Deal with the Hearts


People’s moods and circumstances fluctuate between sadness and happiness, health and illness, affluence and poverty, and stability and instability. Subsequently, their reactions to the way they are dealt with also change, depending upon their psychological state at the time. A person may appreciate a joke when feeling stable and relaxed, but not when upset. It would thus be very inappropriate to make a joke when visiting someone who is bereaved. The same joke would be acceptable, if related whilst out on a picnic. Hence, one must take into consideration people’s psychological states, emotions and personalities when speaking to or dealing with them.

Suppose two friends pass their secondary school examinations. One of them passes with flying colours, while the other one fails in some subjects and, therefore, does not achieve the grades required for admission in university. Would it be appropriate for the one, who has qualified, to visit his friend and discuss the university that has accepted him and the various opportunities that have opened up? No doubt, we would all say no. What then should he do? He should mention general matters that might lighten his worry. He could complain about the large number of applicants to universities and how many people are not selected, in order to make his friend feel better. Thereafter, his friend would probably not mind sitting with him and remaining his companion.

The same can be said about two young men – one has a generous father who is always showering him with wealth, while the other has a miserly one who hardly meets his needs. It would not be appropriate for the son of the generous father to speak about his generosity and how he loves to spend on him, as this would distress his friend and cause him to remember what he has to undergo due to his father. Subsequently, he would not like to be in his company, as he would feel that he is insensitive.

For this reason, the Prophet (sa) emphasized that people’s psychological conditions and sensitivities should be considered. He said: “Do not stare at a leper.” (Ibn Majah) A leper is not attractive to look at and, hence, it is inappropriate for people to stare at him, because this would remind him of his affliction and hurt him further.

When the Muslim army entered Makkah, Sad ibn Ubadah (rtam) was carrying the banner of one of the battalions. He waved it and said: “Today is the day of slaughter! Today your inviolabilities will be attacked.”

A woman came and complained to the Prophet (sa), requesting him to intervene in order to avoid bloodshed. The Prophet (sa) did not want to anger Sad (rtam) by taking the banner away from him (carrying the banner was considered to be very noble). At the same time, he did not want to disappoint the woman. Thus, he ordered Sad (rtam) to hand over the banner to his son, Qays ibn Sad (rtam). The woman was satisfied that the banner had been taken away from Sad (rtam), while the latter was still the leader of the battalion with his son carrying the banner.

How wonderful it is to kill two birds with one stone. Try not to lose anyone. Try to win everyone over successfully, even if there is a conflict of interest between them.

Adapted (with permission) from “Enjoy Your Life” published by “Darussalam”. Compiled for “Hiba” by Bisma Ishtiaq.

Changing One’s Personality

enjoy your life

By Dr. Muhammad Abd Al-Rahman Al-Arifi – Prominent figure in the field of Dawah and author of more than twenty published works

The diversity in people’s personalities becomes noticeable when one analyzes the way they react to the various stories or incidents that are related to them. You can carry out this experiment yourself: Try relating a sad story to a group of people and see how differently they react.

I recall delivering a Friday sermon, wherein I mentioned the story of Umar’s (rta) assassination. When I came to the part where Abu Lulu, the Magian, stabbed Umar (rta), I said in a loud voice: “Suddenly, Abu Lulu jumped at Umar (rta) and stabbed him three times! The first stab hacked his chest. The second went into his stomach. Then, with all his strength, he thrust his sword into Umar (rta) below his navel and dragged the knife across his body until his intestines emerged.”

I noticed that people’s reaction to my words varied: Some individuals closed their eyes, as if they were witnessing the murder taking place in front of them. Others wept. Yet others showed no reaction at all.

Another lesson that I have learnt from my life is that you will almost inevitably come across another person, who is uncouth and ignorant. Such a person can neither articulate himself appropriately, nor is he courteous to his audience.

I recall one such person sitting in a public gathering. He decided to relate an incident involving a shopkeeper. As he related the story, he said: “This shopkeeper was huge, like a donkey.” He then said: “He looked like Khalid!” While saying this, he pointed at the person next to him. I have no idea how he managed to liken poor Khalid to a donkey!

Can one change his own personality to suit the personality of the one with whom he is interacting? The answer is: Yes.

Umar (rta) was known for his strong personality. One day, a man quarrelled with his wife and came to Umar (rta) to ask for advice. When he stood at Umar’s (rta) door and was about to knock, he heard Umar’s (rta) wife shouting at him, while he remained silent. He neither shouted back, nor rebuked her!

The man was amazed, and turned to leave. Umar (rta) heard a noise at the door. He went out and called the man: “What do you need?”

He said: “O Ameer Al-Mumineen, I came to you to complain about my wife, but then I heard your wife shouting at you!”

Umar (rta) said, “She is my wife who sleeps with me, makes food for me, and washes my clothes. Shall I not be patient with her?”

One must be patient with others and try to ignore their bad traits in light of their virtues. The amazing person in this regard is he who is able to win all kinds of hearts by knowing the personality of the one with whom he is dealing. If he travels with a miser, he wins his heart by being economical. If he sits with the emotional, he too becomes emotional and his companions love him. If he accompanies the light-hearted, he jokes and laughs along with them. He deals with each situation accordingly and thus, earns people’s love.

Adapted (with permission) from Enjoy Your Life published by Darussalam. Compiled for Hiba by Bisma Ishtiaq.

Be Observant and Complimentary

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The Prophet (sa) had an observant and caring personality. He would make others feel valued and give them the impression that they were important to him. He valued their efforts, no matter how insignificant they were. When he missed them, he mentioned them with good words, encouraging others to do the same.

There was a dark-skinned lady in Madinah, who was a righteous believer. She used to clean the Masjid. The Prophet (sa) would see her every now and then, and marvel at her keenness. Later, several days went by and the Prophet (sa) did not see her. When he asked about her, his companions said: “She has passed away, O Messenger of Allah.” “Why did you not inform me about this?” replied the Prophet (sa).

The companions began to minimize the importance of her death, saying that she was a poor and obscure person – she was not worthy enough for the Prophet (sa) to be informed about her death. They also said: “She died in the middle of the night, so we did not want to wake you up.”

After her death, the Prophet (sa) was very keen to pray for the woman, even if the people deemed it to be insignificant. He asked his men to lead him to her grave. The Prophet (sa) prayed and said: “These graves are filled with darkness for their dwellers, but Allah (swt) illuminates them when I pray over them.”

Unfortunately, we live in a society where kindness is not valued. But we shouldn’t be discouraged by worrying about what certain others think. I remember another incident that happened to someone I know.

A young man, whom I know, was once invited to a great wedding ceremony, where very important people were also invited. He passed by a marketplace on his way and entered a perfume shop. He pretended that he wanted to buy a perfume. The shopkeeper welcomed him kindly and began to spray various brands on him.

When this friend of ours managed to cover his entire garment with perfume, he said to the shopkeeper, “Thank you very much! If any of these perfumes impress me, I might return to you.”

He then rushed off to the ceremony. He finally arrived and sat next to his friend Khalid, but Khalid did not seem to notice the scent or even pass a comment. This friend of mine then asked Khalid: “Can’t you smell the beautiful scent?”

“No,” he replied.

My friend said: “Your nose must be blocked!”

Upon hearing this, Khalid responded: “If my nose was blocked, I would not have smelt your foul odour!”

Adapted (with permission) from “Enjoy Your Life” published by Darussalam. Compiled for Hiba by Bisma Ishtiaq.

Be Concerned About Others

Be Concerned About Others

By Dr. Muhammad Abd Al-Rahman Al-Arifi – A prominent figure in the field of Dawah and author of more than twenty published works

People usually like to be valued. This is why we sometimes see individuals acting in a certain manner in order to attract attention.

Imagine this: a person returns home form work, tired. He enters his living room and finds his four children sitting. One is watching television; the other is having his dinner; the third is playing with his toys, while the fourth is doing his homework. The father greets them enthusiastically: “Assalam ualaikum!” The first three children remain engrossed with whatever they are doing, and simply mumble an inaudible reply. The fourth one, however, stands up, rushes to his father, kisses his hand and greets him warmly.

Which of the four children do you think will be the most beloved to their father? I am certain it will be the fourth one. This would not be because he is the most intelligent or the most handsome. It would only be because he showed his father that he valued him. Hence, the more you care for others, the greater their love and respect will be for you.

Here is another example: suppose a person enters a gathering and does not find a place to sit. Someone maneuvers a little, offers him a place and says pleasantly: “Please come here and sit.” The newcomer will immediately appreciate this gesture of concern from a stranger and warm up to him.

The Prophet (sa) would give utmost importance to this. While he was delivering a sermon from his pulpit one Friday, suddenly, a Bedouin entered the mosque, walked through the rows, looked at the Messenger of Allah (sa) and said in a loud voice: “O Messenger of Allah, I am a person who does not know what his religion is. Teach me what my religion is!”

The Prophet (sa) descended from his pulpit and turned to the man. He asked for a chair, sat on it and began to speak to the man and explain to him his religion, until he understood. He then resumed his sermon.

Who knows, if the Prophet (sa) had ignored the man, he may have remained ignorant about to his religion, until he died.

If we were to learn about the Prophet’s (sa) character, we would find that when he would shake someone’s hand, he wouldn’t withdraw his until the other person withdrew it first. If a person spoke to him, he would completely turn towards him, meaning that he would turn his face and body towards him, in order to listen with full attention.

The Prophet (sa) would also make everyone feel as if their issue was, in fact, his own problem, and that their worry was his personal worry. Since he also educated the Companions, they would also show concern for others, be approachable and share with them their moments of grief and happiness.

Experience tells us that whenever you show people that you value and care for them, you capture their hearts and are thus, endeared to them.

Adapted (with permission) from “Enjoy Your Life” published by “Darussalam”. Compiled for hiba by Bisma Ishtiaq.

Choose the Right Topic

Choose the Right Topic

By Dr. Muhammad Abd Al-Rahman Al-Arifi – A prominent figure in the field of Islamic Dawah and author of more than twenty published works

People unanimously agree that one of the ways of attracting others is to choose the topic their listeners would like to discuss. The Prophet (sa) took this into consideration, and his speech with young men would be different from that with the elderly, the women or the children.

Once, a young man Jabir (rta), travelled with the Prophet (sa) on the Dhat ar-Riqa expedition, and, due to his poverty, he rode a very weak camel that could hardly walk.

The Prophet (sa) struck the camel gently with a whip, and it got up energetically. Jabir (rta) jumped on its back and went alongside the Prophet (sa). The Prophet (sa) turned to Jabir (rta) to converse. Jabir (rta), like other young men, was possibly concerned about marriage and livelihood:

The Prophet (sa) asked: “O Jabir, are you married?”

He replied: “Yes.”

The Prophet (sa) questioned: “To a virgin or to a previously married woman?”

He responded: “Previously married.”

The Prophet (sa) was surprised at his choice: “Why didn’t you marry a virgin so that you could fondle one other?”

Jabir (rta) explained: “O Messenger of Allah, my father was martyred on the day of Uhud and left nine (orphan) daughters, who are my nine sisters. I thus disliked to marry a young girl of their age, and instead, married someone older than them, so she could be like their mother.”

The Prophet (sa) realized that he had sacrificed his own pleasures for his sisters. Thus, the Prophet (sa) decided to tell an appropriate joke for a youth of his age. He (sa) said: “Perhaps, when we head for Madinah and stop over at Sarar (five km from Madinah), your wife will hear of our arrival and lay out the pillows [meaning, she will prepare for his grand arrival].”

Jabir (rta) said: “Pillows?! By Allah, O Messenger of Allah, we do not have pillows!”

The Prophet (sa) said: “Insha’Allah, you will soon have pillows.”

The Prophet (sa) wished to help him, so he returned to Jabir (rta) and asked: “Will you sell me your camel?” Jabir (rta) thought that the camel was his capital, and even though previously weak, it had now become strong! However, he thought it rude to reject the Prophet’s (sa) offer. Thus, he stated: “Make an offer, O Messenger of Allah! How much will you pay?”

The Prophet (sa) said: “A Dirham.”

“A Dirham! You are cheating me, O Messenger of Allah,” replied Jabir (rta).

They continued raising the price, until it amounted to forty Dirhams, or an ounce of gold.

Jabir (rta) said: “Fine, but it is on the condition that I continue to ride it until we reach Madinah.” The Prophet (sa) agreed.

When they reached Madinah, Jabir (rta) went to pray with the Prophet (sa) and tied his camel next to the mosque. When the Prophet (sa) came out of the mosque, Jabir (rta) said to him: “This is your camel, O Messenger of Allah!” The Prophet (sa) said: “O Bilal, give forty Dirhams to Jabir (rta) and more.” Bilal (rta) gave Jabir (rta) forty plus Dirhams. Jabir (rta) took the money and went away, thinking about what he could do with it.

The Prophet (sa) suddenly turned to Bilal (rta) and instructed: “O Bilal, take the camel and give it to Jabir.” Bilal (rta) took it and went to Jabir (rta), who was surprised and wondered, if the Prophet (saw) had cancelled the sale.

Bilal (rta) said: “Take the camel, O Jabir.”

Jabir (rta) asked: “Why? What’s the news?”

Bilal (rta) replied: “Allah’s Messenger has ordered me to give you the camel and the money.”

What wonderful manners! The Prophet (sa) chose an appropriate topic for conversation with the young man, and helped him with kindness and compassion.

(This story has been narrated in a Hadeeth recorded by Bukhari and Muslim.)

Adapted (with permission) from “Enjoy Your Life” published by Darussalam. Compiled for Hiba by Bisma Ishtiaq.

Use the Right Flavour

Use the Right Flavour

There are things which people unanimously love and appreciate; there are things which they collectively dislike. However, there are other things over which people differ; some find them appreciative while others think them as cumbersome. For example, everyone loves to be smiled at and hates to be frowned at; yet, only some appreciate jokes while others do not. Some people may prefer socializing while others would rather be left alone. Some love to talk excessively while others prefer silence. People usually feel comfortable with those who have the same nature as their own self; so why not be pleasing to people of all natures?

Hence, if someone knows that his father prefers silence to excessive talk, then let him deal with his father accordingly, in order to gain his love. If a wife knows that her husband loves jokes, then let her joke with him. If she discovers the opposite, then she should avoid joking with him. The same can be said about a man dealing with his colleagues, neighbours and brothers. Do not think for a moment that people are all of the same nature, for they differ and come in many varieties.

I recall that a righteous old lady, who happens to be the mother of a friend of mine, would praise one of her sons lavishly. She should always be happy, whenever he visited or conversed with her. Even though her other sons and daughters were also kind to her, her heart was attached to this one son in particular. I would wonder about this, so one day I asked my friend why. He replied: “The problem is that my brothers do not comprehend my mother’s nature. They become too cumbersome for her to bear, whenever they sit with her.”

I asked, jokingly: “So your highness was the only one able to discover her nature?”

He laughed and said: “Yes! Allow me to tell you the secret. My mother is like any other aged woman, who loves to talk about womanly issues, such as who got married or divorced, how many sons so-and-so has, which of them is the eldest, what is the name of her first child and so on. I consider all this frivolous, but she loves chatting about it. She feels that the information she shares with me is priceless, as it cannot be found in any book, audio or website. She feels that she is relating unique information to me and is delighted to do so! Whenever I sit with her, I instigate such conversations, and she becomes elated and continues to speak ceaselessly. My brothers talk about issues that do not interest her, and so she feels bored in their company and longs to be in mine! That is all there is to it.”

Yes, if you realize the nature of the one you are conversing with, what he likes and dislikes, you will be able to capture his heart. Whoever looks at the way the Prophet (sa) dealt with people would realize that he would deal with everyone in accordance with their personality.

Adapted (with permission) from “Enjoy Your Life” published by Darussalam. Compiled for Hiba by Bisma Ishtiaq.