We have discussed how respect for each other, our environment and ourselves was inherent in the religion of Islam. The concept of treating ourselves and everything around us with respect is not possible without complete submission to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), and without understanding how and why we surrender to His will. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) reminds us in Quraan that our sole purpose in life is to worship Him.
وَمَا خَلَقۡتُ ٱلۡجِنَّ وَٱلۡإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُونِ (56)
“I did not create the Jinns and the human beings except for the purpose that they should worship Me.” (az-Zaariyaat 51:56)
Worshipping Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) does not mean spending the entire day in one place praying; it does not mean that we neglect the life of this world in favor of a life of seclusion; what it means is that we fulfill our obligations towards Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and attempt to have Him constantly on our minds and tongues. The mundane tasks of life become worship when they are done to please our Creator. When we fulfil our obligations such as to offer Salaah, keep Sawm, and give Zakaah, it becomes worship when done with a sense of gratitude and humbleness. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) does not need us, for He is Self-sufficient and Omnipotent. We are the ones in need of Him. He is the reason for our existence and He is the foundation on which we should build our lives.
Lives lived without purpose lead to nothing but loss.
وَٱلۡعَصۡرِ (1) إِنَّ ٱلۡإِنسَٰنَ لَفِي خُسۡرٍ (2) إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّٰلِحَٰتِ وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلصَّبۡرِ (3)
“(I swear) by the Time! Man is in a state of loss indeed, except those who believed and did righteous deeds, and exhorted each other to follow truth, and exhorted each other to observe patience.” (al-‘Asr 103:1-3)
However, filling our lives with purpose enables contentment and this allows us to show respect for each other and ourselves. Respect for Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) means obeying Him. Obeying Allah (Subhaa-nahu Wa Ta’aalaa) means we are in the enviable position of being worthy of others respect. Failure to surrender to Allah (Subhaan-ahu Wa Ta’aalaa) leads to lives devoid of respect. Treating each other with contempt, gossiping and backbiting shows a lack of respect in our lives. Engaging in the great sins of lying, spying on others and using bad words also means we are not worthy of being shown respect by others.
Lying is one of the major reasons for corruption in society. Any form of lying creates enmity and sews disrespect between people, but the most obnoxious form of lying is to falsely attributing things to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) or to his Prophets and Messenger. Islam forbids lying and enjoins the believers to be truthful. The words of Quraan testify to this. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَكُونُواْ مَعَ ٱلصَّٰدِقِينَ (119)
“O you who believe! Fear Allah, and be in the company of the truthful.” (At-Taubah9:119)
And He says:
فَمَنۡ أَظۡلَمُ مِمَّنِ ٱفۡتَرَىٰ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ كَذِبٗا لِّيُضِلَّ ٱلنَّاسَ بِغَيۡرِ عِلۡمٍۚ (144)
“So, who is more unjust than the one who fabricates a lie against Allah in order to misguide people without knowledge?” (Al-An’aam 6:144)
In his narrations and sayings, Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam) often exhorted his followers to adhere to honesty and stay away from the vices inherent in lying. He said: “Beware of telling lies, for lying leads to immorality and immorality leads to Jahannum (Hellfire).” (Muslim)
Even one of his greatest enemies, when he had not come into the fold of Islam, attested to the fact that Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam) was truthful and commanded truthfulness. Hadhrat Abu Sufyaan, himself told later, that although despising the Prophet (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam) admitted that he commanded his followers to offer Salaah, to be truthful and to uphold the ties of kinship. (Bukhari, Muslim)
Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam) warned his followers of the evils of spying on others when he said: ‘Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the falsest of speech. Do not eavesdrop; do not spy on one another; do not envy one another; do not forsake one another; do not hate one another. Be, O slaves of God, brothers.” (Muslim)
Indeed Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) himself has reminded us to avoid suspicion. He said:
ٱجۡتَنِبُواْ كَثِيرٗا مِّنَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعۡضَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِثۡمٌۖ وَ لَا تَجَسَّسُواْ (12)
“….abstain from many of the suspicions. Some suspicions are sins. And do not be curious (spy to find out faults of others)…..” (al-Hujuraat 49:12)
In Islam, it is not permissible to search for or reveal the secrets of others. Spying and all it involves, such as eavesdropping and asking too many private questions, is forbidden because it involves disrespecting the private lives of others by disobeying Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa).
The great and well respected Caliph Hadhrat Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz said to someone who passed on malicious gossip to him: “If you wish, we can look into the matter. If you are lying, you will be one of the people mentioned by Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) in the 49thAayah of 6thSoorah (Chapter) of Quraan i.e. ‘If a rebellious evil person comes to you with news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done.’ If you are telling the truth, you will be one of the people mentioned in the 68thAayah of 11thSoorah i.e. ‘A slanderer, going about with calumnies’. Or if you wish, we will forgive you.” He said: “Forgive me, O Leader of the believers! I will never do it again.”
Lying, gossiping, slandering and spying are great sins, so to, is using bad words.
Bad words show disrespect to those being spoken about and a total lack of self-respect. Reviling, insulting, cursing and rudeness, these are bad words and they usually are uttered when someone is overcome by anger. Anger is an emotion that may open the doors to all kinds of evil and disrespect. It can sometimes result in breaking the bonds of goodwill and even destroy family relationships. Anger can even move beyond just using insulting words and cause one person to physically harm another.
Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam) was not a person to use insulting words or obscene language and he did not curse people. If he wanted to rebuke someone he would say: “What is wrong with him? – woe to him!” (Bukhari)
The true believer, the one submitted to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), must learn to control his tongue and not speak unless he says something good. In his sayings, Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaahu Alaihe WaSallam) reminds us that whoever believes in Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and the day of Qiyaamah (Resurrection) must speak good or keep silent. (Bukhari, Muslim)
He said trading insults with a believer was evil, fighting was minor disbelief and cursing a believer was like killing him.(Bukhari)
Stern words indeed, they leave no room for misinterpretation. Bad words lead to evil doing and ultimately punishment. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) reminds us that the best speech is the remembrance of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) because it brings contentment and a sense of peace.
أَلَا بِذِكۡرِ ٱللَّهِ تَطۡمَئِنُّ ٱلۡقُلُوبُ (28)
“Listen, the hearts find peace only in the remembrance of Allah.” (Ar-Ra’d 13:28)
A person who keeps himself busy doing good deeds and seeking Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s pleasure is a person who knows the meaning of respect.