(Series on Difficulties and Their Causes #4)

Man is not an island, living in complete isolation, unaffected by anyone else. Rather, people live in communities, surrounded by family members, neighbours, friends and acquaintances. In the course of our lives, we will be close to certain people, while not so close to others, and we will need certain people, while others may be dependent on us.

The point, however, is that when our lives are inextricably interwoven with the lives of others, then maintaining a harmonious relationship with them will be necessary for us to enjoy happiness and peace of mind.

An argument with a friend, a quarrel with the spouse, a misunderstanding with the parents, a fight at work – all these disruptions to the relationship are so destructive that in a few moments, one loses his peace of mind and happiness. In fact, in some cases, one’s mind and heart remain restless and in emotional turmoil for many days thereafter!

Hence, every person desires, hopes and wishes to enjoy happy and harmonious relationships with those around him – especially his near and dear ones.

In the Quraan Majeed, Allah Ta‘ala teaches us that the key to acquiring the love of people and enjoying harmonious relationships with them is for one to lead a life of piety, carrying out righteous actions. Allah Ta‘ala says, “Indeed, those who bring imaan and carry out righteous deeds, for them the All-Merciful (Allah) will create love (in the hearts of the servants).” (Surah Maryam v96)

The ‘Ulama explain that righteous deeds encompasses fulfilling the rights which one owes to Allah Ta‘ala as well as the rights that one owes to people. When one fulfils the rights that one owes to Allah Ta‘ala and the creation, then Allah Ta‘ala creates love, unity and harmony among their hearts. Therefore, at every juncture in a person’s life, he should be concerned about fulfilling the rights that he owes the creation, and it is not possible for a person to fulfil the rights of the creation if he does not possess the quality of endurance and tolerance and is not prepared to overlook the shortcomings and weaknesses of people.

Nevertheless, together with fulfilling the rights of Allah Ta‘ala and the creation, one should turn to Allah Ta‘ala and beg Him to create unity between the hearts.

The hearts of the entire creation are in the control of Allah Ta‘ala. In a split-second, He can turn a person’s heart, either from animosity and hatred to love and devotion, or from love and devotion to animosity and hatred.

Hence, when the ‘Ulama and the righteous of the early centuries of Islam would meet one another, they would share this advice, “The one who corrects his relationship with Allah Ta‘ala, Allah Ta‘ala will correct his relationship with people.” (Musannaf Ibni Abi Shaibah #36135 and Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 19, pg. 141)

In the blessed hadeeth, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Indeed, when Allah Ta‘ala loves a servant (on account of his piety and righteousness), He calls Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) and says, ‘I love so-and-so, so you should love him as well.’ Thus, Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) also loves this person. Thereafter, Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) calls out and announces in the heavens, ‘Indeed Allah Ta‘ala loves so-and-so, so you should all love him.’ Accordingly, the inhabitants of the heavens love him. Thereafter, acceptance (in the hearts of the people – especially the pious) is placed for him in the earth. (On the contrary,) When Allah Ta‘ala dislikes a servant (due to his sins and evils), He calls Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) and says, ‘Indeed I dislike so-and-so, so you should dislike him.’ Thus, Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) dislikes him and thereafter announces to the inhabitants of the heavens, ‘Indeed Allah Ta‘ala dislikes so-and-so, so you should all dislike him.’ Accordingly, they all dislike him, and his dislike is placed in the earth (i.e. in the hearts of people).” (Saheeh Muslim #6705)

From this hadeeth we understand that just as leading a life of piety is the means for one becoming beloved to Allah Ta‘ala as well as people, leading a life of sin and evil is the means for one’s relationships with people being spoiled and an aversion for one being created in their hearts.

In this regard ‘Allaamah Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullah) mentioned, “One of the ill-effects of indulging in sins is that it creates a feeling of uneasiness and discomfort between the sinner and others – especially the pious. Hence, he feels uncomfortable and uneasy with the pious… The further he moves away from the friends of Rahmaan (Allah Ta‘ala), the closer he becomes to the friends of Shaitaan (the immoral sinners). Eventually, this feeling of discomfort and unease becomes so strong that it even affects his relationship with his wife, children and relatives, until he even begins to despise and dislike himself.” (Ad-Daau wad-Dawaa pg. 59)

This is the evil effect of sinning – it can even cause a break down in one’s marriage, or in one’s relationship with his own children, parents, siblings and close friends!

Fudhail bin ‘Iyaadh (rahimahullah) once mentioned, “If I disobey Allah Ta‘ala, I definitely see the ill-effect in the conduct and behaviour of my animal and my slave girl.” (Zammul Hawa – Ibnul Jowzi pg. 197)

Therefore, if we have a difficult spouse or rebellious and disobedient children, then we should first ponder over whether we are the ones being ‘difficult’, rebellious and disobedient in our relationship with Allah Ta‘ala. Perhaps, it is due to our relation-ship with Allah Ta‘ala sinking that our other relation-ships are also beginning to sink!

May Allah Ta‘ala improve our relationship with Him and with all others as well, aameen.