THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-CONTROL

My Dear Brothers, Sisters and Children in Islam, As Salaamu Alaikum.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta ‘ala) tells us in His Holy Qur’an in Surah Isra, 17:53;

“And say (Muhammad) to My servants that they should (only) say those things (words) that are the best (in which no one’s heart is hurt); because, Satan, surely, provokes discord among them (His servants). Verily, Satan is an open enemy to man.”

And as many of us know, a false or unkind word can (and has) destroyed the best efforts for unity, understanding, brotherhood and love between human beings. Remember, the forces of darkness and evil are many times greater than that of light and goodness. We must constantly struggle against darkness and evil !!

Our beloved Prophet (Sallallhu alaihi wa sallam) has said to us in a famous hadith: “The greater struggle (jihadul akbar) is the struggle with the self (jihadul nafs).” This is so because the nafs (self) is not a friend of Allah. It is only a friend to itself. It is to this entity (the self) that Satan whispers (yuwaswisu, see Surah 114). Satan whispers his “dark suggestions” to our nafs, making them “fair-seeming” to us. And we, often, blindly follow them causing pain and destruction to both ourselves and others. It is at this point that we are not in control of ourselves; but we are being controlled by something other than ourselves – May Allah (SWT) help us all !! Amin.

Another loyal friend and companion of Satan is anger. Physiologically, when one is in a state of anger, the life-giving and nourishing blood rushes to the muscles. The eyes and face turn red; the neck and body musculature swells readying itself for great physical exertion. This transition leaves very little nourishment and energy for our brain and heart, our faculties for sound reasoning. All too often, some of the most horrible and heinous acts are committed in a fit of anger! Astaghfirullah!!

This is why the Prophet (SAW) has advised: “Do not get angry! Do not get angry! Do not get angry!” Anger is a destructive force that doesn’t care who or what is destroys.

The key to self-control (jihadul nafs) is given to us by Allah (SWT) in Surah Sad, 38:26 : “Follow not the lusts (of your heart) for they will mislead you from the Path of Allah…” Obey the commands of Allah in dealing with your fellow human beings. This is found in the Qur’an. Study and follow the example of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and his practices that are found in his sunnah (Ahadith).

If some idea occurs to you, or if you receive an inspiration, check it against the Book and Sunnah. Most of all, cultivate good conduct and humane behavior:

  • Being humble despite having wealth, power or position.
  • Forgive despite having the ability to avenge
  • Assisting people without reminding them of your favor to them
  • Exercising patience (Sabr) at the time of   anger instead of being hasty.

Patience has its rewards; haste has its punishments. Remember what our Prophet (SAW) has said about the Last Day: “There will be nothing heavier on the Mizan (the scale of good and evil) than good conduct.”

 

May Allah (SWT) grant us all self-control and good human behavior-Amin!

By,  Imam Khalil

 

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