Q & A
Q. what are the ways you can help your family members i.e. your brother and father change to become better Muslims.
1. One way in which to help them change is to embody the Islamic teachings first and be a practical example for them and others. There is no value or worth if one pesters his/her parents or family members to change when they themselves are far short of it. Indeed, one of the most heinous and hateful crimes in the sight of Allah (SWT) is to preach what we ourselves do not practice. This was never the way of our Prophet (SAW).
As a point to mention, the Prophet’s (SAW) most conspicuous and consistent teaching methodology was that he practically demonstrated the rulings of the Shari`ah and never contravened putting the revealed word into practice. Imam Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani reports what was mentioned in the book al-Riddah by al-Wathimah from Ibn Ishaq that the Prophet (SAW) sent `Amr b. al-`As (RA) for his invitation to Islam and he said:
“Wathimah mentioned in the book of al-Riddah from Ishaq that the Prophet (SAW) sent to him `Amr b. al-`As (RA) to invite him to Islam and [al-Julandi] said: He informed me that this unlettered Prophet does not command to the good except that he is the first to act upon it and does not prohibit the evil except he is the first to abandon it. When he overpowers, he shows no pride and when he is overcome he shows no anger [and abuse]. He never breaks his word [or contracts] and fulfils his promises and I bear witness that he is the Prophet [of Allah].”
ذكر وثيمة في الردة عن بن إسحاق أن النبي (صلى الله عليه وسلم) بعث إليه عمرو بن العاصي يدعوه إلى الإسلام فقال: لقد دلني على هذا النبي الأمي. إنه لا يأمر بخير الا كان أول آخذ به ولا ينهى عن شر إلا كان أول تارك له وأنه يغلب فلا يبطر ويغلب فلا يهجر وأنه يفي بالعهد وينجز الوعد وأشهد أنه نبي.
Imam al-Shatibi wonderfully explains the character and behaviour of our beloved Prophet (SAW) and is a lesson for all of us who feel doubt or have second thoughts about our noble Shari`ah.
“His character became the Qur’an to the extent that it was said of [the Prophet]: (Indeed you [o Muhammad] are upon a grand standard of character…). This is [said of him] because he applied the divine revelation upon himself such that [the Prophet’s] knowledge and actions were in accordance with the [Revelation]. Thus, he judged in accordance with the Revelation, conformed to it, was a proponent of it (qa’ilan), was submissive to it, responsive to it and his call accorded with the commandments of [the revelation].
This unique attribute [of his] was one of the greatest proofs of his truthfulness in what he came with. This is because when he came with an order, he obeyed the order [himself], when he forbade, he abstained himself, when he admonished, he admonished himself, when he instilled fear, he was the first to be fearful and when he brought hope, he was the most hopeful of people. The reality of all this is that [the Prophet] made the Revealed Shari`ah a proof and authority over himself and a guide to the straight path which he (upon him be peace) was upon. Thus, he truly became a ‘servant of Allah’ (`abd Allah) and this is the most noble of names a person can be called. Allah (exalted is He!) said: (Blessed is He who took His servant by night…) and (Exalted is He who revealed the criterion upon his servant) and (And if you are in doubt about what we revealed upon our servant…) as well as other verses that in which are mentioned [the Prophet’s] praise regarding the truth of [his] servitude.
If this is the case [with regards to the Prophet], then it is even more the case with the rest of creation, [i.e.] the Shari`ah being a proof and authority over them and a light by which they are guided to the Truth. Their nobility is only established in accordance with how much they surrender to the rulings [of the Shari`ah] as well as acting upon it in speech, belief and actions and not [simply] in accordance with how much they understand, or their position within their people, because Allah (Most High!) has established nobility on taqwa and honour alone as in His saying (Most High!): (The most honourable of you in the sight of Allah are those of you who are most wary of God).
Therefore, the one who is the most mindful in following the Shari`ah is most deserving of honour and nobility and anyone less than that cannot attain the higher level of nobility [and honour] in following the [Shari`ah] since nobility [and honour] is established in accordance with the extent to which the Shari`ah is surrendered to [and obeyed]…”
فصار خلقه القرآن حتى قيل فيه (وإنك لعلى خلق عظيم) . وإنما ذلك لأنه حكم الوحى على نفسه حتى صار في علمه وعمله على وفقه فكان الوحى حاكما وافقا قائلا مذعنا ملبيا نداءه واقفا عند حكمه .وهذه الخاصية كانت من أعظم الأدلة على صدقه فيما جاء به إذ قد جاء بالأمر وهو مؤتمر وبالنهى وهو منته وبالوعظ وهو متعظ وبالتخويف وهو أول الخائفين وبالترجية وهو سائق دابة الراجين . وحقيقة ذلك كله جعله الشريعة المنزلة عليه حجة حاكمة عليه ودلالة له على الصراط المستقيم الذي صار عليه السلام . ولذلك صار عبد الله حقا وهو اشرف اسم تسمى به العباد . فقال الله تعالى: (سبحان الذي أسرى بعبده ليلا). [و قال تعالى]: (تبارك الذي نزل الفرقان على عبده) – (وإن كنتم في ريب مما نزلنا على عبدنا) وما أشبه ذلك من الآيات التي وقع مدحه فيها بصحة العبودية. وإذا كان كذلك فسائر الخلق حريون بأن تكون الشريعة حجة حاكمة عليهم ومنارا يهتدون بها إلى الحق وشرفهم إنما يثبت بحسب ما اتصفوا به من الدخول تحت أحكامها والعمل بها قولا واعتقادا وعملا لا بحسب عقولهم فقط ولا بحسب شرفهم في قومهم فقط لأن الله تعالى إنما أثبت الشرف بالتقوى لا غيرها لقوله تعالى: (إن أكرمكم عند الله أتقاكم) . فمن كان أشد محافظة على اتباع الشريعة فهو أولى بالشرف والكرم ومن كان دون ذلك لم يمكن أن يبلغ في الشرف مبلغ الأعلى في اتباعها فالشرف إذا إنما هو بحسب المبالغة في تحكيم الشريعة.
Thus, actions are a powerful communication tool. Through actions, people understand the message(s) and signal(s) being sent out. If family members begin to see a person becoming serious about Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (SAW) then the impact cannot be ignored and the impact will be positive. In a changed Muslim personality, they ought to see a truthful, honest, knowledgeable, humble, consistent, well-mannered, pious, serious, caring and considerate individual. Not an angry, frustrated, uncontrolled, ignorant and uncompassionate person.
2. Another way is to show compassion towards others, especially our parents – even if we may think they are below meeting the standards of the Religion. Many newly invigorated Muslims (especially our youth) who, having alhamdulillah discovered the din, go on an over zealous mission to blame, censure, curse and judge everyone and everything that comes across their path. This is not the way of our beloved Prophet (SAW). There is nothing wrong with having a sense of urgency or consideration for the Religion but it is quite another thing to begin a relentless finger pointing and condemnation game.
3. A further way to help family members change is to be that serious believer (mu’min) who ought to be a repository or source of guidance for the good (khayr) as well as be knowledgeable of the rulings of our sacred Shari`ah. It is extremely difficult to initiate change in a person when we ourselves do not even know the body of rulings (fiqh) related to the basic actions of our lives (such as cleanliness [taharah], buying and selling [buyu`], marriage [nikah], etc.) or have knowledge of the ethics (akhlaq), etiquette (adab) and sciences (`ulum) of our Religion in order to instruct and teach others. To guide and help in matters of the din is better served by us ourselves having tasted this help and guidance.
There are lots of ways in which help for change can be started and the gatherings of men and women of knowledge would be the ideal place to start. We ask Allah (SWT) for His help and assistance. For He alone possess the power to guide and misguide. Amin!
And Allah knows best
 Meaning the great sahabi al-Julandi who used to be the king of `Amman.
 I.e. the sahabi `Amr b. al`As (RA) informed al-Julanda.
 See Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah, 1:538 (no. 1298).
 See Q. 68:4.
 See Q. 17:1.
 See Q. 25:1.
 See Q. 2:23.
 See Q. 49:13.
 See al-Shatibi, al-I`tisam, 2:339-340.