As Salaamu 'alaykum and Peace to all,
A few days back, I encountered an incident which has brought new meaning and outlook in my life. It happened in the morning around 8.00am. I was about to get into my car when i saw a woman - non-muslim- walked pass me on the other side of the road. Naturally, i smiled to her. And she smiled back. I continued to put my laptop bag into the car. Then, i heard someone says hello.
I turned my head and saw the same woman across the street, now, standing beside me.
"Are you going out and will pass by the bus station?"
I actually wasn’t going to pass the bus station, but, then, I remembered something
The words of Allah Almighty, "Worship Allah and do not attribute partners to Him. Be good to your parents and relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to neighbours who are related to you and neighbours who are not related to you..." (4:36)
The father of 'Umar ibn Muhammad related from his father that Ibn 'Umar said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Jibril continued to advise me to be good to my neighbour until I thought that he would have me make him my heir. (Sahih Bukhari)
Ibn al-Munkadir reported that he heard Jabir say, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was never asked for something to which he said 'No.'" (Sahih Bukhari #5687)
"Yes, i answered"
"May i get a lift from you?"
"Sure, no problem. Hop in!"
This is when something amazing happened. We got acquainted and she made a remark that sank my heart to the bottom of the sea.
She said to me, " When you smiled to me across the street, i saw kindness in your smile, that is why I have the courage to came to you for help. Many people passed by me, but none of them smiled, so I didn’t ask”
One line was enough. One line from her and i realized how true and wise our Prophet Muhammad SAW words are. He showed us the manners and way to the heart of people using the smallest and simplest way. Smiling.
The Prophet said: "Do not think little of any good deed even if it is just greeting your brother with a cheerful countenance [face] (Muslim)
Abdullaah Ibn Haarith said, 'I never came across a person who smiled as much as the Prophet. The Prophet regarded smiling with a brother as an act of charity. (Tirmidhi)
Suddenly it strikes me. If we cannot follow the manner of how Prophet Muhammad SAW in say doing night prayers, can’t we follow him in smiling? Prophet Muhammad SAW loves to smile. By just smiling we Muslims are being rewarded and are regarded as doing charity work. Is it so hard to smile?
When I walked around, I love to see people’s expression. I can actually see almost every expression – angry, upset, rushing, expressionless, lost, happy, tense, etc, but I rarely see a person, with a smile as their default face! Maybe we don’t want people to think we are crazy… wondering why we are smiling for no reason…
Upon reflecting on that day’s incident, it makes me wonder, how many times have i not acted as how our Prophet SAW asked us to behave? How many times have i failed to portray the manners and morals that is the guideline of Muslims? How many times have i forgotten that I AM the ambassador of Islam? How many times have I ignored the fact that I AM the window to Islam for the non-muslims?
Being the window to Islam has bothered me enough, but, what freaks me is that what if I am the ONLY window to Islam that they have?
I remembered reading one story sometime back about an Imaam who almost sold his Deen. Let me share it with you…
Several years ago an Imaam moved to London. He often took the bus from his home to the downtown area. Some weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the same bus. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him twenty pence too much change. As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, 'you better give the twenty pence back. It would be wrong to keep it'.
Then he thought, 'Oh forget it, it's only twenty pence. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway, the bus company already gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a gift from Almighty Allah and keep quiet'.
When his stop came, the Imaam paused momentarily at the door, then he handed the twenty pence back to the driver and said:
"Here, you gave me too much change."
The driver with a smile replied:
"Aren't you the new Imaam in this area? I have been thinking lately about going to worship at your mosque. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change."
When the Imaam stepped off the bus, his knees became weak and soft. He had to grab the nearest light pole and held for support, and looked up to the heavens and cried:
"Oh Allah, I almost sold Islam for twenty pence!"
I keep on thinking of this Imaam story and asked myself. Have I ever done that before? Have I ever sold my religion by being a bad window?
Am I following Prophet’s manners and advices on punctuality, on being truthful, on smiling, on good words, on patience, on my dressing, on my dealing with my friends? Oh dear, what if when I was doing all the wrong things, my ‘bus driver’ was watching me closely, and evaluating me as a Muslim and judging Islam thru me, his window? I hope that I do not have any ‘bus drivers’ watching me.
What about you? Is your ‘bus driver’ watching? We will never know. But that is not the question. The question is what are we going to do now, knowing, maybe, just maybe, someone is watching and judging Islam thru us...
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