Monday, May 3, 2010

Hadeeth Reminder:Focus on Yourself AND The Triple Filter Test

Focus on Yourself

Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "O you who have entered Islam with your tongues but whose hearts faith has not entered: do not slander people, and do not ferret out people's shameful points. Whoever searches out the shameful points of his brother, Allah will search out his shameful points, and if Allah searches out a person's shameful points, be sure that He will disgrace him even if he should remain in the middle of his house." [Abu Dawud]

This hadith teaches us a number of things:

1. It points to the difference between being a Muslim and being a Momin. A person who has embraced Islam but not reformed his heart and inner self through it, is called a Muslim but not a Momin.

2. One characteristic that differentiates a Muslim from a Momin is that a Muslim may be on the look out for people's hidden flaws and shameful secrets: but a Momin would never waste his or her time in such a disgraceful activity. This is because a Momin knows that in the Final Reckoning they will be asked about their own faults and not those of others.

3. The punishment for someone who tries to find flaws in others is that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) will surely disgrace them by making their shameful deeds public. These may be things we considered done and hidden forever. But if Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) chooses to disgrace somebody, there is nowhere they can hide to escape the wretchedness of disgrace. We waste so much time looking for and discussing the faults of others. Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) says, "That is a nation which has already passed away: there awaits it whatever it has earned, while you will have what you have earned. You will not be questioned about what they have been doing." [Quran 2:141]

Focus on that which is your foremost responsibility and in your control. Yourself!

The Triple Filter Test

Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Keep away from ill-thinking/ suspicions because ill-thinking is the greatest falsehood.” [Sahih Bukhari]

During the Abbasid period one of the scholars in Baghdad was greeted by an acquaintance who said, "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?"

Scholar: "Hold on a minute, before telling me anything I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test.

"The Man: "Triple Filter Test?"Scholar: "That's right, before you talk to me about my friend it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. That's why I call it the triple filter test.

The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?

"The Man: "No, actually I just heard about it and ...

"Scholar: "All right, so you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?

"The Man: "No, on the contrary...

"Scholar: "So, you want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left: The filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?

"The Man: "No, not really.

"Scholar: "Well, if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?" Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) asks us: "O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh (meat) of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful." [Quran 49:12]

Let's pass our intended speech through the triple filter test before we madly utter our every thought. And lets subject others to the triple filter test too before we hear any number of damaging things from them.

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