Honesty is “being truthful in what I say and do.” Honesty is more than just accurately reporting facts. It includes what you say, and it also includes what you don’t say! For example, if your mom asks, “Did you eat the cookies?” you could accurately say “no” if you just ate one cookie. But that would be deceitful.
Honesty also includes your actions. For example, to cheat on a test is to pretend you know the answers when you really don’t. Or to steal candy from a store is to act like you paid for it when you really didn’t. Honesty means saying and doing what is true, not false.
- Tell the truth.
- Play by the rules.
- Not exaggerate the facts.
- Admit when I am wrong.
- Not take things that don’t belong to me.
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Let me first start off by narrating to you a story of Abdallah ibn Umar, the son of the second Caliph. His wife loves him tremendously and she wants to get him something that she knows he loves. Abdallah loves grilled or barbequed fish more than any other meal, more than anything else.So she saves up for months upon months, pennies a day, in order to be able to pay for someone that is going to a city near the sea or a river, as they were living in the desert, to go get that fish and bring it back and for her to grill it or barbeque it. So it’s quite a feat. It takes planning and she has to save up to get that done.
So she does so. And eventually after many months, she sets this beautifully-made cooked barbequed or grilled fish in front of her husband and they are about to eat. All of a sudden there is a knock on the door. Abdallah ibn Umar says who is this?
The wife gets up, she checks, she says it’s a man. He’s needy, he’s asking for some donations.
Abdallah ibn Umar says “Give him the fish.”
His wife says “But you love this fish. It took me months upon months to plan this and make it just right for you.”
He said “Yes, this is the most beloved thing to me, and Allah (SWT) says ‘You will never achieve birr until you spend from that what you love’” – and I will explain what the word birr means in a little while.
So she says OK, it’s obvious that he appreciates this gesture, it’s obvious that he appreciates the fish, he says he loves it the most out of all of his possessions, so she gives it to the man. The man takes it, then Abdallah’s wife runs after the man and she says “Let me buy the fish from you again.”
The man says of course, the man would prefer that. So she buys the fish and she goes back home. She gets it ready again for her husband and she puts it in front of him.
Abdallah is just about to eat, and then there is another knock on the door.
“Who is this?”
She gets up, it’s the same man.
“What does he want?”
“He says he needs more money.”
He says “Give him the fish.”
She says “But we already gave him the fish.”
He said “Yes, and now it is still my most beloved possession, so give him the fish.”
She says “OK.” She gives him the fish. The man walks away. She runs after him, she says “Can I buy the fish again from you?”
He says “Yes, of course Why not.” He’s thinking it’s good business.
She comes back to her husband. She sets the fish for him. He is just about to eat, and the door knocks again.
“Who is it?” She gets up, she checks, the same man asking for money.
He says “Give him the fish.”
You see, this has happened three times, and all of these times, the second time he did not say to himself why is he back, let me give him something else. No, still he gave him his most prized possession, the thing that he loves the most. So she gives him the fish for the third time, then she runs after him and says: “I swear to you by Allah, please do not return after I give you this money.”
The man agrees, he takes the money and she takes the fish and she sets it in front of her husband, and he begins to eat without any interruptions.
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We are getting closer to the Eidul Adha, the tenth of Zilhijja.We should be more generous in remembering Allah, Pilgrims, and to join their duaas at the ARAFAT. We can be generous by supporting people in need, making duaa for sick people, praying more. It is the month of generosity, come and join to us.
It is a common idea amongst all religious and spiritual traditions that human beings should have some kind of self-control. Although we enjoy free will, we need to exercise our free will in a responsible way. In the same way that we expect others to respect our dignity and interests, we should respect dignity and interests of others. We should also safeguard our own dignity and long term interests. Thus, we cannot simply go after our whims and desires and do whatever we want. We need to have self-control and self-discipline which leads to self-purification. If we purify our hearts we will no longer need to resist our temptations and control ourselves against lower desires and lusts, since a purified person desires nothing except what is good and moral for himself and others. In what follows, we will study the necessity of self-control and self-purification.
On the necessity of self-control, the Glorious Qur’an says:
وَ أَمَّا مَنْ خافَ مَقامَ رَبِّهِ وَ نَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوى فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوى
And as for him who fears to stand in the presence of his Lord and forbids his own soul from its whims and caprices then surely Paradise is the abode. (79:40 & 41)
يا داوُدُ إِنَّا جَعَلْناكَ خَليفَةً فِي الْأَرْضِ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِالْحَقِّ وَ لا تَتَّبِعِ الْهَوى فَيُضِلَّكَ عَنْ سَبيلِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ الَّذينَ يَضِلُّونَ عَنْ سَبيلِ اللَّهِ لَهُمْ عَذابٌ شَديدٌ بِما نَسُوا يَوْمَ الْحِسابِ
O David! …do not follow the whims of your own soul for they will lead you astray from God’s path. (38:26)
يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَداءَ لِلَّهِ وَ لَوْ عَلى أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوالِدَيْنِ وَ الْأَقْرَبينَ إِنْ يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقيراً فَاللَّهُ أَوْلى بِهِما فَلا تَتَّبِعُوا الْهَوى أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا وَ إِنْ تَلْوُوا أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كانَ بِما تَعْمَلُونَ خَبيراً
O you who have faith! Be maintainers of justice and witnesses for the sake of God, even if it should be against yourselves or [your] parents and near relatives, and whether it be [someone] rich or poor, for God has a greater right over them. So do not follow [your] desires, lest you should be unfair, and if you distort [the testimony] or disregard [it], God is indeed well aware of what you do. (4:135)