The Prophet (ﷺ) made a bond of brotherhood between Salman and Abu Al-Darda’. Salman paid a visit to Abu Al-Darda’ and found Um Al-Darda’ (his wife) dressed in shabby clothes and asked her why she was in that state. She replied: Your brother Abu Al-Darda’ is not interested in (the luxuries of) this world. In the meantime, Abu Al-Darda’ came in and prepared a meal for Salman. Salman requested Abu Al-Darda’ to eat (with him) but Abud-Darda’ said: I am fasting. Salman said: I am not going to eat unless you eat. So, Abu Al-Darda’ ate (with Salman). When it was night and (a part of the night passed), Abu Al-Darda’ got up (to offer the night prayer) but Salman asked him to sleep, and Abu Al-Darda’ slept. After some time, Abu Al-Darda’ again got up, but Salman asked him to sleep. When it was the last hours of the night, Salman asked him to get up and both offered (Tahajjud) prayer. Then Salman told Abud-Darda’: You owe a duty to your Lord, you owe a duty to yourself; you owe a duty to your family; so you should give to everyone his due. Abu Al-Darda’ came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and reported the whole story. Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Salman is right.”[1]

Part of understanding one’s duty towards himself is to remember that this body and soul are God’s gifts to him, and we are entrusted to take care of it because we do not own it, God does. God granted us life and gave us sustenance to keep it functioning and reminded us that we must be God conscience in all matters. Allah (ﷻ) said: {Say, who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? Or who controls hearing and sight and who brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living and who arranges [every] matter?” They will say, Allah, so say, then will you be conscience of Him.} 10:31.

In other words, we should try our best to live according to Islamic teachings for it is meant to preserve us with every good and protect us from all harm, and that is part of faith itself. The teachings are sourced from the verses of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah (Hadiths) of the prophet (ﷺ). The prophet (ﷺ) once made a ruling between a person of Madinah and Al-Zubair Ibn Al-A’wwam. The Ansari man said: did you favor him because he is your cousin (Al-Zubair)? The prophet got angry and for that Allah (ﷻ) revealed: {But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission.} 4:65. In other words, one should submit to the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah always.

Here are some themes in Islam that rotate around caring for the self to be a better servant to Allah (ﷻ):

“No harm (caused to self) and no harm (caused to others).”[2]

This Hadith is considered one of the main general rulings in Islam that Sharia is based on. No one should do harm to himself or cause harm to others. While the Prophet (ﷺ) was delivering a Khutbah, he noticed a man who was standing, so he asked about him and was told that he was Abu Israel who had taken a vow to remain standing and not sit or go into the shade or speak while observing fasting. Thereupon Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Tell him to speak, to go into the shade, to sit and to complete his fast”.[3] As you can see, the prophet (ﷺ) approved only what is permissible in Sharia, fasting. But he told him to quit all other matters that can cause harm to the self.

 

{He will make lawful for them all good things and prohibit for them only the filthy.} 7:157

If you look at all matters that God prohibited for consumption, you will see that it is meant to preserve the self from any harm. Islam prohibited the consumption of pigs, carnivores, dead animals, poisonous insects or animals and anything else that will cause harm to the body. At the same time, Islam directed us to consume for our need and not to be excessive in what we eat to keep the balanced diet for our body. Allah (ﷻ) said: {O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.} 7:31. Caring for the self also meant to seek cure and healing in case one was ill or sick. Omar Ibn Al-Khattab (RAA) saw people treating a camel’s rash by bringing a lady to recite some Quran verses for healing. He said: “It will be great if you add to the recitation of the Quran with the use of tar (as a medicine).” The prophet (ﷺ) was asked, O Messenger of Allah! Is there any sin if we do not seek treatment? He said: “Seek treatment, O slaves of Allah! For Allah does not create any disease but He also creates with it the cure, except for old age.[4]

 

{Indeed, all things We created with predestination.} 54:49

One of the six articles of faith is to believe in Qadar or pre-destiny. Such faith helps people cope with life tribulations and trials but at the same time protect from all nonsense or illogical beliefs. The prophet (ﷺ) said: “He who visits a diviner and asks him about anything, his prayers extending to forty nights will not be accepted.[5] You could tell from this Hadith that Islam did not allow people to enslave each other in means of claiming knowledge of the future. Islam also was clear in prohibiting sorcering and superstitious practices. The prophet (ﷺ) said: “Augury and superstitious (practices) and taking evil omens all pertain to idolatry.[6]

Purifying the mind means to keep away from all types of intoxicants and belief of illogical matters, and at the same time seek knowledge while submitting to the wisdom of God.

By Imam Kifah Mustapha

[1] Bukhari

[2] Malek

[3] Bukhari

[4] Ibn Majah

[5] Muslim

[6] Abu Daoud