As a recent graduate from LSE I often find myself pressured to think about my career relative to other ‘successful’ graduates and the expectations placed upon us as the “cream of Muslim leadership”. In actual fact although it is important to thing about these things with the right intentions, and inshaAllah whatever we are doing in our lives is serving some form of worship to Allah, I can often get carried with delusions of grandeur. It at this point I feel Shaytan is whispering words like status, respect, success, dunya in my head as the most important thing.
Astagfirullah, this is when it is important to ask the question and give an honest answer:
“Who do you think you are?”
Are you a list of achievements first? Are you identifying yourself based on status and your family background? Are you a slave of Allah? – The order in which you identify yourself maybe telling of priorities and forgetfulness…ultimately we are slaves of Allah and recognising this, humbleness is a real quality we should be embodying inshaAllah
I read the following passage from A’id Al Qarni’s book “Muhammad: As if you can see Him” and he describes the humbleness of our beloved Prophet (saw). Please take the time out to reflect on each point and inshaAllah it will serve as a powerful reminder to us all……
“The Prophet (saw) would stand beside an elderly woman and help her; he would visit sick people; he would show mercy and compassion to the poor; he paid attention to the needs of the miserable and the forlorn; he consoled the weak; he played with children; he joked with his family; he was easy-going and easily accessible to others; he sat on dirt and slept on the ground; sand would be his bed, and straw would be his pillow. He was pleased with what Allah decreed for him. Status, fame, power, material possession – none of these things mattered to him”
I sat and asked myself how many of these activities I do on a regular basis…..
“What leader can claim to be as humble as the Prophet (saw)? He would run errands for his family; he would mend his own shoes; he would sow patches on his clothing; he would sweep the floor of his home; he would milk his sheep; he would cut meat for his family; he would personally serve food to his guests; he would be kind and generous to his guests, not just with food, but also with his pleasant company; he would take turns riding and walking with his travel companion; he would eat barley; he would sometimes walk barefoot; he would sleep in the Masjid; he would ride behind another rider, so that, while he sat in an uncomfortable position, his riding partner would sit comfortable on a saddle; he would help the poor and the weak; and, among a company of travelers, he would linger in the rear of the group, so that he could help those who were weak and who were unable to keep up with the others.”
These are the blessed qualities of the best of creation on Earth, SubhanAllah!
This is true humbleness, understanding that everything is from Allah and to him we all return.
Not just saying these words to put on air of piety, or being humble because you suffer from low self esteem. But rather being grateful for the attributes and talents Allah has given us and not forgetting for one minute what is most important in order to be successful and who the real owner of all success and glory is.
A true, short story:
I met a colleague of mine in a Cafe next to LSE on Wednesday. This colleague is beautiful and always well groomed. On meeting her I saw she had a massive circle of dust on her forehead and my initial reaction out loud upon seeing her was “Hey, what happened to your forehead, are you ok?” I thought she had fallen over and nobody had told her she had a big ball of dust on her forehead, it was at this point I actually started to chuckle thinking it was quite hilarious! But when I sat down she explained “Oh no, I know it is there, it is because I am Catholic and today is the start of Ash Wednesday”
Feeling like a total dweeb and really embarrassed for my culturally insensitive comment I asked her what that meant for her as I knew it had something to do with pancakes and giving something up for lent…
“I can’t tell you what I have given up as it is a secret between me and God and a special promise. But I am wearing the ash on my forehead to remind myself that we are created from dust and that we will return back to ashes upon death, so don’t worry by the end of the day it should rub off naturally”
Sitting there I realised that although this was quite a blatant expression of a similar Islamic message about our life’s end, seeing her perfectly painted face and her humbleness in willing to walk around the whole day with ash on her face made me think a lot about my own humility.
What really matters to you?
I pray that from this point of reflection, we can make and renew our efforts to remember; be grateful for and humble in all our affairs inshaAllah.