Islam, Prophet Muhammed and the Hadith – all wildly debated, misinterpreted, or misused in the context of war and conflict. But the advice Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) gave to some of his companions proves not only to be very practical and versatile but also applicable for those among us that are non-Muslim or non-believers. The prophet emphasized values and principles that aren’t just Muslim but humanitarian and most of all he promoted love, compassion and peace.
Here, are collected some hadith - are all part of Prophet Muhammed’s encounter with his companion Abu Dharr Al Ghifarri, giving him words of advice. You will see that each piece of advice can be adopted by anyone in every life situation.
1. Don’t become attached to the material world
“Oh Abu Dharr! This world is the prison of the believer and the paradise of the unbeliever.”
What makes you happy isn’t the world of material but sentiments, knowledge, love and other inanimate prizes. Don’t treasure your possessions but experiences, memories and relationships. No one can take these away from you.
2. Practice what you preach
“Oh Abu Dharr! There will be a day when a group of people of Paradise will be over a group of people of Hell, and they will say, ‘What has made you enter hell-fire? For surely we entered paradise by you teaching us and your disciplining us!’ They will say: We used to bid others to do good while we ourselves didn’t do it.”
Simple; if you cannot follow your own advice, don’t preach it to others! If you really truly believe in a cause, teach it, educate those around you and practice it yourself. Avoid hypocrisy!
3. Quality over quality
“Oh Abu Dharr! The Virtue of knowledge is greater than that of worship. And know you that if you prayed until your back becomes bent and you fasted until you became thin as strings that would not benefit you unless it is done with piety.”
Prayers aside, when you put your heart and soul into the things you do, you’ll go much farther. Whether we are talking about tasks at work, time spent with family or prayers and fasting; delegate some tasks, make compromises and do everything full heartedly.
4. Remember God in times of ease
“Shall I not teach you words which may benefit you by Allah’s help? I said: Yes, Oh Messenger of Allah. He (SA) said: Get to know Allah (SWT) in your time of leisure and comfort and Allah (SWT) will remember you in your hard times.”
This hadith speaks for itself; if you remember and think of God even when you are happy, he will be there for you when you’re struggling. Also; appreciate the people and things you have, even when you are happy, and let them know. Don’t only remember them when you are in need.
5. Stay away from Gossip
"Abu Dharr! Beward of backbiting, for backbiting is worse than adultery! So I asked, “Oh Messenger of Allah, and why is that? He (SA) said: Because a man can commit adultery and then repent to Allah (SWT) and Allah (SWT) can forgive him. But the backbiting cannot be forgiven until those who were backbit forgive first.”
Gossip is never the way to go, even when it seems tempting. Accomplish great things instead of wasting away talking about others’ mistakes.
6. Don’t procrastinate
“Oh Abu Dharr! Beware of Procrastination for you are (in) today and not (in) tomorrow. If there is a tomorrow for you, be tomorrow as you are today. If there isn’t a tomorrow for you, you will grievously regret the opportunity you missed today.”
This goes hand in hand with the previous hadith. Don’t waste away and seize the day. That is today, and not tomorrow! Say goodbye to ‘mañana, mañana’.
7. Admit your ignorance
“Oh Abu Dharr! When you are asked of some knowledge you know not of say, “I do not know!” You will be saved of its consequences. Don’t make judgment of that which you haven’t knowledge.”
One can never know everything but that is okay! There’s going to be times when you have little knowledge of a discussed topic, and times when you can’t be sure of another person’s thoughts, past or feelings. In those cases it’s better to reserve an opinion and not make quick judgments – you may not know the whole story!
8. Reflect on your actions
“Oh Abu Dharr! Take account of yourself before you’re taken account of so your accounting will be easier tomorrow. And weigh yourself before you are weighed and prepare for the great staging; the day you will be presented, not the least of a hidden thing of you will be hidden from Allah.”
Muslims believe they will be judged on Judgment Day. Though even for non-Muslims this hadith holds importance. Reflect on your achievements and actions, think about how you can reach your goals and how to improve yourself. Following your plans and doing good deeds is just as important as reflecting on them.
9. Don’t disregard your sins
"Abu Dharr! Don’t look at the smallness of the sin but look at the one you disobeyed.”
In other words, don’t weigh out how bad your action was. If it was bad, acknowledge you have done something wrong and apologize and make it right with whomever you hurt or upset.
10. Treasure your youth, health, wealth, time and life
“Oh Abu Dharr! Take advantage of five things before five things seize you; Your youth before Your old age, your health before your sickness, Your wealth before your poverty, your spare time before your being busy and your life before your death."
This is the perfect final piece of advice from the prophet focusing on all the good possessions in the non-material world. Youth, health, wealth, time and life are there to take advantage of. Celebrate these things and make them your everlasting source of happiness. Be young and adventurous, try different things, food and different sports, travel, spend time with yourself, and live – really live doing the things you love.
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