Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was a perfect model of modesty and humbleness. He never spoke loudly or in an unseemly manner. In the market, he always passed by the people quietly with a smile. Whenever he heard anything undesirable in an assembly, he did not say anything out of respect for the people, but the colour of his face showed his feelings and the Companions became cautious. ‘Aa’ishah, radhiallah ‘anha,  said that she never saw Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, laughing so that she could see his molar teeth, for he only used to smile. 
‘Abdullaah Ibn Maslamah, radhiallah ‘anhu, reported Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, as saying: “Modesty is a part of the teachings of the previous prophets and anyone who lacks it is most likely to do whatever he likes.” Zayd, radhiallah ‘anhu, reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: “Every religion has a character and the character of Islam is modesty.” 
The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, lived a simple and modest life, both in Makkah as a trader before his prophethood, and in Al-Madinah as the head of the State after being appointed Allah’s Messenger. The change in his social status from that of a trader in Makkah to the head of the state in Al-Madinah did not bring any change in his modest living. ‘Umar, radhiallah ‘anhu, reported the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, as saying: “Do not exalt me as the Christians have exalted Jesus, son of Mary. I am just His servant, so call me Allah’s Servant and Messenger.” 
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, did not behave towards others as if he was better than they were, nor did he spurn manual work. ‘Abdullaah bin Abi ‘Awfa, radhiallah ‘anhu, reported that the Prophet never disdained to go with a slave or a widow to accomplish his or her tasks. Others reported that the Prophet used to tidy up his house, tie the camels, feed the animals, take food with his servants, and help them in kneading dough and bringing provisions from the market. Anas, radhiallah ‘anhu, reported that the Prophet of Allah used to visit the sick, attend funerals, ride on a donkey and accept a slave’s invitation for a meal. Jaabir, radhiallah ‘anhu, stated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, used to slow down his pace for the sake of the weak and also prayed for them.
When ‘Adiyy bin Haatim, radhiallah ‘anhu, came to see the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, he called him inside his house. A maidservant brought a cushion to rest on, but the Prophet placed it between him and ‘Adiyy and sat down on the floor. ‘Adiyy later said that he had then immediately realised that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was not a king. A similar incident was reported by ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘Aas, radhiallah ‘anhu, who said: “Once when the Messenger of Allah came to my house, I gave him a cushion filled with bark, but he sat down on the floor placing the cushion between me and him.”
Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was humble in all things. Anas, radhiallah ‘anhu, said that the Prophet would accept an invitation even if he was presented barley bread and soup whose taste had changed. He also reported the Prophet as saying: “I am Allah’s servant, I eat like a servant and sit like a servant.’’ 
On one of his journeys, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, asked his companions to roast a goat. One said that he would slaughter the animal; another said that he would skin it, while a third said that he would cook it. The Prophet then said that he would collect wood for fuel. Their response was: “O Messenger of Allah! We will do everything.” The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, then said: “I have no doubt that you will. But I do not like distinctions to be made, nor does Allah like any one of His servants to assert his superiority over his companions.” 
His self-deprecation was such that he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, once said: “By Allah, I do not know, even although I am Allah’s messenger, what my fate in the next world will be, nor do I know what yours will be.” 
Abu Tharr Al-Ghifaari, radhiallah ‘anhu, narrates that one day he was sitting with another companion of black complexion whom he addressed as: “O black man.” When the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, heard of this, he was greatly displeased and cautioned Abu Tharr never to make scornful remarks to anyone, whoever he might be, and to accord equal treatment to all, adding: “No white man has any superiority over a black man.”
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, once saw a wealthy Muslim gathering up his loose garments so that a certain distance would be kept between himself and a poor Muslim sitting close by. He remarked: “Do you fear that his poverty will cling to you?”
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, lived like any ordinary person, and did not assume any superior rights. He once had to borrow some money from a Jew called Zayd bin Sana’a. The Jew came to demand the immediate return of the loan a few days before the expiry of the stipulated period. Tugging at the mantle around the Prophet’s shoulders, he jibed that the progeny of ‘Abd Al-Muttalib were always defaulters. 
‘Umar, radhiallah ‘anhu, not being able to tolerate this misbehaviour on the part of the Jew, started berating him, and was on the point of beating him when the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said to the Jew, smiling: “There are still three days to go before the promise has to be fulfilled.” To ‘Umar he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “We might have had better treatment from you. You could have advised me to be more careful about the return of loans and you could have advised the Jew to be more courteous in demanding repayment.” He, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, then requested ‘Umar  to get some dates so that the loan could be repaid, and to give the Jew an extra 40 kilograms for the rebuke he had been given.
We can say that humbleness is seen in every sphere of the Prophet’s life. His way of talking, walking, sitting, eating and every aspect of his life reflected humbleness.

Article source:

Islam and fortune-telling
There are among mankind people who claim knowledge of the unseen and the future. They are known by various names, among which are: fortune-tellers, soothsayers, foreseers, augurs, magicians, prognosticators, oracles, astrologers, palmists, etc. Fortune-tellers use various methods and mediums from which they claim to extract their information, among which are: reading tea-leaves, drawing lines, writing numbers, palm-reading, casting horoscopes, crystal ball gazing, rattling bones, throwing sticks, etc. Practitioners of occult arts, who claim to reveal the unseen and predict the future, can be divided into two main categories:
1.    Those who have no real knowledge or secrets but depend on telling their customers about general incidences which happen to most people. They often go through a series of meaningless rituals, and then make calculated general guesses. Some of their guesses, due to their generality, may come true. Most people tend to remember the few predictions that come true and quickly forget the many which do not. This tendency is a result of the fact that after some time, all the predictions tend to become half-forgotten thoughts in the subconscious until something happens to trigger their recall. For example, it has become common practice in North America to publish, at the beginning of each year, the various predictions of famous fortune-tellers. When a survey was taken of the various predictions for the year 1980CE, it was found that the most accurate fortune-teller among them was only 24% accurate in her predictions!
2.    The second group are those who have made contact with the Jinn. This group is of most importance because it usually involves the grave sin of Shirk (associating others with Allah), and those involved often tend to be fairly accurate in their information and thus present a real Fitnah (trial and temptation) for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Not only is the practice of astrology Haraam (forbidden by Islamic Law), but so are visiting an astrologist and listening to his predictions, buying books on astrology and reading one’s horoscope. Since astrology is mainly used for predicting the future, those who practise it are considered fortune-tellers. Consequently, one who seeks his horoscope comes under the ruling contained in the Prophet’s statement: “The daily prayers of whoever approaches a fortune-teller and asks him about anything will not be accepted for forty days and nights.” [Muslim] 
The punishment in this Hadith is simply for approaching and asking the astrologist, even if one is in doubt about the truth of his statements. When one is in doubt about the truth or falsehood of astrological information, this entails that he is in doubt about whether or not others know the unseen and the future besides Allah. This is a form of Shirk, because Allah has clearly stated (what means): “And with Him [i.e., Allah] are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him.” [Qur’an 6:59] As well as (what means): “Say (O Muhammad): ‘None in the heavens and earth knows the unseen except Allah…’” [Qur’an: 27:65]
If, however, one believes in the predictions of their horoscopes, whether spoken by an astrologist or written in books of astrology, he falls directly into Kufr (disbelief) as stated by the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention): “Whoever approaches an oracle or fortune-teller and believes in what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad.” [Ahmad & Abu Daawood]   
Like the previous narration, this one literally refers to the fortune-teller and it is just as applicable to the astrologist. Both claim knowledge of the future. The astrologist’s claim is just as opposed to Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism) as the ordinary fortune-teller. He claims that people’s personalities are determined by the stars, and their future actions and the events of their lives are written in the stars. The ordinary fortune-teller claims that the formation of tea leaves at the bottom of a cup, or lines in a palm, tell him the same thing. In both cases, individuals claim the ability to read in the physical formation of created objects, knowledge of the unseen.
Belief in astrology and the casting of horoscopes are in clear opposition to the letter and spirit of Islam. It is really the empty soul, which has not tasted real Eemaan (belief) that seeks out these paths. Essentially these paths represent a vain attempt to escape Qadar (fate). 
These ignorant believe that if they know what is in store for them tomorrow, they can prepare from today. In that way, they may avoid the bad and ensure the good. Yet, Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was told by Allah to say (what means): “…If I knew the unseen, I could have acquired much wealth, and no harm would have touched me. I am not except a warner and a bringer of glad tidings to a people who believe.” [Qur’an 7:188]
True Muslims are, therefore, obliged to stay far away from these areas. Thus, rings, chains, etc., which have the signs of the Zodiac on them should not be worn, even if one does not believe in them. They are part and parcel of a fabricated system which propagates Kufr and should be done away with entirely. No believing Muslim should ask another what his star-sign is, or attempt to guess what it is. Nor should he or she read horoscope columns in newspapers or listen to them being read. Any Muslim who allows astrological predictions to determine his actions should seek Allah’s forgiveness and renew his Islam. (Article by Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips)

Article source:

Allah burdens not any soul beyond its scope
Our understanding of religious texts and rules of Islamic Law (Shari’ah) sometimes causes us to seek to free ourselves from necessary duties and responsibilities and lean toward neglect, abandonment, and seeking excuses for ourselves. When we read the words of the Most High: Allah burdens not any soul (person) beyond its scope [Surah Al-Baqarah 286], we attempt to interpret the aayah (verse) as a licence to refrain from being burdened with obligations so we use it when we are asked to perform any particular task.
We make the excuse that it is not within our ability or power while we forget that the verse actually obligates us to the utmost of our human capacity. It is a proof upon the slave (al-’abd) for the necessity of expending maximum effort and capacity to perform all moral obligations. All who seek excuse from performing legal and moral obligations look at the relief in the verse for those who are incapable, but they are blind to what it obligates up to one’s capacity.
Most remarkable is the (mis)understanding of al-war’a. This (al-war’a) has a precise meaning applicable in particular to those who are the most persevering, and forbearing in eemaan (faith) among the imaams and scholars who never fell short in the performance of obligatory duties or even recommended ones, nor did they neglect abandonment of that which is disliked or forbidden. They did so to the point that they left every superfluous deed that had neither benefit for the Hereafter or was unnecessary for this life. 

The unfortunate result 
This thin definition is applied by some to the degree that you will find those who apply abandonment of doing something for fear that it may possibly be detestable (makrooh) in Allah’s sight, harmful, or even leading to either. However they do not abandon not doing something for a particular reason! Meaning, that a person may be inclined to abandon things that may seem similar to what is detestable or forbidden but they will not lean toward acting upon something that may be similar to what is commendable (mustahabb) or obligatory (waajib). 
There are many who avoid particular foods, drinks, clothing or deeds fearing that within them may be that which would detract from or mar their righteousness. This is well and good. However, you will not find anything which mars or detracts in doing da’wah or jihaad, correction or ordering good and forbidding evil, giving charity in the way of Allah or rushing to perform acts of good and righteousness. One may associate this as a particular obligatory duty upon a person. You may find actions that are not actually commendable however they may associate them as such. Yet you don’t find anyone inclined toward doing what may be associated with an obligation or that which may be commendable. Why?
It is because we have come to prefer sitting and neglect and lightening burdens and responsibilities! It has become easier for us to not do something out of precaution of harming our deen but not easy to act as a means of al-war’a or precaution. 

A true definition 
The true definition of al-war’a is doing that which is similar to and associated with the obligatory or the commendable, and abandoning what is similar to or associated with the forbidden or the detestable. In the hadith related by An-Nu’maan Ibn Basheer that is mutafaqun ‘alaihi (agreed upon as authentic by Al-Bukhari and Muslim), the Prophet Of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: Verily the halaal is clear and the haraam is clear, and between the two are doubtful matters about which not many people know.
Therefore, whoever fears and avoids doubtful matters clears his deen of fault and whoever falls into the doubtful matters falls into the haraam as the shepherd who herds his flock near a sanctuary is feared to possibly stray into it... Therefore, whoever does what could be considered or associated with the detestable will indeed fall into it in actuality and consequently possibly into the forbidden. Whoever abandons doing what is similar to the commendable will also fall into that and will possibly not do what is truly commendable and as a consequence end up neglecting necessary obligations. 
The true believer must hold strongly to the Qur’an and possess the readiness to act just as much as possessing the readiness to abandon. Yes, a part of giving obedience to Allah involves the slave of Allah (al-’abd) relinquishing his relaxation and comfort with the resulting effect of then exerting efforts in work seeking the pleasure and acceptance of Allah ta’alaa and getting closer to Him, even if this involves some hardship and toil. 
Action and abandonment are a part of deen (Islam), and for this reason, ordering good (al-amr bil-ma’roof) and forbidding evil (an-nahy ‘anil-munkar) are at its root. Ordering the good is a call to action, while forbidding evil is a call to cessation and abandonment, and the former (ordering and forbidding) is the root of the latter (action and cessation). And Allah knows best.

Words of wisdom on taking oneself to account
Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Hold yourselves to account before you get held to account in the reckoning, and weigh your deeds before they get weighed for you, because reckoning tomorrow (the Day of Resurrection) becomes easier when you hold yourselves for reckoning today; get prepared for the major exhibition, on that day you will exposed and nothing will be hidden.”
He once wrote a letter to some of his officials saying, “Hold yourself in reckoning during the times of ease before you get held in reckoning at the time of difficulty (the Hereafter), because he who holds himself in reckoning during the time of ease will have a pleasant consequence and will rejoice; and he who becomes busy with life and desires (and did not hold himself in reckoning) will regret and lose.”
Here are some sayings of scholars across centuries encouraging us to take ourselves to account, before the Final Reckoning:
Al-Hasan, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “You will find the believer always holding himself in reckoning saying, what did I want to do? What did I want to eat? What did I want to drink? But the sinful will go on without holding himself in reckoning.”
Maymoon ibn Mahraan, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “The slave will not achieve piety until he becomes harder on himself in reckoning than a stingy partner when he questions his partner; and that is why it is said that the self is like a betraying partner, if you do not hold it in reckoning your wealth would go to waste.”
Al-Hasan, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “The believer is always holding himself in reckoning, and reckoning becomes easy on the Day of Resurrection only for those who held themselves in reckoning during their lifetime; and it becomes difficult for those who went on in life without reckoning.”
Maalik ibn Deenaar, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “May Allah have mercy upon a slave who says to himself, ‘Aren’t you the one who did so and so?’ Then he restrains it and forces it to adhere to the Qur’an and the Sunnah (Prophetic tradition) and takes control over it.”
Ibn Mulaykah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “I met thirty of the Companions of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and each one of them fears that he is a hypocrite.”
Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “If one looks at the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, he would find that they worked hard yet were the most fearful of Allah, while we combine between negligence and feeling secure (from punishment).” These are the words of Ibn Al-Qayyim during his period, what should we say about our time?
Al-Fudhayl ibn ‘Iyaadh, may Allah have mercy upon him, said to a man, “How many years have passed from your life so far? The man said, ‘Sixty years.’ Al-Fudhayl said, ‘Then you have initiated a journey towards your Lord, and you have almost arrived to your destiny.’”
Abu Ad-Dardaa’, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Your life is but days, whenever a day passes, a portion of you has finished.”
The question arises: How does one take oneself to account?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said that it is done in the following sequence:
First, start with the obligatory matters and make up any shortcomings in them.
Second, check the prohibitions, and repent, seeking forgiveness for the violations committed and strive to perform good deeds to wipe out the bad deeds.
Third, hold yourself in reckoning for your heedlessness by mentioning Allah The Almighty (Thikr).
Fourth, hold yourself to account for the usage of the tongue, eyes, ears, feet and hands. What did you intend by using them? How did you use them?

Article source: http://www.islamweb/emainpage/