Here is a book that I compiled for the guests at my brother’s wedding:

Gems from the Gem Master

Dedicated to ______and ______ and presented to them and their guests as a gift on their wedding day.  May all the guests that day be blessed and under the safety and good pleasure of God for all eternity. Their acceptance of our invitation has been an honor.

July 12, 2008

Introduction:

In a world of confusion, misunderstanding, chaos, pain, and anguish, along with a network of decisions that are made on a daily basis; the human being is in a constant need of assistance.  What is the best course of action to take?  What is the right thing to say?  The human is endlessly searching and hoping that they speak and do the best.

This human yearn for guidance results in the adherence to various institutions or ideologies.  Part of God’s immense mercy is that he sends this guidance in the form of human messengers and revelation.  Were God to have sent an angel or other-worldly form of guidance, mankind may not have felt that they could reach the ultimate perfection found within an angelic guidance. Yet indeed, humans should, and can!  The whole point of existence is to strive on the path of human perfection.  A life without struggle is indeed a boring and dull life.  Whether you call the final goal, nirvana, sagehood, enlightenment, or vicegerency, the goal is the same: to be liberated from mundane mirage and released into Divine Reality.

Islam holds the view that there have been approximately 124,000 perfected humans that have exemplified wise actions and beautiful character.  Amongst these humans (messengers of God, prophets) mentioned in the Quran are Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus, and finally Muhammad (May God grant them peace). Other scholars have speculated that Buddha, Lao Tse, and Confucius have also been prophets.  It is interesting to note that Islamic scholarship accepts all prophets previous to Muhammad while no other religion accepts the Islamic Prophet.  Thus there is an obvious, inherent universality and tolerance in the Islamic faith:

To every people (was sent) a Messenger:  when their Messenger comes before them the matter will be judged between them with justice, and they will not be wronged. (Quran 10:47).

Say: We have faith in God, and in that which has been sent down on Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, and Jacob, and the Tribes, and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and the Prophets by their Lord. We make no distinction among any of them, and to Him we have submitted. (Quran 2:136)

He has sent down upon you the Book with the truth, confirming what was before it, and He has sent down the Torah and the Gospel aforetime, as guidance to the people. (Quran 3:3)

Through his own actions and speech, each prophet of God embodied his respective divine revelation. Therefore, prophetic example is the best source of guidance for social matters and is worthy of emulation.  For Muslims, this means following the example (Sunnah) of the last messenger of God to mankind, Muhammad (May God grant him peace).

In present times people emphasize obligations toward God (prayer, fasting) over obligations toward God’s creations (good manners, kind treatment).  In part this has had the affect of driving people away from religion.  In fact, obligations toward other creations have traditionally been emphasized in the past.  Al-Hidaya, the Muslim Hanafi school of law’s most famous book, devotes ¾ of its contents toward the obligations due to people, and spends only ¼ of its contents toward obligations due to God!   According to Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar, this is due to the fact that on the Day of Judgment, God may forgive the sins we commit between us and Him, but God will not forgive our sins between us and others until the person(s) we have wronged against forgive us first.

For the Muslim, one of the fundamental questions is: How did Muhammad (pbuh) and his companions exert the best possible character and carry out their obligations toward others in the most perfect manner?  One way of solving this mystery is to dive into the prophetic wisdom embellished within the sayings and written down actions of Muhammad: the ahadeeth (singular: hadith).

Muhammad’s Impeccable Character:

The following 108 gems that have emanated from Muhammad’s (peace and blessings be upon him) mouth is proof of his beyond this world wisdom and compassion. To Muslims, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the best father, the best brother, the best husband, the best teacher, the best leader, the best humanitarian, the best friend, and the best human.  “I have not been sent except to perfect character,” the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) once said to his followers.  Even after his death when Muhammad’s followers were free to say anything about him (pbuh), not one of them uttered a negative remark.  His nickname, Al-Amin (the Trustworthy), which was given to him as a youth, was never invalidated.  Even his wife, Aisha (May God preserve her), a companion who witnessed his character within the privacy of the home and in the public realm, proclaimed that his character was the Quran. This historical fact is phenomenal; which modern-day wife can proclaim that her husband has the same beauteous character outside as he does within the home? The Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) companion, Amr bin Al-As (May God preserve him), also affirmed Muhammad’s sincerity: “We saw everything the Prophet (pbuh) taught us embodied in his own character.”

Although in the later years of his life the Prophet was respected far and wide, he continued to live humbly:

“The Prophet (pbuh) used to mend his own shoes, sew his own clothes and work in his own house just as one of you would work. He acted like a common man- he patched his own clothes, milked his own goats and engaged himself in routine work.” [Hadith from Al-Tirmidhi]

This provides evidence that his desire to transmit revelation was not for material gain.  Muhammad’s (pbuh) humility also permeated his actions with others.  He never chastised those who desired to serve him.  A voluntary servant of the Prophet (pbuh) said, “I served the Prophet (pbuh) for ten years, and he never said to me, ‘Uf’  (a word signifying harshness or impatience) and never blamed me by saying, ‘Why did you do so or why didn’t you do so?’”

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) also never publicly humiliated people for minor sins.  Once a man entered the Prophet’s Mosque and urinated.  A few of the companions became extremely upset and at least one was ready to physically reprimand him, yet Muhammad (pbuh) remained calm and told them to be patient.  The Prophet (pbuh) gently took him aside and explained to the man who urinated that mosques are sacred places and must be kept clean.  Due to the Prophet’s (pbuh) noble manners, the man cried out, “Oh God forgive me and Muhammad and no one else!”  The Prophet (pbuh) just laughed and said, You are limiting God’s vast mercy.  This statement also demonstrates Muhammad’s (pbuh) sense of humor.  Indeed, he once said, “I joke, but always truthfully.”

Muhammad (pbuh) was the first man to verbally condemn racism based on skin color when he explicitly said that there is no difference between a white and a black man except by piety and good action. This is extremely progressive and astounding for his time period of 7th century Arabia, especially considering that America had massive racism only 50 years ago and that this world is still suffering from it.  Those who disbelieve in Islam should hold high regard and esteem for the speaker of this brilliant statement.

These are just a few of the endless reasons why thousands of people were willing to call him without any doubt the Messenger of God.  Indeed a man of such high character caliber could not have been insane, or worse, invented falsehood:

You are not, by the grace of your Lord, mad or possessed.  Nay, verily for you is a Reward unfailing: And you (stand) on an exalted standard of character.  Soon will you see, and they will see, which of you is afflicted with madness. (Quran 68: 2-6)

Each hadith, each gem, is followed with the name of the hadith collector in brackets.

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THE GEMS

The Noble and Last Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

1  What enables people to enter paradise more than anything is piety and good character. [At-Tirmidhi]

2.  The most complete in faith are those best in character and kindest to their families. [At-Tirmidhi]

3.  The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character. [Al Bukhari]

4.  A parent can give a child no greater gift than beautiful manners. [Al-Hakim]

5.  There is nothing heavier than good character put in the scale of a believer on the Day of Resurrection. [Abu Dawood]

6.  God does not regard your externals or your riches but rather your hearts and your deeds. [Muslim]

Equality

7.  You should show courtesy and be cordial with each other, so that nobody should consider himself superior to another nor do him harm. [Muslim]

8.  All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black has any superiority over a white except by piety and good action. [Al Bukhari]

Self-Effort

9.  It is better for any of you to carry a load of firewood on his own back than begging from someone else.” [Al Bukhari and Muslim]

Altruism & Humanity

10  None of you will have faith until he wishes for his brother what he likes for himself. [Muslim]

11.  Love for humanity what you love for yourself. [Al-Bukhari]

12.  Never express joy at your fellow man’s afflictions, for God just might free him of them and afflict you. [At-Tabarani]

Cleanliness

13.  Islam is clean, so cleanse yourselves, for only the cleansed shall enter Paradise. [At-Tabarani]

Friendliness & Kindness

14.  Hearts naturally love those who are kind to them and loathe those who are cruel. [Al-Bayhaqi]

15.  Two should never converse privately excluding a third until others join them.  The reason being is that it would dismay him. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

16.  One aspect of manliness is for a fellow to listen attentively to his brother should he address him. [Al-Khatib]

17.  Kindness is not to be found in anything but that it adds to its beauty and it is not withdrawn from anything but that it makes it defective. [Muslim]

Mercy and Compassion

18.  Those who show mercy have God’s mercy shown to them.  Have mercy on those here on earth, and the One there in Heaven will have mercy on you. [Imam Ahmad]

19.  You see the believers as regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind, resembling one body, so that, if any part of the body is not well then the whole body shares the sleeplessness (insomnia) and fever with it. [Al-Bukhari]

20.  He who is deprived of gentleness is deprived of good. [Abu Dawood]

21.  Exchange gifts, and mutual love arises; shake hands, and enmity will fall away. [Ibn 'Asakir]

Consideration for Others

22.  Should one of you yawn, let him place his hand over his mouth and avoid a yawner’s howl.  Even Satan derides the howling yawner. [Ibn Majah]

23.  If one of you requests permission to enter a place and, after three requests, permission is yet not granted, he should leave. [Al Bukhari and Muslim]

24.  If you happen to see a funeral procession, stand for it until it passes or the dead is laid to rest. [Al Bukhari and Muslim]

25.  Every Muslim has five rights over every other Muslim: the right to a reply should he greet him; an acceptance, should he invite him; a visit, should he fall ill; a prayer, should he sneeze; a presence at his funeral, should he die. [Ibn Majah]

26.  He who directs others to a good deed is as the one who did it; and, assuredly, God loves the act of aiding the distressed. [Ibn Abi ad-Dunya]

27.  May God have mercy on a servant who spoke well and gained good, or kept silent and avoided harm. [Ibn Al Mubarak]

28.  Whoever does you a favor, repay him; and if you are unable to, then at least pray for him. [At-Tabarani]

29.  Anyone who sees a believer degraded, and, being able to defend him, does not, is degraded by God on the Day of Judgment. [Imam Ahmad]

Minding One’s Own Business

30.  Whoever spies on a group’s private conversation knowing that they would dislike him doing so shall have lead poured into his ears on the Day of Judgment.  [Al-Bukhari]

31.  Beautiful Islam entails minding one’s own business. [At-Tirmidhi]

Ease

32.  Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm (with glad tidings) and do not repulse (them). [Al-Bukhari]

33.  The believer gets along with people and they feel comfortable with him. There is no goodness in the one who does not get along with people and with whom they do not feel comfortable. [Ahmad]

Women

34.  The best among you is the one who acts best toward his wife, and I am better than any of you toward his wife. [Ibn Majah]

35.  In response to the question, What is the right of the wife over the husband? The Messenger of God (pbuh) said, That he not hit her in the face and not abuse her, that he feeds her with what he eats, that he clothes her in what he wears, and that he not keep himself apart from her.  [Tabrisi]

36.  Treat your women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers. [Al-Bukhari]

37.  Paradise lies beneath the feet of mothers. [Ahmad]

38.  The one who looks after and works for a widow and for a poor person, is like a warrior fighting for God’s Cause or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all the night. [Al-Bukhari]

39.  Condemned is anyone who separates child from mother. [Al-Bayhaqi]

Covering Faults & Backbiting

40.  Do you know what backbiting is? Muhammad’s companions replied: God and His Messenger know best. Muhammad (pbuh) then said, It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike. Someone asked him, But what if what I say is true? The Messenger of God (pbuh) said, If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him. [Muslim]

41.  Should you become eager to mention another’s faults, recall your own. [Ar-Rafi'i]

42.  The servant who conceals the faults of others in the world, God would conceal his faults on the Day of Resurrection. [Muslim]

43.  Whoever attempts to fault a man by mentioning something untrue about him will be detained in Hell by God until he produces the proof for his remarks. [At-Tabarani]

44.  Veiling the faults of the faithful is akin to restoring life to the dead. [At-Tabarani]

45.  Beware of suspicion, for it is the most deceitful of thought. [Al Bukhari and Muslim]

Charity & Generosity

46.  The best charity a Muslim practices is acquiring some knowledge and teaching it to his brother. [Ibn Majah]

47.  God said, Spend, Oh son of Adam, and I shall spend on you. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

48.  Do not turn away a poor maneven if all you can give is half a date. If you love the poor and bring them near you God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection. [Al-Tirmidhi]

49.  Each one of you should save himself from the fire by giving even half of a date (in charity). And if you do not find a half date, then (by saying) a pleasant word (to your brethren). [Al Bukhari]

50.  A kind word is charity. [Al Bukhari and Muslim]

51.  God will say on the Day of Resurrection, O Son of Adam, I asked you for food and you fed Me not. He will say, O Lord, and how should I feed You when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say, Did you not know that My servant so-and-so asked you for food and you fed him not?  Did you not know that had you fed him you would surely have found that with Me? [Muslim]

52.  Two qualities are never coupled in a believer: miserliness and immorality. [Al-Bukhari]

53.  When a man complained to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) of having a hard heart, the Prophet (pbuh) said: Stroke orphans heads and feed the poor. [Al-Tirmidhi]

54.  The Prophet said, I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this,putting his index and middle fingers together. [Bukhari]

55.  Charity given to one’s relatives twice multiplies its reward [At-Tabarani]

Visiting the Sick

56.  The most rewarding visitation of the sick is the one that is appropriately brief. [Ad-Daylami]

57.  God will say on the Day of Resurrection, O Son of Adam, I fell ill and you did not visit Me. He will say, O Lord, and how should I Visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds.  He will say, Did you not know that My servant so-and-so had fallen ill and you did not visit him?  Did you not know that had you visited him, you would have found Me with him. [Muslim]

Politics

58.  If a people’s dignitary pays a visit, honor him. [Ibn Majah]

59.  God says, Oh My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another. [Muslim]

60.  It is better for a leader to make a mistake in forgiving than to make a mistake in punishing. [Al-Tirmidhi]

61.  The Messenger of God (pbuh) [after hearing the question, What is the best type of Jihad (struggle)?] said, “Speaking truth before a tyrannical ruler.” [An-Nisai]

62.  Avoid cruelty and injustice and guard yourselves against miserliness, for this has ruined nations who lived before you. [Muslim]

63.  On the Day of Judgment, God will humiliate and forsake anyone who betrays a believer to a tyrant. [Al-Bayhaqi]

64.  Whoever walks with a tyrant in support of him, while aware of his tyranny, has abandoned Islam. [At-Tabarani]

Medicine

65.  Seek out remedies for your ailments, O servants of God, for God has not created a disease without creating a corresponding cure. [Ahmad]

Humility and Modesty

66.  Modesty is part of faith and fosters only goodness.  [Muslim]

67.  Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, God adds to his respect; and the one who shows humility, God elevates him in the estimation (of the people). [Muslim]

68.  Practice humility until no one oppresses or belittles another. [Muslim]

Sincerity

69.  Speak the truth even though it is bitter. [Ibn Hibban]

70.  The servants God loves most are those most sincere with God’s servants. [Imam Ahmad]

71.  A person who teaches goodness to others while neglecting his own soul is like an oil lamp, which illumines others while burning itself out. [At-Tabarani]

72.  If a person does not give up false accusations and bad behavior while fasting, God has no need of his giving up food and drink.” [Al-Bukhari]

Brotherhood and Sisterhood

73.  Do not hate one another, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert each other, and O, God’s worshipers! Be brothers. Lo! It is not permissible for any Muslim to desert (not talk to) his brother for more than three days. [Al-Bukhari]

74.  A believer is like a brick for another believer, the one supporting the other. [Muslim]

75.  The believers are like one person; if his body aches, the whole body aches with fever and sleeplessness. [Muslim]

76.  If a Muslim consoles his brother during some crisis, God will adorn him in garments of grace on the Day of Judgment. [Ibn Majah]

77.  After obligatory rites, the action most beloved to God is delighting other Muslims. [At-Tabarani]

78.  Abandon desire for this world, and God will love you.  Abandon desire for others’ goods, and people will love you. [Ibn Majah]

79.  Three practices will keep sincere your brother’s love for you: greeting him when you see him; making room for him in gatherings; and calling him by the most endearing of his names. [Al-Bayhaqi]

80.  Neither argue with nor tease your brother, and never give your word to him and then break it. [At-Tirmidhi]

81.  The gates of Paradise will be opened on Monday and on Thursdays, and every servant [of God] who associates nothing with God will be forgiven, except for the man who has a grudge against his brother. [Muslim]

The Conscience

82.  Righteousness is good morality, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul and which you dislike people finding out about. [Muslim]

83.  If your good deeds delight you and your foul deeds distress you, you are a believer. [Ad-Diyya']

84.  A person has done enough wrong in his life if he simply repeats everything he hears. [Muslim]

Choice of Friends

85.  A person’s spiritual practice is only as good as that of his close friends; so consider well whom you befriend. [At-Tirmidhi]

Rekindling Kinship Bonds

86.  Among those not graced with God’s glance on the Day of Judgment are a severer of bonds of kin and an obnoxious neighbor. [Ad-Daylami]

87.  The most virtuous behavior is to engage those who sever relations, to give to those who withhold from you, and to forgive those who wrong you. [At-Tabarani]

88.  Nurse no grudge, nurse no aversion and do not sever ties of kinship and live like fellow-brothers as servants of God. [Muslim]

Sin

89.  The majority of man’s sins emanate from his tongue. [At-Tabarani]

90.  The worst of heinous sins are idolatry, murder, abuse of one’s parents, and false testimony. [Al-Bukhari]

91.  God removes faith from one who engages in illicit sex or consumes intoxicants just as a man removes his shirt when pulling it over his head. [Al-Hakim]

92.  Whoever has no shame before others has no shame before God. [At-Tabarani]

93.  Never do in private what you would conceal from others in public. [Ibn Majah]

94.  He who sins laughing enters hell crying. [Abu Nu'aym]

Respect for Parents

95.  Whoever pleases his parents has pleased God, and whoever angers them has angered God. [Ibn an-Najjar]

96.  A man came to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and asked, Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me? The Prophet (pbuh) said, Your mother. The man said. Who is next? The Prophet (pbuh) said, Your mother. The man further said, Who is next? The Prophet (pbuh) said, Your mother. The man asked for the fourth time, Who is next? The Prophet (pbuh) said, Your father. [Al-Bukhari]

Respect for the Elderly

97.  Whoever fails to care for our youth, respect our aged, enjoin right, and denounce wrong is not counted among us.  [Ahmad]

98.  A young man never honors an old man due to age but that God send someone to honor him when he reaches that age. [At-Tirmidhi]

Kindness to Neighbors

99.  A believer is not one who eats his fill while his next door neighbor goes hungry. [Al-Bukhari]

100.  Gabriel continued to recommend me about treating the neighbors kindly and politely so much so that I thought he would order me to make them as my heirs. [Al-Bukhari]

101.  Anyone who believes in God and the Last Day (of Judgment) should not harm his neighbor. Anyone who believes in God and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously. And anyone who believes in God and the Last Day should say what is good or keep quiet. [Al-Bukhari]

Respect for the Dead

102.  Recall the good qualities of your dead, and refrain from mentioning their shortcomings [At-Tirmidhi]

Kindness to Servants

103.  Never strike your maids over broken dishes, for dishes, like people, have pre-determined life spans. [Abu Nu'aym]

104.  Anytime you lighten the load of your servant, a reward is allotted to your scales on the Day of Judgment. [Al-Bayhaqi]

Anger-Management

105.  God veils the faults of anyone who suppresses his anger. [Ibn Abi ad-Dunya]

106.  When one of you becomes angry while standing he should sit down. If the anger leaves him, well and good; otherwise he should lie down. [At-Tirmidhi]

Hypocrisy

107.  The characteristics of a hypocrite are three, when he speaks, he lies; when he gives his word, he breaks it; and when he is given a trust, he is unfaithful. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Kindness to Animals

108.  The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was asked: “Are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?” Muhammad (pbuh) replied, “There is a reward for kindness to every living being.” [Al-Bukhari]