ART OF COMPLAINING Have you ever found yourself falling into the habit of complaining, whether the complaint was valid or not? Bint Abdelhamid shares thirteen ways to perfect the art of (not) complaining. They say that “misery loves company,” and it’s true. I spent some time in an educational institute overseas, where the teaching lay somewhere between mediocre and bad, and the institute policies were even worse. It helped, in a manner of speaking, to sit down with other sisters in the institute and outline all our misery and woes. It made us feel like we weren’t alone. 2. Only complain to the people if complaining is Unfortunately, we live in a culture of complaining, beneficial where it’s easy to strike up a conversation on how This may be to get one of your rights, or the right of ridiculously high the prices are or how bitter cold the someone else you know – sometimes, complaining is weather is. Sometimes, we complain about petty necessary. Be as kind and polite about it as possible, things, and sometimes about larger ones – but and don’t overdo it. whatever it is, we find it easier to pick out the faults of our everyday lives and situations, even when we 3. Talk about practical solutions have so much to be thankful for. Rather than making your complaint a constant, In an effort to train myself to complain less (and endless whine, talk about practical solutions to the hopefully squash the habit of complaining problem you’re facing. Is it a problem without a altogether), here is list for thirteen ways to complain visible, practical solution? Then make your complaint less: to Allah! 1. Make your complaint to Allah When Yusuf SAW was separated from his father, and Ya’qoob u lost his eyesight due to sorrow, Ya’qoob u said, “I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah…” [12:86]. Allah is the All-Capable, and the One Who can ease your affairs, so if there is something troubling you, make your complaint to Him, SAW.
4. Let the small things pass Anas ibn Malik said, “I served the Prophet SAW for twenty years. He never said ‘uff’ to me, and he never said about anything I had not done, ‘Why didn’t you do it?’ or about something I had done, ‘Why did you do that?’” [Muslim]. Most things are small enough that we can just let them go.
5. Speak about Allah’s favours work and life, cute things your kids said. Humour is Rather than picking out everything that’s wrong in a wonderful way to make everyone feel better! your life, try picking out some of the things that are right, and speaking about them. Allah swt says, “But as for the favor of your Lord, report [it].” Doing this should not only help you avoid complaining, but you’ll also be fulfilling a command from Allah! 6. Remember those less fortunate One way to jolt yourself back to reality and appreciate Allah’s blessings over you is to remember those less fortunate than you. Read about others suffering in Asia, Africa, and all over the world. Read about orphans in Palestine. Read about the homeless in your own country, your own city – interact with them if possible. Don’t drown yourself in despair, but use these stories as a means to be grateful and to thank Allah for what you have. 7. Reduce the stress in your life You may be complaining because you have a sizeable amount of stress in your life. You need an outlet, and that’s understandable. Stop multitasking for a bit; take some quiet time out to relax: sit in a darkened room, breathing deeply for a few minutes; go for a walk outdoors; listen to some soothing anasheed, or read some Qur’an.
11. Recognise complaining as a habit Monitor your speech from time to time. Do you find that complaining is more of a habit than a useful endeavor? Recognising it as a habit is an important first step in learning to squash it. 12. Find better company Do you find yourself complaining more when you’re around certain people? Maybe it’s because you have little in common with these people, or because they’re uninterested in being positive and thankful. If that’s the case, then it’s time to find better company, company which is a lot less “miserable.”
13. Talk less In general, If you’ve tried everything you can think of, and still find yourself complaining too much, maybe it’s because you’re talking long after you’ve run out of things to say. Don’t let the shaytaan lead 8. Read stories from the seerah you into useless or harmful talk. Instead, keep your Take note from the words and ways of the tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah. Messenger saw, the sahabah, and the righteous generations after them. Learn from their manners Repent to Him often. Thank Him often. Praise Him often. Send salutations upon the Messenger saw and etiquettes in speech. often. When I think back to my time at that institute, I 9. Talk about other useful matters You don’t have to talk about the mundane things in realise it’s too late to “undo” the complaining I once did. What I can do now is use that experience your life that drive you crazy. Instead, talk about as a stepping stone towards complaining less and larger things that excite you: new knowledge being more thankful. And instead of concentrating you’ve learned; projects you’d like to work on; a wonderful nature trip that made you contemplate on all the faults of this institute (enumerating them won’t help anyone here), I can tell, instead, about the beauty of Allah’s creation. that wonderful fifteen year old sister I met there, about how her more-difficult-life but complaint10. Tell funny stories (without lying) There will still be time for chit-chat with friends and free-tongue put me to shame, and about how her patience inspired me to seek the art of not family. Instead of worrying them with complaints complaining. they can’t help with, tell them funny stories from
TIPS OF THE DAY! Enjoy the process ’ ’
Allah SWT created us to worship Him and developed the religion of Islam as a “complete way of life” with rules and recommendations to govern our spiritual, physical, emotional, and social lives; these facts, clearly outlined in the Qur’an, suggest that a constant state of worship is not an unreachable ideal, but a rational possibility.
But when faced with the demands of school, work, and family, and desires to socialise and pursue hobbies, how can we engage in the ongoing worship Allah swt asks of us? Part of the answer lies in the following seven words: Intention elevates deeds from habit to worship. The Prophet SAW emphasised the importance of our intentions when he said
“All actions are judged by intention, and each person will be rewarded according according to their intention.” (Bukhari)
By explicitly changing our attitude from a bitter “I have to do this” to a positive “I want to do this for Allah swt” many of our habitual tasks can in fact become acts of worship.
STUDENT OF KNOWLEDGE Fatima Barkatulla reminds us that if our „ilm is above average, our worship of Allah should also be above average. Ask yourself for a moment: “Will the knowledge I have be a proof for me or against me on the Day of Judgment?” Are we seeking knowledge only to become one of those whom Allah describes as „donkeys carrying books‟ - merely bearing a burden, with no idea of the value of what we carry nor intention to act on it? The great scholars of the past would strive to develop certain personal qualities and observe certain etiquette towards their teachers and fellow students. Muhammad ibn Sireen, the student of Abu Hurairah (RA) said, “They used to learn manners just as they used to learn knowledge.” Abdullah bin Mubarak, the first century scholar said, “Good manners is almost equivalent to two-thirds of knowledge.” So what are some of the Attributes that a student of knowledge should be distinguished by?