Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Red Lines

It's about one of my students was very well read and always keen to form relationships with others. However, he was also very unpleasant.

He came to me one day and said, "Dear teacher, my colleagues never like me. They cannot bear my sense of humour:'

I said to myself, "I cannot bear you when you are silent, so how could I when you speak? Moreover, how terrible are you when you try to be lighthearted and joke?"

I asked him, "Why are they unable to bear your jokes? Give me an example of a joke of yours. "

He said, "Once, one of them sneezed, so I said, 'May Allah curse you..... and remained silent....' When he became angry I completed my sentence, '..... lblis! And may Allah have mercy on you, 0 son of and so!"'

How unpleasant this joke was, I thought.

Poor man, he thought he was being pleasant and lighthearted by making such jokes!

No matter how much people tolerate your humour and wit, there are always redlines that they would never like you to cross, especially in front of others.  However, some people do not give any consideration to this and often transgress others' sensitivities. For instance, some people would take your mobile phone and start phoning whoever they like. Others may use it to send text messages to people whom you do not wish to have your number. One of them may drive your car without your permission, or embarrass you by persistently asking for it until you give in unwillingly. You may find a group of students living in a flat and one of them wakes up to go to the university, he finds that so and so has already left with his coat, and soandso has left with his shoes!

Examples of crossing this red line includes finding some people embarrassing their friends by their unpleasant sense of humour or by asking awkward questions in public.  A person, no matter how much he loves you, will always remain a human being who will be happy at times and angry at others.

When the Prophet Sal’lallah ho’wsalam was on his way back to Madinah from Tabuk, there came to him in that same month 'Urwah bin Mas'ud al Thaqafi.  He was a well respected leader and of a noble status am6ng his tribe of Thaqaf.  He met with the Prophet Sal’lallah ho’wsalam before he reached Madinah and embraced Islam.  He suggested to the Pro het that he should go back to his people and call them to Islam. The Prophet Sal’lallah ho’wsalam feared for his wellbeing and said, "They will fight you:' The Prophet Sal’lallah ho’wsalam knew that the Thaqaf tribe was zealously averse to Islam and extremely stern in their dealings, even with their leaders.

'Urwah replied, "0 Messenger of Allah, 1 am more beloved to them than their virgin daughters. " He was, indeed very much beloved and obeyed by his people.  He went to his people to call them to Islam, hoping that they would not disobey him due to his noble status amongst them.

Upon reaching his people's dwellings, he . climbed up an elevated place and called out to them until they all gathered.  He called them to Islam and openly declared that he was a Muslim.  He began to repeat, "I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. "

When the people heard this from him, they screamed and became angry about being called to abandon their gods.  They shot at him with arrows from all directions until he fell down.  Thereupon his nephews came to him as he wa breathing his last and said, "0 'Urwah! What do you say regarding the spilling of your blood?" Meaning; shall we avenge your blood by killing those who killed you?

He replied, "This is an honour Allah has bestowed unto me.  This is my martyrdom which Allah has brought to me.  My case is like the that of the martyrs who were killed in the company of the Messenger of AllahSo do not kill anyone fore.  and do not avenge my blood from anyone. "

It is said that when this news reached the Prophet Sal’lallah ho’wsalam he said regarding him, "He was among his people like Yaseen among his people:'

Take notice! People have feelings.  No matter how close you get to them, do not be bold with them in your humour or dealings.  Avoid the red line.  Do not hurt them, no matter how high they hold you in regard, even if they be like your brothers or sons.

For this reason, the Prophet Sal’lallah ho’wsalam drew our attention to this and forbade us from frightening a believer. One day the Prophet Sal’lallah ho’wsalam was on a journey with his companions. Each one of the Companions had with him his belongings including weapons, sleeping
mats and food. They stopped over at a place and a man amongst them fell asleep.  His friend turned to a rope he had and took it jokingly. When the man woke up and found the rope missing from his belongings, he was terrified and began looking for it. Thereupon the Prophet Sal’lallah ho’wsalam said,"It is not allowed for a Muslim to frighten another Muslim:' (Abu Dawud)

On another occasion, when the Companions were travelling with the Prophet Sal’lallah ho’wsalam a man was overcome by slumber whilst mounted on his ride.  His friend took advantage of his negligence and took out an arrow from his quiver.  The man realised that someone was playing with his weapons, so he became terrified, frightened and alert.  Thereupon the Prophet Sal’lallah ho’wsalam said,"It is not allowed for a Muslims to frighten another Muslim. " (alTabarani and 0thers, reportedby reliable narrators).
'Similar is the case with someone who jokes with you thinking that you will be happy, whereas in reality, he only harms you, or even worse, fills your heart with fright and anxiety.  For instance, he notices that you have just parked your car outside a grocery with the engine running, so he comes and drives off in your car; causing you to.  think that your car has been stolen obviously as a joke.  The one on the receiving end of such jokes may respond courteously and may even laugh at the joke, but the fact remains that the joke was still cruel.

A point of view: Whatever goes beyond its limits turns into its opposite. How often jokes turn into arguments!. 

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