What to do when people praise

People often praise you when they are inspired by any of your great qualities or due to some eye-catching belongings in your possession. Sometimes this praise is a token of appreciation, while on other occasions a person praises for flattery in order to gain worldly benefits or to avoid an unjust person’s mistreatment.

“You are so generous!”, “You are very kind hearted!”, ” You are a genius”, “You are a practicing Muslim”, “You’re pious”, “You are very intelligent”. These are some of the praising quotes that many of us hear from our colleagues, peers, disciples, subordinates, servants, friends, etc.

The desire to hear such praise from people around us is itself a spiritual disease which one should always avoid. This inner feeling that people should praise me ruins the soul. As a result, the person starts doing good or bad deeds for fame. The element of sincerity in the relationship with Allah swt weakens. On the contrary, when people bad mouth about them or even when they just doesn’t praise a praise-thirsty person, he becomes depressed and his heart starts sinking.

So what should be our response when people praise us.

My Shaikh Hazrat Maulana Hakim Muhammad Akhtar sb RA used to say that whenever people say kind words about you, always thank Allah taala that He has made our evil deeds hidden from the eyes of the people and revealed our good deeds to them, which are themselves gifted by The Almighty.

He used to say that on such occasions, unless the praise is for flattery or other ill-purpose, do not try to silence them. Just talk to yourself that this is a blessing from Allah taala that He has hidden my vices from my brother’s eyes. This increases the faith and love of Allah taala.

إِذَا مُدِحَ الْمُؤْمِنُ فِي وَجْهِهِ رَبَا الْإِيمَانُ فِي قَلْبِهِ

When a Mumin is praised on his face his faith/imaan increases.

المستدرك على الصحيحين

That can best be understood by following dua of Prophet Sallahoalaihewassallam.

اَللّٰهُمَّ اجْعَلْنِىْ صَبُوْرًا وَّ اجْعَلْنِىْ شَكُوْرًا وَّ اجْعَلْنِىْ فِىْ عَيْنِىْ صَغِيْرًا وَّ فِىْ أَعْيُنِ النَّاسِ كَبِيْرًا۔

O Allah! Make me one who is patient and grateful; and make me small in my own eyes but great in the eyes of others

مجمع الزوائد

It is important to elaborate that supplicating to make myself small in my own eyes is obvious but supplicating to be great in other’s eyes is not a wanting of fame. Rather, it is a request to have a good repute so that it becomes easier to present deen to the masses.

He would also say about رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ that the hasanah of this world includes, but not limited to, good repute among the people.

He used to say that there are four categories of praises: Creator praises Himself, Creator praises His creature, Creature praise their Creator, Creature praise other creatures. All of these types of praise actually praise the Creator because any praise of the creatures is actually the praise of the Creator.

May Allah swt give us His love that everything we see and everything we hear increases our faith in Him.

The Cost of Selecting Piety

Allah taala has given us the choice. The choice is ours, whether we choose the Right or the Wrong and so are the rewards or consequences.

(وَہَدَیۡنٰہُ النَّجۡدَیۡنِ ۚ ) and showed him the two ways
[Surah Al-Balad 10]

We do wrongs mostly to please the illicit desires of our innerself or our society while shaitaan tries to influence our thought process.

But تقوی or piety is to turn down these illicit desires for the sake of defending or mending our love with Allah تعالی . No matter how extreme the urge is or how much pressure the society exerts, a true lover of Allah does not bow down.

And this might result in shattering of our own illicit desires or a bit of temporary sour taste in relationships with our friends and relatives. My Shaikh Hazrat Maulana Hakim Muhammad Akhtar sb RA used to quote a couplet

آرزوئیں خون ہو یا حسرتیں پامال ہوں

اب تو اس دل کو ترے قابل بنانا ہے مجھے

I don’t care if my dreams are shattered or my desires are left unfulfilled, I need to prepare my heart and get it tidy for You..

My Shaikh Hazrat Maulana Hakim Muhammad Akhtar sb RA used to quote a couplet of Maulana Roomi RA

جمادے چند دادم جاں فریدم

بحمدالله عجب ارزاں خریدم

I just threw some pebbles and look Alhamdolillah I found my Love so easily.

But even the feeling of deprivation of pebbles fades away as soon as the heart starts experiencing the countless blessings bestowed by the Lord as compensation. The person starts feeling the حلاوت ایمانی , the sweetness of Imaan, which gives him/ her the courage and passion to choose the right path in all subsequent eventualities of life.

May Allah swt give us strength to choose His path at every crossroad in our life. Ameen

The Language of Love

I had the honor to attend few Quran completion ceremony at a taraveeh congregation this Ramadan.

Allah taala has addressed people differently according to the situation and audiences.

At a number of occasions, Allah Ta’ala provides stories with which we can draw parallels in our lives and we can extract guidance for ourselves.

Normally we see a carrot and stick approach where bounties are promised on practicing Taqwa and good deeds. On other hand exemplary punishment is announced for the transgressors.

But Allah as our Creator and Sustainer and the one Who loves His creations the most has chosen a special way of addressing us. This is the universal language of love that each one of us can understand and feel.

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الۡاِنۡسَانُ مَا غَرَّکَ بِرَبِّکَ الۡکَرِیۡمِ ۙ
Translation: O man! What has deceived you about your Gracious Lord

[Surah Al-Infitar 6]

کَلَّاۤ اِنَّہُمۡ عَنۡ رَّبِّہِمۡ یَوۡمَئِذٍ لَّمَحۡجُوۡبُوۡنَ ؕ
Translation: No! Indeed they will be screened off from their Lord on that Day.

[Surah Al-Mutaffifin 15]

My shaikh Hazrat Maulana Hakim Muhammad Akhtar sb RA used to elaborate that on the Day of Resurrection, Allah SWT will draw a curtain and will not let the transgressors see Him as a punishment. My shaikh points out that this punishment to the disloyals of not allowing a glimpse of Him can only be given by the most loving One. Like a mother, when her son or daughter disobeys or mistreats her, she punishes them and asks them not to see her face. This punishment proves the amount of love she has for her children as keeping them away will be enough punishment to show them her displeasure.

Hence, we must think of this twice before we could think of committing any act that displeases Him. This is what we refer to as the universal language of love which we all can understand and feel.