SUMBER: MAJALAH ISLAMIC HERALD, VOL:35, Foto: 123RF
By Dr Syikin Yunus
The study of relationship is very fascinating to many people. With the advancement of technology and the development of new generations; the topic of relationship has been one of the most discussed or talked about. Thousands of books have been written on the subject and there are a number of experts that had held many talks or lectures on it and despite all these, none of us are yet the wiser about the study of relationship.
Relationship is defined by Oxford Dictionary as “the way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected” and this definition itself can be misleading more so in this era whereby digital connectivity plays a major role in our world. “The state of being connected” brings into mind the level of connection from one person to another, it also means the ties or bonds between two human beings or the way people regard or treat each other. We connect and have relationship with one and another: be it spouse, parents, siblings, family, friends, colleagues, schoolmates, neighbours – the list is endless and it even includes the waiter you spoke to when ordering your pastries.
There is a relationship that exists in each person’s interaction. However, in a relationship; it is not enough to define the connectivity. So what is a relationship are the principles and the reasons behind it. Let’s talk about these based on what has been outlined by Islam.
PRINCIPLES OF A RELATIONSHIP
There is no black and white list of principles in a relationship however it we based our principles on the pillars of Islam – there are a few fundamentals that we need to include in a relationship.
The first pillar of Islam is syahadah in which we express our faith ALLAH. This expression of faith in ALLAH. This expression of faith is not only verbal but must encompass us spiritually as well as bringing us to translate it into our daily life. The faith in ALLAH keeps us in check including in the matters of a relationship whereby we will base all of our actions on what ALLAH has decreed on us. As what the Quran says: “Those who have faith and do righteous deeds, they are the best of creatures.” (The Quran 98: 7)
And thus we summarise by this verse that those who have faith will be the best in everything including of their relationships. Faith is what will guide a husband’s actions towards his wife or a son’s words towards his mother. It is the basis of prosperous business relationship and also the core of a harmonious community. Some disbelievers may say that there are examples of people who call themselves as faithful Muslims but behaved badly in a relationship in which the answer to that is the faith or such people does not enter their heart and encompasses them entirely or esle they would not have acted in such a way.
Faith is also the thing that keeps us from falling apart during the darkest hour. When a relationship fails or troubles brew, it is this faith that prevents us from going over the edge or resorts to harming ourselves or others. A faithful Muslim will always believe that whatever happens to him (even in the blackest moment) is the best for himself as what ALLAH has ordained. This is stated in the Quran: “No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (AlLauhul Mahfooz) before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for ALLAH.” (The Quran 57: 22)
It is saddening as we examine the world that we live in now whereby faith no longer guides many people – hence the high number of broken relationships that translates into divorces, separation of families and friends that turn into sworn enemies.
- Peace (salam)
Peace is a one of the main character of solah (the second pillar of Islam). Creating peace and maintaining peace should be one of the principals guiding us into successful relationship.
A relationship that is riddled with distrusts, anger, intolerance and disharmony will only result in heartache and misery. People often cited “I found no peace in this relationship” as a reason for ending the relationship which shows that peace is a very important entity be it in a marriage or a working relationship.
How do we create peace in our interaction with others? When we do have peace with ALLAH SWT, it will inadvertently translate to our exterior and in our connection with others.
“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of ALLAH. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of ALLAH hearts are assured.” (The Quran 13: 28)
The third pillar of Islam is giving alms (zakat) and this embodies the spirit of charity in Islam. Charity is required in maintaining a good relationship especially in this era of materialism whereby we can see that selfishness dominates in human interaction.
Charity is not only shown when a person gives out money or materials to the other person but charity is also evident in how one behaves to another – in the smiles, in the kind words as well as the exemplary behaviour. Being charitable is not only encourage, it is also a sign of a complete believer as the Prophet Rasulullah SAW had once said.
“The most complete of the believers in faith is the one with the best character. And the best of you are those who are best to their women.” (Tirmidzi)
The following hadith from Rasulullah SAW further narrates examples of charitable acts that can be done – where they can be translated into our relationship with those hwo are around us; be it family, friends, neighbours or strangers:
“Every single Muslim must give charity every single day.”
When asked who would be capable of doing such a thing, he replied
“your removal of an obstacle in the road is a charitable act; your guiding someone is charitable act; your visit to sich is a charitable act; your enjoyment of good is a charitable act; your enjoyment of good to others us a charitable act; your forbidding of others form wrongdoing is a charitable act; and your returning the greeting of peace is a charitable act.”
“Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn piety and righteousness.” (The Quran 2:183)
The 4th principle which is discipline in a relationship and this is extracter through the 4th pillar of Islam (fasting). Fasting teaches a person of discipline (self-restraint) – to control one’s hunger, emotions, thoughts, words and actions.
This is a beautiful principle to apply in any kind of relationship. For a connection between two people or more to work, there will be interchange of thoughts/words/actions that lead to intricacy of emotions. A chaotic exchange of those can lead to miscommunication, fights, and arguments or tears whereas if everybody is disciplined in their interactions, the relationship will be smooth sailing and harmonious.
Take Ramadhan, the beautiful month of fasting in Islam; and see the evidence of theh discipline instilled in everyone – where kindness, polite, greetings, humble gestures and walrm smiles predominates among people. Business owners become charitable, neighbours getting to know each other, father bonding with the family in prayers at mosque – these are just a few examples of how discipline brings love and peace in everybody.
- Spirit of Piety
A person whose life is guided by the Quran and the Hadith; is a pious person who will be exemplary in his relationship. He is one of caution in is words, gentleness in his actions and kind in his thoughts . A pious person is who is trustworthy in business dealings and honest in his work, and also in all his movements of life.
Piety is “taqwa” which literally means protecting or guarding oneself from danger in regards to their religious and spiritual affairs. In the 5th pillar of Islam which is performing hajj. A sincere performance of Hajj and all its person to become pious. A Muslim should practice this mindset of being pious in every aspect of his life especially when interacting with others. This is reflected in these verses from Quran:
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of ALLAH is the most righteous of you. Indeed, ALLAH is Knowing and Acquinted. (The Quran 49:13)
“True piety does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or the west – but truly pious is he who believes in God, and the last Day, and the prophets; and spends his sustenance – however much he himself may cherish it – upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy and the wayfarer, and the bondage; and is constant in prayer, and renders the purifying dues; and (truly pious are) they who keep their promises whenever they promise, and are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril: it is they have proved themselves true, and it is they, who are conscious of God.” (The Quran 2: 177)
Self-explanatory are the verses above of the concept of piety and its application in human interaction. If piety is practised by every single Muslim, surely our world will be a better place and the core of every relationship is strengthened.
REASONS OF A RELATIONSHIP
If you were to sit in a cafe and take a look around you; every single person is engaged in a form of relationship – the couple who were taking a ‘wefie’, the mother who was trying to feed her baby, the barista with his manager discussing their cafe matters, the lone person at one corner intensely staring at her Instagram – everyone is connected to another person. And to each relationship, there are reasons or purpose behind it.
In recent era, it is not uncommon to have people interacting with each other (even in marriage or family) based solely on financial gain which easily leads to the breakdown of marital institution or family roots. There are rampant cheating in businesses, scams and theft are widespread and infidelity in marriages. Neighbours do not know each other, schoolchildren disrespectful towards teachers and colleagues backstab each other on the way up the ladder. Why are all theses happening? It is because all these relationship are only based on momentary gains or worldly gains; money, lust, power, recognition – just to name a few.
What is worse, digital connectivity and borderless interactions that are currently widely available are making “faceless relationships” acceptable as well as creating space for farce and lies. Liking a picture in Instagram or commenting in Facebook posts are equated to “friendship” and pornographic chat rooms are used to fulfil a person’s desire for an intimate relationship. ALL these lead to collapse or our generation as the more focused a person is on the worldly gains and the “nafs” thus the further away is a person from the path of righteousness that has been prescribed by ALLAH.
“As for those who disobey ALLAH and His Messenger and overstep His limits, We will admit them into a Fire, remaining in it timelessly, forever. They will have a humiliating punishment.” (The Quran 4: 14)
A Muslim when entering any form of relationship (parents and children or between siblings) shoud be based on reasons of continuing love and kindness in the name of ALLAH and to gain the benefits in the hereafter – as the Prophet Muhammad SAW said: “ALLAH’s mercy will not descent on people among whom there is one who severs ties of kinship.” (Baihaqi)
Even in business dealings, or between a landlord and his tenant, or among neighbours and even in the presence of strangers; the reasons for us starting or continuing a relationship can be worth of in the Hereafter. Questions should appear in our minds: Is this worth of ALLAH’s grace and blessing? Or is this the start of my pathway to ALLAH’s wrath? Will this relationship bring us both to Jannah or will this relationship brings us closer to Hellfire? Such simple questions to be asked and yet the answer; profound and defining, lies in what we seek for ourselves.
Relationship is complicated and more so in this 21st century whereby we are surrounded by the intricacy of materialism and the pull of worldly gains. In this setting, a Muslim should seek the principles of relationship and outline his reasons of connecting with others as based in Quran and Sunnah. Let us make a prayer that ALLAH will grant us the “state of connection” as what He pleases, Insya-ALLAH.
“Let people catch something from your heart that will cause no discomfort, but to help them to sing.” (Rumi)
*Penulis: Dr Syikin Yunus – Physician of MOH, PR Officer of IMARET