Hadhrat Moulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (رحمة الله عليه) was an internationally renowned personality. He was an Aalim of a very high calibre and among the great thinkers of the time. Hence he was aptly titled as “Mufakkir -e-Islam” . One of his outstanding features was that while he enjoyed the special attention of the great Ulama and Mashaayikh of the Indian sub-continent and was regarded among the giants of knowledge and piety, his expertise and position was likewise acknowledged by the Arab Ulama throughout the world.
Allah Ta`ala had blessed him with sincerity, in-depth knowledge, great piety, profound wisdom, and a deep, burning concern for the upliftment of the Ummah. Thus he engaged in serving the Deen of Islam and worked tirelessly in drawing the people to Allah Ta`ala. In this regard he also authored numerous books. Among other achievements he was a historian of note and produced several masterpieces that encapsulated the biographies of many luminaries of this Ummah. This great Aalim, thinker, spiritual mentor, author, and luminary of his time once summarized his life experience and the crux of his vast and in-depth knowledge of Muslim history in three priceless points. In fact this advice could be termed as his bequest. These gems of advice are worth more than all the gold, silver, and diamonds of the world. Adorning ourselves with these gems will give us true worth. It will Insha-Allah bring true peace and happiness in this world and unimaginable rewards and bounties in the Hereafter. These are the rubies and pearls that should be given to every child, and especially every bride and groom, by their parents. May Allah Ta`ala make it a means of benefit for the Ummah and bless us all with the ability to practice upon them. (The advices that follow have been adapted from an article published in Tameer-e-Hayaat, Sept 2011)
Hadhrat Moulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (رحمة الله عليه) once gathered all the children and people of his household. He then said to them: “I have called you all for a very special purpose. Alhamdulillah, I have undertaken a study of history. Therefore I am well aware of many great families in history – including families of Ulama and Ahlullah (pious personalities) – who lost the legacy of their great predecessors. Eventually irreligiousness crept into them and led to their destruction. Hence in the light of my study of history, I am mentioning to you three things which, if you act upon them, Insha-Allah you will continue to flourish and as a family you will be saved from destruction.”
“NEVER BE THE OPPRESSOR. RATHER BE THE OPPRESSED ONE.”
This is an extremely fundamental piece of advice and a foundational pillar for the existence of peaceful families and societies. It is, after all, among the most salient features of none other than Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) , that he never oppressed anyone, though he was oppressed by many. Instead he forgave those who oppressed him and never took revenge for his personal self.
The advice that Hadhrat Moulana (رحمة الله عليه) gave was very much evident in his own life. He endured whatever difficulties came upon him but did not oppress anyone. This trait, among many others, was the direct result of the excellent nurturing of his mother. Describing the tarbiyat (nurturing) of his mother, Hadhrat Moulana (رحمة الله عليه) explains: “From the time that I was a little child my mother instilled in me the quality to accept and acknowledge my mistake. It was also impressed upon me to immediately apologize and seek the pardon of seniors or juniors if I have erred. It was due to this training that I was never prepared to take on a fight. If ever I exceeded the limits, especially with regard to any family person, servant, or the child of any servant, she would immediately make me apologize and seek forgiveness.”
Hadhrat Moulana ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﺔﲪر further elaborated by relating the incident of his childhood when he once hit the child of the maid. As soon as his mother was informed, she immediately called Moulana and the child whom he had hit.
She then instructed the child: “You hit Ali too. Hit him now, in front of me.” The poor child was overawed and did not have the courage to hit Moulana. His mother then took the hand of the maid’s child and hit Moulana with it. She then instructed Moulana to also seek the child’s forgiveness. After this incident in his childhood, he never deliberately caused any inconvenience to anyone.
It was such exemplary training that instilled in Hadhrat Moulana (رحمة الله عليه) this great quality – that if he erred in any matter he would unhesitatingly seek the pardon of the next person. Thus the first lesson was:
“NEVER BE THE OPPRESSOR, RATHER BE THE OPPRESSED ONE.”
“REFRAIN FROM FORBIDDEN WEALTH.
RESTRAIN YOURSELF FROM EVEN DOUBTFUL WEALTH.”
Hadhrat Moulana ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﺔﲪر was sharing with his family the summary of his study of history and explaining the factors which are the root cause of the rise and fall of families and communities. The lesson he was imparting was nevertheless ingrained in him from his childhood. This can be gauged from the following incident. Hadhrat Moulana ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﺔﲪر explains: “When I was a little child, we had a maid who took care of me as well. She used to seat me in her lap and feed me. One day during an errand she took me along. On the way she passed by a house where some food was being served which was actually an offering made on the third day after the passing away of some person. Being a very poor woman she sat there to partake of the food. I was a little child and hence I also extended my hand to partake of the meal. She immediately held back my hand saying: “You do not eat this. This is not for you.” (The food of offerings on graves and in the name of saints, etc., is impermissible.)
Subhanallah! This was the calibre of even the maid of that time. This reaction is also evidence of the degree of caution that was generally exercised with regard to halaal and haraam by every person in his family, that even the maid was so conscious of it. Despite Hadhrat Moulana ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﺔﲪر only being a child at that time, she still protected him from the doubtful food. Nowadays, doubtful food is consumed without any concern while an effort is even made to make the unlawful into lawful!!!
When the type of caution and restraint with regard to halaal described above was the norm, righteousness and piety prevailed in the society. The direct link between righteousness and pure sustenance is understood clearly from the Qur’aan, where Allah Ta`ala says: “O Messengers, eat from the pure sustenance and perform righteous actions.” The consumption of doubtful or haraam wealth will have the opposite effect. History also bears testimony, as Hadhrat Moulana explained that, the consumption of doubtful and haraam was a major contributing factor to the destruction of great families.
“TREAT YOUR RELATIVES WELL EVEN THOUGH THEY BEHAVE INDIFFERENTLY. HOWEVER PAINFUL IT MAY BE, ALWAYS BE GOOD TO THEM.”
Hadhrat Moulana ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﺔﲪر lived by this rule – to always treat one’s relatives well even though they are indifferent to one. On many occasions a relative came and spoke harshly to Hadhrat Moulana ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﺔﲪر. The general response in such situations was that before the person had left Hadhrat Moulana ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﺔﲪر would have given him some mithai (sweetmeats) to eat. Some people actually joked about it, that if anyone wanted to eat some mithai, he should say some harsh words to Hadhrat Moulana. On one occasion a relative spoke harshly to him.
Hadhrat Moulana ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﺔﲪر placed a hundred rupees in an envelope and together with one set of clothing presented it to the person who spoke harshly to him.
Hadhrat Moulana’s practice was in conformity to the Sunnah. In fact, this was the practice of all the lovers of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) . Imaam Abu Hanifah ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﺔﲪر was one such Aashiq (true lover of Nabi ). He had a neighbour who used to regularly abuse him verbally. The day the neighbour had abused him, Imaam Sahib ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﺔﲪر would send him a gift. After many days had passed in this manner, and after having received many gifts from Imaam Sahib ﷲا ﺔﲪر ﻪﻴﻠﻋ, the neighbour felt that the Imaam had great affection for him. He therefore stopped his abuse. However, he noticed that the gifts had also stopped coming. Hence he came to Imaam Sahib and asked:
“What type of recompense is this? As long as I abused you, you sent me gifts. When I stopped abusing you, you stopped sending me gifts!” Imaam Abu Hanifah replied: “Brother, as long as you abused me, I made sabr (exercised patience). Thus, you were actually building my paradise for me (by giving me the occasion of making sabr and thereby enabling me to attain great rewards). Therefore in return I was giving you some worldly benefit. When you stopped building my paradise, I stopped your worldly benefit!”
Allahu Akbar! Look at their mindset. If only we develop the same mindset, we will also enjoy peace within ourselves and spread peace and happiness around us as well.
All the three advices mentioned by Hadhrat Moulana ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﷲا ﺔﲪر have been greatly emphasized in the Qur’aan and Sunnah. Those who lived by it prospered and flourished. Those who abandoned it deprived themselves and eventually fell into destruction.
It is therefore the duty of every Muslim to make his utmost effort to live by these great lessons and to also pass it on to others.
AHAADEETH on maintaining family ties
Anas bin Maalik reports that Nabi said: “Whoever wishes to have an increase and expanse in his sustenance, and that he be remembered (favourably) after his death, should maintain family ties.” (Saheeh Bukhaari)
Nabi said: “He who gives equal treatment in response does not really strengthen family ties; rather it is he who (through his kind behaviour) rejoins ties with the one who severs them.” (Saheeh Bukhaari)
Nabi said: “The one who severs family ties will not enter Jannah.” (Saheeh Muslim)