A righteous environment and good company play a key role in giving Tarbiyah. Introducing someone to a righteous environment by persuading him may bring about his excellent Tarbiyah. Sayyiduna ‘Abdul Qaadir ‘Isa Shaazili رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه has stated: Blessed companions عَـلَيْهِمُ الرِّضْوَان would regularly come to the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and attain spiritual blessings from him and he صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would cleanse their Nafs and hearts. (Adaab-e-Murshid-e-Kamil, pp. 80 with Reference to Haqaiq ‘Anit-Tasawwuf, pp. 47, summarised)
Allah Almighty has stated:
اِذْ بَعَثَ فِیْهِمْ رَسُوْلًا مِّنْ اَنْفُسِهِمْ یَتْلُوْا عَلَیْهِمْ اٰیٰتِهٖ وَ یُزَكِّیْهِمْ
…that, He sent to them a (great) Messenger
(Prophet Mohammad) from amongst them,
who recites upon them His verses, and purifies them,…
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)](Part 4, Surah Aal-e-Imran, Ayah 164)
Similarity in words and actions
One of the most important things that a Tarbiyah-giving person should keep in mind when giving Tarbiyah is that there should be a similarity between his words and actions. By presenting one’s own personality as a practical example, it becomes quite easy to persuade those who are under one’s Tarbiyah, whereas contradiction between one’s words and actions may cause apprehension amongst them such as he does not do such-and-such a thing himself, but keeps asking us to do it. As a result, such people do not pay attention to what he says and are not inclined towards the action. The character of a Tarbiyah-giving Islamic brother needs to be exemplary as it has a profound impact on people. Where the verbal Tarbiyah given by the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was improving the thoughts and actions of blessed companions عَلَیْھِمُ الرِّضْوَان, his blessed practical life also deeply inspired blessed companions رَضِیَ اللّٰهُ عَنْهُم. His own blessed life would reflect what he صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would say. When a person’s action is in harmony with his words, people love him and the same love proves to be helpful in giving Tarbiyah and building character.
The Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم showed generosity himself and also persuaded his Ummah to do the same. Sayyiduna Jabir Bin Abdullah رَضِیَ اللّٰهُ عَنْهُمَا has said: Whenever something was asked from the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, he صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would never say, ‘لَا’ i.e. ‘No’ in reply. (Muslim, pp. 973, Hadees 6018)
A person came to the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and asked for something. He صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم gave him so many nanny-goats that a place between two mountains was filled with them. That person returned to his nation and said, ‘All of you should embrace Islam. Undoubtedly, The Beloved Rasool (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم) bestows so much that there remains no fear of starvation.’ (Muslim, pp. 973, Hadees 6020)
Persuading his Ummah the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has said, ‘Undoubtedly, Allah Almighty has made this religion exclusive to Himself and only generosity and good manners befit your religion. Therefore, adorn your religion with both of these.’ (Mu’jam-e-Kabeer, vol. 18, pp. 159, Hadees 347)
At another place, he صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has stated, ‘Generosity is from the bounty and benevolence of Allah Almighty. Be generous, Allah Almighty will bestow more upon you.’ (Kanz-ul-Ummal, vol. 3, pp. 169, juz 6, Hadees 16213, selected)
Asceticism and Contentment
The Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم himself lived a contented and ascetic life and also taught his Ummah to do the same. He صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم once held the shoulders of Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin ‘Umar رَضِیَ اللّٰهُ عَنْهُمَا and said, ‘Live in the world as if you were a traveller.’ (Bukhari, vol. 4, pp. 223, Hadees 6416)
On another occasion he صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, ‘The world is a home for the one who has no home and wealth for the one who has no wealth and only that person amasses it who has no sense.’ (Shu’ab-ul-Iman, vol. 7, pp. 375, Hadees 10638)
The Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would himself sleep on a straw-mat which would leave marks on his blessed body. He صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and his family members never ate roti to their fill for three consecutive days and nor was his flour ever sifted before being cooked. Once, Sayyidatuna Fatimah رَضِیَ اللّٰهُ عَنْهَا presented a piece of barley roti to the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. He صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, ‘This is the first food that has entered your father’s mouth after three days.’ (Mu’jam-e-Kabeer, vol. 1, pp. 258, Hadees 750, Selected)
Here, it should be kept in mind that by the bestowal of Allah Almighty, the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is the owner of everything. He صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم could have lived a royal life if he had wanted, but he صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم himself wanted to present a practical example of asceticism and contentment that he صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would preach to people. In short, if we want someone to perform a virtuous deed, we, first of all, have to perform it ourselves, otherwise it is unwise to expect good results.
Heartfelt Sympathy and Well-wishing
A Tarbiyah-giving person should have heartfelt sympathy for the person he is giving Tarbiyah to. In his heart, he should yearn for his reform and Tarbiyah and have passion for doing good to him. Not only did the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم remain worried about the blessed companions, but he صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would also feel very concerned about the guidance for unbelievers. It has been stated in the Holy Quran:
فَلَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ عَلٰۤى اٰثَارِهِمْ اِنْ لَّمْ یُؤْمِنُوْا بِهٰذَا الْحَدِیْثِ اَسَفًا(۶)
So you perhaps will risk your life out of grief over them, if they did not believe in it.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)](Part 15, Surah Al-Kahf, Ayah 6)
Though the polytheists of Makkah used to trouble the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and his followers and inflict great cruelty on him and them, yet his attitude towards them was such that he صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would remain extremely sad due to their not embracing Islam which would even put his blessed life in danger.
This is my plea to all the devotees of Rasool: Upholding the above-mentioned guiding principles, contribute towards the Tarbiyah of people in the society and be sincere in this regard. اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه, the society will become righteous.