The circle of righteousness
In Surat al Ahqaf, Allah Almighty describes a circle of righteousness. It creates the blueprint of how to set your priorities straight and maintain righteousness within your family and society.
وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ إِحْسَانًا ۖ ….. قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي فِي ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ إِنِّي تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ
We have enjoined upon man kindness to his parents. …..Until, when he has attained his maturity, and has reached forty years, he says, “Lord, enable me to appreciate the blessings You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and to act with righteousness, pleasing You. And instill righteousness in my descendants. I have sincerely repented to You, and I am of those who have surrendered.” (46:15)
Gratitude to Allah
Our first priority is Allah Almighty, to whom we should be grateful. Ibn Atta illah al-Iskandari said that there are two favours for which are indebted to Allah – the first is the favour of existence and the second is the favour or sustenance (ni’matul ijad and ni’matul imdad). So we need to thank Allah Almighty and praise Him for His favours.
Kindness to Parents
In order to be grateful to Allah Almighty, you need to be grateful to your parents. After Allah we owe gratitude to our parents. It’s not possible for any of us to make it without them. Allah Almighty is reminding us about our debt to them.
If your parents are alive, seize the opportunity to please them and be grateful to them. If you have lost them, send them your du’a and your good deeds and righteous deeds.
In another verse, He says:
“My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to do righteousness of which You approve. And admit me by Your mercy into [the ranks of] Your righteous servants.” (27:19)
Yourself – Do good deeds
Allah Almighty is saying in this verse that we can express our gratitude to Him and our parents through righteous actions (al ‘amal as-saliha). It is not by lip service (though we should praise Him and thank them), but deeds that are in line with His commands and in line with the Shariah. This is how you please Allah Almighty and your parents. Our focus has to be whether these deeds will be accepted by Him or not. So we ask Allah to enable us to do righteous deeds which He accepts from us.
Moreover, we need righteous companions, as their goodness is contagious, likewise if you have the evil companions, their evil is also contagious. This is why when you attend gatherings of knowledge and goodness, you feel your heart is at peace, because you have beautiful souls and righteous people around you, as well as the angels. It is the presence of the angels which brings peace to our hearts, so we need to keep them around us.
Raise Righteous Children
The cycle of righteousness is completed when you raise righteous offspring. Righteous offspring listen to you and do righteous deeds. In turn they are good towards their parents and this completes the cycle of righteousness. This creates a righteous community.
In order to retain righteousness we need an incubator. When you attend gatherings this strengthens your imaan and creates a community that is beyond race and nationality. No matter where you are from – Lebanese or Syrian, Pakistani or Indian, English or French – the right intention creates miracles. The more sincerity (ikhlas) you have, the more Allah Almighty surrounds you with people of sincerity – bringing together beautiful souls for their love of Allah. The common factor is their pure hearts, and you do not need to pretend who you are, you can feel at peace and be yourself.
Thus Allah Almighty is teaching us how to build a righteous community and generations of righteousness.
The cycle of righteousness
We can see from this how the cycle of righteousness flows:
Yourself: good deeds
And children in turn will be good to their parents and so on the cycle goes on.
Prepare for the future
It is now time for our children to take over – to take the torch and carry the flag and lead the way. They are the leaders of the future. We are seeing in recent years, a new generation coming through, taking high positions – in the government, as civil servants, in other fields. It could be any of our children who becomes a prime minister one day.
Therefore we need our children to take these positions and be bastions of righteousness. We want them to study, and at the same time be strong enough, confident enough, knowledgeable enough and connected with Allah Almighty and He will open the way.
We need to sharpen our skills. Our children are better than us in technology and artificial intelligence. They can teach us. However remember that technology and AI have two sides – the good and the bad, so stay with the good one.
Leading the way is a huge responsibility. Allah Almighty said to the Prophet (peace be upon him), ‘We are going to set you a weighty message’, and indeed carrying the message is weighty. But it can be carried: when Allah Almighty is with you, you can move mountains insha’Allah.
We need to be with Allah Almighty. He will give you the power, the light, and the energy to carry on.
We pray that Allah Almighty makes us the parents of those children who will lead until we meet Allah Almighty. Ameen.
Shaykh Haytham Tamim 8th April 2023
Transcribed by Zayna Sheikh
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