A collection of words of wisdom and excerpts from the spiritual gatherings of Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq

Deep Roots

In a hadīth, the Prophet ﷺ has described the munāfiq and the muʾmin with examples of trees. The muʾmin is similar to a tree with deep roots. It is tall-standing and firm. Even when it is buffeted by the strong winds of a hurricane, the most that happens to it is that it sways and bends with the wind. It does not snap or fall. When a muʾmin has deep roots of faith and īmān, even when he is buffeted by strong winds of calamities and misfortunes, the muʾmin does not break or snap. The muʾmin is swayed and shaken but does not fall due to their deep roots.

The Prophet ﷺ then described a bush-like tree which grows in the desert. It looks good but it has shallow roots and is top heavy. With a strong gust of wind, the whole tree is uprooted, and it is swept away with the wind. That is the munāfiq. A munāfiq does not sway or bend. One minute the munāfiq is there and the next minute the munāfiq is gone. Rather than bending, swaying or breaking, the munafiq disappears. A munāfiq is never stable, steady or perseverant because the munāfiq has no principles. Why would the the munāfiq have principles? A conscious does not matter. What matters is immediate gain and profit. For short term gain, the munafiq is willing to trade his opinions, position, loyalty and even religion.

May Allāh make us from amongst those that have deep roots and not those that sell everything for short term benefit. 

[This short excerpt is based on a lecture entitled ‘Traits of Hypocrisy Part 3’ delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 20thDecember 2019].


The Colour of Allāh

One of the traits of hypocrisy is that a person tries to please the whole of creation but not Allāh. It is impossible to please everybody and tell everybody what they want to hear. This is because to do so will mean that there is lying and deception involved. Every time someone tells another person what they want to hear, they will likely be lying, and lying is the probably the greatest trait of hypocrisy.

We ourselves do not know what we want. One minute we want one thing, and the next minute we want something else. Thus, it can be said that we are unable to please ourselves. Bearing that in mind, how are we going to be able to please everyone else all the time? When we do try and do that, we have to put on a facade, cheat and deceive – these are all the traits of hypocrisy. A muʾmin cannot and does not behave like that. A muʾmin stands for something and has principles. A muʾmin is honest and transparent and says ‘This is what I believe and this is what I stand for’. Therefore, a muʾmin, by his very character, cannot say different things to different people at different times with regards to his beliefs and opinions. He belongs to the group of muʾmineen, the group of believers. They have their colour, the colour of Allāh:

صِبْغَةَ اللَّهِ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللَّهِ صِبْغَةً وَنَحْنُ لَهُ عَابِدُونَ

(We take our) colour from Allāh, and who is better than Allāh at colouring. We are His worshippers. [Sūrat al-Baqarah 2:138]

[This short excerpt is based on a lecture entitled ‘Traits of Hypocrisy Part 2’ delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 13th December 2019].


Nice Guys Finish Last

Deception is a trait of hypocrisy.  For every single trait of hypocrisy, you will note that the opposite will be true for īmān and the believers. What is the opposite of deception? Innocence. A believer is innocent and trusting.  Rasūl Allāh ﷺ was innocent, believing and trusting. That is the character of a believer. The opposite is true of a munāfiq. A munāfiq does not trust anyone. A munāfiq is always playing games, lying and deceiving. The treacherous munāfiq does not trust others but cannot be trusted himself. Their whole life is one of deception. They do it so much that they even try and deceive Allāh. 

The fact of life is that the innocent will always be deceived and wronged. A common aphorism is that ‘nice guys finish last’. This is in the dunyā. By Allāh! They are at the front in the ākhirah. The innocent suffer because others manipulate and exploit them, lie to them and wrong them. The innoncent muʾmin does not behave like the deceiving munāfiq. The muʾmin is lied to and accepts. There is no protection against lying. If you have ever been a victim of injustice, lying, false propaganda and defamation then do not grieve. The Messengers of Allāh and some of the greatest of people were victims of the same.  

[This short excerpt is based on a lecture entitled ‘Traits of Hypocrisy’ delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 6th December 2019]


Reconciliation through Positivity

Reconciliation does not happen if you keep on digging up old dirt. If you wish to resolve a dispute, you should not repeatedly go over what has happened before. You have to bury the past.

In order to reconcile, forgive and forget, and to tolerate others you have to focus on the positives and overlook the negatives. This is what we learn from the Qurʾān and hadīth and this should be our approach in everything.

[This short excerpt is based on a lecture delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 22nd November 2019]


Richest Man in the Cemetery

Abū al-Dardāʾ رضى الله عنه used to say “We eat and drink and the rich eat and drink. We dress and the rich dress. The rich have excess wealth and they look at their excess wealth and we look at their excess wealth. But they will be questioned about it, and we will not.”

These are real words of wisdom from Abū al-Dardāʾ رضى الله عنه.

In the Holy Qur’an, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى addresses His Messenger ﷺ and says:

Your Lord will give you until you are content [Sūrat al-Ḍuḥā, 93:5]

We should remember that this verse is to do with the ākhirah. The truth is that insān, on earth, is never content, unless he trains his mind, soul and heart. No matter what we achieve in the dunya, we are not satisfied and do not stop. This is the very nature of man. Steve Jobs once said ‘Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me’. That is ultimately what it is; no matter how wealthy we may become, we must ultimately enter the grave. At that point, what does all our wealth account for? It is meaningless.

We should therefore shift our gaze and focus from the dunya to the ākhirah. One way of training our minds is by reflecting on the profound statement of Abū al-Dardā. What does his saying mean? No matter how rich you become, there is only so much you can consume, wear and benefit from. Any excess wealth will just be on display.  

[This short excerpt is based on a lecture delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 22nd November 2019]


Sunnah beyond Worship

We should be endeavouring to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet ﷺ and follow him in every aspect of our lives.

We should remember that his sunnah is not just in his worship. Sunnah is in our dealings with each other, in the softness of his words, his akhlāq, in the way he behaved with others, in the way he treated others, in the way he treated women and children, and even the way he treated his enemies. All of this is part of his sunnah. It was not just his salāh, zakāh and Hajj. His sunnah is in everything. This is what the ʿulamāʾ always try and adopt.

[This short excerpt is based on a lecture delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 15th November 2019]


Emulation

The life of the Prophet ﷺ should be emulated not just celebrated.


The Final Message

What was the last verse of the Qur’an to be revealed? Many people believe it to be:

On this day I have completed my blessing and favour to you and I am content with Islam  as a deen and religion for you [ Surah al-Māʾidah 5:3]

However this was not the case.The last verse to be revealed is in Surah al-Baqarah (Surah 2:Verse 281) in which Allah reminds mankind that they will be returned to Him:

And be wary of a day in which you shall all be returned to Allāh. Then each soul shall be repaid in full, whatever it has earned. And they will not suffer any injustice. [Sūrat al-Baqarah, 2:281]

Ponder on the fact that the entire Quran with the stories of the Prophets, stories of the pious, all its laws about marriage, divorce, transactions, children, with all its teachings about worship and life, after all that this is the final verse that was revealed. After all that, we are told to ‘be wary of a day in which you shall all be returned to Allah.’ That is the final verse and the final message of the Quran for us to ponder over.

[This short excerpt is based on the lecture, ‘The Purpose of Life’ delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 27th January 2017]


Utter Devotion

Allāh told the Prophet ﷺ at the beginning of Prophethood ‘Read by the name of your Lord.’ [Sūrat ul-ʿAlaq].

We look at this verse and think look how much the Qurʾān has emphasised learning and education. It is true. But, has the the Qurʾān focussed on, and emphasised, learning and education purely for the the sake of reading, or learning for the sake of learning? Or is there a greater purpose?

If we think the Qurʾān has emphasised learning and reading, for the sake of learning itself then we have misunderstood the verse. Following revelation of this verse, Sūrat ul-Muzzammil and Sūrat ul-Muddaththir were revealed. In Sūrat ul-Muzzammil, Allāh says

Oh one wrapped in a shroud. Rise at night except for very little. [Sūrat ul-Muzzammil, 73:1-2]

(meaning spend as much of the night in prayer as possible leaving only a little time not spent in prayer).

Later Allāh says:

And Remember the name of your Lord and devote yourself unto Allāh with an utter devotion. [Sūrat ul-Muzzammil, 73:8]

The purpose even for the Prophet ﷺ was not reading for the sake of reading, or learning for the sake of learning . The Prophet ﷺ did not have to learn anything. Allāh taught him everything.

Hence, for the Prophet ﷺ the meaning of reading here is not reading a script for the purpose of learning. Reading here is recital of what Allāh gave him . Of course the duty of the Prophet ﷺ was rising and warning the people and conveying the message of Allāh (as mentioned in Sūrat ul-Muzzammil and Sūrat ul-Muddaththir). We know about that duty.

But, what about his personal relationship with Allāh? Of that, Allāh says ‘Remember the name of your Lord and devote yourself to him with an utter devotion.’ That was right at the beginning of his Prophethood, long before he had a band of followers, long before Hijrah and before he had a position of power , influence, or authority.

[This short except is based on the talk ‘The Spirituality of the Prophet ﷺ’ which was delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 17th December 2017]


Success and Wealth

We think money will buy us everything – power, love, influence, recognition, peace, joy, happiness and so on. Money cannot necessarily buy these things. We think success is in wealth. We often say that he or she is ‘successful’ meaning that they are wealthy. If someone does well in business, they are considered successful. Hence, we equate wealth with success and success with wealth.

We think success lies in gaining wealth. Allāh سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ‎ says success lies in giving away wealth.

We think success is acquiring wealth. Allāh سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ‎ says success is in distributing wealth.

We believe success is in gathering, collecting and hoarding wealth. Allāh سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ‎ says success is in giving away that wealth. That is why Allāh سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ‎ says in a verse of Sūrat Ar-Rūm:

“So give the relative his due and the poor and the traveller.[Sūrat Ar-Rūm 30:38]

Remember, this is over and above zakāh.  Zakāh is obligatory but Allāh سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ‎ has told us that zakāh is the bare minimum that you should give. Over and above zakāh, you should give as much wealth as possible. To whom? To all kinds of categories of people as in this verse.

[This short except is based on the talk ‘True Success’ which was delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 3rd March 2017]


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