How to be a Loyal Person: A Lesson from the Story of the King and the Servant

By Babar Ahmad, London

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Once upon a time there lived a king. Whenever any of his servants would do something to displease him, he would feed them to a pack of wild dogs that he kept in a special cage. Now this king had a servant who had served his master loyally for 10 years. One day this servant did something to displease the king, so the king ordered that he be fed to the wild dogs.

“I served you for ten years and this is what I get in return? Please, give me ten days respite, then feed me to the dogs,” the servant begged the king. The king agreed. The servant then went to the keeper of the wild dogs and asked if he could help him take care of the dogs for the next ten days. The keeper was baffled, but agreed.

So for the next ten days, the servant served the dogs. He fed them, bathed them and played with them. He took them out for exercise, stroked them and spoke kind words to them.

When the ten days were up, the king arrived to witness his servant being thrown to the dogs. But when the servant was thrown into the cage, something unexpected happened…

What is loyalty? What are the characteristics of loyal people?

Loyalty is remaining faithful and true to something, whether it’s your word, a promise or a person. Loyalty is unconditional love and attachment to an individual.

Loyal people move the earth for the people they are loyal to. They do anything for them: spend time, money and effort for them. They help them in times of hardship and do not forget them during calamities. They correct them when they err. They stick by their side when everyone else abandons them. They remain present in good times and bad, luxury and poverty, health and sickness.

Loyal people are loyal to everyone close to them. Loyal people never forget the good that others have done to them.

Loyal people move the earth for the people they are loyal to. They stick by their side when everyone else abandons them. They remain present in good times and bad, luxury and poverty, health and sickness. Loyal people never forget the good that others have done to them.

A loyal person is loyal first and foremost to God. He never forgets God, his Creator and Sustainer, no matter what he goes through in life. A loyal person is also loyal to those close to him, such as his family and close friends. Someone who is not loyal to his own family can never be truly loyal to anyone else. He may show signs of loyalty, but it is fake, not genuine.

In his book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey uses the concept of an “emotional bank account” to describe the relationship between any two individuals, whether familial, romantic, friendship or other. The higher the balance of the emotional bank account, the better the state of the relationship and loyalty of the individuals towards each other. Like any bank account, you can make deposits to and withdrawals from the account.

Covey describes how the biggest deposit to the account (and the biggest proof of loyalty) is made by giving time to the other person. Time is the most valuable resource that we possess. It is more valuable than money. Money goes up and down but time is finite. So rich, busy parents can never compensate their children for not spending time with them by buying expensive ‘guilt gifts’ for them.

Whenever we give some of our time to someone, be it by a phone call or email, we make a deposit into the emotional bank account. Other deposits are made by way of gifts, anything good that we do to the other person, being there for them in times of distress, listening to them and apologising when we make mistakes.

In the same way, when we do any wrong to that person we make a withdrawal from the emotional bank account. Covey described that the biggest withdrawal we can make from this account is to when we fail to fulfil a promise or honour a commitment we made to the other person. Failing to keep to our word shows the other person that they are not worthy of our time or energy.

Being loyal to one’s word is a characteristic of every great person. Even in prison, there is this thing called your “word.” You are nothing without your word. Conflicts, business and agreements are made with a handshake sealed by your word. If you go back on your word, your worth as a person ends. It is better for a person to give up his life, his wealth and his time than to go back on his word.

If the emotional bank account balance is high, it can withstand withdrawals but only up to a point. At some point, we can withdraw so much from an account without realising it that we can fall into the red (overdrawn) or become bankrupt, thus destroying the relationship.

Returning to the story of the king and the servant, when the servant was thrown into the cage full of wild dogs, instead of tearing him to shreds, the dogs gathered round him and began to lick him.

The king was surprised at this sight so he asked what had happened to his dogs. The servant replied. “I served these dogs for only ten days, yet they never forgot what I did for them. But I served you for ten years, and you forgot all of that at my first mistake.” Upon hearing this, the king realised his mistake and set the servant free.

I served these dogs for only ten days, yet they never forgot what I did for them. But I served you for ten years, and you forgot all of that at my first mistake.

The moral of the story is: always remember the acts of kindness done to you and never forget the good that people have done for you, even if it was only on a single occasion.

How to be a Loyal Person: A Lesson from the Story of the King and the Servant

My Suicide Letter…

And do not kill yourselves. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful. (4:29)

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Recently, I came across an article which made my hair stand and gave me goosebumps, as I live just next door: http://www.blogpreston.co.uk/2016/02/preston-has-highest-suicide-rate-in-the-uk/

A horrifying statistic about Preston has emerged in new figures about suicide. Preston has the highest suicide rate in the UK compared to other towns and cities. There are nearly 19 suicides each year in the city per 100,000 people. The figures, which come from the Office of National Statistics, are based on the period from 2012-2014. It also shows the suicide rate in Preston has been rising sharply in the last few years.

The highest level of suicide in UK towns and cities
Preston – 18.6
Middlesborough – 17.6
Hastings – 17.4
Blackpool – 17
Warwick – 16.6

A few points we all need to consider, as we all go through hardship, pain and suffering:

“Allah burdens not a soul more than its scope.” (2:286)

Allah only gives you what you can handle, in simple terms. If you cannot deal with it Allah will not give it to you. Because as Muslims we believe Allah is al-Hakeem (The Wise), al-Aleem (All-Knowing). Allah knows the past and the future.

So why do we feel we can’t cope anymore?

There are numerous reasons to this, first being our sins weigh us down. Excessive sinning leads one to become despondent. Secondly, we have become ungrateful. Instead of counting our blessings, we as humans tend to count our problems more.

“And He giveth you of all that you ask for. But if you count the favours of Allah, never will you be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude.” (14:34)

Suicide is increasing in Britain and in Muslims, but it is a major sin in Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stated that the one who commits suicide will be punished with something like that with which he killed himself.

Why do people commit suicide?

They have had enough of life or they have no hope left that they can carry on. Sometimes Muslims lose hope in Allah SWT and in their religion. They pray, they fast, give charity but Allah’s help doesn’t seem to come or is delayed. This happens to every single one of us in life, some more than others. But is suicide the solution? More importantly, is it permissible to end our own life?

At some point or another we all think about suicide, we all have bad days and ‘very’ bad days. Problems and difficulties are temporary but remember suicide is not temporary. Do you want to commit suicide to end your life or end the problems you have?

Suicide is not the solution AT ALL. A person must remain positive at all times, life is not perfect. Allah did not promise us a perfect life, otherwise this world would be Jannah.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The world is a prison for the believer and Paradise for the disbeliever.” (Tirmidhi)

Life is short and temporary, so are the problems and trials and calamities we face in life. Whether you are currently in a state of bliss or depression, “this time will pass.” Nothing lasts forever, not your happiness nor your sadness. This world does not even last forever, it will surely end.

If you think that nobody cares, or is there for you, then you have a loving Lord. Allah SWT loves you.

In Saheeh Muslim it is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah has one hundred parts of mercy, of which He sent down one between the jinn, mankind, the animals and the insects, by means of which they are compassionate and merciful to one another, and by means of which wild animals are kind to their offspring. And Allah has kept back ninety-nine parts of mercy with which to be merciful to His slaves of the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim, al-Tawbah, 6908)

It was narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Some prisoners were brought to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and there was a woman among the prisoners who was searching (for her child). When she found her child she embraced him and put him to her breast. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to us, ‘Do you think that this woman would throw her child in the fire?’ We said, ‘No, by Allah, not if she is able not to.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child.’”  (Agreed upon)

So do not despair in the mercy of Allah, rather turn to him and remember Him. Obey Him and His help will come. If we knew the wisdom behind Allah’s orders and decisions for us, our hearts would burst out of love for Him SWT. We have to understand and accept Allah always does what is best for us.

“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (2:216)

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever throws himself down from a mountain and kills himself will be in the Fire of Hell, throwing himself down therein forever and ever. Whoever takes poison and kills himself, his poison will be in his hand and he will be sipping it in the Fire of Hell forever and ever. Whoever kills himself with a piece of iron, that piece of iron will be in his hand and he will be stabbing himself in the stomach with it in the Fire of Hell, forever and ever.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 5442; Muslim, 109.

It was narrated from Thaabit ibn al-Dahhaak (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever kills himself with something in this world will be punished with it on the Day of Resurrection.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 5700; Muslim, 110.

From these Hadith it is apparent that suicide is not permissible in Islam – it is Haram.

Suicide is not kufr that puts a person beyond the pale of Islam as some people think, rather it is a major sin that is subject to the will of Allah on the Day of Resurrection: if He wills, He will forgive it, and if He wills He will punish for it. So do not neglect to make du’aa for them and be sincere in doing so; perhaps that may be the means of Allah forgiving them.

It was narrated that Jundub ibn ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Among those who came before you there was a man who was wounded and he panicked, so he took a knife and cut his hand with it, and the blood did not stop flowing until he died. Allah said: ‘My slave hastened to bring about his demise; I have forbidden Paradise to him.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 3276; Muslim, 113.

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A FEW MORE FACTS:

Myth: People who are suicidal want to die.

Fact: The majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have. The distinction may seem small but is in fact very important and is why talking through other options at the right time is so vital.

Myth: Talking about suicide is a bad idea as it may give someone the idea to try it. 

Fact: Suicide can be a taboo topic in society. Often, people feeling suicidal don’t want to worry or burden anyone with how they feel and so they don’t discuss it. By asking directly about suicide you give them permission to tell you how they feel. People who have felt suicidal will often say what a huge relief it is to be able to talk about what their experiencing. Once someone starts talking they’ve got a better chance of discovering other options to suicide.

Myth: If a person is serious about killing themselves then there is nothing you can do.

Fact: Often, feeling actively suicidal is temporary, even if someone has been feeling low, anxious or struggling to cope for a long period of time. This is why getting the right kind of support at the right time is so important.

Myth: You have to be mentally ill to think about suicide.

Fact: Most people have thought of suicide from time to time and not all people who die by suicide have mental health problems at the time of death. However, many people who kill themselves do suffer from their mental health, typically to a serious degree. Sometimes it’s known about before the person’s death and sometimes not.

Myth: People who talk about suicide aren’t serious and won’t go through with it.

Fact: People who kill themselves have often told someone that they do not feel life is worth living or that they have no future. Some may have actually said they want to die. While it’s possible that someone might talk about suicide as a way of getting the attention they need, it’s vitally important to take anybody who talks about feeling suicidal seriously.

“The majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have.”

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Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia (one who is in dire need of Allah’s Forgiveness, Mercy and Pleasure).

 

Key facts (2017)

  • In 2017 there were 6,213 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
  • Of these, 5,821 suicides were registered in the UK and 392 occurred in the Republic of Ireland.
  • In the UK, men are three times as likely to take their own lives than women.
  • In the Republic of Ireland, men are four times more likely to take their own lives than women.
  • In the UK, the highest suicide rate was for men aged 45-49.
  • In the Republic of Ireland, the highest suicide rate was for men aged 25–34 (with an almost identical rate for men aged 45–54).
  • In Northern Ireland, suicide rates for both men and women are higher than other UK nations – however, rates are not necessarily directly comparable.

Key trends (2017)

  • In the UK, there has been a significant decrease in male suicide. The male suicide rate is the lowest in over 30 years.
  • In Scotland, the overall suicide rate decreased between 2016 and 2017 – this appears to be driven by a decrease in the female suicide rate.
  • In Scotland, suicide in young men increased for the third consecutive year in 2017.
  • In Northern Ireland, the suicide rate has remained relatively stable between 2016 and 2017. There was an increase in the male suicide rate and a decrease in the female rate.
  • In the Republic of Ireland, suicide has continued to fall in both men and women.
  • In the Republic of Ireland, rates have fluctuated more than in the UK in recent years, but they are currently at their lowest since 1989.

“Innocent, until proven guilty…”

“The believers are nothing else than brothers. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.” [Al-Hujurat, 49:10]

The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said, “Release the prisoners.”

The scholars of the past would says, “If a Muslim becomes incarcerated in the west, it is an obligation of the Muslims in the east to free them. And if a Muslim becomes incarcerated in the east, it is an obligation of the Muslims in the west to free them.”

Innocent

He’s been indicted, the general decided, the paper incited, he must be guilty,

The agent presumed, the prosecutors consumed and the judge assumed we’re sure he is guilty.

The bigots are infused, TV is amused, the public is confused, but trust us he is guilty,

Doesn’t matter what we saw, we will simply change the law, call it the final straw we think he’s guilty.

We have him on a call, it may be to congressional hall, our goal is to make him fall, because we believe him to be guilty,

The trial would be perfect, when guilty is the verdict, even if the evidence is suspect, never mind we find him guilty,

But he only spoke his mind, to people of every kind, justice may be blind, but it’s been hard to find, because he’s innocent.

Strip search.

His body was built, his head was bald,

His heart was dead, his face was cold.

His eyes were fierce, moustache was thick,

He lifted up his finger, I was his pick.

Take off your jumper and shirt and boxers,

But I’ve only been to the library, have not seen or met anybody,

Strip! You’re going to strip! And don’t you dare move your lip.

Take off your shirt and jumper and boxers. Open your mouth show me your tongue,

Give me a cough, deep from your lung.

Hold your buttocks and bend over, turn around, lift it up and stay sober.

The routine is to humiliate, to scar and to intimidate,

His search took an eternity, in the name of security, they strip you of your dignity.

Shakedown

They came Monday morning, in front of my door,

Five COs and one Lt at 6 foot and 4.

Come out, shut up, cough up, they said.

Turn around, back up, hold up your head.

They joked and laughed, it’s time for a shakedown!

Control, destroy and don’t you dare frown!

Contraband! Contraband! He yelled from the side. My heart has sank, he’s found my height.

Extra blanket, extra sheet, boxers he’s thrown.

Plastic spoon, peanut butter and a picture I’d drawn.

My heart was beating faster than before,

If he finds it my life ain’t the same any more.

Seconds and minutes were passing like years,

Frustrated, worried and crying without tears.

Undaunted they left, cell upside down,

Startled it looked, like a tornado hit town.

But I calmed and laughed and thanked the Lord,

My pencil is safe and mightier than the sword.

(Anonymous)

12 Rabeeul Thani 1436

“The Believers, in their mutual love, mercy and compassion, are like one body: if one organ complained, the rest of the body develops a fever.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

O Allah! Please free the innocent, that are shackled in chains and locked up behind bars.

O Allah! Be a guardian for their families.

Ameen Ya Rabb!