some illness. Yet, being able to keep one's body healthy until the time of death is possible only by paying attention to Islam's commandments on cleanliness.
During the Middle Ages, when Christianity was at its peak, the great scholars of medicine were only to be found among the Muslims. Europeans used to come to Andalusia to receive an education in medicine. Those who discovered a vaccine to procure an immunity from smallpox were Muslim Turks. Janner, who learned the vaccine from the Turks, took it to Europe in 1211 (1796) and was unjustly titled "The discoverer of the smallpox vaccine." In those days, Europe was a continent of cruelty, and various diseases were annihilating the people. The
King of France, Louis XV, died of smallpox in 1774. Plague and cholera played havoc in Europe for a long time. When Napoleon first besieged the fortress of AKKA in 1212 (1798), plague erupted among his army, and being quite helpless against it, he had to beg for help from the Muslim Turks, his enemies. It is written in a French book of that time as follows: "The Turks sent their doctors, accepting our request. They wore extremely clean clothes and had luminous faces. First, they prayed and then at length washed their hands with plenty of soap and water. They incised buboes formed on the patients' bodies with lancets, caused the pus formed in them to flow out, and then washed the wounds neatly. Later, placing the patients in separate rooms, they instructed the healthy ones to stay away from them. They burned the patients' clothes and dressed them in new clothes. Finally, they washed their hands again, burned aloe wood at the places where the diseased ones had been, prayed again, and left us, refusing all our offers in the name of payment and gift."
This means to say that Westerners, who were helpless against diseases until two centuries ago, learned today's medicine only by reading, experimenting, and working as it is dictated in the Qur'an al-kerTm.
As for spiritual cleanliness, certainly a Muslim should have a very high morality and gentility. Islam is morality and nobility in its entirety. The degree of goodness, justice and generosity which Islam commands to be applied to enemies as well as to friends is amazingly high. The events over the last thirteen centuries have shown this fact very clearly to Islam's adversaries as well. Of the innumerable proofs, we shall relate one which stands out.
As written in one of the two-hundred-year-old court records in the archives of the Bursa Museum, Muslims built a mosque on some land near the Jewish quarter in Altiparmak. The Jews claimed ownership of the land and said that the Muslims could not build a mosque there. The dispute became a matter for a court of law. After the hearing, the court decided that the area belonged to the Jews, that the mosque was to be destroyed, and that the land was to be given back to the Jews. The decision was executed. Indeed, great justice!
Our Prophet (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) declared: "I have been sent down to perfect virtue and to spread beautiful morals over the world.' Another hadTth states: "Among you, the ones with a perfect morality are the ones with an elevated faith." Therefore, even faith is measured by morality.
Spiritual purity is essential for a Muslim. A person who lies, who cheats, deceives others, who is cruel, unjust, who shirks from helping his co-religionists, who assumes superiority, who thinks only of his advantages, is not a true Muslim, no matter how much he worships.
The exalted meaning of the first three verses in Chapter (sura) Maun is: "O! My Messenger! Have you seen someone who denies the Judgement, puts the orphan aside with harshness, does not give their rights, and does not encourage others to feed the needy?" The worships of such people are not accepted. In Islam, keeping away from the prohibitions (haram) takes precedence over doing the commandments (fards). A true Muslim is, first of all, a perfect and mature person. He has a smiling face. He is a honey-tongued man who tells the truth. He never knows what it is "to be angry." Rasulullah (Hadrat Muhammad [sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam]) declared: "The person given mildness is the one endowed with the goodness of this world and the Hereafter." A Muslim is extremely modest. He listens to everyone who consults him and helps them as far as possible.
A Muslim is dignified and polite. He loves his family and his country. Our Prophet (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) declares: "Your love of country originates from your fatih." That is why, when the government fights against aggressors, a Muslim does his military service willingly. It says as follows in a work written by a German priest in 1560, which has been mentioned above: "Now I've understood why the Muslim Turks overcame us in all our expeditions. Whenever there is a holy war here, the Muslims immediately take up their arms, fight and die willingly for the sake of their country and religion. They believe that those who die in a holy war will go to Paradise. In contrast, in our country, when there is a likelihood of war, everyone looks for a hiding place lest they should be enrolled in the army. And those who are recruited by force fight reluctantly."
How Allahu ta'ala likes His slaves to be is explained very well in the Qur'an al-kerim. The exalted meanings of verses 6369 in Chapter Furqan are: "[The virtuous] slaves of the Rahman (Allahu ta'ala', who has much compassion for His slaves) walk on the earth modestly and with dignity. When ignorant people try to annoy them, they respond with kind words, such as: 'peace and safety be on you!' They spend the nights standing and prostrating [performing namaz]
before their Lord. [They offer their thanks and praise to Him]. They entreat Allah, 'O my Allah, take the Hell torment away from us. Indeed, His torment is eternal and bitter, and that place is no doubt an evil and horrible residence.' In their spending, they are neither prodigal nor miserly; they follow a moderate way between these two extremes, and they do not deduct from anyone's rights. They do not attribute partners to Allah. They do not kill anyone, which is prohibited by Allah. [They only punish the guilty] They do not commit fornication."
In verses 72-74 of the same chapter: "[Those virtuous human slaves whom Allahu ta'ala likes] they do not bear false witness. They abstain from things... useless and harmful. If they are accidentally involved in something useless or which can be done with great difficulty, they pass by in a dignified manner. They do not turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the revelations of their Lord when they are reminded of them. They implore saying, 'O my Allah! Bestow such wives and children as may be a source of comfort to our eyes. Make us examples for those who fear You."
Moreover, the sacred meaning of the second and third ayats (verses) in Sura (chapter) Saff: "Believers! Why do you profess what you never did? Allah feels a strong distaste for you when you say something you cannot practice,"
shows that a person's vowing or promising what he cannot perform makes him a bad person in Allahu ta'ala's view.
A true Muslim is extremely respectful to his parents, teachers, commanders, the laws, and to the leading authorities of his country. He is not concerned with something insignificant. He is busy only with something useful. He doesn't gamble. He doesn't kill his time.
A true Muslim does his worships perfectly. He offers gratitude to Allahu ta'ala. Worship should not be performed unwillingly or unconsciously. Worship must be performed willingly and with great love for Allahu ta'ala. To fear Allahu ta'ala means to love Him very much. You do not want the person you love much to be displeased and you are afraid lest you might cause him to be disturbed. In this way, worship for Allahu ta'ala should be performed in such a manner as to prove our love for Him. The blessings which Allahu ta'ala has given us are so great that our debt of gratitude to Him can be paid only by loving Him much and by worshipping Him with profound sincerity. There are different kinds of worship. Some kinds of worship, as we have said above, are between Allahu ta'ala and His slave. Maybe Allahu ta'ala will forgive those who worship insufficiently. It is worship to respect others' rights, too. But He will never forgive those who abused others and have the rights of others' on them, unless the owners of those rights forgive them.
The following traditions (the HadTth ash-sherif) are found in the fourth volume of the book Ashi'at-ul Lamaat, which is in Persian and is a commentary to the well-known book Mishqat-
1. He who does not have mercy on people is not treated with mercy by Allahu ta'ala.
2. You will have helped both the oppressor and the oppressed by preventing cruelty.
3. If nine-tenths of the money given for buying a shirt is halal and one-tenth is haram, Allahu ta'ala doesn't accept the prayer done with that shirt on.
4. A Muslim is another Muslim's brother. He doesn't torment his brother. He runs to help him. He does not abhor him or think of him as inferior to himself. It is haram (forbidden) for him to harm his blood, property, chastity or honour.
5. I swear by Allahu ta'ala that unless a person loves for his Muslim brother what he loves for himself, his Tman will not be perfect.
6. I swear by Allahu ta'ala that a man who is not trusted by his neighbour doesn't have Tman (belief). [That is, he is not a genuine Muslim.]
7. A person without mercy in his heart does not have Tman.
8. Allahu ta'ala pities the person who pities others.
9. He who does not pity our young or respect our old is not one of us.
10. If a person respects and helps the old, Allahu ta'ala will send him helpers when he gets old.
11. The house that Allahu ta'ala loves best is the one which houses an orphan and in which an orphan is served kindly.
The author of Mishqat is Valiyyuddin Muhammad, who passed away in 749 (1348 A.D.)
12. In this world and in the Hereafter Allahu ta'ala will help the person who silences a backbiter. If he does not silence the backbiter while he has enough power to do so, Allahu ta'ala will punish him in this world and in the Hereafter.
13. A person who sees a defect, a shortcoming in a Muslim brother of his, but covers and conceals it, has acted as if he saved the life of a girl buried alive, as practised by the pre-Islamic Arabs, by taking her out of the grave.
14. In Allahu ta'ala's view, the better one of two friends is the one who has done more good for the other one.
15. Whether a person is good or bad is judged by observing whether or not his [Muslim] neighbours like him.
16. The destination of a man who hurts his neighbours with his speech is Hell, even if he prays much, fasts much, gives alms much. But, if he doesn't hurt his neighbours with his speech, the place for him to be sent will be Paradise, though he may pray little, fast little, and give little alms.
17. Allahu ta'ala has given valuable things both to His beloved ones and to His enemies. But he has given beautiful morals only to His beloved ones. [Now, it is understood that the words, "It is hoped that the disbelievers with excellent manners will have Tman immediately before they pass away" is right.]
18. The thawabs (rewards for a pious act) of a man who violated other's chastity or property will be given to the man oppressed. If the violator's worships or pious deeds are not enough, then the latter's sins are given to him.
19. One of the worst of the mortal sins in Allahu ta'ala's view is to be a man with a bad character.
20. If someone is happy to see that the man he dislikes is in trouble, Allahu ta'ala will send the same nuisance upon him.
21. Two people went to the mosque and prayed there. Something was offered to them. They said they were fasting. After talking for a while, when they were about to leave, the Prophet (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said to them: "Do your prayers again, and perform your fasting again! For you have backbitten someone in your conversation. [That is, you have mentioned one of his faults.] Backbiting removes the thawab (blessings) of worships."
22. Do not have jealousy. As a fire destroys wood, feeling jealousy annihilates the blessings of a person, too."
Having jealousy means being jealous of a person, that is, to wish the blessings given to him by Allahu ta'ala were taken away from him. It is not called jealousy to wish to have the same blessings for yourself without wishing them to be taken away from others. This is called "qipta" which means "longing," in other words, "good will." Wishing something evil and harmful to be removed from someone is called "qairat" which means "perseverance", or called "khamiyyat" which means "zealousness."
23. Someone who is good-tempered will attain goodness both in this world and in the Hereafter.
24. Allahu ta'ala does not put his slave whom He endowed with a beautiful face and a good character into Hell in the Hereafter.
25. Abu Huraira was told: "Be good-tempered!" by the Prophet (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam). He asked: "What is it to be good-tempered?" the Prophet answered: "Approach a person who stays away from you and give him advice; forgive him who torments you; if a person is loath to give you from his property, knowledge or help, give him plenty of these!"
26. Paradise is the destination of a person who dies purged from arrogance, treachery and debts.
27. The Prophet (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) did not want to perform the janaza prayer for a person who had died indebted. A Sahabi (companion of the Prophet) named Abu Qatada (radiy-Allahu 'anh) took his debts upon himself by remittance. So, the Prophet accepted performing the janaza prayer for him.
28. Do not beat your wives! They are not your slaves.
29. In the view of Allahu ta'ala, the best of you is the one who is the best towards his wife. I am the best among you in the treatment of his wife.
30. The best among you in Tman (faith) is the one with
Janaza Prayer: When a Muslim dies, other Muslims assemble together in front of his coffin and perform a certain prayer called salat-ul-janaza. Thereby, they pray so that his sins will be forgiven, and he will be given many blessings, etc.
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