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Three Destructive Behaviors

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

(Friday speech delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, NC on April 10, 1992)

In a good hadith, reported by Imam Abou-Daoud and At-Trmthi that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) says: "Three are destructive: a leading stinginess (the kind of stinginess that leads the person to obey it and follow it), a leading desire (the kind of whims and desires that lead the person to follow them), and a conceited (stuck-up, arrogant) person." In another narration, the prophet (S.A.W.) says: "opinionated individuals."

In this hadith, the prophet (S.A.W.) warns us against these three destructive, deadly diseases. If they spread amongst individuals, they will definitely destroy them, and if they prevail in the society, it will destroy it. These diseases are so dangerous because they are not confined within the inflicted individuals, but their harms reach others. When this happens, the relationships amongst Muslims become disturbed and abnormal and Muslims do not perform their duties and as a consequence, the ummah will divide and the society will be destroyed.

For this reason, the prophet (S.A.W.) warned us from the great danger of these diseases so that we protect ourselves.

The first destructive behavior is the leading stinginess:

What is leading stinginess?

Stinginess can be in every thing valuable, dear to the human being like life, wealth, time, and effort. Stinginess leads the person to think that all his values are extremely dear to him. The prophet (S.A.W.) qualifies the stinginess in the hadith with the leading kind of stinginess that causes the inflicted person to obey it and follow it. This is from the profundity of the language that the prophet (S.A.W.) used and his great accurate teachings; because stinginess may be manifested in a person without him being led by it, rather he struggles with it and pushes it away. In this situation, the negative effect of this behavior does not reach the practical dealings in life, rather the person remains in a state of struggle against this behavior and the person will be rewarded for his struggle.

What happens if the stinginess becomes obeyed?

The person would stop performing his duties and neglect his responsibilities. The ummah and the Muslim society would become paralyzed. Helplessness prevails, this life and this deen would be lost.

Since this disease is very dangerous, there are many sayings of the prophet (S.A.W.) that warn against it. The prophet (S.A.W.) says: "Stinginess and iman (faith, belief) never get together in a heart of a believing servant." {Authentic hadith reported by Imam An-Nasa’i, Ahmad, Al-Hakem, Al-Bukhari}. This hadith makes the believer disgusted with stinginess because iman belief is the dearest for the Muslim; he is keen about having his belief settle in his heart and as a consequence he has to expel stinginess out from it.

And the prophet (S.A.W.) in his many supplications used to ask refuge with Allah from stinginess.

In another authentic hadith reported by Imam Ahmad and Al-Bayhaqi that the prophet (S.A.W.) says: "The worst a man can have: frightening stinginess, and a deadly cowardice." A man may have some bad behavior, manners and corruption, but the worst is the frightening stinginess because it causes the man to be frightened every time he is called to spend in good causes and find all kinds of excuses for not spending. This is very dangerous because stinginess and iman belief never get together in the heart of a believer. This is because the one that prevents from spending is the fear of poverty that Satan plants in the heart of people. All this is due to ignorance about Allah (S.W.T.) and the lack of His trust, His promise and guarantees.

If we know all that, we will know why the prophet (S.A.W.) warned us from stinginess when he said: "...Protect yourselves from stinginess because it destroyed people before you: it caused them to kill one another and dishonor themselves." {Reported by Imam Muslim} All these things are big crimes and major sins that divide the ummah and destroy the society; they were the result of stinginess.

If you can protect yourself from stinginess, you would meet one condition of success in this Life and in the Hereafter. Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat Al-Hashir, (Verse 9), and in surat At-Taghabon, (Verse 16) what can be translated as, "…And whosoever is saved from his own (covetousness, avarice, greediness), such are they who will be the successful."

The second destructive behavior that the prophet (S.A.W.) warned us against is a followed desire:

What is desire?

Desire is the inclination of the soul, and its yearnings found in every human being. The prophet (S.A.W.) qualified it with the followed desire. This is from the profundity of his expressions and his great accurate teachings because if the desire is not followed, it can not be dangerous, rather he would be in a state of struggle against it and he will be rewarded for his struggle. But if the desire is followed, it becomes dangerous because the inflicted person transgresses against Allah (S.W.T.) and commits sins and stops performing his duties. Then, no knowledge or sanity can help; desire becomes Elah God to be worshiped with Allah or without Him. Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat Al-Jathiyah, (Verse 23), what can be translated as, "Have you seen him who takes own lust (vain desires) as his god, and Allah knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight. Who then will guide him after Allah? Will you not then remember?"

Following desire prevents the person from following the truth. Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat Al-Qasas, (Verse 50), what can be translated as, "But if they answer you not (do not believe in your massage), then know that they only follow their own lust (vain desires). And who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts, without guidance from Allah? Verily! Allah dos not guide the people who are zalimon (wrong-doers)."

Following desire happens along with making evil deeds and actions look good and beautiful to the person. Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat Muhammad, (Verse 14), what can be translated as, "Is he who is on a clear proof from his Lord, like those for whom their evil deeds that they do are beautified for them, while they follow their own lust (evil desires)?"

For that, Allah (S.W.T.) warned His prophet Dawood (S.A.W.) in surat Ssad, (Verse 26), what can be translated as, "… And do not your desire, for it will mislead you from the path of Allah."

Allah (S.W.T.) makes the first condition to enter paradise preventing the soul from following evil desires. So, Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat An-Nazia't, (Verse 40 &41), what can be translated as, "But as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires, and lusts. Verily, Paradise will be his abode."

Conceit is the third destructive behavior that prophet (S.A.W.) warned us against. This happens when someone is pleased with oneself and does not see his/her defects no matter how bad they get. They become so opinionated thinking that they are always right and that others are wrong. This is one type of arrogance that the prophet (S.A.W.) defined as: "Arrogance is looking down on people, and rejection of the truth." Arrogance is one of the most dangerous diseases and that’s why the prophet (S.A.W.) said: "No one will enter Paradise if he has in his heart a seed weight of arrogance."

Arrogance is the disease that led Iblees to disobey Allah (S.W.T.) when He ordered him to prostrate to Adam. Arrogance was the reason for the eternal curse of Iblees.

One of the bad consequences of conceit is that it leads to transgression and using one opinion to proceed in life and rule. This can happen in the individuals, or groups as well as societies. So, other opinions and thoughts are looked down upon and ignored no matter how true and correct they are, and as a consequence development, advancement are curbed and the well-being of the society is endangered. The Qur'an gave us the example of this bad situation. Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat Ghafir, (Verse 29), what can be translated as, "Pharaoh said: "I show you only that which I see (correct), and I guide you only the path of right policy."

Finally, we should be very careful from those destructive, deadly behaviors, which the prophet (S.A.W.) warned us from, and we should take precautions to protect our selves, our groups, and our society from it. And if we find our selves inflicted with these deadly diseases we should hurry to treat it before it worsens, and cause total destruction.

From the supplications of the prophet (S.A.W.): "O' Allah guide us to the best manners. You are the only one who guides to them. O' Allah take away from us the bad manners. You are the only one who takes them away." Ameen

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