There are 5 branches of Islam:
1) Aqaaid (Beliefs)
2) Ibaadaat (Worship)
3) Akhlaaq (Moral character)
4) Muamalaat (Public dealings)
5) Muaasharaat (Social etiquette)
Allah advises us in the Quran shareef, in Surah Hud, ayah 113:
وَلَا تَرْكَنُوا إِلَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا فَتَمَسَّكُمُ النَّارُ وَمَا لَكُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ مِنْ أَوْلِيَاءَ ثُمَّ لَا تُنصَرُونَ
“Do not incline towards those who have oppressed themselves”
The mufasireen/commentators say that this refers to those who have been unjust to their own souls, by not bringing Imaan. So for us believers, what is Allah trying to tell us here? He is warning us to be distinct from those who disbelieve. We cannot be like the kuffaar, they are not our role models, Nabi ﷺ is and always will be. Allah continues the ayah saying, “Lest you be touched by the fire“. This suggests emulating disbelievers can be likened to paving a path to doom.
Now taking this ayah into consideration, let us do some soul-searching. In these five branches of Shariah, ask yourself — am I inclining towards the kuffaar in any of them?
As for the first one, Aqeedah, alhamdulillah we don’t believe in multiple gods or no gods like the kuffar do. Then in the second one, Alhamdulillah our ibadah is unique. For example, the kuffaar do not pay Zakah or fast like we do. Obviously not performing ibadah regularly is a separate topic but the point is, when we do worship Allah, it’s different to the kuffaar. So again, Alhamdulillah this is not a problem.
But in the 3rd, 4th and 5th branch, where are we going wrong? Take akhlaaq. Do we emulate Nabi ﷺ or what we see on the screens? When I comb my hair or speak to somebody, am I emulating Nabi ﷺ or somebody else? When I walk, when I talk, when I eat, when I drink, in every facet of my life – who am I emulating, who is my role model, who do I look up to for guidance?
Akhlaaq is a very deep subject and we must make an effort to develop good character in line with the teachings of Islam. We don’t need government constitutions to allow us to have good character; we are free to act upon this Sunnah. Hazrat Ml. Yunus Patel رحمة الله عليه would always say that maybe we can’t change the whole world, but this six-foot body of ours, at least we can start here! We cannot go out and govern how people behave, we can’t ban drugs and ban alcohol, but we can ban our own anger and sins.
Our Deen is not only restricted to belief and worship. When are we going to start concentrating on the other three crucial aspects of Deen? The Sahaaba رضي الله عنهم would listen to music, drink wine and they had no concept of modesty. Yet when they became Muslims and bought Imaan, they immediately changed their entire way of thinking, behaving and living. They totally transformed their lives for the better. Being examples for mankind; we too should learn from them and change our lives for the better.
May Allah grant us all the tawfiq to act upon Deen in its entirety, Aameen.
— Hazrat Ml. Dawood Seedat حفظه الله
Above is a transcript from Hazrat’s talk on 5/10/15 in Beatrice St. Musallah, Durban. To listen to the full audio, please click here.