Six Negative Attributes

Having bad relations with people leads us to having a bad relation with Allah (swt). When it comes to our interpersonal relationships, there are a few negative attributes which we should try to get rid of.

Goal 1: Ghaflah-free life – Heedlessness

Ghaflah means being neglectful; not paying attention to others. Parents may say this about their children that they don’t ask about us anymore. It’s not nafrat (hatred), just ghaflat. Even parents know their children don’t dislike them. At work, the employer may say that our employee works like an outsider — they don’t consider the work their own personal responsibility. Even if you love someone, ghaflat causes problems in that relationship. We have to fight our ghaflat. Ghaflat causes distance and separation between people. Such a person will eventually become negligent towards Allah (swt) as well.

Goal 2: Ghibah-free life – Backbiting

Sometimes it is hard to understand how can ghibah be greater than zina. Ghibah causes suspicion between people and at times that suspicion never goes away. If a daughter-in-law finds out that her mother-in-law said something about her, then it’s finished between the two. Now daughter-in-law will always be vary of the mother-in-law. It breaks the hearts of people and creates discord between them.

We have taken it to the next level so much so that we do ijtimai-ghibah (collective backbiting). We are so stubborn, we don’t admit that we do it, and we make excuses instead. We are creating an environment of mistrust. Having bad-gumani is haram (impermissible), don’t even think it’s makrooh (disliked). Ghibah is leading us to bad-gumani.

Everyone knows that we should ask for forgiveness but we are too embarrassed to do it. We should get in this habit of seeking forgiveness. Some people even do ghibah of Allah (swt) saying “I don’t know why Allah (swt) did this to me”. Why not you? Allah sends difficulties on everyone, and you are being disloyal to Allah (swt). Even hassad (jealousy) is a type of a complaint about Allah’s (swt) division.

Goal 3: Ghil-free life – Malice

Ghil is to have hatred, spite, ill-will for someone. Blessed Prophet (sws) has said that you cannot stay angry with each other for more than three days.

“It is not permissible for a man to forsake his Muslim brother for more than three days, each of them turning away from the other when they meet. The better of them is the one who gives the greeting of salaam first.” (al-Bukhaari; Muslim).

On lailatul qadr, a person with ghil will not be forgiven. A Sahabi (ra) used to forgive everyone [1]. You can make du’a that O Allah if there’s any bad feeling in my heart, I make tawbah for it and ask You to take it out. You have to bring Allah (swt) into the equation, do it for a few nights, Allah (swt) will take the hatred out. This is the act of a Jannati [said Sahabi (ra) was given the glad tidings of entering Paradise]. We clean our teeth every night, and these Sahaba karam (ra) used to clean their hearts.

Goal 4: Ghulu-free life – Stubbornness

Ghulu is being stubborn on your own personal understanding (might also be of Shariah). Saying my way or the highway. Advice for husbands: never put your foot down in matters of dunya, save it for matters of deen. People come with divorce questions on things like she wanted to leave early but I wanted to leave later.

There is some flexibility in Shariah, we must have that flexibility also. People love to argue over their opinions. No need to always find out what is the better position. A person once said, I have taken courses on astronomy, I don’t prefer the time at which you pray isha, but I pray at your time because I know there’s flexibility in it. Adab and akhlaq means you are willing to sacrifice your own preference.

Another form of ghulu is that religious people who are good in one thing feel they don’t need to better themselves in other aspects of life. Similarly, some people do a lot of humanitarian work, it’s a very good thing, but if these people neglect their ibadah, then that’s ghulu.

Goal 5: Gharur-free life — Pride

There are three levels to it, ujub, kibr and takabbur. Ujub doesn’t go out without ragra. This is misconception that tazkiyah is only dhikr, tazkiyah is ragra (strenuous disciplining). That’s why you can’t do it for yourself because you will be too lenient on yourself. Ragra is like super-duper martial arts training. Pride manifests itself in different ways, for example, the muadhin says prayer is better than sleep, but our attitude says my sleeping is better than fajr, or that my own fashion is better than what Allah (swt) wants for us to wear. This is having gharur towards Allah (swt).

Goal 6: Ghazab-free life — Anger

We have anger towards other people, and even towards our own family. Keep a lid – it means don’t react at all. People sometimes even get angry with their shaykh, their ustad (teacher). Once a person said to Hadrat Thanvi (rh), whenever someone comes to you, you really discipline and train him the hard way. He replied, if they come to me in a state of an animal, then I also have to take out my knife (for slaughtering).

Another person once said to Hadrat Madni (rh), you are so soft on people while Hadrat Thanvi (rh) is so strict (kind of trying to butter him up). Hadrat Madni (rh) replied actually Hadrat Thanvi (rh) is the surgeon, and I’m like a nurse! This was his humility.

Tazkiyah is about intention and effort, not about success. Allah (swt) just wants you to want it. Is there anything as easy as this? But you have to really want it, beg for it, do whatever you can to get it. These are just some of the bad attributes, there are innumerable more. Look at the flash-points in your life to recognize them. May Allah (swt) purify us from all of the negative attributes.


[1] Imam Malik narrates on the authority of Anas ibn Malik (RA) who said, “We were sitting in the company of the Prophet (SAW) when he said, ‘Soon there will appear before you a person from among the dwellers of Paradise.’ Soon thereafter, a person from the Ansar (Helpers of Medina) appeared – his beard was dripping with water which he had used to perform ablution, holding his sandals with his left hand. The next day, the Prophet (SAW) said the same thing. And the same person appeared in the same manner [as he had appeared the first time]. On the third day, the Prophet (SAW) said the same thing again, ‘Soon there will appear before you a person from among the dwellers of Paradise.’ And the same person appeared in the same manner as he had appeared the previous two times. “When the Prophet (SAW) got up and left, Abdullah ibn Amr (RA) followed the man – he then said to him, ‘I had a dispute with my father and so I took an oath that I will not go to him for three days. [Now that I have no place to stay] Is it possible for you to accommodate me till the three days pass? “The man replied, ‘Yes.’“Anas (RA) says: “Abdullah ibn Amr (RA) used to say that he stayed with that man for three days. He did not see him getting up at night [for qiyaam-ul-layl]. However, when he used to toss and turn in his bed, he used to engage in the remembrance of Allah and say ‘Allahu Akbar’. He would eventually get up for the Fajr salah. “Abdullah ibn Amr (RA) says: “However, I never heard him say anything but good. When the three days passed and I was on the verge of considering his good deeds to be very few and insignificant, I said to him, ‘O servant of Allah! There was neither any dispute nor any separation between me and my father. Rather, I heard the Prophet (SAW) say on three occasions about you: ‘Soon there will appear before you a person from among the dwellers of Paradise.’ And on each of these three occasions, it was you who appeared. I therefore decided to live with you and see what deeds you do that I could emulate you. However, I did not see you doing many good deeds. How, then, have you reached the rank concerning which the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said about your being from among the dwellers of Paradise?’ “The man replied, ‘I do not do anything more than what you have seen. However, I do not bear any deceit to any Muslim nor do I envy anyone for the good which Allah has given him.’

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