Monday, June 13, 2011

A Righteous Predecessor Advises His Son

Al-Hafidth Abu Hatim Muhammad Ibn Hibban

Mohammad ibn al Mundhir ibn Sa'id related to me that Abu Hatim Muhammad Ibn Idris Al-Handthali said, that Al-Khattab Ibn Al Ma'la Al Makhzumi Al-Qurashi advised his son saying:

My son, fear Allah and be obedient to Him. Avoid sinning, by following His Sunnah and teachings in order to rectify your faults and attain bliss, indeed nothing whatsoever is hidden from Allah. I have put some directions together and drew out a plan for you. If you memorize, understand and act upon them, you would fill the eyes of kings and even the vagabond would be obedient to you. You would continue to be needed and honored, people would continue to be in need of what you possess. So obey your father, suffice yourself with his advice and open your mind and heart to it.

Beware of excessive talking, joking, laughing and fooling around with brothers, indeed this removes respect / esteem and causes disputes. It is upon you to be tranquil and calm without having pride, which may be attributed to you, and without being arrogant, which may be said about you. Treat both friends and enemies pleasantly, prevent their harms without belittling them or holding them in high regard.

Take the middle path in all your affairs, for indeed the best affairs are the intermediary ones [i.e. between extremism and excessive lenience]. Speak little, spread the Salaam, and walk firmly and purposefully. Do not stamp your feet, drag your tail [i.e.: Isbal], raise your neck, robes or be conceited. Do not look around too much, nor stop at crowds or linger in the market.

Do not debate a lot and do not get into arguments with the foolish. When you speak, keep it short and limit joking. If you sit, cross your legs and avoid interlocking your fingers, playing with your beard, ring or sword handle. Do not clean between your teeth [while sitting in public], pick your nose or busy yourself with chasing flies away. Do not spy on others and so forth, which would cause people to belittle or insult you.

Sit calmly in gatherings and speak proportionately. Listen attentively to those who speak about good, without displaying amazement or asking them to repeat themselves, and refrain from telling jokes or funny stories.

Do not speak about how impressed you are of your children, servants, means of transportation or weapons. Beware of drawing 'The Eye' upon yourself, for if you display your admiration for these things, the foolish would desire them. They would then make up stories about you and question your intellect.

Do not behave like women, and do not be as subservient as a servant. Do not puff up your beard or pat it down to hide it. Refrain from trimming it and pulling out grey hairs. Do not excessively use Kuhl and oils/lotion, use Kuhl occasionally.

Do not plead for your needs, and do not be demanding of your requests.

Do not tell your family how much wealth you have, let alone others. For if they perceive it to be little, you would be trivial in their eyes, and if it were a lot, you wouldn't gain their satisfaction through it anyway. Discipline them without using force and be lenient to them without being weak and do not mock your servants.

If you were to ever argue, be respectful and safeguard yourself from your own ignorance. Avoid being hasty and contemplate over your argument. Show the judge your forbearance, refrain from pointing a lot, shuffling your feet, reddening your face and sweating. If you are insulted by your adversary, be forbearing and only speak when calm.

When you make a promise, abide by it, and when you speak be truthful. Do not raise your voice when arguing, as if you were debating with a deaf person, but at the same time do not be hushed like a mute, and select the best of speech, saying things that are accepted.

If you relate something that you have heard, refer it to the initial speaker. Beware of telling atrocious tales that are disliked by the hearts and cause the skin to tremble, and refrain from being repetitive such as saying 'yes, yes', 'no, no', 'hurry up, hurry up' and so on.

When you practice ablution, scrub your palms well and place glasswort (a strong-pleasant smelling succulent shrub) in your mouth as you would when using Siwak (brushing your teeth). Do not clear your throat into the wash basin. Remove water from your mouth gently, do not spit it so as not to accidentally spray the closest person to you.

Do not take a bite from a meal and then replace the rest [when eating with others from the same dish], indeed this is disliked. Do not frequently ask for drinks at the kings table, and do not fiddle with bones. Do not fault anything that is offered to you at the table by saying things such as 'there is not enough seasoning, vegetables or honey' and so on.

Do not grasp onto your money like a miser, and do not spend it like a foolish deluded spendthrift. Know what obligatory rights others have over your wealth, the sacredness of friends, do not be dependant on people and they would be in need of you. Know that greed leads to an attribute [i.e. would lead it be one of your attributes], and desire, as is it said, knocks at the door of slavery/servitude [i.e. would lead you to be subservient to others]. Tasting it may prevent you from tasting a lot of other meals.

Being self-sufficient is an immense treasure/wealth and an honorable mannerism. A man knowing himself/his standing...

"My son, indeed a man's wife is his home/livelihood, he has no life with other than her, so when you decide to take a wife, inquire about her family, for indeed good roots yield sweet fruits.

Know that women differ greatly, more so than the fingers of your hand, so shield yourself from those amongst them who are naturally prone to cause harm. Amongst them are those who are self conceited..."

Khadejah Jones
Share Islam Team

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