بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Candy & Vinegar
Once upon a time, there were two shops. One was selling candy and the other – vinegar. Between the two shop owners there was intense rivalry.
The vinegar shop was a great success compared to the one selling candy. Every single customer who visited the vinegar shop would always come out of it with ‘gallons’ of vinegar while the customers of the candy shop would come out empty handed.
This imbalance went on for a while until one day, the candy seller decided to close down the shop. Feeling disgruntled and perplexed at the same time, he said to himself: “I just can’t leave in this state. I must go down to the vinegar shop and ask the vinegar seller the reason for the secret of his success.”
So, he went down to the vinegar shop said to the vinegar seller: “Listen here now; I sell candy – something that is nice and sweet. Everybody loves candy. But you, you are selling vinegar – something that is nasty, sour and disliked by most people. Can you please explain to me how you can sell much more than me?”
“Well, perhaps it is because I sell vinegar with a candy face but you sell candy with a vinegar face,” replied the vinegar seller, smiling.
One of the more important lessons we can grasp from this story is that the nature of the product one is trying to sell has little bearing on its sales. In fact, the product can be very nice and sweet, but what matters more is how one presents one’s self, and the product, in the process.
We are reminded in the Quran that the Prophet (pbuh) was sent as a mercy to all mankind.
As described by Allah (swt) in Surat al-Anbiyaa’, verse 107:
وما أرسلنك إلا رحمة للعلمين
107. We sent Thee not, but As a Mercy for all creatures.
We also know that the Prophet (pbuh) is the best and most beautiful example that anyone can find, as is described by Allah (swt) in Surat al-Ahzab, verse 21:
لقد كان لكم في رسول الله أسوة حسنة لمن كان يرجوا الله واليوم الأخر وذكر الله كثيرا
21. Ye have indeed In the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is In Allah and the final Day, and who engages much In the Praise of Allah.
From the Seerah of the Prophet (pbuh) that we read to each other and discuss in our circles and gatherings, we know that even though the people of Quraish detested and vilified the Prophet (pbuh) for delivering the message and the revelation sent to him by Allah (swt), they never denied that he (pbuh) had excellent manners and attitudes that were very well respected by them.
Let us ponder and reflect on this.
To what extent do we make our Prophet (pbuh) as our role model in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives?
Let us strive to improve ourselves, to become better Muslim individuals. Let us make an effort to understand what it means to become Muslim individuals who have sound creed, correct worship, robust bodies and excellent characters bar none. Let us strive together to become Muslim individuals who are knowledgeable and able to earn a living, Muslims individuals who strive against their own whims and lust, Muslims individuals who are keen on time, well organized and useful to others.
Let us also strive to understand our Deen more thoroughly and what is meant by ‘doing da’wah work’.
All these can only aid us in conveying the message of Islam and da’wah, making our voices louder through the amplifier that is our actions.
Having said that, one point that most people tend to misinterpret is that; some might think that he or she can wait until all these qualities are developed before striving to do da’wah work. The writer responds with a resounding no.
What should be done is that both the da’wah work as well as the betterment of oneself should be done in parallel.
A very good analogy that one of the brothers came up with is that doing da’wah is like washing the dishes. When you are trying to wash and clean away the stains, inevitably you are cleaning your hands and fingers at the same time.
Similarly, when you are doing da’wah and trying to convey the message of da’wah and Islam to the people around you be it your friends or relatives, inevitably you are purifying your souls and reminding yourself of the messages that you are conveying.
It is up to you to decide.
Truly, this is only but a reminder, and of course for your own benefit, in this world and the hereafter.
May Allah (swt) forgives all of our sins and accepts all of the good deeds, God willing.
Wallahu a’lam (Gos knows best)