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The Blacksmith and the Perfume seller

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  • The Blacksmith and the Perfume seller

    The Blacksmith and the Perfume seller


    On the authority of Abu Musa al-Ash'ari (radiAllahu anhu), the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said:

    "The likeness of a righteous friend and an evil friend, is the likeness of a (musk) perfume seller and a blacksmith. As for the perfume seller, he may either bestow something on you, or you may purchase something from him, or you may benefit from his sweet smell. And as for the blacksmith, he may either burn your clothes, or you may be exposed to his awful smell."

    [Bukhari and Muslim]


    This is one of the many narrations from the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam), which is striking in its simile, wonderful in its rhetoric, and ingenious in its explanation. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) would always explain concepts in the simplest way, and yet their effect on the human heart would be fantastic. This is especially important considering human beings are of all different cultures, intellects and understandings, and the words of the Messenger (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) transcend all these barriers.

    "The likeness of a righteous friend and an evil friend, is the likeness of a (musk) perfume seller and a blacksmith.."

    This first sentence is the object of the hadith-friendship. In the Arabic, the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) starts with the restrictive word innama, which is very difficult to incorporate into the English translation while at the same time maintaining its coherence. The inclusion of this first word means the comparison that the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) is making is a very exact one, even though it may not be literal.

    There is no doubt friendship is an integral part of life for all human beings. A very interesting point is that the Arabic word for human is insan. Scholars have pointed out there may be several words where insan is derived from. One of these is isti'nas, which means pleasure or joy from another's company. This implies that human beings are naturally social, communal creatures, who have a need for each other. Here the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) recognises this fact and gives a stern warning, as well as some warm advice.

    In fact, the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) has frequently stressed on the importance of one’s friends or immediate social surrounds. For example, he (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said:

    "A man is on the religion of his close friend, so each of you should look to whom you take as close friends."

    This powerful advice stems from Revelation, as Allah (Ta'ala) created human beings to be social. It is also backed by thousands of years of human experience, and is also corroborated by modern science. Countless completed studies suggest that peer pressure is vital in the way humans behave, particularly in our youth, driving them towards smoking, drugs, alcohol and vulgar sexual behaviour.

    Even more seriously, an evil social group eventually drives one to negligence in obligatory actions and disbelief. An example of this, discussed later, is even mentioned in the Qur'an. So how does this work? The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) explains:

    "As for the perfume seller, he may either bestow something on you, or you may purchase something from him, or you may benefit from his sweet smell.."

    The company of the righteous friend is where the heart is at rest, and where the spirit is in harmony. It is the person who makes one truly happy. He/she provides encouragement during times of hardship and is also there to provide motivation in times of ease. But most importantly, the righteous friend improves one’s Islamic character and Iman.

    According to the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) the benefit comes in three forms. Firstly, he may provide you with an easy avenue for good deeds, such as reminding you of Allah (subhanahu wa Ta'ala) or perhaps telling you a hadith you have never heard. In essence, he has provided you with a gift.

    Secondly, he may provide you an avenue to good deeds that perhaps requires some effort on your part, such as encouraging you to give charity.

    Thirdly, you may simply benefit from his presence, which provides an inner sense of peace, and a softening of the heart, as Allah (subhanahu wa Ta'ala) describes:

    "Then your hearts became hardened after that, so they were like stones or even harder still. There are some stones from which rivers gush out, and others which split open and water pours out, and others which crash down from the fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do."

    [Surah al-Baqarah; 2:74]

    This verse, revealed about the Children of Israel due to their constant rejection of numerous signs and miracles from Allah, actually has a lesson for all of us. Everyone, especially in the society we live in, is subject to a hardening of his or her heart over time, so that emotion becomes an almost passive experience.

    Yet the righteous friend is a beacon towards the remembrance of Allah, and Allah (Ta'ala) mentions that not all stones remain hard. Some have rivers gushing out, explained by the scholars as an abundance of tears (due to the love and fear of Allah). Others have water flowing out, meaning a lesser amount of tears, while others crumble out of their fear of Allah, like mountain tops do after the wear and tear of centuries.

    But the most special thing about a virtuous friend is that no matter what, you always gain from them-there is nothing to lose. As the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) explains, you either end up possessing a sweet smell or at least experience it while the meeting endures.

    "And as for the blacksmith, he may either burn your clothes, or you may be exposed to his awful smell."

    Accordingly, the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) described the antithesis of the righteous friend as someone wholly different from the perfume seller. The blacksmith is a man who works with metal.

    During the days of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam), and to a lesser extent these days, these metalworkers laboured for hours in a choking, smoky environment of extreme heat in order to design their desired object. Again the comparison by the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) is superbly astute. In the company of the blacksmith one is permanently harmed by the heat or even the sparks resulting from the labour. This means one has adopted an evil habit from the one he keeps company. If not, then the very company of the blacksmith gives no relief to the conscience.

    In fact it is the opposite. Like a dark cloud of pollution, the influence of the sinful friend restricts the chest and leaves the spirit in a constant state of anxiety and discord, as Allah describes those that are led astray:

    "When He desires to misguide someone, He makes his breast narrow and constricted, as if he were climbing into the sky. That is how Allah defiles those who have no Iman."

    [Surah al-An'am; 6:125]

    In one of the most dramatic scenes painted in the Qur’an, Allah (Ta'ala) says:

    "On the Day when heaven is split apart in clouds, and the angels are sent down rank upon rank. The Kingdom that Day will belong in truth to the All-Merciful. It will be a hard Day for the disbelievers. The Day when a wrongdoer will bite his hands and say, ‘Alas for me! If only I had gone the way of the Messenger! Alas for Me! If only I had not taken so and so for a friend! He led me astray from the Reminder after it came to me’."

    [Surah al-Furqan; 25:25-29]

    This verse was revealed about Uqbah ibn Mu’it, who proclaimed the Shahadah after the insistence of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam). However, Ubayy ibn Khalaf was a close friend of Uqbah, and also an ardent enemy of Islam. Under ‘peer pressure’ of ibn Khalaf, Uqbah renounced his Islam and will subsequently suffer a great torment on the Day of Resurrection, as Allah (Ta'ala) revealed in the above verses. This is just one example from history about the effect that a friend may have on the individual.

    Another extremely important Qur’anic moral a Muslim must adopt is the abandonment of a discussion if it involves ridiculing or disparaging Islam in any way. Allah (Ta'ala) says:

    "It has been sent down to you in the Book that when you hear Allah’s signs being rejected and mocked at by the people, you must not sit with them till they start talking of other things. If you do not you are just the same as them."

    [Surah al-Nisa; 4:139]

    This act is of such great significance that merely sitting with an evil group of people can result in the negation of one’s Islam. This again highlights the importance of selecting a social group that will advance the spiritual and mental well being, rather than slowly dragging them towards the Hellfire.

    In our community, it is the youth who are prone to this path of deviation. It is too easy for an impressionable young Muslim to completely lose a lifetime of Islamic upbringing after trying to ‘fit in’ with a group of evil friends. Smoking, drugs, nightclubs and illegal sexual acts are just some of the more common vices that our youth fall into under the influence of their ‘friends’.

    Although the family can be a positive influence, it is ultimately up to each individual to choose which group to belong to, both in this life and the Hereafter. It is up to each individual to choose whether they will be burnt, or will smell of the sweetness of musk.

    Mansour Abdul Hakim
    "O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do." [An-Nisa 4:135]

    The Prophet :saw: said:

    "Whosoever leaves off obedience and separates from the Jamaa'ah and dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah. Whoever fights under the banner of the blind, becoming angry for 'asabiyyah (nationalism/tribalism/partisanship) or calling to 'asabiyyah, or assisting 'asabiyyah, then dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah."

    muslim

    Narrated 'Abdullah:

    The Prophet, said, "Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (evil doing) and killing him is Kufr (disbelief)." sahih bukhari


    "Creeping upon you is the diseases of those people before you: envy and hatred. And hatred is the thing that shaves. I do not say it shaves the hair but it shaves the religion!

    By the One in whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Certainly, let me inform you of that which may establish such things: spread the greetings and peace among yourselves."

    [Recorded by Imam Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi]


  • #2
    Re: The Blacksmith and the Perfume seller

    :lailah:
    "O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do." [An-Nisa 4:135]

    The Prophet :saw: said:

    "Whosoever leaves off obedience and separates from the Jamaa'ah and dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah. Whoever fights under the banner of the blind, becoming angry for 'asabiyyah (nationalism/tribalism/partisanship) or calling to 'asabiyyah, or assisting 'asabiyyah, then dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah."

    muslim

    Narrated 'Abdullah:

    The Prophet, said, "Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (evil doing) and killing him is Kufr (disbelief)." sahih bukhari


    "Creeping upon you is the diseases of those people before you: envy and hatred. And hatred is the thing that shaves. I do not say it shaves the hair but it shaves the religion!

    By the One in whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Certainly, let me inform you of that which may establish such things: spread the greetings and peace among yourselves."

    [Recorded by Imam Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi]

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The Blacksmith and the Perfume seller

      BarakAllahu feek ukhtii, Excellent thread...:)
      Last edited by JDR; 19-03-09, 09:18 PM.
      They want to extinguish Allah's Light with their mouths, but Allah will not allow except that His Light should be perfected even though the disbelievers hate (it).)- It is He Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, to make it superior over all religions even though the idolators hate (it).) Surah Al-Tawbah 32-33

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      • #4
        Re: The Blacksmith and the Perfume seller

        :salams

        :jkk:

        :wswrwb:

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The Blacksmith and the Perfume seller

          :wswrwb:
          "O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do." [An-Nisa 4:135]

          The Prophet :saw: said:

          "Whosoever leaves off obedience and separates from the Jamaa'ah and dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah. Whoever fights under the banner of the blind, becoming angry for 'asabiyyah (nationalism/tribalism/partisanship) or calling to 'asabiyyah, or assisting 'asabiyyah, then dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah."

          muslim

          Narrated 'Abdullah:

          The Prophet, said, "Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (evil doing) and killing him is Kufr (disbelief)." sahih bukhari


          "Creeping upon you is the diseases of those people before you: envy and hatred. And hatred is the thing that shaves. I do not say it shaves the hair but it shaves the religion!

          By the One in whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Certainly, let me inform you of that which may establish such things: spread the greetings and peace among yourselves."

          [Recorded by Imam Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi]

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The Blacksmith and the Perfume seller

            :jkk:
            وَاقْصِدْ فِي مَشْيِكَ وَاغْضُضْ مِن صَوْتِكَ ۚ إِنَّ أَنكَرَ الْأَصْوَاتِ لَصَوْتُ الْحَمِيرِ - 31:19

            And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys."


            أَلَمْ تَرَوْا أَنَّ اللَّهَ سَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَأَسْبَغَ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعَمَهُ ظَاهِرَةً وَبَاطِنَةً ۗ وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَلَا هُدًى وَلَا كِتَابٍ مُّنِيرٍ - 31:20

            Do you not see that Allah has made subject to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth and amply bestowed upon you His favors, [both] apparent and unapparent? But of the people is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening Book [from Him].


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