Every Moment

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The lifeline of every relationship, as I see it now, is to have a good opinion of each other. Quite expectantly, it is a difficult task, but it is essential. 

Relationships, it seems, mark every moment of our lives. We cannot free ourselves of them. In the higher realm, we have an eternal relationship with our Creator, whether or not we acknowledge, honour, or live by it. Secondary to that, we are born into this world with, in the least, a connection to our mothers who have each endured the challenges of our prenatal growth and our births.

Relationships mark every moment, and it will serve us well to understand how best to approach and manage them. With respect to our Lord, it is ever-so natural to submit to Him and to have a good opinion of Him. We know Him from His revelations and His signs and thus there is no room for doubting His guidance and His will. The difficultly, I find, is always having a good opinion of fellow humans.

None of us (with an active nafs) like to feel like a fool, so it makes good sense not to trust everyone we meet and all that we hear. It seems only wise, but there has to be exceptions or else we would become cynical maniacs without restful hearts. 

The exceptions are those that earn titles, so to speak, in our lives. Where we can say "This is my so-and-so" i.e. mother, father, grandparent, sibling, spouse, child, aunt, uncle, cousin, neighbour, elder, friend, leader, student, teacher, etc., we must know that there is an equation of rights and responsibilities and an array of expectations and protocol. But within these defined roles and interchanges of give and take, there is also the great possibility of failing to deliver or one merely perceiving the failure to deliver - both of which result in tense relationships.

Is there a preventative measure? Perhaps we simply need to give our relations the benefit of the doubt by having a good opinion of them even if they've disappointed us in some ways or they have wronged us. If nothing more, it will at least allow us to appreciate that we sometimes interpret people's actions negatively without just cause. 

I don't, however, believe that having a good opinion of a person is meant to excuse explicit harm - abuse and bullying. But where we can swallow our pride and consider the reasons for all that seems amiss, we probably should. Will we lose out? Perhaps. That all depends on why we do what we do. If the relationship itself and our management of it is for Allah's sake, then we have nothing to lose regardless of the tough times.

As Muslims, we live for the next world and for the pleasure of our Lord, so let not the pettiness and sneaky behaviours of others harm our relationship with our gracious Creator. In essence, it's the only one worth preserving and we can only preserve it truthfully by honouring His creations to the best of our abilities as He has commanded of us - that is, with an open heart and a flexible mind. 

We must also recognize that our sworn enemy, Shaytan, feeds ill thoughts of and feelings towards others and we only support his cause by failing to challenge it. 

Relationships mark every moment, and the decision to be better and see the best is others is ours alone. We will all surely reap what we sow. 

Allah knows best. و الله أعلم


~~~

Excerpts from a lesson with Al Habib Umar bin Hafiz on having a good opinion of others.

"Do not see yourself as superior to any Muslims. Reflect upon how your ending would be. Don't be proud or arrogant. Think about how your ending will be. You cannot be certain about other people's misdeeds but you can be certain about yourself and your sickness in the heart. Why leave this certainty about yourself in favor of assumptions on other people? Don't be happy about people's praise when you know your own true state with certainty. The more increase in knowledge you may have, the more you should feel conscious about your ignorance. No one can be certain about other people's faults but one can be certain of one's own faults. You have to take yourself to account. As for your brothers, you should excuse them thinking maybe they do this/that for this/that reason. Do not be judging or attacking other people. Have etiquette with the One who hides people's ending. Have etiquette with Allah concerning His creations." - Imam Al Haddad

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"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]

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Inspiration

"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]