Thursday, March 14, 2019

My Book Release!

Assalamualaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatu, sisters! Please share and show your support as I have been busy working on putting together a memoir about life as a convert/revert living in the West. 

The Journey Within is a memoir about the hardships and challenges faced by a convert living in the West. Living in the West as a convert is a whole new world; we must learn how to leave our old lifestyles and start a completely new one, deal with our non-Muslim families, and we are always faced with many new and difficult challenges. This book is meant to share with you what many converts face and struggle with. It gives insight into the different journey of one who was not born into a Muslim family and what it’s like to live alone as a Muslim in a non-Muslim family. The Journey Within is an intimate approach to allowing others to understand and relate to the author on a human-emotional level. This book is meant for one to connect and discover one’s fitrah and to use the tools Allah has already given us in order to discover one’s true purpose in this life. Through personal experiences, this memoire is written in a journal style which serves as a reminder and reflection for all those who are struggling and trying to find solace within.

Currently, my book is now available for purchase at ! 

I think this book will be beneficial for not just converts/reverts but all those who are struggling to hold onto their faith and to find it within to have hope when things are tough and not going their way. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

My business it not yours.

I used to be so nosey and wanted to know everything. I admit, I still am a bit on the nosey side but Islam has taught me the importance of manners. Leave that which does not concern you (tirmidhi).

Since I have moved back to Toronto, I realised that I have become way more private than I was when I was living in USA. I realised that there is no need for anybody to know what goes on in my private life. If I want you to know, I will tell you. If I don't want you to know, don't ask me. Plain and simple.

How many times have we meddled into people's businesses when they feel like they are obligated to tell you because they do not know how to say "NO"?

Perhaps I used to pry into people's lives but for me, I truly wanted to give them advice and help them. I mean, that could be other people's intentions too when they are asking me about my personal life and affairs but because I realised how much I did not want to talk about my own issues, I figured others might feel the same. Unless they come to me on their own free will and want to seek advice or they just want someone to listen to them, I have realised that it is not my place to meddle in their business.

There are some individuals that do not mind sharing their life story with you - even if it is the first time or last time you meet. Some people just don't have a problem with trusting everyone and they feel comfortable enough with themselves that they can talk to anyone and everyone about anything and everything. Good for you! But I'm with the other half of the population.

I am writing about this because I realised how much I hate when people ask me about my personal life. Even my close friends do not ask me about my situation or things in my private life. They know that if I wanted to talk to them about it, I will talk about it. I hate when random people I am not close with feel entitled to "check up on me" and pry into my business. It almost seems like "hey, I haven't been around for your struggles and hardships, but let me just pop in and say hello and ask you what's new?" - like, BYE.  I mean sure, they are coming from a good place, and sure I give it to them that they are busy with their own lives, but hey, just so you know, I am not that type of person who is a free for all- meaning, if you haven't been there for my downs, don't expect to be there for my ups.

Do you all get me ? Am I the only one who is like this? Maybe I am just overly sensitive. lol.

But honestly, I know I am not the only one. I know there are many people out there who feel just as annoyed as I do when people try to nosey their way into my business. People need to understand that if you ask someone a question and they are very vague about it, maybe it is because they don't feel comfortable talking about it or they don't want others knowing about their personal life! After you ask once and then twice and they still try to deflect your question - take .it .as. a. hint ! They don't want to talk about it. Leave that which does not concern you! 

Subhana'Allah, before Islam I remember I was always so nosey and I would force people to tell me what was wrong and I wanted to hear their problems ( even if it came from a good place) but then when I became Muslim, I would continue this habit. I think the reason I stopped was that I realised how much I just did NOT want anyone to ask about my personal life.

I didn't mind so much when people I kept in close contact with during my life in the US would "check-in" on me from time to time but for some reason, since I moved back to Canada, I just did NOT want people asking me about my life's story. I understand that random people who I meet for the first time would naturally want to know more about me. It is normal to ask someone if they are married, and if they have children but when someone asks me these questions it just opens up a whole can of worms that I do NOT want to open and I have to go into explain my whole life's story and my situation and at this point in my life I am so fed up with my situation that it is the last thing I really want to be talking about - like, let's be honest lol.

So yeah, this is me and this is why I think that asking too many questions about someone's life is really not your business unless they make it your business. I am speaking out for those who feel the same way as I do but do not have the courage to speak up! I get you all. I know how you feel. I don't appreciate it either. I guess this can definitely relate back to my post about annoying people.

From an Islamic standpoint, it is obvious that it is not from Islam to pry and be nosey. Just because it is from your culture to meddle into other people's business, remember that at the end of the day we are Muslim first and foremost. We do what Allah has commanded and we leave out what is not ordained for us. That includes asking people about their lives. If they do not share it with you voluntarily, then take it as a hint. Sure, some people are naturally shy and don't really know how to hold a conversation properly but use our common sense and take any sort of body language or speech as a sign that they may not want to continue further with the topic of conversation!

Just because you may not mind other people asking you questions or wanting to know more about your personal life, does not mean that everybody is the same as you. Subhana'Allah, we are all really lacking empathy these days and from my own personal experience when I used to just imagine that just because I am like this, everybody else should be the same way, I can tell you that everybody else is DEFINITELY not like you! Take the hints, use your common sense, and ask yourself this whenever you are talking to someone - "how will my questions to others benefit them?" "will my questions to others benefit me and my deen?" "what is the purpose of me asking about their personal life?" "would I want someone to pry into my business ?"

I am a very sensitive person so yes, your questions that I don't want to answer will bother me. Take this post as advice from me and a for the rest of the shy, unspoken sisters out there as an understanding of where we are coming from. Sometimes, we just don't want to talk about it.

Hopefully, insha'Allah, this will help you get a better insight into dealing with others. Everybody is created differently and we all have different things going on in our lives. Some of us may want to share them, others of us may not. It is not up to you decide. We should think twice before we speak, and we should be sensitive to others around us and always remember, “Part of a person’s being a good Muslim is leaving alone that which does not concern him.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2318)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Negative People

Just like annoying people, negative people are everywhere. They come in different shapes and sizes. They can be someone you meet for the first time or they may live under the same roof as you. Negative people are real and they are a little bit more advanced compared to annoying people. Negative people can leave serious damage to your wellbeing. They are extremely toxic and they can really play with your emotions. BUT, of course, only if you allow them to.

The thing with negative people is that they love company. The saying "misery loves company" holds true to these types of people. I decided to write about negative people because I realised just how big of an impact they can make in my life. To be fair, I can definitely understand the mindset of a negative person. When things don't go our way, or traumatic events keep happening and we keep getting tested with things that we hate, it is absolutely normal for a human being to become negative and fall into a self-pity party and everything else that comes along with it. I can definitely speak for myself on that one. I think when I was living in Kentucky and went through circumstance after circumstance, it took a heavy toll on me because I was not prepared. By that I mean, my brain could process what I needed to do during hardships, but my heart had no idea how to react and how to handle things. Thus I fell into a spiral of negativity and only now am I trying to find that light at the end of this dark tunnel.

A lot of the time, seeking knowledge and learning about the deen only reaches us at a surface level. It never becomes skin deep for many people. We learn about what is permissible and what is not. We learn about Allah's Punishments. We learn about HOW we should look as a Muslim. We learn about everything and anything. Of course, seeking knowledge and learning about the deen is essential in one's journey to becoming a better Muslimah. But often I feel like we forget that the journey is not just at an intellectual level. A lot of the times we just learn and that is it. We do not know how to react when things get rough or go wrong. We learn about tawakkul, shukr, and sabr but when we are faced with reality, we are lost. Getting to know about Allah and learning about the deen should not just stay in our brains. It needs to penetrate a little further than that. It needs to reach our hearts and our souls.
This was something I learned only as my sixth year as a Muslim. I never truly understood what tawakkul and sabr was until I dug a little deeper. I still am struggling to learn how to use these three things to help me get through the present and the pain.

So, I can definitely say that I understand where the negative person's perspective is coming from and why they are the way they are. However, we must remember that Islam is not meant to make us into miserable people. Allah does not want us to live in misery. We are supposed to attain happiness in this life as well- despite what a lot of Muslims think. I am still trying to find that balance and I realised that there are just some people in my life that can't stay in it because their negativity brings me nowhere but down. Just because someone has suffered a great deal in their life and they do not know how to deal with the aftermath of it, doesn't mean they need to drag me along with them on their journey of "finding thyself." Remember, you are not obligated to stick around. Being civil is obviously a given, but when you find negative people leaving scars instead of soft footprints in your heart then remain a fair distance.

People who make excuses for everything, who try to tell you that you can't do it (subconsciously or consciously), who try to tell you that your situation may never improve so you need to just 'deal with it', who do not encourage you in a positive manner, and who suck all your positive energy from you are people you need to be wary of. When you feel worse rather than better about yourself after spending time with these types of people, you know there is a problem. People should never bring you down and even if they do so unknowingly, you really don't need that in your life. I have had on several occasions had to deal with individuals who have made me feel what I mentioned in the above. At first, I thought it was me, but then I realised time and time again that it is just the way they are and it has nothing to do with me. So for the sake of my own wellbeing, I decided that I could no longer make room for negative souls in my life.

It has nothing to do with you being selfish, you are just taking care of your own wellbeing. Putting your own wellbeing first before anyone else's is the only way you can be a good Muslimah. A lot of mothers think that putting their children or family before their own wellbeing is what they are supposed to do. But when you look at these mothers, they are the ones who are truly suffering. They take out their frustration on their children and their spouses and in the end, the home becomes a war zone more than a peaceful retreat. So taking care of our own wellbeing is extremely important, and do not be afraid to put your mental sanity first before anyone else's. In order to be able to worship Allah properly, we need to be in a state where we are not distracted by the negativities of life. When we surround ourselves with positive people and work on our own selves, then we know that we will not settle for anything less.

Being negative is often times easier than being positive. Being positive take a lot of effort but it is not impossible. Some people think that being negative is just being "realistic." I think there is a fine line between being realistic vs. being negative. Being realistic is telling yourself that everything will be OK and hardships don't last forever. What goes down, must come up and the tunnel is never always dark. On the other hand, being negative is self-pitying everything that has happened to you and using that self-pity to live your life. Even though you think you are being "realistic" you actually are just dragging yourself and others down into a darker hole. Being "realistic" does not mean that you show no mercy to someone who is vulnerable and feeling hopeless. Being "realistic" doesn't mean that you can't say "everything will be ok insha'Allah, don't worry." Being "realistic" doesn't mean that you need to let others see life through your negative eyes. Being realistic means seeing the glass half full and not half empty. Being realistic means being positive but not overly positive.

Nobody will ever understand each other's deep struggles.
Negative people are they way they are for a reason. They choose to be that way. We all have a choice. We can choose to feel sorry for ourselves and bring people down with us, or we can choose to uplift ourselves and bring people up with us. It really is our choice in the end. Just as Allah has given us the choice to choose between right and wrong, truth and falsehood, happiness or sorrow; we have a choice. Nobody is ever forced to be the way they by external circumstances unless they allow themselves. There are countless inspirational stories where we see people with debilitating disabilities or individuals who have lost so many loved ones they can no longer count and yet these people are the very ones who inspire us and show us that happiness is possible. It takes practice, it takes a lot of trial and error, and it takes a lot of patience and duaa - but it is possible with the help and guidance of Allah.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Nosey Muslims

Abu Hurayrah, 
may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said, "A sign of one's excellence in his Islam, is ignoring what does not concern him."[Related by Ahmad, Malik & At-Tirmidhi]

When will you get married?

When will you have kids?

Why isn't your husband working?

Why are you studying in school?

When are you going to have another child?

Why don't you get divorced?

Why don't you remarry?

Why are you wearing the same thing?

Why don't you get your husband to do that?

Why don't you this,why dont you that, why don't you do this, why don't you do that, why-why-why?!??!


Dear readers, 

Have you ever been plagued with those certain individuals who just can't seem to get the hint to LEAVE YOU ALONE and STOP ANNOYING YOU with their annoying questions because they are just too nosey and lack good manners and etiquette????? 
Have you been constantly harassed by individuals who always seem to ask the exact same questions over and over every single time you see them and your answers are ALWAYS THE SAME? 
Have you been put into awkward and embarrassing situations by annoying individuals who just don't seem to get the HINT when you decline to answer their questions which are by far NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS? 

Why yes! Yes, I have and I am sure you have as well!!

I would love so much to address this issue because it is something that needs to be addressed, OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER....again and again and again and again.

A lot of the times, we think that it is harmless to pry into people's personal lives and that we are only doing it to "start a conversation" or to "show that we care" but in reality, being nosey and meddling into people's private lives are by far conversation starters and an act of care. Being nosey and asking sisters about their private lives is none of our business. UNLESS they openly volunteer to share things with you without you asking and IF they come to you for advice and entrust you with their private information, then this is obviously different. 

Some sisters just don't understand that asking too many questions can either be adding salt to the wounds of many or it could just be plain annoying! If someone wanted to tell you that they couldn't have kids or if they were trying to have kids, I'm very certain they will let you know. If a sister wants to share with you her marital problems and that she is thinking about divorce then that is up to her. If a sister wants to tell you that she has been trying to get married since she was in her 20's, I'm sure she will let you know! If a sister doesn't donate more than amount of dollars, that is none of your business!!
DO NOT PRY. DO NOT ASK. DO NOT BUSY YOURSELF WITH MATTERS THAT DO NOT CONCERN YOU. Unless you plan to play God (ASTAGHFIRULLAH, audhubillah) then do not ask a sister when she will have kids, or when she will get married because ultimately, only ALLAH KNOWS.

Do you know how annoying it is when someone meddles their nose into someone's private life when it really is none of their business?
I don't care if it is in the culture to ask. 
Too bad???!!!!
Our poor sisters are already going through hardships with trying to get married, trying to conceive, trying to work things out with their marriages, trying to raise four children on their own, trying to work full time and balance school, trying to deal life etc...
Our poor sisters are going through a lot already and yet we all feel the need to pressure them into answering our annoying questions to satisfy our own egos or for whatever reason Allah Knows best. 


Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or else keep silent …” 

Listen, if they want you in on their private life, they will. If you don't know anything about them, it is because they don't want you to. Yes, I understand that many of us want to help others by reaching out to them. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you need to dig deep into their family secrets and ancestry tree and tribe name just to help them out. You don't need to know what is going on in their private life in order to help them out. A simple, "hey sis, if you ever need to talk, I'm here" or "if you ever need anything, don't hesitate to call" is more than sufficient! 
Please remember, if a sister wants to open up to you,  SHE WILL. No need for you to interrogate her like she is some kind of worldwide hunted criminal. 

Just because you are fine with people openly asking you a million and one questions about your personal life, doesn't mean other people are. Just because you want others to ask about your private life, doesn't mean other people want the same. Always be mindful of your tongue and your manners. Not everybody is the same as you. 

Yes, I understand completely that we want to reach out and help our sisters and sometimes the only way to help them is to know more about their situation, I get that. But again, prying into their lives is not the correct way! Do not make anyone feel like they are obligated to share information about their personal life with you! Do not make anyone feel uncomfortable lest you drive them away from Muslims and the deen! Be mindful of your manners and have the proper etiquettes when dealing with people.

Obviously, this is a reminder to myself first and foremost!! Of course, whenever I write new posts, I am addressing myself mainly because who am I to judge what y'all do, right? 
I wanted to write this post because of how some people have made me feel. Even though they don't know my situation and I never requested any help, they ask me about things which don't concern them and it cheeeeeeeses me until no tomorrow. Like, can you stop??? Thanks! 

So, that is why I wanted to address this issue because I know I am not the only one who has had to deal with such people and maybe I am even guilty of doing this too - astaghfirullah!! Sometimes I am so caught off guard I find myself backed into a tiny corner with no way out, so I end up answering them! Then I feel so bad after because I revealed parts of my life which those people don't deserve to know. 

Do you have any tips or suggestions as to what to say or do the next time I have to deal with nosey Muslims? Please comment below!

It is possible that what is meant is asking a man too many questions about his situation, which includes asking about that which does not concern one. That also may lead to embarrassment for the one who is being asked, because he may prefer not to tell him about his situation, and if he tells him he may feel upset about that, but if he lies to him or tries to give indirect answers he may still feel upset, and if he ignores his question that will be bad manners. {Al-Munaawi said in Fayd al-Qadeer (7/3)}

“Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) was neither a Fahish (one who talks evil) nor a Mutafahhish (a person who conveys evil talk or a person who peaks obscene evil words to make people laugh), and he used to say, ‘The best among you are the best in character (having good manners).’” (Al-Bukhari 6035)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Akhlaq wa al-Siyar ( Morals & Behaviors by Ibn Hazim)

V) Friends, Close Friends, and the Exchange of Advice

120. Anyone who criticizes you cares about your friendship. Anyone who makes light of your faults cares nothing about you.
121. Criticizing a friend is like melting an ingot: it will either become refined or it will disappear.
122. A friend who conceals a secret which concerns you is more disloyal towards you than one who tells a secret of yours. For the one who tells your secret is simply betraying you, but the one who conceals one from you is betraying you and also mistrusting you.
123. Do not try to be friends with those who scorn you. You will gain nothing from it but deception and shame.
124. Do not scorn those who try to be friends with you; to do so is a form of injustice and it would be failing to respond to their kindness, and this is bad.
125. Anyone who is forced to mix with men should on no account tell his companion everything that passes through his mind. When he leaves him, he must always behave as if he were a desperate enemy. When he wakes up each morning he should always expect his friends to betray him and do evil, expect them to behave exactly like his sworn enemies. If nothing of the sort happens, he should praise God; if it does, then at least he will prepared and the shock will be less. For myself, I tell you I had a friend who had sworn friendship, sincere pure friendship, for bad times or good, for richer or poorer, in anger and in satisfaction. This friend changed his attitude towards me, in a most hateful way, after twelve years of perfect friendship, and for an absolutely futile reason which I would never have believed could influence such a man. He has never been reconciled with me since, and this has made me very sad for many years.
However, one should not do bad things and follow the example of wicked men and traitors.
126. On the contrary, we should learn from this example the path that we should take. It is perilous and difficult to follow and a man would do well to advance as carefully as the pintailed grouse, more cautiously than the magpie, until he turns off the road trodden by mankind and makes his way towards his Lord. This road leads to victory, so we are told by religion and also by the world. The man who follows it will keep the pure intention of healthy souls who are true to their promises, men without guile and trickery. He will possess the virtues of the elect, the character of the virtuous. And, moreover, he will feel as safe as the worst deceivers, as free from care as the evildoers, as the most wicked and cunning people.
127. You should keep any secret that is confided to you, and not reveal it to any friend or stranger, even the man closest to you, if you are at all able to keep it. You should be true to everyone who trusts you, and do not yourself trust in anyone in affairs which you want to succeed except when absolutely necessary, and even then you should stop and think again and make a personal effort and draw strength from God.
128. Be generous with your superfluous possessions and strength to help others, whether they ask you or not, and to help anyone who needs you and whom you are able to help, even if he does not expressly come to you for help.
129. Do not expect any help in return from anyone except God the Almighty and Great. As you go on your way always remember that the first person you help will be the first to do harm and turn against you. Indeed, because of their profound jealousy, men of bad character detest those that help them when they see that the latter are better off.
130. [In your social life] treat every human being as graciously as you can. If someone comes to you with defects and problems such as arise in the normal course of life, do not let them know that you do not like them. In this way you shall live in peace and quiet.
131. When you give advice, do not give it only on condition that it will be taken. Do not intercede only on the condition that your intercession is accepted; do not make a gift only on the condition that you will be recompensed. Do it only in order to practise virtue, and to do what you should do when giving advice, interceding and being generous.
132. The definition of friendship: [it is the middle point] between two extremes.[1] What makes one friend sad makes the other sad too. What makes one happy makes the other happy too. Any relationship less than this is not friendship. Anyone who answers to this description is a friend. A man may be the friend of someone who is not his friend for a man can love someone who hates him. This is the case above all with fathers and their sons, brother and brother, husband and wife, and all those in whom friendship has become burning love. Not every friend is a counsellor although every counsellor, by giving advice shows himself to be a friend.
133. The definition of advice is that the man giving it feels bad about what harms his friend, whether the latter feels good or bad about it, and he feels happy about what is good for him, whether his friend is happy or unhappy about it. This is the added factor which a counsellor has which goes beyond the limit of simple friendship.
134. The highest aim of friendship, and there is nothing higher than this, is to have all things in common, one’s own person, one’s belongings, without any constraint, and to prefer one’s friend to every other being. If I had not known Muzaffar and Mûbârak, the two masters of Valencia, I should have thought that such a sentiment had disappeared in our times. But I have never seen any two other men draw so deeply on all the joys of friendship, despite events which would have separated other men.
135. There is no virtue which so much resembles a vice as the faculty of having many friends and acquaintances. But it is really a perfect virtue, made up of various qualities, since friends are only gained by tolerance, generosity, patience, loyalty, signs of affection, shared feelings, and moderation. It is important to protect one’s friends, teach them what one knows, and to win over them by every kind of praiseworthy action.
We do not mean mercenaries, or those who follow us in our days of glory. They are thieves of the title of friendship, they deceive friendship. You think that they are friends and they are not. The proof is that they abandon you when fortune abandons you. Nor do we mean those who make friends for a particular purpose, nor do we mean drinking companions, not those who gang together to commit crimes, or villainy, to attack people’s honour, to satisfy their unhealthy curiosity or for any other useless objective. These are not friends at all. The proof is that they speak evil of each other, and that they disperse as soon as the evil interests which brought them together are finished. We only mean to speak of those pure friends who unite only in the love of God, either to help each other to make some real virtue triumph or to taste the pleasures of the only true kind of friendship.
If one commits the fault of having too many friends, there is the difficulty of keeping them all happy, the dangers of associating with them, the duties which fall on us when they are subjected to trials (for if you betray them or let them down, you will be criticized and blamed; but if on the other hand you are true to them, you will harm yourself to the extent that you could lose your own life, and this choice is the only one acceptable to the virtuous man if he wishes to be true to his friendship); if one thinks of the worries which we have from the misfortunes which come upon them or which come upon us because of them: death, separation, betrayal of one among them, one will see that the joy brought by these friends is outweighed by the painful sadness which they cause.
136. There is nothing among the vices which is so like a virtue as the desire to be praised. Indeed, if someone sings our praises in our presence, we would be silly to believe it, knowing everything that the Tradition has taught us about flatterers. However, praise may be useful in encouraging someone to do fewer bad things and more good things. It may lead the person who hears it to desire to have a character similar to the one who has been praised. Thus I feel that rulers of the world met one of those people who spread evil wherever they go and who are said to have done evil things, and he received him with praise. He had heard his praises sung on everywhere, he said; on every side people spoke of nothing but his good deeds and his generosity. After this the criminal could not possibly do wrong!
137. Certain kinds of advice are difficult to distinguish from slander for anyone who hears a man criticising someone else unjustly or unfairly and conceals it from the person who is the object of this unjust and wicked statement, by doing this is so unjust and to be blamed. Moreover, if he breaks it to him bluntly, he may bring more trouble upon the spiteful critic than the latter really deserved. This would be unfair to him, for it is not fair to punish ill-doers beyond the measure of their unjust deed. It is difficult for anyone except a very intelligent man to cope with this situation.
138. The solution to be adopted by the intelligent man is such a situation is to protect the victim against the slanderer, and no more, not inform him what the latter said; this is to prevent him going to the slanderer and getting into more trouble. As for sly tricks, one should protect the victim, but nothing more than that.
139. Giving information consists of reporting to someone something one has heard which in no way harms the person one tells it o, strength is from God.
140. Advice can be given twice. The first time is as prescribed as a religious duty. The second time is a reminder and a warning. If you repeat the advice a third time it becomes a remonstrance and a reprimand. After that you have to slap and punch and perhaps try even more serious methods which may cause harm and damage. Certainly, it is only in questions of religious practices that it is permissible to repeat advice incessantly, whether the listener accepts it or gets
irritated, whether the advisor suffers from it or not. When you give advice, give it softly, do not shout it out; use hints, do not speak openly unless you are advising someone who is determined not to understand. Then explanations would be essential. Do not give advice only on condition that it is followed. Otherwise you are a tyrant, not an adviser; you are demanding obedience, you are not allowing religious feeling and brotherly spirit their due. Neither reason nor friendship gives you the right to insist. It is rather the right that a ruler has over his subjects or a master over his slaves.
141. Do not ask of your friend more than you yourself are prepared to give. To ask for more is to abuse his friendship. Do not gain except when you will harm yourself and your behaviour will be detestable.
142. If you find excuses for selfish and greedy men and shut your eyes to their faults, you are not displaying humanity or virtue. On the contrary, it is a base and feeble thing to do which encourages them to continue in their bad attitudes, it applauds and supports them in their wicked actions. Such indulgence would only be humane when displayed towards the just who are quick to pardon and to act unselfishly. In that case it is an obligation for a good man to behave in the same way towards them, above all if they have an urgent need of such tolerance, and if it is more necessary for them.
143. One might retort, According to what you say, we should stop being tolerant, we should stop turning a blind eye when it is a question of our friends. Friends, enemies, strangers would all be treated exactly the same; this cannot be right. Our reply would be – and may God help us succeed – nothing but encouragement towards tolerance and unselfishness.
144. You should turn a blind eye not on [the faults of] the greedy but only on [those of] a true friend. If you wish to know how you should act in this matter, how you can keep on the path of truth: if there is a situation where one of two friends needs to be unselfish for the other’s sake, each of two friends should examine the problem and see which of them is in the most urgent need, the most pressing circumstances. Friendship and humanity then impose on the other the obligation to be unselfish. If he does not, he is greedy, avid, and deserves no indulgence since he is acting neither like a friend nor like a brother.
If the two find themselves in equal need, in equal straits, true friendship would require that they race each other to be the more unselfish. If they behave like this, they are both friends. If one of them hastens to be unselfish and the other does not, and if this is what usually happens, the second is not a friend and there is no need to be friendly towards him. But if he would hasten to sacrifice himself in other circumstances then this is a pair of true friends.
145. If there is someone in need whom you wish to help, whether the initiative came from him or from you, do no more than he expects of you, not what you might personally wish to do. If you overstep the mark, you will deserve not thanks but blame from him and from others, and you will attract hostility, not friendship.
146. Do not repeat to your friend things that will make him unhappy and which it would not benefit him to know. That would be the action of a fool. Do not hide from him anything that would cause him loss not to know. That would be the action of a wicked person.
147. Do not be pleased if someone praises you for quality which you do not have; on the contrary, be very sorry because it will bring to public attention that you lack them. To sing such praises is to mock and poke fun, and only an idiot or an imbecile would be pleased. Do not be sorry if someone criticizes you for a fault that you do not have; on the contrary, you should be pleased because your merit will be brought to public attention.
148. On the other hand, you should be pleased to possess a praiseworthy quality, whether anyone actually praises you for it or not, and you should be sorry to have a blameworthy fault, whether anyone actually criticizes you for it or not.
149. Anyone who hears bad things said about the wife of his friend must on no account tell him, particularly if the person who said them was a slanderer or libeller or notorious gossip, one of those people who try to draw attention away from their own faults by increasing the number of people like themselves; this often happens. As a general rule, it is best to stick to the truth. Now, in this case, you cannot know whether the statements are true or false, but you do know that it is a grave sin against your religion to hold such opinions. However, if you perceive that the same thing is being said from several gossips, not just one, or if you are able to verify that the statement is well founded, even if you cannot put your friend in a position to observe what you have observed, then you should tell him everything, privately and tactfully. You should say something like There are many women… or Look after your house, teach your family, avoid this, mind that… If he takes your advice and is put on his guard, he will have profited from the chance. If you notice that he takes no precautions and does not worry about anything, you must control yourself, not say a word, and remain friends, for the fact that he has not believed what you have told him does not oblige you to break with him. But if, having been in a position to observe some definite proof, you are able to put your friend in a position to see some identical proof, it is your duty to tell him and to make him face the whole truth. If he changes his attitude, that is good. But if he will not change his attitude, you should shun his friendship, because this would be vile man with no virtue and no noble aspirations.
150. The fact that a man enters a house secretly is proof enough that he means ill. The same is true of a woman who enter a man’s house secretly. It would be stupid to require further proof. You should run from such a woman or at least separate. Anyone who kept her with him would be a virtual go-between.
151. Men can be divided into seven categories according to certain traits of their characters. Some praise you to your face and criticize you behind your back. This is the characteristic feature of hypocrites and slanderers; it is common, mostly among men. Others criticize you to your face and behind your back. This is characteristic of slanderers who are powerful and insolent. Some men flatter you to your face and behind your back. This is the mark of flatterers and social climbers. Others again criticize you to your face and praise you behind your back. This is characteristic of fools and imbeciles. Virtuous people take care neither to praise nor to criticize you in your presence. Either they praise you in your absence, or they refrain from criticizing you. Slanderers who are not hypocrites or ignorant say nothing to your face and criticize you in your absence. As for those who want a quiet life, they take care that they neither praise you nor criticize you, whether you are present or absent. We have seen these different types of individuals for ourselves, and we have tested the categories and found them to be true.
152. When you give advice, find a private place and speak gently. Do not say that somebody else has said the criticisms that you address to your companion, that would be to speak ill. If your phrase your advice bluntly, you will annoy and discourage. Speak to him courteously, the Almighty has said: And speak unto him a gentle word. [Qur’ân 20:44] And the Prophet – peace be upon him – said: Do not discourage him. If you are advising someone, and you insist on seeing your advice taken, you are doing wrong since you could be mistaken and you would be insisting on him accepting your error and rejecting the truth.
153. Everything has its use. Thus, I have profited greatly from mixing with the ignorant. This has inspired my inward self, it has sparked off my spirit, it has sharpened my mind, it has driven me to action. It has given rise to written works of some value. If the ignorant had not roused something deep within myself, if they had not woken something that lay hatching in me, I should not have thrown myself into writing these works.
154. Do not blind yourself to a friend by taking a wife from his family; do not sign a contract with him. We have never known these two acts to result in anything but rupture, where ignorant people would expect the ties of friendship to be strengthened. Not so, and the reason is that the two acts force each party to press his own interests to the advantage of others. When there is a clash of individual interests, quarrels result, quarrels bring about an alteration in affections. The firmest alliance is one between two people who are already related, because the fact that they are already related forces them to bear the union, even if they are very unhappy, since they are joined by an unbreakable tie, that of their common origin, which nature obliges them to defend and protect.

[1] Nada Tomiche comments on this point by saying that this phrase is fairly obscure at first sight, so much so that Asín, Los Caracteres has refrained from translating it. It alludes to the theory of Plato and Aristotle taken up by Cicero and adopted by Ibn Hazm: virtue is a happy medium between excess and defect; see below § 295 and note 1, where Ibn Hazm tells us which are the two extremes of which friendship is the happy medium of (see also § 308); they are: excessive attachment and excessive hatred.