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The Wisdom in Accepting Advice and Avoiding Anger

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

24 December 2011 Jakarta, Indonesia

Suhbah at the Home of the Minister of Maritime & Fisheries (1)

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem.

Nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah,

nawaytu 'r-riyaadah, nawaytu 's-sulook, lillahi ta`ala fee haadha 'l-masjid.

أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

Ati`oollaha wa ati`oo 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.

Obey Allah, obey the Prophet, and obey those in authority among you. (4:59)

First of all, I would like to say that we are all students learning from each other; it is not like we are teachers and others are students, but we are all students learning from each others’ experience.

Prophet (s) is the teacher for the whole Ummah. A man from among the Companions (r) of the Prophet said, “Yaa Rasoolullah! You said religion is advice, so please advise me.” Do you want to be a Muslim, a believer? Then accept advice. The entire religion is based on advice from men to men, men to women, women to men; everyone receives their share, and don’t think women have no role in Islam!

Grandshaykh (q) has mentioned this story which is also in the hadeeth, but we are not reciting the hadith today. One time, Prophet (s) and his Companions (r) came from Arafat going towards Muzhdalifa and then to Mina on the first day of `Eid, when, by Allah’s order, you have to cut or shave your hair. So Prophet (s) told his Sahaabah (r) to shave their heads, but no one shaved. Prophet (s) did not cut or shave his head, but asked his Sahaabah (r) to do so, and they delayed it. So Prophet (s) was sad, because you cannot disobey Allah (swt) and His Prophet (s) or you might face a difficulty in your life from Allah. When Prophet (s) entered the tent, his wife, Umm Salama (r), said, “Yaa Rasoolullah! Why are you sad?” He said, “Allah (swt) revealed to me that ayah and they didn’t shave.” She looked at him and said, “Yaa Rasoolullah! Can I give an advice?” This is his wife, a lady giving an advice to the Prophet. He said, “Of course.” She said, “Yaa Rasoolullah! First you shave and they will shave after you.” And immediately as the Prophet (s) shaved, everyone else shaved. So it was an advice from his wife to him, as Prophet said, “Religion is advice.”

We are arrogant to say, “Will we take advice from our wife?” Advice can be taken even from a child! You see what the child is doing and you learn the nature of children and you begin giving advice to other parents.

So Prophet (s) said it in a general way, “Religion consists of human behaviors and one of the human behaviors is to be just with Allah (swt), with Prophet (s), with the community, with yourself, with your children, with your politicians and members of the Parliament, and in what you say.” However, today justice is lost and we need to bring it back to our hearts. That means you must not get angry, or you will not be just as you might do something against justice.

So that man came to the Prophet and said, “Advise me, Yaa Rasulullah,” and Prophet said, laa taghdab, “Don't get angry,” period! All our problems today caused by ourselves and others come from anger, and everyone is angry from the other. Sometimes you are okay, but sometimes that anger goes deep within you and makes you to say things to the other party that might create a kind of fitna, confusion, in your community, your family, and in yourself. You might believe what your anger is saying to you, because when someone is angry he is drunk. So you don’t need to drink alcohol; get angry and you will be drunk! (laughter) An angry person always wants to attack and does not try to make peace. Allah (swt) gave you the remedy to solve this problem when He said:

فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ

faman `afaa wa aslaha fa-ajruhu `ala ’Llah.

But if a person forgives and makes peace, his reward is due from Allah. (Ash-Shura, 42:40)

So when you are angry, try to make peace. You you see many police officers on 31 December on the streets pulling aside those who are drunk (on New Year’s Eve) to prevent accidents. Anger will create accidents. You might create a big problem. Just today, before I came here I spoke to someone in America who is a very good person, he works hard and is a respected person, but unfortunately he drinks alcohol. One night he was too drunk and didn’t know what he was doing, he got a gun, went on the street, put the gun to someone’s head, stole their car, and now he is in prison! A lawyer advised that he will be sentenced to ten years in prison.

Angry people may be so overcome with anger that they don’t know what kind of harm they will do to their community and themselves. So Prophet said, “Don’t get angry!” Today I’m saying to you and to myself to try to minimize anger, because when you are not angry you will be just to yourself, your family and to your children, and you will see that your community is growing and that people love and respect you.

That’s why, after “laa taghdab,” the Prophet said, “Don’t hate each other,” becasue when you are not angry you can the hatred people everywhere have for each other! They don’t like to see each other make progress. Some are progressing, some are not. They might even be brothers: one brother is rich, one brother is not, and they hate each other. So Prophet said, “Don’t hate each other,” and “Don’t spy on each other.” Don't spy on what he has. If he has a nice car, congratulation him as Allah gave it to him.

It means, “Don’t follow your desires. Don't pick on people over what they have, and be happy with what you have. Don't look up; if you look up you get tired, and you can’t look down for so long, so look straightforward. But they say for the nafs al-bashariyya, “the human nature,” to punch your ego, look at those below you and you will see, “SubhaanAllah! I’m well off and they are suffering. Alhamdulillah, I’m eating and drinking.” Alhamdullilah, Allah gave us coffee and tea on a leather table, while those who are down have no coffee or tea. It means look at what Allah gave you and say “Thank you, yaa Rabbee, this is what You gave me, alhamdulillah!” Allah loves His servants who thank Him, who say, “Alhamadulillah wa shukran lillah!”

Prophet (s) said, ghaniyyun shaakir... “A rich generous person is better in Allah’s view than a poor person who worships day and night.” That is because a poor person cannot help anyone, but a rich person can help everyone. I was surprised when (a mureed) took me on my last trip to Sukanbu. There are many fishes there. He took me ten years ago, when it was only a piece of marble with the name of the school “Daaru ’sh-Shifa.” and written on it. Now in that area there are 2800 students, 400 of whom are orphans, who live there without charges and the others pay very relaxed, cheap charges. The orphans are provided food, lodging, education, and medical care until they grow up, go to college and get married! Ten years ago it was a piece of marble, and today it has seventeen buildings.

Alhamdulillah, there are many, many others who are doing things for Allah (swt) and that’s why it is so important to look to those who are lower than you; you will never get tired of it and will easily say, “Alhamdulillah, yaa Rabbee! What You gave me, I’m spending in Your Way.” But when you look at those above you, you can only feel, “How I can reach what they have; it’s impossible, even in a dream I can’t reach that!” So why look? Keep looking down and then you will be grateful and at peace.

O managers and directors who are here! Alhamdulillah that you have a minister whom I have known many, many years. He is so generous and honorable, and his name explains his behavior (honesty). May Allah keep him honest and on the right way and be happy with him. You can work with him. But I advise, if he accepts my advice, don’t keep him in the office late at night because the next day they come to work angry because their wives don’t like it!

Do you know President Bush? I know him and he knows me. He went for Iraq fighting, but that is not our business and I’m not praising him, but I am surprised regarding what he does and we must take a lesson. We are Muslim and are very happy with our Islam, and we are honored by our Islam, but sometimes you see some things from others and you take a lesson to do more. He awakes at 5:00 a.m., then goes to church until 7:00 a.m., then goes to breakfast, and by 8:00 a.m. he is at work. He also decided, “I don’t want to see any employees work a night shift because I want them to come with a fresh mind tomorrow.”

I’m not speaking about his decisions; that is their business, but we are saying that Islam told us more than that. That’s why Prophet (s) said, “Religion is advice.” Now when you don’t pray and I give you an advice to pray, that is religion. When you eat too much, and I say “Don’t eat too much”, that’s religion. If I see you watching something not good on TV and I give you an advice not to watch it, that is religion. So any good advice is religion. That’s why Allah said, “When He created the souls of human beings:

فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا

fa alhamahaa fujoorahaa wa taqwaahaa,

And inspired the soul with knowledge of its good and its bad. (Ash-Shams, 91:8)

That means every human being knows what is good to do and what is not; what is corrupted and what is not corrupted, what you can do and not do.” Allah advised everyone! Now don’t come and say, “I didn’t know!”

Balance it in your mind. Ask yourself, “If I see an acrobat throwing something in the air and catching it with his mouth, should I do that or not?” So what does your mind say? “Don't do it.” But (when I was young) I said to myself, “Do it!” and I threw a pistachio up and tried to catch it with my mouth, but it went into my esophagus (wind pipe) and I was coughing and coughing, so they took me to a traditional healer, but it wasn’t working. So my sister, a doctor, said “Quickly go to the hospital.” They operated for eight hours and were finally able to remove that pistachio! What did I benefit? Nothing! If Allah gave intelligence, a mind, if you don’t know Shari`ah it’s okay, but still you can reason with yourself, and ask, “Is this good or not?” If your mind says do it, do it, but if your mind has a question mark, then leave it.

So advice is important. If you don’t want to receive advice then you will lose and, as I said, you must balance everything in your mind. Allah (swt) said everything has to be balanced in His Scale.

وَأَقِيمُوا الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا تُخْسِرُوا الْمِيزَانَ

Wa aqeemu 'l-wazna bi ’l-qisti wa laa tukhsiru 'l-meezaan.

So establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance. (ar-Rahman, 55:9)

If you look at the history of human beings, you can see from the beginning of the first humans up to today struggled with good and evil. Evil always wants to overtake good; good wants to be good and overtake evil. Even between the children of Adam (a) there was struggle: one brother wanted to kill the other, because Allah accepted from someone who is good and did not accept from someone who is bad. There were two children of Adam: Abel was very generous and Cain was very stingy. When Allah (swt) ordered them to make a sacrifice, Abel brought a huge ram, the biggest animal he had, as he was extremely generous. But Cain began to look for the frail and sick ram, one that was near death. He sacrificed one that was very thin and had no meat.

In those days, when there was as sacrifice a fire appeared from Heavens, picked up the sacrifice and carried it up. So it picked up Abel’s sacrifice and left Cain’s, which made him angry. He thought, “Why did Allah accept Abel’s sacrifice and not mine?” Allah (swt) said, “Because your brother gave in Allah’s way and you gave for yourself.” Cain got so upset that he went to kill his brother, who said, “If you are extending your hand to kill me, I will not extend my hand to kill you. Allah is just, and I surrender to justice.” Cain replied, “I don’t care, Allah or no Allah!” and killed him out of anger, which makes you to do things you regret, because they will backfire. Allah wants to teach us a lesson here. He could have taken both of them, but He only took one.

Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.