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A Righteous Predecessor Advises his Son

Al Khataab ibn al Ma’laa al Makhzumee al Qurashee

Mohammad ibn al Mundhir ibn sa’eed related to me that Abu Hatim Muhammad ibn Idrees al Hanthalee said…that al Khataab ibn al Ma’laa al Makhzumee al Qurashee advised his son saying:

My son, fear Allaah and be obedient to Him. Avoid sinning by following His Sunnah and teachings in order to rectify your faults and attain bliss, indeed nothing whatsoever is hidden from Allaah. I put some directions together and drew out a plan for you. If you memorize, understand and act upon them, you would fill the eyes of kings and even the vagabond would be obedient to you. You would continue to be needed and honoured, people would continue to be in need of what you posses. So obey your father, suffice yourself with his advice and open your mind and heart to it.

Beware of excessive talking, joking, laughing and fooling around with brothers, indeed this removes respect / esteem and causes disputes. It is upon you to be tranquil and calm without having pride, which may be attributed to you, and without being arrogant, which may be said about you. Treat both friends and enemies pleasantly, prevent theri harms without putting them down or holding them in high regard.

Take the middle path in all your affairs, for indeed the best affairs are the intermediary ones [i.e. between extremism and excessive lenience]. Speak little, spread the Salaam, and walk firmly and purposefully. Do not stamp your feet, drag your tail [i.e: Isbaal], raise your neck, robes or be conceited. Do not look around too much, stop at crowds or linger in the market.

Do not debate a lot and do not get into arguments with the foolish. When you speak, keep it short and limit joking. If you sit, cross your legs and avoid interlocking your fingers, playing with your beard, ring or sword handle. Do not clean between your teeth [while sitting in public], pick your nose or busy yourself with chasing flies away. Do not spy on others and so forth, which would cause people to belittle or insult you.


Sit calmly in gatherings and speak proportionately. Listen attentively to those who speak about good without displaying amazement or asking them to repeat themselves and refrain from telling jokes or funny stories.

Do not speak about how impressed you are of your children, servants, means of transportation or weapons. Beware of drawing ‘The Eye’ upon yourself, for if you display your admiration for these things, the foolish would desire them. They would then make up stories about you and question your intellect.

Do not behave like women, and do not be as subservient as a servant. Do not puff up your beard or pat it down to hide it. Refrain from trimming it and pulling out grey hairs. Do not excessively use Kuhl and oils/lotion, use Kuhl occasionally.

Do not plead for your needs, and do not be demanding of your requests.

Do not tell your family how much wealth you have, let alone others. For if they perceive it to be little, you would be trivial in their eyes, and if it were a lot, you wouldn’t gain their satisfaction through it anyway. Discipline them without using force and be lenient to them without being weak and do not mock your servants.

If you were to ever argue, be respectful and safeguard yourself from your own ignorance. Avoid being hasty and contemplate over your argument. Show the judge your forbearance, refrain from pointing a lot, shuffling your feet, reddening your face and sweating. If you are insulted by your adversary, be forbearing and only speak when calm.

Be generous to relatives...

To be continued...

 

Rawdat al ‘Uqalaa, Al Hakim an Naysaburee

Translated by: Abu ‘Abdul Waahid, Nadir Ahmad