Living Like the Ahlul Bayt
Throughout their lives, the Ahlul Bayt experienced moments of intense hardship and grief, yet they came out of these situations having pleased Allah. Their rights were taken away, their family members and supporters were killed, they were martyred one by one, and their women were mistreated. Perhaps our difficulties and choices today are different from those of the Ahlul Bayt’s, but it is their way of reacting and aiming to please Allah that we must emulate. Whether it’s a question of posting a flashy Facebook picture or a question of listening to a music-filled nasheed, sometimes simple issues become muddied in a complicated mix of technicalities and personal opinions.
“It’s 2011 dude, no one has a segregated wedding anymore!”
“Come on, your prestigious career is important – taking off your scarf is a sacrifice that you’ll have to make.”
When we can distinguish between what’s right and wrong, it seems like nothing can shake us. But – like the situations above – end up among a crowd of pressuring friends, combined with the lure of momentary pleasure, wealth or fame, and some may falter. When leaning towards a decision in situations like that, the simplest way to put things into perspective is to ask ourselves: “Can I picture Imam Ali (peace be upon him) or Lady Fatima (peace be upon her) doing this?”
But how is that supposed to help? They were from a different century and country – how then can I compare the pressures of my modern-day life situations with theirs?
In the sermon at Ghadeer, the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) said of the Qur’an and his Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them): “O people! …each one of them informs you of and agrees with the other. They shall never part ’til they meet me at the Pool (of Kawthar).” Allah has kept the Thaqalayn together all this time, so it stands to reason that the lessons provided from each are still relevant in all the times that have passed since then, and the times that will pass in the future.
Sure, times have changed, but we have to keep in mind that the teachings of Islam transcend limits. It is a religion for all places, for all people, and for all of time. So to say that their ancient examples are irrelevant to our modern age is an illogical claim. Of what use would their teachings have been if they were restricted? No matter what changes take place, the principles they have taught us must prevail in every situation.
Throughout their lives, the Ahlul Bayt experienced moments of intense hardship and grief, yet they came out of these situations having pleased Allah. Their rights were taken away, their family members and supporters were killed, they were martyred one by one, and their women were mistreated. Perhaps our difficulties and choices today are different from those of the Ahlul Bayt’s, but it is their way of reacting and aiming to please Allah that we must emulate. Whether it’s a question of posting a flashy Facebook picture or a question of listening to a music-filled nasheed, sometimes simple issues become muddied in a complicated mix of technicalities and personal opinions. Yet we need to pause, disentangle ourselves from the situation, and step back – the right choice becomes much clearer in light of remembering the principles of our Ahlul Bayt.
For those of us who prefer not to measure our choices against the character of the Infallibles’, realize that they are the best of role models for us. True, they are perfect and we are sinful – but that is no reason to give up trying to tread the same path as them. Author and speech coach, Les Brown, once said: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars.” Indeed, even though we cannot attain the Ahlul Bayt’s state of infallibility, at least in sincerely trying to do so we will improve ourselves greatly, insha’Allah.
Still, some are hesitant to act upon the Ahlul Bayt’s teachings down to the last tiny detail. When it seems too difficult to near their standards of Akhlaq and Hijab, remember that we have been created by the Just One. He would not tell us to follow the Infallibles if they were not to be followed to the fullest extent possible.
Prophet Dawud (peace be upon him) asked the Almighty where His treasure was, as all Kings have treasures of their own. Allah said: “I possess a treasure that is greater than the sky, smells better than the perfumes of Paradise, more beautiful than the celestial kingdom, its earth is enlightenment, its sky is belief, its sun is enthusiasm, its moon is love, its stars are inspiration and attention towards me, its clouds are reason, its rain is blessing, its fruits are obedience, and its yield is wisdom. My treasure has four doors: the first one is the door of knowledge, the second one is the door of reason, the third one is the door of patience and the fourth one is the door of contentment. Know that My treasure is the heart of the believer.” (Bihar al-Anwar)
Allah has given His unworthy slaves such an esteemed title: His treasure. We can differentiate between what is honorable and dishonorable, and that intelligence sets us apart from His other creations. So how can we turn around and say that we cannot use this intelligence to remember the Ahlul Bayt and adapt their principles into our lives?
When we can easily ponder over how they would have reacted in our specific situations, then why find excuses to not apply their teachings to our own important decisions? They were the best role models for our ancestors, they are the best role models for us, and will be the best role models for the generations to come. Let us not try to fool others, ourselves, and our Lord by claiming modernity and irrelevance in order to get out of doing the right thing. Let’s shine like the treasures of Allah that sparkle from the pure light of the Holy Ahlul Bayt’s examples.