Maulana Sheikh NazimGood character people are healthy in their spiritual lives

Our Grandshaykh says, "Allah Almighty sent our Prophet (peace be upon him) for what? He was sent to complete good characters, for changing bad characters into good characters. He was teaching, during his life, how a man can change his bad character into good. This is the main goal of prophet hood."

Once, I asked my Grandshaykh, 'O, my Master! Is there any complaining from a man with good character?' 'Never!' he replied to me. 'You, won't find a man with good character complaining!' So many complaints from man, you cannot count them. Yet, you never find a man with good character complaining. Good charactered people are like a healthy body. (He nudges one of his murids.) If you touch a healthy body, there is no complaint. But if a man has sores on his skin, then, ‘Ouch!’ So, likewise, good charactered people are healthy in their spiritual lives. But bad charactered people, there are like a man wounded; wounds everywhere, you cannot touch any side of him, any part of his body.

Therefore, it is the measure of a man’s good character, or bad; how much complaining he is doing. As much as his complaining is little, you may know how few bad characteristics are left with him. When you finish all your complaining, you may know that you are healthy. No more bad character! This is an important point, because a good-charactered person, if he has no complaint, has patience. And when he has patience, it means that he has real faith, real Iman. Real faith equals good character, and real faith also equals patience. To be patient, always. Anywhere you are not patient, you are not in Iman. If a man complains, it means he hasn’t any patience, no Iman. No Iman, no good character.

Therefore, you must diminish your complaints until you haven’t any left. Then, you will be restful. Nothing can give you trouble. You will be like a rocket, going up till it reaches the point where it escapes the earth’s pull; then, no troubles for it. When we can escape the pull of our bad character, and reach the level of good character, there will be no troubles for us also. Finished, in this life and in the life hereafter.”

„How does one do that?” asked a murid.

"I am saying,” replied the Shaykh. "You must diminish complaints, little by little. Rockets going up like this (he gestures with his hand). How much power it is using to reach that point! It is not easy. You are starting with so many complaints: of your wife, of your children, of your neighbours, and of your family! From Jews, from Americans, from Russians, from Jinn, from women, from boys, … everything! Too much complaining! When it will be finished, good tidings!

People are in trouble until they reach to the level of good character. This is important. Therefore, our Prophet (peace be upon him) said, 'I came to take you from the lowest level of bad character to the highest level of good character. Then, you will be in absolute happiness and enjoyment!’ Do you understand now the wisdom of the Prophet’s word, the hadiths? This is a lesson for all mankind. They can know themselves; they can recognize their personality with this balance. Then they can save themselves from all troubles, from all problems. This, only, is enough. A little sentence; one question, and one answer, from my Grandshaykh (may Allah be pleased with him); giving mankind such a knowledge that it will be enough to carry them from all troubles to a level where those troubles will be gone! Do you understand? Now we must practice always to leave complaining. These words you wrote here (and you are reading here), but it is written also will be able to remember all the time. Divine powers are going through your heart, helping you to recall these words. Immediately, will come to your heart, 'I will not be a complainer, because this thing that is happening to me is going on with my Lord's will!' This is the key. This is the medicine for that illness! When a complainer comes to you, you must remember that, 'This thing is going on with my Lord's will. With Allah’s will it is going on!' "

„Are you speaking of the thing that is making us complain?" asked a disciple.

"Yes," replied the Shaykh. "Without Allah’s knowledge and without Allah's will, nothing is going on. You must say, 'Why am I complaining, when He Almighty ordered this to be!’ Understand? This is practice. When you remember this point, you will be satisfied with His will. You will agree, also, with His will, with your Lord's will. When you agree with Him: happiness for you!"

Another question came: "What if you come up against injustice? Wouldn't this attitude lead you to say, ‘O, well, it’s just Allah's will?' Isn't this fatalism?"

Maulana answered, "Correction for wrong things is another thing entirely. We are not saying that you shouldn’t try to make wrong things right, that you shouldn’t try to prevent badness. No! As much as we can, we are correcting all things, if we can. But, what we are talking about here, when we speak of reducing our complaints and accepting all things as they come from our Lord's will, are those positions in which Allah is leaving us. For example, if we are poor – no complaining. If we are ill - no complaining."

„I don't understand these things," said one of our brothers. "They're very subtle. So much of the time, there’s confusion. When you say not to complain, I think, ‘Okay, I’ll accept everything.’ ”

“We accept everything,” answered the Shaykh, “that Allah Almighty is making happen to ourselves, and to other people.”

„How do you tell the difference between a badness that needs correction, and a condition that you should accept?” asked another. "Some things we definitely bring upon ourselves with our bad actions."

Shaykh Nazim responded, "Bad actions bring some things on us, but, when we keep ourselves, they do not come on us."

A murid objected, "Don't they sometimes come more? If you are a man of God, doesn't it make people angry with you?"

"Yes!" agreed the Shaykh. "But we are not complaining! We know that if there is a tree with fruits on it, children will throw stones. Children cannot reach the fruit in high places, so they throw stones to make it fall to them. Therefore, all prophets have people throwing stones at them. Understand? Some bad things come upon men because of their bad doings, but that which comes upon prophets and holy men is not because of their bad doings. No, it is because they are like trees, full of fruit which is high up and out of reach. Common people are like children, they cannot reach the fruit. Therefore, with stones, bad people are trying to reach those fruits."

„Good people are waiting for the dates to fall?"


A disciple said, "So, if something is going on in your house, and you don't want it, you can correct it? You can say, 'Don't do this, don’t do that?' You only have to accept that which you can do nothing about; is that correct?"

"You may correct whoever will listen to you, but you must be very careful," Maulana replied, "because all people, each of us, each man is looking to himself and seeing that he alone fills the whole world. So big is this looking to himself! Therefore, if you say to him, 'Don't do this!' he will never accept. But you may say instead, 'O, my Lord! If I were to do like this one (the person you wish to correct) is doing, how would you look upon it! Is it good, O, my Lord, to do like this?' When he hears this (or words to that effected), he may realize that he is wrong, and come down from his position. But, if you are saying to him, 'Don't do this!' he will never accept. He will have too much ego." Maulana went on: "In the case of something going on in your home that is in direct violation of Allah's orders, for example, a family member wanting to eat pork, you may forbid it. This is not complaining."

A murid offered this comment: "Yes, but then if I forbid something to my wife or children saying, 'You can't do that because it is against Allah's orders,' they just say, 'That's just what you believe, not what I believe! You have no right to impose your beliefs on me!' That's the American way, Shaykh Nazim!"

"When that happens," said Maulana, "you are free. You may continue to live with them or not. You are free. Or," he added, "you may let them do those things, but you must not sit with them while they are doing them. You must make it clear that you will not participate. She (they) may sit alone, eating or drinking. As long as she (they) is not Muslim, we cannot ask her (them) to obey the Islamic laws. She may even go to church; she is free. Shariah gives us permission to marry someone of another religion."

„Don't the children have to be raised Muslim'?" ask another.

"The children are your responsibility, if they are your children."

„So, we must make it clear that we are not free to take part in forbidden things'?" said a murid.

Shaykh Nazim answered, "Yes."

The murid who had originally raised the question objected, saying, "But aren't we getting off the point?" The second disciple interrupted him: "No, because that’s leverage. If they realize that you're not going to participate certain things with them, no matter when they do or say. . .”

"Yes," said Shaykh Nazim.

The second brother continued, ". . . then they will either have to drop what they are doing, or drop you!"

The Shaykh then said, "She may eat, she may drink! You must not sit with her. She may go to church; you are not going with her!"

Still another murid asked, "What of the case when a neighbour’s animals, for instance, destroy your property? Mustn’t we go to the judge and complain'? We can't go around saying, 'What a bad man my neighbour is!' "

Maulana answered, "If a man is bringing harm to you, Shariah gives us the authority to prevent it. Shariah gives authority to prevent harm among people. This is not complaining. It is your right to keep your property secure. If anyone harms you, with his hand or with his tongue, he is not a Muslim, not a believer. If you take action against that, we are saying that is not complaining. That is the right of Shariah. Say, for instance," elaborated the Shaykh, "that a man comes and cuts fruit off your trees and takes it away. It is not complaining to stop him. If he is making trouble, it is not complaining to take legal action against him. It is the right of Shariah. There is no permission for doing harm in Islamic law.”

A brother asked, "What are my rights regarding my non-Muslim wife? Must I allow her to do as she wishes? What is legitimate for me to demand of her, if anything?”

"Your rights?" said Maulana. "To keep your honour. Your honour is with your wife. If she is honourable (faithful), that is enough for you. When you find her faithful with you, and she likes to be with you, it is enough."

„This is for a non-Muslim wife, isn't it?"

"Yes," replied the Shaykh, "and also for a Muslim wife.”

„But," said a murid, "if you find a Muslim wife eating pork, or drinking wine. . ."

"No," replied the Shaykh, again, "because in the case of a Muslim, she has been ordered not to do these things. We cannot give permission. How? The answer is 'No!”

„You said before that there should be certain conditions in the relationship. What should these be?" asked another disciple.

Maulana answered him, "If your wife likes you and said ‘I am satisfied with you as my husband. You are free in your religion, and I am free in mine', then there are nor more conditions. The only conditions are to be faithful with you, with your children, and with your property."

„Is there anything else I have to submit to?" the first murid asked.

"If you like!" returned Shaykh Nazim. "If you don’t like, leave her! But we prefer for believers to marry with unbelievers; so that from their love for their husbands, they may approach belief themselves. Therefore, we are saying, 'Keep her,’ so that day by day she may agree with you because of her love for you. We have a saying: 'Shartul mu'arfiqa mu'arfiqa.’ It means 'From the condition of friendship, we may me meet on the same way.' Therefore, she will take him on her way, or he will take her on his way."

„What if you marry an unbelieving woman," asked a murid, “and, as time goes by, and even though you are tolerant, still she is not coming to Islam?"

"You must be patient with her for some time,“ said the Shaykh, "and you must pray to Allah to make her with you on the same way. 'Keep me, O, my Lord, on Your way, and keep her with me also on Your way.' If there is no result, then you may say to her, ‘You are in your way and I am in my way!’ ”

A murid said, “What if she begins to hate Islam, to speak badly of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and to be vicious? Sometimes Islam evokes very strong feelings in people".

“You must leave her!" said the Shaykh. "Not coming to discussion!"

"But not until you've done the other things first?” said a murid. "Not until you've been patient first?"

Shaykh Nazim nodded. "Yes," he said. "An important point. We must know that each person - their forelock – is in the hands of Allah Almighty. You cannot change people until Allah changes them. Even prophets cannot change people. If Allah is not changing, no one can change. The hearts of people are in the hands of Allah Almighty. Maybe Allah's will is going to change a servant; therefore He is sending her to you. If you have patience with her, your patience will bear fruit at the end, and she will come on your way."


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