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From Anas, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, say:

“Allah the Almighty has said: ‘O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me, and hope in Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds in the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I shall forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with an earthful of sins and were you then to face Me, without having associated anything with Me, I shall grant you an earthful of pardon.'”

[Recorded by Al-Tirmidhi, who said that it is a good and sound hadith]


Background

The main message of this hadith is calling upon Muslims to repent sincerely to Allah and to seek His forgiveness.


Lessons

There are three means or ways which enable a Muslim to be forgiven by Allah.

  1. The first one is al-du’a which means to supplicate Allah. Allah says in Surah Ghafir Ayah 60:

And your Lord said: Call upon me, I will respond to you.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said: “Supplication is the essence of worship” [Al-Tirmidhi]. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, also said: “Supplicate to Allah as if you are certain about His response.” Supplication is guaranteed that Allah will attend to or respond to it when certain conditions are fulfilled. At the same time there are other things that a Muslim should avoid doing in order for his supplication to be answered. The conditions of supplication have been discussed in previous hadiths. The most important thing is the full concentration and attention of the heart and to have full hope that Allah will respond to that du’a and not to rush it.

Muslims have to practice supplication frequently because it is a continuous process. Among the things that a Muslim asks Allah in his supplication are to forgive his sins, to be saved from the Hell-Fire and to be among those who enter Paradise. Muslims have to make du’a with full hope that there is a response. Allah says in a Hadith Qudsi: “I am as My servant expects of Me.” [Muslim]. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, says in another hadith: “No Muslim who supplicates a supplication, that does not contain any sin or cutting of relations, Allah will grant him one of three things: either Allah will immediately respond to his supplication, or He may keep or store the answer for the Hereafter, or He will turn away from him an equivalent amount of evil or harm.” The Companions asked what if they keep requesting Allah. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, replied: “Then Allah shall give you even both.” [Imam Ahmad].

 

  1. The second means that leads us to receive Allah’s forgiveness is istighfar (seeking forgiveness), even if someone has committed many sins. What is meant by seeking forgiveness is the istighfar that is linked to repentance which in turn also necessitates that the Muslim gives up committing sins and does not persist on doing them. Istighfar is a form of worship. The Muslim has to do and perform a lot of istighfar every day. Allah commanded us to make istighfar and praised those who perform istighfar. Allah says in Surah al-Zumar Ayah 53:

O My servants, who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah. Verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

There are many forms of istighfar. There is what the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, taught his Companions to say. It is also narrated that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used to seek forgiveness from Allah more than seventy times a day, and in some narration more than one hundred times a day. Consequently, Muslims are recommended and required to do istighfar and seek the forgiveness of Allah at least one hundred times a day. The best statement of forgiveness is the statement that is narrated by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, when he said: “O Allah: You are my Lord. There is no God but You. You created me and I am Your servant. I am following Your covenant and promise to the best of my ability. I seek refuge in You from the evils that I have done. I profess to You Your bounties upon me and I confess my sins. Forgive me for no one forgives sins except You.” The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, says: “Whoever says this statement with certainty concerning it in the daytime and dies that day before the evening, he is one of the inhabitants of Paradise; and whoever says this statement with certainty concerning it during the night and dies that night before the morning, he is one of the inhabitants of Paradise.” [Al-Bukhari]

Istighfar is recommended to be practiced by true and close servants of Allah and every Muslim. They are recommended to do so in the morning, preferably after the Fajr prayers, and in the evening until the sunset. This should be part of the supplications that they perform day and night. Allah says in Surah al-Nisa’ Ayah 110:

And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allah’s Forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

 

  1. The third cause or means of seeking Allah’s forgiveness is Tawhid. Tawhid means that a Muslim should worship Allah alone. Allah should be worshiped without associating or ascribing any partners with Him. Allah says in Surah al-Nisa’ Ayah 116:

Verily! Allah forgives not the setting up partners (in worship) with Him, but He forgives whom He wills sins other than that, and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allah has indeed strayed far away.

Tawhid, as the scholars say, melts away sins. Through fulfilling all the obligations of Tawhid, Muslims are going to be forgiven and rewarded. In a previous hadith in this collection of Imam Nawawi’s Forty Hadith, we discussed the importance of the realisation of of the idea of Tawhid where Muslims have to love, fear, and glorify Allah the most. By Tawhid, Muslims seek refuge only in Allah and ask support and help from only Him. All of these great actions of Tawhid, which means that the heart becomes fully devoted to Allah, enable the Muslims to be true believers and Muwahideen. Only then Muslims will become enlightened, inspired, and their iman or faith will be strengthened and their sins will be forgiven. By realising the idea of Tawhid, the Muslim also minimises the chances of committing sins because his heart is fully devoted to Allah.

Tawhid is the greatest essence of the Message of every Prophet. All the Prophets, peace be upon them, were sent with the Message of Tawhid – that is Allah is the only One Who deserves to be worshipped and to be totally obeyed. Unfortunately, many Muslims today do not observe the realisation of Tawhid. Many Muslims violate Tawhid, for example, there are some groups of Muslims that supplicate and slaughter for dead Muslims. By doing these acts of shirk (associating someone with Allah), they are violating the most important messages of Islam and that is the realisation of Tawhid.

If we want to be good Muslims to Allah, we should follow the way that awliya’ Allah (closer servants of Allah) followed. We should follow their ways and practices as mentioned in Hadith 38. They had good morals, they loved Allah, feared Him, had total belief or faith in Allah and his Messengers, and they were obedient to Allah and followed His instructions – this included performing good deeds. This obedience was based on fear of Allah, repenting to Allah and submission to His will. Moreover, they were characterised with devotion, honesty, and sincerity.

If we want to do it in the right way we should adhere to what is mentioned above and act as the awliya’ Allah acted when they were alive. Allah tells us in the Qur’an that this was what led the people of Noah to shirk when they started glorifying and giving their righteous dead people a higher status than they deserved. This led them to worshipping these dead people later on to the extent that some of them made idols of these famous figures. This eventually led to their destruction by Allah.

Because of misconceptions or the misunderstanding of the essence of the Message of Tawhid, many Muslims today carry out bad or prohibited acts. Some of them may be excused because of one reason or another, but these are terrible acts that displease Allah and lead to shirk. This is very risky because many Muslims who fall into such categories must rethink about what they do. They should repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness because He is the One who we must seek forgiveness from. He is the one who we should supplicate to and He is the one who we should obey and count on.

 The realisation of Tawhid is very important for all Muslims. This is the last portion of the hadith. Moreover, it is the last hadith in Imam Nawawi’s collection. This is very significant for us as Muslims since this last portion summarises the most important thing in Islam and that is Tawhid. It is a message from Allah to all Muslims to make sure that their Tawhid is sincere and pure. It is important to realise that they should not ascribe any partners with Allah. By doing so, they are assured that they will receive the forgiveness of Allah even if they have committed other sins.

To realise Tawhid Muslims should fulfill all obligations towards Allah by fully submitting to His will, worshiping Him, obeying Him and following His guidance and revelation and to avoid the following:

  • Avoiding all forms of shirk, whether sayings or actions apparent or hidden.
  • They should also avoid disobedience or committing sins because sins weaken Tawhid.
  • Avoiding riya’ (doing things for self-interest and to please others and not for the sake of Allah).
  • Muslims should also avoid bid’ah or heresy because this will lead to the weakening of Tawhid.
  • Avoiding all forms of hypocrisy specially in repeated actions which are considered as traits of the Munafiqun such as: failing to keep a promise, failing to be entrusted, lying, transgression in quarrels and disputes. In general, Muslims should avoid all illegal acts that will lead to dishonesty, insincerity, and transgression.


Conclusion

This hadith mentions three ways which lead to Allah’s forgiveness. It should be noted that these are not the only ways. Muslim scholars mention other means and ways of receiving forgiveness, as we have seen in previous hadiths, such as running into hardships, being put on trial, sickness, patience, the torture in the grave, avoiding the major sins, the horrible situations on the Day of Judgement, following the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, to perform the pillars of Islam, fasting specific days such as the day of Ashura’ and the day of Arafah, and the intercession (shafa’ah) of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, and the intercession of the believers (which is conditional to Allah’s permission and He being pleased with the person).

 

                                                                     Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

 

Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah bin Amr bin al-‘As, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“None of you (truly) believes until his desire or inclination is in accordance with what I have brought or subservient to what I came with.”

[A fine and genuine hadith which was related by al-Maqdidsi in his Book of Hujjah]


Background

Imam Nawawi stated that the sanad (chain of authorities) of this hadith is authentic. However, many other scholars, including Ibn Rajab, stated that there are many defects in the chain of authorities. Sometimes the scholars consider a hadith as weak but this does not mean that what is stated in the hadith is weak. The meaning of this hadith has been emphasised in the Qur’an and strengthened by other hadiths. Allah says in Surah al-Nisa’ Ayah 65:

But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept them with full submission.

In Surah al-Ahzab Ayah 36, Allah says:

It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision.

Ustaz Jamaludin Zarabozo points out that there are sufficient authentic and acceptable evidences to prove what this hadith states. The main point that this hadith makes is that a believer will not be considered as fulfilling the obligatory level of faith or iman until he follows what the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, has said – i.e. he loves what the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, commanded him to do and hates what the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, prohibited or made illegal.


Lessons

It is an obligation on every single believer to love what Allah loves and to hate what Allah hates to a degree that will motivate them to fulfill his or her obligations. If that love is increased above the level which will lead to fulfilling the preferable acts (mandoub), this is considered an additional preferable level. At the same time, he should hate or dislike what Allah hates or dislikes to the extent that will lead him to avoid all the prohibitions. If that level leads him to avoid what needs to be avoided, then that is an additional level that Allah will reward him for.

In the two Sahihs of Al-Bukhari and Muslim it is related that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said: “None of you will be truly a believer until I become more beloved to him than himself, his children, his family, and all the people.” The true love necessitates that one has to follow whatever has been commanded by Allah and the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, as stated in Surah al-Imran Ayah 31-32:

Say (O Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Say (O Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam): “Obey Allah and the Messenger.” But if they turn away, then Allah does not like the disbelievers.

The true believer is one who loves Allah and the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, truly and sincerely from his or her heart, and loves whatever Allah loves and whatever the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, loves, and hates whatever Allah hates and whatever the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, hates or dislikes. This love will lead him to act in accordance with these likes and dislikes. If someone acts in a different way, the obligatory love to Allah and the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, is not complete and has a defect. In this case, he has to repent and do his best to fulfill all the obligatory levels to achieve complete love to Allah and towards His Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam.

 All the sins or disobedience that take place as a result of desires happen because self-desire is given a higher degree or outweighs the love of Allah and the love of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. Allah attributes this in the Qur’an to the disbelievers. In Surah al-Qasas Ayah 50, Allah says:

But if they answer you not, then know that they only follow their own lusts. And who is more astray than the one who follows his own lusts, without guidance from Allah?

Allah also commanded one of his Prophets not to follow his desires. In Surah Saad Ayah 26, Allah says:

And follow not your desire, for it will mislead you from the Path of Allah.

Allah has made restraining desires one of the conditions to be fulfilled in order to enter Paradise. Allah says in Surah al-Nazi’at Ayah 40-41:

But as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires and lusts. Verily, Paradise will be his abode.

 Anyone who does anything that contradicts with the Message that Allah sent His Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, with and violates any of the instructions or prohibitions, is a person who is following his own desires. It should be noted that desire has to do with likes and dislikes. Likes and dislikes are not the main goal. Scholars say that the main point here is not to be influenced by those likes or dislikes. If someone likes something that violates the shari’ah, this person is following his own desires. If that person is influenced by those likes or dislikes, this will lead to an act. The act will lead to forms of actions which either pleases or displeases Allah. In both cases, the person has full responsibility and accountability. The responsibility and accountability are not for the likes or dislikes. They are for what the likes or dislikes lead him to.

It is known that following the desires is the reason behind many evil acts and it is also the basis for bid’ah (heresy). When someone follows his desires without evidence or truth, this will lead him to fall into bid’ah easily. And those who are misled by their desires are the first to follow misconceptions, as stated by many scholars. Whenever there is a misconception they easily fall into problems or troubles.

 There are signs of following desires. One of the signs is neglecting or turning away from seeking beneficial ‘ilm (the needed knowledge of Islam). Another sign of following desires is turning one’s back from the guidance that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, has come with.

 Al-Imam Al-Shatibi, in his book Al-Muwafaqat, volume number 2, p. 168, mentions that the objective of shari’ah is to keep Muslims away from desires so that the believer will be a servant to Allah willingly and become an honest servant of Allah. He also states that following one’s desires with regard to the rulings of shari’ah is a problematic issue where a person might use tricks to fulfill his desires, using deception in order to evade the rulings of shari’ah.

 With regards to how one can control and deal with one’s desires, firstly Al-Imam Al-Shatibi says that the main thing is to make the law of shari’ah and its rulings as a judging authority that every Muslim should respect, appreciate, and comply with. Secondly, some other scholars mention feeling Allah’s presence, seeking knowledge, and the continuance remembrance of Allah are the ways of controlling self-desires. Thirdly, Imam Ibn Qayyim mentions about 50 ways of dealing with self-desires. Even those who are already influenced by self-desire can use any of these ways to get rid of their self-desires. He mentions this in his book Rawdat al-Muhebin (Garden of Lovers). The following are 15 selected ways:

  1. Strong resolution.
  2. Patience.
  3. Self-courage.
  4. Considering consequences.
  5. Reflecting that Muslims have been created for a great mission which cannot be fulfilled except by controlling one’s desires.
  6. Not to be enslaved by self-desires.
  7. To know that Satan is the enemy that gets through the servants of Allah. Satan uses desires to influence people.
  8. To know that following self-desires will lead to someone’s destruction and punishment by Allah.
  9. To know that fighting desires by making an effort in order not to be influenced by the desires is one of the greatest forms of jihad. Fighting desires is the essential message of Islam. Muslims are required to make every effort to adhere to the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah.
  10. To know that the one who lets the desires take over and lead him will spoil his intellectual opinion.
  11. To know that following desires will weaken the eagerness for performing good deeds. The opposite is also true in this case – that is, not following desires leads to strengthening one’s motivation to perform good deeds.
  12. To know that not being misled by desires will lead to the honour in this life and the Hereafter.
  13. To know that following desires is the main cause of the spiritual heart disease and the remedy of the disease is to not follow desires. We have to make jihad to fight desires otherwise we will not be able to fight our enemies.
  14. To know that seeking knowledge and feeding it by performing the preferable acts will strengthen one’s faith.
  15. To know that we need to be enlightened by the Qur’an and Sunnah. This requires us to make the effort to recite the Qur’an in order to know the meaning and the wisdom behind the ayahs.


Conclusion

Though this hadith is considered a weak hadith, it states a very important meaning: in order to fulfill one’s faith, one has to make a continuous effort to control his or her self-desires and to like what Allah and the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, like, and to dislike what Allah and the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, dislikes. This is actually a very important task which we are required to do in order to adhere to the path of Allah. The result will be attaining Allah’s pleasure and being honoured in this life and the Hereafter by being a truly honest, sincere servant of Allah.

Muslims must be sincere in their efforts to fight self-desires. The issue is not to like or dislike but what the result of this likes or dislikes is. For instance, if someone is sleeping before dawn in the early morning and then he hears the call for Fajr prayer but is too lazy or sleepy to wake up to perform the salah, this is considered following his self-desires. Everyone likes to sleep but the problem is the result of this leads us to delay or miss the Fajr prayer ( a wajibat).

Another example is food. There are many things that we can eat but if they are not halal, we have to refrain from consuming them. A third example is the love of money. To like money is one thing but to be misled by money is a problem because this will lead the heart to be enslaved to money and the worldly life. This explains why the scholars say that committing sins is actually a result of desires.

We should make the shari’ah as the judging authority for everything we do. Before we do something, we should ask ourselves: Is this act based on a sound reason? If the answer is not, then we are following the desires. This is why Allah labels the Qur’an as Al-Furqan or as the criterion that distinguishes what is right and what is wrong.

 

                                                                     Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

On the authority of Ibn ‘Umar, radiyallahu ‘anhuma, who said: The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, took me by the shoulder and said:

“Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a traveler/wayfarer.”
Ibn ‘Umar used to say:
“When evening comes, do not expect (to live till) morning, and when morning comes, do not expect (to live till) evening. Take from your health (a preparation) for your illness, and from your life for your death.”

[Al-Bukhari]


Background

There are so many verses in the Qur’an that make comparisons between the worldly life and the Hereafter. The priority and emphasis is made on the Hereafter where it is described as the real life and the worldly life as a life of nothing but entertainment and amusement. Allah says in Surah al-An’am, Ayah 32:

And the worldly life is not but amusement and diversion but the home of Hereafter is best for those who fear Allah. Will you not then reason?

And in Surah al-‘Ankabut, Ayah 64, Allah expresses the same meaning mentioned in the previous ayah. The same meaning is also expressed in other ayahs such as in Surah Muhammad Ayah 36, Surah Yunus Ayah 26, Surah al-Kahf Ayah 45 -46, Surah Fater Ayah 5, Surah al-A’la Ayah 16-17, and Surah al-Isra’ Ayah 18-19.

In all of the above mentioned ayahs, Allah draws the attention of the believers toward the Hereafter to remind them that it is the final destination and the real life and enjoyment of the believers. Allah also comments on this life as nothing but amusement and diversion. It is a life of a test and trial. It is a life used as a means of getting us forward to the Hereafter.

 In Islam there is no nullification of life as some people may misunderstand. There is a balance and adjustment between this life and the Hereafter. There should be no polarization or what Islam is – rahbanah or extremism. There should be no conflict between this life and the next life. There is a kind of moderate conception about this life and the Hereafter. Islam also makes it an obligation that the believers cultivate the earth and make it as an amanah for them to establish the Islamic civilization which is based on Tawhid, good morals and values. This civilization is guided by revelation. This is considered an obligation.

Furthermore, the concept of ‘ubudiyyah (worshipping Allah) is a comprehensive concept where everything we do in this life, if it is guided by revelation and is done with a good intention, becomes a form of worship even though it is a worldly matter. If the thing is done in accordance with the teachings of shari’ah and the main guidelines of revelation, then there will be the adjustment and the harmony between this life and the Hereafter. The Muslim’s life in this world and the Hereafter should be in total submission and devotion to the will of Allah. The Muslim should establish a good life, improve his way of life and aim for the Hereafter at the same time. By doing so, he is obeying Allah, being guided by His guidance and instructions. He will still enjoy this life but at the same time whatever he does will be recorded by Allah as his good deeds. Consequently, he will get the pleasure of Allah.


Lessons

The hadith starts with Abdullah bin ‘Umar (Ibn ‘Umar), radiyallahu ‘anhuma, saying: “The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, took me by the shoulder and said.” Here we can learn many lessons as teachers and educators. We have to show care and attention to our audience if we want to be good educators or teachers. This can be achieved in many different ways. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used to follow different approaches when dealing with his audience. Sometimes he called upon the name of a certain person and in other times, like in this hadith, he gets closer to the person he is speaking to by putting his hand on his shoulder.

Sometimes the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, will start his advice or teaching with a statement that attracts the attention of the audience . For example, we can see this in a previous hadith (19) that has been said on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas when the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said “O young man, I will teach you some words (of wisdom).” Sometimes the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used the questioning style as we saw in a number of previous hadiths. The questioning style plays a significant role in conveying the message and attracting the attention of the audience. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, asks the question where the answer to that question is only known to him. The audience and the addressee will be more keen and motivated to know the answer.

In general, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used all of these approaches or means to show care to the addressee, to attract their attention, and also to stress or emphasise the meaning he wanted to convey. This is also sometimes achieved by repeating what he says. Sometimes he would draw diagrams (e.g. a circle or a square) on the ground. Other times he would use analogy to clarify or simplify a certain concept. All of the above mentioned ways can be adopted as techniques for educating.

 The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, tells the believers how to deal with this life, and as usual he offers his audience with more than one choice. In this hadith, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, is giving two choices or levels with regards to living in this world:

  1. To be as a stranger

    This is usually the easier choice. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used the analogy ‘to be as a stranger’ because, as Ibn Rajab points out, the stranger is usually prepared to eventually go back to his original place or home town. His heart will always long for his home. His main concern will be to be in preparation to do whatever possible and beneficial for returning. A stranger does not look like the other people in his current environment – he is different. Similarly, the believer should be different from those who only care about this life and worldly matters. He should rid himself of the yearning for this materialistic world, a world where some people do not care about the spiritual aspects and the Hereafter. As believers, we should be different from the ‘people of this world’.

    Ibn Al-Qayyim, a famous Muslim scholar, says that a Muslim is a stranger amongst the disbelievers and the Mu’min is a stranger amongst the Muslims, and the Muhsin is a stranger amongst the Mu’mins. This means that there are different levels of being a stranger: the lowest level is Islam, the second level is Iman and the third level is Ihsan. [Refer to Hadith 2]

  2. To be a traveler or wayfarer, traveling along a path

    This is a higher level than the stranger. The traveler is always traveling day and night without stopping, He is heeding towards his final destination. Even if he stops for a while, this is to provide himself with the needed power to continue his journey and to go farther until he achieves his main objective. A stranger might obtain and keep more things than he actually needs but the traveler takes as little as possible in terms of luggage or other things. Similarly, the believer who is in such a situation has a main objective or concern – and that is not to take more than what he needs (i.e. he should not be weighed down with materialistic things or wealth).

    Another thing is the traveler needs to know that he is traveling on the right path, the straight path. For this, he needs to obtain the right knowledge (ilm). He also needs good, helpful companions to help him on his way.

    Some scholars ask how would a person be contented with this life where the day distorts the month and the month distorts the year and the year will distort the age? That is how this person will be satisfied with this life if his age will lead him to his final destination and his life will lead him to death. One scholar said when a person looks back at his life since his awareness of this life until this moment, it will seem like a blink of an eye. What remains for the rest of his life is also like that ‘blink of an eye’. If that is the case, the person should be careful and wise up.

 Ibn ‘Umar says: “When evening comes, do not expect (to live till) morning, and when morning comes, do not expect (to live till) evening.” This saying is like an explanation to the hadith. Al-Bukhari mentions it because the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, is talking to Ibn ‘Umar.

If one still did not understand the message, Ibn ‘Umar continues by saying: “Take from your health (a preparation) for your illness, and from your life for your death.” This means that today you may be healthy, but you never know about the future. It is then wise and better to perform good deeds and to be closer to Allah now before being unhealthy or before dying. This meaning has been stressed by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, in other hadiths where he asks us to utilise our time and to do beneficial things whether in this life or in the Hereafter. We can relate to Imam Nawawi’s other hadiths that have been previously mentioned in which certain charitable acts have been emphasised.

 The impact of this hadith on the life of Muslims

  1. To increase the sense of responsibility in terms of our duties towards Allah, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, relatives, and the community members.
  2. To motivate the Muslims to enjoin what is good and to forbid what is evil.
  3. To be closer to Allah at all times.
  4. To minimise weaknesses, shortcomings and sinful acts.
  5. To maximise self-accountability and self-reckoning.
  6. To emphasise taqwa and fearing Allah the Almighty.
  7. To be safeguarded from being misled or enslaved by self-interests, desires and worldly temptations.

Challenges that threaten the above mentioned concept of dealing with this life in a good way

  1. The promotion of the materialistic aspects of life, especially by the media.
  2. The complexity of contemporary life where there are more problems, and the engagement in life activities without proper balance.
  3. Rapid life changes due to technology advancement and progress which in turn creates other problems, such as:
  • ·         Adjustment between the old lifestyle and the new lifestyle.
  • ·         The emergence of new values which lead to conflicts between sets of values.
  • ·         Technology misuse.
  • ·         The increase of social ills.
  • ·         The weak religious awareness and education or spiritual training in the Islamic world (i.e. tazkiyyah).
  1. The challenges of modernity.
  2. The challenges of globalisation and promotion of imposed corrupted western values.


Conclusion

These challenges add to the size of the responsibilities that face the Muslims who want to implement this hadith in their lives. Most of these challenges are addressed in previous hadiths. This hadith contains a helpful piece of advice for every single Muslim which helps us to deal with this life in a proper way by offering us two choices or levels. We need to understand all the above mentioned issues. This will help us to apply the hadith in a more positive way.

Some Muslims throughout history misunderstood this hadith. Consequently, they misunderstood the Islamic teachings regarding dealing with life. They understood it in a negative way. We also find other Muslims who are affected by the challenges of modernity and the excessive tension that is given to this life. We find minimum levels of good deeds. They are overwhelmed by the advancement of technology and end up with little iman or spirituality. The Islamic standpoint that should be understood is that there is no conflict or opposition between this life and the Hereafter. On the contrary, Islam establishes harmony where a Muslim lives in this life but his heart is devoted to Allah and the Hereafter. Whatever he does is with the objective of pleasing Allah and is to be done in accordance with the teachings of Islam and the guidance of revelation

 

                                                                        Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Ibn Abbas, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“Truly Allah has for my sake pardoned the mistakes and forgetfulness of my community, and for what they have done under force or duress.”

[A fine hadith related by Ibn Majah, Al-Baihaqi and others]


Background

What has been stated in this hadith has also been stressed and emphasised in the Qur’an. In Surah al-Baqarah, Ayah 286, it is stated:

“Our Lord, punish us not if we forget or fall into error.”

(Another translation for the meaning of the ayah )
“Oh our Lord, do not take us to task if we forget or make mistakes.”

Allah says in Surah al-Ahzab, Ayah 5:

And there is no sin on you concerning that in which you made a mistake, except in regard to what your hearts deliberately intended. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Allah also says in Surah al-Nahl, Ayah 106:

Whosoever disbelieved in Allah after his belief, except him who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with faith or at certainty.


Lessons

Being excused for what is done mistakenly or out of forgetfulness does not mean that there will be no consequent rulings. This means that a person might be forgiven but he still has to take responsibility for his actions. The consequent rulings for doing something mistakenly or out of forgiveness can be classified into three categories:

  1. There are mistakes where there is no consequent ruling such as a person or a Muslim who eats during the day in the month of Ramadhan out of forgetfulness. The majority of scholars say that his fasting is still valid and he does not have to repeat that day. This opinion is based on the hadith that is related by Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim which states that “any Muslim who eats during Ramadhan out of forgetfulness will be excused and forgiven.”
  2. There are consequent rulings to actions that are done out of mistakes or forgetfulness such as if someone kills a Muslim by mistake – as what happens nowadays in car accidents or accidents at work, etc. It is well-known by scholars that for such a person there is no consequent ruling. There is no kaffarah (expiation of sins) but he has to pay the fidyah as stated in the Qur’an. Another example is if someone caused harm or damage to the property or money of someone else by mistake. In this case the person is responsible and has to compensate for what he has damaged even though he is forgiven by Allah and is not being regarded as sinful.
  3. There are actions where there are different opinions among the Muslim scholars of whether there is a consequent ruling or not. Some scholars say that the person has a consequent ruling. Others will say that he is fully excused and has nothing to do. For example, if a person talked out of forgetfulness during his prayer. Does he have to repeat his prayer? Here we have different opinions among the scholars. Some will say he has to repeat while others will say he is going to be forgiven and excused.

    Another example is that a person takes an oath or swears by Allah not to do something and then he does it out of mistake or because of forgetfulness. Is this person responsible? Some scholars will say he is not forgiven and he has to make kaffarah. Others will say that he is forgiven and need not make kaffarah. A third example is if a person who is muhrim – that is he intended to perform ‘umrah or hajj and then by mistake he hunts or kills an animal. Is he forgiven (i.e. is this not considered a sinful act)? He is forgiven and will not be punished for that. But the issue is whether he has to pay for it and be responsible or not. This is again a debatable issue among the scholars. Ibn Rajab states that the person who acts out of forgetfulness or by mistake is excused and that the sinfulness will be removed because sinfulness is related to those who does it deliberately. But the ruling, whatever the responsibility is, is not meant by this hadith. The hadith does not mean that they are going to be excused from everything including any kind of responsibility or rulings. This is something very important to know because some Muslims have the misconception that they are totally excused and they do not have to bear any consequences.

 In the situation where a person is forced to do something which is not acceptable in Islam, this ikrah or duress can be categorised, according to Ibn Rajab, into two categories:

  1. The person is powerless and has no choice to refuse doing an evil act or something which is not acceptable by shari’ah. Ibn Rajab says that he is excused.
  2. The person is forced to harm someone else. In this situation, we look at the issue from the perspective that he has the power over his actions and can refuse to do the harm but at the same time his intention is to remove the harm from himself rather than to harm the other person. What is the ruling in this case? The scholars say that there are certain cases where the Muslim should not do it (i.e. harm someone else) even if he is harmed himself, such as if a Muslim is forced to kill someone else. He is not allowed to do so because this is a major harm that Muslims should do their best to avoid.

But the scholars have different views regarding similar situations and actions. The first situation is that if a Muslim took an oath not to do something and then he is forced to do it. Some say that he is excused and he is allowed to do the thing that he promised not to do – he is excused and there is no ruling here. Other scholars say he is responsible and he should not do it. If it is out of his choice, this goes under the first category. The same if someone is forced or threaten or even beaten and he has been ordered to cause damage to the property of someone else. Scholars say since he has the choice, he has to do his best not to cause the damage. The issue here is that if he does it, scholars say that he will be excused in the sense that he is not sinful but he still remains responsible for the damage that he caused.

The second situation where Muslim scholars differ is prohibited acts such as drinking wine. Some scholars say if a person is forced, then he is excused. Other scholars say though he is forced, he is not allowed to do it.

Another view or category is the distinction between speech and actions. In terms of speech, a person might be forced and allowed to say something that is not allowable. The scholars say he should not practice taqiyah. Taqiyah means to say or do something which you do not believe in and are not satisfied with. This only applies to sayings and not actions. Regarding this issue there is an agreement among the Muslim scholars. They say that whoever is forced to say something that is not allowed in shari’ah, then he will be allowed to say it – he will not be regarded or considered as ‘saying’ it. There is another condition that the scholars set. They say that whenever a person is put into ikrah or duress, the duress should be definite and most likely to happen and not just something the person imagines or assumes. He has to be sure.

 What is mentioned in this hadith should not be abused. Some Muslims today abuse what the hadith implies by using it as an excuse to not uphold a responsibility or to break a promise. Allah knows our intentions and we should not take what is mentioned in the hadith to get away from the responsibility of fulfilling a commitment or an obligation.


Conclusion

Islam encourages ihsan, quality, excellence at work, and a sense of responsibility. At the same time, Islam discourages recklessness, carelessness, and heedlessness. However, Islam takes into account the nature of human beings and their shortcomings. It also takes into consideration the unavoidable situations that they may undergo. It should also be noticed that Islam calls for taking lessons from our mistakes and our experience with others. That’s why the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, says a Muslim should not be bitten from the same hole twice.

We should also be aware (based on Hadith 32) not to harm others. That hadith says: “There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm.” According to this hadith we have to minimise the size of the harm and the consequences of the mistakes as much as possible. Even though the person might be excused and forgiven by one of these factors that are mentioned in the hadith, he still has to bear the full responsibility of his actions or deeds.

We should look at this in a positive way. Islam does not encourage people to become reckless, careless, or to feel that they are unaccountable. We should look at the hadith as a total picture of the situation and not to look at it in an isolated manner. We should have a complete view of what Islam has already established or stressed such as excellence in our performance, accountability and many other issues that we have to observe. But because we are human beings and subject to committing mistakes out of forgetfulness, Islam still leaves room for these human shortcomings and makes it possible for them to be excused and forgiven – but they have to bear some of the consequences.

 

                                                                     Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abu Hurairah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“Allah the Almighty has said: ‘Whosoever acts with enmity towards a closer servant of Mine (wali), I will indeed declare war against him. Nothing endears My servant to Me than doing of what I have made obligatory upon him to do. And My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with supererogatory (nawafil) prayers so that I shall love him. When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk. And if he asks (something) of Me, I shall surely give it to him, and if he takes refuge in Me, I shall certainly grant him it.'”

[Al-Bukhari]


Background

The translation of the term wali that is mentioned in the hadith is a closer servant (awliya’) of Allah or a believer rather than a closer friend. There are many verses in the Qur’an that talk about the concept of wilayah. These verses talk about the qualities or attributes of awliya’ and their status in the sight of Allah. In this hadith Allah mentions the status of the wali even before He talks about His attributes. This status is mentioned in the beginning (i.e. Allah will declare war against whoever acts with enmity towards one of His closer servants) and in the end (i.e. Allah will answer their du’a and will give them refuge). This shows the status of awliya’ in the sight of Allah. In the middle of the hadith, Allah tells us the qualities of His closer servants.

The hadith also tells us that Allah loves those who are the closer servants to Allah. This is a natural result of what they do. Allah tells us about their actions upon which they deserved to be loved by Allah. We will see that there are two levels of servants of Allah: The first level is those who fulfill the obligations and avoid the prohibitions (muharramat). The second level is those who not only do this but also perform the preferable acts (nawafil).

 The concept of wilayah (awliya’ Allah) is based on the verses of the Qur’an and this hadith. In the Qur’an there are three verses in Surah Yunus – Ayah 62, 63 and 64.

No doubt verily the awliya’ of Allah (the closer servants of Allah) no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve. Those who believed and used to fear Allah much, for them are the glad tidings in this life and the Hereafter.

Based on these three verses and this Hadith Qudsi, we can say that the concept of wilayah comprises of the following:

  1. The love of Allah
  2. Fearing of Allah
  3. Belief or faith in Allah and his Messengers
  4. Devotion, honesty, and sincerity
  5. Obedience to Allah and following His instructions – this include performing good deeds. This motif of this obedience is based on fear of Allah, repenting to Allah and submission to His will.

The origin of wilayah is closeness to Allah and the enmity is being far away from the path of Allah. Based on this, the awliya’ of Allah are those who are obedient and perform the good deeds which make them closer to Allah. The enemies of Allah, on the other hand, are those who are evil doers. Their ill deeds distance themselves away from Allah and this will make them far from Allah’s blessing, support, and love.


Lessons

In the first portion of the hadith (“Nothing endears My servant to Me than doing of what I have made obligatory upon him to do. And My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with supererogatory (nawafil) prayers so that I shall love him.”), Allah classifies His servants into two categories:

  1. The first category are those who get closer to Allah by fulfilling the obligations and avoiding the prohibitions. This is a moderate level that has been described in the Qur’an as ashab alyameen. This is the minimum level of wilayah. In other words, wilayah is achieved just by fulfilling the obligations and avoiding the prohibitions. This level of wilayah is expected from all believers.
  2. The second category of people are those who are closer to Allah by being competent (al-sabiqeen) in their worship and effort and strive to be close to Allah. This category of people are not satisfied only of performing the obligations and avoiding the prohibitions but they go further by performing the preferable acts. They also avoid the non-preferable acts. Consequently, they will reach the degree of wara’ and wilayah that will make Allah love them. Allah mentions this explicitly and that His love will be granted for these competent people.

Some of the early people (salaf) used to say that it is not a big matter whether you love; the biggest matter is to be loved by Allah. If you are loved by Allah, then you are granted with His mercy and blessings. You are going to be granted with His support and guidance.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used to say the following in his du’a: “O Allah I ask You that You love me and the love of those who love You and to enable me also to love every act and deed that may bring me closer to You”. That is the reason why some of the early scholars say that the actions and the worship that are based on the love of Allah will continue and never be depressed or frustrated. Some others say that the one who loves Allah will not get fed up or bored of getting closer to Allah. He never feels that he is bored of doing good deeds and acts that will get him closer to Allah. Other scholars say that for the one who loves Allah, his heart is purified and he always remembers Allah. He always seeks and strives to do good deeds and acts that will get him closer to Allah. He does all of this with pleasure.

The early scholars also say that the one who loves Allah should obey Him, otherwise he is only claiming to love Allah. Scholars say that among the preferable acts (nawafil) that make a person become closer to Allah, is the nawafil al-salawat (the preferable prayers that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used to pray every day). Another thing is the recitation of the Qur’an and listening to it with full attention and understanding. Also part of the preferable acts is the remembrance of Allah where what the tongue says matches with what the heart believes, and the love of other good Muslims who are closer to Allah.

 The second portion of this hadith (“When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk.”) implies that, as Ibn Rajab says, whoever strives, struggles and makes the effort to get closer to Allah by doing the obligations and performing the preferable acts, Allah will get him closer to him, support him, and take him from one level into another until this servant of Allah reaches the degree of Ihsan where this believer will be able to practice muraqabeh. That is he worships Allah as if he sees Him, and his heart will be full with love of Allah.

Not only will Allah grant him love of Allah but he will also be helped to glorify Allah and granted with satisfaction. This will be strengthened by performing the preferable acts until the heart is full of these acts where nothing else will enslave or capture the heart. The heart is fully devoted to Allah. When that status is reached by the believer, the limbs of that servant will act only in accordance to what Allah loves. Then he will be seeing, hearing, and doing what Allah sees, hears and does. He will be walking towards what Allah wants and likes. The early salaf say that he cannot even commit a sin. Ibn Rajab quotes Ali who said that they used to believe that Omar’s Satan was so frustrated to do any sin or disobedience. This is one of the secrets or the real fruits of tawhid. This is because “La ilaha illa Allah” means that we should only worship, glorify, obey, and love Allah and fear Him the most. When this realisation of tawhid is achieved, then he says the heart will have no place for anything that may displease Allah. What will be in the heart is only what Allah loves. In this case, that person will never commit a sin or any kind of disobedience. Committing sins takes place only if the person loves what Allah hates or that person hates what Allah loves. It also takes place when self interest is given a priority and dominance over the love of Allah. The result will be that the obligations of the tawhid will not be complete. The person will be led to delay obligations or to commit sins.

 The third portion of this hadith (“And if he asks (something) of Me, I shall surely give it to him, and if he takes refuge in Me, I shall certainly grant him it.”) Implies that the closer servant of Allah has a special status in the sight of Allah. This special status will lead to that whatever he asks of Allah, Allah will give him and his du’a will be attended to. If he seeks refuge from anything, he will be given that.

In Sunan Al-Imam Al-Nisa’ei, there is one chapter on iste’azeh. There are many hadiths in this chapter that tell us the sayings that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used to say to seek refuge of Allah to be saved from things such as poverty, ignorance, the turmoil of the grave, sadness and depression of this life, and various diseases. The closer servant of Allah is granted to be saved from the above mentioned things and many others. As Muslims we have to realise the importance of this portion of the hadith especially for those who are hearing the hadith for the first time. It is better that we learn from the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, what to seek refuge of Allah from. We should try to memorise some hadiths which are in the form of du’a. In that way we will be granted the love of Allah and we will be given the status of awliya’. Consequently, we will be granted with the bounty that whatever we ask for, Allah will give us. Moreover, we will be saved from the harms that are mentioned above.

 The last thing that we need to point out is the misconception of wilayah. After the early centuries of Islam, this concept has been misunderstood to the extent that there came a time when the attributes of the wali is not what is mentioned in the Qur’an and hadith. It is actually by claims. We look at the person and his attitude and worship of Allah and we are shocked to see a big difference. We are surprised to see that the actions do not match with the Islamic teachings. How, then, can this person be a wali? He is not a closer servant of Allah. The real closer servant of Allah will not abuse wilayah and use it for promotion because it is not what he claims but it is in the heart and love of Allah. This should be corrected because until today some Muslims are still confused about wilayah. Imam Shatibi sets a number of criteria for wilayah or karamah because they are granted only if the person is close to Allah. Awliya’u Allah are shy to claim that they are closer to Allah because this contradicts with the idea of ikhlas (sincerity).


Conclusion

We notice that Imam Nawawi brings this hadith which states the main fundamental concepts or principles of Islam in a clear way. By studying this hadith, one comes to know what the concept of wilayah or closeness to Allah means and what he should do. We also know the status of awliya’.

This hadith is a warning to those who may harm believers in general or the closer servants of Allah in particular. Allah declares war against the one who acts with enmity towards His awliya’ (closer servants). This is a message to all Muslims and people not to harm others or to be enemies with Allah by harming the believers. That is how the situation will be, if not in this life, it will be in the Hereafter. Moreover, Allah knows better what is in our favour and what is not in our favour. That’s why sometimes the closer servants of Allah may ask for something and Allah does not attend to their du’a because the things they may ask for may cause them some harm . But still because of their du’a, there will be the blessings and mercy from Allah in similar situations. The blessings of du’a will be also granted in the Hereafter.

 

                                                                      Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Ibn Abbas, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, related from his Lord (glorified and exalted be He):

“Verily Allah has recorded the good deeds and the evil deeds.” Then he clarified that: “Whosoever intends to do a good deed but does not do it, Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed; but if he intends it and does it, Allah records it with Himself as ten good deeds, up to seven hundred times, or more than that. But if he intends to do an evil deed and does not do it, Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed; but if he intends it and does it, Allah records it down as one single evil deed.”

[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
Each in his Sahih have thus related it in these words:

“So look! My brother, may Allah help us, and take note of how great is the kindness of Allah – may He be exalted! Reflect on this, how that His saying “with Himself” points to His great care with regard to it, and His saying “complete” is for emphasis, not to point to the intensity of His care with regard to it. With regard to the evil deed which one intended but then abandoned, He says: “Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed”, emphasising this by the word “complete” (kamilah); whereas if he performs it, He records it down as “one evil deed”, where by the word “one” He emphasises its being made little of, since He does not emphasise it here by the word “complete”. So to Allah be praise and grace. Glory be to Him! Our praises to Him we cannot count. With Allah is success.”


Background

This hadith is considered as a Hadith Qudsi even though the text of the hadith does not show that clearly or explicitly. The hadith with this text is a clarification from the part of Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, about the way of recording deeds. There are other versions of this hadith that have been recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim in the same form of Hadith Qudsi and in a very clear manner. One of these is the following version that has been commented upon by Ibn Rajab:

Allah has said: “If My servant considers doing a sin, do not record it against him. If he acts upon it, record it as one sin. If he considers doing a good deed and does not do it, record it as one good deed, and if he actually does it, record it as 10 good deeds.” [Recorded by Imam Muslim]

One may ask how this is considered a Hadith Qudsi where its text does not explicitly show so. The multiplication of good deeds and that the one who commits one sin is recorded as only one sin, is a well-known principle in Islam that has been emphasised in both the Qur’an and sunnah – Surah al-Baqarah, Ayah 245 and 261; Surah an-Nisa’, Ayah 40; and in Surah al-‘An’am, Ayah 160. Allah says:

Whoever shall come before Allah with a good deed will gain 10 times the like thereof, but whoever shall come with an evil deed will be requited with no more than the like thereof.


Lessons

What has been mentioned above is a general rule. However, there are some exceptions because the sin is sometimes considered greater due to certain reasons. One of these reasons is the honour of time or place such as the four months (al-‘ashhor al-hurum). This is the view of Ibn Abbas (the narrator of the hadith) and Qutadeh. For the month of Ramadhan there are two claimed hadiths but which are considered not authentic according to Ibn Rajab who states that sins are considered greater during Ramadhan and during the Hajj (pilgrimage). This is stated in Surah al-Baqarah, Ayah 197.

In terms of place, for example Makkah, Allah says in Surah al-Hajj, Ayah 25:

And whoever is inclined to evil action therein (in Makkah) or to do wrong, him we shall cause to taste from a painful turmoil.

Because of this, a few of the companions of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used to avoid doing certain actions in Makkah.

Another criterion for considering sins as great is the nobility of the person who commits the sin. This is because, as Ibn Rajab says, since he is a person of knowledge of Allah and His attributes, his closeness to Allah should prevent him from committing sins. If he commits sins, his sins will be considered greater than normal people.

 The hadith mentioned four types of deeds:

  1. Doing good deeds – the result will be a multiplication of rewards.
  2. Doing evil acts – this will be recorded as one sin for one sin.
  3. The intention of doing good deeds – this will be recorded even if it is not done as one deed. ‘Intention’ here means that we have a great eagerness and a very strong determination to do a certain deed – and not merely thoughts of doing it.

Some examples of this type, as mentioned by Ibn Rajab, are:

  • ·         If someone has intended to wake up in the middle of the night to perform the night prayer but he did not do so because he overslept.
  • ·         If someone intended to pray or fast.
  • ·         If someone intended to do jihad or umra.
  • ·         If someone intended to perform the Hajj (pilgrimage).

So if any Muslim intended to do any of the above and had a strong determination to do them, it will be recorded as if he has done them. But this does not compensate the obligation of doing them when there is an opportunity to do so.

  1. The intention of doing a bad deed or committing a sin without actually doing it. This means that one has made the decision to do it, as Ustaz Jamaludin Zarabozo puts it. Other Muslim scholars relate it to the intention (niyyah). And there is an overlap between intention and decision because when we decide, we have the intention.

Wherever we have an issue or principle where there are many versions of the hadith, scholars compare the text of the hadith. In another version that is narrated by Abu Hurairah, Allah says: “He gave up committing the sin for the cause and sake of Allah.” Ibn Rajab says this implies that the interpretation of this portion of hadith is that the one who has the intention to do the evil act and is able to do it, refrained from doing so for the sake and fear of Allah. Ibn Rajab says this person will be rewarded for that. It will be considered a hasanah (a good deed) because refraining from doing that evil act with this good intention is really a good deed by itself.

Consequently, Ibn Rajab mentions other different situations:

  1. a.     The one who decides or just has the intention to do the evil act but then he refrains from doing it because of his fear of the people or does not like to be blamed by them. Ibn Rajab says that some scholars say this person will be punished.
  2. b.    The person decides to do the evil act but was not able to perform it because of external factors (qadar). For example, a person decides to break into a house to steal, but he does not succeed and runs away because a police car is driving around the area. Some scholars say that he will be punished though he did not steal.
  3. c.     Someone who decides and has the intention to do the evil act, makes the effort but is not able to perform it because of his lack of strength or capabilities. Scholars say this person will be punished. For instance, if two Muslims fight each other with the intention of killing each other, as stated in the well-known hadith, both the killer and the one who has been killed will be in the Hellfire. The Companions asked: “O Messenger of Allah, this is the killer – what about the poor person who has been killed?” The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said he had the intention to kill his friend or brother but was not able to because he was killed himself.
  4. d.    Someone has the intention to do an evil act and talks to others about it but does not do it. Some scholars say that he will be punished just because of his bad intention. Other scholars say he will not be punished unless the sin itself is the impermissible kind of speech like slander, backbiting or lying.
  5. e.     Someone who has the intention to do an evil act but later on changes his mind because his eagerness to do the evil act has weakened and decreased.

One may ask whether this person is subject to punishment or not. Ibn Rajab says this situation can be classified into two categories:

      i.        The intention to commit the sin was just a thought – it has not been placed or committed in the person’s heart – and he dislikes or regrets the thought straightaway. Ibn Rajab says this person will be excused. For instance, if a person sees cool water during the hot month of Ramadhan and he simply has a thought of drinking but then refrains himself. This person will be forgiven because the place of the sin is not in his heart.

       ii.        The evil thought has been placed in the heart and the person keeps thinking about it. Scholars say that this can be classified into two categories:

       o     The action of the heart involves doubts about Allah’s Oneness, the Prophethood or the Day of Resurrection. Scholars say this person will be punished. Ibn Rajab also says that there are other sins which are related to the heart such as loving what Allah hates or hating what Allah loves, arrogance, envy, and suspicions for no valid reason. All these are punishable.

       o     The actions of the limbs such as adultery, stealing, drinking wine, killing etc. Ibn Rajab says in this category, if the person persists on doing such an act and has the eagerness and willingness, he will be punished. There is another view that says he will be excused because he has not actually done it. The third view is the same as the second view in that he is excused, but with one exception and that is if it is done in the al-Haram Mosque in Makkah.

  1. f.     Someone committed a sin once and then has the intention of repeating it whenever possible. That is this person is persisting on disobedience and is subject to punishment because of his bad intention even if he does it years later.

 In one version of the hadith, Allah says that for the one who commits a sin, Allah might record it merely as one sin, or He might omit the sin because of repentance by the sinner, or because of the sinner performing good deeds – as mentioned in Hadith 18: “Fear Allah wherever you may be; follow up an evil deed with a good one which will wipe (the former) out, and behave good-naturedly towards people.”


Conclusion

In one of the versions of this hadith it says that the one who fails to be saved is of great loss. This means that the one whose bad deeds outweigh the good deeds is a failure. Why? After all this mercy and grace from Allah where Allah multiplies good deeds up to 700 times, after all the chances and opportunities that Allah gives us, if a person still persists on disobedience and commits evil acts and in the end his bad deeds outweighs his good ones, then he is truly a big sinner and transgressor. He has no intention of doing good deeds. He has no one to blame but himself.

There is a saying for Ibn Mas’oud: “Woe to the one whose sins outweigh his good deeds”. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said to his Companions: “Whom do you consider as a bankrupt?” They said: “The one who does not have a dinar or derham (money).” The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said: “The real bankrupt is the one who comes with mountains of good deeds but he also comes with many bad deeds that are related to attacking and harming the people.” In this case, the bad deeds are not easily omitted because they are related to the rights of human beings. This person may wrong others by slander, backbiting, killing, etc. As a result, his good deeds will be taken from him in the Hereafter as a matter of just. In addition to that, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, says part of the bad deeds of the people whom he has wronged will be added to his record and the result would be that he will be thrown into the Hellfire.

We need to imagine just how horrible the situation is. We need to reflect on this hadith and not to wrong, belittle or fail other Muslims or non-Muslims in the same way. We should also be kind to animals as the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said that a woman will enter Hellfire because of her mistreatment of a cat. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, also mentions about a woman who is very pious and did good deeds but she annoyed and bothered her neighbours – she too is in the Hellfire.

Muslims need to be careful when it comes to dealing with other people. Unless we receive forgiveness from others, we will be held responsible for wrongdoings towards others. This has to do with our akhlaq and values as Muslims. We need to be concerned about this if we want to achieve any success in this life or the Hereafter.

 

                                                                    Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

It was related on the authority of Abu Hurairah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“Whosoever relieves from a believer some grief pertaining to this world, Allah will relieve from him some grief pertaining to the Hereafter. Whosoever alleviates the difficulties of a needy person who cannot pay his debt, Allah will alleviate his difficulties in both this world and the Hereafter. Whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and the Hereafter. Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother. Whosoever follows a path to seek knowledge therein, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise. No people gather together in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy covers them, the angels surround them, and Allah makes mention of them amongst those who are in His presence. Whosoever is slowed down by his deeds will not be hastened forward by his lineage.”

[Muslim]


Background

This hadith was recorded by Imam Muslim by the above text. However, there is another version of the hadith where it was recorded by both Imam Muslim and Imam al-Bukhari with the following text:

“A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim – he does not wrong him nor does he forsake him when he is in need; whosoever is fulfilling the needs of his brother, Allah is fulfilling his needs; whosoever removes distress from a believer, Allah removes from him a distress from a distressful aspect of the Day of Resurrection; and whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults on the Day of Resurrection.”

We see that in this hadith the obligations towards other Muslims are emphasised and the fulfillment of brotherhood is again stressed.


Lessons

“Whosoever relieves from a believer some grief pertaining to this world, Allah will relieve from him some grief pertaining to the Hereafter.”

This means that the reward of an act is of a similar nature to the act itself. Or the reward to the act is relevant to the act itself or from the same type. There are many hadiths that emphasise this principle. Grief or distress in this hadith means a great difficulty or hardship a Muslim is facing. In one version of the hadith, it is stated as “whosoever relieves” and in another version “whosoever removes“. There is obviously a difference between the two versions because ‘to relief’ means to minimise the difficulty or distress, whereas ‘to remove’ means to totally eradicate the difficulty or hardship.

Ibn Rajab says the one who successfully removes a grief or distress that a Muslim is encountering will be rewarded more than the one who helps and tries his best to minimise the consequences of a certain difficulty. This is natural because there are two different situations: The first one is related to the capacity of the person who is able only to minimise the distress. The other situation is not just a matter of capacity but also a willingness to do more to remove the distress totally. Ibn Rajab emphasises that we have to motivate Muslims to help others and to remove the distress or difficulties of one another.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, says that the reward for the removal or relief of the distress of a Muslim will be rewarded by a removal of a similar distress or difficulty in the Hereafter. Ibn Rajab questions the difference between the two situations where in the first one the hadith mentioned only the relief or removal of the distressful aspect of the Hereafter and not in this world. He says that not everyone is subject to such distress in this world – this is contrasted to ale’sar (unable to repay). He explains that since the difficulties of this life are incomparable to the distress aspects of the Hereafter (which nobody can endure as it is beyond human capacity), Allah reserves the reward for removing a distress of a distressful aspect of this life until the Day of Judgment.

 “Whosoever alleviates the difficulties of a needy person who cannot pay his debt, Allah will alleviate his difficulties in both this world and the Hereafter.”

Here, it is not wise or appropriate for a Muslim to demand his money back from a poor or needy Muslim who honestly cannot afford to pay him. He should either give him a chance until he is able to repay his money or forgive him. The first choice is an obligation because Allah commands us to do so in Surah al-Baqarah, Ayah 280. The second way of alleviation is that the person who is owed the money might forgive the borrower and try to help him not just by giving him more time but also by reducing the amount of money owed or forgiving him.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, says in one of his great hadiths: “A man of the previous nations was very rich and people used to borrow money from him. Not only did he lend them money, which is indeed a good deed, but he also asked his sons to alleviate and forgive those who could not repay the money.” The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, says that in the Hereafter Allah will reward him and forgive his sins because of his generosity. Allah says in Surah al-Furqan, Ayah 26 that “it will be a very hard day for the disbelievers”. This means that there is a situation where a person who is kind to those in need and Allah will relief that person by rewarding him a great reward from Allah’s Mercy and Help.

 “Whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and the Hereafter.”

Ibn Rajab says that people can fall into two categories:

  1. Those who are not known for transgression or committing bad deeds. For these people, if by any chance they commit a mistake, it should not be revealed. On the contrary, it should be concealed and not even talked about.
  2. Those who are very well known as transgressors or wrongdoers, and who even speak proudly about their shameful and sinful acts. Ibn Rajab mentions that if there is a need to mention the qualities of these people, we should do so for the benefit of the Muslim community.

The statement in this hadith does not apply to the second category of people. The general rule that we derive from the hadith is that Muslims should not reveal the mistakes of their Muslim brothers to others. Some Muslims today take it as a topic for fun and entertainment to reveal the mistakes of others even on very minor issues. As Muslims we should refrain ourselves from such acts. Consequently, the reward will be that Allah will conceal our faults from others. In this life we are subject to faults. If we do not conceal the faults of others, Allah will put us in a situation where our faults will be exposed to other people and everyone will be talking about them. So the punishment is relevant or of the same nature of the act if it is a bad act.

Another thing that is also worth mentioning is the faults of the ulama‘ or scholars. Nowadays we can notice a very strange attitude coming from some seekers of knowledge who try to find out and reveal the mistakes of very well-known scholars. This sort of situation is even worse because they are revealing the mistakes of not just regular persons. If it is a matter of academic discussion or research, we should handle it in an appropriate way that upholds the status of our scholars.

 “Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother.”

This statement is a principle. Before this statement, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, gives us three examples of Allah helping those who help others.

But should we confine ourselves only to the needy mentioned in the hadith? Of course not. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, wants to convey to us that we should help our brothers in any way possible. There are hundreds of forms of need. For example, helping the blind to cross the street or any of the great and charitable acts that are mentioned in Hadiths 25 and 26. The greater the help, the greater the reward. This is something that Muslims should take seriously because if we have a community which care about each other and help one another, then there would be no needy. This should be our attitude – we should seek to be motivated to offer our help at any time to our Muslim brothers.

 “Whosoever follows a path to seek knowledge therein, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise.”

Here we can find the encouragement of Islam in seeking and gaining knowledge. The knowledge seekers will be rewarded if the knowledge is beneficial to oneself as well as for the betterment of the Muslim community.

This statement of the hadith can be interpreted in 3 ways:

  1. Allah will make it easy for the knowledge seeker to gain the knowledge that he is seeking.
  2. Allah will make it easy for the knowledge seeker so that he will benefit from the knowledge he is seeking. This means that he will benefit from the knowledge and this will lead him to enter Paradise. There are many people who seek knowledge but there are no blessings in the knowledge they seek. The crucial point here is the person should seek knowledge with good intentions.
  3. For the one who seeks knowledge with good intentions, Allah will safely help him go through the horrible incidents and situations on the Day of Judgment.

Ibn Rajab classifies ilm (knowledge) into two types:

  1. The outcome of knowledge is placed in the heart. That is the knowledge about Allah and His attributes that implies fearing Allah, glorifying Him, and loving Him.
  2. The knowledge that we merely memorise or speak about – without our hearts being influenced or affected. This means that if the person does not abide by the knowledge that he has already obtained, then he is in a very critical situation where the he may be subject to the punishment of Allah.

 “No people gather together in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy covers them, the angels surround them, and Allah makes mention of them amongst those who are in His presence.”

Here the hadith implies a preferable act: to go to the mosque, to recite and study the Qur’an, or attending lectures. Ibn Rajab says that this can be applied to all branches of knowledge and not just the Qur’an. The hadith mentions four rewards for those who gather in the mosque:

  1. Tranquility – this is a great reward which includes relief from stress and being calm.
  2. The Mercy of Allah over them.
  3. The angels surrounding them.
  4. Allah making mention of them amongst those who are in His presence.

 “Whosoever is slowed down by his deeds will not be hastened forward by his lineage.”

This indicates that doing deeds are the means of getting the rewards and that will lead a person to Paradise. Allah says: “For all shall be judged against their actions”. If the good deeds are not enough, the person’s lineage or ancestry will not benefit him. This is because Allah made rewards related to good deeds and not lineage.

No ties of kinship will prevail amongst them.
[Surah al-Mu’minun: Ayah 101]


Conclusion

“A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim; he does not wrong him nor does he forsake him when he is in need; whosoever is fulfilling the needs of his brother, Allah is fulfilling his needs.”

This version of the hadith starts by stating a great principle: Muslims are brothers – one will not harm another nor will he do injustice or fail him when he is in need. Then the hadith states a motivation factor: Whosoever is fulfilling the needs of his brother, Allah is fulfilling his needs.

This version is more than simply stating a principle – it can be taken as a motivation for helping other Muslims, especially those who are in need. We just need to imagine the situation of the ummah when we help each other and fulfill the needs of others. We will end up being a better society, with less needy people, and stronger social ties that will lead to the strength of the Muslim ummah at large.

 

                                                                       Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abu Hurairah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“Do not be envious of one another; do not artificially inflate prices against one another; do not hate one another; do not shun one another; and do not undercut one another in business transactions; and be as fellow-brothers and servants of Allah.

A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. Piety is here – and he pointed to his chest three times. It is evil enough for a Muslim to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honour.”

[Muslim]


Background

Unity is one of the greatest objectives of Islam. There are many verses in the Qur’an that urge Muslims to unite. In Surah al-‘Imran, Ayah 103, Allah says:

And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (which is Islam) and be not divided among yourselves.

This is a very well-known verse to Muslims. In Surah al-Taubah, Ayah 71, Allah says:

The believing men and women are ‘awliya’ (loyal) to one another.

There are many other verses in the Qur’an that urge joining unity, as well as verses that forbid disunity. We can see this in the same Surah al-‘Imran, Ayah 103, in which Allah says:

….and be not divided among yourselves.

So in the same verse the Muslims are asked to be united and prevented from disunity. The Qur’an contains many such verses, for example: Surah al-‘Imran Ayah 105-107; Surah al-Hujurat Ayah 10; Surah al-An’am Ayah 153 and 159; and in Surah al-Rum Ayah 31-32. All of these verses and many others in the Qur’an forbid the division or split of the Muslim community.

Moreover, we have many hadiths that command the Muslims to be united. One hadith is recorded by Imam Muslim: “Verily Allah likes three things for you and disapproves three things for you: He is pleased with you but you worship Him and disassociate anything with him; that you hold fast to the Rope of Allah and not to be scattered (disunited); and He disapproves for you irrelevant talk, persistent questioning, and wasting of wealth.”

We find that Islam commands the Muslims to practice things that will bring unity – there are conditions and actions where the Muslims need to perform to accomplish this. At the same time, we also find that there are many actions that Islam forbids because these actions may lead to the disunity of the Muslim ummah. This Hadith 35 falls in the latter category.


Lessons

The first action that the hadith forbids is envy (al-hasad). Muslim scholars like Imam Ghazali and others define envy as disliking to see a person receiving a bounty and wishing that he or she (the receipient) would lose it.

Ibn Rajab gives a different and broader definition. He states in his definition that it is part of human nature that a person dislikes anyone to be better than him in virtues. He says that people differ in their attitudes and he lists five categories of envy that people have:

  1. There are some people who will make the effort through action or speech to abolish the bounty received by someone whom they envy.
  2. There are others who will then try to get that bounty transferred to them. So they firstly try to take it away from the person they envy and then they try to get it for themselves. For instance, if a certain person is offered a certain position or authority, the envious one will try to do something by hand or by speech to take away that position or authority from that person. Then he will try to get that status or position transferred to himself.
  3. There are some people who do not make any effort by action or speech to harm the one whom they envy. Ibn Rajab says this category of people can be of two types:
    1. The one who does his best to eliminate the feeling of envy within himself but he cannot overcome it. In spite of this, he keeps fighting and struggling against it. Ibn Rajab says this type of person is excused from punishment.
    2. The one who thinks about envy and practices it again and again. He does not make any effort to fight it even though he does not do any harm by action or speech. But he actually enjoys and practices envy – he wishes that the bounty of the envied one will be lost. Consequently, this person is subject to punishment.
  1. There are those who, whenever they envy someone, do not harm him or her. They do not even wish the loss of the bounty from the envied one. Instead, they make the effort to attain a similar bounty or virtue for themselves. Ibn Rajab says: “If this bounty is wordly virtues or worldly bounties, there is no benefit in that.” For example, if you see someone who has a Mercedes, and you try to attain a similar car for yourself, then there is no benefit in that. But if it is a righteous virtue, then it is good.
  2. There are some people who, whenever they feel envy, do their best to stop it and they will do a favour or something good for the person whom they envied. In addition, they will also make du’a for that person until they love him – because envy is usually associated with hatred. They will wish that the envied ones are better than them – they do not bother themselves if others have things which are better than what they have. Ibn Rajab says these people are the best category of true believers since everyone is subject to indulge or be trapped by envy or being envious of others.

 Why is envy (hasad) forbidden?

It can cause – by the permission of Allah – harm to others whom are envied. Consequently, they are considered as evil acts in Islam. They can cause – even by just wishing – the harming of a person. It is the virtue of Shaitan. And it is also the virtue of Jews to envy other people. This is mentioned in Surah al-Baqarah, Ayah 109 and in Surah al-Nisa’, Ayah 54.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, warned Muslims against envy when he said “Creeping upon you is the diseases of those people before you: envy and hatred. And hatred is the thing that shapes. I do not say it shapes the hair but it shapes the religion. By the One in whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Certainly, let me inform you of that which may establish such things: spread the greetings and peace among yourselves.” [Recorded by Imam Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi]

Since this is a harmful act, Muslims are asked to recite certain Qur’anic verses such as Surah al-Falaq, Surah an-Nas, and Surah al-Ikhlas to protect from envious people. According to the Muslim scholars, it would be preferable to recite them after the five prayers along with Ayat-ul-Kursi.

 Al-Tanajush is translated literary as “do not artificially inflate the prices against one another”. Najash that is mentioned in this hadith can be interpreted, according to Ibn Rajab, in two ways:

  1. It can be interpreted as bai’ al-najash – the trading where a person offers a high price for a certain item not for the sake of buying it but for the sake of raising the price of the item so that in the end it is sold for more than its actual price/worth. This is usually done, even in the Muslim world today, by a previous agreement by the salesman and another person or relative who pretends that he wants to buy. This is done in the stock market or auctions where there is a person who keeps bidding higher prices for an item. He is doing a favour for the person who wants to sell. This is considered as bai’ al-najash. The majority of Muslim jurists (fuqaha) say it is valid. However, they say that if the buyer finds that he has been manipulated in a way where the price exceeded drastically over the actual price, then he has the choice of returning the item.
  2. The second interpretation of najash is a broader one, more than merely limiting it to trading. Ibn Rajab says here it means any kind of deceiving actions that will lead to harming others. He adds that all dealings that are conducted in a deceiving way are included here. He quotes Surah Fatir, Ayah 43 : “That the evil plot encompasses only him who makes it.”

 Ibn Rajab says that this hadith is a warning to Muslims not to hate one another, especially if it is because of self-interest. Why? Because Muslims are brothers in Islam. They should love each other and should not hate one another. Consequently, al-nameemah, backbiting and slander are forbidden because they will lead to hatred among the Muslim community. Ibn Rajab says that when the Muslims started dividing into different sects because of conflicting views regarding certain religious matters, this led to disputes and hatred among the community, and thus disunity.

 We should not turn our backs on one another. Ibn Rajab says this means any form of disassociation. He says that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said the Muslim is not allowed to disassociate himself from the others for more than three days. This is, as Ibn Rajab points out, in worldly matters. Whereas in the religious matters, disassociation is one of the punishments that Islam allows – e.g. to disassociate with those who commit sins in order to teach them a lesson. But scholars say that if the person who commits the sin is not likely to come back to the right path, then it is meaningless to disassociate with him. As one of the scholars pointed out, if the objectives of Islam are not fulfilled then disassociation is meaningless.

 We should not undercut one another in business transactions. For example, if someone is trying to buy something from a salesman, in the middle of their negotiations another salesman appears and interferes and tries to get that customer to buy his product/service instead. This kind of transaction is forbidden because the customer has yet to make his final decision – it will lead to the disunity of the Muslim community.

 The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, asks us to be brothers to one another. Ibn Rajab says this is like justifying the actions that are mentioned by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, because these evil acts will lead to spoiling the brotherhood of the Muslims. If Muslims avoid these evil acts, then this will lead them to be brothers. Moreover, Ibn Rajab says this statement implies that Muslims have to make the effort to do whatever that will lead to achieving this brotherhood. This means fulfilling all the obligations towards Muslims, for example like returning the greetings, visiting the sick, helping the needy, accepting invitations, sending presents, shaking hands, and smiling.

Then the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, says the Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. Ibn Rajab explains about this statement: “It is now obligatory for each brother that he tries to benefit his Muslim brother and to refrain from harming them.” He adds that the major harm is oppression and injustice. If a Muslim is in need of your support and you fail to support or help him, this is unjust. There are many places in the Muslim world where the Muslims are in great need of help. They are being oppressed and nobody supports them. Accordingly, if we are not doing anything to help them, we are failing our Muslim brothers. We need to be united to solve the problems that we are facing today. Our main concern should be the unity of the ummah. A contemporary scholar, Abdurrahman Al-S’adi, says that one of the greatest forms of jihad is to make an effort to unite the Muslims. He states that cooperation among Muslims is an obligation.

 We should not lie to our Muslim brothers. We should also refrain ourselves from belittling or making fun of other Muslims. We should not make signals or gestures that threaten the face value of our Muslim brothers. We should take care not to be cynical to others and not to undermine other Muslims.

 The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, says taqwa is in the heart. Ibn Rajab comments on this statement saying it is evidence that the most noble among people are the ones who are righteous even if they are not lucky in the sight of other people. If they are righteous, they are the most noble in the sight of Allah.

It can be said that all that has been mentioned in this hadith has to do with the heart: loving Muslims, and not to envy them. When we have taqwa in our hearts, we will not do the forbidden acts mentioned – our hearts will be purified and filled with love.


Conclusion

“All things of a Muslim are inviolable for another Muslim: his blood, his property, and his honour.” This important last statement, which was mentioned by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, in his farewell sermon (hajat alwadaa’), concludes or summarises what this hadith is about. This hadith clearly states that harming others either by saying or doing is considered an evil act. Allah says:

And those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly, they bear on themselves the crime of slander and plain sin.
[Surah al-Ahzab: Ayah 58]

Allah made the believers as brothers so that they have mercy upon one another; so that they love one another; so that they help one another and support one another. This is how Muslims should be.

 

                                                                        Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

On the authority of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, say:

“When any one of you sees anything that is disapproved (of by Allah), let him change it with his hand. If he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his tongue. And if he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his heart, though that is the weakest (kind of) faith.”

[Muslim]


Background

The essence of the Islamic da’wah is enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, since whenever a person conveys the Message, he is enjoining good and forbidding evil. Therefore, it is a mistake to consider these two as separate matters, since they are actually performed concurrently and are synonymous.

The main objective in fulfilling this obligation is to attain and maximize benefits, and to eliminate or minimize harm.

 Qualities possessed by a Caller who enjoins the good and forbids the evil

  1. Ikhlas (Sincerity) – since enjoining the good and forbidding the evil becomes an action pleasing to Allah and accepted by Him only if it is done with sincerity for Him.
  2. ‘Ilm (Knowledge) – as Allah commands:
    Say: This is my path, I do call to Allah upon clear knowledge.
    [Surah Yusuf (12): Ayah 108]

    This is an important condition since the Caller must know what matters are good, so he enjoins it, and what matters are evil, so he forbids it. In Ibn Taymiyyah’s al-Amar it is stated that it is necessary to possess the knowledge of good and evil and of the difference between them, and it is necessary to know the situation of the person being commanded or forbidden.

  3. Hikmah (Wisdom) – which means saying or doing the right thing in the right way at the right time to the right person, as prescribed by Allah in His statement:
    Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful admonition.
    [Surah an-Nahl (16): Ayah 125]

    Ibn Taymiyyah wrote: Enjoin the good in a good way and do not forbid the evil in an evil way.

  4. Hilm (Forbearance) and Rifq (Gentleness) – especially in the face of opposition from the people. As Allah said to His Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam:
    And by the Mercy of Allah you were able to deal gently with them. If you had been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from you.
    [Surah al-Imran (3): Ayah 159]

    The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, also said: Indeed gentleness does not enter into anything except it beautifies it, nor is it removed from anything except that it makes it ugly [Reported by Imam Muslim].

  5. Sabr (Patience) – since the people whom the Caller opposes in enjoining good and forbidding evil, may be stubborn to his call and may even try to harm him.

Ibn Taymiyyah says in al-Istiqaamah, concerning the call to the good and away from the evil: Knowledge must precede it, gentleness must accompany it and patience must follow it. Shaikh al-Humaid, the teacher of Shaikh Ibn Baz, said, in an explanation of Surah al-‘Asr that Allah makes an oath that mankind will be in a state of deficiency, except with four conditions, which are: (a) iman, (b) good actions, (c) encouraging each other to the truth which means enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and (d) encouraging each other to patience, which is required after enjoining good and forbidding evil. Furthermore each person will have a level of deficiency in accordance with the level of lack of any of these four.

  1. Tawaadu’ (Humility) – since the people will not heed if the Caller is arrogant or he seeks to put himself above others.
  2. Qudwah (Good example) – for the Caller himself becomes a model to the people to whom he calls, doing those things which he enjoins and leaving those things which he forbids. Allah says:
    O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do. It is a most hateful thing to Allah that you say that which you do not do.
    [Surah as-Saff (61): Ayah 2-3]
  3. Husnul-Istimaa’ (Good listening) – which is that the Caller is attentive to the needs and feelings and also the complaints of the people whom he calls.
  4. Shajaa’ah (Courage) – which does not refer to strength of the body; rather it is the strength of the heart, together with knowledge – this differentiates between true courage and mere recklessness.
  5. Karam (Generosity).


Lessons

Scholars say that before using the hand, we should start with advice, warning the people of the consequence of evil and encouraging and motivating them to good actions. When this method has been fully utilised and there is no change in the people, only then is it permissible to use the hand.

 Imam ash-Shatibi says that the Caller must predict the consequences of what he says or do, whether by hand or by tongue.

 If it is very likely that, as a result of attempting to change the evil, the Caller himself or another person will be harmed, then changing the situation is no longer obligatory upon him. Here harm does not refer to insults or curses, but to physical injury such as being beaten or killed. Harm can also mean that a bad reputation is spread concerning the Caller. Ibn Qudaamah also includes financial loss, whether immediate or later, to such an amount which the Caller cannot afford.

 People differ in their ability to change things; in general, when someone is higher in his rank or authority, then there is more responsibility on him to remove the evil.

 Principles of Inkaarul-Munkar (Forbidding what is evil)

  1. Prioritise the evil, thus beginning with the higher priority before the lower.
  2. Tadarruj (Being gradual). Note the gradual method by which Allah made the drinking of wine forbidden: Firstly, by saying that there were benefits in it and harm in it but the harm outweighed the benefits; secondly, by forbidding the people to approach the prayer in a drunken state; and finally, by an outright prohibition. This step-by-step method does not imply that wine was not forbidden in the early stages, but it is a methodology from which we can benefit.
  3. Do not look for people’s faults. Qadi Abu Ya’laa has noted an exception to this principle, which occurs when there are clues or information that an evil is taking place or is about to take place. Thus one may be able to prevent an evil, such as a murder or rape, from taking place by following up on information.
  4. Establish that the evil is indeed taking place.
  5. Choose a suitable time to forbid the evil.
    • The Caller should not delay until the evil has finished.
    • The Caller should exploit situations in which the people are more likely to respond to his call, for example when Yusuf, ‘alayhi-salam, spoke to his companions in the prison about tauhid when they had been troubled by their dreams. Ibn Masoud said concerning this:
      Verily the heart has moments of yearning and responsiveness
      And moments of indifference and turning away
      So snatch it at the time of yearning and response
      And leave it at the time of indifference and turning away.
  1. Speak in private, as Imam ash-Shafie wrote:
    Come to me with your advice when I am alone
    And do not advise me in the crowd
    Because advice amongst the people is a scolding
    And I do not like to hear it aloud
    Then if you disobey me and do not heed my words
    Do not feel sad when you are not followed.
  2. Do not instigate or provoke the people, but use a good argument, as Allah says:
    Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful admonition, and argue with them with ways that are best.
    [Surah an-Nahl (16): Ayah 125]

    Imam Ghazali wrote: Don’t convey the truth in a challenging manner.

  3. Show forgiveness and kindness towards the people, and not to be affected by worry or anger in case the people show a negative response to the advice.
  4. If a difference of opinion arose as a result of ijtihaad, then the Caller who holds one opinion should not forbid the other opinion.
  5. Weighing the principles of benefits and harms, as Ibn Taymiyyah wrote in al-Amar: If enjoining the good and forbidding the evil would result in a greater evil, then it is haram to do it. Enjoining the good should not lead to a better deed being left out and forbidding the evil should not lead to a greater evil taking place.

 Ibn Rajab states that in enjoining the good and discouraging the evil the conductor is motivated by different reasons:

  1. It could be by hope in Allah’s great reward for doing it.
  2. It could be by fearing Allah’s punishment for renouncing this obligation.
  3. It could be by getting annoyed by seeing violations to what Allah has prescribed.
  4. It could be due to being faithful to the community members who indulge in evil and by being kind and merciful to them by making the effort to save them from being subject to Allah’s anger, displeasure and punishment in this life and in the Hereafter.
  5. It could be by glorifying Allah and Loving Him much, for He deserves to be obeyed, remembered, and thanked.

Observing the last two motives alone can make burden of conducting this obligation a light, favorable one and will empower the conductor with enough potential belittle any difficulty or hardship he may encounter thereof.


Conclusion

The last portion of the hadith clearly states that the least a Muslim can do in the case of witnessing an evil act is to change it by his/her heart. This means that he/she should dislike the evil he/she comes across. This is an action of the heart, such as saying: “O Allah, there is nothing that I can do to change this bad situation that You dislike and disapprove except that I hate it to take place. I do not agree to it. O Allah forgive me, guide me and save my heart to be influenced by it.”

Unless this action of the heart is practiced, the heart of the believer who witnesses that evil will be subject to be influenced by that evil. A dark spot will be placed in that heart (as stated in another hadith related by al-Bukhari).
With the repetition of such negative attitudes, the heart will be subject to more dark spots placed in it until it is concealed and no longer appreciates what is good and no longer dislikes what is bad or evil. This means that the Muslim who does not practice the lowest level of forbidding the evil, will be subject to turn into being an evil doer him/herself.

 

                                                                  Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Ibn ‘Abbas, radiyallahu ‘anhu, said that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“Were people to be given according to their claims, some would claim the wealth and blood of others. But the burden of proof is upon the claimant and the taking of an oath is upon the one who denies (the allegation).”

[An excellent hadith which al-Bayhaqi and others have related. Parts of it is in the two Sahih books (i.e. in al-Bukhari and Muslim).]


Background

There are in every judicial dispute at least two litigating parties, the plaintiff and the defendant. The first claims what is contrary to the apparent fact; the second holds to the apparent fact and denies the claim. (Mahmassani: Falsaft al-Tashri’ al-Islami – p 169, 170).

 This hadith forms an important maxim. The text of the hadith has been expressed in the following way:
“Evidence is for the person who claims; the oath is for the person who denies.”
(The Mejelle 1967 article # 76)


Lessons

This hadith shows the supreme importance of proof to the administration of justice. The necessity of proof is a restrainer to false, weak, and unsubstantiated claims. (Mahmassani 168).

Therefore it becomes important to know upon who the onus of proof lies. There is no doubt that the burden is upon the plaintiff. This is explained by the fact that what is apparent is presumed to be the original state; any one who makes a claim to the contrary must prove such claim. (ibid)

The proof of a matter requires presentation of evidence until the matter attains the degree of certainty. Certainty is that which can be established by sight or proof. It can only be dispelled by another certainty. (ibid)

Since it is established that a defendant is presumed to be free from liability until the claimant proves the contrary, it is important to know who is the defendant and who is the plaintiff, who of the two must bear the onus of proof, and whose evidence takes precedence in case of conflict. (ibid p172).

 The definition of “Plaintiff” and “Defendant”

There are three views regarding the above issue (Zarabozo 3/ 1167):

  1. The plaintiff is the one who is not charged with anything or can remain silent of the two disputants.
  2. The plaintiff is the one who is claiming something other than what is apparent or what has not yet been established in the past. The defendant is the one who is on the opposite side, arguing to what is apparent.
  3. The defendant is the one rejecting a claim while the plaintiff is the one making the claim.

 The meaning of al-Bayinah or “proof” (ibid)

Many jurists seem to think that “proof” refers only to witnesses. However, the meaning of proof is much more comprehensive and also applies to means of proof other than witnesses.

According to some early and contemporary scholars, “al-Bayinah” or proof is a noun that encompasses all means of establishing the truth. Circumstantial evidence, conclusive presumption, and clear signs that lead to a definite conclusion can all be taken into consideration .

Modern forms of criminal investigation can be used in making judicial conclusion. Otherwise, rights will be lost and injustice will be allowed to prevail.

 The criteria for being an acceptable witness (ibid)

  1. The witness must be sane and comptent.
  2. In general, the witness must be an adult.
  3. The witness must be a Muslim unless it be in a case dealing with non-Muslims.
  4. The witness must be of sound memory.
  5. The witness must be a person of integrity and honesty.

 The importance of giving one’s testimony

It is an obligation that people offer their testimony truthfully when called upon to do so. Allah the Almighty says:

And the witness should not refuse when they are called.
[Surah al-Baqarah: Ayah 282]

It is considered a sin to conceal what one has witnessed. Allah tha Almighty says:

And conceal not the testimony, for he who hides it is certainly sinful of heart.
[Surah al-Baqarah: Ayah 283]

 A warning to those who make successful false claims

It is noted that Islam stresses on appealing to fearing Allah whenever there is misuse of authority, or taking chances over others in all human relations such as trading, family disputes, and making false claims against others.

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:
“I am a human being. You come to me as litigants. Perhaps, one of you is better in presenting his argument than the other and I decide in his favour according to what I have heard. If I have decided anything for someone from the rights of his brother, he should not take it for I have portioned for him a portion of the Hell fire.”

In another hadith the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, warns us that taking as little as a spin of a palm of some one else’s property unjustly will be horribly taken responsible for in the Day of Judgment.

In a third hadith the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, cursed the one who changes for no good reason the landmarks of a property.


Conclusion

Islam is a practical religion where it takes into account the possible natural conflicts, quarrels, and disputes among community individuals where people may claim something against one another. Islam establishes rules and principles by which these disputes are brought to an end in a just manner.

A person is free of guilt or claims made against him or her until proven otherwise.

 

                                                            Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

It was related on the authority of Abu Sa’id Sa’d bin Malik bin Sinan al-Khudri, radiyallahu ‘anhu, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm.”

[A excellent hadith which Ibn Majah, Al-Daraqutni and others related as of sound isnad, but which Malik related in his Muwatta’ as of broken isnad, from ‘Amr bin Yahya, from his father, from the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, but dropping (the name of) Abu Sa’id. This hadith has lines of transmission which strengthen one another (so that it may be regarded as of sound isnad).]


Background

There are other interpretations of the text. One of them is: “No harm and no harming”. Another interpretation is given by Ustaz Jamaludin Zarabozo: “There is not to be any causing of harm; nor is there to be any requital of harm”.

There is another version on the hadith in which the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, says: “No harm or harming in Islam”. There is the additional phrase “in Islam”. In a third version, the hadith states: “It is cursed whoever harms a mu’min (believer).”


Lessons

Imam Abu Dawud stated that this hadith is one of the hadiths around which all of fiqh revolves. Furthermore, this hadith leads to the birth of new branches in fiqh, mainly fiqh maxims (qaw’ed fiqhiyyah) and rules. The text of this hadith becomes one of the most important maxims. Later on other maxims were derived from the text of this hadith. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Harm is to be prevented from appearing as much as possible.
  2. Harm is to be eradicated.
  3. Harm is not to be removed by a similar harm.
  4. A greater harm can be removed by a lesser harm.
    Based on maxim number 4, it was realised that if someone has no other options, he should take the lesser of the two harms. Another situation is that if there is a conflict between two harms, precedence is given to avoiding the greater harm.
  5. The presence of a particular harm is accepted towards a general harm.
  6. Preventing harm takes precedence over gaining or attaining benefits.
  7. If there is a conflict between factors permitting something and others prohibiting something, the prohibition takes precedence; that is, it is going to be given the priority.
  8. Something harmful is not given precedence just because it was pre-existing. In other words, the pre-existence of something does not allow it to continue to exist and be the cause of harm.

There is a real story related to maxim number 8. This story took place in Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain) where the people built a mosque. After several years or decades, many houses had been built around the mosque and at that time when the mu’zin wanted to make the call for prayer (Adhan), he used to climb up to the minaret. The fuqaha (jurists) ruled that the mu’zin should stop going up to the minaret in order not to cause any harm (from the minaret, one was able to see into other people’s homes and thus invade their privacy).

Another maxim is if there is a conflict between individual harm and public harm, the prohibition of public harm will take precedence. The above are some of the maxims that are derived from the text of this present hadith.

 When scholars talk about doing things right from the first time either based on experience or anticipation that certain things will cause harm, they urge people to take precautions to prevent any kind of harm. There are books written by Imam Muslim on this issue. When we look at these maxims, we see that they are very great where we have to anticipate the harm and not to allow it to take place. If it takes place, efforts should be done in order to bring it to an end or to remove it. If it cannot be removed, we should try our best to minimize the harm.

Based on the situation, if there is a conflict between a major harm and a minor harm, then the major harm should be avoided. This means that Muslims have to tolerate the minor harms for the sake of avoiding the major ones. In another situation, if we want to bring an end to a certain harm and if the result would be by bringing a similar or greater harm, then there is no need to remove it in this way. We should not remove harm by bringing a similar degree of harm. In this way the removal of harm would be useless. A greater consideration should be given to this point as this is related to ma’ruf (asking people to do good things) and munkar (asking people not to do harmful things). If the munkar (harm) is to be removed by creating a greater harm, this contradicts the objectives of the shari’ah. The objectives of the shari’ah are to prevent harm (if not, to minimize it) and to promote goodness and maximize it.

 Regarding the interpretation of the text, Imam Ibn Rajab points out that what is stated in the hadith (i.e. the usage of the word “harm”) is not a matter of emphasis. It is more sound because the two statements have different meanings.

Ibn Rajab and other scholars have given two interpretations of “harm/harming”:

  1. The first part of the hadith is the noun “no harm” and then the second part is the verb “harming”. Harm is not allowed in shari’ah and causing harm without valid reasons is rejected and not accepted.
  2. The second interpretation says that the first part of hadith (harm) means that the person causes harm to someone else by doing something which is beneficial to the doer. This kind of act is not allowed in Islam. The second part of hadith (harming) means that the person causes harm to someone else which is not even beneficial for him.

    For example, suppose a person builds another floor (story) on top of his house and this results in his house being higher than his neighbours. This is beneficial to him but it causes harm to his neighbours as it invades their privacy. Ibn Rajab also says that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, rejected causing harm if there is no valid reason. However, in the punishment of a criminal, there would be harm but the reason is valid. The aim here is to bring justice. In bringing justice, if there is any harm to an unjust person or criminal, then this harm is legal and allowed.

 Causing harm without a valid or good reason

  1. Ibn Rajab says the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said that if the main objective is to actually cause the harm, then this is totally prohibited. There are many types of harms that are mentioned in the Qur’an:
  • ·         Wasiyyah (will) – if a person has some money and he wants to give it to someone who is no related to him. He is allowed but he must not exceed the limits (one third). If he exceeds the limits, he will cause harm to the immediate inheritors. Another situation is to give someone more than he deserves, as stated in the Qur’an. To favour any one of the inheritors is harm. Ibn Abbas considers this as a major sin. Some Muslims practice this because of ignorance or self-interest. [See Surah An-Nisa’ : Ayah 12]
  • ·         Marriage and relationship between husband and wife. In al-raj’ah (returning), as stated in Surah Al-Baqarah Ayah 231 – someone divorces his wife and then he reconciles with her, but his intention in reconciliation is so that he can cause her harm. This is not allowed in Islam. Another point is aleyla’ (disassociating with one’s wife).
  • ·         Traveling or being away from the family for a long time and without a good reason – this can cause harm to the wife and family.
  • ·         Breastfeeding – in the case of divorce, the husband tries to take the baby away from the mother and not allow her to feed him. This is prohibited. [See Surah Al-Baqarah : Ayah 233]
  • ·         Selling and trading – when someone is in great need of something, the seller (who knows this) sells him at a very high price – this is not allowed. Some scholars consider this as a form of riba’ (profit) which is prohibited in Islam.
  • ·         Somene who wants to buy is not good at bargaining, and because of this the seller sells at a very high price, more than it is worth. This is prohibited. According to Imam Malik if the price exceeds a third of what it is worth, it is considered harm.
  • ·         Burning rubbish on your property on a windy day. This will cause harm to your neighbours. It may cause harm to the environment and the people in the neighbouring countries. This kind of harm should be brought to an end.
  • ·         Building a high building, as mentioned above. Building a high building where it will obstruct air, sunlight, and moonlight, is not allowed because it will cause harm.
  • ·         Digging a well that will cause damage to the well of one’s neighbour. If one needs to dig a well, he should position it a little further away from his neighbour’s.
  • ·         Behaving on one’s property in a way that will harm his neighbours.
  • ·         Causing bad smell to spread from one’s property to his neighbours’.
  • ·         A person may have a property which is within the property of another person, on which he might cause the harm.
  1. Someone may do something for a beneficial reason and with a good intention. But he overdoes it, and consequently causes harm to others. Examples of this scenario are as follows:

 Ibn Rajab mentions that there are also some other types of actions which imply that Allah did not ask His servants to do anything that will cause us harm. He said that whatever Allah commands us to do is beneficial in this world and the Hereafter. And whatever Allah prohibits is harmful to us whether it is in this world or in the Hereafter. Examples of these actions include:

  • Tayammum (ablution without using water) – this is permissible for sick people or when there is no water.
  • The traveler or the sick does not have to fast – they can make up for it in the future.
  • Another example is taken from the biography of Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, where he saw someone walking and asked about him. The companions told him that this man made a vow or commitment that he will perform pilgrimage walking. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said Allah is not in need for this one to torture himself. He asked his companions to tell the man to look for a ride, that is, to use an easier way or means to go for his pilgrimage.
  • The person who has debt. If you lend someone money and he is indeed in a very bad financial situation, then you should give him time for him to get the money and pay you back.

These are just some examples that are mentioned by Ibn Rajab where there is a caused harm and that harm should be prevented.


Conclusion

Any act that causes harm to others, whether individually or as a community and whether it is beneficial or not beneficial to the one who causes it, is prohibited in Islam. It should not exist in the first place and if it did, then a deliberate effort should be made to remove or minimize it. The scholars point out that those in authority should interfere and prevent such harmful acts.

 

                                                                                Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

On the authority of Abu al-‘Abbas Sahl bin Sa’d al-Sa’idi, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said:

A man came to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, and said: “O Messenger of Allah, direct me to an act which if I do it, [will cause] Allah to love me and people to love me.” He, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, answered: “Be indifferent to the world and Allah will love you; be indifferent to what people possess and they will love you.”

[A fine hadith related by Ibn Majah and others with good chains of authorities]


Background

This hadith is a weak hadith as pointed out by many scholars. Ibn Rajab gave a detailed argument about the weakness of this hadith. However, later scholars still recorded their commentaries on the text of the hadith for several reasons. The major two reasons are:

  1. Sometimes the chain of the narrators (sanad) is not strong and the hadith consequently is not an authentic hadith. But the meaning of the text of the hadith is correct and acceptable. In this case the scholars still give their comments on the hadith.
  2. The hadith is related to one of the major concepts in Islam which is al-zuhd. Unfortunately, many Muslims misunderstand and misinterpret this concept due to the influence of other cultures. We need to remove this misunderstanding or misinterpretation which is linked to this concept.

 Ibn Rajab says that this hadith contains some great advice:

  • Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said the renouncing of this world will lead to the love of Allah. In other words, the one who practices this zuhd will be loved by Allah.
  • To renounce what people possess and that will cause the love of people to the person who practices zuhd. Al-zuhd has been emphasized in the Qur’an and hadiths especially zuhd in this world. In Surah al-Nisa’ Ayah 77, Allah says:

Brief is the enjoyment of this world whereas the life to come is best for all who are muttaqun or conscious of Allah.

In Surah al-Ra’d Ayah 20, Allah says:

The life of this world is nothing but a flitting pleasure.

In Surat al-A’la Ayah 16-17, Allah says:

But may you prefer the life of this world although the life to come is better and more enduring.

In Sahih Muslim, on the authority of Jaber Ibn ‘Abdullah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, one day was passing through the market and he passed by a dead goat, which had its ears cut. He held the goat by the ear and asked who would like to have it for one derham (which was a very low price of currency at that time). The people said they wouldn’t take it even if it was free. What could they do with it? He, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, asked if they liked it if it was theirs. They said even if it was alive they would still not buy it because of its cut ears. So how could they buy it now especialy since it was dead. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said: “This worldly life is so little in the sight of Allah as this dead animal or goat is so little in your sight”.

  • There are many other hadiths where the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, commanded Muslims to avoid asking others for anything, especially money, and to do the best not to indulge in the act of asking others.


Lessons

One of the early scholars, Abu Muslim Al-Hawlani, says zuhd in this world does not mean forbidding what is permissible or wasting wealth. Zuhd with respect to this world is only where a person puts more trust in Allah, more than what was is in his own hands. If he was afflicted with calamity by losing something of this world, he is more hopeful for its reward and what is in store for him in the Hereafter than if it were to have remained with him.

Based on this, Ibn Rajab states that zuhd can be interpreted as three actions of the heart:

  1. The Muslim should realize that all provisions come from Allah and not simply the result of his own acts. He should trust Allah and what Allah has more than what he has in his hands.
  2. If he loses anything in this world, this should not bother him because he is looking for its reward.
  3. The Muslim should not care whether he is going to be blamed or praised by others. He will not look for praise. In his heart, he is not touched by such praise. And if he is blamed, he will not be offended by being blamed. If the accusation is not true, he has nothing to worry about; if it is true then he has to face it and try to be a better Muslim.

 We can also try to see and compare what was narrated by Al-Imam Abu Muslim Al-Hawlani and what has been narrated by other scholars. Al-Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal was asked one day if someone owns one thousand dinar, can he still be a zahid? He replied yes, he can be still a zahid if he does not feel rejoice if the money increases and he does not become sad if it decreases. We must not become slaves to money or our worldly possessions. We can be wealthy and zahid if we are still thankful to Allah and use wealth in the right way (provided also that we obtained this wealth in the right way). This meaning has been emphasised by Sufian Ibn ‘Uyainah, one of the great scholars, when he was asked who is to be considered as zahid. He said whoever Allah bestowed a bounty on him then he is thankful and then when he is under trial, he is patient.

 Sufian Al-Thawri – another scholar – said: Al-zuhd in this world is that you are ready in your heart and think of the Hereafter – you think of death. We should be prepared for the next world. This is a definition of zuhd. Zuhd means a status of the heart where a person fears he will not live a long life. This will motivate every one to be a good Muslim. If we have this feeling that we are going to leave this world at any time, this will lead us to be closer to Allah and fulfill our obligations and also to get away from disobedience.

This is why some scholars point out that there are different types of zuhd:

  • Al-zuhd in disobedience and sin
  • Not to be misled by our desires.
  • Not to exceed the limits of the permissible or the allowable acts (mubah). For example, we should not exceed the limits of sleeping (i.e. sleeping unnecessarily long hours) or eating (i.e. eating too much) which is permissible.

 Ibn Rajab said the one who is hopeless of living a long life, then he is looking forward to meeting Allah and he is eager for the Hereafter – this is the maximum level of zuhd. Ibn Rajab then says that looking at this worldly life as blameworthy is not because of the day or night, which are signs of Allah, and not the place and not what He planted in the land, or the animals He created. All of these are bounties from Allah and beneficial to us. The blameworthy is actually with regards to the actions of the people in this life because most of these actions are not done in accordance to the guidance of revelation in a way that will lead to good consequences. Usually the consequences will be bad ones. People will not be able to do good things.

What should be done then is to be like the righteous and good people who used their lives as a means of getting them to the final destination. They were satisfied and contented by whatever they got. Even permissible acts and desires are treated in the same way. Sleeping and eating are good for us because this will help us to perform our obligations. That is why Ibn Rajab says all the early scholars looked for these permissible actions as means of fulfilling their obligations. He quoted al-Hasan al-Basri who said: Doing whatever is beneficial for you is not considered as the love of this world. So we should not belittle some professions and consider them as part of worldly life.

Some Muslims misunderstand zuhd. This will lead the Muslim community to become backward. Since we are entrusted for the establishment of Islamic civilization, this requires that we have professionals, and different fields of specializations. All these take effort and time. But what we do here is for the betterment of the community where there is a great need for professional people. If we do it with good intentions and for the sake of Allah we will be rewarded – this is the real zuhd.

 Zuhd does not mean that we stay in one place and worship Allah. Worshiping Allah is a broad concept. The betterment of the community is considered as a form of worship. So asceticism or zuhd does not clash with any of the worldly affairs that the community needs. The zuhd here becomes that we do it in the right way, with a good intention and for the sake of Allah. This should not keep us from fulfilling the obligations towards Allah.

Ibn Rajab mentions that the worldly life is cursed because it keeps people away from Allah. They will be deprived from fulfilling the obligations. This life is a test for us, as stated in Surah al-Kahf Ayah 7. We either use it in the right way and be rewarded or we use it in the wrong way which will cause us to fail the test – we will go astray and indulge in disobedience.


Conclusion

One thing that brings us closer to Allah and to be loved by Him is al-zuhd. There are other actions that make Allah love us:

  • To love Allah much. If we love Allah, He will love us.
  • The love of meeting Allah (as stated in another hadith).
  • The love of the Prophet, sallallah ‘alayhi wasallam, more than we love ourselves and our family and to love his sunnah and to follow his model.
  • Remembrance of Allah, and all forms of dzikr.
  • To practice the preferable good deeds.

If we claim that we love Allah, we should test ourselves by taking the above points as criteria. By loving Allah, we will be successful in this life and the Hereafter.

 

                                                                                  Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

It was narrated on the authority of Abi Tha’labah Al-Khushani Jurthum bin Nashir, radiyallahu ‘anhu, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“Verily Allah the Almighty has prescribed the obligatory deeds, so do not neglect them; He has set certain limits, so do not go beyond them; He has forbidden certain things, so do not indulge in them; and He has said nothing about certain things, as an act of mercy to you, not out of forgetfulness, so do not go enquiring into these.”

[Related by Al-Daraqutni and others – Al-Nawawi said this is a hasan (fine) hadith]


Background

This hadith has been recorded by a number of scholars. They all recorded this hadith through the chain of Dawood Ibn Abi Hind on the authority of Makhool from Abi Tha’labah Al-Khushani. This hadith is regarded as a weak hadith by many scholars such as Al-Bukhari, Ahmad and Hatem. They point out that there are three defects in this hadith:

  1. Makhool did not hear the hadith from Abi Tha’labah.
  2. Even if it is assumed that he did hear from Abi Tha’labah, Makhool was classified among the third category of those who commit tadlis (tadlis is when a person narrates a hadith upon one of his teachers but he did not hear the particular hadith he is narrating directly from his teacher but from an intermediate source). For this hadith, there should be a direct term that reflects sama’, that is this person heard the hadith directly from his teacher or sheikh. Otherwise, if he uses on the authority of, this cannot be accepted.
  3. It is debatable whether this is actually a hadith or a saying of one of the Companions (sahabi). (Is it marfou’ or mawqouf?)

Despite these three defects, the hadith has been accepted. Moreover, what has been mentioned in this hadith has been used by all jurists or fuqaha’ as a way of categorizing rulings of shari’ah. It is from this hadith that the rules of the five well-known categorizations are derived: The obligatory (wajib), preferable (mandoub), forbidden (muharam), hateful (makrouh), and the permissible (mubah). Not only is the meaning acceptable, this hadith is also used for categorizing rulings of shari’ah (ahkam).


Lessons

The meaning of the statement which says: “He (Allah the Almighty) has set certain limits, so do not go beyond them.” has been emphasised in the Qur’an. Allah says:

These are the bounds, the limits set by Allah. Do not then transgress them for who transgress them are evil doers. [Surah Al-Baqarah (2): Ayah 229],

and in Surah Al-Talq, Ayah 1, Allah says:

And those are the set limits of Allah and whosoever transgresses the set limits of Allah then he indeed has wronged himself.

By looking closer into the content of these verses, we find that the two verses are talking about the limits (hudud) that Allah set regarding family relationships, especially the relationship between husband and wife. The limits that govern the relationship between husband and wife are stated in two verses in two surahs. Moreover, in Surah Al-Nisa’, Ayah 13 and 14, Allah talks about the regulations of inheritance (furud almirath). Favouring one person over another and giving a person more than he deserves is considered transgression in Islam. And if we lessen or decrease the right of another person, this is also considered transgression. We have to stick to what Allah has set for us regarding what a person should receive.

Usually in family relationships, if there is no adherence to the Islamic bounds and guidelines, the consequences will inevitably be negative as we see in real life and in the Muslim world today. If we go to the courts we will see many cases where transgression has taken place. If the family life is not carried out in accordance with shari’ah, we will end up with many people transgressing the set limits. For example, the way divorce takes place violates the concept of family relationship where the spouses are not aware of what they say. They are not in control of their tempers. They end up saying things they do not mean (e.g. performing talaq out of anger) – things which might get them in a situation where they would need to go and consult the court or scholars regarding what to do. They start to look for a way to resolve the problem only when they are stuck and the situation deteriorates. Had they controlled their tempers and their tongues in the first place, they would not have reached this situation. It is only because they have violated the prescribed limits. (In the example of a husband having used words or terms which later on even he himself is not sure whether he has declared divorce or not, some scholars will refer it to the intention when the action took place.)

 Another area in this regard is the area of the procedure of divorce itself that has been set by Allah. There are certain rulings that have to be observed by both parties, especially the husband. There are ways of minimizing the case of divorce. It has to occur in a totally controlled situation and in a way where there is an opportunity of getting back when it is carried out in the right way. There are adab (manners) that have to be followed if divorce has to take place. Most of the time divorce takes place when everybody lose control of their tempers, feelings or emotions. In Islam, if Muslims have to divorce, they are required to be fully aware of the situation and consequences, and that they have thought deeply about it and not simply divorce as a result of anger or a hasty decision.

Islam creates the procedure that if a person is actually considering divorce, he must be fully aware of what he is doing and his actions are based on sound reasons. This also means that both sides have given the act of divorce deep thought and they could not find any other solution to their dispute. The act of divorce should not lead to transgression – the wife and children should not be victims. To make sure of this, we should stick to the limits set by Allah. People have to be aware of this. They have to respect the family relationship. There should be strong commitment where both sides stick to what this commitment implies. This is so because Islam encourages the continuity of relationships. So here we have two considerations: (1) the respect of commitment, and (2) the continuity of that commitment.

 Islam, as a practical religion, wants things to happen even if we dislike them. This is actually mentioned about the relationship between husband and wife. The hadith explains what the verse in the Qur’an says, that the believer should not hate another believer (wife). If he dislikes an aspect of her character or personality, he should appreciate other aspects of her character as well and vice versa. This is because there is no perfect person except Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. Consequently, Islam encourages us to appreciate other people’s characters.

 Islam also asks us to be moderate in our life when it comes to dealing with people. So spouses should deal with each other in a moderate way. A hadith says: “When you like someone, you should like him moderately because he might become someone whom you dislike one day, and when you dislike someone dislike him moderately because he might become someone you like one day.”

 This hadith implies that we should be moderate in our actions and sayings and not to exceed the limits. Unfortunately today, this idea has been violated by the media through movies, songs, etc. where love is taken as the central issue in our daily lives. We rarely or never see any exception where love is moderate and in accordance with the Islamic guidelines. This explains why we have ‘hopeless’ people. Because they have lost their lovers (and most importantly because they have exceeded the limits set by Allah) their lives become miserable and meaningless. This is because of the effect of the culture and the environment which they are exposed to. So by exceeding the limits set by Allah, more problems and disasters occur.

 Another area where people usually go beyond the limits is the area of fara’ed (inheritance). The limits and guidelines that have been set by Allah have been violated. Allah, in the Qur’an, and the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, via revelation, have prescribed and made clear for us the limits. For example, in the case of death, it is made clear to us who should inherit and what is the allowance of each son or daughter. As a result we will have those who have priority and those who have less but still have their share. And we also have those who are even set aside because there is someone closer to inherit. They are considered mahjoub.

Nowadays we see people violate these limits all over the Muslim world. Most of the cases happen because of the transgression and domination of the relatives. Muslims all over the world have to observe the limits. Otherwise they will transgress and violate the guidelines set by Allah. They have to make sure that this is not halal and will not please Allah. They may enjoy it for months or years, but at the end they may suffer the severe punishment of Allah in the Hereafter. We hear different stories of people who transgress and victimize their relatives. A verse in the Qur’an says: Those people are considered transgressors and being unjust where Allah has forbidden injustice (zulm). These people will be totally responsible for what they have done. This is one statement that is mentioned in this hadith and has been emphasized by the Qur’an.


Conclusion

All the meanings that are mentioned in this hadith are sound and acceptable even if the hadith itself – due to chain defect in the way it is narrated – is considered weak. A Maliki jurist Ibn Al’arabi said: “This hadith is one of the most important rulings in Islam and should be known to every Muslim.”

 

                                                                           Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

From Mu’adh bin Jabal, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said: I said:

“O Messenger of Allah, tell me of a deed which will take me into Paradise and will keep me away from the Hell-fire.” He said: “You have asked me about a great matter, yet it is, indeed, an easy matter for him to whom Allah Almighty makes it easy. (It is ) that you worship Allah without associating anything with Him, that you perform the prayers, that you pay the zakat, that you fast during Ramadan, and that you make the pilgrimage to the House.”

Then he said: “Shall I not guide you to the gates of goodness? Fasting is a shield; charity extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire; and a man’s prayer in the middle of the night.” Then he recited: “Who forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope, and spend of that We have bestowed on them. No soul knoweth what is kept hid for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do”. [Qu’ran, Surah al-Sajdah (32): Ayah 16-17]

Then he said: “Shall I not also tell you of the peak of the matter, its pillar, and its topmost part?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” He said: “The peak of the matter is Islam (submission to Allah), the pillar is prayer; and its topmost part is jihad.” Then he said: “And shall I not tell you of the controlling of all that ?” I said:” Yes, O Messenger of Allah”. So he took hold of his tongue and said: “Restrain this.” I said: “O Prophet of Allah, will we be held accountable for what we say?” He said: “May your mother be bereft of you! Is there anything that topples people on their faces (or he said, on their noses) into the Hell-fire other than the jests of their tongues?”

[Related by Al-Tirmidhi, who said it was a fine and sound hadith]


Background

Many other companions have asked similar questions like the ones in this hadith. In general, the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, gave the same answers. Ibn Rajab highlights another narration of the hadith recorded by Imam Ahmad which states that Mu’adh came to the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, and said: “O Messenger of Allah, I want to ask you about a matter that has made me ill and burning from inside.” The Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, said: “Ask whatever you wish.” He said: “Inform me about a deed which will make me enter Paradise.”
This shows, as Ibn Rajab continues to say, Mu’adh’s eagerness to know about good deeds.


Lessons

This hadith is evidence that doing good deeds facilitates and leads to entering Paradise as it has been mentioned in the Qur’an: “This is the Paradise that you have made to inherit because of your good deeds which you used to do” (Surah al-Zuhkruf: Ayah 72). However, a person’s good deeds are part of Allah’s mercy and grace. Allah says: “But Allah who caused faith to be dear to you and have given it beauty in your heart, and has made hateful to you denial of the truth and all inequity and all rebellion against what is good” (Surah al-Hujarat (49): Ayah 7). So the meaning of this verse has been emphasized by this hadith. The performing of good deeds is a cause of entering paradise but they are themselves a gift from Allah.

There are debates among some scholars about the actions and whether we deserve to enter Paradise because of these actions. They raise the questions: Is it like a contract? Is it a deal? Or is this actually just a cause but entering Paradise is Allah’s Mercy? If we just look at the matter as a deal or a contract, we would not be able to pay for even one of Allah’s mercies.

 The deeds that have been mentioned in this hadith have been emphasized in previous hadiths collected by Imam An-Nawawi, mainly Hadith 2, 3, 15 and 23. However, there are two additional good deeds mentioned in this hadith:

  1. A man’s prayer in the middle of the night. This includes, according to Ibn Rajab, three types of people:
    1. Those who wake up during the night for dhikr, du’a, or praying tahajud.
    2. Those who wait for the Isha’ prayer and do not go to sleep until they perform Isha’.
    3. Those who wake up for the Fajr prayer.

All these three groups have been mentioned in the Qur’an. People who stay awake throughout the night (busy in entertaining themselves) miss these blessed deeds. The three types of people are guaranteed and promised with the blessing from Allah in the Hereafter where there are unpredictable and unimaginable rewards.

  1. Jihad where and when it becomes an obligation (this deed is not stated clearly in other hadiths). It is a great blessing that gets Muslims closer to Allah. Scholars say that jihad is the greatest act of worship and the most important deed after the obligatory acts. Through jihad, Islam is protected and preserved and became dominant, where other nations lived under its rule peacefully with their rights maintained.

 In Hadith 15, the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, quoted the importance of saying good things or keeping silent. In this hadith the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, says it is because of the tongue saying bad things that people are thrown into the Hell-fire. Ibn Rajab states that this indicates that restraining and controlling our speech is the crucial matter of all good things. The one who controls his tongue controls all his affairs.

In this hadith, we see the emphasis is on the negative side of the tongue, whereas in the previous hadiths, the emphasis is on the positive side of the tongue. This means that the tongue can be used in two ways: to say good things or to say bad things. Most people have the tendency to be lenient about this issue. Though Muslims know that saying bad things is prohibited, they still do so, saying things that displease Allah such as backbiting, slandering and spreading rumours. We will be held accountable for what we say. We will be rewarded for saying good things and we may be punished for saying bad things. Being cynical to others and saying things just for fun is something that a person is going to be accountable for. Even if a Muslim says things in the form of a cynical du’a (e.g. “May Allah guide him”) or a joke to make fun of other Muslims and put him down, he will be held against this action. Even using gestures or attributes in a cynical way that can be interpreted that he is belittling a Muslim is considered a sinful act that displeases Allah.

The Muslim should have control over his tongue; otherwise his tongue can create a lot of problems for the community. In the fitnah (troubles) during Caliphate Othman, radiyallahu ‘anhu, the Companions said they were considering saying bad things in that critical situation as a way of helping those who killed him. Consequently, the Muslim is always a good person who says only good things and for the benefit of his community. He should not say anything that may lead to any disputes among the Muslim community.

Another thing that is related to this and is mentioned by the scholars is the story of a man (from an Israel tribe) that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, narrated: “There were two relatives or brothers. One of them was pious and righteous and the other one used to commit sins. The pious person always tried to remind the sinful one, but he did not do so in the appropriate way of making da’wa. One day while he was passing by the sinner he said: ‘I swear by Allah that He will not forgive you!’ Upon this Allah said: ‘Who is putting himself higher than My Authority?!” So Allah forgave the sinner and held the pious one accountable for what he said even though he was righteous.”

This teaches us that we have to watch what we say especially when we are angry. That’s why the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, made the du’a : “I ask Allah to enable me to say the truth whether I am angry or pleased.” Controlling ourselves needs training and effort. That’s why we need al-tarbiyyah and al-tazkiyyah. This will be difficult in the beginning. But when we show Allah that we are serious, Allah will give us help and al-tawfiq (guidance) to the right path. Muslims need to make sincere efforts to reach a high degree of tarbiyyah and tazkiyyah. This will be part of their akhlaq. Muslims need ilm (knowledge) because if they are not aware of this, they may misinterpret things and get into sinful acts. Ibn Rajab says if the Muslim can control his tongue, he can control his other affairs. That is the wisdom that Muslims can get from this hadith.

 Regarding the methodology of teaching and learning, this hadith sets forth a good example for Muslims to learn from. Mu’adh starts by asking a question, saying that he wants to ask about a matter that has him ‘burning inside’. As a result of his question, he gets the reply. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, said: “Ask whatever you wish.” He was open to any kind of questions. If someone has an inquiry regarding any matter, he should ask, and the person who has been consulted has to be open-hearted. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, later on in this hadith, guides Mu’adh in the form of questions: “Shall I not tell you…?” Asking questions from both sides (from Mu’adh, as a means to learn, and from the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, as a means to teach) is one of the effective ways in the methodology of teaching and learning. If we want to learn we have to ask questions. If we want to teach, we have to communicate in this style and also ask questions. Asking questions will attract the attention of the listeners and will make them think about what is being said.


Conclusion

The central idea in Islam is tawhid and taqwa (submission to Allah). All other deeds can be looked at as part of taqwa and tawhid. Without proper tawhid there would be no fear of Allah. If we fear Allah, and love Him the most, this should lead us to be closer to Him. Otherwise, our claim is not valid or incomplete. Our taqwa and fear should be up to the level. So tawhid is the essence of the message of Allah. He sent the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, with this message and made him an example for us to emulate and follow. Consequently, tawhid (almutab’a) by following the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, is part of submission to Allah.

                                                                          Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

 

It was narrated on the authority of Abu Najih al-Irbad bin Sariyah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said:

The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, delivered an admonition that made our hearts fearful and our eyes tearful. We said, “O Messenger of Allah, it is as if this were a farewell sermon, so advise us.” He said, “I enjoin you to have Taqwa of Allah and that you listen and obey, even if a slave is made a ruler over you. He among you who lives long enough will see many differences. So for you is to observe my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly-principled and rightly-guided successors, holding on to them with your molar teeth. Beware of newly-introduced matters, for every innovation (bid’ah) is an error.”

[Abu Dawud & Al-Tirmidhi, who says it is an authentic hadith]


Background

In one of the narrations of this hadith, it is mentioned that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, gave this talk after the Fajr prayer. Based on other hadiths, it was the practice of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, to give admonition to his companions from time to time, however, without burdening nor boring them. Ibn Rajab points out the characteristics of the Prophet’s, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, speeches and admonitions: brief, concise, and conveyed in beautiful understandable manner.

 The admonition consists of three main issues:

  1. To have taqwa of Allah where it is Allah’s Advice to all mankind.
  2. To listen and obey the leaders for it will lead to better management of the affairs of the community, of peace and unity. However, the hadith lays a fact that rightly-guided leadership will be the first Islamic concept to be violated.
  3. The hadith anticipates a historical fact: i.e. the Muslim disunity and split into groups and sects due to heresies. It indicates the main principle to be followed in such situations: adhering to the sunnah.

The emphasis, then, in the advice given in the hadith is to adhere to the sunnah and to avoid bid’ah (heresy).


Lessons

Introductory statements about adhering to the sunnah

The Prophet’s, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, actions may be classified as follows:

  1. Those that are specific to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, such as continuous fasting (wisal).
  2. Actions that are related to the culture of his time, such as the turban, unbuttoning the top shirt button, keeping long hair, using a walking stick.
  3. Actions resulting from spontaneous or haphazard actions. For example, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used to stop at particular places during a journey or take a certain route for a journey.
  4. Actions that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, performed intentionally for the purpose of ibadah.

Scholars state that Muslims are only obliged to follow the last type of action.

Note: An act is considered an ibadah if there are authentic hadiths mentioning that the act is an ibadah, or that it will be rewarded, or that the one who does it is praised, or that the one who does not perform it is blamed or cursed or will be punished.

 Scholars stated that to consider an action as a sunnah, two conditions must be met. Not only are the outward actions of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, to be imitated, but the intention of the act must be the same. For example, wearing a turban should not be done with the intention of performing an ibadah. If one has the intention of merely following the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, then one will rewarded for that intention only.

 Imam Shatibi states the principle that if there are two ways to perform an ibadah, one being easier than the other, then it is obligatory to take the easier way. For example, if on a cold winter’s night there is an option of using cold or hot water, then one takes the easy option, i.e. using the hot water. This principle is derived form the Qur’an, Surah al-Baqarah, Ayah 185.

 Another principle that Imam Shatibi states is that when one does a preferable action or mustahab, one should not commit oneself to doing it in a set manner. For example, one should not say that he shall read two juzu’ a day, or will fast every Monday and/or Thursday on a continuous basis without stopping from time to time.

The reasons one should not commit oneself to non-obligatory acts are because:

  1. It is not made obligatory by shari’ah.
  2. It goes against the general principles of the shari’ah (al-Baqarah: 185).
  3. If one commits himself to do non-obligatory ibadah on a regular basis, it comes close to being a vow (nazr) which is not a preferable act (makruh).
  4. If one makes a commitment and sticks to it, one might get fed up with the action later on and stop doing it altogether.

Therefore, it is better to do good deeds based on one’s personal capacity, encouraging oneself to continue performing the deed.

 Imam Shatibi has established that there are two types of bid’ah:

  1. Genuine bid’ah – Any form of ibadah for which there is no evidence in the Qur’an nor from the sunnah.
  2. ‘Relative’ bid’ah. Any form of ibadah for which there is a general evidence from the Qur’an and/or sunnah but no explicit/specific evidence. An example is the du’a in congregation. There are general evidences for making du’a, but there is no explicit/specific evidence to perform it in congregation on a continuous basis.

Imam Ahmad Zarouq (899H) adds a third category which is: un-agreed upon heresy or bid’ah khilafiyyah. This is acceptable form of ibadah to some scholars and it is bid’ah according to other scholars such as the later given example.

 General rules and principles to differentiate between bid’ah and sunnah
(extracted by Imam Shatibi)

  1. An ibadah (ritual of worship) cannot be formulated unless there is evidence from wahy (revelation). Another way of saying this is that ibadah is restricted by the shari’ah. The evidence for this is the hadith of Aishah which states that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said, “Whoever performs an action that is not according to our way will be rejected.” (al-Bukhari)
  2. If there is a beneficial act that existed during the time of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, yet the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, did not perform it as a act of ibadah, then we cannot perform it as an act of ibadah.

    An act of ibadah may be performed due to a number of reasons:

    1. If an act is considered a need to motivate people because of their laxity and carelessness, then that act is a bid’ah and cannot be performed. For example, Abdul Malik bin Marwan gave the Eid khutbah before the prayer because people left after the prayers.
    2. If the act is considered a need due to the natural circumstances of the people and there was no need during the time of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, then it is considered as maslahah mursalah. For example, the compilation of the Qur’an, the use of the mihrab, the existing schooling system, the use of loudspeakers during the adhan, etc.
  3. If the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, performed an act and then stopped due to a certain reason, we may perform that act provided the reason no longer exists. For example, the Tarawih prayers – the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, stopped performing them after a time because he was afraid that it would be made compulsory. After his death, there is no way that the Tarawih prayers will become compulsory as the time of wahy has passed.
  4. Avoiding any act of worship that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, did not perform is considered a sunnah (sunnah tarkiyyah).
  5. Performing an act which has been made into an ibadah by:
    1. Generalising evidences that relate to a specific ibadah. In other words, removing the limits of an act that has been limited by the shari’ah. An example is that there are certain adhkar whose number of repetitions have been limited by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam – for example, the adhkar after prayers. To remove these limits, i.e. make more than the specified number of repetitions, is a bid’ah.
    2. Specifying a general evidence to a particular act. In other words, limiting an act that is unlimited by the shari’ah. An example is to specifically fast on Friday and pray on Friday evening. Other examples are to call the adhan for the Eid prayer (by using the general hadith for the adhan) and performing a certain set of dhikr for a certain time/day. These acts are considered bid’ah.
  6. Connecting an act of ibadah to an unrelated action (either a natural action or a act of ibadah) and making them appear as a continuous action, might be a bid’ah or lead to bid’ah, depending on the situation:
  1.  
    • Intentionally. This is a bid’ah.
    • Unintentionally. If the connection is repeatedly made in public, then it could lead to a bid’ah (because people might think the actions were related).
      An example is that at the time of Imam Malik, it was reported that the
      muadhin would purposely clear his throat before giving the adhan. When he was made to stop by Imam Malik, he would then purposely hit a stick against the side of the minaret before giving the adhan. Imam Malik stopped him from doing this as well, and said, “Do not do something which has not been practised by the Prophet,
      sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, nor by his companions.”
      Another example is to stand up immediately after performing the
      fardh prayers to perform the
      sunnah prayers where people without knowledge may get confused.
      A third example is to start fasting the six days of
      Shawal from the second day of Eid.
  2. Any non-obligatory action which is permitted by the shari’ah but by repeatedly performing in public makes it appear to be a fardh, then that action should be stopped occasionally. An example is the recitation of Surah as-Sajdah and Surah al-Insan in the Friday Fajr prayer. Another is that the Companions (Abu Bakr and Umar) occasionally did not perform udhiah.
  3. Not everybody who commits a bid’ah will be considered a mubtadi’ (the one who commits a heresy). Some of them will be excused. This principle also applies to one who commits acts of kufr (disbelief) i.e. not everyone who commits kufr is a kafir.

    The excuses are:

  1.  
    1. Someone lives in a place where there is no scholar who can establish the evidence, remove misconceptions and offer guidance.
    2. Someone who is a new Muslim. That person is excused until he knows about the issues involved.
    3. If there are misconceptions related to the situation, that person is excused until these are removed.
    4. The un-agreed upon acts.
  2. It is important to differentiate between innovation that is kufr or leads to kufr, and one that isn’t. Any innovation which is not kufr or does not lead to kufr is worse than a ma’siat (sin) but with regards to the Hereafter, it falls under the same category of ma’siat, i.e. the innovator may be punished or he may be forgiven and not punished.

    [Note: according to Ibn Taimiyyah, there are 10 reasons why one isn’t punished, among which are:

    1. One’s rewards outweigh his sins.
    2. Trials and hardship undergone in this world.
    3. Intercession of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam.
    4. Intercession of a good Muslim.
    5. Punishment in the grave.]
  3. There are two opinions about one who commits a bid’ah:
    1. Only the action committed with the bid’ah will not be accepted.
    2. All deeds will not be accepted from that person, provided the person is not excused or has not repented.

Clarification of the second opinion:

Imam Shatibi argues that you will not find someone committing an innovation in only one action, i.e. if one commits a bid’ah in the prayers, it is most likely that he will be committing bid’ah in zakat, hajj, etc.
Imam Shatibi states that this opinion may be interpreted in three ways:

  1. a.     The statement is taken at face value, i.e. all deeds, obligatory (fard) or recommended (sunnah), will not be accepted.
  2. b.    That the bid’ah is a basic belief that can negate all of a person’s actions. For example, the Rafidah’s bid’ah of rejecting the Companions’ results in not accepting the hadith and claiming that the Qur’an is incomplete.
  3. c.     The manifestation of an innovation is a sign of a person not having a sound grounding in the shari’ah, not ‘respecting’ the shari’ah or placing the intellect ahead of the shari’ah.

Based on Hadith 5 of Imam al-Nawawi’s collection it seems that the first opinion is sounder in the case of those who follow the sunnah in general.


Conclusion

In order to adhere to the sunnah and to be able to refrain from heresy (bid’ah), a Muslim needs to fully understand and apply these principles pinpointed by our great scholars. Doing so can also minimize disputes and quarrels among Muslim community members over many debatable issues every now and then.

 

                                                                          Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Al-Nawwas bin Sam’an, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“Righteousness is good character, and sin is that which wavers in your heart and which you do not want people to know about.”

[Muslim]

According to Wabisah bin Ma’bad, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said:

I came to the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, and he said: “You have come to ask about righteousness ?” ” Yes,” I answered. He said: “Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels tranquil and the heart feels tranquil, and sin is what creates restlessness in the soul and moves to and fro in the breast, even though people give you their opinion (in your favour) and continue to do so.”

[A good hadith transmitted from the Musnads of the two Imams, Ahmad bin Hanbal and Al-Darimi]


Background

The first thing that should be pointed out is that even though the second hadith is weak by itself, due to supporting evidence it is raised to the level of hasan (authentic). These two hadiths state the meaning of righteousness and sinfulness.


Lessons

Ibn Rajab states that the term ‘bir’ which is used in this hadith is actually used in two senses: (a) treating others in a good manner, and (b) all acts of good deeds and worshipping Allah. Based on this, the first statement in the first hadith can be interpreted as meaning the most essential aspect of righteousness is good character. And Ibn Rajab extends this meaning by saying that good character can be interpreted as all good manners mentioned in the Qur’an. Consequently, according to Ibn Rajab, the two meanings of bir are there.

 Allah has created us with a pure innate or natural disposition that is called fitra, as mentioned in other hadiths. This means to love the truth and the good and to hate falsehood and evil. Consequently, good believers with pure fitra should never confuse truth with falsehood.

The second hadith guides us to consult our heart regarding doubtful matters. If the heart is in tranquility, that implies that it is bir or righteousness. If the heart is not tranquil, one should abstain from carrying out such an act or doubtful matter. However, it should be noted that fitra is subject to corruption and can be spoiled due to the influence of bad environment – a person may start to like and appreciate what is bad or evil and dislike truth and goodness. Here, the heart is diseased or even dead. Such a person cannot use his heart as a measure to judge what is good and bad because the fitra is already corrupted.

 Sin is what wavers or trembles your soul. This portion of the hadith defines a sinful act as an act for which its performer deserves blame. Imam Qurtabi gives the previous interpretation. Ustaz Jamaludin Zarabozo states that in this hadith the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, gave very important signs of sin. The first one is an internal sign within the human being. It is the feelings of the soul with respect to any particular act. The second sign is also about the internal feelings but it deals with the outward reaction to the act itself. Sin causes a wholesome soul to be uneasy and troubled. The soul is unhappy and worried about sin and its consequences. Ustaz Jamaludin remarks that these signs occur because the person is naturally disposed to favour what leads to positive results and avoid what leads to negative results. The commentators of this hadith stress that the ‘people’ referred to here are the respected and righteous people.

 The two hadiths reveal a significant aspect of Islam that is an internal controlling and guiding system that is established as a result of several factors:

  1. The pure fitra (natural disposition). Allah created everybody with a pure fitra and not just Muslims. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, mentions many factors in the environment that play an influential role in subjecting the fitra to corruption.
  2. The realization of tawhid. This means practicing all the essentials of tawhid like loving Allah, seeking His Help as the only refuge, depending on Him (tawakul), asking for His Mercy, and many other essentials associated with the idea of tawhid.
  3. Adhering to shari’ah instructions.
  4. Seeking knowledge.
  5. Tazkiyah and tarbiyah – that is the purification of the soul and the heart of the Muslim.

The above mentioned factors and many others are interrelated and altogether lead to the establishment of the internal controlling system. However, this system needs to be ‘updated’ and ‘upgraded’ regularly by educators and da’ies. It is very important that the educators and da’ies pay attention to the individual’s and the community’s built-in system. They have to create awareness about contemporary challenges. They should plan future strategies to deal with such challenges.

This internal system is very important for Muslims today. They should know about it in order to activate it. Only through such proper reconstruction of the consciousness can we be certain about the validity and effectiveness of the internal controlling system. Muslims need to be aware of this fact and have to activate their system in order to be sensitive towards doubtful acts and sinful matters. Unless this system is ‘upgraded’, the person may not act in the right way. It is like ‘installing’ an ‘anti-virus software’ within ourselves. With such a ‘software’ in place, our internal system will prevent ‘viruses’, i.e. bad/evil acts, from entering our thoughts or hearts.

 There are many issues today where people are in total doubt about whether something is allowed or not. In many areas such as insurance, food, medicine, trade, and technology, there are no definite answers – or the people themselves are not aware of the Islamic approach. This may lead to moral conflicts. Unfortunately, even some people who teach akhlaq and moral values are sometimes not even aware of these conflicts.

In this era we have several clashing values. Muslims should be exposed to the Islamic point of view of the issue in order to go for the right value. Works about such issues should be published and translated for all Muslims. Books and magazines should be available to all Muslims. If the existing works are very long, we need to summarize the findings and translate them into major Muslim and international languages. Exposing Muslims to such findings will minimize disputes among them regarding certain issues. They will at least know what to do and what not to do. This will lead to unity and remove anything that can lead to disputes.

 Another thing is that educators and da’ies should not simply use the traditional approach. If we want to talk about sidq, tazkiyah, and tarbiyah, we should not limit ourselves to one scholar or website. We should compare knowledge and information between different scholars. For example, if we compare the works of Al-Shaikh Zarrouq and Imam Ghazali on tazkiyah, we will notice differences; the work of Al-Shaikh Zarrouq is totally different from Imam Ghazali’s. His books of Qawaed Altasaruf and Udat Alboroud Alsadeq use totally different approaches from Imam Ghazali. Al-Shaikh Zarrouq addressed the people of his time. We can read these books and benefit from them but we should use a more suitable approach that is more convenient to the challenges of our time. This means that we should have different ways of presenting these issues about tazkiyah and tarbiyah. It is only by this way can we ‘upgrade’ our internal controlling system.

We should interpret the Qur’anic texts and hadiths in the light of what we have today. This cannot happen unless the internal system is ‘upgraded’. Otherwise we may get lost. The system has two sides: positive and negative. We must use the positive side. We have to know how to be honest in this era. It is the responsibility of the educators and da’ies of today to ‘upgrade’ the internal controlling system of the Muslims in general and the young generation in particular.

 We should also be aware of the recent advancements in technology. For example, nowadays there are filtering software that are developed by non-Muslims. We can download these software and have control over some of the negative elements that can reach us through the Internet. We should develop this type of software to suit our needs as Muslims. We have to maximize the positive side of information technology. We need to do this to enable Muslims to access the Internet and use their time in the right way.

 One more area that we need to be aware of is that of intellectual slavery – that is when people try to benefit from technology through globalization. There are some people who want to influence others in order to affect the akhlaq and ideology. They use cognitive psychology and other branches of knowledge where they can manipulate the mind. They practice brainwashing and Muslims are not aware of this. This is a very great challenge to Muslims since this may lead us to question our beliefs and moral values. Educators need to address this crucial issue. They should do something to ‘upgrade’ the above mentioned internal controlling system in order to prevent ourselves from being brainwashed.


Conclusion

Without a ‘fully functioning’ internal controlling system, people will have different attitudes which may lead to problems such as extremism. Extremists will increase in the Muslim community if issues like those mentioned above are not resolved. Muslims may end up with multiple personalities. They are Muslims but they commit haram (forbidden) and many other negative things. They are not aware that they are doing anything wrong and they start acting in strange ways. These people are victims of the new system of globalization. Our strategy to face such challenges is to ‘activate’ and ‘upgrade’ our internal system. Then Muslims can live their lives in tranquility and without confusion. Other solutions will merely be short term because there will be no tranquility.

 

                                                                         Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abu Hurairah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said :

“On every person’s joints or small bones (i.e. fingers and toes), there is sadaqah (charity) every day the sun rises. Doing justice between two people is sadaqah; assisting a man to mount his animal, or lifting up his belongings onto it is sadaqah; a good word is sadaqah; every step you take towards prayer is sadaqah; and removing harmful things from pathways is sadaqah.”

[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]


Background

The content of this hadith is the same as the previous one, Hadith 25. One possibility why this is so is that Al-Imam An-Nawawi wanted to emphasise the importance of sadaqah (charitable acts) so he decided to repeat the meaning of the previous hadith. Another possibility is that this hadith may contain more examples of sadaqah than what was mentioned in the previous one. A third possibility is the influence of Al-Imam Muslim on Imam Nawawi, who has written commentaries on Sahih Muslim. Imam Muslim recorded many hadiths which address the issue of sadaqah. It can be concluded that what has happened is due to the influence of Imam Nawawi’s involvement in this great scholarly research on explaining and interpreting Sahih Muslim.

 Ibn Rajab quotes other hadiths with similar meanings. Two were recorded by Imam Muslim. From this a possibility of influence can be derived. A third hadith is recorded by Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim where the hadith mentions the number of bones as 360. In this hadith the number is not mentioned. It only mentions every small joint (bone).

In one of these hadiths, the performance of the Duha prayer is mentioned as a substitution of some charitable acts. The Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said that the praying of al-Duha has the same reward of doing these charitable acts. In the hadith that is related by Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim, it mentions something that is not mentioned in the previous hadith. One more charitable act that is mentioned by Ibn Rajab is helping the one who is in need. Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, emphasized this idea: if a Muslim cannot help the one who is in need, he should abstain from evil and not harm others.


Lessons

The hadith shows the great creation of man which has been emphasised in many surahs in the Qur’an. Ibn Rajab says when the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, mentions these small bones or joints, he is emphasizing their structure and creation which are great bounties of Allah subhana wa ta’ala. The Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, calls upon us to be thankful to Allah by doing charitable acts for each one of these bones.

Al-Ustaz Jamaludin Zarabozo highlights the significance of the word ‘salameh‘, the small bone, when he refers to the small bones in the hands and feet and how they are put together. Once again, we notice how scholars may be influenced by each other. It is not strange to notice that Ustaz Jamaludin is influenced by Ibn Rajab since he translated most of his work. He asks the Muslims to see how these bones are magnificently put together. It is their interaction that allows the dexterity and speed that the creatures possess in their hands. It also gives proper balance to the feet.

Al-Shaikh Al-Bitar, one of the commentators on An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith, states that these bones are some of the keys to the progress and civilization of man. These bones enable human beings to move, grasp, construct and build things. Most of what people perform and what has been manufactured is due to these small and minute bones that have been created by Allah in this impressive and marvelous way. Therefore, he continues to say, these are great blessings for which a Muslim must be thankful to Allah. We can be thankful by doing the above mentioned charitable acts: to do good deeds, to help others, and to benefit the community.

 Ibn Rajab mentions that doing these charitable acts mentioned in the hadith is an obligation upon each Muslim. Moreover, he classifies thankfulness to Allah into two categories:

  1. Obligatory (wajib) thankfulness. Muslims are required to fulfill the obligations (wajibat) and refrain from the prohibitions (muharramat). This is the minimum level of being thankful to Allah. To be thankful to Allah requires one to refrain from disobedience (ma’siah) to Allah, to strongly disapprove sin, and not to misuse or abuse any of our limbs (jawareh) or whatever Allah has bestowed upon us. Man has been given one of the most important bounties from Allah and that is sight. Man must not use it in disobedience. Allah bestowed us with the bounty of hearing and we should use it in a beneficial way.
  2. Preferable (mustahab) thankfulness. This is for Muslims who seek to be among the righteous and competing believers. This type can be classified into subcategories:
    1. What is beneficial to the community such as what is mentioned in this hadith.
    2. Limited to the person who performs it, as mentioned in Hadith 25.

Though the above mentioned classifications may be perceived positively or negatively, it should not take us away from the great meaning of the charitable acts where we can look at them from a different angle. Not from the angle of whether they are preferable (mandoub: if we do it, we will be rewarded and if we do not do it, we will not be blamed) or obligatory (wajib). Sometimes preferable things become obligatory. For instance, if a blind man wants to cross the road and you are the only one to help him, helping him becomes obligatory. If every one of us is expecting someone else to help the blind man, he will end up with nobody willing to help him. This sort of attitude will weaken the bonding within the community. There are many negative examples that can be seen today. The recklessness of some Muslims who do not help needy people is often noticed in the Muslim community these days. As a result, the Muslim is blamed when he is the only one who is capable of doing that action but does not do it.

 This hadith aims to emphasize the charitable acts that benefit the society since they are great deeds and the people who do them are rewarded. Most Muslims forget these charitable acts. Another hadith emphasises that Muslims are like one body where they care for each other. We should set ourselves as models in our morality, behaviour, values and qualities in order for others to follow our steps and listen to us. Only by this will the level of confidence be increased in the community. People will listen to each other when they see good examples and this is what meant by the verse that the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, is a good model for Muslims

As Muslims, we have to observe the charitable acts. We should do as much as we can without making any commitment to any of them. These charitable acts are not done regularly as the 5 prayers. We do them on our convenience and according to our ability. By performing these acts regularly, we will be closer to Allah. When every Muslim exercises these charitable acts, we will end up with a harmonious and cooperative society. By doing this, we contribute to the increasing of goodness and the minimising of evil – this is the main purpose of da’wah.

 This hadith emphasises the significance of certain deeds: bringing about justice between two people and reconciling them. Getting people who deviated in their thoughts back to the community is part of islah (reconciliation). When the Khawarej started thinking of fighting their own community, Abdullah bin Abbas, radiyallahu ‘anhu, went to them and had a dialogue with them. He tried to remove any misconceptions. He was successful in getting two-thirds of them into the Muslim community. This is one meaning of charitable acts. Another meaning is to give help to those who are in need for help. We should not wait until we are asked. We have to offer help when we see people in need. This is what is meant by wala’ (loyality) to the community.

Saying a good word is a charitable act, as mentioned in Hadith 25. There are many ways that we can do this. For example, when we notice that someone is unhappy, we can bring pleasure to him by saying a good word to him and relieving his sadness or worry.

Another deed is the step to prayer. We know that prayer is obligatory, but by walking to prayer we perform a charitable act in every step. When Muslims keep this in their minds, they will be encouraged to do such deeds.

The last charitable act that is mentioned in this hadith is removing a harmful thing from the road or from someone’s pathway. Some people may look at this as insignificant or unimportant. But this does not mean that the act is degrading. In the sight of Allah it is a great act and we will be rewarded for doing it. Doing such an act may prevent a terrible accident from happening. For example, omitting a nail from the street may prevent car accidents and consequently keep the safety of our community. We should not care about the comments of others because we are doing it for the sake of Allah. The more we have the intention that we are doing these charitable acts for the sake of Allah, the more will be the reward from Allah subhana wa ta’ala.


Conclusion

Islam calls for and encourages its followers to build a caring society, where members of the society care for one another, support one another and help one another. Social charitable acts discussed above are considered obligatory daily activities which form ways and means of being thankful to Allah. This concept needs to be promoted in the classroom, masjid and the media in every possible way.

Unfortunately, contemporary media plays a negative role in this sense. Movies promote negative values which lead to an uncaring society, resulting in, for example, selfishness, greediness and ego-centric personalities.

One way of changing this negative role to a positive one is to change the existing concept of entertainment. Another alternative is to initiate new branches of communication such as educational communication and psychology of the media.

 

                                                                         Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abu Dharr, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that some of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, said to him:

“O Messenger of Allah, the rich have taken away all the rewards. They observe the prayer as we do, and they keep the fasts as we do, and they give sadaqah (charity) from their surplus riches.” Upon this he (the Prophet) said: “Has Allah not prescribed for you (a course) by following which you can also do sadaqah? Verily in every tasbih (i.e. saying Subhanallah) there is a sadaqah, every takbir (i.e. saying Allahu Akbar) is a sadaqah, every tahmid (i.e. saying Alhamdulillah) is a sadaqah, every tahlil (i.e. saying Lailaha illallah) is a sadaqah, enjoining of good is a sadaqah, forbidding of evil is a sadaqah, and having sexual intercourse with your wife is a sadaqah. They (the Companions) said: “O Messenger of Allah, is there reward for him who satisfies his sexual passion among us?” He said: “Tell me, if he were to devote it to something forbidden, would it not be a sin on his part? Similarly, if he were to devote it to something lawful, he should have a reward.”

[Muslim]


Background

In another hadith recorded by both Muslim and Al-Bukhari, it is mentioned that the questioners were the poor of the Muhajruun or immigrants from Makkah. Ibn Rajab says that this hadith shows that those poor people thought that giving sadaqah (charity) can only be done through money, something which they could not afford. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, told them that all good deeds are considered as charitable acts.

 There are other versions this hadith of Abu Dharr as well as some other hadiths which show similar meanings. One of them is in Sahih Muslim which says that: “Every good act is an act of charity”. In another version the hadith, it says: “Your smile to your brother is a charitable act. Ordering good is a charitable act. Forbidding evil is a charitable act. Helping a man who has bad eyesight to see things is a charitable act. Removing a stone, rubbish or bones is a charitable act. Emptying your cup in the cup of your brother is a charitable act.”

Also in the Sahihain (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) it is mentioned that “A man spending money upon his wife is charity”. In another hadith in the Sahihain it is mentioned that “No Muslim plants a plant or soils a seed and has it eaten by a bird, animal or human except that it will be a charitable act for him”.


Lessons

According to Ibn Rajab, the hadith proves that the Companions of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, were so eager to do good acts and charitable deeds. They had very strong desires to do al-khayr and charity in order to please Allah subhana wa ta’ala. They were sad when they could not afford to donate their money to charity especially as it was being done by some other people. They had a strong desire to spend they wealth and to do good deeds when they saw some members among the Companions doing it. They wanted to be like them in terms of rewards and tawab. They were able to do salah, fasting and other ibadah but one thing they could not do was giving money or sadaqah because they did not have any. But they were told to do more dhikr which is equal to giving money or charity in terms of rewards.

We can see here how the Companions were so keen to do all forms and acts of ibadah in order to please Allah subhana wa ta’ala. This should be the case with every Muslim. We should be eager to do every good deed which pleases Allah. At least we should have the will and desire to do it even if we cannot do it.

 Ibn Rajab states that the Islamic concept of charity in its broad sense can be divided into two types: –

  1. The acts of goodness and kindness one can have towards other humans. Ibn Rjab gave some examples such as education and teaching people, teaching the Qur’an, removing anything that harms people in their paths, and also doing whatever that contributes to the well-being of the Muslim community. This also includes making du’a (prayer) and istighfar (forgiveness) for the other Muslims.
  2. Keeping any harmful action away from others. This means that we must not perform a harmful act towards other people if it does not benefit them. It is the minimum thing that one can afford to do to benefit others.

 Charitable acts are rewarded even without niyah or intentions. This can be understood from the first impression or the general observable meaning of the text of the hadith. But it seems that Ibn Rajab is not happy with this interpretation. He says that a charitable act, according to many scholars, is conditional to a good intention. That is we must do it for the sake of Allah only and to seek His Pleasure. According to Ibn Rajab, this view is supported by two evidences:

  1. In another version of the hadith good intention was mentioned and hence it applies to the other places where good intention was not mentioned.
  2. In Surah al-Nisa Ayah 114, Allah says: “There is no good in most of their secret talks except one who exhorts to a good deed of charity or goodness or conciliation between people. To him who does this seeking the pleasure of Allah, We shall soon give him a reward of high value.” Ibn Rajab says that in this verse it is mentioned that the reward is conditional to a good intention only.

 Each of the phrases of dhikr Allah such as al-tahmid, al-tahlil, and al-tasbih is a charitable act. This show us the importance if dhikr Allah. There are general types of dhikr and there are specific types of dhikr. Muslims should remember Allah all the time. The recommended time to do dhikr is during the morning and the evening and after the salawat. Every Muslim should maintain and observe the dhikr in order to become among those who are described as al-dhakirun.

 The acts of pleasing Allah are very wide and affordable to everyone. People differ in their ability, preference, potential, etc. There is room for all where every one has the ability to perform some act of charity. Therefore a Muslim should take this advantage and do good deeds which are more convenient and suitable for him or her. However, we are encouraged to do as much of good deeds and charitable acts as we can.

There is story that Imam al-Dhahabi related about a dialogue between Ibn al-Juwairiyah and Imam Malik. He said that Ibn al-Juwairiyah wrote a letter to Imam Malik about ibadah and advised him to do more acts of worship. Imam Malik was well known for his lectures in the Masjid al-Nabawi where he used to disseminate ilm (knowledge) and the sunnah of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, that he learned. Ibn Juwairiyah was known of his piety and devotions to worship. Imam Malik replied Ibn al-Juwairiyah’s letter saying that Allah has divided the acts of deeds among people as He divided rizq or wealth among them. Some are given talents in knowledge and how to spread it while others are given talents in jihad, fasting and so on. So what he (Imam Malik) was given is not less than what Ibn al-Juwairiyah have been given and he hoped that both of them are on the right track and do the things that please Allah subhana wa ta’ala.

Also In the stories of the Sahabah we can find that every one was good at doing some specific acts. This means talents are divided among people. Ibn Masud said that fasting the sunnah prevented him from reciting the Qur’an. It made him weak. So he chose the recitation of the Qur’an over the non-obligatory fasting. This is mentioned by al-Shatibi in his al-I’tisam.

So people have choices and preferences in doing acts of ibadah according to their ability and this is acceptable in Islam. Only a few people may have the ability to do many things together. One of them was Abu Bakar al-Siqdiq, radiyallahu ‘anhu. He was given the talents to perform all forms of ibadah and was good at doing them.

Ibn al-Qayyim mentions said that it is recommended to compete towards good deeds as mentioned in the Qur’an. People are allowed to compete for goodness and for the acts of charity in accordance with their talents and ability. There is a story of a man who was in Madinah who usually goes to salah with some money in his pocket. After the salah and on his way back, he would give the money to any needy person that he met. He was well known for doing this kind of charity. Then there is the story of an old man who was over 80 years old who used to do many good activities for the people of the village. He used to walk around the streets of the village and cleaned the roads and streets. Every morning after the Fajar prayers he would go to the school and clean the muddy and dusty road to that school. He was an illiterate man but yet he did a lot of good jobs for the villagers which other people did not bother to do. This is indeed a great deed in the sight of Allah. It is a good opportunity to get the pleasure of Allah. Therefore every Muslim should be doing this kind of action which is actually easy and simple but has great rewards. We cannot do all charitable acts at one time but we have to do whatever we can do. We have to have the intention to do any charitable act. The hadith that says: “Your smile to your brother is a charitable act” is a good example of this type of ibadah. It is common now to see many people who have the habit of smiling at other people. They are in fact good at this kind of charitable act. They are blessed with this behavior. It has a positive influence on other’s behavior. When you smile to your brother and say “Assalamu Alaikum” to him, you are in fact making him happy and this act will create a good environment among the Muslim community.

 Scholars have emphasised the distinction between “Ghibtah” and “Hasad”. Al-Ghibtah means to have the desire to achieve the good qualities that others have. Al-Ghibtah is a positive behavior which motivates you to do good, as good as other people do. For example, when you see a knowledgeable person, you admire and wish to be knowledgeable like him; when you see someone who do a lot of ibadah, you wish to do the same; when you see a rich person who pays charity, you admire him and wish to be like him. So you admire these people for their good actions and hence you wish to be like them. Al-Ghibtah, then, is actually good and desirable. It influences our attitude and behavior in a positive way.

Al-Hasad, on the other hand, means ‘envy’. It is a negative behavior which is prohibited and condemned in Islam. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, said that al-Hasad demolishes the rewards. It is envy and jealousy that occurs when you see someone who is given some privileges that you do not have. It is Allah who gives His Bounty to anyone He choses. So we should not feel any objection to Allah’s plan. That is why al-Hasad is considered a very bad behavior and a major sin.

 We are encouraged to perform the acts of ordering good things and prohibiting evils because when we do it we contribute to the well-being of the society. We do not do it to offend or put down someone. We do it in order to help them. Carrying out this concept will always contribute to the betterment of the whole society. We have to do it with tolerance and patience so that the other party may accept it. When we do this act with good intentions, the other person sees it positively. He sees it as caring and concern from our side. So most likely, he will accept it. We should not do it in a harsh or aggressive way that it may offend others.


Conclusion

Scholars state that permissible acts can be turned into ibadah. These acts can be rewarded with the condition of having good intentions. So every normal activity that we do in our everyday life can be turned into ibadah and we will be rewarded for doing it with good intentions. For example, when you are driving or putting petrol into your car with the intention of benefiting your family or relatives, you will be rewarded and this act will be considered as ibadah. Also, when you make a telephone call to your family or relatives with good intentions, you will be rewarded for that. Hence, these simple acts of our everyday life can be turned into ibadah and be rewarded. We need to train ourselves with this habit and insha Allah we will get a great reward from Allah.

 

                                                                               Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

It was relayed on the authority of Abu Dhar al-Ghifari, radiyallahu ‘anhu, that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, said, of waht he related from his Lord, magnified and exhalted be He, Who said:

“O My servants, I have made oppression unlawful for Me and unlawful for you, so do not commit oppression against one another. O My servants, all of you are liable to err except for those whom I guide on the right path, therefore seek guidance from Me so that I should direct you to the right path. O My servants, all of you are hungry (needy) except for those whom I feed, therefore seek food from Me so that I may feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked (need clothes) except for those whom I provide garments, therefore seek clothing from Me so that I should clothe you. O My servants, you sin by night and by day and I am there to pardon your sins, therefore seek forgiveness from Me so that I should grant you pardon. O My servants, you can neither do Me any harm nor can you do Me any good. O My servants, even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of Jinns become as pious as the most pious heart of any one amongst you, it will not add anything to My Power or Kingdom. O My servants, even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of Jinns become as wicked as the most wicked heart of anyone amongst you, it will not decrease anything from My Power or Kingdom. O My servants, even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of Jinns gather together on a sector of land and all ask of Me and if I were to give everyone of them what they asked, that will not in any way decrease what I have anymore than a needle decreases what is in the ocean when it is put into it. O My servants, these deeds of yours which I am recording for you I shall reward you for them, so he who finds good should praise Allah and he who finds other than that should not blame anyone but himself.”

[Muslim]


Background

This hadith stresses on the prohibition of all forms of injustice and oppression in Islam. It commands its followers to practice justice which is one of the main objectives of the Shariah. It also encourages Muslims to seek guidance from Allah by means of supplication (du’a) and relying on Allah alone (Tawakul).

Even though we are commanded to do our best efforts in carrying out our daily activities, one should not be materialistic and rely on his efforts alone. It is only with Allah’s permission and support and His tawfiq that our efforts becomes successful. Hence, this hadith confirms certain aspects of al-qadar which have been pointed out before and the choice is Allah’s Glory, the all-Gracious and Powerful.


Lessons

As also mentioned in many verses of the Qur’an, Allah subhana wa ta’ala affirms His absolute justice and negates that He has never committed any kind of injustice towards anyone. Some verses of the holy Qur’an in this regards are:

In Surah Fussilat (41), Ayah 46 : “Your Lord is not at all unjust to His slaves”

In Surah al-Zukhruf (43), Ayah 76 : “No wise shall We be unjust to them but it is they who have been unjust to themselves”

In Surah Ghafir (40), Ayah 31 : “And Allah wills no injustice for His slaves”

In Surah al-Imran (3), Ayah 108 : “…and Allah wills no injustice to the world”

In Surah al-Nisa (4), Ayah 40 : “Surely Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom”

In Surah al-Kahf (18), Ayah 49 : “…and your Lord treats no one with injustice”

 The forbidden injustices include all forms. The first, the highest level and the most extreme form of injustice is al-shirk or associating partners with Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“Verily joining others in worship with Allah is a great form of injustice indeed”
[Surah Luqman (31) : Ayah 13]

The second form is unjust towards one ownself such as committing sins. The third form is dhulm or unjust towards others whether human beings or other creatures.

It is a must that a Muslim should avoid injustice as it displease Allah subhana wa ta’ala and leads to His severe punishment.

 Ibn Taymiyyah points out that good and bad may be related to one’s worldly life or one’s religion. The guidance and forgiveness that are mentioned in the hadith are related to one’s religion. Food and clothing are related to one’s worldly needs. These are examples of what every one of us needs.

 The hadith shows us that humans are always in great need for Allah. We need Allah for everything because we are poor and needy. Allah is the only One Who does not need anybody. He does not need anything from us. He is the Almighty and the Most Powerful. So a Muslim should show his or her need to Allah all the time and should seek Allah’s support and Tawfiq in whatever he or she does. That is why we are ordered to do a lot of dhikr all the time because it expresses our needs to Allah subhana wa ta’ala.

It is by the help of Allah that we are able to do things. We are able to move and walk. We are able to sleep and wake up and do all our activities. All our internal bodily systems such as breathing, blood circulation and digestion and so on depend and work on Allah’s Will. If any of these functions stop working, no one can bring it back to normal except Allah. So we should always be grateful to Allah subhana wa ta’ala.

Most people remember Allah only when there is a problem. For example, when one of our bodily functions does not work properly (e.g. an injured muscle, a broken finger, etc.), it is only then that we remember the bounties of Allah and what He provided us. But we should not wait until a problem occurs to be grateful to Allah. We have to be grateful to Him all the time and thank Him for all His Ni’mah on us. This will increase our iman because the more we show our needs to Allah, the more we feel the bounty of Allah. People who are not grateful to Allah are considered arrogant because they do not recognize the bounties of Allah given to them.

 Guidance is a great mercy and ni’mah from Allah the Almighty. It is very important for every Muslim to know that the most valuable thing that we have in our life is this guidance. Allah has guided us to the right path or iman and we have to be grateful to Him. This guidance in the form of the Qur’an was revealed to us by Allah through His Messenger, Muhammad, sallallahu alayhi wasallam. So we should stick to its guidance and follow its teachings as a guide for us in everything we do in our lives. Our efforts alone cannot guide us. Even though we have our own will and choice, they are not independent. They are under Allah’s will and choice and belong to Him. We have aql (mind) but again it is created by Allah. We also have fitrah or the natural deposition but it is also created by Allah and belongs to Him. All these things are created by Allah. Allah showed us the right way to follow and be guided and warn us against Shaitan who is our greatest enemy and cause of our wrongdoings and misguidance. Allah also showed us how to deal with our own desires which He created in us. He told us that we should not be misled by these desires. We have to use them in the right ways.

When it comes to the issue of misguidance, we must know that it is not from the choice of Allah because He does not want us to be misguided. It is from our own will and choice. When someone is misguided it is his or her own attitude and behavior and it is he or she who chooses it to be like that. For example, takabur (arrogance) is one source of misguidance but it is a person’s character and attitude which affect the heart and cause misguidance. So when a person chooses to be misguided he or she will be so by his or her own will and not by Allah’s misguidance. Allah’s misguidance comes later as punishment for the person who chooses to be misguided. But if the person is misguided because of external factors which is out of his hands, he will be excused. For example, if the person did not receive the message of Islam at all or he received it but not in a clear way, then he will be excused for that misguidance. People who live in periods between two prophets (Ahlul Fatrah) are considered as being in excusable situations because they could not receive the messages of Allah at that period of time.

At the end of the hadith it is mentioned and stressed that whoever finds good record he should be thankful to Allah and praise Him for that, and anyone who finds other than that, which means bad record, he should not blame anyone except himself. This is a clear statement that shows the personal responsibility of one’s actions. It is the person’s own will and choice and not Allah’s. Allah is al-A’dil or Just. He never does injustice to His servants. In the Qur’an, we can find many verses that explain how people blame themselves during the Day of Judgment for not following the right path. It is the people themselves who chose to be misguided and hence they cannot blame any one else but themselves. This is also an important aspect of al-qadar that should be understood.

 According to the scholars there are four types of guidance:

  1. Guidance needed for the welfare of the worldly life. This type is general guidance for all living beings. They include Muslims and non-Muslims, animals and also other creatures. All are guided by Allah for their worldly well-being.
  2. Guidance which benefits mankind in the religious sense. This type is beneficial for life in the Hereafter.
  3. Guidance in terms of placing faith and guidance into the heart of a person. This can be done only by Allah, as mentioned in Surah al-Kahf, Ayah 117.
  4. Guidance in the Hereafter as stated in Surah Yunus, Ayah 9. This fourth guidance is a result of the second guidance. Those who follow the message of Allah are guided to the right path and will be guided in the Hereafter.

 The door of Taubah or repentance is open for all. The acceptance of our repentance is always available. Islam is a practical religion. It acknowledges our weaknesses. People are always subject to wrongdoings. They may neglect or delay performing obligations (wajib) or they may even indulge in sins (ma’asi’) but Allah subhana wa ta’ala is Oft-Forgiving and His door is open to all wrongdoers.

We are given the chance to repent and come back to Allah. This is a mercy from Allah. If we truly repent to Allah, our sins will be forgiven and even the bad records will be changed into good ones. Allah is telling us that He is Forgiving, Merciful and Compassionate. He requires us to come to Him and seek His forgiveness. We should know that the door of Allah is open to us all the time. If we do something wrong at night, we should come back to Him in the morning and if we do something wrong in the morning, we should come to seek His forgiveness during the night. We are always encouraged to do istighfar, which means to remember Allah and praise Him by reciting His Dhikr. We should maintain this istighfar regularly, for example, during the morning and evening times. It is also recommended to recite these adhkar after the salah and in some other specific times. We are encouraged to read these dhikr in our hearts.

 The hadith shows the generosity of Almighty Allah. Allah gives His servants a lot of bounties and favours. The more they ask Him, the more He gives them His Ni’mah and countless Bounties. He wants us to ask Him more and seek His help and support. This is different from human beings because humans do not like to be asked frequently. The more you ask a human, the more they hate you and eventually will turn away from you. But the more we ask Allah the more He gives us. He wants us to come closer to Him and show Him our needs and humbleness. He will be pleased by our frequent taubah and repentance. This is also a kind of ibadah which is required to be practiced.

The early scholars (al-Salaf) used to ask Allah a lot and always seek His help in everything, even when a part of their shoe is cut they ask Allah to repair it for them. This shows that they were totally relying on Allah subhana wa ta’ala in their lives. We should also depend on Allah alone. We should not depend on our material aspects such as money and wealth as they cannot do anything for us. It is Allah alone Who deserves to be relied on. So every Muslim should be closer to Allah and seek His help and support. This will give us strength in our faith and iman. It will also give us more barakah (blessings) in our deeds and actions as explained in many verses of the Qur’an.

Istighfar is also one way to acquire good rizq or wealth because when we do istighfar we will get barakah in our rizq. It is this barakah or blessing of Allah which makes our wealth more beneficial regardless of how much money we earn. Some people earn a lot of money but there in no barakah in their wealth because they do not do istighfar nor are they grateful to Allah. People should show their need and humbleness to Allah who is the Master and Sustainer of the world.


Conclusion

The hadith shows us the proper relationship between mankind and Allah. It shows us the many attributes of Allah such as being Merciful, Forgiving, Powerful and Compassionate. In contrast, we as human beings are poor, needy and weak. We are in continuous need for Allah, our creator and sustainer. We need His Guidance, Help and Support. That is why in every raka’ah of our salah we are required to recite Umu al-Kitab or Surah al-Fatihah. We recite it at least 17 times everyday. It reminds us of our extreme need for our Lord and His Guidance and Support. Also this will strengthen our faith and iman.

In many verses of the Qur’an and in the hadiths of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, it is explained the importance of showing our need and humbleness to Allah and the worthiness of frequent taubah or repentance to Him. He will listen to us and will accept our supplication and repentance. He will be pleased by our du’a and prayers. He will shower on us His Mercy and Blessings and that is what we continuously need. We want to be guided, supported and forgiven. We seek the pleasure of Allah and it is the most important thing that a Muslim may achieve in life. Those who achieve it are described as Fa’izun or the most successful people.

 

                                                                  Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

On the authority of Abu Malik al-Harith bin ‘Asim al-Ash’ari, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said: The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“Purification is half of iman (faith). Saying ‘Al-Hamdulillah’ (Praise be to Allah) fills the scales. Saying ‘Subhanallah wa al-Hamdulillahi’ (Exhalted be Allah and Praise be to Allah) fills the space between the heavens and the earth. Salah (prayer) is a light. Sadaqah (charity) is a proof. Sabr (patience) is a shining glory. The Qur’an is an argument either for you or against you. Everybody goes out in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves.”

[Muslim]


Background

The hadith shows the importance of these great deeds in Islam through which every Muslim can free him or herself from the punishment of Allah subhana wa ta’ala in the Hereafter or in the Day of Judgment. One has to free oneself from any kind of enslavement except to Allah subhana wa ta’ala. One has to be a servant and slave of only Allah and not anyone or anything else.


Lessons

Al-Imam Ibn Rajab mentions that there are different views and interpretations of the term ‘al-tuhur’ or purification. He says that some scholars have interpreted al-tuhur as to mean ‘avoiding sins’. But Ibn Rajab disagrees with this and points out that there is another version of the hadith which says that wudu’ or ablution is a ‘half of iman’. So he is in favour of this meaning. That is, the term al-tuhur refers to the ritual purification by water (wudu’). He also says that this is the view of the majority of the scholars and only a few scholars have interpreted al-tuhur as to mean ‘avoiding sins’.
Ibn Rajab actually mentions two reasons why the term
al-tuhur is interpreted as wudu’ :

  1. As mentioned earlier that it has been stated in another version of the hadith to mean wudu’ or purification.
  2. Imam Muslim and some other scholars have recorded this hadith in chapters related to ablution or wudu’.

 The term shatr or “half” (as mentioned in the sentence: “Purification is half of iman“) also had different interpretations among the scholars. Ibn Rajab says that there are several views that explain the meaning of the term shatr.

  1. Some scholars said that shatr means “part” and not “half”. Ibn Rajab says this is a weak interpretation because linguistically al-shatr means “half” and not just “part”. Secondly, the hadith itself has clearly stated wudu’ (ablution) as being half of iman (faith) and not part of iman.
  2. A second view from other scholars states that al-tuhur means the reward of ablution will be multiplied to the half of the reward of iman. But Ibn Rajab says this view is also not of a sound interpretation.
  3. The third view takes the meaning as being: iman nullifies all major sins while wudu’ nullifies minor sins. So in this regard, wudu’ is equal to half of iman.
  4. The forth view is that al-tuhur means iman along with wudu’ eliminate and nullify sins. So according to this view wudu’ is half of iman – but again Ibn Rajab also considers this as a weak interpretation.
  5. The fifth view is that the meaning of iman in the hadith is salah (prayer) as mentioned in the Qur’an, in Surah al-Baqarah, Ayah 143. In this ayah Allah called salah ‘iman’ and the salah will not be accepted unless there is a wudu’. So that is why ablution can be considered as half of salah. Ibn Rajab did not comment on this view but he disagrees with all the other views mentioned above.
  6. In a sixth view, Imam Ibn Rajab implicitly mentions his own opinion. He favours it from all other views because in the earlier interpretations he merely quoted views of other scholars and commented on them. He says: “Indeed the parts that constitute iman such as words and actions are all to purify and clean the heart or the inner parts of the body. And there is also a purification of the external body by using water and ablution and this is specific to the body only. Hence, there are two divisions of iman; the first division purifies the heart and the internal body and the second division purifies and cleans the external body. So in this regard, both divisions are two equal parts of iman.”

This is the explanation of the first statement of the hadith which is “Purification (al-Tahur) is a half of iman“.

 The hadith mentions that the phrase al-Hamdulillah fills the mizan (scales) and Subhanallah and al-Hamdulillah each fills (or both together fill) the space between the heavens and earth. The hadith shows the importance, greatness and significance of dhikr Allah or remembrance of Allah subhana wa ta’ala. For example, merely reciting one phrase such as Subhanallah gives rewards that fill the heavens! It shows just how important these phrases are for every Muslim.

Al-Haithamy, one of the great Muslim scholars, stated that the full reward of reciting dhikr will be given to the person who recites them while thinking of their meaning and submitting to their implication.

The hadith actually indicates the greatness of these phrases: al-Hamdulillah, Subhanallah wa al-Hamdulillah. The phrase Subhanallah can be recited alone or together with al-Hamdulillah as stated in the text of this hadith. This shows the worthiness of what is called al-Tasbih, glorifying Allah and al-Tahmid, praising and thanking Allah.

Ibn Rajab stated that al-Tahmid is greater than al-Tasbih. It means that to be grateful and thankful to Allah is better than being in a state of Tasbih or glorifying Him and denying imperfection towards Him. The phrase ‘al-Hamdulillah’ shows gratitude and thankfulness to Allah. It is a positive concept while al-Tasbih is to deny any negative traits towards Almighty Allah and so al-Tahmid is better than al-Tasbih. Also, al-Hamdulillah is not just thankfulness to Allah. It involves more general aspects because it can be expressed both in words and actions. For example, when you do good deeds, it means al-Hamdulillah, just as when you say good words.

Ibn Rajab says that in the hadith al-Tasbih actually came with the al-Tahmid – it is usually mentioned with al-Tahmid. But al-Tahmid can be stated alone without al-Tasbih as found in the hadith and other hadiths, as well as in many verses of the Qur’an. So although each term has its own significance, al-Hamdulillah is better and more important than Subhanallah.

 The hadith shows us the worthiness and importance of dhikr Allah in general. It is very important and useful and every Muslim should remember Allah all the time. In the Qur’an, dhikr Allah is the only thing that Allah has commanded us to do frequently.

There are different types of dhikr. Among them are:-

  1. Adhkar u-al-Salawat. According to some scholars, the minimum dhikr that a Muslim is required to do is to maintain the adhkar after each salah or prayer. This kind of dhikr requires very little of our time. It needs just few minutes and its reward is great. These days, people rush out after the salah without reciting the recommended dhikr. We should remember that if we are in hurry and we have to leave immediately, we can still recite them while we are walking.

Today many Imams of mosques rush to the du’a after the salah. They do not wait for people to recite the recommended dhikr after the salah. Adhkar u-al-Salawat is basically part of our ritual obligations that we have been ordered to do and so we should to fulfill this obligation.

  1. Adhkar u-al-Sabahi wa al-Masa. According to some scholars, this type of adhkar is to be recited after the Fajar prayer in the morning and after the Maghrib prayer in the evening. Some other scholars say it is recommended before sunrise and before sunset. Whatever the case, this adhakr consists of very important du’as that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, guided us to read during these two specific times. There are many forms of this type of du’a but we do not have to read or memorize all of them. We just need to choose some of them. Some scholars say that we can choose only some of Adhkar u-al-Sabahi wa al-Masa but we have to maintain them regularly everyday. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used to read some of these adi’yah regularly in the morning and evening and so we are also allowed do so on an everyday basis.

Al-Imam al-Nawawi himself has compiled a book called “Kitab Adhkar u Alyoum Wa-Laiylah” and discusses in detail about this type of adhkar. It is recommended to read and maintain these adhkar everyday. It is easy and takes only five to ten minutes of our time.

  1. Adhkar u-al-Ahwal. This adhkar is to be recited during specific occasions. For example, when you want to eat you are supposed to recite “Bismillah” and when you finish eating there is a du’a to be recited. Similarly, when entering the mosque there is a du’a, when going out of the mosque there is also a du’a, when you enter your house there is a du’a and so on. A Muslim has to read these adi’yah and memorize some of them. They are very simple to memorize and easy to recite. We have to make them part of our lives. Most of us are, al-Hamdulillah, already practicing this. This type of du’a is very much recommended during traveling, coming back from travel, during storms and also on many other occasions.

According to Sheikh al-Sa’di, one of the contemporary Mufasir, a person who maintains these three types of adhkar regularly is considered among those who remember Allah a lot, as mentioned in many verses of the holy Qur’an. So one has to read and preserve this kind of dhikr Allah but al-dhikr, in general, can be freely recited and there is no limit to the amount of dhikr that one can recite. Sheikh al-Sa’di, while commenting on the Ayah in Surah al-Ahzab further said that dhikr Allah is an obligation and we must fulfill this obligation.

Another important thing about dhikr is that one has to understand the meaning of the dhikr that he or she recites. Ibn al-Haitham stated that al-dhikr should be recited with full awareness of its meaning and not just read by the tongue without understanding it. If a person reads the adhkar with full comprehension, he or she will get more rewards. And he/she will feel the pleasure of iman and also the iman itself will increase.

So from these statements we can understand that there are three conditions for getting more rewards in our dhikr. The first one is to read the three types of dhikr in their specific occasions. Secondly, to recite the dhikr with full awareness and understanding of its meaning. And finally, to continue and maintain the recitation of these dhikr regularly everyday.

 The third part of the hadith is about the prayer (salah) and it’s position in Islam. The hadith says: “Al-Salah (the prayer) is a light”. According to Ibn Rajab, prayer is indeed a light for the believers in their lives. It is also a light in their hearts and delights the inner parts of their body. They will be guided by the salah and will be given enlightenment and satisfaction in their hearts. That is why the salah is a delight of the eyes of the righteous people. Al-Imam Ahmed recorded a hadith saying that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used to say: “The delight and pleasure of my eyes is in the salah“.

In another hadith the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said: “When a servant of Allah preserves and safeguards the salah and performs it perfectly in terms of its ablution, its sujud, and ruku’ then the salah will say to him: ‘May Allah preserve and safeguard you as you preserved and safeguarded me’, and then the salah will be taken by the angels up to the heavens while it has lights until it reaches Allah subhana wa ta’ala and it will do shafa’ah or intercession for the servant of Allah.” In another similar hadith that is recorded by Imam Ahmed in his al-Musnad, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said: “Whoever preserves the salah, it will be a light, proof and safe place for him during the Day of Judgment.” The hadith also states the importance and significance of the salah for the believers who always perform it in its right time and right way.

 The hadith further explains the role of sadaqah (charity) in our lives. It says charity is a burhan (proof) for the Muslim. Burhan literally means ‘sunlight’ in Arabic. This emphasises that charity is a bright and clear proof like the sunlight. It is a proof that reflects the iman of the believer. People who pay charity regularly for the sake of Allah express a strong iman. They feel the pleasure of iman in their hearts. Imam Ibn Rajab says that the reason why charity is an evidence of iman is that people usually love wealth and money and if they challenge this love and overpower their greed for the sake of Allah, they indeed have strong iman.

 The hadith says “Patience is a dhiya’ or brightness”. According to Ibn Rajab, linguistically al-dhiya’ (brightness) is different from al-nur (light). Al-dhiya’ is more powerful than al-nur, because it not only gives out light but also heat, while al-nur gives out only a shining light. That is why in the Qur’an the term dhiya’ is used for sunlight which, beside its light, has heat or high temperature, but the term al-nur is used for the moonlight which gives out only light and does not emit heat.

Being patient is a very difficult and painful experience. It requires a lot of effort and struggle within. So when people control themselves and overcome impatience, they develop a good habit of self-control and become masters of their own selves. This is the real meaning of al-sabr or patience. Al-sabr literally means to ‘withhold’ or control something. It means to control the nafs and prevent it from being in a state of panic or impatience. It also means to prevent the tongue from complaining or saying negative things. People do not practice this value. They become impatient for minor reasons. They seem to be against the qadar and plans of Allah in their lives.

Imam Ibn Rajab says that there are three kinds of al-sabr or patience in Islam:

  1. Al-Sabru ala da’ati allahi – to be patient in performing the acts of worship or ibadah of Allah subhana wa ta’ala.
  2. Al-Sabru an ma’asi allahi – to be patient in the acts of avoiding sins (ma’asi) or disobedience of Allah subhana wa ta’ala.
  3. Al-Sabru ala aqdari allahi – to be patient with the Qadar of Allah or His plans which are predestined by Him and happens to us in our lives.

Some scholars add a fourth kind of al-sabr to these three classifications: Al-Sabru ala al-bida’ – to be patient on matters related to religious innovations (but this can be included under the ma’asi (sins) or disobedience).

On the question of which of these three kinds of al-sabr is more important, Imam Ibn Rajab said that to be patient in ibadah and to be patient in avoiding ma’asi or sins are more virtues than being patient with the qadar. One act of ibadah that contains all these three forms of al-sabr is fasting. For example, when fasting you obey Allah by performing the act of fasting, you avoid sins of eating during the day, and you believe that this is the plan of Allah and hence a test for you.

 The hadith also explains the role of the holy Qur’an in our lives. It states that “The Qur’an is either an argument and proof for or against you”. In Surah al-Isra Ayah 82 Allah says:

“We send down the Qur’an that which is a healing and mercy for those who believe and for the unjust people it causes nothing but loss after loss.”

So people who recite the Qur’an, learn it and practice its rulings are people who become the people of the Qur’an and it (the Qur’an) will be a proof for them. But those who ignore the Qur’an and never read or practice it in their lives, then the Qur’an will stand against them during the Day of Judgment. One of contemporary scholars observed that people do not read the Qur’an except when someone dies. They recite the Qur’an on a dead body but this is not the aim of the Qur’an. The Qur’an is revealed for the living and not for those who have passed away.

 Finally, the hadith states one very important issue, that is how to free ourselves from the punishment of Allah. The hadith states that everyone goes out in the morning and sells him or herself either for good or for bad. Every morning we sell ourselves either by freeing ourselves from the punishment or leading ourselves into punishment and hence destroying ourselves. Iman Ahmed has recorded another similar hadith in his al-Musnad. In Surah al-Shams Ayah 9-10, Allah subhana wa ta’ala mentions the same meaning. He says:

“Truly he succeeds that perfects it (the soul) and fails that corrupts it”.

Imam Ibn Rajab, while commenting on this meaning, said the person who struggles to worship Allah and obeys Him is the one who frees himself and the person who indulges in sins is the one who destroys himself. According to the hadith, every morning when people go out of their houses they are either gaining rewards and profit or getting losses. If they work for Allah and obey Him they are winners, but if they violate the rules of Allah and disobey Him then they gain nothing but loss after loss. This was also clearly explained in the Qur’an, in Surah al-Zumar Ayah 15.


Conclusion

This hadith guides us in how to gain great rewards in our lives and also how to save ourselves from Allah’s punishment. For example, practicing the acts of purification, dhikr Allah, prayer, charity and also many other deeds are very important ways to free oneself from the punishment of Allah.

 

                                                                              Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abu ‘Abdullah Jabir bin ‘Abdullah al-Ansari, radiyallahu anhuma, reported that a man questioned the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, saying:

“Do you see, if I pray the prescribed (prayers), fast during Ramadhan, treat the lawful as permissible and treat the forbidden as prohibited, but do nothing more than that, shall I enter Paradise?” He (the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) answered: “Yes.”

[Muslim]


Background

Imam Nawawi said that the meaning of “treat the forbidden as prohibited” is to avoid the forbidden, and the meaning of to “treat the lawful as permissible” is to perform them believing that they are permissible.

Ibn Rajab gave two other interpretations:

  1. “To treat the lawful as permissible” – to believe that it is permissible; “To treat the forbidden as prohibited” – to believe that it is prohibited and to avoid it.
  2. “To treat the lawful as permissible” – to perform it. “Lawful” here means what is not prohibited, which includes wajib (obligatory deeds), mustahab (preferable deeds) and mubah (allowed).

 One thing that we notice about the hadith is that Hajj and Zakah are not mentioned even though they make up the five Pillars of Islam. According to some scholars, the person who asked the question passed away (in the Battle of Uhud) before hajj was made an obligation. As for zakah, it is possible that it also was not yet made an obligation; alternatively, the person questioning was not a person of wealth and therefore was not required to pay zakah.


Lessons

This hadith indicates that the one who fulfils the obligations and avoids the prohibitions will enter Paradise. This meaning has been emphasised in a number of other hadiths.

 This hadith emphasises surrendering to the Will of Allah subhana wa ta’ala – to accept as permissible what Allah has permitted and to accept as forbidden what Allah has prohibited. This also emphasises Islam itself because Islam means to ‘fully surrender to the Will of Allah and to accept everything that has been commanded by Allah’.
In our contemporary times, there arise the issue of Muslims not fully adhering to the
shariah, i.e. Allah’s commandments. If this is because they are new Muslims or that they live in areas where there is a lack of knowledge or poor dissemination of information (e.g. there are no scholars to advise them), then this lack of adherence is excusable. However, if a Muslim chooses to intentionally ignore or reject the obligations and prohibitions set by Allah without good reasons, then he may be in danger of losing his Islamic entity or identity.

 These obligatory acts mentioned in the hadith that will lead a person to Paradise require strong belief in Allah, commitment and continuous efforts. Only then will it be an easy task to achieve.

 This hadith implies that the mustahab (or sunnah or preferable deeds) are not necessary for one to be able to enter Paradise. What counts or what matters is fulfilling the obligatory acts. However, we are encouraged to perform preferable deeds according to our capacity and whenever possible.

The significance of performing preferable acts is that it will lead us in getting closer to Allah subhana wa ta’ala. In addition, preferable deeds compensate for our shortcomings in performing the obligatory acts.

 Some scholars have made the assumption that the person asking the question in the hadith was new to Islam. This gives insights to educators (murabbi) and preachers (du’at) to observe the following lessons when dealing with new converts to Islam:

  1. The murabbi or scholar should take into account the background or status of the questioner before attending to and answering his or her questions. Different people with different backgrounds may require different answers or different approaches in conveying the answers. This is because a person who comes from a different culture or lives in a different environment from the murabbis or scholars may not fully understand the scholar’s explanations if it cannot be related to his/her situation.

If the murabbi or scholar doesn’t know the background of the questioner (e.g. if questions are being asked through mail, through the telephone, on the radio, etc.), then he needs to find out as much as possible about the questioner before answering. Some scholars try to speculate what could be the status of the person asking the question by, for example, trying to read between the lines of the text of the question. The end-result is that the scholars do not provide one fixed answer – there will be a few answers, each applicable to a different situation.

  1. The murabbi or scholar should not overburden new Muslims by asking them or encouraging them to perform preferable acts. The murabbi should just get them to start with the obligatory acts. If they are given too much to do, it may become too much for them to cope and they may lose interest in Islam altogether. The murabbi or scholar should start slowly and when the new Muslims are settled and are performing the obligatory deeds, only then should they be introduced to the preferable acts.

Similarly, new Muslims should not be subjected to conflicting issues or views in Islam. For example, they should not be told about the four different schools of thought (madhab) and be asked to choose which madhab to follow. This will only confuse the new Muslims. The murabbi or du’at should make it easy and simple for converts to start their new lives in Islam. Only later on can such issues be discussed.

The same thing can be said about the awam (general public). Scholars should not overburden them or bombard them with too many obligations or concepts. This is also a lesson we can learn from this hadith: the murabbi or scholar should observe the background of the questioner as well as the audience in general if there is no questioner.

An area related to this issue is the question of Islamic websites on the Internet. A website can be accessed by people from all over the whole world – people from different backgrounds and cultures. We have to be careful about the information that we put on these websites. Unfortunately there are Islamic websites that contain controversial issues and conflicting views, where different Muslim groups or sects promote only their school of thoughts and criticise other groups. Not only will this confuse those interested in Islam, new Muslims or existing Muslims from other parts of the world, it will also give a negative impression to the non-Muslims. It will provide information to the opponents of Islam to use as a means of discouraging people from embracing Islam. Islamic websites should be neutral and fair and should not be one-sided or controversial because the purpose of these websites should be to promote Islam and not to condemn it.


Conclusion

This hadith shows a significant characteristic of Islam that it is a religion based on ease. There is a minimum requirement to be fulfilled by every one, which is practicing obligations and avoiding prohibitions. By fulfilling this minimum requirement a person deserves to enter Paradise. Preferable acts are encouraged, based on one’s capacity and ability.

 

                                                              Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

On the authority of Abu ‘Amr, though others call him Abu ‘Amrah Sufyan bin ‘Abdullah, radiyallahu anhu, who said:

I said: “O Messenger of Allah, tell me something about Islam which I could not ask anyone about save you.” He answered: “Say: ‘I believe in Allah’, and then stand firm and steadfast.”

[Muslim]


Background

The literal meaning of “Istiqamah”: to go straight into the right direction, acting rightly, allowing no deviation. It is derived from the stem “Qiyyam”, which implies the continuity of doing something, following up with it and making sure that it is done in the right way and there is neither deviation nor swerving.

The term has been used by the Qur’an in many verses. Allah the Almighty says:

“Therefore, stand firm (on the straight path) as you are commanded and those who turn in repentance with you. And do not transgress, for He (Allah) sees well all that you do.”
[Surah Hud (11): ayat 112]

Ibnu Abbas said that this verse was the hardest and most difficult verse of the Qur’an on the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam.

Indeed it is a difficult task to achieve Istiqamah, hence, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said; “Be straight on the path or be close to it.”

In another verse, Allah the Almighty says:

“So unto this (religion) invite (the people). Stand steadfast as you are commanded and do not follow their desires…..”
[Surah al-Shura’ (42): ayat 15]

Based on these two verses, it can be inferred that Istiqamah is to stand firm and steadfast to what we have been commanded by Allah, i.e. to fulfill obligations and to avoid prohibitions. Also, we should not allow ourselves to follow or be mislead by desires (whether it is our desires or the desires of others) as it will cause deviation and lead us astray.


Lessons

According to Ibn al-Qayyim, there are five conditions to achieve Istiqamah in performing required deeds:

  1. The act should be done for the sake of Allah alone (ikhlas).
  2. It should be done on the basis of knowledge (‘ilm).
  3. Performing ibadah should be in the same manner that they have been commanded.
  4. To do it in the best way possible.
  5. Restricting oneself to what is lawful while performing those deeds.

 According to other scholars of suluk, i.e. behavior, there are certain steps to be followed in order to achieve Istiqamah :

  1. Always being aware of the final destination, i.e. the Day of Judgment (Akhirah). And to use this awareness in a positive way as a motive to do good deeds. One way to do it is through remembering that a person’s journey towards Akhirah starts the minute he / she passes away and leaves this world. One of the Salafs said: “If you live until the morning do not wait for the evening and if you live until the evening do not wait for the morning.”
  2. Commitment (Musharatah). One has to make a commitment that he/she will be steadfast and will do things in the right way and in the best way possible, and to adhere to conjunctions of Islam. Unfortunately many Muslims are being lenient in making such a commitment.
  3. To make continuous efforts (Mujahadah) to bring that commitment to reality. Some Muslims dare to make the commitment, but dare not to make the effort to make the commitment a reality.
  4. Continuous checking and reviewing of one’s deeds (Muraqabah). Being honest with oneself so as not to give false excuses for failing to fulfill a commitment.
  5. Self accountability (Muhasabah). This should be done twice: Firstly, before we start doing something, ensuring that it pleases Allah, that we do it for His sake only, realizing the right way it should be done. Secondly, after the action has been done, to check whether we have achieved what we aimed for, and to check for defects and shortcomings, and that we still could have done it better by not being satisfied with our action.
  6. Blaming oneself for not doing it perfectly after it has been done. Self blaming here is a positive one by using it as a motive, and by aiming for improvement and having the intention of doing things better next time. This leads to making another commitment and continual commitments to improve our performance.
  7. Striving for improvement (Tahsin). We have to make improvements in all that we do (daily activities, work, actions, good deeds, ibadah, etc.) as one of our objectives.
  8. To be humble towards Allah, realizing that no one is perfect except Him, seeking His forgiveness, guidance and support.

It should be emphasized that these steps/conditions apply to worldly matters as well as ibadah and good religious deeds.

 Factors that lead to the weakening of Istiqamah include:

  1. Committing sins (ma’siah), insisting on repeating them again and again, without istighfar (seeking Allah’s forgiveness) and without practicing repentance.
  2. Shirk (associating anything with Allah) whether in intentions, by showing off our good deeds to others, seeking others’ appraisal, avoiding being blamed by others, being afraid of someone, or to seek rewards from others than Allah. This part of shirk is also called riyya’ or showing off. All these lead to deviation in Istiqamah, and when these stimuli are not there, the person’s work is not perfect any more and it is not done in the best way possible.
  3. Nifaq (hypocrisy). There are two forms of nifaq: in belief and in action. The Muslim who surrenders totally to the will of Allah and accept Islam based on his/her choice is free from the first form of hypocrisy. However any Muslim is subject to and should avoid the second form of nifaq which the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, warned us about: Not keeping promises and breaking them continuously without good reasons or excuses, not fulfilling commitments we make with others, being aggressive and unjust to others in quarrels, and disputes, failing to shoulder responsibilities/burdens we are entrusted with, etc. All these bad qualities should be avoided since they lead to the weakening of our Istiqamah.
  4. Bida’ah (innovations in ibadah), whether genuine bida’ah (performing ibadah which has not been ascribed by Shariah, i.e. revelation), or relative bida’ah (failing to observe the requirements of doing ibadah – the five criteria discussed in Hadith 5), will lead to decreasing the quality of good action or ibadah.

There are other factors that also contribute to the weakening of Istiqamah, such as: recklessness, reluctance, heedlessness, being overwhelmed by a deceiving enjoyment, and being mislead by self interests and desires.

Applying the above mentioned steps and requirements pinpointed by scholars will help in overcoming all these obstacles and barriers.


Conclusion

Istiqamah is an important Islamic concept. Its significance can be seen where every Muslim is required to recite Surah al-Fatihah at least seventeen times each day seeking continual guidance to the straight path from Allah.

 

                                                                 Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abu Mas’ud ‘Uqbah bin ‘Amr al-Ansari al-Badri, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“Among the things that people have found from the words of the previous prophets was: ‘If you feel no shame, then do as you wish.'”

[Al-Bukhari]


Background

Haya’ can be translated as: modesty, shame, shyness or bashfulness, as pointed by Ustaz Jamaludin Zarabozo.
The word haya’ is derived from the word “al-hayah”, which means life, as if the person who has no haya’ (modesty) is like a dead person.

Islam encourages and treasures al-haya’ or modesty. It is one of the most important characteristics that each and every Muslim should acquire and posses.

The following are some hadiths which emphasize this great quality:

“Haya’ (modesty) and Iman (faith) are two that go together. If one is lifted, the other is also lifted.”
[Recorded by al-Hakim]

“Al-Haya’ is part of Iman.”
“Haya’ does not produce but goodness.”
[Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim]

 Possible interpretations of the text

Due to the form of the text, it may be interpreted in many possible meaningful ways. Imam Ibnu Rajab pointed out two interpretations of the text according to early scholars:

First interpretation: If you have no modesty, then do whatever you wish and Allah will punish you for what you do.

This mode of expression is well known in the Arabic language, and it is used for threatening someone. This mode is used by the Qur’an in Surah Fussilat: ayat 40.

Second interpretation: If you are contemplating an act and it is an act such that there is no reason to be ashamed of doing it before Allah or the people, then you may do that act.

Modesty is used as a criterion over whether or not to do a certain act. The command here is in the form of displaying permission.

However, there is a valid third interpretation given by Ibnu al-Qayyam who is a scholar from the eighth Hijrah century. He is in the view that the command is not what is meant by this statement. Instead, it is a statement of fact. The meaning is: If a person does not have any modesty, then there is nothing to prevent him/her from doing anything.

Haya’ is one of the most important factors that keeps a person from committing a sinful act. If a person has no haya’, he/she will do almost anything.


Lessons

There are two aspects of haya’ : Natural haya’ and acquired haya’. The later is attained as a result of knowing and realizing the Glory of Allah and His attributes.

 There are many manifestations of haya’ as mentioned by Ustaz Jamaludin Zarabozo in his commentaries on the Forty Hadith:

  • Having haya’ towards Allah – a Muslim should feel ashamed to have Allah see him doing – or hear him saying – something that displeases Allah, especially when that Muslim is alone and out of the view of humankind.
  • Haya’ towards the angels – as they are noble and dignified creatures who witness the acts performed by humans.
  • Haya’ towards other humans – an essential characteristic that keeps people from harming one another and from performing indecent acts.
  • Haya’ towards the person him/herself – a person should be ashamed of him/herself when he/she performs acts that are shameful. If he/she notices that his/her haya’ level is low he/she should improve it by remembrance of Allah, getting closer to Him, and fearing Him.

 This great concept of haya’ or modesty should be promoted through all possible means and at all levels and by everyone: educators, teachers, lecturers, parents, and du’at (preachers). It is unfortunate that today, and because of technology misuse, this great concept is threatened. Hence there is greater responsibility for the Muslim du’at, parents, educators, etc. to shoulder. The evildoers are promoting anything that distorts and corrupts haya’. Those people are taking advantage of the system where technology advancement is double sided. It is positive and beneficial on one hand, but it can be negative and destructive on the other. Muslims should learn, master and use Information Technology (IT) positively to promote what is good and beneficial. By mastering IT they should make deliberate efforts to be in control of it and minimize its negative destructive side such as by designing and producing filtering softwares.

The same thing can be said about the media, where it is entertainment oriented. Entertainment is taking new destructive directions which negatively affect the concept of haya’ a great deal. If haya’ is distorted, iman (faith) can be distorted too. The chances of committing sins and evil will be higher, and the chances of delaying or neglecting obligations will be higher as well. Even chances of committing crimes will be higher due to these new directions of entertainment, where crime, drug addiction, distrustful acts, and adultery are all looked at as means of entertainment. Semi naked bodies, songs that promote evil, etc. are aspects of new entertainment. Unfortunately, we Muslims borrow media material from the West without any kind of evaluation, filtering or classification. More instructions and guidelines are needed from media organisers regarding the nature of movies and TV. There should be programs for families’ awareness.

 Haya’ can sometimes be abused as a justification for not doing something or giving up an obligatory act. For example, being silent or passive in the presence of falsehood or oppression for no reason except claiming haya’. Or using haya’ as an excuse for not encouraging good or discouraging evil. Unless, for both of teh above mentioned cases, there is another good reason for not doing these acts such as considering the most likely expected harmful consequences.

Another example of abusing haya’ is to use it as an excuse for not seeking knowledge. In many Muslim cultures this matter is confused and misunderstood where there is a proverb or cliché that says: “There is no modesty in asking questions in religious matters”. But this cliché is only practiced in a few certain sensitive issues. However when it comes to seeking knowledge in a classroom, the situation is different. Most Muslims become shy and use modesty as an excuse. Parents at home, teachers at school, even lecturers at Universities add to the problem where they may treat asking questions as a sign of not being modest. This attitude needs to be changed to the right, positive one.

Another example is using haya’ as an excuse for not doing what is correct and allowed. You know that something should be done and it is good and allowed or is even a recommended or obligatory act. However, you simply give up and do not do it because of a claimed haya’. Not giving sadaqah (charity) to a needy in front of others, not taking away a harmful material from the street or the path of the Muslims, or not helping or giving a hand to a disabled or an elderly person to cross the street are some good examples of this phenomenon.


Conclusion

Haya’ or modesty is a great Islamic concept that leads to goodness and keeps a Muslim away from doing a bad or indecent act when its level is maximized. Treating bad actions, as shown by revelation, as evil acts and feeling ashamed of Allah to do it and ashamed of the community, are ways of acquiring haya’. Iman and haya’ are linked. When there is iman, there is haya’, and vice versa. All of us are borne with natural haya’. However it is subject to be spoiled due to environment and dominating ideologies. Technology misuse has its negative and destructive impact on haya’. Muslims need to be aware of such challenges and exert their effort to overcome them. Haya’ cannot be used as an excuse for not doing good deeds and acts.

 

                                                                                    Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abu al-‘Abbas ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas, radiyallahu anhuma, reported: One day I was behind the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, and he said to me:

“O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice] : Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you (have need to) ask, ask of Allah; and if you seek help, seek help from Allah. Know that even if the Nation (or the whole community) were to gather together to benefit you with something, they would not benefit you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with something, they would not be able to harm you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.”

[Al-Tirmidhi relates this and says: It is a good, genuine Hadith]

In a version other than that of al-Tirmidhi it reads:

“..Be mindful of Allah, you will find Him before you. Get to know Allah in prosperity and He will know you in adversity. Know that what has passed you by was not going to befall you; and that what has befallen you was not going to pass you by. And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship.”


Background

This hadith implies a very important advice and general ruling in Islam: Allah’s protection. Ibnu Rajab quoted one scholar as saying: “What a pity for the one who is ignorant of this hadith and has little understanding of its meaning.”


Lessons

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, starts the hadith by getting the attention of Ibn ‘Abbas by saying “O young man, I shall teach you some words of advice”. By saying “O young man”, Ibn ‘Abbas knows that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, is talking specifically to him. And by following it with “I shall teach you…” Ibn ‘Abbas knows how important the next words of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, are going to be. Hence, these words at the beginning have attracted the undivided attention of Ibn ‘Abbas.

This teaches us that when we give a talk or speech, it is important that we start with words that will grab the attention of the audience. This is to ensure that our words of advice (contained in our speech) do not fall on ‘deaf ears’.

 The phrase “Be mindful of Allah” means:

  • To observe or fulfil Allah’s obligations
  • To adhere to His commandments
  • To avoid His prohibitions

Some of the things we have to fulfil – to attain Allah’s protection – include:

  • The daily prayers (salah) – by praying in the best way we can and by performing it on time.
  • Maintaining cleanliness and purity.
  • Observing our oath – we have to be careful if we swear by Allah that we will do something, because we have to abide to this commitment we make.
  • Guarding our senses – we should ensure that what we see or hear or say pleases Allah. We should fear Allah and not use these senses in the wrong manner.
  • Ensuring that we do not consume, via food or drink, anything that is not halal.
  • Observing that our dealings and transactions are halal.
  • Protecting our hearts from being involved in maksiah, e.g. zina’ (adultery) – the moment a person is weak and does a maksiah, he should repent because of his fear of Allah.

 If we are “mindful of Allah”, i.e. we observe and fulfil His obligations/commandments, “Allah will protect us”. There two kinds of protection from Allah:

  1. Allah will protect or look after His servants in this world / in worldly matters. For example, our health and our senses. We will be enjoying Allah’s mercy and bounty for our sight, hearing and speech all of our lives – even as we grow old, Allah will still allow us to see and hear properly, or he will take care of our intellect and mental health.

Another example is Allah will protect our family and our property, belongings and money. Also, if one is mindful of Allah during his youth, Allah will protect him during his adult years.

  1. Allah will protect His servants’ deen (religion) and iman (faith). He will protect us from misunderstandings and being misled or influenced by misconceptions and self-desires. He will help us and give us guidance so that we are protected from negative influences.

Allah will also protect our deen when we leave this world. When we leave this world, we will leave with iman for being a mua’min (believer). We will be protected from shaitan’s influence to lead us astray right at the very last moment in our life.

We may not be aware of when Allah is protecting our deen. It may even cause us to be unhappy. There may be a situation where Allah prevents us from doing something (something which we want to do) – this is actually a protection from Allah, preventing us from a disaster or problem or from committing a sin.

 If we are mindful of Allah, we will find Him close to us or beside us or in front of us. Allah is close to His servants (the mua’minin) by giving them guidance, support, help, protection, victory, etc.

The other narration of this hadith states that if we become beloved to Allah during times of ease, He will know us during times of hardship. During our times of ease or prosperity, if we use it for the pleasure of Allah, He will be with us to look after us in our times of hardship, weakness, sickness, etc. Even in terms of receiving reward from Allah. If we are sick and are no longer able to do something which we used to do during our times of ease, we will be given the reward for that act.

 The statement in which the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, tells ‘Abdullah bin Abbas to “ask of Allah” and to “seek help from Allah” is the fundamental basics of Tawhid. This is something we say in every salah (“iyya ka na’budu wa iyya ka nasta’in”). This shows us the importance of du’a, the importance of continuously asking Allah for His support and guidance. We need to show our need for Allah and our total dependency on Him by performing such forms of ibadah.

 Allah subhana wa ta’ala has already written in Al-Lauhulmahfudz what is going to take place. There are events or occurrences that happen which we have no control over (e.g. being sick, losing someone we love, falling into hardship, etc.) and to face these events correctly we need to practice contentment (redha) which is the highest level of action required where we are pleased or contented with whatever Allah has chosen for us, whether it is positive or negative. The second highest level is tolerance (sabr), where we need to be patient and not panic or say anything that displeases Allah subhana wa ta’ala.

In the Qur’an there are several verses which emphasises this same meaning that is mentioned at the end of this hadith: Surah Yunus (10), ayat 107; Surah Fatir (35), ayat 2; Surah Al-Hadid (57), ayat 22.

Allah recorded the qadar (fate) of all creations 50,000 years before He created the heavens and the earth (Sahih Muslim). In another Sahih Muslim hadith, a man asked the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, whether what we do today is something that has already been recorded or whether it is something that just happens. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, replied that whatever happens is according to what has already been recorded. The man then asked why he should do anything at all. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, made a command [not just to the man but to the whole Muslim ummah] to do good deeds – everyone will be guided towards what he has been created for.

 Al-qadar can be broadly broken down into two categories:

  1. There are actions that take place which we do not have any control over. We have to surrender to the will of Allah and be patient.
  2. There are actions that take place which we had control over. These events happen as a result of our recklessness, laziness, of not being alert, etc. Even though the minute these things happen they already become qadar, those who are responsible for the actions will be held responsible. Thus, whatever we do, we should do it carefully, completely and to the best of our abilities. For example, construction workers building a site, doctors taking care of patients, driving, etc.

Generally speaking, we are responsible for what we do, whether it is in worldly matters or whether it is in our ibadah. We should always strive to improve ourselves and to constantly tell ourselves that we can do better.

 Also, we should avoid things that can be avoided, e.g. avoiding disasters, avoiding trouble, etc. Even in health, we should avoid consuming things which are unhealthy for our bodies – e.g. food which can cause heart diseases (i.e. contains high cholesterol), etc. In other words, we should avoid things that are bad for us, and not just let it happen and then blame it on qadar.

It doesn’t contradict with qadar if someone is sick that he seeks treatment. If we are faced with a problem, we should try our best to solve it or minimise it and not do things which will worsen the situation.

 Many Muslims tend to interpret this hadith (on qadar) negatively. We should understand qadar in a positive sense. We should differentiate between things which we don’t have control over and things which we do. Instead of just accepting things that happen as qadar, we should see how we can improve the situation and how we can avoid things which can be avoided. We should accept the fact that we are responsible for whatever we do and the choices we make.


Conclusion

This hadith teaches us how we can live a peaceful and happy life by being mindful of Allah and by totally trusting and worshipping Him. By understanding qadar positively, we will not live a stressful, unhappy life of always worrying about our future or what the consequences of our actions or decisions will be. We do our best to fulfil Allah’s obligations and we trust and accept whatever He wills for us.

 

                                                                                  Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abu Dhar Jundub bin Junadah and Abu Abdul Rahman Mu’adh bin Jabal, radiyallahu anhuma, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“Fear Allah wherever you may be; follow up an evil deed with a good one which will wipe (the former) out, and behave good-naturedly towards people.”

[Al-Tirmidhi relates it, saying: It is a good (hasan) Tradition. In some copies he says: It is a good and genuine (hasan and sahih) Hadith.]


Background

Taqwa is one of the most important and comprehensive Islamic concepts. The term is derived from its root “waqayya” which means “to protect.” Taqwa therefore means to protect one own self from the severe punishment of Allah by following His guidance.

Some translate Taqwa as “to fear Allah”. However, fearing Allah is only one aspect of this comprehensive concept. Ali ibn Abi Talib, radiyallahu anhu, defines it as: “Fearing Allah, adhering to His commandments, being content with what He provides one with, and getting ready for the Day of Judgement.”

Mohammad Asad translates it as “to be conscious of Allah.” It might be better according to some Muslim linguist to use the transliteration of this Qur’anic term and keep it as it is.

 The term has been mentioned many times both in Qur’an and Sunnah. Allah the Almighty says:

“O believers! Have Taqwa of Allah as is His right to have Taqwa. And die not except while you are Muslims”
[Surah Al-Imran (3): ayat 102]

By realization of Taqwa a Muslim is granted many bounties and blessings which he/she may gain. Among them are: the Love of Allah, a criterion by which to judge and distinguish between right and wrong, a way out of difficulties, matters will be made easier for him/her, sins will be remitted, guidance, help to acquire beneficial knowledge, prosperity and success.


Lessons

According to Ibn Rajab’s view as well as other scholars, Taqwa is to fulfill obligations and avoid prohibitions and doubtful matters. It is the advice of Allah to all humankind, and it is the advice of all prophets, alayhim al-salam, to their people. Prophet Mohammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used to advise and continuously remind his Companions about Taqwa in all his talks and on different occasions.

 Those who define Taqwa as “fearing Allah” look at the concept as a motive, because according to early scholars the minimum level of fearing Allah is what motivates a Muslim to fulfill obligations and keeps him/her away from prohibitions.

 Taqwa does not imply perfection. Those who have Taqwa are subject to commit sins. However, if they do so, they repent right away and follow up the bad deed they have done with a good deed to wipe the bad one out as mentioned in this hadith. This clarifies the debatable issue between some scholars: whether or not avoiding minor sins is considered an aspect of Taqwa.

 Allah the Almighty and all Merciful has left the door of forgiveness opened to many means by which the punishment for a sin might be removed. To do good deeds right after bad ones to wipe them out is one mean. This is mentioned in Surah Hud, ayat 114: “Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds.”

There are other ways and means by which sins are forgiven as stated in the Qur’an and Sunnah such as:

  • Istighfar (seeking forgiveness by supplication)
  • Tubah (repentance)
  • Du’a’ of Muslims for one another
  • The intercession by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam
  • The intercession of pious Muslims
  • Performing the daily five prayers regularly and on time
  • Afflictions
  • The torment in the grave
  • The horrible scenes and events of the Last Day
  • The mere Mercy and Forgiveness from Allah

If we do a good deed, Allah will reward us by guiding us to do another good deed. Hence, doing a good deed will lead to doing another good deed. Doing a bad deed without regretting it or without istighfar or wiping it out by doing a good deed will most likely lead to doing another bad deed, whether of the same type or of a different type. By doing a bad deed with that attitude makes the person subject to repeat it again and again and doing other bad deeds becomes possible until the heart of that person is “sealed” and the person turns into a transgressor.

 It is an obligation that every Muslim should treat others, deal with them, and interact with them in a good manner. Ibn Rajab says in his commentary: “Having good character is a characteristic of Taqwa. Taqwa cannot be complete without it. It was mentioned here by itself due to the need for explicitly explaining that point. Many people think that Taqwa implies fulfilling the rights of Allah without fulfilling the rights of humans. Therefore, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, explicitly stated that he/she must deal with people in a kind manner.” This ruling is stressed in many other hadiths, of which the following are some:

“Piety and Righteousness is being of good character.” [Recorded by Imam Muslim]

“The believer with the most complete Iman (faith) is the one with the best behavior.” [Recorded by Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud]

“There is nothing heavier in the scales than good character.” [Recorded by Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud]

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, made Iman (faith) and good character as the main basic criterion whether or not to accept a man for marriage.


Conclusion

To fear Allah the Almighty, to adhere to His commandments, to follow doing a bad deed with a good deed to wipe it out, and to deal with others in a good manner and good character are all aspects of the concept of Taqwa.

 

                                                                   Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abu Ya’la Shaddad ibn Aus, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“Verily, Allah has enjoined excellence (ihsan) with regard to everything. So, when you kill, kill in a good way; when you slaughter, slaughter in a good way; so everyone of you should sharpen his knife, and let the slaughtered animal die comfortably.”

[Muslim]


Background

Ihsan is a comprehensive concept. It denotes doing things completely, nicely and in a tasteful manner. It comprises four components:

  1. Sincerity (Ikhlas)
  2. Completeness
  3. Tastefulness (doing things in a nice manner), and
  4. Correctness (doing things in the right way).

This concept is translated by commentators and interpreters as Excellence. Being a comprehensive concept, the term Ihsan cannot be translated word for word because there is no word in the English language that gives its exact meaning. Therefore, it is better to use it as it is.

 Islam commands Muslims to practice and apply Ihsan in all that they do – hence it is an obligation (wajib).
It has been mentioned in the Qur’an as well. Allah the Almighty says:

“Verily, Allah enjoins Justice, and Ihsan and giving help to kith and kin,…”
[Surah Al-Nahl (16 ): ayat 90]

In Surah Al-Mulk (67), ayat 2 this concept is mentioned as one of two main purposes of human creation, Allah the Almighty says: “The One Who created death and life so that He may test you which of you is best of conduct.”


Lessons

The hadith contains a principle and provides an example of applying that principle. This is a Prophetic method, as mentioned previously, to enable Muslims to apply the same principle to other similar situations. It can also be said that providing the example is a way of explaining the principle so it is easily understood. Most of the forty hadiths collected by Imam Nawawi are of this nature. It was also previously mentioned that Muslims have a tendency of taking the example and forgetting about the principle. This may explain why Muslims are reminded of this hadith only once a year, during Eid ul-Adha.

 The concept of Ihsan means that a Muslim is a responsible person and a person of quality where he does things in a very good manner, in a complete sense, in a nice and tasteful way and is never satisfied with anything other than a quality job in all that he/she does, motivated by realizing that Allah prescribed Ihsan to everything and to all deeds.

 The term ‘amalan in its selected form as mentioned in Surat Al-Mulk ayat 2 implies any kind of deeds. It is not just the religious deeds (ibadah), but also all that we do which is lawful. It should be done according to the concept of Ihsan and we should exert our efforts to live up according to its implications. The way we look and dress, the way we eat, the way we sleep, our work, our profession, our da’wah, teaching and learning, our relationship with our family, relatives, neighbours, and with others in general – Ihsan should be observed and practiced in all these actions. These actions and good deeds can be considered as ibadah thereof.

 The superlative form of the verb used in the same verse (ahsan) implies that all good deeds and actions that we do should be done in a competitive way. However, competition in Islam is not for achieving personal interest but rather for seeking the pleasure of Allah.

 The hadith mentions one way of dealing nicely or being merciful with animals and that is in the case of slaughtering. In another hadith the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said: “Whoever shows mercy even when slaughtering a bird, Allah will have mercy on him on the Day of Judgement.” [Recorded by Al-Bukhari]

In another hadith, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, related this story: “While a man was traveling, he felt very thirsty. He found a well and went down to have a drink. When he came out he found a thirsty dog. He said to himself, “This dog is as thirsty as I was.” He then went back inside the well and used his shoe to bring out some water for the dog. Allah was pleased with him and forgave his sins because of he had done.” [Recorded by Al-Bukhari]

In other hadiths the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, warns us not to frighten animals. While he was with his companions he found a bird making a greaving sound. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, immediately said: “Who has frightened this bird by taking its offspring?” Then he commanded: “Return back her offspring.” In another hadith the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, warned Muslims not to harm animals. He said: “A lady was put into the hellfire because of a cat. She tied up the cat and did not give her anything to eat nor did she allow it to look for food.”

One more ruling concerning dealing nicely with animals is not to abuse the animals we use for achieving certain work (i.e. carrying things) and not to overburden them. In one hadith (which shows a prophetic miracle), the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, was passing by a farm in Maddinah when he came across a camel. The camel approached the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, as if it was telling him something. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, asked about the owner of of the camel and called upon him and told him, “Your camel is complaining that you overburden him with work, and gives him too little to eat.” [Narrated by Abu Daud, Al-Hakim, Imam Ahmad, and others and it is an authentic hadith]

 Shaykh Abdullah bin Jibrin, a contemporary scholar, is in the view that animals should not be used as a testing instrument in the lab (like what is being done in the West) based on a basic ruling derived from this Hadith 17, where it is prohibited to harm an animal. The testing is only allowed if it can be ensured that the animal will not be harmed. All this shows that Islam is the religion of Ihsan and mercy, which is totally contrary to the image of Islam being promoted in the West. Not only that, but this evidently proves that the West are the ones who abuse and harm animals.

 Even in Jihad (fighting enemies), Muslims are to apply Ihsan. We are not allowed to kill the elders, children, women, and those who are not fighting. When killing the aggressive enemy who deserves to be killed, Ihsan has to be applied and observed. We have to make sure not to cause any harm or suffering to anyone we kill. The captives have to be treated with Ihsan as well. It is Islam who introduced a new way of dealing with captives. We are to free them on the basis of them teaching some Muslims something beneficial.

Weapons that cause mass destruction have been initiated, introduced and used by the West. Using them contradicts with the concept of Ihsan. But how about if the enemies of Islam use them against us? Some cotemporary scholars say that Muslims are allowed to use them only in response and as a counter act.


Conclusion

By living according to the concept of Ihsan and by applying it to all that a Muslim does, he/she will be rewarded and showered with mercy and forgiveness from Allah the Almighty. Furthermore, by doing that, a Muslim will ensure that he/she will pass the test and be amongst those of the best conduct.

 

                                                               Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abu Hurairah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that a man said to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam:

“Advise me! “The Prophet said, “Do not become angry and furious.” The man asked (the same) again and again, and the Prophet said in each case, “Do not become angry and furious.”

[Al-Bukhari; Vol. 8 No. 137]


Background

This hadith is also related by other scholars of hadith. In another narration, it is related as:

A man came to the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, and said, “Messenger of Allah, teach me some words which I can live by. Do not make them too much for me, lest I forget.” The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said, “Do not be angry.” [Abu Daud]

Some scholars say that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, knew that the man who asked him used to get angry often and that is why the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, gave him that particular advice. This view may lead to narrowing down and limiting the benefit of the hadith, whereas it is very comprehensive, far-reaching and applicable to all Muslims because everyone is subject to anger.

There are other Qur’anic verses and hadith that emphasize the need to avoid getting angry. Allah mentions the qualities of the muttaqin:

“Those who spend (in Allah’s cause) in prosperity and in adversity, who repress their anger, and who pardon men, verily, Allah loves the al-Muhsinun (the good-doers).”
[Surah Al-Imran (3) : Ayah 133-134]

In another hadith, Abu Hurairah related that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“A strong person is not the person who throws his adversaries to the ground. A strong person is the person who contains himself when he is angry.” [Al-Bukhari; Book 47, No. 47.3.12]

And from the du’a (supplications) of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam:

“I ask you O Allah, for truthful speech during times of pleasure and anger” [Nasaai and Ahmad]


Lessons

There are four views, of which two of them are from the earlier scholars and the other two are from the contemporary scholars, about the interpretation of the Prophet’s, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, statement “Do not get angry”:

  1. A person should learn how to change his character and adapt the characteristics of generosity, kindness, calmness, modesty, patience and forgiving. If a person adapts these qualities, then he may be able to restrain himself when he is about to get angry.
  2. One should not act based on anger or while being angry.
  3. When a person is about to get angry, he should control himself, be patient and not get angry. This is a contemporary view from Sheikh Al-Bitar.
  4. Ustaz Jamaluddin Zarabozo says that the text can be interpreted in the following way: a Muslim must think before acting or speaking. As soon as the feeling of anger appears to oneself, then there is a need to think of why the anger appears and whether it is necessary to be angry. While asking these questions, the person must remember Allah and the Hereafter (Akhirah). This will cause the person to calm down and not get angry.

All these interpretations can be applied as different strategies in handling anger in different situations.

 If a person gets angry, then it is necessary that the person performs a muhasabah, which is to account oneself of the mistakes committed, what leads to them and how to overcome them in the future. This is an important training for us to improve ourselves.

 In various hadiths, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, teaches us how to control our anger. For example:

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said, “I know a word, the saying of which will cause him to relax, if he does say it. If he says: ‘I seek Refuge with Allah from Satan’ then all his anger will go away.” [Al-Bukhari; Vol. 4, No. 502]

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said: “I know a phrase which, if he repeated, he could get rid of this angry feeling.” They asked: “What is it, Apostle of Allah?” He replied: “He should say: ‘I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed devil.’” [Abu Daud; Book 41, No. 4762]

Therefore one of the keys to controlling ourselves during anger is to seek refuge in Allah from Satan because Satan influence us through the ‘was-was’ that influence our perception. Likewise, Satan promotes evil to people by influencing their perception.

Influencing human perception as a satanic way to promote evil and create disputes among believers has been mentioned in many verses in the Qur’an, for example:

“And say to My servants (that) they should (only) speak that which is the best; (Because) Shaitan verily sows dissensions among them. Surely, Shaitan is an open enemy to man.” [Surah Al-Isra’ (17) : Ayah 53]

Indeed, if somebody uses a vague word in his speech, then Shaitan ‘whispers’ a wrong interpretation or understanding to the listeners of the speech that may affect the relationship amongst them. This is how relationships in the family, brothers, sisters and friends are severed.

 In other hadiths, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, teaches us how to deal with anger:

“Anger comes from the devil, the devil was created of fire, and fire is extinguished only with water; so when one of you becomes angry, he should perform ablution.” [Abu Daud; Book 41, No. 4766]

Abu Dharr narrated: The Apostle of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said to us: “When one of you becomes angry while standing, he should sit down. If the anger leaves him, well and good; otherwise he should lie down.” [Abu Daud; Book 41, No. 4764]

In another hadith, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“If one of you becomes angry then he should be silent.”

This is an important advice because during anger, most of our actions and speech may not be correct.

Narrated ‘Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakra: Abu Bakr wrote to his son who was in Sijistan: Do not judge between two persons when you are angry, for I heard the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, saying: “A judge should not judge between two persons while he is in an angry mood.” [Al-Bukhari; Vol. 9, No. 272]

This hadith is related to the previous hadith (Hadith 15) – it sets out to avoid the judge from making unjust judgement.

 However, there are praiseworthy anger as known from the examples of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. He never got angry except when the commandments of Allah are violated. However, if we want to get angry for the sake of Allah, then we need to be careful that we:

  1. are really not getting angry for ourselves or for our own interests.
  2. need to do it in the right way, like not committing wrong actions or saying vulgar words while getting angry.
  3. can achieve the benefit as intended by the shari’ah. If the action leads to more harm than benefit, then it should be avoided based on the principle of weighing between the benefits and harms.

For example, when giving advice, say it in a good way, using good words, and be careful not to get into a quarrel.

 It is well known today that anger causes many health problems especially if they are not controlled. There are wisdoms behind shari’ah injunctions and here we find that to control our anger may be beneficial to our health.


Conclusion

Socially, this hadith promotes better relationship among people. We need to restrain anger and be patient. We may dislike something in this life but it may have benefits that we do not know.

Our patience towards others who have been harsh on us may later lead them to think and change themselves to be better. Muslims need to set models for others to learn from.

 

                                                                           Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abu Hurairah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“Let whosoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day either speak good or be silent. Let whosoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day honour his neighbour. Let whosoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day honour his guest.”

[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]


Background

This hadith contains the rulings concerning the tongue and the behaviour of Muslims towards others. It also emphasises that we are responsible for what we say.

Imam Haithami points out that this hadith is very similar in meaning to Hadith 13 that says: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” He says that everyone is a neighbour to someone else. Therefore if this hadith is properly practiced and applied, then there will be a strong bond and love within the society or community.


Lessons

The responsibility of the Muslim regarding what he says is mentioned in the Qur’an:

“Not a word does he utter but there is a watcher by him ready to record it”
[Surah Qaf (50): ayat 18].

There are also other hadiths which state that the Muslim should be careful about what he says. His words can either, if they are pleasing to Allah, raise him to a higher level; or if his words displease Allah, they may cause him to be thrown into the Hellfire – as stated in a hadith recorded by Imam al-Bukhari. This shows that what we say can have a direct effect on whether it will benefit us or not.

One hadith (which illustrates the example of a bad consequence resulting from what a person says) states that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said that a pious man from Bani Israel use to see his fellow man always committing sins. On day the pious man swore to the sinner: “By Allah, He will never forgive you.” Allah was displeased with what the pious man said because only Allah knows what is our destiny, whether someone will end up in Paradise or Hell. Because of this, when the two men died, the pious man was punished and put into Hell and the sinner was forgiven by Allah. [Sunan Abu Daud]

What we can learn here is that either we say something beneficial and good or else we should keep silent.

 There are many Islamic guidelines which help us to say good things and to refrain from saying bad things, or things which displeases Allah subhana wa ta’ala. When we talk to others, whether it is relatives, friends, neighbours, etc., we should select the best terms/words and say them in a nice way. We should ensure that what we say is clear and easily understood. If we are not careful and we do not choose the right words, what we say may be misinterpreted and may lead to conflicts.

As a listener, we have to listen positively and interpret what we hear in a good way. We should not ‘over interpret’ what we hear; we should not try to ‘read between the lines’. Thus, as a speaker we say things in a positive manner and as a listener we interpret things in a positive manner. By doing so Islam encourages us to minimise disputes and conflicts.

 If we find ourselves in the middle of a dispute between two people, e.g. between relatives, we should not take sides. We should try to help and reconcile the differences; try to resolve the problems and end the dispute.

 If we are being consulted by someone and asked for our advice, we should try our best to give good advice. What we say should help the person and not add to his confusion or doubt. If we do not have enough knowledge and we cannot provide proper advice, then we should keep silent.

Even if we have information which, as a result, may add to the person’s confusion, we should keep it to ourselves.

 We should keep away as best as we can from unnecessary or non-beneficial talk. People can talk or chat for hours but a lot of what is said is unimportant or trivial and does not benefit anyone. It wastes our time and this continuous talking may even lead us into areas where we might say something which displeases Allah subhana wa ta’ala.

 When it comes to saying good things, there are many examples available: dzikrullah (remembrance of Allah), reciting the Qur’an, du’a, giving advice, etc. These are all things which are pleasing to Allah.

 When we meet people who are sick, sad, feeling down, in a low frame of mind, etc., we should say things that will make these people feel better, have patience in facing their calamity, be positive, be strong, etc. This is known as al-muasah – to say good things of encouragement to help those facing problems; to not make them panic. The scholars have defined sabr (patience) as ‘to refrain from panicking’ – to refrain from being out of control – and to refrain the tongue from complaining.

Complaining, e.g. simply saying that the weather is hot, will lead us to impatience; it can affect our attitude and hence our work. If we want to lament we should lament only with Allah. If we do it with Allah it is munajah – it will turn into ibadah. If we do it with others it will be complaining (tashakki) – we will be violating the ibadah itself, which is sabr. So we should learn to minimise and ultimately eliminate the act of complaining.

 We should refrain from saying bad things or things which may be untrue. When we hear some news, we shouldn’t simply repeat it or spread it without first verifying if the news is true. This could lead to us spreading lies or rumours. We must refrain from:

  • spreading rumours, especially those that will cause harm to the community.
  • slandering, back-biting, etc.
  • sarcasm and making fun of others – this is one of the most common social ills today. It is a sin to make fun of others.

 Sometimes we may encounter a situation which involves fitnah or al-fitan. We have to be careful of what we say. There are people who will take advantage of the situation and they may say things which may worsen the situation. When there is fitnah, people are in a panic and might believe anything. That’s why we have to be careful of what we say because it may add to the people’s fears and problems. What we should do is to help by saying positive things that will give the people hope; to uplift them and motivate them to face the problems; and not to make it worse.

 The second part of this hadith stresses on being courteous and generous to our neighbours and guests. This is stated in the Qur’an – Surah An-Nisa'(4): ayat 36: “…do good to parents, relatives, orphans, the poor, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hand possess.”

In one hadith, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said: “Jibril kept advising me concerning the neighbour to the point that I thought that he would inherit from his neighbour.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. In another hadith [also recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim], it is stated: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbour.”

Another hadith records the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, as saying that the person who does not have complete faith (iman) is the one from whose affairs the neighbour is not safe. Al-Bukhari and Muslim also records another hadith which states that when you cook stew, you should add a little bit more water and give some to your neighbours. This sharing of food between neighbours can strengthen the relationships between them. We should be nice to our neighbours and share our food even if they are not Muslims.

 We should be patient with our neighbour even if he causes annoyance to us. In a hadith, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said that there are three types of people whom Allah loves. One of them is a person who has a neighbour who causes him harm or annoyance but he remains patient and tolerates the neighbour.

 The ‘guest’ mentioned in the last part of the hadith is generally interpreted as a travelling visitor who has come to stay for a short while. One hadith states: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should be generous to his guest. His special gift (to the guest) is one day and night. He (the guest) is to be entertained for three days. Whatever is beyond that is an act of charity. It is not lawful for a guest to stay with his host to the extent that he makes things difficult for him (the host).” [Al-Bukhari]. Thus, the visitor should not take advantage of a generous host.

Regarding this ruling, the majority of the scholars are of the opinion that hosting, in general, is recommended (mustahab) and not obligatory (wajib), even though it is a great and noble act. According to many scholars, the recommended act of hosting does not extend to evildoers or heretics. But some great scholars of today say that we should entertain even evildoers. This is because if we are good Muslims, when we host them and be good to them, we might influence them and cause them to change and become better people. But we should be very cautious if we were to host these sorts of people – we should only do so if we know there will not be any harm that may be inflicted on us.

Hosting evildoers would be following a general principle of Fiqh which allows us to tolerate a minor harm (e.g. allowing an evildoer to stay with us) in order to attain a major benefit (e.g. influencing him into becoming a good Muslim).


Conclusion

This hadith teaches us the proper manners pertaining to speech and entertaining guests. Following the advice given by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, will lead to a more peaceful life and harmonious Islamic society in this life, and attaining the pleasure of Allah in the Hereafter.

 

                                                                 Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

On the authority of Ibn Mas’ud, radiyallahu anhu, who said: The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“The blood of a man who is a Muslim is not lawful (i.e. cannot be lawfully shed), save if he belongs to one of three (classes): a married man who is an adulterer; life for a life (i.e. for murder); one who is a deserter of his religion, abandoning the community.”

[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]


Background

Before the arrival of Islam, human life had no value. A person can easily be killed for many different reasons, e.g. revenge, to show the superiority of a tribe, killing a newborn baby girl because it was considered a shame, etc.
When Islam arrived, it stressed on the value and importance of human life. A life must not be threatened unless it is lawful, i.e. where a serious violation of the shariah had occurred. Islam also made it clear that the taking of a human life is the responsibility of the highest authority, i.e. the judge. This is to prevent this practice from being abused for personal interests.

Islam has established rules and regulations for the community that minimise the need to carry out the execution of a man or woman as allowed by the three cases defined in the hadith. Islam is a peaceful religion and it has established rules where people respect each other and live together peacefully, without lives being threatened. In the case of zina, Islam has rules for the Muslim society that regulate relationships. Hence, it is very difficult for the cases mentioned to occur if these rules and regulations are observed. As for ‘deserting the religion’, the Muslim community is based on knowledge where ilm and da’wah are continuously being disseminated and conveyed. Thus people are aware of their religious obligations and the minds of the society are well-protected from being manipulated. All these measures have been set up by Islam to minimise the occurrences of these exceptional cases where the taking of a human life is allowed.
These truly are exceptional cases because during the time of the Prophet,
sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, (and later during the era of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs) there were only a few cases where such violations or problems occurred.

 This hadith should be seen and understood from a positive viewpoint – it is not legal to kill a Muslim except in one of three cases. Because these three cases are exceptional, it shows that the Muslim blood is valued and treasured and is blessed by Allah subhana wa ta’ala.

In the last sermon of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, during his farewell Hajj (which was a few months before he died), he, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, re-emphasised the principle of this hadith which is the sanctity of a Muslim’s blood. Islam encourages Muslims to avoid any kind of act, e.g. violence, injustice, etc. that will lead to violating this principle. All this shows just how important it is not to shed the blood of a Muslim.


Lessons

In Islam what is seen as punishment are actually measures put in place to protect the Muslim society and community. Islam takes precautions to ensure that these evil acts (or the violations of these principles) are minimised. In other words, Islam promotes good values and chastity; it encourages marriage, i.e. the legal relationship between man and woman; Islam also discourages acts that might lead to the violations of this principle, e.g. zina.

Islam makes it clear what the duties and obligations of the Muslim are – how we are to treat and respect each other. Islam places importance in a caring society, where the people, whether rich or poor, care for each other. This minimises hatred and hence conflicts and killings.

 Adhering to Islam itself (i.e. to stick to the religion) is another means of minimising the occurrences of the exceptional cases mentioned in the hadith. The evidence is established and da’wah is conveyed and hence the Muslim community is well educated and knowledgeable. They know and understand the religion and their obligations. They are proud to be Muslims and to live in a Muslim community and they can feel the bounty of Allah subhana wa ta’ala. They would never think of forsaking their religion.

 But the problem today is that modern technology, e.g. the media, Internet, entertainment, etc., is being misused to promote the three negative cases mentioned: adultery, violence/murder, and apostasy. These are shown as being normal and acceptable for the sake of entertainment. The world today has made bad, unacceptable behaviour and negative elements appear as good and vice versa.

These are serious challenges to the Muslim community today. We have to deal with these challenges very carefully, without forgetting the underlying principles behind this hadith. We have to determine how we can protect the Muslim community from violating these principles. The leaders and du’at of the communities have to determine how to counter or minimise the negative influences of the media, especially in areas like entertainment (TV, movies, etc). We have to study why the rates for things like divorce, adultery, violence and apostasy amongst Muslims are high. We have to revive the true roles of parents, du’ats, teachers, and leaders of the community to solve these problems. We should especially be concerned about protecting the minds and akhlaq (values) of the youths.

 There have been many researches and studies that show the negative influences of the media, especially television (e.g. like the book written by Prof Jerry Mander: Four Arguments to Eliminate Television, and the book written by Zig Ziglar: Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World). Studies have shown how television have made children become lazy, physically and mentally, how it affects their academic progress, how it can change their attitude, etc. We Muslims can benefit from these studies by learning from them so as not to allow our children to fall into the same pitfalls.

 Another problem is the lack of support within the Muslim communities, in terms of education, health, religious guidance, finance, care, etc. So when certain Muslims are in desperate need for help but no other Muslims are taking the trouble to lend a hand, Christian missionaries would come in and take advantage of the situation. They offer their help, financially, spiritually, etc. There are countries where Muslim families would send their children to Christian schools because it is the Christian schools that have shown greater concern towards the well-being of the Muslim children by providing them with better education and future. This leads to some Muslim families forsaking their religion.

In these sorts of situations, it is the Muslims themselves who are responsible for this apostasy because they do not look out for one another.

 Many Muslims today are victims of mind-manipulation where misconceptions created by, for example, Western Orientalists and Christians have influenced their perception and attitude. This results in the Muslim being less careful about his Islam, living a double-standard life – looking at him from one angle, he looks like a Muslim but looking at him from another angle, he doesn’t seem to have the Muslim identity.

This leads to another problem which is the lack of the Muslim identity among the Muslims. There are Muslims today who are promoting non-Muslim identities or speaking highly of other cultures which in the Islamic view may have negative elements. We should maintain and promote our own identity. We can still benefit from progress of the West, e.g. technology advancement, but we should do so in a positive way, without jeopardising the image and values of Islam.

We need to hold more conferences or dialogues and discuss issues like how we can benefit from the positive aspects of technology/change/progress and how to avoid technology misuse. Muslim experts should present their views or propose ideas on how we can achieve this.

 We need to discuss these issues which are the real challenges faced by the Muslim community today. We should not just talk about Islamic concepts without putting them in context with reality. We should not just talk about these issues theoretically, simply stating what the rulings on Islam are on this or that matter. We need to have an approach that goes deeper and considers the challenges and strategies we need to put in place in order to help the Muslim community to be positive, confident and proud of their Muslim identity. We need to help them so that they do not become trapped by the challenges they face today.

We need to create awareness among the Muslim community so that they are aware of their roles and responsibilities. We need to see how we can revive the original concepts of Islamic values and behaviour in a way that will work today.


Conclusion

This hadith needs to be looked at in the positive light where the emphasis is on the value of the human life and not on the punishments permissible for the three cases mentioned. Islam has put in place a system which leads to minimising the occurrences of the three cases. There are strategies, obligations, etc., which help the Muslims to avoid these acts.

Opponents of Islam look at the hadith in a negative way where they accuse Islam of being murderous and barbaric. But the truth of the matter is Islam values human life, just as it values chastity (iffah or taharah) – a virtue which has lost its value in these contemporary times because of the evil being promoted by the opponents via the media and negative side of technology. These negative influences have also caused some Muslims to interpret this hadith negatively.

One of the biggest problems today is that with there being more and more challenges, the explanation of the hadith should take into account what the problems are that are facing the Muslims today that violate the principles set up by the hadith. We should look into what we can do to promote the principles and virtues mentioned in the hadith (e.g. to uphold chastity, valuing human life, that killing is a crime, etc.) and to minimise their violations.

 

                                                                                   Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abu Hamzah Anas bin Malik, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who was the servant of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, reported that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“None of you truly believes (in Allah and in His religion) until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself”

[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]


Background

In the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“The servant does not reach the reality of faith until he loves for others what he loves for himself.”

In Sahih Muslim from Abdullah ibn Amr Al-Ass, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“…..Whoever wishes to be delivered from the fire and enter the garden should die with faith in Allah and the Last Day and should treat the people as he wishes to be treated by them…”
[Sahih Muslim; Book 020, Number 4546]


Lessons

These three hadiths carry similar meanings that is to love for other Muslims what one loves for oneself. They lay down a very significant principle of behaviour of Muslims with each other. A true Islamic community is when it is built upon love and compassion for its members. Every member should care for and help one another. They should treat others in ways they want to be treated.

It is a community with no barriers among the races, colour, mazhab or group or ranks in implementing this Islamic concept of brotherhood and love. All these barriers must be removed for this concept to be realized. Other barriers to be removed include jealousy, selfishness and envy.

 Loving goodness for others is part of loving them. We love good things for them as much as we love those things for ourselves. We treat them the way we want them to treat us.

Part of good treatment of others are excusing them and giving them fair chances. For example, if a person commits a mistake, then we should find excuses for them and not jump to conclusions. There are many possibilities or ways for us to excuse others who have committed mistakes, and hence enabling us to live peacefully and avoid confrontations.

 When we deal with other Muslims in the community, we should deal in the best manner. We should choose the best words in our conversation. The Qur’an says:

“O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak always the right word”
[Surah Al-Ahzab (33) : ayat 70]

“And tell My servants that they should always say those words that are the best. Satan verily, sows a state of conflict and disagreements among them.”
[Surah Al-Isra’ (17) : ayat 53]

Good words can minimize quarreling and confrontations among the members of the society.

 Mercy and compassion should exist in our treatment of others. This is related to a very important concept in Islam, which is Al-Wala’. The relationship among the Muslim community members is based on this concept of Al-Wala’. It does not only mean protection, but it also encompasses love, care and help. These are the four aspects of Al-Wala’ normally mentioned by the scholars. These aspects are interdependent with each other. For example, to care for others comes after the loving of others. Therefore, in relation to the hadith, Muslims must also love and care about other Muslims.

 Another important issue is not to be arrogant. This comes in many forms (as mentioned by the scholars) such as belittling others, looking down on others, looking at oneself as being more superior or better than others, etc. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise.” A person (amongst his hearers) said: “Verily, a person loves that his dress should be fine, and his shoes should be fine.” He (the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) remarked: “Verily, Allah is Graceful and He loves Grace. Pride is disdaining the truth (out of self-conceit) and contempt for the people.”
[Sahih Muslim: Book 001, Number 0164]

Therefore we need to be humble and show mercy to others. Part of loving goodness for others is to practice mutual consultation, enjoining goodness and forbidding evil. The advice is to be done in a good way, based on loving them and not for seeking personal interest. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, also used to show his love of others when giving advice to them. It may also be good to explicitly tell the listeners that the reason we are advising them is because we love them and we care for them. If an advice is specific for a person, then it should be done in private to avoid offending the person.

 Fudhayl ibn Iyad went one step higher in putting this hadith into practice. He mentioned that we should not only wish others to be like us but also to wish them to be better than us. However, he said that this is not obligatory (wajib).

Ibn Rajab said that we should wish other Muslims to be better than us in worshipping (ibadah) and manners (akhlaq), but at the same time we should wish for ourselves to be better than what we are now. It is not good enough to just wish for something good for other Muslims but at the same time we are deficient and not striving to be better Muslims ourselves. It is from the goodness that we have attained that we also love for other Muslims to have. It is not fair to them that we wish for them to attain the same deficiency that we have in ourselves. Therefore, it is a matter of continuous competition among us to attain the goodness.

 A related contemporary issue is about the brotherhood in Islam. What criterion should be used in deciding who are the brothers in Islam that they deserve our support? There are many Muslims in the world today, but many of them are weak in iman and violating some principles of Islam. In the past, these people were dissociated by the scholars because they were the minority. However, today it is less appropriate to apply this same principle of disassociation and therefore people with the minimum level of Islam should be considered brothers in Islam. Hence we should care for them and love for them what we love for ourselves. For example, if they commit a sin then we love for them that they leave the sinful act. We should advise them out of our love for them.


Conclusion

This hadith can be practiced at any level, any time and with any Muslim. It can be practiced in different manners, in the form of advising, giving charity, enjoining goodness and forbidding evil.

In practicing the hadith, the various aspects of the hadith and the inter-related concepts must be observed. A concept cannot be observed in isolation as it may cause misunderstanding and incorrect application of the concept itself.

 

                                                                              Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

On the authority of Abu Hurairah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said : The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said :

“Part of the perfection of someone’s Islam is his leaving alone that which does not concern him.”

[Hadith hasan – Recorded by Tirmidhi]


Background

Ibn Rajab, one of the commentators of Imam Nawawi’s Forty Hadith, mentioned that this hadith is a foundation of manners, behaviour and etiquette in Islam.

Ibn Rajab also quotes Imam Ibn Abi Zayd Al-Qairawani, one of the Maliki Imams, as saying that the following four hadiths set the main concept for good manners and behaviour:

  • The hadith mentioned above.
  • “Let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day either speak good or keep silent, ..”
    [Bukhari and Muslim. Refer to Hadeeth 15 of this collection]
  • A man said to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam: “Counsel me”. He said : ” Do not become angry”. The man repeated [his request] several times, and he said: “Do not become angry.”
    [Al-Bukhari. Refer to Hadith 16 of this collection]
  • “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”
    [Al-Bukhari. Refer to Hadith 13 of this collection]


Lessons

This hadith states that a believer should avoid things that are of no concern to him. They are of no benefit to this life nor to the hereafter, in terms of belief, speech or actions. In justifying this point, the Maliki jurist Imam Ibn Al-Arabi said that a person is not able to take care of all the necessary matters, why would he then get involved in the unnecessary matters that are of no real concern.

 Jamaluddin Zarabozo, one of the contemporary commentators of Imam Nawawi’s Forty Hadith, emphasises that Islam protects society as a whole from any kind of harm. Much of the harm inflicted on the society are due to people indulging in the unnecessary matters like meddling into the affairs of others when one has no right or responsibility over the particular issue. These types of practices normally lead to great evil in the society. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, recommended a way to avoid societal problems.

He also commented that a believer should train him/herself to concentrate to be involved in the beneficial matters so that this in itself will be the person’s attitude. Do not waste time, money and effort in things that are of no benefit in this life and the hereafter.

 Putting the hadith in a different way, part of the perfection of faith (iman) of a believer is to be concerned with matters that are beneficial in this life and the hereafter. This is emphasised by another hadith:

“Be keen with what is beneficial to you, and seek help from Allah – do not be reckless.”
[Tirmidhi]

Muslims have enough matters of concern to the extent one may not have enough time to deal with all of them. This is related to the issue of time management, whereby we need to be involved with matters that are of concern to us.

 An important question related to this hadith is what are the things to be of concern to a true believer? Answering this question will enable us to practice this hadith in the right manner.

  • One of the things that are of concern is to fulfill the obligations (wajib), to perform as much as we can of the recommended or preferable acts (mandub), to avoid the forbidden (haram) and to avoid as much as we can of the makruh (those that are disliked).
  • Fard-a’yn, an individual obligation, are matters of concern to every one of us. Examples are matters like worship and supplication.
  • Fard-kifayah, community-wide collective obligations, must not be neglected and should also be matters of concern to us. An example is to work for the betterment of the community. Everyone with their own profession and expertise has a role to contribute towards the community.
  • Other matters of concern to Muslims are enjoining good and discouraging evil, self-accountability and to practice Ihsan in all that we do. In the Quran:

(Allah) Who created death and life that He may try you, which of you is best in deeds; and He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.
[Surah Al-Mulk (67): ayat 2]

As related in Hadith 17 in this collection:

“Verily, Allah has prescribed excellence (Ihsan) in all things. Thus, if you kill, kill well; and if you slaughter, slaughter well. Let each one of you sharpen his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters.”
[Recorded by Imam Muslim]

  • Another matter of concern to all Muslims, but is currently lacking among us, is to think about the affairs of oneself, the community and the whole Muslim community (ummah). We need to think of how to further improve our (the Muslims) situation and not just be content with the current situation. This applies in whatever we do, whether we are worshippers, teachers, professionals or preachers. We should only be slaves of Allah and not others. Hence, we should not be enslaved by current methods or routines of doing things. We need to think creatively to improve the situation, in ways not contradicting the sharia’h. In this context, modern tools like ‘idea generation’ and ‘problem solving’ can be of great benefit.

 We also need to be concerned about the greater challenges facing our community. In this era of technology and communication revolution, many of us are being enslaved intellectually. We need to think about our future generation because we will be responsible before Allah. We need to apply and disseminate our knowledge and not just building ‘reservoirs’ of knowledge. We need to design our future and not just stand passively and let others design and impose upon us their preconceived scenarios.


Conclusion

Matters of concern to the Muslims cover the affairs of oneself, the community and the whole Muslim community (ummah). We need to create awareness among each other in facing the issues and challenges of the ummah. For example, this can be done through dialogues and talks. Those in authority have a greater responsibility in carrying out this task.

We should be aware not to waste our time and effort in matters that are of no concern to us. We should keep ourselves busy only with matters of benefit to us and to the ummah.

 

                                                              Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

On the authority of Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Ali bin Abi Taib, the grandson of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ëalayhi wasallam, and who is dearest to him, radiyallahu ëanhuma, who said: ìI committed to memory from the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ëalayhi wasallam, (the following words):

Leave that about which you are in doubt for that about which you are in no doubt.

[Al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasaíi related it, and al-Tirmidhi said: It is a good and genuine Hadith]


Background

This hadith goes in line with Hadith 6. In this hadith the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, has set a criterion by which Muslims can decide whether something is permissible or not. There is another version of this hadith where the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, elaborated further by saying: “Verily, truth is tranquillity and falsehood is doubt.” This means that the truth will lead to tranquillity and falsehood will lead to doubt.

Thus the criterion set by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, allows us to judge what is false or wrong (i.e. something which causes us to be doubtful) and what is the truth (i.e. something which we are sure of and confident that it is correct because we feel happy and at peace with it). This hadith lays down a principle that can be applied in all aspects of one’s life. It also shows the way to truth and righteousness. Thus, this hadith is of extreme importance.


Lessons

This hadith indicates that one should only perform an act or deed (which is permissible and proper) if he is positive or certain of it. Performing this act will lead to some kind of tranquillity or happiness in this life and in the Hereafter – this is one of the benefits of applying the hadith.

 In the other version of this hadith mentioned above, falsehood leads to doubt and never to tranquillity. So if a believer finds his heart being disturbed by something (i.e. he feels uncertain or doubtful), then he should stay away from it. The heart of the true believer is tranquil at the sight of truth and righteousness. And the heart becomes unsure and shaky at the sight of falsehood and wrong.

We can conclude that this criterion applies only to the guided righteous Muslim who is enlightened by wahi, i.e. the Qur’an and Sunnah, and is adhering to this guidance. If a Muslim is indulging in forbidden acts, this criterion will not work for him because his heart will not be sensitive to what it faces.

The criterion of the hadith is activated by certain conditions or pre-requisites: knowledge, iman, adhering to the enlightenment of the wahi, etc. In other words, this criterion can only exist if the person is adhering to the commands of Allah subhana wa ta’ala, the commands of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, following the wahi, etc. Only then can a person reach such a status or level. But for those who indulge in muharramat (prohibitions), do not observe wajibat (obligations) , etc., this criterion will not be activated. Even if it does exist, it will not be reliable.

Sometimes there are people who try to avoid doubtful matters while they are indulging in muharram. For example, the people who killed al-Hussain (the brother of the narrator of this hadith). After having killed him, they start discussing about the ruling on the killing of mosquitoes, whether it is permissible or not.

 There are many matters or issues relating to the shariah where the scholars have conflicting views or opinions. For example, some scholars say that it is a wajib to recite Surat al-Fatihah in the congregational prayer while other scholars say it is not. Or the paying of zakat for Muslim women’s jewellery – whether a woman has to pay zakat for jewellery that she wears/uses and not just for those that she keeps for investment – an issue which has never been resolved. In these situations, can the Muslim apply the criterion of this hadith? According to some scholars, it is permissible to do so – this is known as the ‘cautious approach’. This became a very well-known approach for some scholars who used it whenever there were conflicting views.

So for the issue of reciting Surat al-Fatihah, to those who insist that without reciting it the prayer is invalid, these scholars following the cautious approach say that they should recite it. And in the case of the zakat for jewellery, the cautious approach is that it is better to pay the zakat for all jewellery, whether it is worn/used or not, so that the woman will be ‘saved’ either way.

There is another approach of the scholars which holds that it is not a matter of conflicting views, it is a matter of the authenticity and soundness of the proofs. If there is a sound dalil (evidence), the scholars will follow it. This approach is also practiced by those who strictly follow a madhab because the madhab follows a dalil.

There are also many situations which consist of both good and bad. The cautious approach will suggest that we avoid an act if it involves both good and bad aspects. The approach which follows the dalil applies the concept of weighing between benefits and harms. This involves applying principles derived from the Qur’an and Hadith. These principles state that it is permissible to give up a minor benefit in order to avoid a major harm. Or tolerate a minor harm in order to avoid a major one or to gain a major benefit.

Looking back on Islamic history, we can see that some scholars were for one approach while other scholars were for the other. Thus it is not crucial for us to determine which one is the better approach.

 In the situation of conflicting views where something is known for certain and something which is just a mere conjecture, what is known for sure will take precedence, i.e. will be the prevailing view. This is one of the principles of Fiqh. For example, if we know that a piece of clothing has some impurity on it but we are not sure exactly where, it is better that we wash the entire clothing. Another example is if a person is doubtful about how many rakaats he has already prayed, whether it is one or two, he should continue his prayer with what he is certain of – he is sure he has prayed one rakaat so he should continue with the second one.

 Another principle is that it is not allowed to make ijtihad if something is clearly and definitively stated in the Qur’an or authentic Hadith. If there is text which clearly states the hukum (ruling), then the ijtihad is not needed.

 There is no righteousness or piety in avoiding something that is clearly and unquestionably permissible, i.e. something that is lawful and clearly permitted by shariah. For example, in the area of food, one shouldn’t say he will refrain from eating meat as a matter of righteousness. He will not be rewarded for this.

There is the hadith that tells the story of the three men, where one vowed not to sleep so he can pray all night, one vowed to fast everyday and one vowed not to marry, all for the sake of righteousness. These actions which these men vowed not to do (sleeping, eating and getting married) are lawful things which are not only permitted but also encouraged. (In fact, some scholars even say that there should be a minimum number of hours everyday which we allocate for sleep so that our bodies get enough rest.) When the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, heard of the three men’s vows, he was very disappointed. He, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, called them and told them he was the most righteous and pious amongst them and yet he sleeps, eats and marries. Moreover the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, made a principal concerning this matter by saying: “This is my way, and whoever refrains from it is not part of me.”

Thus, if something is clearly permissible in shariah, there is no point in refraining from doing it with the intention that doing so is an ibadah. If it is for other good reasons, e.g. to avoid meat because of one’s health, then it is okay.

 One of the tricks of shaitan is that he will take something which is forbidden and present it in a way to make it look like a permissible act. One should be careful not to be deceived by shaitan. If something is muharram, then no matter what, it is forbidden. We must not allow shaitan to influence us and change our perception into thinking that something which is forbidden may not be all that bad after all – that it is permissible to do it.

 Shaykh Jamaluddin Zarabozo says in his commentaries on Imam Nawawi’s Forty Hadith that in these contemporary times there are many matters in business transactions where there might contain some implicit aspects of riba’. Thus there are many new situations or issues where people are confused as to whether something is acceptable or not. He says that it is better to avoid acts which we are not sure of or where there are no clear views from scholars.

Sometimes these issues are discussed by scholars but their views are not being promoted enough to the Muslims in general. Many of the renowned scholars today meet once a year to discuss contemporary issues and these issues are then published in a special magazine. Unfortunately, this magazine is not widely distributed and not many people, including educators, other scholars, etc., are aware of it. We should all try to keep ourselves informed with the latest views or opinions of the scholars, especially on matters related to our lifestyle today, e.g. banking, insurance, etc.


Conclusion

This hadith equips Muslims with a practical criterion by which to judge doubtful acts and situations, and enables them to make the right decision concerning these matters. However, Muslims need to understand how to apply such a criterion correctly and not to be deceived by wrong perceptions or personal interest.

 

                                                                Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abu Hurairah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“Verily Allah the Exalted is pure. He does not accept but that which is pure. Allah commands the believers with what He commanded the Messengers. Allah the Almighty has said: “O you Messengers! Eat of the good things and act righteously” [23:51-53]. And Allah the Almighty also said: “O you who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided you with” [2:167-172].
Then he (the Prophet) mentioned (the case of) the man who, having journeyed far, is dishevelled and dusty and who stretches out his hands to the sky (saying): “O Lord! O Lord!” (while) his food was unlawful, his drink was unlawful, his clothing was unlawful, and he is nourished with unlawful things, so how can he be answered?”

[Muslim]


Background

The word “at-tayyib” is used in the Qur’an and Sunnah to describe actions, good deeds, people, things, speech, etc. This term is used as adjectives. Literally it means something good. Ibn Rajab interpreted the word as “at-tahir”, or pure.

The term “Verily Allah the Exalted is pure” means Allah has all the attributes of perfection and completeness, free from any kind of shortcomings, weaknesses or needs.

As for “He does not accept but that which is pure”, the hadith refers to all good deeds. Allah does not accept any deeds that are spoilt by any aspects that may ruin it. For example, the deed must be free from showing-off to others and in the case that involves wealth then the wealth must come from legal sources.

Allah commanded the Believers (Mu’minin) in the same manner as He commanded the Messengers:

“O Messengers! Eat of the Tayyibat” [Surah Al-Mu’minun (23): ayat 51]

“O you who believe! Eat of the Tayyibat that We have provided you with, ..” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2): ayat 172]


Lessons

The verses above and this hadith imply the following beneficial and useful rulings:

  • The money that the Muslims earn must be pure and legal.
  • The food that is consumed must be lawful (halal).
  • The money with which a person buys food must be lawful, coming from lawful sources.
  • These are the keys for acceptance of our deeds by Allah.
  • Whether something is permissible or prohibited is by the will of Allah. He explains, guides and tells us what are permissible and what are not. It is mentioned in the Qur’an that some people have wrongfully made something unlawful when actually Allah has made it lawful, and vice versa. It is actually Allah’s right to make things lawful and unlawful.
  • Earning and consuming lawful things are important conditions for acceptance of our supplications (du’a) by Allah.

 Adab (manners) of du’a mentioned by this hadith:

  • Earning and consuming lawful things.
  • Travelling is one of the occasions when du’a is accepted by Allah. Other occasions mentioned by other hadiths are as follows: during travelling, sickness, prostration, rainfall and during the last third of the night. These chances need to be observed so as not to be missed by the people going through these occasions.
  • Being humble in the du’a.
  • To raise the hands towards the sky.
  • Eagerness in performing the du’a, such as asking Allah many times like saying “ Ya rabb, ya rabb”. Du’a is an important form of worship (ibadah) that must be eagerly practised by the Muslims. It is a high form of ibadah as it shows our need of Allah in helping us. We are in need of Allah’s mercy more than we need the air for breathing. We need His help, guidance and mercy in every second and our every single movement.

If these adab are not observed, then our du’a may not be responded by Allah. If we want Allah to respond to our du’a, then we need to respond to his commandments such as eating only that which are lawful to us.

 Another ruling from the hadith is that charity (sadaqah) is only accepted by Allah if it is from lawful sources. This is based on “Allah is pure and only accepts what is pure”. Wealth that is obtained from unlawful sources should not be given as sadaqah or used in performing any form of worship like performing the Haj. An example is when a person steals money and uses it to perform the Haj. In this context, Ibn Abbas said: “Filth does not expiate filth”.

 Another ruling given by the scholars is that if somebody stole money, then it must be returned and not be given away as charity. This is particularly applicable in the case of a person wanting to repent (taubah) after stealing the money. The person needs to return the money to the owner. If this is not possible, like if the owner is not known or cannot be found, then according to some scholars it can be used for public benefit like roads.

 An explanation of the hadith given by Jamaluddin Zarabozo is that this hadith alludes to the importance of supporting oneself through permissible means. How one supports oneself is how one lives. If it is through legal means, then it will be blessed by Allah.

 Another explanation given by the scholars is about the issue of ‘public belongings’, like the property of a company, organization or an institution. This is an important issue and must be observed because public belongings that are wrongfully taken are considered ghalul (a kind of stealing or taking something illegally), a practice which are is expiated even by Jihad in the way of Allah until one pays them back. This is related in a hadith about a martyr who took a small portion of the booty of the war.

Today, many Muslims take this issue of ghalul for granted. For example, taking paper and pen from the office for personal use. Another example is the personal use of the photocopy machine, company car, telephone, company money or any other instrument without getting the permission from the authority. We will also be held responsible if we damage or vandalise public property/belongings.

A good example of protecting oneself from ghalul is one set by Khalifah Umar bin Abdulaziz when he used one candle for his administration duties and put it out upon completion of his duties. He would then use his personal candle.

We need to learn from this example of how we should use things in the way they are allocated for. For example, we need to turn off the lights and the air-conditioner when we leave the office and save the electricity bill of the company/organization. By doing this, we will be rewarded by Allah and Allah will respond to our du’a.

We need to create awareness among the Muslims to be more responsible and not to indulge in ghalul.

 A contemporary issue related to this hadith is about caring what we eat, in terms of two things:

  • To be aware of the ingredients of the food in the restaurant or packed/canned foods, especially if they are imported. We need to ensure that they are lawful.
  • Many of the things that people eat may cause health problems. We need to be more aware about the healthy aspects of the food, that they are ‘pure’. Universities may need to introduce health education so that people can know what the good foods are. They need to be aware of preservatives, colouring and chemical used in the food. Harmful contents are not ‘tayyiban’ (pure).


Conclusion

Scholars mentioned that whatever we eat affects our attitude and behaviour. We need to eat the right food (at-Tayyib) and in the right manners (adab) as prescribed by Islam – e.g. not to eat excessively. By observing these issues, if Allah wills, it will lead us to be better Muslims with a better level of Iman and purer heart devoting to Allah. Then everything that we do can be described as ‘at-tayyib’. This condition is attained by those who observe the manners, earning, drinking, eating the ‘tayyib’ and giving charity from the ‘tayyib’. We will then be the ‘tayyibun’, pure and blessed by Allah.

 

                                                                   Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abu Hurairah ‘Abd al-Rahman bin Sakhr, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, say:

“Avoid that which I forbid you to do and do that which I command you to do to the best of your capacity. Verily the people before you were destroyed only because of their excessive questioning and their disagreement with their Prophets.”

[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]


Background

Sabab al-wurud (reasons and background of a hadith) is very important to enable us to understand its meaning. This hadith can be understood by knowing its background. It was related during an incident where the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said: “Allah has commanded you to perform Hajj. So perform Hajj, O servants of Allah.” Then a man stood up and said: “O Prophet of Allah, do we have to do it every year?” Then the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said: “That whatever I forbid you to do, avoid it and whatever I command you to do, do it as much as you can.”


Lessons

The incident above was at the time of revelation. Asking too many questions about an obligation may lead to complications and confusions. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, was not happy with the question raised by the man for it could have caused the Hajj to be performed every year by each Muslim if the answer was yes to that question.

However, asking questions in the right way is encouraged as understood from the first hadith in this Forty Hadith collection. In fact, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used questions and answers to educate his Companions. Questions that lead to knowledge and goodness are encouraged. What is prohibited and discouraged are questions that will lead to confusion, doubt and chaos in the community, like asking questions about unnecessary details.

One significant characteristic of Shariah, i.e. Islamic Law, is its flexibility and practicality. One’s capacity is regarded and considered in fulfilling obligations.
A Muslim is encouraged to do good actions based on his/her ability and capacity.

Hence Hajj is performed when one has the ability and facility to do it. However if one is tied-up with loans or with other clashing obligations, then there is room for delaying it for another time. This is supported by the Qur’anic verse: “…And Hajj to the House (Kaabah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those can afford the expenses…” [Surah Al-Imran (3): ayat 97].

 In other actions like prayers, the Prophet’s, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, statement “perform as much as you can” can also mean to perform it at the preferred time and mode (in congregation). However due to unavoidable circumstances, they can be performed later within the specified time. Similarly, a person who is not able to stand in prayer may pray while sitting.

Flexibility is also attributed to other obligations like fasting. For example, one may break the fast while traveling or if he is sick and make it up on other days.

 The forbidden must be totally avoided by the Muslim to the extent that whatever leads to haram (prohibited act) must be avoided as well, even without intention of indulging in it. By refraining from acts that lead to a prohibited act, we are actually safeguarding ourselves from falling into the forbidden.

Another application of the statement “perform as much as you can” is what Imam al-Shatibi said about a Muslim should not attach hardship to any good deed or act even if it is an obligation. If there is an easier option, one should not use the harder option. For example, during cold weather we should use warm water for wudu’ (ablution), if we have the option. Hardship is not intended by the shari’ah and should be avoided. However when there is no other choice, then the reward for the person will be higher.

The same principle applies to mandubat (good actions that are not compulsory but encouraged). We should do as much as we can. According to Imam al-Shatibi one shouldn’t make any commitment that he/she must do a certain mandubat following strictly to a certain schedule but instead he/she should do it with ease at his/her own capacity. For example, don’t make it a wajib (compulsory) that you will fast every Monday and Thursday but do it as much as you are able to comfortably and break it from time to time. If you try to commit yourself in these matters, they may burden you and you may finally get fed up and abandon them.

On this issue, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said: “O people, perform such acts as you are capable of doing, for Allah does not grow weary but you will get tired.”
In another
hadith the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said: “The acts most pleasing to Allah are those which are done continuously, even if they are small.” [Recorded by Imam Muslim]

 There are some exceptions to the hadith which can be understood from the Qur’an and Sunnah. When the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, forbade the haram, the general rule is to avoid them. However there are exceptions like during necessity or when there is a clash between a minor and a major harm. For example, in a situation where it is necessary to eat something which is forbidden or face the risk of losing one’s life. In this case, a greater harm is avoided by tolerating a minor harm. This principle is called by the scholars as weighing between benefits and harm.


Conclusion

Understanding and practicing these principles may lead us to live a better and practical life, and help us fulfill our obligations in the right way. Applying them will lead us to love, appreciate and continuously practice Ibadah (good deeds).

 

                                                                              Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abdullah bin Omar narrated that the messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“I have been ordered to fight against people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah and until they perform the prayers and pay the zakat, and if they do so they will have gained protection from me for their lives and property, unless [they do acts that are punishable] in accordance with Islam, and their reckoning will be with Allah the Almighty.”

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]


Background

The majority of Scholars say that the “people” here refers to the Arab polytheists. The same interpretation can also be found in the Qur’an in Surah An-Nasr.

Another opinion say that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, was referring to all people, excluding Ahlul Kitab, i.e. the people of the Book. It was said that this hadith was abrogated by the later rulings concerning jizziya (compensation).

A third opinion interprets the hadith as saying that people have to accept the domination or supremacy of Islam – that Islam is the dominant religion. This objective is to be achieved by whatever means, whether it is through fighting or through peaceful agreements.


Lessons

Islam is the only true religion. It is the truth; it is the path of Allah. One of the divine Laws since the earth was created: evil has always been fighting against truth. The truth has to be protected and it needs power to protect it. This is the main philosophy of jihad in Islam: Jihad is to establish and maintain justice and truth.

Jihad is not confined to only fighting. It has many other unpracticed or weakly practiced forms: da’wah, disseminating knowledge and educating others, maximizing the good and minimizing the evil, reconciling clashes and conflicts between Muslims, striving for the betterment of community are all forms of jihad.

How do we deal with the concept of jihad in our contemporary life? There are oppressed Muslim communities where fighting is a choice. However, generally speaking, we can answer the question based on dealing with two kinds of challenges: internal and external ones.

 Internal Challenges encountering Muslims

Today unfortunately, the Muslim ummah is not united. It is divided and split into different groups and sects whether religious or political. Conflicts are every where between Muslims. In this situation jihad means to re-establish the unity of the Muslim communities and of the ummah at large. It means also to remove or minimize clashes and disputes.

 Another issue is the lack of understanding of Islam by the Muslims themselves. The majority of Muslims today do not understand the true meaning of Islam, even the basic concepts. Here, jihad takes the form of disseminating the true message of Islam to the Muslims and educating them so that they fully understand their deen.

Since the majority of the Muslims do not truly understand Islam, they do not practice their religion correctly or completely.This means the shahadah of the ummah (i.e. being witnesses of the truth) is not activated today. We should be establishing ourselves as a role model to other nations but we are not doing so. We should be practicing the great values, concepts and principles of Islam and following its rulings and guidelines. If we do so, this will portray the real image of Islam and make us the perfect model for other societies, communities and nations. Only then will the non-Muslims feel attracted to Islam and may accept the dominance of Islam in their society because they see that the dominance of Islam means justice, good values, well-being of human kind, etc.

This is a great jihad which we should undertake though it needs great effort and may take a very long time, i.e. decades, to establish. We should embark on this jihad step by step, with different efforts happening concurrently: efforts to educate the Muslims their great religion; efforts to make them practice it and be good role models to others; efforts to make Muslims a great nation, and to make them united.

 Looking at the Muslim ummah or community today, the basic concept which will lead to unity is missing – the concept of Al-Wala’. Al-Wala’ contains 4 sub-concepts: love, care, help and protection. These basic concepts are missing from the Muslim ummah and therefore we need to revive these concepts in order to unite the ummah.

 This is the situation of the Muslims today. How can we talk about the supremacy and the dominance of Islam if the Muslims are in such a weak situation where there are so many discrepancies, contradictions, obstacles, shortcomings, etc. These are areas where great efforts and a great jihad are needed.

But to do jihad in a forceful way, i.e. by fighting, does not work and may create even more problems. There are some groups of Muslims today who confine jihad to fighting as the main and only way to establish the previous mentioned goals and this is destroying the image of Islam and is not doing any favour to the Muslims. Those people interpret this hadith to mean fighting but this may not be applicable to the situation of the Muslims today where fighting may cause more and greater harm.

 External challenges encountering Muslims

The Muslim community is encountering two kinds of challenges – the internal challenges (some of which were previously mentioned) and the external challenges which are being imposed on them by the opponents of Islam. Those opponents are coming up with different ways of ‘fighting’ and trying to rule the Muslim world. These external challenges include all aspects of globalisation, modernity, change of lifestyle, technology misuse, changing values, etc. The battle field of these challenges are the minds and attitudes of Muslims specially the young generation, where the focus is on influencing the attitudes of the Muslims through influencing their way of thinking and altering their perceptions.

The opponents of Islam are promoting evil and negative concepts through new ways and means. One of them is changing our perception about things, where wrong-doings and evil deeds are being perceived as acceptable or even preferable. The latest findings of researches and studies, like cognitive psychology, are used to influence the world, including the Muslims, to change their attitudes, values and even beliefs.

If we accept the situation as it is and not do anything about it, the negative consequences will be greater in the future. Today everything, including the future, is being preplanned and designed but the Muslims are not aware of this. We are not aware that we are the subjects of the schemes of others – that we are being used or victimised as target groups where the Muslim minds are being manipulated and brainwashed. Therefore we need to counter these external challenges. This is also a great jihad because these opponents of Islam are using such means and ways to threaten our values, beliefs and identities as Muslims. We need to be aware of the situation and think about what is being designed to influence us and we should use the same means to counter these negative influences.

 The influencing method used by the opponents is similar to the insinuation of the Shaitan. This insinuation, as stated in the Qur’an, is done by the Shaitan to colour our perception. As Allah says, Shaitan will either promote evil by colouring our perception so that bad things are being perceived as good, or by influencing us and preventing us from doing good deeds. For example, if we want to give sadakah, Shaitan will insinuate to us that doing such a good deed will burden our finances and influence us into thinking about what better use we could have for the money if we did not give it away.

It is also mentioned in the Qur’an that Shaitan creates conflicts and disputes among the Muslims, also through colouring their perception. A word or term may have different meanings and different interpretations which in turn will lead to different understandings. For example, if a person uses a double-meaning word, Shaitan comes in and insinuates by causing the other party to misinterpret the meaning and this leads to conflicts and disputes. That’s why quarrels occur between husbands and wives, brothers, friends, community members, etc.

 This same method of colouring or manipulating our perception is being used today by evil doers to promote evil through many different means such as the media and technology. Whether it is through pictures or spoken or written words, these methods are used to change and alter our perception, influencing our attitudes and values and the way we view the world.

This is one of the real areas of jihad today for Muslim educators and intellectuals.

Technology can be used in both a negative and/or positive way. We must master it and be in control of it, using it for our benefit and not to merely be passive users. When we use technology, e.g. the Internet, we must use it in a way where we are the ones who control it, and not as a manipulation tool of others. We should use it in our da’wah, as a form of counter manipulation. We use it to alter the perception of our Muslim community back to its original, positive form, whether it is our values, beliefs or attitudes.

 We can also use the Qur’anic style of da’wah, using metaphors and analogies. This methodology is something which we are very weak at. Metaphorical Thinking and Analytical Thinking are powerful skills which we need to learn. These are actually Qur’anic styles. Even though these styles of thinking appear as products of the West, i.e. the products of Cognitive Psychology which was established about 50 years ago, they were actually established 1,500 years ago by Islam. But the Muslims themselves are not using these tools. Thus, we need to learn these methods and start using them. We need to use imageries and similes in our dialogue when we give da’wah as this makes it easier for people to understand the message.

 Part of our jihad and obligations is to update and equip ourselves with the right tools. Willingness and enthusiasm is not enough. We need to be able to learn and utilise the right tools to counter what is being imposed on us by the evil doers.


Conclusion

We need to understand ourselves, to understand Islam, to educate others about Islam, to understand the contemporary challenges, to equip ourselves with the right tools so that we can face and counter the contemporary challenges in the right way. When we talk about the concept of jihad we shouldn’t just talk about the common understanding of jihad – we shouldn’t get emotional about it, forgetting about ourselves or the world we’re living in or the situation of our ummah or about the challenges we are facing. Thus it is not easy to truly understand the different aspects of the concept of jihad or how to implement these aspects in our world today.

When we discuss about the concept of jihad we have to resolve the conflicts that exist within ourselves – the conflicts between reality and the ideal situation. One of the biggest efforts we have to undertake is to determine how we can bridge the distance between these conflicts. We need to bridge the gap between the ideal situation and the real world.

To resolve these conflicts within us, we need psychological and social adjustments. We live in a society which is somehow corrupted but we still maintain our values and try to do something to improve the situation. Otherwise without these adjustments we may end up with either confrontation and aggressiveness or living a modern life and rejecting our values and beliefs.

Both extremes are not acceptable. What we need is assertiveness, a social and psychological adjustment. We need to determine how we can live in this modern world as a good Muslim, maintaining our identity and moral values. These are great challenges which we face today. We have to be practical in dealing with these challenges. When we talk about Islam we usually talk in the theoretical sense, e.g. what is taqwa (piety), ikhlas (sincerity), etc. We need to be able to implement these concepts in our everyday life activities and practices especially as we face all these different challenges. Thus we need to address Islamic concepts with reality, within the context of the actual situation of the society today.

                                                                                  Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

 

On the authority of Tamim Al-Dari that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“Religion is nasihah.” We said: “To whom?” The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said: “To Allah and His Book, and His messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.”

[Muslim]


Background

The word “nasihah” cannot be accurately translated to English because it is a broad concept which cannot be traced in the English language. Some use the term “sincerity” but this is only part of the concept – to negate deception/cheating. According to Imam Ibnu al-Salah, nasihah is “truly seeking the best, in terms of intention and action, for the one whom he is making nasihah to”.

 This hadith is a profound statement as Sheikh Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo says that in this one brief statement the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, described the essence of Islam. Nasihah hence forms the bulk and the most important pillar of Islam since it encompasses Islam, Iman and Ihsan.

Lessons

Nasihah to Allah

The nasihah should be to Allah first. This includes the fulfillment of the obligations in the best way possible (Ihsan).This should be the goal for every Muslim. This also includes striving to get as close to Allah as possible by doing not only the obligations but also the preferable good deeds, by forbidding the forbidden and avoiding the disliked acts.

Nasihah to Allah also involves:

  • believing in Allah and denying any partners with Him.
  • believing in His attributes.
  • obeying Him.
  • fulfilling His commands and abstaining from what He has forbidden.
  • doing what is best to remember Him, under all circumstances.
  • loving whatever He loves and hating whatever He hates, be it objects, persons, actions, sayings, etc.
  • recognising the blessings He has bestowed upon us and properly thanking Him for these blessings.

To do nasihah to Allah one should have the correct intention in one’s heart to fulfill the rights of Allah, even when one is excused and it is beyond one’s ability to perform these obligations. Sometimes a person may not be able to perform an obligation but at least he has good intentions in his heart to fulfill it in the first place.

The actions of the heart (i.e. to have hope in Allah’s mercy, to trust Him, to fear Him and to seek refuge in Him), and the actions of the limbs (prayers, Zakah, etc.) also fall under nasihah to Allah.

Honesty is also another aspect of this great concept. In whatever we do we should always be honest with Allah, similarly with ikhlas (sincerity). In fact ikhlas should be the first thing that a Muslim should attain when we talk about nasihah to Allah.

 Nasihah to His Book

This includes:-

  • Believing that the Qur’an is from Allah, that it is the Word of Allah and that it is not like the word of man.
  • According to one’s ability, to read and recite the Qur’an and to practice it.
  • To study it’s admonitions, lessons and parables.
  • Calling others to believe in the Qur’an.
  • To defend and protect it from any kind of distortion or misinterpretation.
  • Defending the Qur’an against false claims made against it.
  • Having proper respect and treating the Qur’an in a proper manner – e.g. to be careful not to throw away a piece of paper which has an ayat printed on it (magazine article, etc.) as it may be stepped on – we should also be aware if we see such a piece of paper on the ground to pick it up and keep it away safely or destroy it by burning it so that it is not subject to disrespect.

 Nasihah to His Messenger

This includes:-

  • Believing the Prophet’s, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, message.
  • Believing in all that he brought as being divinely inspired.
  • Loving him more than we love ourselves and our families – it is the second level of love after the love of Allah.
  • Our love for him should lead to other obligations like obeying him.
  • Helping him and defending him (for those who were alive during his time) – defending his honour and respecting his status.
  • For the people who came after the Prophet’s, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, life, we should respect and love his Sunnah which is an implication of loving him.
  • To say “sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam” whenever his name is mentioned.
  • To accept his Sunnah as a scale by which we judge things, actions and sayings.
  • To accept him as the true leader and only human’s final word with respect to the religion – he is the only true human authority and everyone else’s statements/opinions come after his.
  • To love those who love him and hate those who hate him.
  • Reviving his Sunnah by learning, understanding, teaching and spreading it. However, when we call people to the Sunnah – as advised by Imam Ahmad – we should do it in a nice and proper way and not to end up fighting about it. One problem today is that many Muslims are unaware of the Sunnah and the status of the Sunnah – so one of the things we should do is to make these people love the Sunnah, and we should not do so in an aggressive or confrontational way as this might lead to the people being confused, offensive and rejecting the Sunnah.

There are so many bid’ah being practiced today and the way to remove bid’ah amongst the people is to revive the Sunnah (The Salaf said: “Bid’ah only arises when the Sunnan is not known or practiced.”). To revive the Sunnah, we should not start with the condemnation of bid’ah but rather with the introduction/presentation of the Sunnah. We have to set good role models of those who love, and follow the Sunnah and we should teach others in a nice, proper way so that others too can understand, love and appreciate the Sunnah. Then they will use the Sunnah as a scale to judge things. Slowly, insha Allah, bid’ah will be reduced and minimized.

When we try to educate people about the Sunnah, we should be careful not to confuse them by focussing on minor issues. Sunnan can be broken into different levels and we should start from the highest level. We should not teach people about the lower levels (details) when they haven’t been taught the higher levels (basic concepts). We should let the people understand and love the higher level Sunnan first before we go step by step into the lower levels, slowly covering more details. This, insha Allah, will lead to the revival of the Sunnah.

  • To love both his family and his companions. Most Islamic sects love one or the other and not both. There are some deviated Islamic sects who are propagating their false beliefs by creating doubts about the Sahabahs (Companions) with the intention of making people hate them. This will lead to the rejection of the Sunnah. Some sects only believe the Sunnah that comes through their imams, e.g. the Shi’ah. We should be aware of the sources of narrations about the Sahabah as some of these narrations are false and may create doubts.
  • To love those who follow, defend and strive to revive the Sunnah of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam.

 Nasihah to the Muslim Leaders

The word ‘leader’ stands for both ‘ulama and those in authority (at all levels). Nasihah should be given to all leaders, no matter how high or what the ranking is. No one is above the law in Islam and no one is above needing advice. Nasihah is for the benefit of anyone who is in authority. This means that a ruler, leader or scholar should be the first to accept sincere advice.

Making nasihah to Muslim leaders should include:-

  • Helping them in whatever is good or beneficial.
  • Obeying them in what is right.
  • Reminding them if they should err or forget.
  • Being patient with them if they do things which we dislike – we try to do the nasihah and at the same time we tolerate the leader because otherwise it may lead to instability in the Muslim community.
  • Making jihad with them and not revolting against their proper authority.
  • One should pray for their guidance and piety.
  • Choosing the right way, manner and channel in advising them. The Scholars say giving nasihah to leaders should be done according to certain rules:
    1. One must have good intentions (ikhlas).
    2. It should be done mildly, calling on them with respect.
    3. Avoiding harshness and not to embarrass them – our aim is to advise and correct them and not to show off.
    4. Not to divulge or inform others about their wrong-doings as this may lead to more problems in the society.
    5. Give the nasihah privately and not publicly.
  • If one is asked by the leader to do a maksiah or something which contradicts with Shariah, one shouldn’t obey. However, we should disobey in a nice/assertive manner and not in an aggressive way because our aim is to remind them that this is wrong so that they will change and not ask us to do the mahsiah.
  • For the Scholars, our nasihah is seeking knowledge from them.
  • We obey them if their opinion is based on sound proof and evidence.
  • Not to seek or point out their mistakes. There are some people who search for the mistakes of Scholars – we shouldn’t do this because Scholars are pious people and this act may cause Allah to be displeased with us. It may also create chaos in the community.
  • Not to follow them blindly.
  • Not to hollow them.

 Nasihah to the Common Folk of the Muslims

This includes:-

  • To observe the rights of other Muslims – fulfilling our obligations towards other Muslims. These obligations differ depending on the group of Muslims (e.g. our parents, children, relatives, neighbours, etc.) – e.g. greeting them, visiting them when they are sick, making du’a for them, giving advice if they ask for it, praying solat ul janazah for the one who dies, etc.
  • To observe the concept of wala’ which means:
    1. to love every Muslim.
    2. to care for all Muslims.
    3. to help other Muslims.
    4. to defend/protect other Muslims .

If you do not love, you will not care. If you do not care, you will not help. If you do not help, you will not protect.
The reason why so many Muslims today do not care or help others is because there is something wrong with the wala’ aspect of love. We should have love for other Muslims, especially those who are suffering, so we will care and help them. The Scholars say one way to help and the least we can do is to make du’a (pray for them).

There is a counter concept to al-wala’ which is al-bara or disassociation with (for the purpose of leading others from doing evil). However we should not do it:

  •  
    1. for our own interest.
    2. if it will not lead the other person to change his ways – we should not start with disassociation, we should start with giving advice and educating.

We should show love and concern and give nasihah in the proper way. If all else fails, then we can use the concept of disassociation (if it will lead to the person changing).

  • The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said that “he is a real Muslim if he is the one who the other Muslims are saved from his tongue and his hand” – the true Muslim is one who will not harm others verbally or physically, in any way or by any means.
  • Having mercy for the young and showing respect to the elders – it is part of glorifying Allah that we respect the elder Muslims.
  • Sacrificing one’s time, effort, money, etc. for the betterment of the Muslim community.
  • If we are the ones in authority, then we should act sincerely towards the rest of the Muslims and do whatever is in their best interest. We should give nasihah to the people by, e.g. doing what is best for the ummah, defending the community, putting the right and qualified people in the right position and job. Any kind of leadership or authority, whatever the level or rank, is responsible for the people being lead – e.g. supervisors, managers, teachers, principles, etc.


Conclusion

From exploring all the obligations mentioned above, we can see that nasihah encompasses everything in Islam, Iman and Ihsan.

 

                                                                                       Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

On the authority of Abu ‘Abdullah al-Nu’man bin Bashir, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, say:

“Truly, what is lawful is evident, and what is unlawful is evident, and in between the two are matters which are doubtful which many people do not know. He who guards against doubtful things keeps his religion and honour blameless, and he who indulges in doubtful things indulges in fact in unlawful things, just as a shepherd who pastures his flock round a preserve will soon pasture them in it. Beware, every king has a preserve, and the things Allah has declared unlawful are His preserves. Beware, in the body there is a flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart.”

[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]


Background

The first thing to note is that Imam al-Bukhari recorded this hadith in the beginning of the Book of Trading (Kitab al-Buyu’), i.e. the kitab started off with this hadith. Some scholars say that Imam al-Bukhari was not only a muhadith who memorized, collected, recorded and compiled the hadith, but he was also a faqih (jurist) and his fiqh (jurisprudence) can be noted in so many ways. One is the tabwib, or the way that he gave the title for each chapter of his book. He would choose a certain statement which he would then use for the title of the chapter. This title reflects his fiqh. Also the way the hadith is recorded, where it is placed, under which chapter, and the fact that sometimes a hadith is repeated in many chapters – all these reflect the fiqh of Imam al-Bukhari.

But why did Imam al-Bukhari start Kitab al-Buyu’ with this hadith? What does this imply?
There are many implications. One of them is that these doubtful matters are related to the things that we buy and sell, that we trade in. It is also said that his father once mentioned to him that for forty years he never brought anything doubtful into their home.

It can be observed that Imam al-Bukhari was influenced by his father’s attitude in two ways:

  1. His father brought only halal things into the house. Whatever the family ate, drank, wore or used was halal. There were no doubts. This is the environment Imam al-Bukhari was brought and raised up in. It is also said that whenever his father made du’a to Allah subhanallahu ta’ala, Allah answered his du’a because of the fact that he never dealt with anything which was doubtful. This is reflected in the behaviour and attitude of Imam al-Bukhari. Hence like in this hadith where he chose to record it at the beginning of the chapter Kitab al-Buyu’.
  2. Imam al-Bukhari is also known as a great muhadith. One of the things that a muhadith is involved in is al-Jarh wat-Ta`dil, the status of narrators of hadith – whether they can be taken
    as
    saadiq, the one who is truthful and trustworthy, or as those who lie and cannot be taken as true narrators of hadith. The muhadithun uses specific terms to indicate the status of a narrator. When it comes to the status of the liars, or those who cannot be relied on, Imam al-Bukhari used a very astonishing style of al-Jarh wat-Ta`dil. He would not use direct terms – rather, he would use indirect ones. This also reflects his piety and righteousness. He would not simply label a narrator a liar. Instead he would say: “He has been labelled a liar”.

Another matter which is related to Imam al-Bukhari is that whenever there was controversial issues or the clashing of views, he would follow the cautious approach. For example, whenever there was conflicting opinions whether something is an obligation or not, such as the recitation of Al-Fatihah in prayers, he would be in favour of the view that treats it as an obligation. Another school of thought has a different approach where some scholars follow whatever the evidence leads them to – provided it is sound and authentic.

Lessons

The Scholars are of the view that the vast majority of acts fall into one of the first two categories: either it is evidently lawful or unlawful. Only a minority number of acts fall into the third category, that which is doubtful.

Conclusion

There are doubtful matters that a Muslim might face in his/her everyday dealings and activities. This hadith helps the Muslim in dealing with such matters. There is an early ongoing preparation which is needed in such a case – to purify one’s heart. There are some actions that can help us achieve this task, like: hayya’ (modesty), murakabah (self reckoning), muhasabah (self accountability), dzikr (remembrance of Allah), and as-Salatu ‘ala an-Nabi, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. These are things that, insha Allah, can help us and enlighten and purify our heart, and also help us to identify and avoid the doubtful matters – this is the main point, the key, the principle of the hadith.

“Beware; in the body there is a flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart.”

 

                                                                                 Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

It is narrated on the authority of the Mother of the Believers, Umm ‘Abdullah ‘Aishah, radiyallahu ‘anha, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“Whosoever introduces into this affair of ours (i.e. into Islam) something that does not belong to it, it is to be rejected.”

[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

According to the version in Muslim, (it reads): “Whosoever works a work which has for it no command of ours is to be rejected.”


Background

Like Hadith 1, this hadith is one of the most important hadiths. Imam Nawawi said it should be memorised by every Muslim.

 This hadith is used as a criterion for judging external actions or performance of Ibadah. If an action is not done in accordance with the Shariah or the Sunnah of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, it will be rejected and not accepted by Allah based on text of this hadith. This hadith complements Hadith 1, which was a criterion for judging the intentions or the internal actions of the heart. The Scholars say that the acceptance of actions of Ibadah is based on the above two conditions:

  1. The intention – the action should be done with sincerity, for the sake of only Allah.
  2. It should be done in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam.

Apart from Hadith 1 and Hadith 5, the acceptance of actions can also be found in Surah Al-Kahf (18): ayat 110:

Whoever looks forward to meeting his Sustainer (on Day of Judgement), let him do righteous deeds, and let him not ascribe unto anyone or anything a share in the worship due to his Sustainer.

Emulating and following the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, is a Qur’anic obligation. Allah, the Almighty says:

Verily, in the apostle of God you have the best example to emulate for everyone who looks forward (with hope and awe) to Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah unceasingly. [Surah Al-Ahzab (33): ayat 21].

Say (O Prophet): “If you love Allah, follow me, (and) Allah will love you and forgive you your sins.


Lessons

This hadith is related to a very important concept which is following the Sunnah and violating this concept will lead to bida’ah [which will be discussed in detail, insha Allah, in Hadith 28].

Scholars classify actions of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, into actions done for the purpose of Ibadah (worshiping Allah) and actions which are not done for that purpose (i.e. customs, actions done haphazardly, etc.). There are clear indicators for actions done for the purpose of Ibadah such as commands to do or not to do something, warnings for not doing something, etc.

Muslims are only obliged to follow the first kind of Sunnah.

 Looking at it in a positive way, the actions (i.e.forms of ibadah) that we do should be done in accordance with the Shariah or the Sunnah of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, and to ensure this there is a criterion consisting of five aspects that will keep our actions in check:

  1. Time
    Any ibadah that we do has to be done in it’s designated or specified time.
    E.g. There are fixed times in the day for the five prayers. For fasting, the month for fasting is Ramadhan. The period that we can fast is from
    fajr to sunset. Similarly, there is a specific time in the year when we can perform the Hajj – from the 8 to the 12 Zulhijjah.
  2. Place
    The Shariah has specified that certain ibadahs have to be performed in designated places. E.g. The places for performing the Hajj, I’tikaf, doing Ihram for Hajj have been fixed by the Shariah and this is something which is sometimes violated by Muslims, e.g. doing the Ihram (starting talbiyyah and niyyah for Hajj) in Jeddah is incorrect.
  3. Quantity
    For most of the ibadahs the Shariah has specified a certain number of times that the ibadahs or their components need to be performed. E.g. For prayers, there are specified number of rakaahs and sujud and for Tawaf there is a fixed number of rounds (7), etc. We should not violate these rules intentionally. To violate intentionally may make the ibadah subject to be rejected.
  4. Way
    Every ibadah was described or shown to us by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam – being our best model to follow and emulate. The way that the ibadahs are performed by him have to be followed – it should not be violated. E.g. There are different ways of performing different prayers – Salat ul-Janazah has no ruku’ or sujud. Even the size of the stones used for throwing at the Jamrat has been specified by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, as not to be too big.

    Before we perform any ibadah, we should know and learn the way the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, performed it and we should do it in the right way as he did it. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said, “Pray as you have seen me praying.” Many Muslims today violate the way ibadahs are performed, because of ignorance or because they do not bother to learn, and they end up doing the ibadah in the wrong way.

  5. Type
    If the Shariah has specified a type of ibadah, then we should stick to that type. E.g. Al-Udhiah (sacrifice) – the type of animal to be sacrificed has been specified by the Shariah and this should not be violated. Recently a Sheikh in one of the Muslim countries made a fatwa that Muslims can use chicken as sacrifice – this is a violation of the type. If a Muslim cannot afford to offer a sacrifice, then they don’t have to do it as it is not a wajib (i.e. an obligation). In certain years, some of the Sahabahs (companions) purposely did not perform the sacrifice so that the people did not think that it was a wajib.

          Conclusion

           These hadiths selected by al-Imam al-Nawawi are more of principles and criteria that help the Muslim practice easily and fulfil his/her daily religious obligations.

          Hadith 5 sets a criterion for the Muslim by which he can assess and evaluate his actions to ensure their rightness and acceptability.

 

                                                                              Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported: The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, the most truthful, the most trusted, told us:

“Verily the creation of any one of you takes place when he is assembled in his mother’s womb; for forty days he is as a drop of fluid, then it becomes a clot for a similar period. Thereafter, it is a lump looking like it has been chewed for a similar period. Then an angel is sent to him, who breathes the ruh (spirit) into him. This Angel is commanded to write Four decrees: that he writes down his provision (rizq), his life span, his deeds, and whether he will be among the wretched or the blessed.I swear by Allah – there is no God but He – one of you may perform the deeds of the people of Paradise till there is naught but an arm’s length between him and it, when that which has been written will outstrip him so that he performs the deeds of the people of the Hell Fire; one of you may perform the deeds of the people of the Hell Fire, till there is naught but an arm’s length between him and it, when that which has been written will overtake him so that he performs the deeds of the people of Paradise and enters therein.”

[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]


Background

This hadith was not only recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim but by other Scholars as well. Apart from ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud, this hadith was also narrated by many other companions (Sahabahs).

This narration by ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud was recorded with different versions where some words/terms conflicted with each other, resulting in different versions having different meanings regarding Creation. The conflicts are as follows:

  1. The addition of the word “nutfah” (the drop of a fluid)
  2.  

    This word is not mentioned in Bukhari neither Muslim’s narration. However it was added to other narrations including the one chosen by al-Imam al-Nawawi to provide a better interpretation or explanation but instead it gave two conflicting views of the creation of mankind in terms of stages of the fetus:

    First View:
    The three stages of the fetus consist of forty days each, equaling to a total of 120 days for the stages to complete. It is only after this 120 days that the ruh (spirit) is breathed into the fetus, as well as the recording of the fetus’ provision life span, deeds and destiny. This view, the inclusion of the word “nuftah”, is the view held by the majority of the Scholars.

    One problem with this view is that the stages of the fetus as interpreted in this hadith contradict the facts proven by science today.

    Another problem concerns the Fatwa on abortion. Scholars say that abortion is allowed (provided there is a very good reason – e.g. the woman’s life is in danger) only before the ruh is breathed into the fetus, i.e. before 120 days – as opposed to 40 days if the second view is to be taken (see below).

    Second View:
    The word “nutfah” does not belong to the text of the hadith. This changes the meaning of the hadith which interprets the three stages of the fetus as taking place in the first forty days. This view correlates with scientific facts. And this means that the ruh is breathed into the fetus after forty days, and not 120 days. Consequently the Fatwa on abortion states that abortion is allowed only before forty days.

  3. The authenticity of the last section of the Hadith
  4. Some Scholars say that the last section of the hadith (i.e. “By Allah…) is not part of the text of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, but the words of ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud. But since the issue in this hadith is related to matters which we cannot perceive with our limited human perception, this last section is accepted and included here because ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud may have derived the meaning from another hadith of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, to explain this hadith better.

    There are other hadiths collected by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, which touch on the same issue. But there are some differences between the texts of those hadiths and this one. Those hadiths narrate the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, as saying: One of you will perform the acts of the people of the Paradise (Ahlul Jannah) as it appears in the eyes of the people.

    This is like the Munafiqin or hypocrites – they do the acts of the Mua’minin. They appear, in our eyes, to be doing the acts of the Ahlul Jannah but Allah knows best. Their end will be a disaster – by being Munafiqin they are actually denying the message of God in their deep hearts as Allah mentioned in the Qur’an and their end will be in the Hellfire since they do not submit to Allah in their hearts. This explanation of the other hadiths is important in the understanding of this hadith.


Lessons

The Scholars say when we do a research on a concept or an issue mentioned in hadiths, we shouldn’t depend on only one hadith – we need to search for other similar hadiths, which deal with the same issue/matter. We must remember that some narrators will narrate a hadith by its meaning, and not exactly as it was said by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. This is because being human, some of them may forget some of the exact words/terms used by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam – but they still understand the actual meaning of what was said.

Then we need to compare the different texts of hadiths on the same issue with each other in order to have a more complete interpretation and better understanding of the issue/matter at hand.

 Some people, on hearing this hadith as it is and without further explanation, might feel despair, fearing that they fall into the bad group of people mentioned. This will lead to determination (jabriah) – they may think that no matter what they do, if their end has already been written, then why should they bother to do good deeds. This is the wrong attitude to have as it is based on a wrong perception. Allah is Just. We should trust Allah. If we are good to Allah and trust Him, He will be good to us. We should be optimistic and not pessimistic. We follow Allah’s commands and make the effort to be good Muslims and we should not despair.

During one of the battles, a companion (Sahabi) said to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, that he was following him, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, to fight in the hope that an arrow will be shot through his (the Sahabi’s) neck, coming in from the front and going out the back. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said, “If you are honest with Allah, Allah will be honest with you.” The Sahabi died exactly as he hoped to.

The Prophet’s, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, words here are generic and can be used for all situations. If we are honest with Allah, Allah will not leave us – He will help us – He will guide us, etc. The closer we are to Allah, the more He will help us and guide us. Thus, the last section of this hadith is an exception and applies only to few people such as the Munafiqin.

 But this, on the other hand, does not mean that we live in hope alone. The Scholars say that we must combine hope with fear – when we worship Allah, we should have hope as well as fear of Him. Fearing Allah is a positive thing. The more we fear Allah, the closer we get to Him. The more we fear Allah, the more calm and at peace we will be. This is unlike the natural ‘fear’ where if we fear something, e.g. a fire or a dangerous animal, we will try to get away from it.

Scholars say that we should have an equal amount of hope to the amount of fear. This is so we will have a better status of Iman (faith) – there is no despair and at the same time there is no excessive hope (over-confidence) which could lead to laziness and the non-fulfillment of our obligations. This is why we need to combine hope and fear, as well as love Allah the most and have trust in Him.

 This above hadith is about Allah’s Creation and Qadar. The statement: “that which has been written will overtake him” should be understood in the positive sense and not negatively. Allah with His ultimate knowledge knows what will happen as it has been explained in the previous hadith.

Al-Qadar can be categorized as:

  1. Al-Qadar al-Kulli – the general qadar which has been recorded by Allah in Al-Lauhulmahfudz or the Preserved Tablet.
  2. Al-Qadar al-Sanawi – the annual qadar which takes place once a year (Lailatul qadar) – where it matchs what has been written in Al-Lauhulmahfudz.

What has been written in Al-Lauhulmahfudz is only known to Allah. It is not revealed to us – we don’t know about our destiny, what our rizq is, where we’ll end up, etc. To us it is ghaib and unknown. The translation of this hadith using the word “overtake” may not give the true meaning if it were to be understood that whatever has been recorded by the angels will be “imposed” on a person’s life. We are simply being told about Ilmu Allah or the ultimate knowledge of Allah. What has been written does not cause us to do what we do. It is not a cause and affect situation, as believed by many Muslims. Many Muslims believe that as it has already been written, therefore this will cause us to do whatever has been written. The truth is even though it has been written and even though we will do it, we will not do it because it has been written. It is actually an association, or a matching. What we are going to do matches the knowledge of Allah, because Allah’s knowledge is ultimate. In other words, what we are going to do matches what has been written. This shows the glory of Allah, the ultimate knowledge of Allah. So we should not have the understanding that things are imposed on us. Otherwise this will nullify the whole concept of iman (faith) and the whole concept of Creation and all other related concepts.

 We are responsible for what we choose and for what we do. Referring to the last section of this hadith where a person’s final destiny changes at the last minute and he ends up not as expected, there are examples in the Sirahs where some people embrace Islam in the last minute – e.g. they embrace Islam and go into battle and die, some of them not having done a single good deed. There are also many examples today where non-practicing Muslims or those doing bad deeds, having reached the last stages of their lives (at the age of 50 or 60), will repent and turn into a good Muslim. The same applies for thousands of new converts every year.These people, according to the will of Allah, will be forgiven and enter Paradise.

For the other scenario where a person performs good deeds most of his/her life and at the end of his/her life perform bad deeds deserving to enter the Hellfire (as mentioned in the hadith), this situation affects only a limited number of people compared to the first one. And it is because of the person himself, such as in the case of hypocrites.

 To have the correct understanding of the concept of qadar, we need to know more about the creation of the human being. What is mentioned in this Hadith is actually a miracle. It describes the stages of the fetus and the creation of man 1,400 years before science and technology confirm it as fact. (This description of the stages of the fetus can also be found in the Quran but without the mention of the periods of times.) In other words, scientists were only able to observe this phenomenon in the last few decades whereas it was already mentioned in the Qur’an and Hadith hundreds of years ago.

A conference regarding the Creation was held in Europe several years ago and some Muslim Scholars were invited to attend. When these Scholars gave the Islamic perspective regarding the stages of the fetus, showing that this was documented in the Quran and the Hadith, some of the people who attended the conference embraced Islam – they were convinced that it is a Divine revelation.

 We also need to understand the components of the human being in order to help us understand qadar in the positive way. The human being consists of the following components: –

  • The intellect (Al-Aql) – this allows us, to a certain extent, to distinguish between good and evil. The intellect is part of us, part of the creation of Allah. Based on this, a person is regarded as mukallaf, responsible to understand and accept the massage of Allah if he is sane. If someone is mentally disturbed or insane, then he is not mukallaf.
  • The natural disposition or innate (Al-Fitrah) – we are created with this innate which enables us to love what is good and what is right and to hate what is evil and what is wrong. It consists of love and hate. Even though we are created with this fitrah, it is subject to change due to the environment, to our parents, upbringing, etc. Therefore there are people who might love what is bad due to a spoiled or a corrupted fitrah. The Scholars say the original fitrah is still there within these people – if we try to ‘awaken’ the fitrah, these people will come back to loving good and hating bad.
  • The commitment that we make, at the time of our pre-creation, to worship only Allah. This is related to the fitrah – it causes us to have this natural disposition or innate towards loving what is good and hating what is bad.
  • The willingness (Al-Iradah) and Power (Qudrah): Allah provided us with willingness and power/ability. An action cannot take place without this willingness and power – we do something only if we are willing and we have the power to do it. But this willingness and power are neutral and can be manipulated and used in either good or bad ways.
  • We have also been created with desires (shahawat) and the existence of these desires within us can manipulate our willingness or power towards good or bad.

    Desires are part of what is known as the internal challenges – things which influence our willingness and ability. The internal challenges consist of:

    • Shahawat/Hawa (self desires)
    • Nafs, of which there are three different aspects:

      1. The nafs which encourages us to do bad deeds
      2. The nafs which blames us for our bad deeds or thoughts of bad deeds (if we have iman and knowledge) – e.g. our nafs says “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for thinking about drinking alcohol?”
      3. The peaceful nafs (al-Mutma’inah)


      We can be dealing with these three different aspects of the nafs in a short period of time, e.g. within less than an hour, where (i) we start in thinking about doing a bad deed, caused by al-nafsu ammarah bi sua’ which is the first aspect of nafs, but due to our faith (ii) the blaming self prevents us from performing that bad deed, leading us to (iii) the aspect of the peaceful self.

There are also external challenges (which attract the internal challenges):

  •  
    • The existing muharamat (prohibitions) – e.g. the first aspect of nafs will activate the hawa and the hawa will push us to think about and do the bad deeds.
    • The insinuation/whispering (waswasa) of Satan. All that Satan can do is to insinuate. He will try to convince us to do bad deeds by promoting evil and making it appear nice and acceptable to us, or convince us to delay doing good deeds. E.g. if we are good Muslims Satan will try to make us delay performing the prayer or giving the sadaqah by making it appear as a bad thing to do because giving sadaqah will result in a financial burden for us. As we can see, both cases are done through coloring our perception.

 


Conclusion

The hadiths are the sources of our iman (faith), knowledge, and guidance as we are taught by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. Studying and understanding the Hadiths will activate our insight (basirah), enlighten our hearts, and uplift our souls. This will by the help of Allah, lead us and keep us on the right path to the end, insha Allah.

 

                                                                               Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

On the authority of Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar bin al-Khattab, radiyallahu ‘anhuma, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, say:

Islam has been built upon five things – on testifying that there is no god save Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger; on performing salah; on giving the zakah; on Hajj to the House; and on fasting during Ramadhan.”

[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]


Background

This hadith is part of the previous Hadith (2). Most Scholars say that the reason why al-Imam al-Nawawi included this hadith in his collection, even though it seems that it repeats some portions of Hadith 2, is because of the importance of the 5 pillars of Islam.

This Hadith stresses the fundamental aspects of the outward submission to Allah. This submission is based on some pillars, similar to a structure. If a person fulfills these aspects, he has laid a solid foundation for his deen as a ‘home’.

The other acts of Islam, which are not mentioned in this hadith, can be taken as fine touches to complete this structure.

If a person fails to fulfill these obligations (building the pillars), then the entire structure of his deen/iman may be threatened. This depends on how much is being violated – e.g. violation of the shahadah is the most dangerous.


Lessons

The use of metaphors and similes

This hadith uses a metaphor (i.e. the image of the structure of a building) to affirm certain important meanings. This use of metaphors and similes can be found in many Surahs in the Quran and in many other hadiths. For example:

  • In Surah At-Taubah (9): ayat 109, a similar metaphor is used – the structure of the Mua’min’s deen/iman is based on a sound foundation, whereas the structure of the deen of the Munafiq is based on weak ground which may lead to the collapse of the structure, resulting in the Munafik entering the Hellfire.
  • Surah An-Nur (24): ayat 35, uses the metaphor of light as the light of guidance in the heart of the Mua’min.
  • A metaphor used to condemn those who fail to fulfill the amanah (i.e. religious obligations) can be found in Surah Al-Jumu’ah (62): ayat 5. The Bani Israel, having failed to obey Allah’s commandments in the Taurah, are described as a donkey which is burdened with heavy books on its back but doesn’t understand anything from them. Scholars have said that this metaphor also applies to other nations, which fail to fulfill their amanah.
  • In one hadith the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, divided the status of his ummah into three categories: those who benefit from the Message, those who benefit partially and those who fail to benefit at all. He, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used the metaphor of rain (as the Message) falling down on different types of land, producing different results.

Using metaphors to convey the Message is a very important ‘tool’ and it is the methodology used in the Quran and by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. There are many modes of expression used in the Quran and Hadith and they are used for different purposes. E.g. Dealing with the misconceptions and false assumptions of the disbelievers, the Quran and Hadith use rational thinking. When describing Jannah and the Hellfire, the style used by the Quran and Hadith is the visual mode of expression – they are described in such detail that it is like we can actually visualize Jannah or the Hellfire in front of us.

One of the Sahabahs said that he had already seen Jannah and the Hellfire. The other Sahabahs were puzzled and asked him how this could be so as nobody is able to see them until the Hereafter. He replied, “I saw them through the eyes of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. If I were to be given the chance to see Jannah and the Hellfire with my own eyes, I would not trust my sight. I trust the eyes of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, more than I trust my own eyes.” Here we can conclude that if we read and understand the Quran and the Hadiths we too can visualize the paradise and the Hellfire.

These modes of expression (thinking styles) used by the Quran and Hadith should be well understood and used by Muslims today to convey the Message of Islam when doing da’wah as it is the most effective way. Different styles should be used to reach/convince different people – some people are more emotional, some are more rational, etc.

                                                                            Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

 

ムスリムが日常生活をする中で重視しているイスラーム法は、「人のあるべき生き方を示す道」という意味の「シャリア」と呼ばれていますが、中には、金融に関する決まりがあり、ムスリムの金利の受け払いや反道徳的な事業への投融資の禁止をしています。イスラーム法に則った金融取引・サービスの総称のことをイスラム金融といいます。

イスラム金融の特徴は主に2つで説明できます。1つは、「金利の概念がない」という点です。イスラームの教義では、「利子(リバー)」を受け取ってはならないと定めています。

2つめの特徴は、「金融取引の関連する事業につき、シャリアに反するものは排除される」ということです。イスラームで禁止されている「豚肉やアルコールの摂取」「賭博」「武器」「ポルノ」「喫煙」などに関連した事業との取引(融資など)は禁止されます。

イスラム金融は、多国籍金融機関はもちろん、日本の金融市場でも注目され始めています。現在、イスラム金融が拡大する背景には、政治や経済、社会の構造変化の影響だけでなく、経済的合理性、非排他性、また社会的投資責任(SRI)などイスラム金融自体が持つ利点にイスラム世界のみならず、世界が着目し始めたといわれています。

日常生活の中では、利子払いの生じる買い物を避けたり、住宅を購入するためのローンを組まずに、賃貸住宅で暮らすことを選ぶムスリムがすくなくありません。また、国によっては、利子の返済などに関わらずに住宅の購入などが可能なイスラム銀行(Islamic Bank)のサービスを活用するムスリムもいます。

イスラム金融についてもっと知りたい

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

イスラ-ムにおいて死は最後の日ではなく一時的な別れであって、死者はアッラーの審判の日に再び蘇ると信じられています。そのため、イスラムでは埋葬は全て土葬で行われます。死の確定後に遺体を清掃した後、告別式が行われますが、この告別式ではサラート・ル・ジャナーザ(告別の礼拝)と呼ばれる特別な礼拝をあげます。

サラート・ル・ジャナーザの際、遺体は決められた位置に安置します。遺体が男性であるか女性であるか、また男児であるか女児であるかによって遺体の安置される場所も異なるだけではなく、イマームの立つ位置も異なります。また、墓石の形はそれぞれの地域によって様々ですが、墓は全て聖地メッカの方向を向いており、遺体の頭もメッカに向くように埋葬されます。

日本においては、イスラーム霊園は数少なく、増え続ける日本在住ムスリムの人口からみれば、墓地の不足は明らかです。現在、山梨県と北海道にイスラーム霊園がありますが、全国に広く在住しているムスリムにとって、限られた地域にしか霊園がないというは非常に残念な状況といわざるをえません。

また、日本での埋葬のほかに、外国出身のムスリムの場合、遺体を母国への搬送することもあります。

日本で埋葬の場合、日本ムスリム協会または日本イスラム文化センターで埋葬の手続き等について問い合わせることができます。

慈悲の教えであるイスラームはテロリズムを認めていない。

クルアーンにはこうある。

(神は、宗教上のことであなたがたに戦いを仕掛けず、あなたがたを家から追放しなかった者たちに対してあなたがたが親切を尽くし、公正に待遇することを禁じられない。実に神は公正な者をお好みになられる。 )(クルアーン 60:8)

預言者ムハンマドは兵士たちに女性と子供を殺すことを禁じて、(*注2)彼らに次のような忠告をしていた。{…裏切ってはならない。度を越してはならない。生まれたばかりの赤子を殺すな。}(*注3) また次のようにも言った。{ムスリムと協定を結んだものを殺すものは誰でも、天国の香りを嗅ぐことはない。その香りは40年間もの距離に渡って漂っているにも関わらず、である。}(*注4)
また預言者ムハンマドは火で罰することを禁じた。(*注5)
またある時彼は殺人を2番目の大罪に挙げ、(*注6)次のように警告した。{審判の日に最初に裁かれるのは他人の血を流した人々である。(*注7)}(*注8)

ムスリムは動物に優しく接することを薦められており、それらを不正に傷つけることは禁じられている。預言者ムハンマドは申された。{ある女性は猫を死ぬまで閉じ込めたために罰せられ、そのために彼女は地獄に送られることになった。彼女は猫を閉じ込め、食事も水も与えなかった。放し飼いにして地面の虫を捕獲させることすら許さなかったのである。}(*注9)彼はまた、非常に喉の渇いた犬に水を与えた男が、神に過去に犯した罪を赦されたことについても語った。それについて人々は預言者に訊ねた。「預言者よ、畜獣にも(それらに対する善行による)報奨があるのですか?」預言者は言った。{「全ての生きとし生けるものには報奨がある。」}(*注10)

更に、食べる目的で動物を殺す場合、ムスリムはその動物の恐怖や苦しみをできるだけ少なくするように命じられている。預言者ムハンマドは言った。{動物を屠殺するときは、最もよい方法で行いなさい。ナイフをよく砥いで動物が苦しまないようにしなさい。}(*注11)

このような教えを含むイスラームのテキストの中では、無防備な市民の心に恐怖を与える行為や、建物や所有物の完全な破壊、無垢な人々や女性や子供を爆撃したり傷つけたりすることは全て禁じてられており、イスラームとムスリムにとって憎むべき行為となっている。ムスリムは平和、慈悲、寛容の教えに従っているのであり、彼らの大多数は現在ムスリムと結び付けられている諸々の野蛮な行為とは何の関わりもない。もしムスリムがテロ行為を犯すならば、その人物はイスラームの法を犯した罪人ということになる。

イスラミックセンター・ジャパン「図解イスラームガイド」より抜粋

「なぜムスリムの女性は、頭にスカーフを被っているのか?」

まるで女性だけが服装に規定を設けられ、窮屈な思いをさせられているような「抑圧的」なイスラームのイメージが世界に広く浸透しています。しかし、それは間違った「イメージ」であり、現代の西欧的ファッションに同化せず、女性としての尊厳と自由を忘れないムスリム女性の誇りの表現なのです。

実際、スカーフを被ったムスリムの女性に「抑圧されているの?」と聞いたことはありますか?そうでなくても、「可哀そうに・・・」と同情的な思いを寄せているとしたら、ご心配には及びません。きっと多くのムスリマ(ムスリムの女性)が、「自分の意思で」「喜びと誇りを持って」身体や頭部を被う(ヒジャブ)という服装を選んでいると、答えるでしょう。なぜなら、彼女たちはアッラーからのお恵みと、ヒジャブの本当の素晴らしさを理解しているからです。

イスラームでは、人間が尊厳を維持するため、男女ともに被うべき身体の部分について定めています。女性が明らかに、男性よりも多くの部分を被っているため、差別的という批判もあります。しかし、イスラームでは、男女を全く同じに取り扱うことが真の「男女平等」と考えていません。男女の肉体的、生理学的違いとそこから生ずる態度、ふるまい、好み、生き方を十分考慮に入れて精密に打ち出された「尊重とバランス」のシステムが、イスラームにはあります。一見、不平等に見えるかもしれないこのきまりは、人間社会の深部において実に理にかなったものであり、それは英知と調和と驚きに満ちています。

女性は、本来美しく、魅力的で繊細な人間です。娘であり、妻であり、そして母であるかけがえのない存在なのです。だからこそ、社会全体で大事に守っていかなければならない対象なのです。イスラームでは、女性を本当に大切にする教えがたくさんありますが、また一方で女性自身も自己に尊厳を持たせ、大切にしていく必要があります。

ヒジャブは、女性の尊厳や知性を尊重し、一人の人間として男性にも媚びることなく活動する自由を与えています。そしてまた、女性ゆえに受けてしまう望まぬトラブルや男女間の不要な過ちを未然に防ぐという社会防壁的な機能も果たしています。男女間の魅力や親密さが最も発揮される場が、夫婦関係においてのみ認められることで社会の秩序や家庭の幸せにつながっています。

今日、女性が自分の身体をオブジェ化して男の眼面にさらしている風潮が日本にもありますが、(人間としての)内面よりも(女性としての)外見が評価されることは、むしろ女性にとって非常に窮屈な社会ではないでしょうか。イスラーム世界では、女性が新車の横に裸同然の格好で立たされることもありませんし、混雑する乗物で痴漢行為を受けることもありません。服装ひとつで女性の扱い方に、天地の差が出るのは不合理でしょうが、それが現実です。であればこそ、女性は自分の服装に、自己の意思を表現することができるのです。ヒジャブによって女性的部分を隠したムスリマは、「人間として」堂々と社会に向き合い、尊重されるべき存在としての自分を選んでいるのです。

男も女も、イスラームでは平等です。聖クルアーンは、

「男性でも女性でも、よい行いをする者が信仰者であり、彼らはみなが楽園にはいり、誰一人不当にあつかわれることはない」(女性章124節)

と名言しています。イスラームには、最初の女性(ハウワー)が最初の男性(アーダム)の肋骨から創られたがゆえに劣っている、というような信仰はありません。

ただし、男女が平等とということは、男女が同じということにはなりません。例えば、女性は子どもを生んで、人類を存続させます。男性が子どもを生むことはありません。それは、アッラーが生命体を「雌雄」に創造されたからだ、と考えます。

男女は平等、ただし違いはある、ということについて西欧では、本当に男女平等ではないと、と言う批判があるようです。イスラームでは、男女差を否定する平等論には賛成ではありません。人間の真実を前提とした平等論が、イスラームの考え方です。

(イスラーム文化センター発刊「イスラームという生き方」より抜粋)

信者たちの長[1]、アブー・ハフス・ウマル・イブヌ=ル=ハッターブ[2]アッラーよ彼を嘉したまえの権威[3]による。彼は伝えている。私はアッラーの御使いアッラーよ彼に祝福と平安を与えたまえが言われるのを聞いた。

行為とは意志にもとづくものであり、人はみな自らの意志した事柄の所有者である。したがってアッラーとその御使いのために聖遷に参加した者は、アッラーとその御使いのために聖遷[4]を行なったのであり、現世の利益、結婚相手の女のために聖遷に加わった者は、それらのために聖遷を行なったにすぎない。

この伝承は、伝承学の大家である2人のイマーム、アブー・アブドッラーフ・ムハンマド・イブン・イスマーイール・イブン・イブラーヒーム・イブヌ=ル=ムギーラ・イブン・バルディズバ・アルブハーリーと、アブ=ル=フサイン・ムスリム・イブヌ=ル=ハッジャージ・イブン・ムスリム・アルクシャイリー・アンナイサーブーリーの各『サヒーフ』[5]中に記載されている。ちなみにこの両『サヒーフ』は、著述[6]の中でももっとも信憑性の高いものという評価をうけている。


註:

[1]1 アミール・ル・ムウミニーン/信者たちの長とは、カリフたちに与えられる呼称。

[1]2  第二代目正統カリフ

3 直接預言者から伝承を耳にしている人物を権威とした。伝承は普通以下のような鎖(伝承27註(3)参照)を持っている。「この伝承はEにより伝えられ たものである。EはDから、DはC、CはB、BはAから伝え聞き、Aは預言者が言われるのを聞いた。」この場合、もちろんAが権威となる。ち なみに本書では煩雑を避け、多くの場合B以下は省略されている。

[1]4  聖遷はマッカ(メッカ)からアルマディーナ(メディナ)へのムハンマド(彼の上に祝福と平安あれ)の移住を指す。

5『サヒーフ』は「真正伝承大成」の意。本文中にあるように、アルブハーリーとムスリムの『サヒーフ』は伝承学中で欠かすことの出来ない重要な集大成。

[1]6  ここでは伝承集成の著述をさす。


 

讃えあれアッラー、万世の主、諸天と大地をくまなくしろしめし、万物を宰べられる御方。まぎれもない徴、明白な証をもって正しい導きを広め、宗教の掟を説くために遣わされた御使いたちの派遣者。アッラーよ、これらすべての御使いに祝福と平安を授けたまえ。また私は、その恵みたもうすべての恩籠のゆえに心からアッラーを讃え、いやます恩恵、慈愛を乞い願う者である。またアッラーの他に神はなく、アッラーこそは並びない唯一の神にして、凌威この上もなく、惜みない恩恵と赦しの与え手であることを誓言するとともに、われわれの長ムハンマドがアッラーの下僕、御使いであり、その賞で愛したまう者であると証言する。ムハンマドはいつの世までも奇蹟たりつづける尊きクルアーンと、導きを求める者みなに光明を投げかけるその言行のゆえに、格別の栄誉を授けられた、よろずの被造者に優る者である。われわれの長ムハンマドは、その確たる言葉、宗教的実践に示した寛容の精神において比類のない者である。アッラーよ、彼とその余の預言者たち、御使いたち、ならびに彼らの一族のすべてと他の敬虔な信者たちに祝福と平安を授けたまえ。

次に引くアッラーの御使い―アッラーよ彼に祝福と平安を与えたまえ―の言葉は、アリー・イブン・アブー・ターリブ、アブドッラーフ・イブン・マスウード、ムアーズ・イブン・ジャバル、アブッ=ダルダーウ、イブン・ウマル、イブン・アッバース、アナス・イブン・マーリク、アブー・フライラ、アブー・サィード=ル=フドリー ―アッラーよ彼らすべてを嘉したまえ―の権威に基づき、さまざまな伝承の鎖を経て種々のかたちで伝えられている。

「われらが民のため、その宗教に関する40の伝承を記憶し、伝えた者は、審判の日にアッラーにより法学者、宗教学者の一員に加えられるであろう。」

他の伝承によれば〔後半の部分は〕、「アッラーは審判の日に彼を法学者、宗教学者となされるであろう」、となっている。またアブッ=ダルダーウの伝承では、「審判の日に私は彼のとりなし手、証人となろう」、イブン・マスウードの伝承では、「彼は伝えられるであろう。『望みの門から楽園に入れ』」となっている。イブン・ウマルの伝承は、「宗教学者の一人として登録され、来世において殉教者として生れかわるであろう」としているが、伝承学者たちは、この伝承には数多くの鎖があるが、信憑性の弱いものであるという点で意見が一致している。

宗教学者たちアッラーよ彼らを嘉したまえは、このような趣旨から無数の著書を著している。私の知る限りでは、最初にこのような著作〔40の伝承の編著〕をものしたのはアブドッラーフ・イブヌ=ル=ムバーラクであり、ついで神性について通暁した学者イブン・アスラム・アットゥーシー、アルハサン・イブン・スフヤーン・アンナサーイー、アブー・バクル・アルアージュッリー、アブー・バクル・ムハンマド・イブン・イブラーヒーム・アルイスファハーニー、アッダーラクトニー、アルハーキム、アブー・スアイム、アブー・アブドッラフマーン・アッスラミー、アブー・サイード・アルマーリーニー、アブー・ウスマーン・アッサーブーニー、アブドッラーフ・イブン・ムハンマド・アルアンサーリー・アブー・バクル・アルバイハキー等、上代、後代を通じて無数の人々がこうした著述を行なっている。

私は、これらイスラームの卓越した指導者、宗教の護り手を模倣して40の伝承を編むにあたり、至高のアッラーの良き導きを求めた。

宗教学者は、それが善行に関わるものである限り、信憑性の弱い伝承をも実行に移すことを許している。ただし私はそのような伝承によらず、御使いアッラーよ彼に祝福と平安を与えたまえの正しい伝承にのみ依拠した。〔その中には次のような言葉がある。〕「なんじらの証人には、その場に居合せぬ者に〔真実を〕伝えさせよ。」また御使いアッラーよ彼に祝福と平安を与えたまえの言葉には、つぎのようなものもある。「アッラーよ、私の言葉を耳にしてそれを心に誦んじ、耳にしたそのままを伝える者〔の顔に〕輝きを与えたまえ。」またある宗教学者たちは、宗教の基本要項またはそれから分れた諸細目、例えば聖戦や禁欲的修行、あるいは立居振舞いの規範、説教といった特定の問題に関して40の伝承を編んでいる。これらの著述はすべて正しい意図のもとに成されており、このような意図をもつ者はアッラーの御心にかなう者といえよう。ただし私は、この40の伝承の編著を先にあげたものよりー層重要であると考えている。40の伝承は上述の趣旨すべてを包合し、同時にその一々の伝承は、宗教学者が「イスラームの要」、「イスラームの大半」、「イスラームの3分の1」等と述べたような、偉大な宗教的礎の一つに当るものでなくてはならない。さらにこの編著においては、各々の伝承は真正疑うべからざるものであり、その大半がアルブハーリーとムスリムの『サヒーフ』から引用さるべきであろう。引用にあたり私は、アッラーの御心のもとに暗誦を容易ならしめ、その利益をさらに一般的なものとするために、〔煩雑な〕伝承の鎖を記すことをせず、後に難解な表現を明らかにする註釈を付した。

来世に心を至す者はすべて、ここに引かれた諸伝承に精通しなければならない。これらはきわめて重要な事柄を含んでいるとともに、〔アッラーにたいする〕従順の諸相に関する警告を備えもっているのだから。問題を熟慮する者にとっては、ことは明白である。ひとえにアッラーを信じ、アッラーのみに縋り、帰依したてまつる。讃嘆と恩寵の主にして、成功と〔誤謬を許さぬ〕清浄さの源たる御方に。

Also on the authority of ‘Umar, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said:
“While we were one day sitting with the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, there appeared before us a man dressed in extremely white clothes and with very black hair. No traces of journeying were visible on him, and none of us knew him.
He sat down close by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, rested his knee against his thighs, and said, O Muhammad! Inform me about Islam.” Said the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, “Islam is that you should testify that there is no deity save Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, that you should perform salah (ritual prayer), pay the zakah, fast during Ramadan, and perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah), if you can find a way to it (or find the means for making the journey to it).” Said he (the man), “You have spoken truly.”
We were astonished at his thus questioning him and telling him that he was right, but he went on to say, “Inform me about iman (faith).” He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, “It is that you believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and in the Last Day, and in fate (qadar), both in its good and in its evil aspects.” He said, “You have spoken truly.”
Then he (the man) said, “Inform me about Ihsan.” He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, ” It is that you should serve Allah as though you could see Him, for though you cannot see Him yet He sees you.” He said, “Inform me about the Hour.” He (the Messenger of Allah) said, “About that the one questioned knows no more than the questioner.” So he said, “Well, inform me about the signs thereof (i.e. of its coming).” Said he, “They are that the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress, that you will see the barefooted ones, the naked, the destitute, the herdsmen of the sheep (competing with each other) in raising lofty buildings.” Thereupon the man went off.
I waited a while, and then he (the Messenger of Allah) said, “O ‘Umar, do you know who that questioner was?” I replied, “Allah and His Messenger know better.” He said, “That was Jibril. He came to teach you your religion.””
[Muslim]

 

Background

Al-Imam Muslim says: Towards the end of his life, Abdullah bin ‘Umar (the son of ‘Umar bin al-Khattab) was told by two people that a new Islamic sect had emerged from Iraq. They were called Al-Qadariah and they denied al-qadar (fate). Thus Abdullah bin ‘Umar narrated this hadith which mentions qadar as one of the pillars of Iman to refute the misconception of this sect.


Lessons

This hadith teaches the adab (ethics) of seeking knowledge:

  • We should be clean and wear clean clothes.
  • We should sit properly and closer to the speaker.
  • Asking questions for better understanding.
  • Seek knowledge from the right source/authority.

The method of seeking knowledge is through asking questions:

  • The type of questions we ask should be meaningful – questions that will lead to valuable knowledge and good action.
  • Asking good questions will result in better learning as well as teaching. Those who are present when the questions are asked will also learn from the answers – thus, the questioner is teaching the others.
  • When Ibn Abbas, one of the greatest Scholars among the Sahabahs, was asked how he obtained all his knowledge, he replied: “with an inquisitive tongue (i.e. he always asked questions) and a contemplating heart”.
  • In many hadiths the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, himself will start by asking questions before he imparts with knowledge. Asking questions will prepare the mind/heart so that it will be ready for the answers/knowledge – ready to absorb and learn. In this hadith he calls Jibril “the questioner” which implies full appreciation and encouragement of asking questions specially the ones that will lead to gaining more knowledge.
  • In the Quran itself there are more than 1,200 questions – to serve different purposes – to provoke the mind of the reader and force it to indulge in thinking about what he/she reads.

                                                                                      Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

 

 

It is narrated on the authority of Amirul Mu’minin, Abu Hafs ‘Umar bin al-Khattab, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, say:
“Actions are (judged) by motives (niyyah), so each man will have what he intended. Thus, he whose migration (hijrah) was to Allah and His Messenger, his migration is to Allah and His Messenger; but he whose migration was for some worldly thing he might gain, or for a wife he might marry, his migration is to that for which he migrated.”
[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

Background

This hadith was said by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, at the time when a man emigrated from Makkah to Madinah during the Hijrah for the sake of marrying someone and not for the sake of Islam.

It is considered to be one of the greatest hadiths in Islam.

Al-Imam al-Shafie said: This Hadith is one third of the knowledge of Islam; related to about 70 topics of Fiqh.

Al-Imam Ahmad (with reference to al-Imam al-Shafie’s statement) said: Islam is based on three fundamentals (all are among the 40 hadiths ):

  1. Hadith 1: which is stated above.
  2. Hadith 5: “Whosoever introduces into this affair of ours (i.e. Islam) something that does not belong to it, it is to be rejected.”
  3. Hadith 6: “Truly, what is lawful is evident, and what is unlawful is evident, and in between the two are matters which are doubtful which many people do not know……”

These three hadiths are agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

These hadiths can be seen as three criteria to help Muslims evaluate and judge what they do and say “as an ibadah” in their daily life:

  1. Hadith 1 – To evaluate and judge our internal actions (actions of the heart).
  2. Hadith 5 – To evaluate and judge our external actions (actions of the limbs).
  3. Hadith 6 – To evaluate and judge our dealings “mu’amalat” (interaction between people).

 Niyyah (intention) has two meanings:

  1. The intention before an ibadah (e.g. prayer)
  2. The willingness

The second meaning (ii.) is what is meant in this hadith.


Lessons

The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, starts the hadith with the principle (“Actions are judged by intentions”) and then gives three examples. This is the methodology of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. The examples help illustrate the principle so that it is easier for people to understand and they can apply the principle to other similar situations.

The three examples consist of one of good intention (migration for the sake of Allah and His Messenger) and two of bad intentions (migration for the sake of worldly gains or for marriage).

 This hadith emphasises ikhlas (sincerity – to be truthful and honest to Allah alone, performing an act solely for Allah’s sake whereby no other witness except Allah is sought). Ikhlas is one of the conditions of accepting good deeds. The other condition is that the actions must be done in accordance with the Shariah as it will be explained in the fifth hadith.

This can be seen in the shahadah :

  • “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah” is the ikhlas – ensuring that we do things for the sake of Allah and Allah alone.
  • “I bear witness that Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah” – the Sunnah is the manifestation of the Quran – the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, is our example, our best model to follow. Following his Sunnah in our ibadah, Akhlaq (ethics), and Muamalat (dealings) ensures that we are acting in accordance with the Shariah.

Thus, the shahadah shows us the conditions for accepting a deed or performing an action: (a) it should be for the sake of Allah because He is the only One we worship, and (b) it should be in accordance with the Shariah.

 To achieve ikhlas, we have to avoid shirk (associating others with Allah, which causes insincerity). Al-Imam al-Harawi said the root cause for insincerity (or shirk) is self-desire (al-hawa). Therefore no action should be done because of self-desire.

Imam al-Harawi states that there are 7 types of self-desires:-

  • To make oneself appear good in the hearts of others
  • To seek the praises of others
  • To avoid being blamed by others
  • To seek the glorification of others
  • To seek the wealth/money of others
  • To seek the services or love of others
  • To seek the help of others for oneself

                                                                                              

                                                                              Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi

Shizuoka Mussala/静岡ムサッラーはこちら

Assalaam aleikum.

We, the Shizuoka Muslim Association, carry an important mission to reach out to this society because now that many Japanese people are curious about Islam and wish to access to information on this beautiful religion. There has been a great amount of efforts put in introducing Islam in Japanese thanks to muslim brothers and sisters, yet we shall never stop making Dahwa for the future of this county.

Muslims in Japan also introduces lives of muslims living in the local Shizuoka area and stories of Japanese muslims on how they came to Islam. Please take your opportunity to look into the site and help the masjid fundraising project by spreading this website to your family and friends, and by donating continuously.  May Allah be pleased with your actions and intentions. Thank you.

 

Muslims in Japan」へようこそ:

日本に暮らすイスラーム教徒は、日本人も含め約11万人近くいるといわれています。仕事や留学、結婚などで定住している外国人イスラーム教徒だけでなく、入信した日本人やその子どもたちが日本生まれのイスラーム教徒として成長し、新たな社会の一員として年々増加しています。

国際社会化する日本では、経済面や文化面だけなく、日常生活の中においてもイスラーム世界との接点が今後ますます増えていきます。日本が誇る文化伝統の豊かさは、数々の多文化・多様性を柔軟に受け入れる懐の深さにより生み出されてきました。今日、新たなる潮流として日本にたどりついたイスラームの世界は、すでにこの国の社会の一端として融合し始めているのです。これからのより豊かな共生社会を目指し、日本とイスラームの相互理解への努力が必要となっています。

このHPでは、イスラームの基本的な教えについて紹介するだけでなく、日本に暮らすムスリムの素顔が見えるようなサイトを目指しています。また、このHPが日本とイスラーム世界の架け橋として、少しでも役立つことを願っています。

 

Selamat datang di [Muslims in Japan];

 

Web site ini dibuat sebagai pusat informasi tentang Islam khususnya di Jepang dan sebagai wadah untuk penggalangan dana pembangunan masjid di kota shizuoka, Jepang. Saat ini, banyak warga jepang yang ingin tahu dan berusaha untuk mencari informasi tentang Islam. Untuk itu, kami yang tergabung dalam Shizuoka Muslim Association telah dan sedang berusaha untuk dapat memberikan informasi dan memperkenalkan Islam kepada warga Jepang di sekitar kami. Terima kasih kepada saudara/saudariku atas semua usaha yang dilakukan, kami mohon teruskanlah usaha ini dan janganlah berhenti untuk berdakwah di negeri ini.

Saat ini, kami di sini juga telah dan sedang berusaha untuk memperkenalkan bagaimana cara hidup islami kepada warga sekitar Shizuoka. Selain itu kami juga berusaha untuk mendokumentasikan cerita dan alasan beberapa warga jepang yang masuk Islam dan akan kami unggah ke web site ini. Silahkan untuk melihat semua informasi yang ada di halaman web site ini, dan bantulah kami untuk menggalang dana pembangunan masjid di Shizuoka dengan menginformasikan keberadaan web site ini ke keluarga anda, teman anda ataupun kolega anda atau secara langsung mengirimkan dana anda ke Shizuoka Masjid Project. Semoga Allah SWT memberikan balasan amal kebaikan kepada anda atas bantuan dan perhatian yang telah diberikan. Terima kasih banyak.

Imam Muhyi al-Din Abu Zakariya Yahya bin Sharaf al-Nawawi, for short Imam Nawawi, was born in the village of Nawa in the vicinity of Damascus in 631 A.H. (1233 A.D.). He grew up in Nawa and at the age of nineteen went to study in Damascus which was considered the center of learning and scholarship.

During his stay at Damascus, Imam Nawawi studied from more than twenty celebrated teachers, regarded as masters and authorities of their fields and disciplines. He studied Hadith, Islamic jurisprudence and principles, syntax and Etymology from great scholars such as Abu Ibrahim Ishaq bin Ahmad AI-Maghribi, Abu Muhammad Abdur-Rahman bin Ibrahim Al-Fazari, Radiyuddin Abu Ishaq Ibrahim bin Abu Hafs Umar bin Mudar Al-Mudari, Abu Ishaq Ibrahim bin Isa Al-Muradi, Abul-Baqa Khalid bin Yusuf An-Nablusi, and Abul-Abbas Ahmad bin Salim Al-Misri.

Imam Nawawi had endless thirst for knowledge. He used to read twelve lessons daily and wrote commentaries on every lesson. Whatever books he read, he would write marginal notes and explanations on each book. His intelligence, hard work, love, devotion and absorption in his studies amazed his teachers and they became fond of him and began to praise and admire him. Allah had also conferred upon him the gift of fast memorisation and depth of thought. Imam Nawawi made full benefit of his God given qualities and potentialities and earned the highest degree of honor.

Imam Nawawi led a life of singular piety, righteousness and simplicity. After over 20 years, he returned to his hometown. Soon after his arrival at Nawa, he fell ill and died in 676 A.H. (1278 AD).

Imam Nawawi had a very short life but during this short period, he had written a large number of books on different subjects. Every work has been recognised as a valuable treasure of knowledge. Among them are:-

  • Riyad al-Salihin
  • Sharh Sahih Muslim
  • Sharh Sunan Abi Dawud
  • Kitab-ur-Raudah
  • Tahdhib-ul-Asma was-Sifat
  • Arba’een
  • Mukhtasar At-Tirmidhi
  • Tabaqat Ash Shafi’iyah
  • Muhimmatul-Ahkam
  • al-Adhkar
  • al-Tibyan fi adab hamalat al-Qur’an
  • al-Irshad wa’l-Taqrib fi ‘Ulum al-Hadith
  • al-Minhaj

His Sharh Sahih Muslim is a standard text book for the study of Hadith while his al-Minhaj is used for the study of Fiqh.


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