What if a Good Righteous Muslim is not what you think

“A righteous person (muttaqi) .…is one who rids himself of preconceived bias and is willing to hear the truth….Whenever favourable days dawn upon people belonging to another faith, righteousness takes root in them; they are cleansed of pride, arrogance and conceit, for these are hindrances in their path, and when they are removed, the windows of their dark house are opened, as it were, and rays of light shine through. Here, Allah Almighty states:

هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِيْنَ

It is a guidance for the righteous. Meaning, this Book (the Holy Qur’an) is a guidance for the righteous (muttaqin). The word ittiqa is in the measure of the form known as ifti’al in Arabic and this grammatical form signifies a meaning of forced effort. In other words, Allah the Exalted indicates here that the degree of righteousness He requires of a person at this stage is not empty of strain. However, this Book (the Holy Qur’an) contains various forms of guidance to preserve an individual’s righteousness. This demonstrates that in order to perform good deeds, a muttaqi suffers travail. When this state passes, a seeker of God becomes a virtuous servant. The element of difficulty vanishes, and a salih (i.e. a virtuous person) begins to naturally and inherently perform virtue. They enter an abode of security, which is safe from all danger and all their battles against their selfish desires come to an end. Such a person finds refuge from all forms of peril.

Our Perfect Guide, (the Holy Prophet) peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, alludes to this very fact when he states: ‘Satan dwells within all, but my Satan has become a Muslim.’ Thus, a muttaqi remains forever at war with Satan but when he becomes a salih, all battles come to an end.

Take the example of ostentation — a person remains in combat with this ill throughout the entire day. A muttaqi stands in the field of battle, as it were, where a war ensues without end. Victory cannot be attained without the supporting hand of God. Ostentation creeps up on man as subtly as an ant. At times, a person allows ostentation to enter the heart, completely unaware.

For example, let us presume someone loses a knife that belongs to him and asks another individual about its whereabouts. In this instance, the individual who is questioned about the knife begins to war with Satan if he is at the level of a muttaqi. Satan will instigate the person to feel that the owner of the lost knife has dishonoured him by questioning him about his lost property. It is even possible that the individual being questioned becomes inflamed and the two fall to an altercation. In the event of such a situation, a muttaqi battles with his own ill emotion. If the individual being questioned is honest purely for the sake of Allah, what reason has he to be angered? The more one keeps their piety hidden, the better. If a dealer of jewels was confronted by some robbers, and they consulted amongst themselves, some asserting that the jeweller was a rich man and others perceiving him to be empty-handed, the jeweller would be more pleased with those robbers who suggest that the dealer has nothing. What more is this world than an abode of trial? A person who keeps his virtues secret and saves himself from ostentation is best off. Those people whose deeds are solely for the sake of Allah do not allow for their deeds to be seen by others. It is these who are righteous.

I have read in Tadhkira-tul-Awliya that once a nobleman asked for some money in a gathering, as he was in need. One person gave him a thousand rupees, considering him to be a righteous man. The nobleman took the money and praised the generosity and munificence of the person who had helped him. At this, the person who had offered the assistance was saddened by the thought that he may well be deprived of his reward in the hereafter as he had been praised before the people here on earth. Shortly thereafter, he returned and said that the money belonged to his mother and she was unwilling to give it to anyone. So, the money was returned. Everyone cursed the man and said that it was he who actually did not wish to give his money to the man in need.

Later that evening, when the nobleman returned home, the same person brought his thousand rupees to him and said: ‘You deprived me of my reward in the hereafter by praising me in public. This is why I made an excuse. Now, this money belongs to you, but please do not mention my name to anyone.’ The nobleman began to weep and said:

‘Now, you have taken upon yourself until the Day of Resurrection the curse and reproach of the people, because everyone is aware of the incident that occurred earlier today, but no one knows that you have now returned the money to me.’

A righteous person wars with their inner self that incites to evil in order to veil and conceal their good deeds. However, God Almighty always manifests their hidden deeds. A wicked person, after committing an evil deed, desires to remain hidden. Similarly, a righteous person observes the Prayer in hiding and fears lest someone sees him. A truly righteous person desires to remain hidden. There are many stages of righteousness, but in any case, righteousness requires a forced effort and a righteous person (muttaqi) constantly remains in a state of war with himself, while a virtuous person (salih) is no longer engaged in such a battle. In this relation, I have stated above the example of ostentation, which must be fought against by a righteous person throughout the day.”

Note: This excerpt is taken from the book “MALFUZAT” (Sayings and Discourses of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (as) Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community) Volume I

The original book can be free download here:


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