Islamic Education- Madarij Al-Salikin- Lesson (012-100): The Strangers

1991-04-08

 

The strangers:

Dear brothers, this is lesson No. 7 of the series (Madarij As-Salikeen).

The first Ayah:

Allah the Almighty says in His Noble Book:

 

﴾If only there had been among the generations before you, persons having wisdom, prohibiting (sh3er) from Al-Fasad (disbelief, polytheism, and all kinds of crimes and sins) in the earth, except a few of those whom We saved from among them. Those who did wrong pursued the enjoyment of good things of (this worldly) life, and were Mujrimun (criminals, disbelievers in Allah, polytheists, sinners, etc.).﴿

[Hud, 116]

This Ayah gives irrefutable evidence that those who will survive Allah's Torment in the Hereafter are few, that the upright people are few and that the obedient are few. Hence, if you find yourself, in an era, among those few who are obedient and far from sinning, among those who are submissive to Allah and far from the abundant astray and among the few who follow the Prophetic Sunnah and are far from the so many lost people, this will be a good sign, because Allah the Almighty in this Ayah, which is an irrefutable proof, assures us that the majority of people on earth are Mujrimin.

The second Ayah:

Pay attention to this Ayah:

﴾And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah's Path. They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie.﴿

[Al-An'am, 116]

The believer might wonder at times and make Munajat (talking secretly to Allah) saying, "O Lord, all those people are against the Haqq (the truth), and they are not upright, but what if they are right and I am mistaken?" In order to avoid this psychological struggle, in order not to feel estranged and alone among astray people, in order not to feel that all those people might be right, which might make you have doubts and say, "May be I am the one who is astray" and in order to avoid having those troublesome feelings, this Ayah assures you the contrary:

﴾If only there had been among the generations before you, persons having wisdom, prohibiting (sh3er) from Al-Fasad (disbelief, polytheism, and all kinds of crimes and sins) in the earth, except a few of those whom We saved from among them.﴿

This Ayah means that evil (sins and disobedience of Allah, etc.) has appeared on land and sea, and that only few people prohibit mischief on earth. If you consider the opinion of the majority, they will say that this minority are the astray.

When you are seduced to accept a bribe of a huge amount of money, but you reject it, you will be accused of insanity. When you refuse to go for a mixed-gender picnic, you will be accused of insanity. When you reject a very rich proposer (asking for your daughter's hand) whose career and social position are excellent, but he is not religious, you are accused of insanity. In such cases, you might become prey of those dark thoughts, and start thinking that the sh3er could be right, and you might be wrong, but in order not to have such thoughts, consider the following As7adeth which support the previous Ayah.

As7adeth support the concept of estrangement in the previous Ayat:

The first Hadith:

Narrated Abdul Rahman bin Sanna that he heard the Prophet PBUH saying:

(("Islam began as something strange and will go back to being strange, so glad tidings to the strangers." It was said: "Who are the strangers?" He PBUH said: "They are those who reform the people when they have become corrupt. By Allah, in Whose Hand is my soul, faith shall drift to Medina like the drift of the torrent. By Allah, in Whose Hand is my soul, Islam shall creep between these two Masajid just as the serpent goes back into its hole"))

[Al-Tabarani in Al-Mu'jam Al-Kabeer]

 People nowadays deviate from modesty in the way they dress in public, and most of them are wandering half-naked and indecently following as such the westerns. Unfortunately, if the western woman is dressed indecently, the Muslim woman imitates her:

((You will follow the ways of those nations who were before you, p by p and cubit by cubit (i.e., inch by inch) so much so that even if they entered a hole of a lizard, you would follow them." We said, "O Allah's Apostle! (Do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?" He said, "Whom else?"))

 If the majority of women are without Hijab in streets, they are dressed indecently, they wander half-naked and they follow the western women step by step and imitate them in everything; they imitate them in their mixed-gender parties, lavish expenses, earning unlawful money, getting engaged in Riba and breaking away from Allah's Method, and you feel like you are a stranger in such a society since you follow Allah's Method, and you do not approve what is going on. However, being among Ghuraba' (strangers) makes you one of those who have got glad tidings from Allah, so you should not feel estranged, because this feeling is quite normal, better yet it is a healthy feeling. Narrated Abdul Rahman bin Sanna that he heard the Prophet PBUH saying:

(("Islam began as something strange and will go back to being strange, so glad tidings to the strangers." It was said, "Who are the strangers?" He PBUH said, "They are those who reform the people when they have become corrupt."))

Success lies in having the access to the worldly abundant gains and to the highest positions at work, yet you decline because this career is based on hurting people, misleading them or spreading mischief amongst them, so no matter how high or seductive this position is, you stay away from it because of the suspicions that surround it. Hence:

((They are those who reform the people when they have become corrupt."))

When mischief prevails on earth, when the majority of people do not care if their income is lawful or not, when people's affairs are slightly Islamic or sometimes not Islamic at all and when they do not care if their jobs are based on obeying Allah or disobeying Him, you will feel estranged. Also, you will feel like a stranger when a highly paid job is offered to you, but you reject it, because some sins are committed in such a job. If people know that you refused that job, they will accuse you of insanity, and even your mother and father may think that there is something wrong with you.

I know a man who was offered a bargain that does not please Allah. He was asked to manufacture 10.000 pieces (of women swimwear), and he would be paid right away, but manufacturing those pieces means that he would encourage obscenity in the society, because wearing swimsuit by women and showing their body is something that does not please Allah, and though he was tight on money, he rejected the offer.

Faith is not what most people think; it is not only about performing Salah and Sawm, and it is not about formal rituals, but rather faith is all about taking the right stance. Islam is about taking the right attitude and about following its entire method which organize even the tiny details in your daily life. Furthermore, Islam should be manifested in your career, household, picnics, entertainment, serious business, travel and residence. Islam in concise is close to 100.000 rulings, but Muslims have shrunk it to only five formal ritual acts of worship, and they have followed their desires in the other avenues of life, they have lived their life according to their interests and worldly ambitions, they have separated religion from their life and they have put religion on one side and their worldly life on the opposite side, and so they have reached a point where they are very great in numbers (one billion and half), yet they do not own the upper hand. Allah says:

﴾Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practise their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me. But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).﴿

[An-Nur, 55]

((It was narrated from Anas bin Malik that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said to Aktham bin Al-Jawn Al-Khuza'i: "O Aktham! Fight alongside people other than your own, it will improve your attitude and make you generous to your companions. O Aktham, the best number of companions is four, the best number of troops on an expedition is four hundred, the best number of an army is four thousand, and twelve thousand will never be overpowered because of their small number."))

[Ibn Majah in Sunan]

If the sincere believers on earth are 12.000only, they will never be defeated, so what will be the result if the whole one billion and half Muslims on earth are sincere? Bear in mind that Allah does not look to the Islamic appearance like hanging a Quran on the wall, listening to religious cassettes and CDs (only without applying) or filling the Masajid, because all of which are appearances that might be a sign of the goodness in people, but they are not enough in the Sight of Allah, because what counts in the Sight of Allah is how many obedient and devoted Muslims there are among all these numbers.

'Who is the Wali (the singular of Auliya') of Allah? Is it he who flies in the air?' He answered, 'No, he is not.' Then he was asked, 'Is it he who walks on the surface of water?' He replied, 'No, he is not. The Wali is he who does whatever is Halal (all kinds whatever Allah has permitted) and avoids whatever is Haram (whatever is forbidden). Accordingly, dear brother, your true Islam is reflected in your factory, store and job, in selling, in buying, in dealing with people, in controlling your limbs. This is Islam.

Let me repeat the first Hadith:

(("Islam began as something strange and will go back to being strange, so glad tidings to the strangers." It was said, "Who are the strangers?" He PBUH said, "They are those who reform the people when they have become corrupt."))

The second Hadith:

In another Hadith the Prophet PBUH said:

(("Glad tidings to the strangers." It was said: "Who are the strangers?" He PBUH said: "They are the ones who offer more good deeds when other people offer less."))

This means when the people who offer good deeds, who enjoin Ma'roof, who are pious and who are devoted to Islam get lesser in numbers, the strangers do their best to offer more good deeds, keep enjoining Ma'roof more and become more pious and more devoted to Islam.

The third Hadith:

((It was narrated from 'Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "Islam began as something strange and will go back to being strange, so blessed are the strangers." It was said: "Who are the strangers?" He PBUH said: "They are those who depart from the tribes."))

This means that the strangers are like one or two people who leave their tribe after getting acquainted with Allah and following the Sunnah of His Messenger PBUH, and they strive in Allah's Cause and sacrifice the expensive and the trivial and the worthy and the soul. Also, the strangers are the few who take different path from the majority who are engaged in Riba, gambling and dirty TV shows, and who are united in their twisted tendencies and inclined to whatever displeases Allah.

 

Keep in mind that man is like a vessel and the most critical thing about it is what is filled into it. What ideas do you feed your brain with? The usual food and drink is for the body, but the soul is the most important vessel, so what do you fill it with? Do you fill it with the gossips of celebrities? Do you fill it with stories of the worldly people and the vile? What do you read? What do you listen to? What do you watch? With what are you nourishing your soul?

You will talk about and discuss what you fill your soul with, so if you fill your vessel with the gossips of celebrities, you will only talk about them. When you fill your vessel with the news of people of the worldly life and their travels, their marriages, their lavish life, the sins they commit, the lusts they are indulged in and the despicable acts they do, you will talk about these things. On the other hand, when you fill your vessel with the Quran, the Prophetic Sunnah and the heroic acts of the companions, you will spontaneously talk about these things when you meet people. The ancestors said, "What is bred in the one cannot come out of the flesh."

The gravest thing is the source you fill your vessel from whether it is listened to it, watched or read, for what comes out of you is exactly what you fill your vessel with. "Tell me what you read, what you watch and what you listen to and I will tell you what type of character you are." The Prophet PBUH said:

((Blessed are the strangers." It was said: "Who are the strangers?" He said: "They are those who depart from the tribes."))

A big family may not be concerned about the way they build their social relations, so they do not mind attending mixed-gender occasions or having parties. Some restaurants serve banquets in the blessed month of Ramadan, and men and women eat very tasty food while they are dressing their best. When they are in such restaurants, they forget about their prayers, and when they get back home they say, "We stayed up till 2:00 Am there, and then we went to sleep." Well where is Suhur? Where is Fajr Salah? This is how people spend their lives these days.

The fourth Hadith:

((Narrated Kathir bin 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin 'Awf bin Zaid bin Milhah narrated from his father, from his grandfather: that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "Indeed the religion with creep into the Hijaz just like a snake creeps into its hole, and the religion will cling to the Hijaz just like the female mountain goat cling to the peak of a mountain. Indeed the religion began as something strange and it will return to being strange. So Tuba (glad tiding) is for the strangers who correct what the people have corrupted from my Sunnah after me."))

The Prophet PBUH referred to the strangers as:

((They are those who revive my practice (sunnah) and teach it to the servants of Allah.))

The Prophet PBUH gave us a method. Everybody claims to love the Prophet PBUH and Allah says:

﴾Say (O Muhammad PBUH to mankind): "If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur'an and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."﴿

[Aal-'Imran, 31]

Whoever claims that he loves Allah and the Prophet PBUH should not go against the Prophetic method. What marks your love to Allah is to abide by the Prophetic Sunnah, which is rejuvenated by acting upon it and teaching it to other people.

﴾And Allah would not punish them while you (Muhammad PBUH) are amongst them, nor will He punish them while they seek (Allah's) Forgiveness.﴿

[Al-Anfal, 33]

Interpreters of the Noble Quran agreed that the meaning of this Ayah is that "The companions of the Prophet PBUH will never be punished as long as he was alive among them and they followed him, and the people who abide by his Sunnah after his death will not be punished either." When is man not punished? He is not going to be punished in two cases: If he physically lived in the Prophetic era, or as long as he applies the Prophetic Sunnah (after the death of the Prophet PBUH).

The fifth Hadith:

((It was narrated from 'Umar bin Khattab that he went out one day to the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), and he found Mu'adh bin Jabal sitting by the grave of the Prophet (PBUH), weeping. He said, "Why are you weeping?" He said: "I am weeping because of something that I heard from the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) say: 'A little showing off is polytheism and whoever shows enmity towards a friend of Allah has declared war on Allah. Allah loves those whose righteousness and piety are hidden, those who, if they are absent, are not missed, and if they are present, they are not invited or acknowledged. Their hearts are lamps of guidance and they get out of every trial and difficulty'."))

[Ibn Majah in Sunan]

People will be overtaken by fitan (plural of fitnah: temptation, trial; sedition, civil strife) which would be like a part of the dark night, except those who are granted the Divine Mercy and who are saved by Allah, so they are far from these fitan. In fact, there are fitan severe enough to make the wise man bewildered. However, Allah saves the true believer from these fitan.

((It was narrated from 'Umar bin Khattab that he went out one day to the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), and he found Mu'adh bin Jabal sitting by the grave of the Prophet (PBUH), weeping. He said: "Why are you weeping?" He said: "I am weeping because of something that I heard from the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) say: 'A little showing off is polytheism and whoever shows enmity towards a friend of Allah has declared war on Allah. Allah loves those whose righteousness and piety are hidden, those who, if they are absent, are not missed, and if they are present, they are not invited or acknowledged. Their hearts are lamps of guidance and they get out of every trial and difficulty'."))

The Prophet PBUH said:

((Seek exaltedness in Allah's Sight))

They do not seek exaltedness in the eyes of people, but rather they seek it in the Sight of Allah. Hence, success lies in having an exalted position in the Sight of Allah:

﴾Verily, The Muttaqun (pious), will be in the midst of Gardens and Rivers (Paradise)* In a seat of truth (i.e. Paradise), near the Omnipotent King (Allah, the All-Blessed, the Most High, the Owner of Majesty and Honour).﴿

[Al-Qamar, 54-55]

When you occupy an exalted position in the Sight of Allah, you will feel that He loves you, that you are on the Right Path and that you are heading to the right destiny. These sentiments enrich your soul and you feel Allah's Love to you, so you dispense with people's praising, with being exalted in their eyes, with being in the spot light, with being famous and with being rich.

Who are the strangers?

Ibn Al-Qayyim said, "These praiseworthy people are called strangers since they are a small minority among mankind.". When there are 100 or 200 tourists in a city of 5 million inhabitants, those tourists are considered strangers, because they are few in number, and they do not belong to the country they are visiting. The same goes for the strangers in their religion, and they are strangers, because they have certain characteristics that make them different from other people.

 

Ibn Al-Qayyim went on saying, "Thus, Muslims are strangers among mankind;" Nowadays Muslims are strangers if you put them with other peoples. In India, 450 million people in India worship cows, I take refuge with Allah from that, and if the cow is in the middle of a road, they block it for long hours. Also, if it enters a fruit store, it is allowed to eat whatever it likes, and the owner will be delighted. In their rituals they put the dung of the cow on their furniture, and they consider it a precious perfume.

In other country, 350 million people do not believe in Allah, and their ideology is atheism. In the west 30 % of the people are involved in incestuous relationships, and you see the father is in a relationship with his daughter, the brother with his sister and the son with his mother. Not to mention there are sexually transmitted diseases, because of the millions who are homosexual, given they put on identification cards of their sexual orientations, and they are proud of that. Even the non-religiously committed Muslims are considered strangers among those.

Marriage in America does not last more than a year or a year and a half, for they get divorced for the most insignificant reasons. The wife there might stay for days away from her house spending a week or two with her friends, and such a situation is considered normal.

A foreign expert stayed in Damascus for one year and a half, then he held a party to celebrate the coming of his son, but he had never left Damascus for one year and a half, and his wife had a son back there. Yet, he held a party for the newborn baby (who apparently is not his).

By Allah, Muslims are strangers in these societies. Of course there are a lot of examples. Ibn Al-Qayyim said, "Thus, Muslims are strangers among mankind. The true believers are strangers among Muslims; and the scholars are strangers among the true believers." The scholar is the one who acquires exalted knowledge, the one who knows the reason and the purpose of his existence, the one who realizes the reality of the worldly life, the one who knows the importance of responsibility, the one who is sure that the universe is subjugated to man and the one who cherishes time and spends it only in offering good deeds, so if he compares himself with the believers he will find himself strange amongst them.

Ibn Al-Qayyim went on saying, "The followers of the Sunnah, those who clear themselves from all peoples of innovation, are likewise strangers." He referred to those whose Aqidah is sound, who can authenticate the right Hadith from the fabricated one, who can put a finger on any innovation that does not belong to Sunnah and who are blessed with an awakening call.

The more man sublimes, the tighter the circle of his ilk becomes. It is like a pyramid, so those who live in the base of it are among so many sh3er, and the more you go up towards the top of the pyramid, the fewer the people become. Believe me if the Prophet PBUH had stayed with the believers of this era, without exaggeration, he would have found himself strange amongst them.

(('Aishah (may Allah bepleased with her) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) prohibited his Companions out of mercy for them, from observing continuous fasting without a break. They said: "But you observe fast continuously". He replied, "I am not like you. I spend the night while my Rubb provides me with food and drink".))

((Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said, "If you knew that which I know you would laugh little and weep much."))

The Prophets, peace be upon them, would have found themselves strangers had they been amongst the believers today. Allah says:

﴾And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah's Path. They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie.﴿

[Al-An'am, 116]

Hence, when you are with the minority, be proud of that, and be like those whom one of them is like 1000 and do not be like those who are thousands in number, by they do not worth more than a sigh. Allah says:

﴾"They are those who deny the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord and the Meeting with Him (in the Hereafter). So their works are in vain, and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall not give them any weight.﴿

[Al-Kahf, 105]

A former student of mine said to me, "I was abroad once, and my flight was at 2 AM after midnight, so I called a taxi to go from the hotel to the airport. The time was winter, and it was snowing, raining and chilly, but I saw people standing in queue that extended for 3 kilometers, so I asked the driver, "What is going on?" To which he answered, "They broadcasted that tonight meat will be given at 8 AM to people", so I said to myself, "O Allah, what kind of society it is! The most beautiful woman there will agree to sleep with anyone for a piece of candy" I said to myself, "They neglected Allah, so Allah neglected them in return." I repeated that more than once.

In the societies where sins prevail without any concerns, worries or responsibility, they have neglected Allah, so He has neglected them. As long as the flesh of women is cheap, the lamb flesh will be expensive and the lesser modesty is the lesser the rainfall rate will be. Thus, success lies in belonging to the few true believers and to the strangers, so those are the ones who can survive Allah's Torment.

Ibn Al-Qayyim commented on estrangement by saying, "This type of strangeness can occur in one location in exclusion to another..." For instance, if you are in Damascus, may Allah keep it safe, you see that the Masajid are full of good people whose hearts are merciful, and you can observe a religious awakening that is manifested in the Masajid where people gather for prayers in Taraweeh and in Fajr Salah. Also, people are good, and they are religiously committed. Therefore, you do not feel like you are a stranger, but if you go to a western country, and you see people committing adultery in public, you feel that you do not belong to that country at all.

A brother, who traveled to France on a mission, said to me, "While I was wandering around I found a disoriented young man standing by the Seine River. I wanted to practice my French language by talking to him, so I asked him, "You look sad, what is the matter?" He answered, "I am thinking of committing suicide." Our brother asked him, "Why?" The young man said, "I loved a very beautiful young woman, but my father fell in love with her, and now she is his girlfriend." Can this happen in Syria? No, it cannot. In Syria father's first priority is to get his children married and buy them houses. In our countries, the family ties are strong, and the father relaxes when he maintains his sons' future. On the other hand, the father in the western countries might love the woman his son loves and marry her. Thus, you might not feel strange in Damascus, and you are comfortable wherever you go because the Masajid are open and the Quran is heard from their minarets (Ma'aazen) most of the time, and this is a great grace.

Ibn Al-Qayyim said, "This type of strangeness can occur in one location in exclusion to another, and in one era in exclusion to another, and amongst one group of people in exclusion to another."In Damascus itself, you may feel comfortable in an Islamic neighborhood, but you do not feel the same in another non-Islamic one. I mean you may not feel this difference during Ramadan, but you may feel that you are a stranger in other months of the year. Therefore, you feel like a stranger relatively; this strangeness does not occur all the time.

Ibn Al-Qayyim went on saying, "However, those who are described with this strangeness are the true people of Allah. This is because they do not lean towards anything but Allah, do not ascribe themselves to anyone besides His Messenger, and do not call to anything other than what he was brought with."

People who are like that do not feel estranged with Allah though they are strangers amongst sh3er, because they are affable with Him, but they feel like strangers with other people who usually accuse them of being weird and strange. However, they are close to Allah, they feel affable with Him and Allah fills their heart with tranquility. Ibn Al-Qayyim said, "So, this strangeness does not result in any loneliness for its possessor. In fact, he is as happy and sociable as can be when he abandons the deviant people, and as lonely as can be when he socializes with them." People are terrified and worried when an earthquake is about to happen, but the believer reauthors:

﴾And whether you die, or are killed, verily, unto Allah you shall be gathered.﴿

[Aal-'Imran, 158]

Where are people heading? They will return to Allah the Almighty:

﴾And if you are killed or die in the Way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are far better than all that they amass (of worldly wealths, etc.).﴿

[Aal-'Imran, 157]

﴾It was said (to him when the disbelievers killed him): "Enter Paradise." He said: "Would that my people knew!﴿

[Ya-Sin, 26]

Man loves life, and this is a fact. If we suppose that death is very close to someone who is an upright believer, whose deeds are good and who spends his life in obeying Allah, do you think he will fear death? Well, like anyone else he longs to live longer to offer more good deeds, but when death is close to him, he welcomes it. There are amazing stories in that regard.

A merchant was afflicted with cancer, so when the hospital called home to tell him the results, his son answered the phone and they said, "Your father's condition is serious, and he will die in three days." The man overheard that, and when his friends paid him a visit, he said to them, "Game is over", so he canceled a bargain he was about to buy, he recommended his son to buy another one, he gathered his children for farewell, he offered ablution to his body to be in purity, a scholar he knew visited him at 1:00 after midnight, they read Quran and made Du'as. Then he died at 2:00 AM.

What caught my attention is that he was not afraid at all, for he used to keep money in a chest, and whoever asked him for help he would open the chest and ask the man to take whatever he needed without telling him how much he took.

Another man was admitted to the hospital for intestine cancer, and each time someone visited him he said, "Be my witness that I am content with Allah. O Lord, all praises be to you." He kept saying those words till he died.

The true believe is like sh3er in wishing to live longer, but when death comes he does not panic, for he knows where he is heading. He strives all his life for this moment. Let us go on with what Ibn Al-Qayyim said, "So, this strangeness does not result in any loneliness for its possessor. In fact, he is as happy and sociable as can be when he abandons the deviant people, and as lonely as can be when he socializes with them. So, his allies are Allah, His Messenger, and the believers, even if the majority of the people oppose him and push him aside."

((Narrated Anas bin Malik: that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "How many are there with dishevelled hair, covered with dust, possessing two cloths, whom no one pays any mind to - if he swears by Allah then He shall fulfill it. Among them is Al-Bara bin Malik."))

[At-Tirmizi in Sunan]

In another Hadith the Prophet PBUH said:

((Haritha b. Wahb reported that he heard Allah's Apostle (PBUH) as saying: May I not inform you about the inmates of Paradise? They said: "Do this, of course." Thereupon Allah's Apostle (PBUH) said: "Every humble person who is considered to be humble if he were to adjure in the Name of Allah, He would fulfill it." He PBUH then said: "May I not inform you about the denizens of Hell-Fire?" They said: "Yes." And he said: "Every haughty, fat and proud (person)."))

Do not look down to an upright believer if his social class is low, and remember that Allah is Great, so your bad treatment will backfire on you. Also, if you are a manager and the genitor is a committed believer, beware of treating him arrogantly.

((Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Many a person with shaggy and dusty hair, dusty and driven away from doors (because of their poverty and shabby clothes) were to swear by Allah (that something would happen), Allah will certainly make it happen".))

((Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, even if he is an unbeliever, for there is no barrier between it and Allah.))

Success lies in being humble, in knowing that the ranks in the Sight of Allah are different from the ranks considered by people. People respect the rich, the powerful, the highly educated, the handsome, the healthy, the eloquent and the clever, but Allah the Almighty loves the obedient.

((I love three people, but my love for other three is more. I love the obedient, but my love for the obedient young man is more; I love the humble, but my love for the humble rich man is more, and I love the generous, but my love for the generous poor man is more.))

((It was narrated from Mu'adh bin Jabal that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "Shall I not tell you about the kings of Paradise?' I said: 'Yes.' He said: 'A weak and oppressed man who wears tattered clothes and is not paid any heed. If he swears (an oath) by Allah, Allah fulfills it.'"))

The characteristics of the Strangers:

 What are the characteristics of the strangers whom the Prophet praised? Ibn Al-Qayyim said, "And from the characteristics of these strangers who were praised by the Prophet are: Holding tightly to the Sunnah, even if the people abandon it;"

The stranger is keen on his prayers, he lowers his gaze, he stays away from mixed-gender occasions and he makes his living from lawful revenues. There is glad tiding in the following Hadith to all of you, which is that the reward of the true Muslim in our era will be like the reward of 50 of the Prophet's companions.

((Narrated Abu Umayah Ash-Sha'bani: "I went to Abu Tha'balah Al-Khushani and said to him: 'How do you deal with this Ayah?' He said: 'Which Ayah?' I said: 'Allah's saying: "O you who believe! Take care of your ownselves, [do righteous deeds, fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)]. If you follow the right guidance and enjoin what is right (Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbid what is wrong (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden) no hurt can come to you from those who are in error." [Al-Ma'idah', 105] He said: 'Well, by Allah! I asked one well-informed about it, I asked the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) about it. [So] he said: "Rather, comply with (and order) the good, and stay away from (and prohibit) the evil, until you see avarice obeyed, desires followed, and the world preferred, and everyone is amazed with his view. Then you should be worried about yourself in particular, and worry of the common folk. Ahead of you are the days in which patience is like holding onto an ember, for the doer (of righteous deeds) during them is the like of the reward of fifty of those who do the like of what you do." 'Abdullah bin Al-Mubarak said: "It was added for me, by other than 'Utbah, that it was said: 'O Messenger of Allah! The reward of fifty men among us, or them?' He said: 'No! Rather the reward of fifty men among you.'"))

In another narration, the Hadith ends as follows:

((They said: "Why?" He said: "Because you get help in offering good deeds and they do not"))

When man is upright, the closest people to him (even his family) may oppose him. His wife or his partner may oppose him. If he owns a restaurant, his partner may ask him to serve wine in order to raise the rating of the restaurant from 4 stars to 5 stars. In a Syrian town, a Christian pious butcher hanged a sign in his shop in which he wrote, "Drinking wine is forbidden by the Lord, and my livelihood is from Allah." Because of that he got lots of customers.

In Egypt, the stores' owners used to celebrate the opening of a new store by bringing a Quran reauthorr to reauthor few Ayat from the Quran on this special occasion. Once a Christian did the same and brought someone to reauthor the Quran, so the man reauthord, "By the fig, and the olive, [At-Tin, 1]" but the owner of the store interrupted him and said, "Tell the customers that we have chickpeas too."

The bottom line is that feeling that you are a stranger (because of your uprightness) is a grace and not a curse and being one of the strangers is a glad tiding given by the Prophet PBUH.