How To Be The Best – 5 Hadiths

How to be the best

In personal development, there is a lot of focus on how to be the best at what you do. There are many tips which we could study regarding being the best at worldly things. However, in this series of articles we will explore how to be the best in the sight of Allah. In this article, and several future article, we will be looking an a variety of Hadiths which focus on the qualities of the best of Muslims.

As believers, we need to be constantly striving to be better, so let’s follow these Hadiths and strive to be the best in the sight of Allah. Because at the end of the day, being the best in Dunya isn’t worth it, if your life isn’t pleasing to Allah.

“The best of the Muslims is he from whose hand and tongue other Muslims are safe.” [Muslim]

In order to be the best believers, we need to be the most peaceful. People need to feel safe around us, not just from physical harm, but from our speech as well. Look inside yourself and honestly analyze your lifestyle, and ask yourself, “Do I often say bad things to others or about others? Do people fear my violent temper? Are people afraid to trust me?”

These questions are very important in helping us grow into people whom others feel safe around. The general rule is ‘Do no harm’ and this is one of the fundamental principles of Islam.

“The best among you are those with the best manners and character.” [Bukhari]How to be the best

Our religion is one which emphasizes excellent manners and character. How we treat people is the sign of how well we have understood our religion.

Sadly, some people become more harsh, rude and arrogant when they start practicing Islam, which is the opposite of what Islam teaches. To be the best of believers we need to display the best of manners always, and in our dealings will all types of people. Manners are essential for perfecting our faith.

“The best of people are those who are most beneficial to mankind.” [Daraqutni, Hasan]

Islam is not a selfish religion. It is not just about personal and private acts of worship. Rather, the best Muslims are those who dedicate their lives to serving the ummah for the sake of Allah.

Each of us have different skills and knowledge that can be used to benefit others. It is our duty as Muslims to use these skills to benefit the ummah and not to focus only upon ourselves. Make it an essential part of your life to serve the community, because this is what Muslims do.

“The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” [Darimi, Sahih]

The Qur’an is the foundation of our religion. It is our duty to study it, understand it, practice it, live by it, and convey its message to others. The most noblest thing that a Muslim can dedicate his/her life to is the studying and teaching of the Qur’an.

This includes teaching people how to recite Qur’an, teaching Tajweed, Tafsir, Arabic, Hifz, and even Islamic Studies, because all Islamic Studies subjects require studying the meaning of different verses of the Qur’an. Let us all find a way to be a part of this noble process, so that we too can be among the best of this ummah.

“The best of you are those who are best to their families, and I am the best of you to my family.” [Tirmidhi, Sahih]

How we treat our families in private is the true test of our faith and character. It is easy to pretend to be humble, pious and well mannered in public. But to be remain righteous, humble, loving, gentle, and well mannered at home is the true sign of faith.

To be the best, we need to follow the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) example and treat our families well. A true believer is a good Muslim, both in public and in private.

To summarize, from these five hadiths, we learn that the best of Muslims are those who:

  1. Do not harm others
  2. Have excellent manners and character
  3. are beneficial to humanity
  4. study and teach the Quran
  5. treat their families well

Let us strive to practice on these five Hadiths. In shaa Allah, I will publish another article next week focusing on five more qualities of the best of believers.

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Positive Thinking, Productivity, 4 comments

You want good leaders, but are you prepared to follow them?

The Realization 

A realization dawned on me recently. I was sitting in a meeting for one of many Islamic organizations that I am involved with. The elders in the organization praised the new young leader and said they were happy to have him as one of their leaders.

Then the new leader held them accountable for work they were not doing and set an ultimatum. The elders began to grumble, some walked out, others muttered to each other about how young people how no respect. Others said they have been doing things their way for years and are not going to change to suit this new young leader. At the end of the day, there was no compliance.

I know what happens next, I’ve seen it happen in cycles for years. The young leader begins to realize that nobody Leaders 1takes him seriously, and eventually he burns out. Then he resigns. The elders then tell him that he was doing a great job, and they will miss him, and they give him an applause as he leaves. Then a new young leader is appointed, and the cycle repeats itself over and over again.

I realized that day that many organizations are stuck in a cycle. I also realized that everybody wants someone else to lead, but nobody wants to follow. In this lies one of our biggest challenges as an ummah, who is ready to follow the leaders?

So you want good leaders?

So you really want good leaders? Or do you just want someone else being held responsible for your mistakes? Understand this very well: If you want a good leader, you need to be ready to follow him even when you disagree with him!

This reminds me of a quotation attributed to Ali Ibn Abi Talib (Allah be pleased with him). When he was the Caliph, there was a lot of turmoil. Someone questioned his leadership and said such turmoil didn’t occur in the time of Abu Bakr and Umar. To this, Ali is reported to have replied, “This is because they had followers like me, and I have followers like you,” This shows us that the quality of the followers is just as important as the quality of the leader.Leaders 2

We spend so much time talking about the qualities of leaders, we forget to discuss the other side of the equation: every good leader needs good followers in order to succeed. So let’s take a step back and talk about what are the qualities of a good follower in Islam.

1. Obedience

There is no point appointing a leader, if nobody is willing to follow the leader. Leaders need followers, and as Muslims, we must follow our appointed leaders in all that is permissible, even when we disagree with them. It is this last point that many of us fall short off. We only follow the leader when he agrees with us. At that point, you need to ask yourself, am I trying to lead the leader?

The rule is simple: if someone is appointed as leader of a group, then his decisions should be respected and followed, unless he calls for something that is haraam. If you are not willing to follow him when you disagree, why select him as a leader?

2. Humility

We always talk about humility as a quality of good leaders, and that is true. Yet humility is also crucial in followers. If the leader is humble and his followers are arrogant, they could potentially walk all over him and take over. Humility is an essential quality of every believer, whether you are in a position of leadership or not. Be humble, always.

3. Shuraa and Naseeha

It is the duty of wise followers to advice the leader and partake in group discussions. However, at the end of the day, we should respect the leader’s decision, even if it goes against our advice, as long as the leader isn’t calling towards Haraam. Advice, discuss, then respect the decision. That is how Shuraa is supposed to work.

4. Not obeying in Haraam

This point is simple. If the leader calls for something which is prohibited, then you should not obey him and should remind him that it is prohibited. This rule is so fundamental that it is better to lose a job because of such disobedience than to commit haraam in order to please your boss.

5. Following, even when you disagreeLeaders 3

As stated above in the first and third point, it needs repeating and emphasizing. This is where so many Islamic organizations fall apart, when people’s egos stop them from following orders, because the leader didn’t choose his opinion. Swallow your pride and follow through. There is a reason he is in the leadership position, as he may have experience and wisdom that you do not have.

6. Respect and politeness

Be politely and respect everybody. Manners are an essential part of our faith, so never forget your manners.

7. Dua and seeking forgiveness

Pray for Allah to always guide those in leadership positions to make the best choices, and ask Allah to forgive them and us for our shortcomings. They will make mistakes, so do you. Ask for their forgiveness, as you ask for your own.

8. Being a team player

It may seem cool to be rebellious and sarcastic, but it is not Islamic and it causes instability in your organization. be approachable, friendly, vision-focused, and flexible. Stay focused on fulfilling the vision of the organization even when you disagree with the route. At the end of the day, we are all working towards the same goal, so let’s function like a real team and stay focused.

In order for this ummah to succeed, we do need great leaders but we also need an ummah that is vision-focused and humble enough to follow the leaders. If we want things to change, let’s start with ourselves. Be the kind of team player you would like others to be if you were in a leadership position.

May Allah bless this ummah with strong leaders, sincere followers, and a clear path to revival in every way.

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Leadership, 2 comments

Islamic Self Help is now 1 Year Old

1 Year of Islamic Self Help

Alhamdulillah, Islamic Self Help has been running for officially 1 year now, having launched 17 April 2015.

During this year, we have grown gradually with our eyes fixed on our vision and long term goals. We started with two eBooks and 3 articles, and worked daily on this project.

The website has grown with each month and currently hosts:

  1. Sixty Blog Posts
  2. Six eBooks
  3. Two Online Video Courses

Alhamdulillah, the website would not be what it is without your support and assistance. We plan to continue growing with each passing month, and have the following lined up for this year:

  1. A new blog post uploaded every week
  2. Three more online courses in development
  3. Three more eBooks currently in development
  4. Two translations (German and Swedish) currently in development
  5. Our first audiobooks currently in development

We hope to launch all of these within 2016. We also hope that with your continuous encouragement and support, Islamic Self Help will grow beyond our imagination.

Jazakallah Khair to all of you being a part of our journey. With the help of Allah, the journey will continue deeper into this field than anyone has ever gone before.

1 Year Old eBook

Our first eBook, launched 1 year ago.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar, 1 comment

Time is Rizq – A Different Perspective

Time is Rizq (An Extract from Getting The Barakah)

In order to truly appreciate the importance of time management, we must understand and acknowledge that time is a part of our Rizq. It is a resource that Allah has provide to us, just like our health and wealth. There are two special qualities about time that separate it from the other types of Rizq we receive:

  1. Every human is provided with the exact same amount of time in a day.
  2. Time is the only resource that is not renewable. Once it is used, it is gone forever.
Time is Rizq

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Each of the above points has a direct repercussion on the way we think about time. The following three points should make us realize how precious a resource our time really is:

  1. As every human has the exact same amount of time per day as another, there is nothing we can do to increase our time, but we can have an edge over others is how we manage our time.
  2. As time is not renewable, it would be foolish to waste it or kill it. Why waste a precious resource that you are never going to get back?
  3. As we don’t know how much time we really have on this earth, can we really afford to waste time now and wait until later in life to do things that are important to us?

The Hadiths[1] related to time become very clear when we analyse them from this perspective. Reflect on the following Hadiths in light of the above:

Hadith 1:

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِرَجُلٍ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ اغْتَنِمْ خَمْسًا قَبْلَ خَمْسٍ شَبَابَكَ قَبْلَ هَرَمِكَ وَصِحَّتَكَ قَبْلَ سَقَمِكَ وَغِنَاكَ قَبْلَ فَقْرِكَ وَفَرَاغَكَ قَبْلَ شُغُلِكَ وَحَيَاتَكَ قَبْلَ مَوْتِكَ

“Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death” (Narrated by Ibn Abbas and reported by Al Hakim)

Author’s Reflection:

  1. Everything mentioned in this Hadith is a type of Rizq: youth, health, wealth, free time and our life as a whole
  2. Therefore we must be very careful in how we utilize each of the above
  3. Notice that the Hadith mentions free time and not time as a whole. Due to the necessities of life, there are times in the day that we have to do certain things (Work, Salah) and we can’t use that time for anything else, so it’s really how we utilize our free time that matters.

Hadith 2

عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نِعْمَتَانِ مَغْبُونٌ فِيهِمَا كَثِيرٌ مِنْ النَّاسِ الصِّحَّةُ وَالْفَرَاغُ

“There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) health and free time for doing good.” (Bukhari 8/421)

Author’s Reflection:

  1. This Hadith focuses on two resources: health and free time.
  2. Both of these are necessary resources for doing good deeds. It is difficult to do good deeds without good health or enough time to do it properly.
  3. These are two things that most people take for granted. For some reason, we don’t appreciate these blessings from Allah until they are taken away from us.
  4. The best way to show appreciation to Allah for a blessing is to use it as a tool for good. Therefore, our free time must be utilized and we cannot allow it to be wasted.

Hadith 3

قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يُؤْذِينِي ابْنُ آدَمَ يَسُبُّ الدَّهْرَ وَأَنَا الدَّهْرُ بِيَدِي الْأَمْرُ أُقَلِّبُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ

“Allah said, ‘The son of Adam wrongs me for he curses Ad-Dahr (Time); though I am Ad-Dahr (Time). In My Hands are all things, and I cause the revolution of day and night” (Al-Bukhari)

Author’s Reflection:

  1. In this Hadith Al-Qudsi[2], Allah says that He is Time. The scholars clarify this to mean that time is controlled and provided to us by Allah. It is a blessing from Allah and so cursing it is like cursing Allah.
  2. When we feel that time is slipping away and that we don’t have enough time to accomplish what we want in life, don’t curse time because you were given the same amount of time in a day as everybody else. Rather, take that moment to analyse how you spent your time and what you can do differently.

The above Hadiths all indicate the same thing, that the true believer understands the importance of time and refuses to waste it. It is a precious asset that is deteriorating every second, and so an hour wasted is an hour that we can never get back.

[1] Hadith: A narration containing information about what the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said or did

[2] Hadith Al-Qudsi: A Hadith narration quoting Allah directly. It is considered a separate category from a Hadith quoting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Time Management, 1 comment

How to be happy in 20 short tips

How to be happy

How to be happy? By not being sad, of course. But it is a bit more complex than that. Human beings tend to focus on the negatives in our lives. We tend to look at the glass as half empty, even when it is more than half full. Happiness lies not in owning certain material possessions or reaching a certain stage of life. Happiness lies in the decisions you make today.

You don’t need to wait for something special to happen to experience happiness. You can experience it right now by implementing these simple tips:

  1. Obey Allah and worship Him properly, because all true happiness comes from Allah
  2. Think about all of the good things in your life.
  3. Thank Allah for all the blessings in your life.
  4. Be in the moment and enjoy your time with family and friends today.
  5. Avoid worrying about the past. Whatever happened is over and can’t be changed, focus on today.
  6. Avoid fretting over the future. Whatever is meant to happened will happen, focus on today.
  7. Smile 🙂
  8. Do something nice for someone else
  9. Spend some time in nature
  10. Spend quality time with your loved ones
  11. Think about your happiest memories
  12. Give some charity
  13. Express your love to your family members with hugs and kisses
  14. Buy a gift for a loved one
  15. Experience the joy of giving
  16. Relax and have some Halal fun
  17. Visit an old friend or relative, and talk about happy memories together
  18. Start a productive and beneficial hobby
  19. Make your parents smile
  20. Laugh and share a good (halal) joke with your loved ones

Life is full of ups and downs. There are always things to worry about and things to be thankful for. Focus on the latter and your life will be happy. Whatever tests you are currently facing will pass, so do not allow anxiety to consume you. Whatever good you are currently enjoying will also end, so enjoy every moment of it while it lasts.

How to be happy

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Inner Peace, Positive Thinking, 1 comment