Muslim Personality [Based on Teaching of Prophet SAW]


Author’s Introduction

All praise and thanks are due to Allâh. We praise and give thanks to Him. We seek His aid and ask for His forgiveness, and we seek Allâh’s refuge from the evil of ourselves and from our evil actions. Whomsoever Allâh guides then none can misguide him, and whomsoever He misguides then none can guide him. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allâh, alone, having no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger – to proceed:

This is a concise book which contains forty authentic ahadîth (1) from the fine sayings of the Chosen Prophet (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) which I gathered as a reminder for myself and my brothers. They contain guidance for cultivation of souls, purification of the hearts and refinement of character. I myself have added nothing except a few words to explain and clarify anything unclear, to provide chapter headings showing the connection between the ahadîth, and further brief notes.

It will not be unknown to any of the people that the noble Religion of Islâm has given great importance, and directed full attention in many of the texts of the Book and the Sunnah, to building the personality of the Muslim and directing it in accordance with the essential teachings of Islâm and its fundamentals and requirements.

The major incentive which led me to compile and compose this work was that I saw that many of those who attach themselves to Islâm, and call to Allâh, are actually far removed from the Islâmic personality in both essence and outward manner and appearance. We ask Allâh to protect and grant us safety. This being the case I thought it was essential to compile this treatise so that it could be a firm and strong nucleus for the Muslim to initiate his Islâmic life, to know the true way, follow it and call to it. Particularly since the Prophet (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) has indicated this reality with his saying:

“For every action there is a period of enthusiasm / activity, and for every period of enthusiasm / activity there is a period of rest / inactivity. So he whose period of rest / inactivity is in accordance with my Sunnah then he is rightly guided, but he whose period of rest / inactivity accords with other than this, then he is destroyed.” (2)

So I write this book for the enthusiastic Muslim youth who does not find, whilst swimming in the ocean of enthusiasm and excitement, the helping hand of one who knows the poison and is aware of the cure, one who can guide him to the correct way and correct thinking so that these youths can be with their minds and thoughts like the Companions of the Prophet (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) since they were also youths, but:

“They were youths, yet mature youths, their eyes fresh and free of evil, their feet refrained from approaching falsehood and futility. They sacrificed and expended themselves in worship and in withholding themselves from sleep. They sold their souls which were to pass away for souls which would never die. Allâh saw them in the latter part of the night, bending their backs, reciting the Qur’ân. Whenever one of them came to an Ayah mentioning Paradise, he would weep, longing for it. Whenever he came upon an Ayah mentioning the fire he would groan out of fear, as if the Hell-fire were directly in front of him. The earth devoured their knees their hands and their foreheads. They joined exhaustion in the night with exhaustion in the day. Their colour becoming yellowed and their bodies emaciated through standing long in prayer and frequent fasting – whilst they regarded their own actions to be negligible before Allâh. They fulfilled their covenant with Allâh and attained Allâh’s promise.” (3)

So let us all hasten to be like them, and to resemble them since the affair is as it was said:

“We are not in comparison to those who came before except like small herbs growing beside the trunks of tall palm trees.” (4)

And as Ibn ul Mubarak said:

“Do not mention us whilst mentioning them, the fit and healthy when he walks is not like the crippled.” (5)

I have sought in choosing these ahadîth to gather those which are the most comprehensive, but the Islâmic Personality will not be completed until the person follows and implements the Religion (Dîn) of Allâh the One free of all imperfections, and the Most High says:

“O you who believe! Enter into Islâm perfectly (completely).” (6)

I have strived to mention the source references for each hadîth along with a statement about its authenticity, as demanded by the science of hadîth whilst avoiding unnecessarily going into great length or falling short of what is necessary. So I tried to be as brief as is fitting for a book of this size, and only rarely speaking at more length when it was essential.

So if Allâh guides me to and grants me that which is correct in what I intended then that is from the completeness of His blessings, but if the result is otherwise and I hope it is not the case, then I ask Allâh for His forgiveness and His Mercy. Indeed He is the One who hears and responds, and our final call is that all praise and thanks are for Allâh, Lord of all the worlds.

Purity and Sincerity of Intention

From ‘Umar ibn al-Khattâb (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“Actions are but by intentions and there is for every person only that which he intended. So he whose migration was for Allâh and His Messenger, then his migration was for Allâh and His Messenger, and he whose migration was to attain some worldly goal or to take a woman in marriage, then his migration was for that which he migrated.” (7)

So the pillar of actions is pure and sincere intention, and through purity of intention the hearts become upright and at rest, and through it the person comes to know the right way in his Religion, thus he does everything in the proper manner. Through purity of intention alone will he come to know of the obligations upon him and the rights due to him. Through it he will behave justly in all affairs and will give everything its due right, not going beyond bounds or falling short of the mark.

So this hadîth is one of the ahadîth which are the pillars of correct understanding of our upright and true religion. (8)

So when the Muslim servant clearly realises what he has preceded then it becomes obligatory upon him that he should, without any hesitation, surround his sincere intention with the protective barrier for the Islâmic Personality which is:

Distinctness

From Ibn ‘Umar (radiyAllâhu ‘anhumaa) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“I have been sent before the Hour so that Allâh alone should be worshipped without any partner for Him, and my provision has been placed beneath the shade of my spear, and subservience and humiliation have been placed upon those who disobey my orders, and whoever imitates a people then he is one of them.” (9)

The Muslim has a distinct personality with it’s own special nature and particular outlook and manner. It is distinct in its appearance, its nature, its creed (‘aqîdah), its orientation and direction faced in Prayer, and in all its affairs.

By being distinct as Muslims we preserve our Islâm and our call in a clear and pure form, free from any adulteration and mistakes. However the Muslim whilst being distinct does not depart from:

Justice and Being Justly Balanced

From Abû Hurayrah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“Love the one whom you love to a certain degree (moderately), perhaps one day he will be someone for whom you have hatred, and hate the one for whom you have hatred to a certain degree (moderately), perhaps one day he will be one whom you love.” (10)

The Muslim is justly balanced in his loving and his hating. He is just both when giving and when taking and is moderate in all of that. His being justly balanced is one of the signs of his Religion and the Sharî’ah. So he is not one who goes beyond the limits, nor one who falls short of what is required. Furthermore the Muslim does not derive this quality of being justly balanced from his intellect and desires, nor from his own opinion or other than this, rather he takes it from the Book of Allâh, the One free of all imperfections.

“Thus we have made you a justly balanced nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) be a witness over you.” (11)

Being justly balanced is not an easy matter, indeed many of those who call out and declare it, desire only to water matters down and compromise. So for a person to be truly justly balanced as ordered by Allâh is not, as I have said, easy, rather it requires:

Striving Against One’s Desires

From al-‘Alâ ibn Ziyâd who said:

“A man asked ‘Abdullâh ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas, saying: Which of the Believers is best in his Islâm? He replied: “He from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe.” He asked: Then what is the best Jihâd? He replied: “He who strives against his own self and desires for Allâh.” He asked: Then which of those who migrates (performs hijrah) is best? He replied: “He who strives against his own self and desires for Allâh.” He asked: Is it something you have said O ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, or Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam)? He said: Rather Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said it.” (12)

So striving against ones own self is one of the highest and most valuable means of increasing ones eemaan and causing the servant to draw closer to his Lord, the One free of all imperfections. Concerning this He the Blessed and Most High says:

“As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allâh’s Religion).” (13)

So a Muslim’s striving against his own self and his desires causes his spirit to rise higher, his îmân to increase and his soul to become purified. Furthermore this striving crowns the Muslim with a very great crown worn in his life, which is:

Gentleness

From Abû Hurayrah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“Indeed Allâh is gentle and loves gentleness, and gives due to gentleness that which He does not give to harshness.” (14)

So through gentleness hearts become united in friendship and love, and good becomes widespread. Whereas through its opposite ill feelings and distrust prevails and people forsake one another. But gentleness facilitates:

Returning to the Truth

From Ibn ‘Abbâs (radiyAllâhu ‘anhumaa) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“There is no believing servant except that he has a sin which he commits from time to time, or a sin in which he persists in and does not abandon until he leaves this world. Indeed the Believer was created as one who is frequently tried and tested, who often repents (then) forgets. When he is admonished he accepts the admonition.” (15)

So it is as is said: Returning to the truth is a virtue whereas continuing in falsehood is despicable. Returning to the truth elevates a person and raises his rank, both with Allâh and the people. Indeed it is only Satan who makes it appear to the people that returning to the truth is a defect and a slight to one’s honour. This is one of the deceptions and tricks employed by Iblees. A person returning to the truth and not being too proud to accept it places him in an ideal position to appreciate:

Responsibility

From ‘Umar (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“Each of you is a guardian and is responsible for those whom he is in charge of. So the ruler is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects; a man is the guardian of his family and is responsible for those under his care; a woman is a guardian of her husband’s home and is responsible for those under her care; a servant is the guardian of his master’s wealth and is responsible for that which he is entrusted with; and a man is the guardian of his father’s wealth and is responsible fore what is under his care. So each one of you is a guardian and is responsible for what he is entrusted with.” (16)

So if everyone from this Ummah knew his own position and worth, and realised the responsibility upon him and did not seek to overstep it and take on the responsibilities of others and he carried out the obligations which this placed upon him, then that would be a comprehensive and universal good and a very great treasure through which safety and security would become widespread. Along with this something that is a feature of the Islâmic Personality is:

The Muslim Seeks to Make Excuses for Other Muslims

From Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaadah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“…and there is no one who loves to accept an excuse more than Allâh, and because of this he sent the bringers of good news and the warners….” (17)

So a Muslim seeking to make an excuse for his brother and those whom he loves will cause good will to spread instead of antagonism, and will bring about ties of relationship instead of estrangement. Since if Allâh, He who is free of all imperfections, grants excuse, and He is the Creator and the Most Great, then how can you O servant of Allâh, a weak creation of his, not seek to make excuse for others? Rather as is said: Seek an excuse for your brother (18). Likewise there is the saying: the believers seek to make excuses for others, whereas the hypocrites hope for the downfall of others. So the fact that the Muslim seeks to excuse his brothers emphasises that:

The Muslim does not Harbour Envy

From Ibn Mas’ood (radiyAllâhu ‘anhumaa) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“There is to be no envy except with regard to two (19): A man whom Allâh has given wealth which he strives to spend righteously, and a man to whom Allâh has given the Wisdom (i.e. the Qur’aan) and he acts according to it and teaches it to others.” (20)

If he were to have envy of the people he would hope for their downfall in order to satisfy the pride that he has in himself, his vanity and the conceitedness of his mind. So he (the Muslim) knows that envy is a dangerous disease and a harmful evil and therefore keeps away from it.

As for the envy which is accepted from that which is sinful, then it is envy which does not cause the person to be afflicted by the sickness of wishing for that blessing to leave the other person. Rather he supplicates to his Lord, the One free of all imperfections, for his brother; that Allâh should protect him, and for himself; that Allâh should make him like him. As for that which is at variance with this, then it is blameworthy and to be condemned (21). So this emphasises that fact that the Muslim is one who is:

Following and Applying Divine Guidance

From Umm ud-Dardâ (radiyAllâhu ‘anhaa) who said: I said to Abû Dardâ (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu): Will you not seek for things to entertain your guests just as others seek for things for their guests? So he replied: I heard Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) say:

“Ahead of you is a steep mountain which will not be surmounted by those who are overburdened.” So I wish to lighten my load for that ascent! (22)

So the Muslim follows and applies divine guidance in all his affairs. This world to him is merely a passage to the hereafter and he has no attachment to it except for that which is essential in order to meet his needs and preserve himself.

But as for this world diverting most of his attention and being the goal which he seeks after, thinking that what he is doing is good, then this is not from the character or characteristics of the Muslim. So how strange is the case of the people who waste the prime of their lives and expend their youth submerged in worldly actions, thinking they are doing good. This is indeed something from Satan, made alluring by him. So how are there people able to do this when it is the case that:

The Muslim Has No Free Time

From Ibn ‘Abbaas (radiyAllâhu ‘anhumaa) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“There are two blessings which many people lose: health and free time.” (23)

So how can one who has no free time preoccupy himself with this world? How can one whose time is filled experience free time? So consider, may Allâh have Mercy upon you, what one of the scholars said about one of the Imaams: ‘I was a neighbour of his at the school in Cairo, my house was above his house. For twelve years, I did not awake on any night, at any hour of the night except that I noticed candle light in his house and he was occupied with knowledge. Even when he was eating, his books would be with him and he was occupied with them (24). From those things upon which the Muslim personality is built is:

The Muslim’s Piety and Self Restraint

From an-Nu’maan ibn Basheer (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that I heard Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) say:

“That which is lawful is clear, and that which is forbidden is clear, and between them are doubtful matters about which many of the people have no knowledge. So whoever avoids doubtful matters saves his Religion and his honour, and whoever falls into doubtful matters falls into what is forbidden. Just like a shepherd who grazes (his sheep) near to a private pasture (of another), he will soon stray on to it. Indeed for every king there is a private preserve. Indeed the preserve of Allâh are those things which He has forbidden. Indeed there is a piece of flesh in the body which if it is good, then the whole body is good, but if it is corrupt then the whole body is corrupt. Indeed it is the heart.” (25)

So the Muslim with regard to whatever situation arises in his life will have to face each of them with one of the following three stances:

  1. Completely refraining from it: That is with regards to that which is doubtful
  2. Accepting without constraint: That is with regard to which is clearly permissible
  3. To abstain from it: This is with regards to things which are not clearly permissible nor clearly forbidden.

If the last stance indicates something it is an indication of a Muslim’s piety and fear of falling into that which is forbidden and of entering into something evil.

The Muslim therefore abstains from it, and distances himself from it in order to please Allâh and to ensure that His commands are followed. It is not to be said, as some people say: ‘That is not forbidden, so do it.’ No, since it is not permissible to do everything other than which has been forbidden. So those things which are doubtful matters are closer to that which is forbidden, as occurs in the hadîth itself: ‘Whoever falls into the doubtful matters falls into what is forbidden….’ So this fear and piety confirms that:

The Muslim is Honest and Truthful in All his Affairs

From Abû Hurayrah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“Three things are the sign of the hypocrite: when he speaks he tells lies, when he promises he breaks it and when he is trusted he proves to be dishonest.” (26)

So he is truthful and honest in his speech, faithful to his promise, trustworthy in carrying out that which he has been entrusted with. He does not deceive or defraud, he does not tell lies and is not guilty of hypocrisy. So truthfulness and honesty is one of the chief good qualities, whereas falsehood is the head of corruption and evil. So his honesty keeps him far away from evil and foul deeds and sickness of the heart. Therefore whatever action he does, he does it for Allâh, the One free and far removed from all defects, not to attain some worldly position, fame or repute. So his motto is:

Knowledge for Knowledge

From Jaabir (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘aliahi wa’sallam) said:

“Do not acquire knowledge in order to compete with the scholars, nor to argue with the ignorant, nor to gain mastery over the gatherings. Since whoever does that, then: The Fire! The Fire!” (27)

Consider, May Allâh have mercy on you, the admonition and the lesson contained in what Ibn Abee Haatim ar-Raazee narrates, he said: I entered into Damascus upon the students of hadîth and I passed by the circle of Qaasim al-Joo’ee. I found a group sitting around him and he was speaking. Their appearance amazed me and I heard him saying: ‘Seize the benefit of five things from the people of your time: when you are present you are not known; when you are absent you are not missed; when you are seen your advice is not sought; when you say something your saying is not accepted; and when you have some knowledge you are not given anything for it. I also advise you with five things: when you are treated unjustly then do not behave unjustly; when you are praised then do not become happy; when you are criticised do not be upset; when you are not believed then do not become angry; and if they act deceitfully towards you do not act deceitfully towards them.’ Ibn Abee Haatim said: So I took that as my benefit from Damascus.

So consider, May Allâh protect us and you from the evils of the soul, how sincere desire for knowledge and benefit led him to listen to one who certainly possessed less knowledge than himself in order to benefit his understanding and to acquire some knowledge. Another matter that must be mentioned here is that:

The Believer is a Mirror for His Brother

From Abû Hurayrah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“The believer is a mirror for the believer, and the believer is the brother of the believer. He safeguards his property for him and defends him from behind.” (28)

So the description of his being a ‘mirror’ is very precise and profound showing the culmination of brotherhood and solidarity. So your brother, O servant of Allâh, is an image of you yourself. Sao if he behaves badly it is as if you are the one who has behaved badly, and if he makes a mistake, it is as if you have made a mistake. So he is a mirror for you and then an image of you yourself! So do not treat him except with mildness and gentleness. If you do not behave with your brother in this manner, then this will be something which weakens:

The Muslim’s Struggle and his Devil

From Iyaad ibn Himaar al Mujaashi’ee (radiyAllâhu ;anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“Indeed my Lord ordered me to teach you that which you do not know, from that which He taught me this day, (instructing me): ‘The wealth which I confer upon a servant is all lawful for him, and I created all My servants having natural inclination to the true way but the devils came to them and turned them away from their (true) Religion, and they forbade for them that which I made lawful for them, and they ordered them to associate in worship with Me that for which I sent down no authority.’ Allâh looked upon the people of the earth and hated them, the Arabs and the non-Arabs, except for some remnants of the People of the Book, and He said: ‘I sent you only to put you to the test and to tests others through you, and I sent down to you a Book which cannot be washed away by water, which you will retain and recite whilst asleep and whilst awake.’ Allâh ordered me to destroy the Quraysh so I said: ‘O my Lord they would break my head just as bread is broken.’ So He said: ‘Turn them out just as they turned you out, and fight them and We shall aid you, and spend and We shall provide for you. Send an army and We will send five more like it. Fight along with those who disobey you. The people of paradise are three: The ruler who is just, who spends in charity and is guided to do good; and a man who is merciful and kind hearted towards every relative and Muslim; and the chaste one who does not beg despite having a family to support. The people of the fire are five: The weak who does not have the will to avoid evil, those amongst you who are merely followers (of others), they do not seek after family or wealth; and the dishonest whose greed cannot be concealed even in the case of minor things; and a man who will betray you morning and evening with regard to your family and your wealth (He also mentioned miserliness or telling lies) and the person of evil manners and foul speech.’ “ (29)

So this is very ancient conflict, continuing since the time when Allâh, the One free and far removed from all defects, created Aadam, ‘alaihis-salaam, and what occurred between him and Satan is well known. This conflict will be intensified or diminished depending on the servant’s closeness to or distance away from his Lord. Consider also his (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) saying: Satan has despaired that those who pray should worship him, but he seeks to provoke animosity between them. (30)

So let this be a warning for us, and its opposite be glad tidings. We must not leave any way for Satan to enter upon our hearts through our actions, granting him neither full nor partial access. Indeed his deceptions are many and his traps abundant. (31)

So beware of this, O servant of Allâh, and do not let Satan trap you with his snares and his tricks, and your impregnable fortress against him is:

Remembrance of Allâh

From Nu’maan ibn Basheer (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger said:

“Supplication (ad-Du’aa) is worship, your Lord the Mighty and Majestic said: ‘Call upon Me – I will respond to your invocation.’ (32) (33)

Supplication is the head of remembrance of Allâh. Indeed he (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said: …and I order you to make mention to Allâh much, and the like of that is a man being chased by the enemy who are hastening after him until he comes to a protected fortress and so he protects himself in it. Likewise is the servant, for he does not protect himself from Satan except through remembrance of Allâh, the Mighty and Majestic. (34)

So a Muslim remembering his Lord, the One free and far removed from all defects, places him in a position of safety and protection which Satan is unable to overcome. So this prevents him from many sins and numerous negative traits pertaining to the tongue, the limbs and the heart. Therefore:

The Muslim Does Not Fall Into Backbiting

From Ibn ‘Umar (radiyAllâhu ‘anhumaa) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“Whoever intercedes and prevents one of the punishments prescribed by Allâh, the Mighty and Majestic, then he has opposed Allâh regarding His orders. Whoever dies with a debt due on him then it will not be repaid by deenaars and dirhams but rather by good and bad deeds. Whoever disputes for something which he knows is false then he remains in Allâh’s anger until he desists. Whoever accuses a believer of something that is untrue then Allâh will make him dwell in the pus flowing from the inhabitants of the Fire and he will not leaver until he retracts from what he said.” (35)

So the lethal plague of backbiting destroys one’s good deeds, destroys brotherhood and destroys one’s reward. So the true Muslim does not backbite, nor does he allow backbiting to take place in his presence. So let those people fear Allâh, those whose bodies do not develop and those whose spirit is not fed except upon spreading rumours and inventing lies against the servants of Allâh claiming that ‘this is for the benefit of da’wah!’

How strange! What benefit to the da’wah will be achieved through slandering, backbiting and mentioning bad manners to others? Do you think, O you who backbites the people, that you are far removed form defect? O you who can only see the deficiencies of others, do you think that you are free from any mistakes? ‘…rather you are full of deficiencies and the people have tongues!’ Also from those things which must be known is that:

The Muslim Does Not Pry into the Matters that do not Concern Him

From Abû Hurayrah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger said:

“From the perfection of a person’s Islâm is that he leaves alone that which does not concern him.” (36)

So he halts at his limits and does not exceed and pass beyond them. He knows that prying into that which does not concern him and asking about it is not fitting for him. Rather it is forbidden for him and something he has to avoid. So he complies with Allâh’s orders and keeps away from what he has forbidden, since:

All of His Actions are for Allâh

From Abû Hurayrah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger said:

“Whoever loves for Allâh and hates for Allâh, gives for Allâh and withholds for Allâh, then he has completed eemaan.” (37,38)

So this hadîth clearly shows the manner in which the believer conducts all his affairs and behaves in all his dealings, all of them are for Allâh and he does not give a share in any of them to other than Him, the One free and far removed from all imperfections. In all his affairs he distances himself from seeking after personal gain and enjoyment. In his loving and hating, giving and withholding he seeks only Allâh’s pleasure and His Paradise. He does not seek after the worldly positions, wealth or reputation! Then if he falls into the like of this he repents and turns back (to his Lord), so:

The Muslim Repents and Turns Back to Allâh

From Abû Sa’îd al-Khudrî (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger said:

“The example of the believer with regards to eemaan is like the example of a horse with regards to its tethering stake; it roams around and then returns to its tethering stake, and the believer is negligent and then he turns to his eemaan. So feed the pious with your food and treat the believers well.” (39)

So he does not persist upon sin, or treat it lightly. Rather like the rest of the children of Aadam he commits many sins. However he is frequent in turning back in repentance to his Lord.

So what has preceded will clearly show us:

The Essential Characteristics of His Personality

From Abû Hurayrah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger said:

“Two characteristics are not found together in a hypocrite: good manners and understanding of the Religion.” (40)

So his manners are the manners of the righteous people, and his behaviour that of the servants of the Lord of the worlds. He emulates the pious and follows in the footsteps of the sincere. His heart and his behaviour agree, he is not like the weak who take pains to put on a good appearance whereas their hearts are empty! His knowledge and understanding of the Religion is deep and springs from a good and sensitive heart, and precise memory. However his good manners and knowledge and understanding of the Religion do not prevent him from:

Honest Jesting

From Abû Hurayrah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said: We said: O Messenger of Allâh! You jest with us? He said (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam):

“Yes except that I do not say except what is true.” (41)

So falsehood has no share of this, and lies cannot approach it. So his jesting is with words that are true. Nor does this mean that he is to expend all his time in lightheartedness and jesting. Rather in this and in all matters he follows the footsteps of the Companions, May Allâh be pleased with them all, and their way in this regard was:

A Time for This and a Time for That

From Hanzalah al-Usayyidee who said:

“Abu Bakr met me and asked: How are you O Hanzalah? I Replied: Hanzalah is guilty of hypocrisy! He said: Free is Allâh and far removed from all defects! What are you saying? I said: When we are with Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) and he reminds us of the Fire and Paradise it is as if we were seeing it with our own eyes. Then when we depart from Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) and attend our wives, our children and our business, then much of this slips from our mind. Abu Bakr said: By Allâh we also experience the same. So I went with Abu Bakr until we entered upon Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam). I said: Hanzalah is guilty of hypocrisy O Messenger of Allâh (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam). So Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said: And how is that? I said When we are with you, you remind us of the Fire and of Paradise and it is as if we are seeing it with our own eyes. Then when we depart from you and attend our wives, our children and our business then much of this slips from our minds. So Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam said: By Him in whose hand is my soul if you remained continually as you are when you are with me and in remembering (Allâh) then the angels would shake hands with you upon your beds and upon your roads. But O Hanzalah, (there is) a time for this and a time for that, (there is) a time for this and a time for that, (there is) a time for this and a time for that.” (42)

So both of these times are regulated by the orders of Allâh, as has preceded. His time for serious matters is regulated according to the Book and the Sunnah, and his jesting is kept free of anything forbidden and accompanied only by that which Allâh has prescribed.

So he does not, through negligence, allow his jesting to become a way in which he falls into sin. Indeed how could he do this when:

He Does Not Take Sins Lightly

From Sahl ibn Sa’d (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“Beware of sins which are treated as being minor, just like a people who encamp in the centre of a valley, so someone brings a stick of firewood and someone else brings a stick until they are therefore able to bake their bread. Likewise sins which are treated as being minor and for which the person is taken to account will destroy him.” (43)

So it is just as the noble companion ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood said: The believer sees his sins as if he were sitting beneath a mountain which he feared was about to fall upon him, whereas the wicked sees his sins like a man who finds a fly settle upon his nose, so he does this (one of the narrators said: He brushes it away from his nose).44

The Muslim should realise the greatness of hid Lord, the One free and far from all imperfections, and His tremendous Power and Might, and he should not think of the sin as being great or small! Rather he should think of it with regard to the One he is disobeying.

Those sins which are ignored by the weak hearted cause their destruction by removing eemaan and fear of Allâh from their hearts.

When a person regards sins and acts of disobedience as something slight the he is one who is oppressing his own soul, and that should never occur, since:

The Muslim Does not Commit Oppression

From Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“Beware of committing oppression for on the Day of Resurrection oppression will be darkness, and beware of avarice for avarice destroyed those who came before you, it led them into shedding blood and into making lawful that which was forbidden for them.” (45)

Oppression is of two types: (i) A person oppressing his own soul and (ii) his oppressing others. Both of these have been forbidden by Allâh, the One free and far from all imperfections. So a person oppressing his own soul causes him to feel at home with his sins and to commit them, and causes him to abandon acts of obedience to Allâh.

The true Muslim is far removed from all of this and furthermore:

He is not a carrier of Malicious Reports

From Anas ibn Maalik (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said: Do you know what calumny (al-‘Adh) is? They said: Allâh and his Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) know best. He said:

“Conveying the words of some people to others in order to create mischief between them.” (46)

Tale-carrying is a foul disease; when it enters the heart it corrupts it, and when the heart is corrupt the rest of the body becomes corrupt and ones actions are destroyed.

The sickness of tale-carrying only finds a place in hearts which are filled with love of this world, the hearts of those who use the Religion for lowly and despicable ends, and we seek Allâh’s refuge from that! However, as for the sincere Muslim who strives to follow and apply the guidance sent by his Lord, then:

He is not Attached to This World

From Sahl ibn Aa’d (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“Jibreel came to me and said: O Muhammad! Live as you will for you must certainly die; love whom you will since you must certainly leave him; act as you will since you shall certainly be given due reward for it; know that the believers eminence is his standing in prayer during the night, and his honour is having sufficiency without dependency upon the people.” (47)

The person who lives attached to this world is poor with regard to his Religion and intellect, he does not realise that this worlds, for the one having no Religion is the road to degradation, the path to corruption and the key to evil and foul deeds. Whereas the Muslim who is sincere to his Lord and his own soul and with his brothers should be an excellent example to those who thirst after this world and the few dirhams and deenaars.

He should be a lesson for them that there is no good in that, and that good lies only in taking this world as a means of increasing one’s rank with regard to the Religion and seeking to purify one’s heart. However these two will not be achieved except through:

Disassociation from this World

From Aboo Umaamah Iyaas ibn Tha’labah who said:

The Companions of Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) mentioned this world one day in his presence, so Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said: “Will you not listen, will you not listen! Wearing old clothes is part if eemaan, wearing old clothes is part of eemaan!” (48)

Zuhd (abstemiousness) is to have little regard for this world, to manifest ones poverty and need before Allâh, to treat the servants of Allâh kindly and gently, to avoid spending lavishly upon clothing, food and drink, and to avoid fame.

Zuhd is not the rejection of the favours of Allâh, the One free and far removed from all defects, bestows upon some of His servants, rather it is as Shaykhul-Islâm Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullaah, said: Keep away from that which does not bring benefit, either because it contains no benefit at all, or because something other than it is more beneficial, so that by doing the first he would be missing greater benefit, or because it will produce something whose harm will grow to outweigh its benefit. But as regards things which are purely beneficial or predominantly, then avoidance of them is stupidity.49 Therefore there is to be no abstemiousness with regard to:

Good Actions

From Abû Hurayrah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“Charity (sadaqah) is due upon every joint of a person on every day that the sun rises. Administering justice between two people is an act of charity; and to help a man concerning his riding beast by helping him on to it or lifting his luggage on to it is an act of charity; a good word is charity; and every step which you take to prayer is charity; and removing that which is harmful from the road is charity.” (50)

So if the servant is able to spend all his days and nights in obedience to Allâh, and in doing actions pleasing to Him, then let him do so!

[Author’s text abridged hereafter]

Even though abstemiousness is to be given special attention by the rich due to their ability to spend and their wealth, as opposed to the poor, then this will not prevent the Muslim, rich or poor, from having a contented and rich soul, since:

The Muslim is Contented and Satisfied

From Abû Hurayrah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“Richness is not having many belongings, but richness is the richness of the soul (contentment).” (51)

So the greatest of riches you can attain, O servant of Allâh, is contentment of ones soul, and having a contented heart and this will not be achieved except through humbling oneself before Allâh, the One free from and far removed from all defects, and calling upon Him in supplication and in placing reliance upon Him. So he whose soul is contented and rich will increase in his:

Devotion to the Religion of Islâm

From Ka’b ibn Maalik al-Ansaaree (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“Two hungry wolves let loose amongst sheep will not cause more harm to them than a persons craving after wealth and status will do to his Religion.” (52)

So flee, May Allâh have mercy upon you, from this mad craving after this world and its finery, and there is no salvation from that which has been destined for a person.

[Author’s text abridged hereafter]

So he who wishes for salvation then let it be the case that his desire for his Religion is his foundation and guiding principle, if this is so then Allâh will protect him and protect his religion. Then from the comprehensive matters that should be known is:

How the Muslim Deals With People

From Aa’ishah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhaa) who said that a man sought permission to enter upon the Prophet (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam), so he said:

“Give permission to him and what a bad son of his people (or: what a bad man of his people). Then when he entered he spoke politely to him. Aa’ishah said: So I said: O Messenger of Allâh, you said about him what you said and then you spoke politely to him? He said: O Aa’ishah the worst people in station before Allâh on the Day of Resurrection are those whom the people desert, or abandon, in order to save themselves from their evil speech.” (54)

It will also not be hidden that one of the best ways of cementing ties and improving relations is:

Visiting Brothers

From Abû Hurayrah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“A man went out to visit a brother of his in a different village, so Allâh, the Most High, put an angel in wait for him in the road. So when the angel came to him he said: Where are you going? He said: I am going to visit a brother in this village. He said: Is it that you have done something for him for which you seek repayment? He said: No, it is just that I love him for Allâh’s sake. He said: Then I am one sent by Allâh to you (to inform you) that Allâh, the Mighty and Majestic, loves you, just as you have loved for His sake.” (55)


(Paradise) cannot be attained unless the incentive for it is:

The Muslim’s Character

From Abu Darda (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“There is nothing which is heavier upon the balance than the good character.” (56)

So by his character the Muslim turns enemies into friends, opponents into companions, and harsh people into those who are mild. Character is a commodity which is almost something rare amongst the people today, except amongst those who sincerely worship Allâh alone, Who are honest and true in the worship of the Lord of the Worlds. So good character refines the soul and enables that:

The Muslim Knows His Own Worth

From Abû Hurayrah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) said:

“There will come upon the people years of deceit in which the liar will be believed, the truthful disbelieved, the treacherous will be trusted and the trustworthy held to be treacherous, and the despicable (ar-Ruwaybidah) will speak out. It was said: Who are the despicable ones (ar-Ruwaybidah)? He said: The lowly, ignoble man who speaks out about the public affairs.” (57)


So it is binding upon the obedient servant that he should:

He Hopes for good for Himself and His Brothers

From Jundub (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that the Messenger of Allâh (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) narrated:

“That a man said: By Allâh, Allâh will not forgive so and so. Whereas Allâh, the Most High said: Who is it who swears by Me that I will not forgive so and so, for I have forgiven so and so, and have rendered your actions futile.” (59)

The fear and hope that a Muslim has for his brothers does not prevent him from carrying out what Allâh has established with regard to:

Ordering Good and Forbidding Evil

From Aboo Sa’eed al-Khudree (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said:

“Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) stood amongst us to deliver an address, and from his address was that he said: Indeed it is about to occur that I will be called and will respond. Then after me will follow rulers over you who say what they have knowledge of, and act upon what they know. Obedience to them is obedience to me, and you remain like that for a time. Then there will follow rulers over you after them who say what they do not have knowledge of and act according to what they do not have knowledge of. So whoever is sincere to them and assists them, or strengthens them then they are destroyed and have caused destruction. Accompany them with your bodies and differ with them by your actions, and bear witness for the doer of good from them that he is a doer of good, and for the doer of evil that he is a doer of evil.” (63)

In ordering good and forbidding evil, the Muslim is careful of:

Being Cautious to Avoid Animosity and Dissention

From Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah (radiyAllâhu ‘anhu) who said that Allâh’s Messenger said:

“Indeed Satan has despaired that those who pray should worship (him) in the Arabian peninsular, however (he seeks) to provoke animosity between them.” (65)

So perhaps a word which one does not realise allows to escape from his tongue and it falls upon one of the servants of Allâh, or a mistake he makes, perhaps this will cause a great fire to blaze in the hearts of the brothers.

This is the most Satan desires and it causes him to be joyful and happy. So what we have indicated certainly occurs and is bound to occur and it leads to widespread evil and great danger, so since this is the case, then what is:

The Means To Escape the Trial which Befalls the People

From Abdullah ibn Mas’ood (radiyAllâhu ‘anhumaa) who said:

“How will you be when you are covered by a trial in which the young grow up and the old become infirm. If anything of it is abandoned it is said: The Sunnah has been abandoned. It was said: When will that occur, O Aboo Abdur Rahman? He said: When your scholars pass away, and those ignorant amongst you become many; when those who recite amongst you are many, but those who have understanding of the religion are few; when your leaders are many, but those who are trustworthy are few; when this world is sought with actions of the Hereafter; and when knowledge is sought for other than the Religion.” (66)

So the means of escape is to follow the example provided for us! Indeed obeying and following Allâh’s Messenger (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam) is the greatest escape from the trials which envelop us.

So for Allâh, for Allâh, O servants of Allâh, learn, and act, and fear Allâh and obey Him that you may be shown mercy.

Epilogue

The Islâmic Personality is a clear and distinct personality. Its fabric is the Book of Allâh, and its thread is the Sunnah and these two are inseparable from it.

It is a sincere and determined personality educated and refined upon precise methodology which does not contain even the slightest deficiency, and how could it since it is the Religion of Allâh, Lord of all the worlds?!

So what I have written is knowledge which is the path to action, a reminder which leads one to obey and follow, and advice which is essential for the attainment of benefit.

So I ask Allâh to grant success to myself and all of the Muslims, and that He establishes us upon the way and methodology of His Prophet (salAllâhu ‘alaihi wa’sallam). He is the best One to ask and the greatest One who responds, and our final call is all praise is for Allâh, Lord of all the worlds.

FOOTNOTES:

  1. There are some ahadîth reported about the excellence of gathering forty ahadîth, however all of them are unauthentic as I briefly explained in my introduction to Forty hadîth on the Call To Islâm and the Caller (Published by Al-Hidaayah, 1994)
  2. It is the twentieth hadîth of Forty hadîth on the Call to Islâm and the Caller, its source and explanation are quoted there.
  3. Jamarah Khutabil ‘Arab (2/475) of Ahmad Zakiyy Safwat
  4. Al-Muwaddih li Awhaamil-Jam’ wat-Tafreeq (1/5) of al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee
  5. Ibn Rajab quotes it from him in Fadl ‘Ilmus Salaf’alal Khalaf (page 59 of the edition with my checking).
  6. Soorah al-Baqarah (2):208
  7. Reported by al-Bukhari (English Translation Volume 1 Page 1 No. 1) and Muslim (Eng. Trans. Vol. 3, page 1056, no. 4692)
  8. At-Taqyeed (2/6-7) of Ibn Nuqtah
  9. Reported by Ahmad (no. 5114) and others with hasan (good) isnaad (chain of narration). I have spoken about it in more detail in my footnotes to al-Hikamul Jadeerah bil Idhaa’ah (pg. 1-3) of Ibn Rajab
  10. Reported by at-Tirmidhee (no. 1997) and others by way of Suwayd ibn ‘Amr al-Kalbee: Hammad ibn Salamah narrated to us from Ayyoob as-Sakhtiyanee from Muhammad ibn Seereen from him. This isnaad is Saheeh (authentic) if Allâh wills, it does not contain anyone needing examination except for Suwayd and he is declared reliable by a group of the scholars and this is the preferred view of al-Haafidh Ib Hajr. The hadîth is also declared authentic by a group of scholars such as al-Haafidh al-Iraaqee in Takhreejul Ihyaa (2/186), al-Munaawee in al-Fayd (1/177), az-Zubaydee in al-Ittihaf (6/233) and others, and is further clarified in Ghaayatul Maraam (no. 472) of Shaikh al-Albaanee.
  11. Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 143
  12. Reported by Ibn Nasr al-Marwazee in Ta’zeem Qadris Salaat (no. 639)
  13. Soorah al-Ankaboot (29):69
  14. Reported by Ibn Majah (no. 3688) and Ibn Hibaan (no. 549)
  15. Reported by at-Tabaraanee in al-Mu’jamul Kabeer (no. 11,810) its chain of narration is hasan.
  16. Reported by al-Bukharee (Eng. Trans. 9/189/no.252) and Muslim (Eng. Trans. 3/1017/no.4496)
  17. Reported by al-Bukharee (Eng. Trans. 9/378/no.512) and Muslim (Eng. Trans. 2/782/no. 3572)
  18. Some people quote this as being a hadîth but it has no basis as such
  19. See Fath ul Bari (1/167)
  20. Reported by al-Bukharee (Eng. Trans. 1/62/no.73)
  21. Refer to the treatise Dhammul Hasad wa Ahlihi of Ibn ul Qayyim with my footnotes and checking
  22. It is reported by al-Haakim (4/574), al-Baihaqee in Shu’abul Eemaan and others and its chain of narration is saheeh
  23. Reported by al-Bukharee (Eng. Trans. 8/282/no.421)
  24. Bustaanul ‘Aarifeen (p.79) of an-Nawawee
  25. Reported by al-Bukharee (Eng. Trans. 1/44/no.49) and Muslim (Eng. Trans. 3/840/no.3882)
  26. Reported by al-Bukharee (Eng. Trans. 1/31/no.32) and Muslim (Eng. Trans. 1/40/no.112)
  27. Reported by al-Bukharee in al-Adabul Mufrad (no. 239), Aboo Dawood (Eng. Trans. 3/1370/no.4900) and others. Its chain of narration is hasan.
  28. Reported by Muslim (Eng. Trans. 4/1488/no.6853)
  29. See hadîth Number 39
  30. Refer to my book al-Muntaqan Nafees min Talbees Iblees and Mawridul Amaan min Masaayidish Shaitan and May Allâh through His grace and favour make easy its completion
  31. Soorah Ghaafir (40):60
  32. Saheeh – reported by Ahmad (4/267, 271, 276) and others
  33. hadîth 40 in Forty hadîth on the Call to Islâm and the Caller
  34. Reported by Ahmad (no. 5385) and others
  35. Reported by at-Tirmidhee (no.2318) and others
  36. Reported by Aboo Dawood (Eng. Trans. Vol.3/p.1312/no.3664) and others, with chain of narration being hasan
  37. Reported by Ahmad (3/38,55)
  38. Reported by At-Tirmidhee (no.2685)
  39. Reported by at-Tirmidhee in as-Sunan (no.1991)
  40. Reported by Muslim (Eng. Trans. Vol.4, p.1436, no.6223)
  41. Reported by Ahmad (5/331) and others
  42. Reported by al-Bukharee (Eng. Trans. 8/214/no.320)
  43. Reported by Muslim (Eng. Trans. 4/1366/no.6248)
  44. Reported by al-Bukharee, al-Baihaqee and others
  45. Reported by al-Haakim (4/324) and others.
  46. Reported by Aboo Dawood (Eng. Trans. 3/1158/no.4149) and its chain of narration is hasan
  47. Majmoo’ul Fataawaa (10/615)
  48. Reported by al-Bukharee (Eng. Trans. 4/146/no.232)
  49. Reported by Muslim (Eng. Trans. 2/501/no.2287)
  50. Reported by Ahmad and others
  51. From Ibn Rajab’s explanation (sharh) of this hadîth
  52. Reported by al-Bukharee (8/50/80)
  53. Reported by Muslim (4/1362/no.6226)
  54. Reported by Ahmad (6/446 and 448)
  55. Reported by Ahmad, Ibn Majah and others, with weak chain of narration.
  56. Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd in at-Ta’aalam wa Atharuhu ‘alal Fikr wwal Kitaab (p.7)
  57. Reported by Muslim (4/1381/no.6350)
  58. Sharul ‘Aqeedatit Tahaawiyyah (p.379)
  59. Soorah al-Israa (17):36
  60. Sharul ‘Aqeedatit Tahaawiyyah (p.325)
  61. Reported by al-Baihaqee in az-Zuhdul Kabeer (no.191)
  62. Reported by Ahmad and others. See hadîth 22 of 40 hadîth on the call to Islâm and the caller
  63. Muslim (Eng. Trans. 4/1471/no.6752)
  64. Reported by ad-Daarimee (1/64), al-Laalikaa’ee (no.123), al-Haakim(4/514) and others, with saheeh chain of narration

Taken From the Book “40 Hadith on the Islam Personality” by Shaykh ‘Alee Hasan ‘Alee ‘Abdul Hameed

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Ruling on Enjoining Right and Forbidding Wrong (By Imam Ibn Taymiyyah)


Introduction

All praise is due to Allah. We praise Him, seek His aid, and seek His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil which is within ourselves, and from the evil in our actions. Whoever Allah guides, none can send astray; whoever Allah sends astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no deity other than Allah alone, and with no partner. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and His messenger. Allah sent him with the guidance and the way of truth, that He might raise it above all other ways of life. Allah is sufficient as a witness. May Allah send His prayers and his greetings upon Muhammad and upon the people of Muhammad.

Enjoining right and forbidding wrong is that with which Allah sent the revealed books, and with it He sent His messengers, and it is an integral part of the way (i.e. the deen). The message of Allah is composed of informative and directive parts. As for the informative, it is Allah informing us about Himself, such as tauhid (theology), or His informing us about His creation, such as the stories of previous peoples and Prophets in which are contained for us lessons, threats and promises. The directive part consists of commands to do, commands not to do, and things left to our choice and discretion.

Thus, it has been mentioned in the hadith that the chapter of the Qur’an which starts out: [Say: He is Allah, the One…] is equal to one third of the Qur’an, because of its including the third of tauhid. The Qur’an consists of tauhid, commands, and historical events.

Enjoining Right: Our Prophet And Those Before Him

Allah said by way of description of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam):

[He orders them with that which is good and forbids them that which is bad. And he makes allowed for them that which is clean and good, and forbids them that which is unclean and detestable.] Qur’an 7/157.

This illustrates the perfection of the message of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). He is the one on whose tongue Allah has enjoined all that is good, forbidden all that is bad, allowed every clean thing and prohibited every unclean or harmful thing.

For this reason, it is narrated that the Prophet said:

“I have been sent to complete the qualities of good character.”

And he said in the agreed-upon hadith:

“My analogy in relation to the other prophets of Allah is like the analogy of a man who built a house. He completed and perfected everything about the house all except for the location of a single brick. The people used to pass by the house and express pleasure at its beauty, but they would say: “If only it weren’t for that missing brick.” I am that brick, and I am the seal of the Prophets.”

Through Muhammad, Allah completed the way (deen) which includes the enjoining of all good, the forbidding of all evil, the allowing of everything clean, and the prohibition of everything unclean. As for the Prophets who came before him, their messages sometimes contained the prohibition of some clean and good things, as Allah said:

[Because of some crimes committed by the Jews, we forbad to them some clean things which had been allowed to them.] Qur’an 4/160

Also, their messages sometimes did not forbid all unclean things as Allah said:

[All food was once allowed to the children of Israel except that which they chose to forbid themselves before the sending down of the taurat.] Qur’an 3/93.

The forbidding of unclean things is included in the meaning of forbidding wrong, just as the allowing of all clean things is included in the meaning of enjoining right. This is because the prohibiting of clean and good things is part of what Allah has forbidden. Thus, the enjoining of all good and the forbidding of all bad did not reach completion except in the Prophethood of Muhammad (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) by means of whom Allah completed the qualities of good character, which includes all that is good. Allah said:

[On this day I have perfected for you your way (deen), and have completed my favor upon you, and have accepted for you Islam as your way (deen)].

Allah has perfected for us the way, and completed His favor upon us, and accepted for usIslam (submission) as our way of life.

This Nation Is The Best Nation For The People

Allah ascribed to the nation (Ummah) of Muhammad the same characteristic which He ascribed to the Prophet himself in the previous verse when He said:

[You are the best nation brought forth for the people of the world: you enjoin right and you forbid wrong, and you believe in Allah.] Qur’an 3/110.

And He said:

[Believing men and believing women are the protecting friends of each other: they enjoin right and they forbid wrong.] Qur`an 9/71.

In the same vein, Abu Huraira, a companion of the Prophet and narrator of many hadith used to say:

“You are the best people for the people, you tie them in chains and shackles and drag them off to paradise.”

Allah explains in the above verse that this nation is the best nation for the people i.e. the most beneficial to them, the one doing them the greatest favor. This is because they constitute the total good and benefit for the people via their enjoining right and forbidding wrong both in quality and in quantity, since they enjoin all that is right and forbid all that is wrong, and their message is addressed to all people of the world. Furthermore, they uphold this institution with jihad (struggle) in the path of Allah with their lives and their property, and this constitutes the complete benefit for the world.

As for the previous nations, none of them enjoined all people with all that is right, nor did they prohibit all that is wrong to all people. Furthermore, they did not make jihad (struggle) in this cause. Some of them did not take up armed struggle at all, and those who did, such as the Jews, their struggle was generally for the purpose of driving their enemy from their land, or as any oppressed people struggles against their oppressor, and not for sake of calling the people of the world to guidance and right, nor to enjoin on the right and to prohibit to them wrong.

Allah narrates the following discussion between Musa (Moses) and his followers:

[O people, enter the sacred land which Allah has written for you, and do not turn back on your heels to subsequently find yourselves in abject loss. They said: “O Musa, therein is a belligerent people, and we will not enter it until they come out – if they come out, then we will enter it.” … They said: “O Musa, we will never enter it as long as they are in it, so you go, you and your Lord, and fight. We are going to sit right here.] Qur’an 5/21-24

Allah says in another verse:

[Did you not see the assembly of the sons of Israel after the time of Musa when they said to a Prophet of theirs: “Raise up for us a king, that we may fight in the path of Allah.” He said: “Would you perhaps not fight then, if fighting were prescribed for you?” They said: “Why would we not fight in the path of Allah, and we have been exiled from our homes and our children?” Then, when fighting was prescribed for them, they turned their backs, all except a few, and Allah is in full knowledge of the wrong-doers.] Qur’an 2/246

 

Here we see that those speaking with this prophet cited the reason for their fighting that they had been exiled from their homes and their children. In spite of this, most of them failed to live up to their word, when in fact they were ordered to fight. For this reason, they were not allowed to keep any spoils of war, and were not allowed to take female captives as right-hand possessions. It is well known that the greatest nation of believers before us was the children of Israel.

This has been narrated in the agreed-upon hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas, that the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

“The previous nations and their prophets were shown to me last night. A prophet would pass with one man, another with two men, another with a small group, and another with no one with him. Then, I saw a great crowd, small mountains filled with people, and I said: “This is my Ummah!” It was said to me: “These are the sons of Israel, but look over there.” Then I saw a huge crowd which blocked the horizons. It was said to me: “This is your Ummah, and among them are seventy thousand who will enter paradise with no account-taking.”

The Prophet’s listeners dispersed with no further explanation being given. Then, the companions discussed this issue, saying:

“As for us, we were born in associationism, but have believed in Allah and His Prophet … but these are our sons. When this speculation of theirs about who the seventy thousand were reached the Prophet, he said: “They are those who do not practice cauterization, or use incantations (i.e. believing in some mystical ability to cure or prevent illness), do not believe in omens, and who depend fully on their Lord.” Ukasha ibn Mihsan stood up and said: “Am I one of them, O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet said: “Yes”. When someone else stood up and said the same thing, the prophet said “Ukasha has come before you.”

From this we understand why the consensus of this ummah is a proof, i.e. because Allah has informed us that they enjoin all that is right, and prohibit all that is wrong. If they (i.e. the Muslim Ummah) were to all agree to allow something forbidden, to drop an obligation, to forbid something allowed, or to perpetrate any falsehood about Allah or about His creation, they would be enjoiners of what is wrong, prohibitors of what is good, and that is surely not of pure speech and good works. What’s more, the verse implies that whatever the ummah has not enjoined is not right, and whatever it has not prohibited is not wrong.

Since this is the Ummah which enjoins all right, and prohibits all wrong, it is not possible for the entire Ummah to enjoin something which is wrong nor to prohibit something which is good.

Just as Allah has informed us that this ummah will fulfill this function, He has also made it a collective obligation (fardh kifaya) upon the Muslim Ummah saying:

[Let there be from among you a group which calls to what is good, enjoins right, and forbids wrong. These are the successful ones.]

 

It is not the duty of the practitioner of enjoining right and prohibiting wrong to deliver the message to everyone in the world. Such was not even required of the Prophets (Peace be upon them), and this is an auxillary to the prophetic messages. Rather, what is required is to make it available to those who seek it. If they, in turn are negligent in seeking it, though it has been made accessible, then the responsibility is upon them, not him. Since enjoining right is a collective obligation, as the Qur’an clearly indicates, it is not an obligation upon every single individual Muslim, rather upon them as a group.

Since jihad is part of the perfection if enjoining right and prohibiting wrong, it, too, is a collective obligation. As with any collective obligation, this means that if those sufficient for the task do not come forward, everyone capable of it to any extent is in sin to the extent of his capability in that area. This is because its obligation when it is needed is upon every Muslim to the extent of his/her ability, as the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said in the hadith found in Muslim:

“Whoever of you sees wrong being committed, let him change it with his hand (i.e. by force). If he is unable to do that, then with his tongue, and if he is unable to do that, then with his heart.”

This being the case, it is clear that enjoining right and prohibiting wrong is one of the greatest good works that we have been ordered to do.

 

What Is Ma’ruf (Right) And Munkar (Wrong)?

Carrying out the punishments prescribed by Allah on whoever transgresses the bounds of the shari’a is a part of prohibiting wrong. It is obligatory upon those in authority (Uluu-ulamr) i.e. the scholars from each group or nation, and their amirs, and their elders, to stand over the general population enjoining good and prohibiting wrong, thus ordering them with all that which Allah and His Prophet have enjoined.

For example, the rulings of Islamic Law (Shari’a) e.g. the five prayers in their proper time periods, obligatory alms, obligatory fasting, and pilgrimage to Makka. Also, belief in Allah, His angels, His revealed books, His prophets, and the Judgement Day, belief in the pre-destination of all things the good and the bad, and the concept of ihsaan (the highest level of iman or faith) which means to worship Allah as if you see Him for, verily, even if you do not see Him, He always sees you.

Moreover, the good (ma’ruf) includes everything both internal and external which has been enjoined by Allah and His Prophet. These include: absolute sincerity to Allah (ikhlaas), dependance on Allah (tawakkal), that Allah and His Prophet be more beloved to the believer than anyone else, hope for Allah’s mercy and fear of His punishment, patience with the decree of Allah and complete surrender to His order, truthfulness of speech, fulfilling of obligations, returning trusts to their owners, good behavior toward parents, maintaining of family ties, cooperation in all acts of righteousness and good, benevolence and generosity toward one’s neighbors, orphans, poor people, stranded travellers, companions, spouses, and servants, justice and fairness in speech and actions, calling people to good character, and acts of forbearance such as establishing relations with those who cut you off, giving those who deny you, and forgiving those who oppress you.

Enjoining people to be close together and cooperative, and forbidding them differing and dividing themselves is also a part of enjoining what is right.

As for the bad (munkar) which Allah and His prophet have forbidden, its ultimate and worst form is the association of partners with Allah. Associationism means to pray to someone or something else along with Allah. This partner could be the sun, the moon, stars or planets, an angel, one of the prophets, a righteous man or saint, one of the jinn, images or graves of any of these, or anything else which is called to other than Allah the Exalted.

Associationism is also to seek aid or succor from any of the above, or to prostrate to them. All of this and anything like it is the associationism (shirk) forbidden by Allah on the tongues of all of His prophets.

Everything which Allah has forbidden is also part of the munkar such as unjustified killing, taking people’s property by unlawful means, taking of property by force or intimidation, interest, or gambling, all types of sales or contracts which the Prophet has prohibited, breaking of family ties, cruelty to parents, cheating in weights and measures, and any form of transgression on the rights of others. Also in this category are all innovated acts of “worship” which Allah and His prophet have not ordained or sanctioned.

 

Let Your Enjoining Of Good Be Itself Good

Friendliness and sympathy are the correct way in enjoining right and forbidding wrong. For this reason, it has been said:

“Let your enjoining of good be good, and let not your forbidding of bad be bad.”

 

Benefits Must Outweigh Negative Consequences

Enjoining right and forbidding wrong being one of the greatest obligations or commendable acts in Islam, it is essential that the benefit therein outweigh its negative consequences.

This is the general spirit of the messages of the prophets and the revealed books, and Allah does not like chaos and corruption. All that which Allah has enjoined is beneficial, and the epitome of benefit. Allah has praised “salah” (the opposite of corruption) and the “musliheen” (reformers, or those who bring about salah). And He has praised those who believe and do good works (saalihaat), while condemning corruption (fasaad) and those who cause it in many places in the Qur’an.

Thus whenever the adverse effects (mafsada) of any act of enjoining or forbidding are greater than its benefit (maslaha), it is no longer part of what Allah has enjoined upon us, even if it be a case of neglecting obligations or committing the forbidden. This is because it is upon the believer to fear Allah in relation to His slaves, and their guidance is not his responsibility. This is part of the meaning of the verse in which Allah says:

[O, you who believe, your selves are your responsibility, those who go astray will not harm you when you stick to guidance.]

“Sticking to guidance” is only accomplished by fulfilling and carrying out all obligations.

Thus, when a Muslim does what is obligatory upon him by way of enjoining right and forbidding wrong, just as he fulfilled all other obligations, the going astray of those who go astray will not do him any harm.

 

Methodology Of Enjoining Right And Forbidding Wrong

Enjoining right and forbidding wrong is done sometimes with the heart, sometimes with the tongue, and sometimes with the hand (i.e. physical force). As for practicing it with the heart, it is obligatory upon everyone in every time and situation, since its practice brings no hardship. Whoever fails to do even that is not even a believer as in the full version of the previously cited hadith:

“Whoever of you sees wrong being committed, let him rectify it with his hand, if he is unable, then with his tongue, and if he us unable, then with his heart, and this is the weakest of faith — or in another version: beyond this there is not a single mustard seed’s weight of faith (iman).”

Ibn Masood was once asked: “Who are the living dead?” to which he replied:”He who does not acknowledge the right as such, and does not reject the wrong.” He is referring to the person described in the following agreed-upon hadith who consistently failed to reject wrong when tested. The Prophet said:

“Tests are shown to the hearts like a straw mat, straw by straw. Whichever heart accepts them, and absorbs them, gets a black spot placed on it, and whichever heart rejects them, gets a white, clear spot on it. This goes on until the hearts are of two types: a heart which is white, smooth, and clear like a polished stone which will not be harmed by further trials or tests for as long as the heavens and the earth last, and another dark and blemished; it is like a hook turned over the wrong way on which nothing can be hung – it neither acknowledges what is right nor rejects what is wrong, except for that which happens to coincide with its lusts and inclinations with which this heart has become fully absorbed.”

Pitfalls Of Enjoining Right And Forbidding Wrong

Two groups of people fall into error in this area:

One group leaves what is obligatory upon them in the area of enjoining right and forbidding wrong, clinging to an incorrect interpretation of the ayah quoted previously:

[O, you who believe, your selves are your responsibility, those who go astray will not harm you when you stick to guidance.]

 

Abu Bakr once explained this error in a khutba saying:

“O people, verily you read this aya, and you apply it where it does not belong, for I heard the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) say: Verily when the people see the wrong-doer, and do not seize his hand, Allah is about to inflict them with a general punishment.”

The second group desires to enjoin and forbid the people with their tongues and their hands absolutely and in all situations without sufficient knowledge of the shari’a, nor forbearance, nor patience, nor regard for that which is beneficial and that which has more harm than benefit and that which is possible and that which is not possible. This is as in the hadith narrated by Abu Tha’laba Al-Khushaniy:

“… rather enjoin on one another what is right and forbid what is wrong until you see obedience to greed and following of lusts and preoccupation with this world and the absolute fascination of each one with his own opinion, and when you see a situation over which you have no power, what is upon you then is your private affairs. For verily, the Days of Patience are coming; patience in those days is like squeezing a hot coal in your hand. The reward of one who fulfills all of his obligations in those days is equal to the reward of fifty such people today.”

This group, then, enjoins and forbids believing that they are in obedience to Allah ta’ala when in reality they are transgressors of His boundaries. In this way, many of the deviant  and misguided groups considered themselves to be enjoiners of right and forbidders of wrong such as the khawaarij, and the mu’tazilah, and the raafidha (Shi’a), and others of those who erred in understanding that which Allah gave them in terms of enjoining right and forbidding wrong, and fighting jihad, and other issues. The corruption caused by this kind of enjoining and forbidding is much greater than any good which may result.

 

Rebellion Against The Imam Of The Muslims

For this reason, the Prophet ordered us to be patient when there is injustice on the part of the ruler of the Muslims, and forbad us to fight them, as long as they maintain the prayer, and he said:

“Give them what is due to them, and ask Allah what is due to you.” (Muslim and others).

Thus, one of the basic principles of Ahl As-Sunnah Wa Al-Jamaa: loyalty to the larger group of the Muslim Ummah, not rebelling against its rulers, and keeping away from battles when chaos and fitna arises.

As for the deviant groups such as the mu’tazilah, they view fighting the Imams of the Muslims as one of the principles of their religion. The Mu’tazilah make the basis of their religion five principles: “Tauhid” – which in their terminology means the negation of all of Allah’s names and characteristics, Divine Justice – which means the denying of the decree of Allah in all things, the station between the two stations – i.e. their erroneous theory that anyone who sins is no longer a believer and not quite a kafir, he is stuck somewhere in between, the carrying out of threats – taking literally the threats of punishment which Allah attaches to various sins in the Qur’an, and enjoining right and forbidding wrong – part of their theory here is warfare against the imams of the Muslims.

 

The General Principle Of Enjoining And Forbidding

All of what we are saying comes under the general principle which says that when benefit and harm are mixed up together, and one must choose between doing good with some bad side effects, or leaving that good to avoid its bad side effects, it is obligatory to choose the course having the greater overall or net benefit.

This is because enjoining and forbidding though they entail the attainment of some benefit, and the prevention of some harm, its opposite must also be considered. If, in carrying out this enjoining or forbidding, there is benefit lost greater than the benefit gained, or harm is brought about greater than the harm which was avoided, then this is not part of that which Allah has ordered us to do, rather it is haram, because of the fact that its net harm is greater than its net benefit.

 

It Is Obligatory To Measure All Things By The Criterion Of The Shari’a

The only criterion for measuring the above-mentioned harm and benefit is with the scales of the Shari’a. Whenever one is capable of following a text directly, it is not permitted for him to turn elsewhere. If he cannot find a text for the exact problem confronting him, he can exert his reason to understand the ruling by way of analogy. The legal texts are seldom without someone capable of knowing their implications, and how they point the way to the rulings of the shari’a.

Thus, if an individual or group constantly joins something right with something else wrong, and will not do one without the other, and will either do both of them together, or neither of them, it is not then allowed to enjoin on them the right nor to forbid them the wrong.

First, the issue must be analyzed: If the good involved is greater, then they must be enjoined to do it, even if that necessitates the evil which is of lesser degree, and they are not to be forbidden the evil involved which would mean the loss of the good which is greater than it. In fact such a forbiddance in such a situation would be part of blocking the path of Allah (saddun ‘an sabeeli ‘llah) and would be striving for the eradication of obedience to Allah and to His Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and toward the elimination of the doing of good.

On the other hand, if the evil involved is greater, it must be forbidden, even though that means the loss of some good which is of lesser degree. In such a case, the enjoining of this good which brings with it an evil of greater degree is in fact enjoining evil, and striving in the path of disobedience to Allah and His Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam).

If the good and the evil which cannot be separated are of equal degree, both of them should neither be enjoined nor forbidden. Thus, in the case of some good and some evil which cannot be separated, sometimes what is demanded is enjoining the good, and sometimes forbidding the wrong, and sometimes neither this nor that.

This is not a general rule, and applies only to specific situations of the type mentioned. As for the general case, right must be enjoined absolutely, and evil forbidden absolutely.

For the specific individual or group, its good must be enjoined, and its evil forbidden, its praiseworthy aspects praised, and its blameworthy aspects criticized in such a way that the enjoining of right does not include the loss of a good greater than itself nor the bringing about of an evil of greater degree, and the forbidding of evil does not involve the bringing about of a greater evil or the loss of a good of greater degree.

When the issue is unclear, the believer must strive to understand it until the truth becomes clear to him. He cannot undertake acts of obedience except with knowledge and correct intention. If he fails to do it, he is in disobedience to Allah. Neglecting what is obligatory is disobedience just as doing what has been forbidden in the area of enjoining right is also disobedience. This is a very wide and dangerous area, and there is no power and no strength except with the aid of Allah!

An example of this issue from the Sunnah is the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) leaving Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salool and others like him among the leaders of hypocrisy and corruption because of their many helpers and people loyal to them. The removing of their evil through punishment would have brought on the removal of other good of greater degree because of the anger of his tribe and the arousal of their tribalistic hostility against the Prophet and the Muslims.

Also, this would have resulted in the repulsion of the people when they heard that the Prophet of Allah kills his companions. Thus when he spread among the people that which he spread in the slander against A’isha (May Allah be pleased with her) and then denied it, and when Sa’ad ibn Mu’adh spoke to him harshly as he deserved, and pointed out his hypocrisy, and then Sa’ad ibn Ubadah – though he was a believer and companion and righteous man – invoked his protection that Abdullah ibn Ubayy be left alone, the tribe of each of these two men gave their loyalty to the position of their tribesman until chaos and bloodshed nearly resulted.

 

The Love Of Good Should Be In Harmony With What Allah Loves

This principle is that the love of a believer for what is good, and his hatred for what is evil, and his desire for the accomplishment of the good and his desire for the avoidance and prevention of evil should be in harmony with what Allah loves and hates. Allah loves all that He has enjoined upon us in His shari’a, and dislikes all that He has forbidden us in His shari’a. Furthermore, the action of the believer in that which he loves (the good), and his avoidance and opposition to that which he hates (the evil), must be to the extent of his ability and his strength, for verily, Allah does not demand from any of us more than what is within our ability.

Allah says:

[Fear Allah (have taqwa of Allah) as much as you are able] Qur’an 64/16.

 

The Love And Hate Of The Heart

What is upon the believer in terms of his actions must not be confused with his obligations in terms of the actions of the heart. It is obligatory upon the believer for his hatred of evil and his love of good, and his desire to do good and his desire to oppose and avoid evil to be perfect, complete, and without doubt or hesitation. Any lack in this area is none other than a lack in faith (imaan).

This is in contrast with the actions of his body which is only within the bounds of his ability. When the will of the heart, its likes and dislikes are complete and perfect (i.e. in harmony with the love and hate of Allah ta’ala) and then the believer does of that all that is within his ability, he will be given the reward of one who carried out the orders of Allah perfectly.

Some of the people have loves and hates which are not in harmony with the love of Allah and His Prophet and the hates of Allah and His Prophet, and this is a type of hawaa (the inclinations, lusts, or tendencies of the self). If he follows them, then he is a follower of hawaa.

Allah said:

[And who is more astray than the one who follows his hawaa without any guidance from Allah?] Qur’an 28/50

The origin of hawaa is that which the self loves, and that which the self hates is a corollary of it.

 

What Exactly Is Hawaa

The meaning of hawaa is the loving and the loathing which is in the self. It is not in and of itself blameworthy, since it is not under the control of the person, rather what is blameworthy is the following if these likes, desires and dislikes.

Allah said to Dawood:

[O Dawood, we have made you a successor on the Earth, so rule between the people with the truth, and do not follow hawaa lest it lead you astray from the path of Allah.] Qur’an 38/26

And Allah said in another aya:

[And who is more astray than the one who follows his hawaa without guidance from Allah?] Qur’an 28/50

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) tells us in the hadith:

“Three things which save: fear of Allah in public and private, moderation in poverty and in wealth, and speaking the truth when angry and when contented. And three things which lead to destruction: obedience to greed, following of hawaa, and a person’s being pleased with himself.”

The love and the hate of which we are speaking brings about certain “tastes” and feelings and desires in the presence of the loved or hated thing. Whoever follows these desires and feelings without an order from Allah and His Prophet, is the one described as the follower of his hawaa. In fact, this may even reach the level of shirk wherein he takes as his god his own hawaa! (See Qur`an 43/25).

 

The Following Of Hawaa In The Previous Religions

The following of hawaa in matters pertaining to religion and worship is more grievous and serious than the following of hawaa in matters of ordinary worldly desires. The first of these is the condition of those who became kuffar from the Christians and the Jews and the polytheists, as Allah said about them:

[And so, if they do not answer your call, know that they only follow their own hawaa, and who is more astray than the one who follows his own hawaa without guidance from Allah, and Allah does not guide those who oppress.] Qur’an 28/50

And, in another verse, Allah said:

[(Allah) gives to you an analogy from your own selves: Do you have, among that which your right hands possess (i.e. slaves) any partners in that which Allah has given you such that they are equal to you. You fear them as you fear one another. Thus, we explain the signs to a people who understand. No, those who oppress follow their hawaa without knowledge. Then, who will guide the one who Allah sends astray, and they have no helpers.] Qur’an 30/28-29

And Allah said in another verse:

[(Allah) has explained for you that which you have been forbidden in all except cases of absolute necessity. Verily, many go astray via (following) their own hawaa and without knowledge, and verily Allah is most knowledgeable of the violators.] Qur’an 6/119.

And, in another verse, Allah said:

[Say: O, people of the book, do not introduce excesses into your deen which are not of the truth. And do not follow the hawaa of a people who have already gone astray. They have led many people astray, and have themselves become lost from the straight path.] Qur’an 5/77.

And, Allah said:

[The Jews and the Christians will never be satisfied with you until you follow their traditions and ways. Say: verily, the guidance of Allah, that is the guidance. And if you follow their hawaa even after the knowledge which has come to you, you will have no protector nor any helper against Allah.] Qur’an 2/120.

And, again in Sura Al-Baqarah, Allah said:

[And, if you follow their hawaa after the knowledge which has come to you, verily, you are of the oppressors.] Qur’an 2/145.

Allah said:

[And judge between them with what Allah has sent down, and do not follow their hawaa and beware of them lest they tempt you away from some of what Allah has sent down to you.] Qur’an 5/49.

Thus whoever goes outside the dictates of the Qur’an and the Sunnah – among those who are called “scholars” or “worshippers” are known as the people of hawaa, just as the salaf, may Allah have mercy on them, used to refer to them as “Ahlu -l-hawaa) i.e. the people of hawaa.

This is because anyone who has not followed the knowledge has followed his hawaa. What’s more, knowledge of the deen (way, or religion) does not come about except through the guidance of Allah with which He sent His Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). Thus, Allah said:

[And, verily many of them go astray by (following) their own hawaa and without knowledge.] Qur’an 6/119.

Allah said in another place:

[Who is farther astray then the one who follows his own hawaa without guidance from Allah.] Qur’an 28/50.

 

What A Person Loves And Hates Must Be In Accordance With The Order Of Allah And His Prophet (Sallallahu `Alayhi Wa Sallam)

The obligation upon every slave of Allah, then, is to look very closely into his or her likes and dislikes, and the intensity of his love for that which he loves and his hate for that which he hates: is it in harmony with the order of Allah and His Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam)?

This, then is the guidance of Allah which He sent down upon His Prophet such that he was ordered to have these loves and hates. In this way, a slave of Allah will avoid putting himself ahead of Allah and His Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), because Allah said:

O you who believe, do not put forth (anything) in front of Allah and His Prophet] Qur’an 49/1.

i.e. Do not decide your position in any action or issue without first knowing the position of Allah and His Prophet therein. Anyone who loves or hates before Allah and His Prophet have ordered him to do so, has entered the area of putting something forth in front of Allah and His Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). Simple loves and hates are hawaa, but the hawaa which is forbidden to the Muslim is the following of these inclinations without guidance from Allah. This is why Allah said to His Prophet:

[And do not follow your hawaa such that it leads you astray from the path of Allah. For those who go astray from the path of Allah there awaits a terrible punishment.] Qur’an 38/26.

Here Allah informs us that the following of one’s hawaa will lead one astray from the path of Allah. The path of Allah is the guidance and the program with which He sent His Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), and it is the path to Allah.

 

What Are “Good Works”?

In the final analysis, enjoining right and forbidding wrong is one of the most obligatory of actions and one of the best and most praiseworthy acts. Allah said:

[And He will test you, which of you are best in actions.] Qur’an 67/2.

Al-Fadheel ibn Ayaadh (A great Makkan scholar of the second century) said about the “good actions” mentioned in this ayah: “(i.e.) The most sincere, and the most correct.

Verily any action if it is done in complete sincerity, but is not correct, it is rejected, and if it is completely correct, but is not done with total sincerity, it is rejected. Only that which is done with complete sincerity to Allah and correctness according to Allah’s law is acceptable. The sincere action is that which is purely for the sake of Allah, and the correct action that which is in the tradition (Sunnah).

It is a requirement of righteous deeds that they be done solely for the Face of Allah ta’ala, for Allah does not accept any actions except for those with which His Face alone was sought. This is as in the sahih hadith narrated by Abu Huraira that the Prophet said:

“Allah ta’ala says: I am the partner least in need of any partner. Whenever someone does an act, partly for me and partly for an imagined partner, I am completely free of that action, and it is wholly for the partner which was associated with me.”

This is the essence of Tauhid which is the basis of Islam. It is the deen of Allah with which He sent all of the Prophets. For its sake, He created the creation, and it is His right over all of His slaves: that they worship Him alone, and not associate with Him anything.

The righteous deeds which Allah and His Prophet have enjoined are simply obedience.

Every act of obedience is a righteous deed, and it is the work dictated by the shari’a and the Sunnah. They are everything which has been enjoined upon us either as obligations or as commendable acts. This then is righteous deeds (Al-‘amal As-saalih), and it is what is good (hassan), and it is righteousness (Al-Birr), and it is all that is good (Al-khair). Its opposite is disobedience (Ma’siya), and corrupt action (Al-‘amal Al-faasid), bad deeds (As- Sayyi’aat), rebellion (Al-fujuur), oppression (Adh-dhulm), and transgression (Al-baghyu).

Every action must contain two thing: intention, and movement (action). Thus, the Prophet said:

“The most truthful names are Harith (i.e. he who tills the earth) and Hammaam (one who ever sets objectives and seeks their fulfillment).”

Everyone is a tiller and a seeker of objectives he has actions, and he has intentions. However, the only praiseworthy intention which Allah accepts and rewards, is the intentions of doing an action solely for the sake of Allah. The praiseworthy deed is the righteous deed, and it is the the deed with which we have been ordered. For this reason, Umar ibn Al-Khattab used to say in his du’a:

“O, Allah make all of my deeds righteous, and make all of them purely for your Face, and do not make therein any share at all for anyone else.”

This being the case for all righteous deeds, it is also the case for enjoining right and forbidding wrong, and it is necessary for it to be so (i.e. the act of ordering or forbidding must be good and praiseworthy which as we have seen means that it is correct and solely for the sake of Allah, is obedience to Allah, and is done for no ulterior motive.) This is in reference to the one who enjoins and forbids others.

 

Action Is Not Possible Except With Knowledge And Understanding

There can be no righteous deed in the absence of knowledge (‘ilm) and understanding of the law (fiqh), as ‘Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz (the grandson of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, and a righteous Khalifa) used to say:

“Whoever worships Allah without knowledge corrupts more than he benefits.”

And, as in the statement of Mu’adh ibn Jabal (a companion of the Prophet):

“Knowledge is the imam of action, and action is a corollary to it.”

This is obvious: intentions and actions which are not based on knowledge are ignorance and going astray, and following of hawaa, as we have said before. This is the difference between the people of Jahiliya, and the people of Islam.

Thus, knowledge of the Ma’ruf and the Munkar are absolute necessities as are the ability to distinguish between them, and knowledge of the condition of those to be ordered and forbidden is also essential. For optimum benefit, enjoining and forbidding should be performed on the Straight Path. The Straight Path is the shortest route, and the one which leads to the attainment of the sought-after goal.

 

Compassion, Patience & Forbearance Are Required In Enjoining Right

These things must be done with compassion. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Compassion does not enter into anything without beautifying it, and is not removed from anything without making it ugly.” (Muslim and others)

And, he (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

“O, Aisha: Verily Allah is Compassionate, and He loves compassion. He gives based on compassion that which is not given based on force, and is not given based on any other cause.” (Muslim and others)

At the same time, the practitioner of enjoining right and forbidding wrong must be forbearing and patient in the face of adversity and persecution. Persecution must, of necessity, confront the true practitioner of enjoining right. If he is not patient, forbearing and wise in the face of this, he will cause more corruption than reform. Allah tells us of Luqman saying to his son:

[And enjoin all that is right, and forbid all that is wrong, and be patient in the face of that which afflicts you, verily, that is the most upright of positions.] Qur’an 31/17.

Thus, Allah ordered His prophets, and they are the imam’s of enjoining right and forbidding wrong, to have patience, just as He ordered the seal of the Prophets Muhammad (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). The order to have patience came along with the order to deliver the message of Islam. When the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) was first ordered to deliver the message to the people, Allah sent Sura Al-Mudaththir, which followed after the revelation of the first five verses of Sura Iqraa’ which announced the beginning of the prophethood. Allah said in Al-Mudaththir:

[O, you covered in a blanket * Stand up and warn * And praise the greatness of your Lord * And purify your garments * And keep yourself well away from false gods and other forms of foolishness * And do not do all of this hoping for gain or payment * And for the sake of your Lord maintain patience.] Qur`an 74/1-7.

 

Allah began these seven ayas, with which He commissioned the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) to deliver the message to His creation, by ordering the Prophet to warn, and concluded them with the order to have patience. Warning people of Allah’s punishment is of course enjoining them to do right and forbidding them the doing of wrong, so we see that patience is obligatory after undertaking the enjoining of right. In this vein, Allah said:

[And be patient for the decree of your Lord, verily you are in our Eyes] Qur’an 52/48

 

[And be patient with that which they say, and remove yourself from them in a gracious manner.] Qur`an 73/10

 

[And so be patient, as the firmly-intentioned prophets were patient.] Qur`an 46/35.

[So be patient for the decree of your Lord, and do not be as the man in the Whale (i.e. Jonah)] Qur`an 68/48

 

[And be patient, and your patience is none other than by the leave of Allah.] Qur’an 16/127.

 

[And have patience since, verily Allah does neglect the reward of the gooddoers.] Qur’an 11/115.

 

Thus, three things are absolutely essential: knowledge, compassion, and patience. Knowledge is required before enjoining right and forbidding wrong, compassion is required during its practice, and patience is required after it. This separation is not to negate the fact that these three qualities need to be present at all times. This is similar to a statement narrated from the early generations of scholars and which has been attributed by some to the Prophet. Abu Ya’la mentioned it in his book entitled Al-Mu’tamad as follows:

“None should enjoin right and forbid wrong except one who is knowledgeable in that which he enjoins, knowledgeable in that which he forbids, compassionate in that which he enjoins, compassionate in that which he forbids, forbearing in that which he enjoins, and forbearing in that which he forbids.”

 

The Difficulty Of These Requirements

Make no mistake about it, these requirements of enjoining right and forbidding wrong introduce a high degree of difficulty into the situation for many people. Thus some imagine that the obligation has fallen from his shoulders because of some lack in its prerequisites, and so he neglects it. This may harm him more than he would have been harmed by ordering and forbidding in spite of his lacks or deficiencies in one or more of these requirements, or it may harm him less.

Failing to carry out the obligation of enjoining right is disobedience to Allah, and committing what Allah has forbidden therein is also disobedience. One who flees from one act of disobedience to another is like one who seeks refuge from the frying pan by jumping into the fire, or like one who flees from one false religion to another, where the second one may be more evil than the first, or it may be less evil, and they may be equally evil. This is the same in the case of the one who neglects his obligations in enjoining right and forbidding wrong and the one who practices enjoining right, but transgresses and disobeys Allah therein. The sin of the first one may be greater than the second, or of the second one may be greater than the first, or they may be equally great.

 

Disobedience To Allah Causes Difficulty, Obedience Causes Ease

One thing which is clearly established from the signs which Allah has shown us between the horizons and in our selves, and with which He has born witness in His book — is that disobedience is a cause of calamities and difficulties. The evil of calamities and punishments comes from the evil of ones actions. Also, obedience is a cause of plenty and ease. The doing of good of the slave is a reason for the doing of good by Allah to him. Allah said:

[And whatever calamity befalls you, it is according to that which your own hands have earned – and Allah forgives much.] Qur’an 42/30

[Whatever good comes to you is from Allah, and whatever evil comes to you is from your self.] Qur’an 4/79

[Verily, those of you who turned their backs on the day when the two armies met, the Shaitan caused them to slip up because of some of what they had earned. Allah has forgiven them.] Qur’an 3/155

[So, is it that when some calamity strikes you (in war), though you have previously inflicted a calamity twice its magnitude, you ask: Why is this? Say: It is from your own selves.] Qur’an 3/165

[Or He may cause them to stop moving altogether (i.e. ships at sea) because of that which they have earned, and He forgives much.] Qur’an 42/34

[And if they are afflicted with some calamity because of that which their own hands have sent forth, verily man is ever ungrateful, faithless] Qur’an 42/48

[Allah is not about to punish them while you are amongst them, and He is not about to punish them while they (i.e. some among them) seek His forgiveness.] Qur’an 8/33

 

Allah’s Punishment Of The Previous Nations For Their Disobedience

Allah has informed us of his punishment of the previous nations for their wickedness such as the people of Nuh, and ‘aad, Thamud, the people of Lut, the people of the city of Madyan, and the people of Fir’aun (Pharoah) in this world, and He has informed us of the punishments which await them in the next world. Thus, the believer who had been hiding his belief from the people of Fir’aun said, as Allah tells us in the Qur’an:

[O, my people, verily I fear for you something like the days of the nations who came before, something like the punishment which befell the people of Nuh, ‘aad, Thamud, and those who came after them. Allah does not intend any oppression of His slaves. And O, my people, verily I fear for you the day of calling to one another, on that day you will turn your backs and run in fear, and there will be none who can protect you from Allah. Whosoever Allah sends astray has no one whatsoever who can guide him.] Qur’an 40/30-33

And Allah said in another aya about the punishment in this world:

[Such is the punishment, and the punishment in the next world is greater, if only they knew.] Qur’an 68/33

 

[We will punish them twice, and then they will be returned to a mighty torment.] Qur’an 9/101

 

[We will give them a taste of the minor punishment before the greater punishment, that they might turn back (i.e. to what is right)] Qur’an 32/21

 

[So, watch for day when the sky will come with a distinct smoke * It covers the people; this is a painful punishment * Our Lord! Relieve us of this torment. Verily, we are believers. * How will that (i.e. removing their torment) cause them to remember and believe when a Messenger has already come to them with clear signs? * And they turned away from him saying: “…taught by others” and “…afflicted by jinn”. * Verily, we will remove the punishment from them a little, and verily, they will go right back. * On that day when we will strike out the greatest of blows, verily our vengeance will be complete.] Qur’an 44/10-16

 

Punishment Of The Evil-Doers In This World And The Next

Thus, in many of ayaat containing warnings for those who disobey Allah, Allah mentions His punishment of the evil-doers in this world as well as the punishment which He has prepared for them in the next life. In other verses, He mentions only the punishments of the next life, because its punishment is much greater, and its reward is much greater, and it is the place of permanence. So, when the punishments of this world are mentioned, they are secondary to the mentioning of the punishments of the next life, as in the following story of Yusuf (peace be upon him):

[In this way we empowered Yusuf in the earth, he moves therein wherever he pleases. We will not negate the reward of those who do good, and the reward of the next life is better for those who believe, and used to fear Allah.] Qur’an 12/56-57

 

[And so Allah gave them the reward of this life, and the best of rewards for the next life.] Qur’an 3/148

 

[And those who migrated for the sake of Allah after they had been oppressed, we will establish them in the earth in a goodly fashion, and the reward of the next life is greater, if they only knew. Those who have patience, and depend fully on their Lord.] Qur’an 16/41-42

Allah said about Ibrahim (upon him be peace) in another ayah:

[And we gave him his reward in this life, and verily he is among the righteous in the next life.] Qur’an 16/122

As for what Allah has mentioned about the punishment of this life and the next, we can look to Surah An-naazi’aat in which He said:

[By those (angels) who violently tear out (the souls of the wicked at death) * And by those who gently draw out (the souls of the righteous at death)] Qur’an 79/1-2

And then, in the same Surah, Allah said:

[On that day when the great trembling and quaking occurs (upon the first sounding of the Horn, which signals Allah’s putting to death of all creation) * Which is followed by another, similar (the second sounding of the Horn, which signals the bringing to life of the whole creation)] Qur’an 79/6-7

in which He mentioned the day of Qiyama in general, and then He said:

[Has the story of Musa reached you? * When his Lord called him in the sacred valley of Tuwa * (Saying) Go to Fir’aun, for verily he has transgressed * And say to him: Do you have any desire to be purified? * And that I should guide you to your Lord so that you should fear Him? * Then Musa showed him the Great Sign * But Fir’aun rejected and disobeyed * Then he turned away, striving hard (against the truth) * Then he collected his forces, and made a proclamation * Saying: I am your lord, most high * So Allah destroyed him, and made an example of him in the hereafter, and in this life * Verily in this there is an instructive warning for those who fear Allah.] Qur’an 79/15-26

 

Then, Allah mentioned the place of beginning, and the place of return in detail saying:

[Are you more difficult to create or the heavens? Allah has constructed them * He raised high the canopy, and gave it order and perfection * … * And so, when the great overwhelming event arrives (i.e. Qiyama) * On that day, man will remember all that he used to strive for * And hell-fire will be made plainly visible for all who see * Then, as for the one who transgressed * And preferred the life of this world * Verily (for such) the fire is the final abode * And as for those who had fear of their standing before their Lord, and forbid themselves the dictates of their hawaa * Verily the Garden (of Paradise) is their final abode.] Qur’an 79/27-28, 34-41

Also, in Surah al-Muzammil, Allah mentions His own statement:

[And leave me with those who deny the truth, who possess the good things of this life, and leave them for a short time * Verily, we have fetters (to bind them) and fire (to burn them) * And food that chokes, and a painful punishment * One day, the earth and the mountains will tremble and quake, and the mountains will be like a heap of sand poured out and flowing down * Verily, we have sent to you a Prophet as a witness over you, just as we sent to Fir’aun a Prophet * But Fir’aun disobeyed the Prophet, so we seized him with a heavy punishment.] Qur’an 73/11-16

Also, in Sura Al-Haaqqa, Allah mentions the stories of the disbelieving nations such as Thamud, ‘aad, and Fir’aun, and then says:

[When a single blast is sounded on the Horn * And the earth and the mountains are lifted up and crushed to powder at a single stroke.] Qur’an 69/13-14

Then, in verses 15-37 Allah describes the people of heaven and hell, and their condition on the day of Qiyama and after.

In Surah Al-Qalam, Allah mentions the story of the owners of the garden (i.e. farm) who conspired to withhold the rights of the poor from them and were punished by the  destruction of their crop. Then Allah says:

[Such is the punishment, and the punishment of the hereafter is of greater magnitude, if they only knew.] Qur’an 68/33

Again, in Surah At-Taghaabun, Allah says:

[Didn’t the news reach you of those who rejected faith before? * They tasted the results of their actions, and for them is a painful punishment * That was because Messengers used to come to them with clear signs, but they said: “Should mere human beings guide us?” So they rejected faith, and turned away. And Allah is in no need. Allah is free of all needs, worthy of all praise * The disbelievers imagine that they will not be raised up (for judgement) Say: Yes, by my Lord, you will be raised up, then you will be informed of all that you did, and that is very easy for Allah.] Qur’an 64/5-7

 

Allah has mentioned the condition of those who oppose and disobey the prophets, as well as the threatened punishments which await them in the hereafter in many chapters of the Qur`an. Among them: Qaf, Al-Qamar, Al-Mu’min, As-Sajdah, Az-Zukhruf, Ad-Dukhaan, and many others.

 

Promises And Threats Of Punishment Were The First Part Of Revelation

Tauhid, promises of rewards, and threats of punishments were the first things to be revealed of the Qur’an. In Sahih Bukhari, Yusuf ibn Maahak narrates:

“I was at Aisha’s, the Mother of the believers may Allah be pleased with her, when an Iraqi came to her and said: “Which shroud is best?” Aisha said: “Woe to you, what harms you?” He said: “O, mother of the believers, show me your mus-haf” Aisha said: “Why?” He said: “In order that I may arrange and order the Qur’an according to it, for it is being read with no particular order.” Aisha said: “What is the harm to you whichever of it you read first? Verily, the first of it to be revealed was a sura among the short suras in which is mentioned heaven and hell. After the people came to submission (Islam), the halal and the haram were revealed. If the first thing to be revealed were “Do not drink intoxicants” they would have said: “We will never leave our intoxicants.” And if the first thing to be revealed were “Do not commit fornication and adultery.”, they would have said: “We will never leave fornication.” Verily, the following verse was revealed to Muhammad in Makka while I was a young girl playing: [No, the hour of judgement is more grievous and more bitter (i.e. than any hardships a Muslim may find in the path of Allah in this life)], and the chapters of Al-Baqarah and An-Nisaa (which contain extensive rulings on the halal and the haram) were only revealed while I was with him (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) as his wife.” Then Aisha took our her mus-haf and dictated to him the verses of the chapter.”

 

Differences About Enjoining & Forbidding Are The Cause Of Division

Kufr, corruption, and disobedience are the cause of evil and strife. A person or group may fall into sin and disobedience. Then another group keeps quiet, and does not fulfill their obligation of enjoining right and forbidding wrong, and that becomes a sin of theirs. And another group enjoins and forbids, but in a manner forbidden by Allah, and that becomes a sin of theirs. The end result is division, difference, strife, and evil. This is one of the greatest sources of evil and chaos in all times, former and present. This is because man is by nature dhaloom (ever given to criminality), and jahool (ever given to ignorance and foolishness).

See Qur’an 72/33. This criminality or oppression, and this foolishness are of different types. The oppression and foolishness of the first person or group (i.e. the one committing the original disobedience of Allah) is of one type, while the oppression and foolishness of the second and third groups (those who knew and kept quiet, and those who enjoined and forbid in a manner not allowed by Islam) is of other types.

Anyone who contemplates the strife and chaos which afflicts the Muslims will see that this is indeed their reason. All of the confusion which occurs between the rulers of the Ummah, and its scholars, and those who follow them among the common people has this as its root cause. Also in this category are the various causes of going astray: hawaa in both religious and worldly matters, innovation (bid’a) in religion, and depravity in this life.

These things are general, and afflict the entire human race, because of the element in them of criminality and foolishness. Thus, some of the people sin by oppressing themselves (i.e. by any disobedience to Allah) or others by committing fornication or homosexuality or drinking intoxicants, or economic crimes such as betraying of trusts, stealing, taking peoples property by intimidation, and other such crimes.

 

Sins Are Desired By Human Nature

It is known that these sins and acts of disobedience, though understood to be detestable and blameworthy by intellectual reasoning and by the criteria of Islam, are desired by human nature. It is a normal condition of the human self that it does not like others to have what it has not, or to have more of something than it, rather, it wishes for the good which has come to others to come to it. This is known in Arabic as Ghabta which is the lesser of the two forms of envy. Thus, the human self wishes to be superior or over others, and to be preferred to them, or it is envious of them, and wishes for the destruction of the good things which have come to others, even if it will not itself obtain it (this is the extreme form of envy).

So, the human self contains these elements of desiring superiority, corruption, pride, and envy which makes it wish to possess its desires over and above others. How will such a self feel when it sees others having possessed what it desires while it has not obtained it? The more reasonable of them desires that all may have their desires on an equal basis, and cannot tolerate some having more than them, as for the others (i.e. who wish for the destruction of the good things possessed by others because they have not been able to obtain it), they are envious oppressors.

These two types of envy occur in relation to things which Islam allows as well as in relation to things which are forbidden by the rights of Allah over His slaves. As for that which is of the first type such as food and drink, spouses, clothes, riding animals, and wealth, the exclusive possession of these things by some and not others can be a cause of oppression, miserliness, and envy.

 

Greed Is The Cause Of Slipping Into Deviation

The origin of all of these problems is greedy desire (shuhh). The Prophet explains this in the following sahih hadith:

“Beware of shuhh (greedy desire), for verily it destroyed those who came before you. It ordered them to be miserly and they were miserly, it ordered them to commit oppression and they oppressed, and it ordered them to cut family ties and they cut family ties.”

For this reason, Allah praised the Ansar (the Muslims of Madinah who received those who migrated from Makka, and helped them) for having the opposite characteristics, saying:

[And those who had prepared the place of dwelling and (accepted) the faith before them (i.e. before those who migrated from Makka) love those who migrated to them, and find in their hearts no need of the good things which they have been given. (i.e. they feel no envy for that which their brothers the Migrators have been given.) And they prefer (others) even over their own selves, even though they are in need. And whoever is protected from the shuhh of his own self, these are the successful ones.] Qur’an 59/9

 

Abdur-Rahman ibn ‘Auf – a companion of the Prophet – was heard saying as he made hisTawaaf around the Ka’aba:

“O Lord, protect me from the shuhh of my own self. O Lord, protect me from the shuhh of my own self.”

When he was asked about this du’a of his, he said: “If I am protected from the shuhh of my own self, I will be protected from miserliness, oppression, and breaking of family ties.”

Shuhh, which is the greedy desire of the self, causes miserliness by withholding objects of desire which have been acquired, and causes oppression by the taking of the property of others, and causes breaking of family ties, and it causes envy – which is to hate others possessing what one does not have, and wishing for its destruction. Envy itself entails miserliness and oppression, since envy is miserliness with that which one has been given, and oppression by wishing for others to lose the good which they have acquired.

This being the case of those desired things which are halal, what about those desired things which are haram, such as fornication, drinking intoxicants,etc.?

When some people acquire or practice such things, two types of hatred of come about:

1) To hate it because of others having what one has not i.e. out of some form of envy such as occurs in things

which are halal and

2) To hate it for the sake of Allah, and because of the violation it entails of the rights of Allah over His slaves.

 

Types Of Sins

For this reason, sins are of three type:

(1) Sins which entail oppression of others, such as taking of people’s property, or denying them their rights, or envy or others (of the greater type), etc.

(2) Sins which entail only oppression of one’s self, such as drinking intoxicants, and fornication when its harm does not affect others.

(3) Sins which entail both of the above, such as an Amir or ruler who takes the peoples property so that he can use it for fornication or using intoxicants, or other crimes. Another example is one who commits illegal sexual acts with someone, and then exposes this to the people in order to do harm to the persons involved, as is often seen from those obsessed with women and young boys. Allah said:

[Say, all that my Lord has forbidden is despicable acts, that which is apparent and that which is hidden, and sins, and transgression without justification, and that you associate with Allah that for which no authority has been sent, and that you say about Allah that which you know not.] Qur’an 7/33

 

Success In Worldly Affairs Is By Justice

The affairs of the people will go straight with the presence of justice which may be mixed with some types of sin more than they will go straight in the presence of oppression and injustice in the rights of the people, even if it is not mixed with other sins.

Thus, it has been said: “Allah establishes the just state even if it is disbelieving, and does not establish the oppressing state, even if it is Muslim.”

It has been said: “The affairs of this world last with justice and kufr, but they do not last with oppression and Islam.”

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

“The quickest of evils to be punished are injustice and breaking of family ties.” (Ibn Majah)

Thus, the unjust transgressor is overcome in this life, even though he may eventually be forgiven in the hereafter.

This is because justice is the system of everything. So, when the affairs of this world are established with justice, they last and are strong, even though its author may have no share in the rewards of the hereafter, and when they are not established with justice, they do not last, even though its author(s) may have that faith for which they may be rewarded in the hereafter.

 

Human Nature: Tyranny, Envy & Oppression

Within the human self is a drive to oppress others by tyrannizing them, and by envying them, and by violating their rights. Within it, also, are drives to oppress itself by indulging in despicable acts, such as adultery and consuming unclean things. Thus, a person may oppress others without first being oppressed, and may lust after those indulgences, even though no one around him is doing them. However, when he sees his peers oppressing, or indulging in these desires, a drive appears in him to do these things which is much stronger than previously.

This may also bring about in a person hatred of those having the object of his lower desire, and his envy of them, and his desire for their punishment and the removal of that thing which they have which were not otherwise there. He has an ample justification for this from the direction of intellectual reasoning, and from the principles of Islam because of the fact that those who he opposes are oppressing themselves and the Muslims as a whole, and his enjoining right and forbidding wrong and fighting jihad in the pursuit of that appears to be from Islam.

 

Categories Of People In This Issue

People, with respect to this issue, can be divided into three categories:

One group does not become aroused except by the hawaa of their own selves. They are not contented except with those things which they have been given, and do not anger except because of something which they have been denied. If such a person is given all that he desires from the halal and the haram, his anger disappears, and he is contented.

When he is given his desires, those things which he called evil, which he actively forbid others and punished them for indulging in them, became angry with them, and openly criticized them, when he obtains these things, he suddenly becomes an indulger in them, and a partner and helper of their users, and a staunch enemy of those who order the people to stay away from these things, and point out to them their evil.

This is widespread among the sons of Adam. We all see and hear examples of this whose number is unknown except to Allah. Its cause is that man is, as Allah said, ever given to criminality (dhaloom), and ever given to ignorance and foolishness (jahool). And so, many never practice justice; rather, they may be oppressors in both states.

For example, there may be a group of people who criticize the oppression of the ruler and his transgression on the rights of the citizens, and so the ruler appeases them with some position or money. Suddenly, they become the biggest helpers and supporters of this unjust government or ruler. It would have been better for them if they just kept quiet, and refrained from enjoining right and forbidding wrong in the first place.

In the same way, you can see these people acting very harshly with those who take intoxicants, fornicate and listen to music until they manage to get him involved in their sins, or appease him with some of the pleasures in which they indulge. At that time, you will see them becoming the biggest supporters of those acts which they opposed so harshly previously. Such people, when they undertake enjoining right and forbidding wrong may come into a state worse than their state before they began, or perhaps not quite as bad, or equal to it.

Others, have taken the correct stand of religiosity and piety. They are in that sincere to Allah, and in their actions reformers, and bringers of good. In this they are granted success such that they are able to be patient and forbearing in the face of persecution. These are “those who believe and do good works”, and they are of “the best nation brought forth for the people: they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, and they believe in Allah.”

A third group, combines the characteristics of the first group and those of the second, and these are the majority of the believers. Whoever combines piety and lusts and desires has in his heart a will to be obedient to Allah, and a will to disobey Allah in obedience to his desires. Sometimes the first one prevails, and sometimes the second one prevails.

This triple division is analogous to the division of the souls of people into three types, as alluded to in the Qur’an: Ammaara (that which always orders, i.e. evil), Lawwaama (that which always criticizes and holds to account, i.e. after doing evil, this soul criticizes itself and repents), and Mut’ma’innah (at peace, i.e. the soul which obeys Allah without any inner contradictions). Thus, the first group above is the possessors of the soul which is Ammaara, i.e. which always orders them to do evil, and the second group above is the possessors of the soul which is Mut’ma’innah, to which Allah will say on the day of Qiyama:

[O, you souls at peace: Come back to your Lord, contented and accepted, and enter in among by slaves, and enter into my paradise.] Qur’an 89/27-30

The third and largest group are the possessors of the soul which is Lawwaamah, which commits sins and then blames itself for them. It changes colors, sometimes like this, and sometimes like that. It “mixes a good work with another which is evil”. It is hoped that Allah will forgive these people provided that they acknowledge their sins and repent, as Allah said:

[And others have acknowledged their sins. They mixed a good work with another which was evil. Perhaps Allah will forgive them, verily Allah is most-Forgiving, most-Merciful.] Qur’an 9/102

It is for this reason that during the Caliphates of Abu Bakr and Umar – and they are the two which the Muslims have been ordered to emulate, as the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Follow the example of the two who come after me: Abu Bakr and Umar.” (At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad)

Since the Muslims were still close to the era of the revelation, and greater in faith an piety, and their leaders were more conscientious in fulfilling their duties, and more at peace and free from inner contradictions – the chaos and bloodshed and strife which followed was absent during their two Caliphates. This is because they were as the people of the second category: those whose selves are at Peace and free from inner contradictions about Islam.

Then, at the end of Uthman’s Caliphate, and during the Caliphate of Ali (May Allah be pleased with them both), those of the third category became more numerous. Thus, there appeared in the Muslims desires and lusts along with the presence of belief and Islamic practice. This became the case of some of the administrators, and some of the citizens. Then the problem became worse, and the major fitna (strife) came to pass whose cause is as we have described earlier. Both sides failed to properly analyze the dictates of piety and obedience to Allah. Both sides mixed their understanding of piety and obedience with some element of hawaa and disobedience. Each side, in their own interpretation, believing that they are enjoining right and forbidding wrong, and that they are on the side of truth and justice. This interpretation, however, contains an element of hawaa, and an element of suspicion, and following the desires of the self, even though one of the two sides was closer to the truth than the other.

For this reason, it is upon the believer to constantly pray to Allah to help him, and to depend fully on Allah to fill his heart with faith and piety, and not to let it become contaminated, and to establish him firmly on the guidance, and to protect him from following his hawaa, as Allah said:

[And so for this, pray, and remain steadfast as you have been ordered, and do not follow their hawaa. And say: I have believed in the book which Allah has sent down, and I have been ordered to enact justice between you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord.] Qur’an 42/15

 

Good Must Support Good As Bad Supports Bad

This is also the condition of the Ummah in those issues over which it has become divided and has differed over statements and acts of worship. These issues are among the things which bring about great trials upon the believers.

They are in desparate need of two things: They need to repel the evil with which their peers have been afflicted, both in affairs of religion and worldly affairs, away from themselves, in spite of the drive within themselves calling to the same things. They, too, have selves and shayateen (i.e. calling them to evil), just as those who have already fallen into evil. Thus, when evil is seen from their peers, the evil tendencies within themselves are increased. So, even after eliminating the evil around them, the believers will remain with the evil drives within themselves and from the wiswaas of the shaitan.

Motivators toward good are an exactly analogous situation: The believers are in need of bringing about the doing of good in others as a motivator toward good, as well as following their own, internal tendencies toward good.

This is why there are so many people who never aspire to good nor to evil until they see someone else – especially among those they view as “peers” – doing a particular action. At that point, they will become interested and undertake that action, too. People are like the feathers of an owl, they instinctually gravitate toward conformity and imitation of each other.

For this reason, the reward and the responsibility of one who establishes a new action for the first time is the same as those who follow him therein. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Whoever establishes a good tradition will receive his reward for it together with the rewards of all those who follow it until the day of Qiyama, without that reducing their rewards in the least. And whoever establishes a bad tradition will be assigned its full responsibility together with the responsibility of all those who follow it until the day of Qiyama, without reducing their responsibility in the least.” (Muslim)

This is because their reality is one, and the status of anything is the status of its equals, and that which is similar to something is an extension of it.

Now, since these two motivators are very strong (i.e. the inner drives towards good and towards evil, and the added motivation resulting from seeing others doing good or doing evil), imagine the situation when two additional motivators are added to them:

This is the situation wherein many of the people of evil love anyone who agrees with them and their program, and the hate those who do not agree with them. This is very clear among the various false religions: each group is exceedingly loyal and devoted to (and only to) those who agree with them, and is exceedingly hostile towards those who do not agree with their programs or beliefs. This is frequently the case in worldly desires as well. Those who indulge in a particular form of pleasure consistently choose and prefer as friends and companions those who share their particular indulgence. This may be in order to aid one another in their pursuit of their pleasure, as in the case of those who conspire together to take over and tyrannize a country, or to form gangs and rob people and such like. Or, it may be simply for the sweetness of company and agreement, as in the case of those who come together to take intoxicants. They want everyone present to partake of their drink, and cannot tolerate the presence of a non-drinker.

Perhaps this is due to their hatred of his being better than they are by staying away from their sin, or out of envy of his ability to resist temptation, or that he may not appear superior to them, and be praised by the people for his abstention despite their indulgence, or in order that he will have no argument or evidence against them, or because they are in fear of being turned over for punishment by him or by others, or for fear that he may “blackmail” them with that, and humiliate them, or other such reasons. Allah said:

[Many of the people of the book wish that they could turn you back, after your faith, to be disbelievers out of envy originating within their own selves, that even after the truth has become clear to them.] Qur’an 2/109

And He said about the hypocrites:

[They wish that you would disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you would (all) be the same.} Qur’an 4/89

The Khalifa Uthman ibn Affaan once said: “The Adulteress wishes that all women would commit adultery.”

Their coming together in indulgence may be sharing in the very same sin, such as drinking of intoxicants together, telling lies and spreading forgeries, and holding corrupt beliefs. Or, they may choose to share in the sin in the abstract sense, as in the case of the adulterer who wishes that others would also commit adultery, or the thief who wishes that others would steal — they wish that others would partake of their type of sin, but not of the very same object which they desire to steal, or to have in illegal sexual relations.

The second additional motivator is as follows: They may enjoin upon an individual to participate with them in their unlawful actions; if he agrees to participate, he is left alone, but if he resists, they become his active enemies, persecuting him in a manner which may even become coercion.

Then, these self-same people who wish for the participation of others in their despicable actions, or actually order them to do so, and seek the aid of others in order to bring him into their ways, at that point when he agrees to participate in their actions, and aid them, and obey them, they will at that point hold him in very little esteem, and will belittle and look down on him. This then, will become their argument and evidence against him and against listening to anything he says in other areas as well. (They call and incite him to a particular act, which they themselves are already doing, and when he finally succumbs, this is evidence used to disgrace him in the eyes of the people!!) This is the state of most of the oppressors who have been given some power in the land.

These same motivators which are present in the doing of evil is also present with respect to doing good and its doers, and is even stronger. As Allah said:

[And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah] Qur’an 2/166

Verily, every person also has an internal drive calling him to faith and knowledge, truthfulness and justice, and fulfillment of trusts. Thus, if he finds others who do these things as he does, there arises an additional motivator, especially if they are what he regards as “peers”, and especially if there is a spirit of “competition” in doing of good. This is a praiseworthy type of competition.

Then, if he finds others who love his agreement with them in what is good, and his participation in it from among the righteous believers, who also hate him when he deviates or does not do what is good, there arises a third motivator.

Then, if they order him to do right, and are loyal and dedicated to him when he does, and oppose him and punish him when he neglects it, there arises a fourth motivator.

 

Evil Must Be Met With Good

For this reason, the believers have been ordered to face evil deeds with their opposites, just as the doctor meets illness with its opposite. So, the believer is ordered to reform himself, and that is by means of two things: doing of good deeds, and avoiding bad deeds.

This in spite of the forces and motivators which oppose the doing of good, and encourage the doing of evil, and these are both of four types, as we have said.

The believer is also ordered to reform others with all four of these motivators to the extent of his power and capability. Allah said:

[By the passing of time * Verily, man is in abject loss * Except those who believe and do good works * And remind one another of the truth, and advise one another to have patience.] Qur’an 103

It is narrated that Imam Ash-Shafi’i said: “If all of the people pondered Surah Al-Asr, it would be sufficient for them.”

It is as he said. Allah has informed us in this sura that all of the people are in abject loss, except those who are in themselves righteous believers, and with others a reminder of truth, and advisor of having patience.

 

The Severity Of The Test Causes Elevation Of Rank

When the test becomes severe, that is for the righteous believer a cause for the elevation of his rank, and the greatness of his reward, as can be seen in the following hadith:

“The Prophet was asked: `Which people are most severely tested?’ He said: `The prophets, then the righteous ones, then others in descending order of their righteousness. Each one is tested in accordance to his belief: if firmness is found therein, his trials are increased, if, on the other hand, he is weak and wavering in belief, his trials are lightened. The believer will continue to be subjected to trials and tests until he walks on the surface of the earth without a single sin upon him.'”

Thus, he needs patience more than others, and that is the cause of leadership (Imamate) in faith, as Allah said:

[And we made them leaders (imams) who guide (the people) by our order as long as they were patient, and had a certainty of belief in our signs.] Qur’an 32/24

Patience Is Necessary In The Doing Of Good

A Muslim must have patience in doing what he has been ordered, and in avoiding what he has been forbidden and prohibited. Also included in this is patience in the face of persecution, and upon being spoken ill of, and patience in the face of the various calamities. Also, patience is required in times of ease and plenty so that one does not become proud, boastful, and haughty, and other types of patience.

 

The Need For Certainty Of Belief

It is not possible for one to have patience if he has nothing from which to derive inner peace, something from which he attains joy and which gives him sustenance: certainty of faith. The Prophet said in hadith:

“Ask Allah for forgiveness and good health for, verily, after certainty of faith, no one has been given anything better than good health.”

In the same way, when he orders others to do good, or loves their agreement with what is correct, or forbids others the doing of evil, he needs to be very good towards those others with which he wishes to work in this way with a graciousness which brings about the success of his intention: the removal of that which he dislikes, and the attainment of that which he likes. Human souls cannot tolerate something bitter unless it is mixed with something sweet. Nothing else is possible. For this reason, Allah ordained the institution of the binding of hearts (ta’leef ul-quluub), even assigning to those whose hearts are to be drawn in a portion of the Zakat. Allah said to His Prophet:

[Choose forbearance, and enjoin all that is right, and turn away from the foolish ones.} Qur’an 7/199

And, Allah said in another ayah:

[And, advise one another to have patience, and urge one another to acts of compassion.] Qur’an 90/17

It is necessary for the enjoiner and forbidder to be patient and to be compassionate, and that is true courage and true generosity.

For this reason, Allah mentions prayer and zakat together many times in the Qur’an, and zakat is graciousness towards Allah’s creation, and mentions prayer and patience together on other occasions. All three are essential: prayer, zakat, and patience. The affairs of the believer will not go straight except with these three in relation to his reforming of himself, and in the reforming of others, especially when trials and strife are rampant, then the need for these qualities becomes more severe.

The need for forbearance and patience is common to the entire human race; their affairs will never be straightened out except with these qualities. For this reason, all societies and cultures praise courage and generosity to the extent that most of the poems which have been composed to praise someone dwell on these two qualities. In the same vein, all societies and cultures hold as blameworthy the opposing qualities of miserliness and cowardice.

Any issue about which the thinkers of the entire human race agree cannot be anything but the truth, such as their agreement on the praiseworthiness of truthfulness and justice, and the blameworthiness of lying and oppression.

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) was once asked questions by some bedouins until they forced him over near a tree on which his cloak became caught. He turned to them and said:

“By the one in whose hand is my soul, if I possessed camels equal to the number of these thorns, I would divide them all between you, and you would not find me to be miserly, nor cowardly, nor untruthful.”

This value judgement, however, takes various forms according to specific cases and details and, verily, works are judged by intentions, and to every person is that which he intended.

 

Criticism Of Miserliness And Cowardice

For this reason, miserliness and cowardice are frequently criticized in the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and courage and forbearance in the path of Allah are praised – in the path of Allah specifically as opposed to that which is not in the path of Allah. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

“The most evil things which can be found in a person are greedy desire which influences all of his actions, and cowardice which makes him flee.”

And, he said:

“Who is your head man O, children of Salamah?” They said: “Al-Jadd ibn Qais, even though we criticize in him miserliness.” The Prophet said: “And what defect is more serious than miserliness!?”

In another version of the above hadith, the Prophet is reported to have said:

“Verily, no head man can be miserly, rather your head man is Al-Abyadh Al-Ja’ad Al-Baraa’ ibn Ma’rur.”

Similarly, in the sahih the statement of Jabir ibn Abdullah to Abu Bakr As-Siddique radhiallahu `anhu):

“You can either give me, or you can be miserly (tabkhalu ‘anniy.)” Abu Bakr said: “Do you say you can either give me, or you can be miserly?! And which defect is more serious than miserliness?!”

Abu Bakr, like the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) considered miserliness to be one of the most serious diseases or defects.

In Sahih Muslim, on the authority of Sulaiman ibn Rabi’ah:

Umar said: “The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) carried out a division of property, and I said: `By Allah, others are more deserving than these (who have been given).’ The Prophet said: `They gave me the choice, either they would ask me in an improper and outrageous manner, or they would call me miserly, and I am not a miser.'”

The prophet here is saying: They have asked me in a way which is not proper, so that if I give them, that is fine, but if I do not, they will say “He is miserly.” Thus, they gave me the choice between two evils, and left me no other choice: improper asking, or being called miserly. Being called a miser is more serious of an evil, so I repel the greater evil by giving them.

 

Types Of Miserliness

Miserliness is a general category within which are various types – some are major sins, and some are not major sins.

Allah said:

[Let not those who were miserly with what Allah gave them of His bounty imagine that it is good for them, rather it is very bad for them. They will be emburdened with all that they were miserly with on the day of Qiyama.] Qur’an 3/180

 

[Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and be gracious towards your two parents … Verily Allah loves not every proud and arrogant one, those who are miserly, and enjoin miserliness on others.] Qur’an 4/36-37

 

[And nothing prevented their (i.e. the hypocrites) expenditures from being accepted except for the fact that they have rejected faith in Allah and in His Prophet. They attend the prayer only with laziness, and they spend of their wealth only reluctantly and with dislike.] Qur’an 9/54

 

[And, when He gave them of His bounty, they were miserly with it. They turned away, rejecting. And so, Allah decreed for them after that hypocrisy in their hearts until the day when they will meet Him.] Qur’an 9/76-77

[Whoever is miserly, denies only himself] Qur’an 47/38

 

[And so woe unto those who pray * But are unmindful of their prayers * those who only strive (in their prayers) to be seen by people, and who withhold even minor acts of generosity.] Qur’an 107

 

[As for those who build up wealth of gold and silver, and do not spend of it in the path of Allah, warn them of a painful punishment. On the day when it (i.e. the gold and silver) will be heated up on the fires of hell, and it will be used to brand their foreheads and their sides and their backs, (it will be said to them:) This is what you hoarded away for your selves, so taste that which you used to hoard.] Qur’an 9/34-35

 

There are very many verses in the Qur’an which enjoin giving and spending and generosity, and criticize whoever neglects them, and all of that is a criticism of miserliness.

 

Criticism Of Cowardice

In the Qur’an, Allah’s criticism of cowardice is also found in very many verses, such as in the following:

[And anyone who gives them (i.e. the enemy in war) his back on that day (of battle) except as a stratagem of warfare, or to regroup with other fighters, has come back with a great anger from Allah, and his dwelling  place is hell, and what an evil place to end up.] Qur’an 8/16

 

[And they (i.e. the hypocrites) swear by Allah that they are of you, while they are not of you, rather they are a people afraid (to oppose the believers openly) * If they were to find any place of refuge or some caves, or even any uncomfortable place in which to conceal themselves, they would turn to it in great haste (because of the intensity of their concealed hatred for Islam and the Muslims).] Qur’an 9/56-57

 

[When a clear chapter is sent down and fighting is mentioned therein, you can see those in whose hearts is disease looking at you as one in the throes of death.] Qur’an 47/20

 

[Did you not see those to whom it was said: “Be non-violent, establish the prayer, and give the Zakat?” And then, when fighting was made obligatory upon them, lo, some of them fear people as the fear of Allah or an even stronger fear. They say: “Our Lord, why have you made fighting obligatory upon us? If only you were to give us respite for a short time!” Say: “The provision of this lower life is but little, and the hereafter is better for those who have piety, and you will not be mistreated or dealt with unjustly in the least.] Qur’an 4/77

 

Every verse in the Qur’an in which Allah urges the believers to jihad, and explains its desirability, and harshly criticizes those who turn away from it and neglect it all of that constitutes a condemnation of cowardice.

 

Human Affairs Will Not Go Straight Except With Courage And Generosity

Since reform of human affairs in this world and the next will not be perfected except with the presence of courage and generosity, Allah has explained to us that anyone who turns his back on courage – by failing to struggle in the path of Allah – will be replaced by others who will fulfill their duties. And whoever turns away from the spending of their property in the path of Allah, will be replaced by others who will fulfill their duties. Allah said:

[O, you who believe, what is wrong with you such that when you are called to come forth in the path of Allah, you become heavy, stuck to the earth? Are you contented with the life of this world in preference to the hereafter? Verily, the provisions of this life are but little in relation to the hereafter. If you fail to come forth, Allah will punish you a painful punishment, will replace you with another people, and you will not harm Allah in the least. Allah is capable of all things.] Qur’an 9/38-39

 

[You are the ones, you are called to spend in the path of Allah. Then, some of you are miserly and withhold. And whoever withholds denies only himself. Allah is wealthy, free of all needs, and you are the impoverished ones. If you turn away, Allah will replace you with another people, and they will not be like you.] Qur’an 47/38

It was courage and generosity with which Allah preferred “those who came before” (as-Saabiquun), saying:

[They are not the same, those of you who spent (in the path of Allah) and fought and struggled before the victory – these have a greater reward than those who only spent of their wealth and struggled and fought after that, and to each of them, Allah has promised good.] Qur’an 57/10

 

Allah has mentioned jihad with ones life and ones property in His path, and praised them in many verses of His book. This is courage and forbearance in obedience to Allah ta’ala.

Allah said:

[How many small groups have overcome large groups with the permission of Allah? Allah is with those who have patience.] Qur’an 2/249

[O, you who believe, when you meet (an opposing) army, be steadfast and remember Allah much, that you may be successful. And obey Allah and His Prophet, and do not disagree such that you cause your own defeat, and lose your (favorable) wind. And be patient, verily Allah is with those who have patience.] Qur’an 8/46

 

What Is Courage?

Courage is not strength of the body. A man may be strong physically, but weak in heart. Rather, courage is the strength of the heart and its steadfastness. The critical factors in warfare are physical strength, skill in warfare, and the courage and steadfastness of the hearts of the fighters.

The only courage which is praiseworthy is courage based on knowledge and information, not mere wildness, with neither thought nor differentiation between praiseworthy and blameworthy actions. For this reason the strong and capable, as defined by Islam, is the one who can control himself when in anger such that he does only that which is truly beneficial. As for the one who is overcome by his anger, he is neither courageous nor capable.

 

A Return To Patience And Its Types

As we have said, the key to true strength is patience, it is a necessary element. Patience is of two types: patience when angry, and patience when afflicted with calamity. Al-Hassan (i.e. Al-Basry) said:

“No slave of Allah has struck a more effective blow than wisdom and forbearance in anger and patience in the face of calamity.”

This is because the common element in all of these things is patience with what is painful. The courageous and capable is the one who can be patient and persevere in spite of pain. Something painful – if it is something which can be driven away – causes anger. And, if it is something which cannot be driven away, it causes grief (huzn).

This is why the face becomes flushed in anger, as the blood boils due a feeling of power and capability to destroy what is causing the anger, and the face becomes pale and bloodless in grief, as the blood recedes due to the feeling of weakness and inability to do anything about the cause of grief.

Thus, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) joined the two types of patience in the following sahih hadith found in the collection of Muslim:

“The Prophet said: “How do you define Ar-Raqoob (childless) among you?” They said: “Ar-Raqoob is the one to whom no child has been born.” The Prophet said: “That is not Ar-Raqoob, rather Ar-Raqoob is the one who has not offered any one of his children” (i.e. in the path of Allah). Then, the Prophet said: “And who do you consider invincible (or “the mighty”) among you?” They said: “The one who men cannot overcome or defeat.” The Prophet said: “It is not so, rather, the mighty is the one who can control himself in anger.”

In this hadith, the Prophet mentioned that which includes patience in the face of calamity (i.e. losing of sons to fighting in the path of Allah), and patience in anger. Allah said about calamity in general:

[And give glad tidings to the patient ones *Those who, when afflicted by any calamity, say: “Verily, from Allah we came, and unto Allah we will return.””]

And Allah said about anger:

[Good acts and bad acts are not the same. Drive away (bad) with that which is better. Suddenly, the one with whom there was enmity becomes as a close and devoted friend * And none will achieve this except those who are patient, and none will achieve this except those of the greatest good fortune.] Qur’an 41/34-35

 

This exposition of common elements between patience in the face of calamity, and patience in anger is analogous to the citing of the common element between patience in adversity and patience in plenty and ease as in the following verse:

[And if we give man a taste of mercy from us, and then take it away from him, verily he is despondent and ungrateful. And if we give him a taste of plenty after some adversity which had afflicted him verily, he will say: The evil has left me. Verily, he is joyous, haughty. All except those who are patient and do good works, for these are forgiveness and a great reward.] Qur’an 11/9-11

[In order that you may not become despondent over that which did not come to you, nor (overly) joyous over that which came to you.] Qur’an 57/23

 

With this characteristic, the poet Ka’ab ibn Zuhair described the Migrators among the companions (May Allah be pleased with them) saying:

“They are not overly joyous when there swords have struck their opposition, nor are they despondent when they themselves are struck.”

Another poet, Hassaan ibn Thabit said in description of the Ansar (Helpers):

“There is no haughtiness if they inflict wounds on their enemy, and there is no lassitude and no discontent if they themselves are wounded.”

Some of the Arabs used to say about the Prophet:

“When he is victorious he is not haughty, and when he is defeated he is not grief-stricken.”

 

The Forbiddance Of Transgressing The Bounds

Since shaitan is calling people, during these two types of situations, to transgress the bounds established by Islam with their hearts, voices, and hands, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) has interdicted that as in the following hadith: It was said to the Prophet when he was seen to shed tears when he saw his son Ibrahim prepared for burial:

“Do you weep, though you have forbidden the weeping and wailing over the dead?” The Prophet said: “That which I have forbidden is none other than two idiotic, obscene voices: one voice in times of plenty and ease: frivolity, of games, and the pipes of Satan (i.e. music); and another voice in times of calamity: beating of (one’s own) cheeks, and tearing of clothes, and invoking the invocations of the jahiliyah (i.e. cries for revenge or asking for evil to befall someone based on nationalism or tribalism). in which the Prophet has mentioned both of them in the same hadith. In another hadith, he forbids that in relation to calamities only:

“Whoever hits his cheeks and tears his clothes, and calls out with the invocations of the jahiliyah is not one of us.”

And, in another hadith:

“I am innocent of (the sins of) the one who shaves his head, and the one who wails, and the one who tears his clothes (i.e. the one who does these things when afflicted with calamity.”

“Verily, Allah does not hold anyone to account for the tear of an eye, nor the grief of the heart, rather, He punishes or has mercy based on this. (While saying this, he pointed to his tongue.”

“Whoever people weep and wail for is punished because of their weeping and wailing.” (This hadith, and all before it in this section are from Bukhari)

One of the conditions demanded of the women in the first Oath of Allegiance was that they must agree never to weep and wail over the dead, and he said:

“Verily, the woman who weeps over the dead, if she does not repent before her death, will be dressed on the day of Qiyama in a vest of sores, and a dress of molten tar.”

The Prophet mentioned the two idiotic and obscene voices: a voice which brings about transgression in joy such that the person becomes “joyous and arrogant” (farihun fakhuur), and another voice in times of grief which brings about impatience and despair, such that the person becomes “discontent and impatient” (haluu’an jazuu’an).

As for the voice which arouses anger for the sake of Allah, such as the battle cries and the poetry which is composed for jihad, this was never done with musical instruments.

Similarly, the voices of spreading the word at wedding celebrations. These two have been permitted, and exempted from the general ruling by the Sunnah of the Prophet: cries and poems of battle, and the beating of the daff (a bangle-less tambourine) at wedding parties, and festivities for women and young children.

Most of the poems which are read aloud to arouse feelings in people are of these four types: i.e. love poetry and descriptions of the beloved one, poems of anger and fervor (nationalistic or other), poems of lamentation over calamities, and poems of ease, plenty, and joy, which are the poems of flattery.

The norm of the poets is that they follow human nature, as Allah said:

[Did you not see that they are in every valley, wandering aimlessly? * And that they say that which they do not do?] Qur’an 26/225-226

For this reason, Allah informs us that the poets are followed by the ghaawoon (singular: ghaawi). The ghaawi is one who follows his hawaa without knowledge and without guidance, and this is referred to as ghayy. Such a person is not guided (muhtadiy). Just as one who is astray or “lost” (dhaall) is the one who does not know that which is in his own benefit, again in contrast to the one on the guidance. Allah said:

[By the star as it sinks * Your companion is not lost (dhaall), nor is he misgiuded (from ghayy).] Qur’an 53/1-2

 

And, for this reason, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

“What is upon is (to follow) whatever you come to know of my tradition (sunnah), and the tradition of the early, rightlyguided successors, clamp down on this with your molars!”

Thus we find them (the poets) praising all types of bravery and forbearance, since the lack of these traits is blameworthy in any situation whatsoever. As for the presence of these traits, it will bring about the achievement of what the self desires whatever that may be, but the final benefit is only for the pious. As for the impious, they will have benefits in the short run (i.e. this life), but not in the long run (i.e. in the hereafter).

The “final benefit”, though it is ultimately in the hereafter, can also be in this life, as Allah said after mentioning the story of Nuh, and his being saved in the ark:

[It was said: O, Nuh, come down (from the ark) with peace from us and blessings upon you and upon other peoples (which will spring) from you. And to other peoples we will grant pleasures (for a time) then touch them with a painful punishment * These are some of the stories of the unseen which we have revealed to you. Neither you nor your people knew them before this. So, have patience, verily the final benefit is for the pious.] Qur’an 11/48-49

 

[And so whoever transgresses against you, transgress against them to the same degree in which they transgressed against you, and have fear (taqwa) of Allah, verily, Allah is with those who fear Him.] Qur’an 2/194

 

Fervor And Courage Which Is Praiseworthy

The criterion here is that the only fervor or courage which is praiseworthy is that which has been praised by Allah and His Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). Allah is the one whose praise is beauty and whose censure is dishonor, and this is to no one other thanAllah, neither poet, nor orator, nor  anyone else.

Thus, when an Arab from the tribe of Bani Tameem said to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) “My praise is beautification, and my censure is disgrace”, the Prophet said to him: “That is Allah!”.

Allah has praised courage and forbearance in His path, as in the sahih, narrated by Abu Musa Al-Ash’ariy (may Allah be pleased with him):

It was said to the Prophet: A man may fight out of courage, and he may fight out of fervor and excitement, and he may fight to be seen by others, so which of those are (truly) in the path of Allah? The Prophet said: Whoever fights so that the word of Allah may be uppermost is in the path of Allah.” Just as Allah said:

[And fight them until there is no more chaos and discord, and all religion is solely for Allah] Qur’an 8/39

This, in fact, is the purpose for which Allah has created mankind, as He said:

[And I have not created the jinn and humankind except that they may worship Me.] Qur’an 51/56

Thus any act which is in pursuit of the overall goal for which the entire creation has been created is praiseworthy in the sight of Allah; and it is that which has some remaining benefit for its doer, and Allah will benefit him because of it. These then are the righteous deeds (Al-a’maal As-Saalihaat) referred to in the Qur’an. In this regard, people can be divided into four categories:

(1) Those who strive and work for the sake of Allah with courage and forbearance. These are the believers who deserve the reward of paradise.

(2) Those who strive and work for other than Allah with courage and forbearance. These benefit from their efforts in this life, and there is nothing of that for them in the hereafter.

(3) Those who work for Allah, but without courage and without forbearance. These have an element of hypocrisy (nifaaq) and lack of faith (imaan) to the degree of their cowardice and discontent.

(4) Those who do not work for Allah, and who have no courage and no forbearance. These have no share neither in this world nor in the hereafter.

 

The Character Needed By The Believer

These traits and these works are needed by the believer in general, and especially in times of chaos, strife, and extreme trials. They are in need of thorough reforming of their selves, in spite of the presence of that within them which calls to chaos and corruption. And they also need to fulfill their obligations in terms of enjoining others what is right and forbidding them what is wrong to the extent of their ability. Both of these obligations contain great difficulties as we have seen, though are easy for those for whom Allah has made them easy.

This is because Allah has ordered the believers to have faith and do good deeds, and has ordered them to call the people and struggle with them to bring about faith and the practice of good deeds. And Allah has promised them His aid in these pursuits. Allah said:

[And Allah will certainly aid those who aid Him (i.e. His cause), and verily Allah is strong, mighty. Those who, if we empower them in the land establish the prayer, pay the Zakat, enjoin all that is right, and forbid all that is wrong. And unto Allah is the end of all affairs.] Qur’an 22/41

 

[Verily, we will support our prophets and those who believe in the life of this world, and on the day when the witnesses stand forth. (i.e. Qiyama)] Qur’an 40/51

 

[Allah has decreed: I will be victorious, my self and my prophets. Verily, Allah is strong, mighty.] Qur’an 58/21

[Verily, our forces will vanquish them.] Qur’an 37/173

 

Fear Of Falling Into Temptation As An Excuse For Neglecting Enjoining Right

Enjoining right and forbidding wrong, and fighting in the path of Allah (Jihad) contain severe tests and trials in which one is exposed to the risk of succumbing to various kinds of temptation. For this reason, a group appears among the people who cite their fear of these temptations as their excuse for avoiding that which has been made obligatory upon them claiming that they only seek safety from these temptations. Just as Allah said about the hypocrites:

[Among them are he who says: Excuse me, and do not expose me to temptation. But, verily, they have already fallen for temptation.] Qur’an 9/49

The scholars of tafsir (Qura’anic interpretation) have mentioned that this verse was revealed concerning a man named Al-Jadd ibn Qais when the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) ordered him to prepare himself for the battle or Rum (The Romans). I believe the Prophet said to him:

Do you have some problem with the women of the white folk? Al-Jadd said: O, Prophet, there is no man as infatuated with women as myself, and I fear that, when I see the women of the white people, I may not be able to restrain myself. The Prophet turned his face away from Al-Jadd and said: “I have excused you.” (From the Seera of Ibn Hisham)

This man is the same one who failed to take the Oath known as Bai’atul Ridhwan which the companions gave to the Prophet under a tree (shortly before the truce of Hudaibiya), and concealed himself behind a red camel. In the hadith, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) once said:

“All of you have been forgiven his sins, except the man of the red camel.”

And so, Allah revealed the above aya about this man, saying:

[Among them are he who says: Excuse me, and do not expose me to temptation. But, verily, they have already fallen for temptation.] Qur’an 9/49

Here, Allah is saying: This man has requested to remain behind to keep himself from the temptation of women, so that he may not be subjected to trials because of them: either he needs to fight his innate tendencies, and suffer because of this inner conflict, or he may give in to his base desires, and fall into sin. Whoever sees a very beautiful figure and desires it – if he is unable to obtain his desire – either because of the forbiddance of the law, or because of his own inability, suffers torment in his heart. If he is able to take it, even though it is forbidden, he is destroyed, and even in the halal of that i.e. interaction with women, are dangerous traps.

This is the meaning of the statement of Al-Jadd: “… and do not expose me to temptation.”

And so, Allah said: [Verily, they have already fallen into temptation.] i.e., saying: His very turning away from the obligation of jihad, and his withdrawing from it, and the weakness of his faith, and the sickness of his heart which made his trying to avoid jihad seem good and acceptable, is a great temptation for which he has already fallen.

This being the case, how can he ask for relief from a minor temptation, which has not even befallen him yet, by succumbing to a greater temptation which has already occurred? Allah said:

[And fight them until there is no more chaos, and religion is wholly for Allah.] Qur’an 8/21

 

So, whoever avoids the fighting which Allah has ordered so as not to be exposed to temptation, has already fallen to temptation, because of the doubt and sickness which have come into his heart, and his neglecting of the jihad which Allah has ordered him to undertake. Contemplate this very carefully, for it is a very dangerous question.

People, in this regard, are in two categories:

1) One group enjoins and forbids and fights in order, as they imagine, to remove chaos and temptations. There actions are a greater chaos or temptation than that which they seek to remove. This is the example of those who rush to fight in the conflicts which arise among the Muslims, such as the khawaarij.

2) Another group leaves enjoining right and forbidding wrong and fighting in the path of Allah by which religion may become solely for Allah, and His word may be uppermost, in order that they may avoid being tempted. They have already fallen into and succumbed to temptation.

The temptation mentioned in the above verses includes the temptation of beautiful faces, since it is the story behind the revelation of the verse. In a more general sense, this is the case of many so-called “religious” people.

They neglect the enjoining of right and forbidding of wrong which is obligatory upon them and the fighting in the path of Allah with which all religion can be for Allah, and by which the word of Allah becomes uppermost, in order to avoid the temptations and lusts of this world. In fact, they have already fallen for a much more dangerous temptation than the one which they imagine themselves to be fleeing from.

What was upon them was to fulfill their obligations of enjoining right and forbidding wrong and keeping away from the forbidden. Keeping away from the forbidden and fulfilling the obligatory are two sides of the same coin, since their selves will not allow them any choice other than doing both of them together, or neglecting both of them together.

This is the case of many of those who seek leadership or property or illegal desires: whenever they fulfill what is upon them in terms of enjoining and forbidding and fighting and ruling and such things, they always commit along with that some forbidden acts. What is upon them at that point is to analyze which are the greater of the two elements. If the obligations are greater in reward than avoiding the forbidden, they should continue, and not leave the duties which they are carrying out for fear of falling to a temptation of lesser magnitude.

On the other hand, if the avoiding of the forbidden involved is greater in reward, they must not forsake this reward in the hopes of a reward of lesser degree for doing the obligatory involved. There is, in this combination of good and bad acts, a mixture of good and bad results on their account with Allah. A detailed explanation of this concept would be too lengthy.

 

Every Human Being Is In Need Of Enjoining And Forbidding

Every one on the face of the earth must of necessity have enjoining and forbidding. It is a must that he be ordered and forbidden. Even if he was completely alone, he would order himself and forbid — either with what is good, or with what is evil, as Allah said about the human self:

[And, verily the self is ever ordering (one to commit) evil.] Qur’an 12/53

Ordering is in essence requesting a particular action, and intending it, while forbidding is requesting the avoidance of a particular action, and intending it.

 

The Sons Of Adam Do Not Live Except In Societies

Every living thing must, of necessity, entail intentions and wants within itself with which it determines its own actions, and with which it determines the actions of others whenever that is made possible for it. Verily, man is a living thing, he moves with his will and intention, and human beings do not live except by coming together in groups and living with one another.

Whenever two or more come together, there must of necessity be between them mutual enjoining of some things, and mutual forbidding of other things. For this reason, the smallest congregation in prayer is two people, and it has been said: two people or more constitutes a “congregation” (jama’a), and since their coming together is strictly for prayer, that is accomplished with only two, whereby one is the leader (imam), and the other is the led (ma’moom). As the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said to Al-Malik ibn Al- Huwairith and his companion:

“When the time of prayer comes, make the adhan and the iqama, and then let the older of you lead the prayer.” (They were similar in ability to read the Qur’an.)

As for ordinary affairs (other than prayer), it is narrated in the books of hadith that the Prophet said:

“It is not allowed for three who go on a trip to fail to appoint one of them as amir” (leader)

 

This Enjoining Must Be With That Which Allah And His Prophet Have Enjoined

Enjoining and forbidding are of necessity present with the presence of human beings. However, one may fail to enjoin the ma’ruf which Allah and His Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) have enjoined, and to forbid the munkar which Allah and His Prophet have forbidden, and to be ordered to do the ma’ruf which Allah and His Prophet have ordered, and to be forbidden the munkar which Allah and His Prophet have forbidden. Even so, there will always be some kind of enjoining and forbidding, and being enjoined and being forbid.

This may be with that which is opposite to the good and the evil which Allah and His Prophet have defined, or it may be with that which contains elements of both the truth which Allah sent down, and the falsehood for which Allah has sent no authority. If this admixture is taken as a way of life (deen), it is a deen of innovation, falsehood, and going astray. And since, as we have shown, every single person is living, acting with free will, a a seeker of objectives, a “tiller of the earth”, whoever’s intentions and actions are not righteous and for the sake of Allah, must of necessity commit actions which are corrupt, or not for the sake of Allah – and that is falsehood and invalid. As Allah said:

[Verily, your efforts are various.] Qur’an 92/4

 

Such actions, all of them, are invalid like the actions (however good) of the disbelievers:

[Those who reject faith, and hinder from the path of Allah, Allah will send all of their works astray.] Qur’an 47/1

 

[As for those who disbelieve, their works are like a mirage in an empty plain. The thirsty one believes it to be water, but when he reaches it, he finds it to be nothing, and he finds Allah there who gives him his full account, and Allah is very quick to take to account.] Qur’an 24/39

 

[And we turned to all the works which they had done, and made them (as) floating dust. (The word literally means the dust which can be seen in the air in the beam of light coming in through a small opening.)] Qur’an 25/23

 

Who Are “Those In Authority Among You” Who Enjoin What Is Right?

Allah has ordered us in His Book to obey Him, to obey His Prophet, and to obey those in authority among the believers saying:

[O, you who believe, obey Allah and obey His Prophet, and those in authority among you. And if you disagree in any issue, take it back to Allah and to the Prophet, if you truly believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is best, and will have the best final result (in application)] Qur’an 4/59

“Those in authority” are: the possessors of authority, and its people. They are the ones who enjoin the people and forbid them. This is shared by both those having political and temporal power, and the people of knowledge and intellectual influence.

Thus, “those in authority” consist of two categories: the scholars and the rulers. When they are righteous, the people are righteous, and when they are corrupt, the people are corrupt.

Just as Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) said to Al-Ahmasiya when she asked:

“How long will we (be able) to remain in this good state?” Abu Bakr said: “As long as your rulers are upright.”

Of this group are the kings and the “Shaikhs“, and the men of religion, along with anyone who is followed by someone, who is also in a position of “authority” among you. It is upon each and every one of these to enjoin what Allah has enjoined, and forbid what Allah has forbidden. Furthermore, it is upon everyone who is required in Islam to obey his amir, or others, to obey them in (all that is) obedience to Allah, and not to obey them in disobedience to Allah, Abu Bakr said when he first assumed the Caliphate:

 

Pure Intention To Please Allah Is Required In All Righteous Deeds

All righteous deeds must contain the following two elements: that they be done solely for the sake of Allah, and that they be in accordance with the shari’a. This is for both statements and acts. It is one of the requirements of goodly speech and righteous action, in matters of knowledge and understanding, as well as matters of application, and of worship and devotion. It has thus been well authenticated in the sahih that the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Verily, the first three (categories) for which hell is fired up are: A man who learned knowledge and taught it, and read the Qur’an and taught others to read it in order that the people might say: He is knowledgeable, and he is a good reciter. And a man who fought and struggled so that the people would say: He is courageous, and he is a good fighter. And a man who spent of that which he was given and gave charity so that the people would say: He is generous, and he is openhanded.”

These three people desire eye service and reputation and credit. They are in opposition to the three which have been mentioned in the Qur’an after the prophets: the ever truthful and believing (As-siddiqeen), the martyrs in the cause of Allah (Ash-shuhadaa’), and the righteous doers of good (As-saaliheen).

One who learns the knowledge with which Allah sent His prophets and teaches it purely for the sake of Allah, is one of As-siddiqeen. And, whoever fights so that the word of Allah may be uppermost until he is killed is one of Ash-shuhadaa’, while one who gives his property in charity desiring only the Face of Allah, is one of As-Saaliheen.

This is why the one who neglected the obligations upon in his property, will ask to be sent back at the time of death. Ibn Abbas said:

“Whoever was given property, but did not make Hajj, nor pay the Zakat due on that property, will ask to be sent back at death. Then he read the verse of the Qur’an which reads: [And spend of that which we have given you before death comes to one of you, and so he says: My Lord, if only you would give me respite for a short time so that I could give in charity, and be one of the doers of good.] Qur’an 63/10″

So, in these matters of knowledge and rhetoric, the enjoiner of good needs to make sure that all the information he passes on about Allah and the Last Day, and about things which were and are is completely correct. Also, he must be sure that everything which he enjoins on others and forbids them is just as it was delivered by the prophets from Allah. This is the right way which is in accordance with the Sunnah and the Shari’a, and it is the way of following the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam)

Just as acts of worship, which are taken as devotions – if they are of that which Allah has prescribed, and His Prophet has ordered us to do – are valid and correct and are in accordance with the message with which Allah sent the prophets. On the other hand, acts of “worship” which are not so (i.e. not part of what Allah and His Prophet have ordered) are falsehood, foolishness, and innovation which leads astray, even though its devotees may call it: knowledge, understandings, devotions, exercises, experiences, or stations.

He (the enjoiner of right) also needs to order only because of Allah’s order, to forbid only because of Allah’s forbiddance, and to inform only with that of which Allah has informed us, because this is the truth, the true faith, and guidance, as the prophets have informed us. This, just as true worship requires that the Face of Allah be the only thing intended with it. If any of this is done out of following of hawaa, and passion and fervor, or to make a show of ones dignity, or to seek reputation and eyeservice, this is like the situation of one whofights out of courage and passion, and in search of eyeservice of others.

From this, you can understand that into which many people of knowledge and influence and devotion in worship and well-being have fallen. So many such people speak many things which are in conflict with the Qur’an and the Sunnah, or that which contains some elements in accordance with the Qur’an and the Sunnah and other elements in conflict with them. And so many of them devote themselves in acts of “worship” with which Allah has never ordered them, and in fact, which He has forbidden, or acts of devotion which contain elements enjoined by Allah, and other elements which have been forbidden. And so many of them fight in wars which are not in accordance with the fighting which has been ordered by Allah, or which contains elements ordered by Allah, and other elements which He has forbidden.

Furthermore, within each of these three categories: ordered by Allah and His Prophet, forbidden, and a combination of elements from each type, are three possibilities of intentions on the part of the doer: a pure intention for the sake of Allah, following of one’s own hawaa, or a mixture of these two. This makes a total of nine categories in the area of intention and validity of action.

As for the bad actions in these matters, it is possible that their doer may be mistaken, or merely forgot, in which case they are forgiven, just as in the case of the judge who exerts himself to arrive at the correct ruling, but is mistaken: he is rewarded for his effort, and his error is forgiven. Also, wrong actions may be minor sins (Saghaa’ir) which are expiated by avoidance of the major sins (kabaa’ir), or he may be forgiven through repentance, or by good deeds which wipe out the bad, or they may have been expiated through calamities in this life, or for other reasons. Nonetheless, the deen (way) of Allah with which He sent the revealed books and with which He sent the prophets is what we have said earlier: seeking Allah with righteous actions (i.e. obediance to Him).

 

Allah Does Not Accept Other Than Islam From Anyone

This is the general concept of Islam, other than which Allah will not accept from anyone.

Allah said:

[Whosoever desires other than Islam as his way (deen), that will never be accepted from him, and, in the hereafter, he is among those in abject loss.] Qur’an 3/85

 

[Allah bears witness that there is no deity other than Him, and the angels (also bear witness) and those having knowledge. He is complete in His justice. There is no deity but Him, the mighty, the wise. Verily the (one and only) way in the sight of Allah is Islam (submission).] Qur`an 3/18-19

 

The Meanings Of Islam

The concept of Islam contains two meanings. The first one is actively submitting to the order of Allah, and following, so the Muslim is not arrogant or proud. The second is absolute sincerity, as Allah said:

[… and a man fully owned by one.] Qur’an 39/29

 

So, he is not divided between more than one, and this is when the slave surrenders himself fully to Allah, Lord of the worlds, as Allah said:

[And who turns away from the tradition of Ibrahim (i.e. tauhid) except for one who has immersed himself in foolishness. We have chosen him (i.e. Ibrahim) in this world, and he will be, in the hereafter, among the righteous. And when his Lord said to him: Submit, he said: I have submitted to the Lord of the worlds! And Ibrahim counselled his sons and so did Ya’qub with it (saying): Dear sons, verily Allah has chosen for you the way (deen), so beware lest you die except in the state of submission.] Qur’an 2/130-132

 

[Say: verily my Lord has guided me to a straight path. A way of right, the way of Ibrahim, who was of those pure in monotheism, and was not one of the associationists. Say: Verily, my prayer, my sacrifice, my life, and my death are for Allah, Lord of the worlds. He has no partner! With this I have been ordered, and I am the first of the Muslims.] Qur’an 6/161-163

 

The verb form derived from Islam (aslama) sometimes appears as an intransitive verb which acts through the preposition (li) “to”, as in the above verses, and as in Allah’s statement:

[And turn toward your Lord, and submit to Him before the punishment comes to you, and you are without help.] Qur’an 39/54

 

[She (i.e. Bilqis, the queen of Sheba) said: I have oppressed myself! And I now submit along with Sulaiman to Allah, Lord of the worlds.] Qur’an 27/44

 

[And so do they seek other than the deen of Allah?! And to Him everything in the heavens and the earth has submitted, willingly and unwillingly, and to Him they will return.] Qur’an 3/83

 

[Say, should we call on others besides Allah? Things that can neither benefit us nor harm us. And turn on our heels after Allah has guided us? Like the one who the shayateen (devils) have obsessed, wandering bewildered through the earth. He has friends who call him to “guidance” saying: Come to us. Say, verily guidance is the guidance of Allah, and we have been ordered to submit to the Lord of the worlds.] Qur’an 6/71

Other times the verb aslama (to submit) appears as a transitive verb (with “one’s face” as the direct object) along with the concept of ihsaan (to do or make good), as in Allah’s statement:

[They said: No one will enter paradise except for a Jew or a Christian. Those are their hopes. Say: Bring your proof, if you speak the truth. No! Whoever submits his face to Allah, and is a muhsin (doer of good), his is a reward with his Lord, and there is no fear upon them, nor shall they grieve.] Qur’an 2/111-112

 

 

[And who is on a better way than the one who submits his face to Allah and is a doer of good, following the tradition of Ibrahim of pure tauhid (monotheism), and Allah took Ibrahim as a friend.] Qur’an 4/125

 

Allah has rejected the idea that there could be any deen (way or religion) which is better than this way. And it is the submission of ones face to Allah along with the doing of good (ihsaan), and He informed us that everyone who submits his face to Allah and is a doer of good has his reward with Allah, and there will no fear upon them, nor shall they grieve. He established this inclusive concept, and this general question as a rebuttal to the imaginings of those who imagined that no one will enter paradise except one giving allegiance to Judaism or Christianity.

 

The Meaning Of Submitting One’s Face To Allah

These last two concepts: the surrendering of one’s face to Allah, and the doing of good are the same two requirements for the acceptance of ones actions which were discussed earlier i.e. that the action be done in complete sincerity for the sake of Allah, and that it be correct, in accordance with the sunnah and the shari’a. This is because surrendering of one’s face to Allah entails a will and an intention for the sake of Allah, as one poem says:

“Seek Allah’s forgiveness for sins which you cannot even count. Lord of (His) slaves, unto Him is (one’s) face and (one’s) action.”

Four different words have been used here: submission of one’s face, making straight or correct of one’s face, and directing (literally: “facing”) of one’s face (i.e. to Allah), as in Allah’s statements:

[And make your faces straight at every place of prostration] Qur’an 7/29

 

[And straighten your face to the way as a pure monotheist; the natural way on which Allah has made mankind.] Qur’an 30/30

And as Ibrahim (peace be upon him) is quoted as saying:

[Indeed, I have directed my face to the one who originated the heavens and the earth as a pure monotheist, and I am not among the associationists.] Qur’an 6/79

 

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) used to say the same thing in the opening du’a (invocation) of his night prayer:

“I direct my face to the one who originated the heavens and the earth as a pure monotheist, and I am not among the associationists.”

In the sahih hadith, Al-Baraa’ ibn ‘aazib narrated:

“The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) taught me to say when going to bed: “O, Allah, I have surrendered myself to You, and directed my face toward you….”

The word for “face” in Arabic, wajh, can mean that which (who) directs itself (Al-Mutawajjih), and it can mean that which is directed toward or in the direction of (Al-Mutawajjah Ilaihi, or Al-Mutawajjah Nahwahu). As it is said: Which direction (wajh, literally: “face“) do you want? i.e. which direction or side do you seek or intend to go? This is because these two concepts must go together, and are compliments. Wherever a person faces, his face also faces, and his face is a prerequisite of his “facing” something.

This is the case both in internal and in external actions, and this makes four things (i.e. that which is directed and that which directs, each one internal and external). The internal is the origin, and the external is the completion, and the symbol. Thus, when one directs his heart toward something, his external “face” follows suit.

When the slave of Allah has as his intention and his desired goal to direct himself toward Allah, this is the righteousness of his will and his intention. If, at the same time, he is a doer of good, he has achieved the two traits: that his actions are righteousness, and he does not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone. (See Qur’an 18/110) This, again, is the meaning of the invocation of Umar, who used to say:

“O Allah, make all of my actions righteous, and make all of them purely for your Face, and do not make therein any share for anyone else.”

 

Definition Of Righteous Action

Righteous action is the doing of good (ihsaan, which is a causative construction meaning to make something good), i.e. the doing of righteous deeds, and righteous deeds are those which Allah has ordered us to do. That which Allah has ordered us to do is that which he has put in the law (shari’a), and that is what is in accordance with the Qur’an and the Sunnah of His Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). Allah has informed us that whoever purifies his intentions for the sake of Allah, and practices ihsaan in his actions is deserving of reward and in safety from punishment.

For this reason, the imams of the salaf (the righteous first generations), used to combine these two concepts, as in the statement of Al-Fadheel ibn ‘iyaadh in relation to the meaning of Allah’s statement: [That He might test you, which of you are best in action.] Qur’an 67/2, he said:

“The most sincere and the most correct.” It was said to him: “O, father of Ali, what is the meaning of the most sincere (of actions) and the most correct?” He said: “Verily, any action, though it may be correct, which is not done with sincerity, is not accepted; if it is done with sincerity, but is not correct, it is also not accepted, unless and until it is both done with sincerity, and is correct. The sincere action is the one done purely for the sake of Allah, and the correct action is the one which is in accordance with the sunnah.”

It has also been narrated by Ibn Shaaheen and Al-lalkaa’iy from Sa’eed ibn Jubair that he said:

“No statement is accepted without action. And no statement and action is accepted without (pure) intention. And no statement and action and intention is accepted unless it is in accordance with the sunnah. This statement has also been narrated from Al-Hassan Al-Basry who used the word “is not valid” instead of “is not accepted”.

In this is a rejection of the position of the sect called the Murji’a, who hold that mere verbal statement (i.e. the profession of faith) is sufficient. Rather, he informs us that statement and action are both necessary, since faith (imaan) is: profession and action. Both are necessary, as we have explained at length elsewhere.

And we have explained that mere “belief” of the heart, and the pronunciation of the tongue, along with the presence of loathing for Allah and His laws, and arrogance in front of Allah and His laws, cannot be called faith (imaan) by the consensus of the believers – not until this “belief” is joined by righteous action. The origin of action is the action of the heart, and that is its love, and its overwhelming respect and humility which eliminates loathing and arrogance.

Then, they went on to say: Statement and action is not accepted except with correct intention. This is clear: statement and action which is not undertaken purely for the sake of Allah is not accepted by Allah.

Then, they went on to say: Statement and action and intention is not accepted except with its being in accordance with the sunnah, and the sunnah here means the shari’a (law). And that is what Allah and His Prophet have ordered.

Statement, action, and intention which is not enjoined by the sunnah, enjoined by the shari’a, i.e. which Allah has ordered is bid’a (innovation), and all innovation is going astray, and is not of that which Allah loves, so Allah does not accept it, and it is not valid. Examples are the actions of the associationists, and the Christians and Jews.

 

The Meaning Of The “Sunnah” In The Discourses Of The Salaf

The word “sunnah” in the discourse of the salaf (the righteous first generations), is used to mean the “sunnah” (i.e. tradition or way of the Prophet) in acts of worship, and in beliefs, though many of those who wrote about the sunnah mean by that discussions of belief.

An example is the statement of Ibn Masood, Ubayy ibn Ka’ab, and Aby Ad-dardaa’ (May Allah be pleased with them) who said:

“Modest efforts in something which is sunnah is preferable to exertion in something which is bid’a.” (innovation)

And Allah is the All-Knowing.

All praise is to Allah alone. Peace and salutations of Allah be upon Muhammad, and upon the people of Muhammad, and his companions.

This is the end of the words of Shaikh Ibn Taymiyya.

It was copied from an ancient original by the impoverished for the clemency of his Lord, Mawhoob ibn Ahmad ibn Hilal As-Saalihiy Al-Hanbaliy, may Allah forgive his sins by His grace and generosity. He completed this copying at the end of the year 840 after the Hijrah in the Islamic school known as “Al-Madrasah Al-Jauzia” in Damascus.

All praise is to Allah, He is sufficient, and the best of guardians.

 

Source: Taken From The Book “Enjoining Right & Forbidding Wrong” by Ibn Taymiyyah, Translated by Salim Abdallah ibn Morgan


Celaan terhadap Dunia


Ada beberapa ayat yang disebutkan dalam Al-Quran yang mencela dunia, perintah untuk zuhud di dunia dan beberapa perumpamaan tentang dunia. Firman Allah Ta’ala,

“Dijadikan indah pada (pandangan) manusia kecintaan kepada apa-apa yang diingini, yaitu: wanita-wanita, anak-anak, harta yang banyak dari jenis emas, perak, kuda pilihan, binatang-binatang ternak dan sawah ladang. Itulah kesenangan hidup di dunia; dan di sisi Allahlah tempat kembali yang baik (surga). Katakanlah, ‘Inginkan aku kabarkan kepada kalian apa yang lebih baik dari yang demikian itu?’ ” (Ali Imran : 14-15).

“Dan kehidupan dunia itu tidak lain hanyalah kesenangan yang memperdayakan.” (Ali Imran : 185).

“Sesungguhnya perumpamaan kehidupan duniawi itu adalah seperti air (hujan) yang Kami turunkan dari langit.” (Yunus : 24).

“Ketahuilah bahwa sesunggguhnya kehidupan duniawi itu hanyalah permainan dan sesuatu yang melalaikan.” (Al-Hadid : 20).

“Dan semua itu tidak lain hanyalah kesenangan kehidupan dunia, dan kehidupan akhirat itu di sisi Rabbmu adalah bagi orang-orang yang bertakwa.” (Az-Zukhruf : 35).

“Maka berpalinglah (hai Muhammad) dari orang yang berpaling dari peringatan Kami, dan tidak mengingini kecuali kehidupan duniawi. Itulah sejauh-jauh pengetahuan mereka.” (An-Najm : 29-30).

Dalam “Ash-Shahihain” disebutkan dari riwayat Al-Miswar bin Syaddad, dia berkata, “Rasulullah SAW bersabda,

“Dunia itu dibanding akhirat tidak lain hanyalah seperti jika seseorang di antara kalian mencelupkan jarinya ke lautan, maka hendaklah dia melihat air yang menempel di jarinya setelah dia menarik kembali.” (Diriwayatkan Muslim, At-Tirmidzi, dan Ibnu Majah).

Dalam hadits lain disebutkan,

“Dunia ini adalah penjaranya orang mukmin dan surganya orang kafir.” (Diriwayatkan Muslim, At-Tirmidzi, Ibnu Majah dan Ahmad).

“Andaikan dunia ini di sisi Allah hanya serupa dengan sebelah sayap seekor nyamuk, tentulah Dia tidak akan memberikan dari sebagian dari dunia itu kepada orang kafir barang seteguk air.” (Diriwayatkan At-Tirmidzi dan Abu Nu’aim).

“Dunia ini terkutuk, terkutuk pula apa yang ada di dalamnya kecuali apa yang dikarenakan Allah darinya.” (Diriwayatkan At-Tirmidzi, Ibnu Majah dan Al-Baghawi).

Abu Musa meriwayatkan dari Nabu Muhammad SAW beliau bersabda,

“Barangsiapa mencintai dunianya, akan menimbulkan mudharat terhadap akhiratnya, dan barangsiapa mencintai akhiratnya, akan menimbulkan mudharat terhadap dunianya. Maka hendaklah kalian lebih mementingkan yang kekal daripada yang fana.” (Diriwayatkan Ahmad, Al-Hakim, Ibnu Majah dan Al-Baghawi).

Al-Hasan menulis surat yang cukup panjang kepada Umar bin Abdul Aziz berisi celaan terhadap dunia, yang di dalamnya disebutkan:

‘Amma ba’d, sesungguhnya dunia ia merupakan tempat tinggal yang akan binasa dan bukan tempat tinggal yang kekal. Adam diturunkan ke dunia sebagai hukuman. Maka waspadalah terhadap dunia wahai Amirul Mukminin. Mencari bekal di dunia ialah dengan meninggalkannya. Kekayaan dunia adalah kemiskinannya. Orang yang menyanjung-nyanjung dunia akan dihinakan. Orang yang menghimpun dunia akan merasa miskin, tak ubahnya racun yang menggerogotinya, sementara dia tidak mengetahui kalau racun itu membinasakannya. Waspadailah tempat tinggal yang melalaikan, memperdaya dan menipu ini. Terimalah dengan senang hati apa yang ada, waspadailah apa yang belum ada. Kesenangan karena dunia diliputi dengan kesedihan, barisan-barisannya diliputi dengan kotoran. Andaikan Khaliq tidak menyampaikan suatu kabar tentang dunia ini dan tidak memberikan perumpamaan tentangnya, tentulah orang yang tidurpun akan langsung bangkit dan orang yang lalai akan tersadar. Tetapi bagaimana itu akan terjadi, sementara Allah ada ancaman dan peringatan? Dunia ini di sisi Allah sama sekali tidak mempunyai arti apa-apa. Allah tidak melihat kepadanya sejak pertama kali menciptakannya.’

Kunci-kunci dunia dan seluruh simpanannya pernah diperlihatkan kepada Nabi Muhammad SAW, tidak ada yang dikurangi Allah walau hanya senilai sebelah sayap seekor nyamuk. Namun beliau tidak mau menerimanya. Beliau tidak mau mencintai sesuatu yang membuat Allah murka atau meninggikan apa yang dikehendakiNya. Allah telah menyingkirkan dunia ini agar tidak menjadi pilihan bagi orang-orang shalih dan menghamparkannya kepada musuh-musuhNya sebagai sesuatu yang menipu.

Apakah orang yang tertipu mengira bahwa dengan adanya dunia yang ditakdirkan di tangannya itu dia lalu merasa dimuliakan? Rupanya dia lupa terhadap apa yang dilakukan Rasulullah SAW tatkala mengganjal perutnya dengan batu. Padahal tak seorang pun di dunia ini yang pernah mendapatkan tawaran seperti yang ditawarkan kepada beliau dan beliau tidak takut akan dicurangi. Mereka menduga seperti itu karena akalnya yang kurang beres dan lemah pikirannya. Siapa pun yang menduga seperti itu, maka hal ini menunjukkan kekurangan akalnya dan kelemahan pikirannya.

Malik bin Dinar berkata,

“Waspadalah terhadap tukang sihir, karena ia bisa menyihir hati manusia.” Yang dimaksud tukang sihir di sini adalah Dunia.

Tentang perumpanaan dunia, Yunus bin Ubaid berkata,

“Dunia ini diserupakan dengan seseorang yang sedang tidur. Dalam mimpinya dia melihat apa yang dibencinya dan apa yang disukainya. Selagi dia dalam keadaan demikian seperti itu, dia pun terbangun dari tidurnya.”

Dikisahkan bahwa Isa AS pernah melihat dunia ini dalam bentuk seorang wanita tua yang sudah ompong, ditempeli dengan berbagai macam aksesori yang gemerlapan. Beliau bertanya kepadanya,

“Berapa kali engkau menikah?”

“Aku tidak bisa menghitungnya,” jawabnya.

“Apakah sekian banyak suami yang pernah menikah denganmu itu mati atau bercerai denganmu?” tanya Isa AS.

“Mereka semua kubunuh,” jawabnya.

“Kasihan benar calon-calon suamimu berikutnya. Bagaimana mungkin mereka tidak bisa mengambil pelajaran dari suami-suamimu yang terdahulu? Bagaimana mungkin engkau bisa membinasakan mereka satu persatu, dan mereka sama sekali tidak bersikap waspada terhadap dirimu?”

Diriwayatkan dari Ibnu Abbas RA, dia berkata,

“Dunia ini didatangkan pada Hari Kiamat dalam rupa wanita tua yang sudah ubanan, buta dan taring-taringnya menyembul keluar serta rupanya buruk. Ia muncul di hadapan makhluk. Lalu ada yang bertanya,

“Apakah kalian tahu ini?” Mereka menjawab,

“Kami berlindung kepada Allah, kami tidak mengetahuinya.”

“Ini adalah dunia yang kalian saling berselisih untuk mendapatkannya, saling memutuskan hubungan persaudaraan, saling mendengki, saling membenci dan saling menipu. Lalu dunia itu pun dilemparkan ke neraka. Dunia berseru,

“Wahai Rabbi, manakah orang-orang yang mengikuti dan membuntutiku?”

Allah berfirman,“Pertemukan dengan dunia itu orang-orang yang mengikuti dan membuntutinya.”

Dari Abul Ala’, dia berkata, “Aku pernah bermimpi melihat seorang wanita tua renta yang badannya ditempeli dengan berbagai macam perhiasan. Sementara orang-orang berkerumun di sekelilingnya dalam keadaan terpesona, memandang ke arahnya.

Aku bertanya, “Siapakah engkau ini?”

Wanita tua itu menjawab, “Apakah engkau tidak mengenalku?”

“Tidak,” jawabku,

“Aku adalah dunia,” jawabnya.

“Aku berlindung kepada Allah dari kejahatanmu,” kataku.

Dia berkata, “Kalau memang engkau ingin berlindung dari kejahatanku, maka bencilah dirham (uang).”

Sebagian yang lain berkata, “Aku pernah bermimpi melihat dunia ini dalam rupa seorang wanita tua yang buruk rupanya dan lusuh.”

Inilah perumpamaan lain tentang kehidupan dunia, bahwa keadaan ada tiga macam:

  1. Suatu keadaan dirimu belum ada wujudnya sama sekali, yang di kemudian hari keadaan itu pun ada.
  2. Keadaan antara menjelang detik-detik kematianmu hingga tiada yang lagi tersisa dari kehidupan yang fana ini. Pada saat ini jiwamu memiliki eksistensi setelah ia lepas dari badanmu, bisa di surga dan bisa di neraka. Ini merupakan kehidupan yang abadi.
  3. Keadaan antara yang pertama dan kedua atau keadaan pertengahan, yaitu saat-saat kehidupanmu di dunia. Lihatlah jangka waktu ini, bandingkan dengan saat-saat keadaan yang pertama dan kedua, niscaya engkau akan tahu betapa pendeknya keadaan yang ketiga ini, tak lebih dari sekilas pandangan jika dibandingkan dengan umur dunia.
Siapa yang melihat dunia dengan mata seperti ini, tentu dia tidak mau condong kepada dunia, tidak peduli hari-hari yang dilaluinya dalam kesempitan dan bahaya, ataukah dalam kelapangan dan kesenangan. Karena itu Rasulullah SAW tidak peduli nilai satu batu bata pun atau sepotong kayu pun.
Beliau bersabda,
“apa urusanku dengan dunia? Perumpamaanku dan perumpamaan dunia itu laksana seorang pengembara”. Beliau melanjutkan sabdanya, “Di bawah sebatang pohon, kemudian dia beristirahat sejenak, dan meninggalkan pohon itu.” (Riwayat At-Tirmidzi, Ibnu Majah, Ahmad, Al-Hakim dan Al-Baghawi).
Isa AS pernah bersabda,
“Dunia ini laksana jembatan. Sebrangilah jembatan itu dan janganlah kalian memakmurkannya.”
Ini perumpamaan yang sangat gamblang, bahwa dunia adalah jembatan yang menghantarkan ke akhirat. Ayunan pada masa bayi merupakan tiang pancang pertama dari jembatan ini, dan liang lahat merupakan tiang pancang terakhir di jembatan ini. Di antara manusia ada yang memotong separuh jembatan itu, sebagian yang lain ada yang memotong sepertiganya, sebagian lain ada yang tinggal selangkah lagi menyelesaikan penyebrangannya, tapi dia lalai.
Apapun yang terjadi setiap orang harus menyebrangi jembatan ini. Siapa yang berhenti, membangun dan memasanginya dengan berbagai macam perhiasan, padahal ia sudah diperintahkan untuk menyebranginya, berarti dia orang yang bodoh.
Ada yang mengatakan,
“Siapa yang mencari dunia, maka dia seperti orang yang meminum air lautan. Setiap kali dia minum lagi, saat itu pula dia merasa haus hingga dia mati karena terus meminumnya.”
Di antara orang salaf berkata kepada teman-temannya,
“Pergilah kalian hingga dunia diperlihatkan kepada kalian.” Lalu bersama mereka dia beranjak menghampiri tempat pembuangan sampah, lalu dia berkata lagi, “Lihatlah gambaran buah-buahan, ternak, madu dan minyak samin yang dimiliki manusia dalam tumpukan sampah ini.”
Perumpamaan lain tentang dunia, telah diriwayatkan dari Al-Hasan, dia berkata,
“Aku pernah mendengar dari Rasulullah SAW, beliau bersabda, “Sesungguhnya perumpamaan diriku dan diri kalian, dan perumpamaan dunia, seperti golongan orang yang mengarungi padang pasir yang tandus lagi berdebu. Selagi mereka belum tahu masih berapa jauh sisa perjalanan yang harus ditempuh, mereka pun menghabiskan bekal dan hanya penyesalan yang menyisa. Sementara mereka masih berada di tengah-tengah padang pasir yang tandus, tanpa ada bekal dan tanpa ada kendaraan yang mengangkut mereka. Mereka pun yakin akan mati di tempat itu. Selagi mereka dalam keadaan seperti itu, dari kejauhan terlihat seorang laki-laki yang rambutnya masih menitikkan tetes-tetes air. Mereka berkata, “Ternyata orang itu baru saja dari tempat yang subur.” Setelah orang itu dekat dengan mereka, dia bertanya, “Ada apa kalian ini?”
“Seperti yang engkau lihat,” jawab mereka.
“Apa pendapat kalian jika aku menunjukkan air yang melimpah dan lembah yang subur kepada kalian, apa yang akan kalian lakukan?”
“Kami tidak akan mendurhakaimu dalam satu urusan pun,” jawab mereka.
“Kalau begitu kalian harus berjanji dan bersumpah atas nama Allah.”
Maka mereka pun berjanji dan bersumpah atas nama Allah untuk tidak mendurhakai orang itu dalam satu urusan pun. Maka orang itu pun menunjukkan air yang melimpah dan lembah yang hijau dan subur. Mereka menetap di sana selama masa yang dikehendaki Allah, kemudian orang itu berkata, “Sekarang marilah kita pergi.”
“Kemana?” tanya mereka.
“Menuju air yang tidak seperti air kalian ini, ke lembah yang tidak seperti lembah kalian ini.”
Mayoritas di antara mereka berkata, “Demi Allah, kami tidak mendapatkan tempat yang seperti ini. Karena itu kami mengira tidak ada tempat lain yang seperti ini. Apa yang akan kita perbuat dengan kehidupan yang lebih baik dari saat ini?”
Hanya sedikit saja di antara mereka yang berkata, “Bukankah kalian sudah berjanji dan bersumpah atas nama Allah untuk tidak mendurhakai orang ini? Dia telah percaya kepada kalian pada awal pernyataan, maka demi Allah, hendaklah kalian juga percaya kepadanya pada akhir pernyataannya.”
Kelompok yang terakhir inilah yang ikut orang tersebut dan sisanya tetap berada di tempat yang subur itu. Tak lama kemudian mereka diserbu musuh. Sebagian ada yang menjadi tawanan dan sebagian lain ada yang mati terbunuh.” (Diriwayatkan Ibnul Mubarrak).
Di dalam Ash-Shahihain disebutkan dari hadits Abu Musa RA, dia berkata,
“Rasulullah bersabda, “Perumpamaanku dan perumpamaan apa yang karenanya aku diutus Allah, ialah seperti seorang laki-laki yang mendatangi kaumnya, seraya berkata, ‘Wahai kaumku, sesungguhnya aku melihat musuh di seberang sana dengan mata kepalaku sendiri. Sementara aku hanya bisa memberi peringatan. Maka carilah selamat!’ sekelompok orang dari kaumnya menaati orang itu.
Pada malam itu pula mereka langsung pergi sehingga bisa selamat. Sedangkan sekelompok lainnya tetap berada di tempat mereka, membunuhi dan menawan mereka.
Begitulah perumpamaan orang yang menaatiku dan mengikuti apa yang kubawa, dan perumpamaan orang yang mendurhakaiku dan mendustakan apa yang kubawa, berupa kebenaran.” (Diriwayatkan Bukhari dan Muslim).
Maraji’ : Ibnu Qudamah, Minhajul Qashidin (Orang-orang yang Mendapat Petunjuk)

Do’ful Eemaan (Weakness of Faith) – Part 2


Causes of weak faith

There are many causes of weak faith, some of which are the same as the symptoms, such as committing sin or being preoccupied with this world. There follows a list of some additional causes:

1. Keeping away from a faith-filled environment for too long.

This causes weak faith in a person. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “

Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe to be affected by Allaah’s Reminder (this Qur’aan), and that which has been revealed of the truth, lest they become as those who received the Scripture before (i.e., Jews and Christians), and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened? And many of them were faasiqoon (rebellious, disobedient to Allaah).” [al-Hadeed 57:16].

This aayah indicates that spending too much time away from a faith-filled environment leads to weakness of faith in the heart. For example, a person who stays away from his brothers in Islam for a long period, because of travel or work, etc., is going to miss the atmosphere of faith in which he was living and from which his heart gained its strength. The believer is weak on his own but strong with his brothers. Al-Hasan al-Basri (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “

Our brothers are dearer to us than our families, for our families remind us of this world, but our brothers remind us of the Hereafter.”

If this absence goes on for too long, it creates alienation in the heart, which eventually changes into disdain for that faith-filled atmosphere, which in turn hardens the heart and fills it with darkness, extinguishing the light of eemaan.

This explains the complete change of heart on the part of some who travel to other lands on vacation or who relocate for purposes of work or study.

2. Keeping away from the good example of righteous leaders.

The person who learns from a righteous man gains beneficial knowledge, does a righteous deed and strengthens  his eemaan at the same time; (that leader) takes care of him and passes on to him the knowledge, good morals and virtues that he has. If he keeps away from that teacher for some time, he begins to feel hardness in his heart. For this reason when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) died and was buried, his Sahaabah said,

“We looked at our hearts and felt that there had been a deep change.” They felt alienated and lost because their teacher and example (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had died.

According to some reports, they were described as being “like sheep on a rainy winter’s night.” But the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) left behind great leaders, giants among men, all of whom were qualified to take up the reins of leadership, and some of them became examples to the others.

But nowadays the Muslims are in desperate need of examples close at hand to them. Failing to seek knowledge and to be acquainted with the books of the salaf (early generation) and religious books which will uplift and revive the heart. There are many kinds of books which the reader will feel stir up faith in his heart and motivate him to fulfil his spiritual potential, foremost among which is the Book of Allaah, may He be exalted, and the books of hadeeth, followed by the books of scholars who are good at writing about issues that soften the heart and who explain ‘aqeedah (correct belief) in a manner that moves the soul and uplifts the heart, such as Ibn al-Qayyim and Ibn Rajab and others. By ignoring these books and reading only intellectual works, or books of fiqh rulings which do not quote their daleel (evidence), or books of grammar rules and usool (bases of ‘aqeedah), is something that may have the effect of hardening the heart.

This is not a criticism of those books per se, it is only a warning to the person who keeps away from books of Tafseer and hadeeth and hardly ever reads them, even though they are the books that bring one closer to Allaah. For example, when one reads al-Saheehayn (al-Bukhaari and Muslim), you feel the atmosphere of the age of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the Sahaabah, and you feel the breeze of eemaan by sharing the events that happened in their time. The people of hadeeth are the people of the Messenger; even if they did not have the chance to be with him, they are with his words.

This problem – keeping away from religious books – clearly has an effect on those who study disciplines which have no connection with Islam, such as philosophy, psychology, social science, etc., disciplines which have been developed far away from Islamic teachings. The same applies to those who love to read fiction and love stories, or who follow worthless news stories in newspapers, magazines and so on.

Living in an environment that is filled with sin, so you see one boasting about his latest misdemeanour, another humming popular songs to himself, a third smoking, a fourth reading a pornographic magazine, a fifth cursing and swearing, and so on. As for talk about who said what to whom, gossip, backbiting and discussion about the latest football match, there is no end to it.

Some environments remind one only of this world, as is the case in most gatherings and work-places nowadays. Discussions about business, work, money,  investments, work-related problems, raises, promotions, assignments and so on take precedence in the minds and speech of most people nowadays.

As for what goes on in the home – there is a lot we can say about the disasters and evil deeds that cause the Muslim shame and hurt him deeply. Muslim homes are filled with shameless songs, vile movies, forbidden mixing of the sexes and so on. No doubt in such an environment hearts are stricken with the disease of hardness.

2. Preoccupation with this world, so that the heart is enslaved by it. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “

He is doomed, the slave of the dinar and the slave of the dirham” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, no. 2730),

and,

“All that is sufficient for any one of you in this world is the supply of the traveller” (reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, 4/78; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2384) –- meaning a little of something that will help him to reach his destination.

This phenomenon (preoccupation with this world) is very apparent in our own times, when material greed and the desire to acquire more worthless worldly goods have become widespread, and people are now running after trade, manufacturing and shares. This confirms what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Allaah, may He be glorified, says: ‘We have sent downwealth for the establishment of prayer and the payment of zakaat, but if the son of Adam has one valley, he will wish that he had a second, and if he had two valleys, he would wish that he had a third. The stomach of the son of Adam will be filled only with dust (i.e., he is never satisfied) then Allaah will accept the repentance of the one who repents.” (Reported by Ahmad, 5/219; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1781).

3. Being preoccupied with one’s wealth, wife and children.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings): “

And know that your possessions and children are but a trial and that surely with Allaah is a mighty reward.” [al-Anfaal 8:28]

and,

“Beautified for men is the love of things they covet: women, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life, but Allaah has the excellent return (Paradise).” [Aal ‘Imraan3:14].

The meaning of these aayat is that if the love of these things, especially women and children, is given precedence over obedience to Allaah and His Messenger, then it is regarded as being bad, but if the love of these things is within the bounds of sharee’ah, it helps a man to obey Allaah and in this case it is praiseworthy. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“In this world, women and good scents have been made dear to me, but dearest of all to me is prayer.” (Reported by Ahmad, 3/128; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3124).

Many men follow their wives in doing haraam deeds, and allow their children to distract them from worshipping Allaah. The Prophet (peace and blessings ofnAllaah be upon him) said: “

Children are the cause of grief, cowardice, ignorance and miserliness.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, 24/241; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1990).

When he said that they are the cause of miserliness, he meant that if a man wants to spend for the sake of Allaah, the Shaytaan reminds him of his children, so he thinks, “My children deserve the money, I will leave it for them when I die, so he is miserly in the sense that he refrains from spending it for the sake of Allaah.

When he said that children are the cause of cowardliness, he meant that when a man wants to fight in jihaad for the sake of Allaah, the Shaytaan comes to him and says, “You will be killed and will die, and your  children will become orphans, lost and alone,” so he stays home and does not go out for jihaad.

When he said that children are the cause of ignorance, he meant that they distract a father from seeking knowledge and trying to acquire learning by attending gatherings and reading books.

When he said that children are the cause of grief, he meant that when a child gets sick, the parent feels grief; if the child asks for something that the father cannot provide, this grieves the father; and if the child grows up and rebels against his father, this is a cause of ongoing grief and distress.

This is not to say that one should forego marrying and having children; what is meant is that one should beware of becoming preoccupied with them and letting that lead one to commit haraam deeds.

Concerning the temptation of wealth, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “

Every nation has its fitnah (trial or temptation), and the fitnah of my ummah is wealth.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 2336; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2148).

Eagerness to acquire wealth is more damaging to a person’s religion than the wolf who attacks the sheepfold. This is what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) meant when he said: “

Two hungry wolves sent against the sheep do not do more damage to them than a man’s eagerness for wealth and standing does to his religion.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2376; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5620).

For this reason the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) urged Muslims to take just what is sufficient, without hoping for more, which could distract him from remembering Allaah. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “

All that you need of wealth is a servant and a means of transportation to go out for the sake of Allaah.” (Reported by Ahmad, 5/290; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2386).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) issued a warning to those who want to accumulate wealth, except for those who give in charity: “

Woe to those who want to accumulate wealth, except for the one who says with his wealth, ‘Here! Here! Here!’ (i.e., giving it away) to one on his right, one on his left, one in front of him and one behind him,” (reported by Ibn Maajah, no. 4129; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7137) – meaning all forms of charity.

4. Hoping for a long life.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “

Leave them to eat and enjoy, and let them be preoccupied with (false) hope. They will come to know!” [al-Hijr 15:3]. ‘

Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “

What I fear for you is following your desires and hoping for a long life, for following one’s desires makes a man ignore the truth, and hoping for a long life makes him forget the Hereafter. (Fath al- Baari, 11/236).

Another report says: “

Four things are causes of doom: dry eyes (i.e., never weeping), a hard heart, hope for a long life and eagerness for this world.”

Hoping for a long life generates laziness in worship, procrastination, desire for the things of this world, neglect of the Hereafter and hardness of heart, because softness of heart and clarity of vision can only be achieved by remembering death, the grave, reward and punishment, and the horrors of the Day of Judgement, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “…

and the term was prolonged for them and their hearts were hardened…” [al-Hadeed 57:16].

It was said: “

Whoever does not hope for a long life will have less worries and his heart will be filled with light, because he calls death to mind and strives to obey Allaah…” (Fath al-Baari, 11/237)

5. Another cause of weak faith and hard-heartedness is eating too much, sleeping too much, staying up too late, talking too much and mixing with people too much.

Eating too much makes the brain slow and the body heavy, which prevents a person from worshipping Allaah and makes it easy for Shaytaan to tempt him, as it was said:

“Whoever eats too much, drinks too much and sleeps too much, loses a great reward.”

Talking too much hardens the heart, and mixing too much with people stops a person from having time to be alone and reflect on his own state.

Laughing too much drains life from the heart. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in a saheeh hadeeth:

“Do not laugh too much, for excessive laughter deadens the heart.” (Reported by Ibn Maajah, 4193; see also Saheeh al-Jaami’).

6. Time that is not filled with worship of Allaah

also leads to hard-heartedness, as a person pays heed to neither the rebukes of the Qur’aan nor the advice of faith.

The causes of weak faith are many indeed, and it is impossible to list them all, but what we have listed above will give the reader an impression of others which we have not mentioned here. The wise person understands this innately. We ask Allaah to purify our hearts and protect us from the evil of our own selves.

Curing weak faith

Al-Haakim reported in al-Mustadrak, and al-Tabaraani reported in al-Mu’jam, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Faith wears out in the heart of any one of you just as clothes wear out, so ask Allaah to renew the faith in your hearts.” (Reported by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak, 1/4; see also al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 1585. Al-Haythami said in Majma’ al-Zawaa’id, 1/52, “It was reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer and its isnaad is saheeh.”) 

What he meant is that faith wears out in the heart just as clothes wear out and become old. The heart of the believer is sometimes overwhelmed by clouds of sin, and so it goes dark. This is the picture drawn for us by the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in the saheeh hadeeth: “

There is no heart that is not covered by a cloud like the cloud covering the moon when it is shining, and so it suddenly goes dark, but when it (the cloud) goes away, it shines again.” (Reported by Abu Na’eem in al-Hilyah, 2/196; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 2268).

Sometimes the moon is covered by clouds, which conceal its light, but after a little while they go away, and the light of the moon comes back to light up the sky. In the same way, the heart of the believer is sometimes covered with dark clouds of sin, so its light is veiled, and the person finds himself lost in darkness, but when he strives to increase his eemaan and seeks the help of Allaah, that cloud goes away, and the light comes back to shine in his heart as before.

One of the most important principles which must be understood in order to treat the problem of weak faith is that faith increases and decreases, or waxes and wanes.

This is one of the basic principles of the ‘aqeedah of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, who say that faith is something to be spoken in words, to be believed in in the heart, and to be put into action. Faith increases with obedience and decreases with disobedience. There is evidence for this in the Qur’aan and Sunnah, for example, Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings): “…

that they may grow more in Faith along with their (present) Faith…” [al-Fath 48:4]

and, “…

Which of you has had his faith increased by it? …” [al-Tawbah 9:124].

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “

Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it by his hand (by action), and if he cannot, then by his tongue (by speaking out), and if he cannot, then by his heart (by feeling that it is wrong), and that is the weakest of faith.” (Al-Bukhaari, Fath, 1/51).

The effects of obedience and sin, which increase and decrease faith respectively, are well known from observation and experience. If a person goes out walking in the market-place, where he looks at uncovered women wearing make-up, and hears the shouting and idle talk of the people, then he goes to the graveyard and stops to think and let his heart soften, he will see the difference between the two environments and how quickly his heart changes.

Another factor in this discussion is the words of one of the salaf: “

One of the signs of proper understanding is when a slave takes care of his eemaan, and pays attention to what decreases it, and knows when it increases and when it decreases, and recognizes the temptation of Shaytaan when he comes to him.” (Sharh Nooniyah Ibn al-Qayyim by Ibn ‘Eesa, 2/140).

It is important to know that if a decrease in faith leads to one neglecting one’s duties or doing haraam deeds, this slackening is very serious and one must repent to Allaah and start to do something about it at once. If it does not lead to neglect of duties and doing haraam deeds, but just makes a person fall short in doing mustahabb (recommended) deeds, for example, then a person still needs to know how to sort himself out and correct himself until he returns to the proper level of energy and strength in worship.

This is what we learn from the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),

“Every deed has energy and strength, and then this energy and strength is followed by a slackening, so who’s slackening is in accordance to my Sunnah he will be fine, and who’s slackening is to other than that [i.e., doing unlawful or forebidden deeds] he will be doomed.” (Reported by Ahmad, 2/210; Saheeh al-Targheeb, no. 55).

Before we discuss how to treat the problem of weak faith, there is something we should note: many of those who feel that their hearts are hard look for an external solution, hoping that they can rely on others, even though it is within their reach – if they want – to take care of themselves by themselves. This is how it should be done, because eemaan is the relationship between the slave and his Lord. Below, we will discuss a number of ways prescribed by Islam by means of which the Muslim can deal with his weakness of faith and hardness of heart, after he puts his trust in Allaah and resigns himself to the fact that he faces a struggle to achieve his goal:

a. Pondering the meanings of the Qur’aan, which Allaah has revealed to explain everything and as a Light by which He guides whomever He wills of His slaves.

There is no doubt that it contains a powerful and effective cure. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And We send down from the Qur’aan that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe…” [al-Isra’ 17:82].

The method of treatment is to think and ponder its meanings. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to ponder the meanings of the Book of Allaah and recite it when he stood in prayer at night (qiyaam al-layl). On one occasion, he stood in prayer at night and recited one single aayah from the Book of Allaah whilst he was praying, and he did not go any further than that (one aayah) until morning. The aayah in question was (interpretation of the meaning):

“If You punish them, they are Your slaves, and if You forgive them, verily You, only You, are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” [al-Maa’idah 5:118]. (Reported by Ahmad, 4/149; see also Sifat al-Salaah by al-Albaani, p. 102).

He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to ponder the meaning of the Qur’aan, to the greatest extent. Ibn Hibbaan reported in his Saheeh with a jayyid isnaad from ‘Ataarah, who said:

“‘Ubayd-Allaah ibn ‘Umayr and I entered upon ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) and ‘Ubayd-Allaah ibn ‘Umayr said: ‘Tell us of the most wonderful thing you saw on the part of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ She wept and said, ‘He got up one night (to pray) and said, “O ‘Aa’ishah, leave me to worship my Lord.” I said, “By Allaah, I love to be near you, and I love what makes you happy.” He got up, purified himself and stood up to pray, and he kept weeping until his lap got wet, then he wept and kept weeping until the ground got wet. Bilaal came to call the adhaan for him, and when he saw him weeping, he said, “O Messenger of Allaah, are you weeping when Allaah has forgiven all of your sins, past and future?” He said, “Should I not be a thankful slave? This night some aayaat have been revealed to me, woe to the one who reads them and does not think (about their meaning). Among them is (interpretation of the meaning): Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding, those who remember Allaah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth…” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:190-191].”’” (Al-Silsilat al- Saheehah, 1/106).

This indicates that it is obligatory to ponder the meaning of these aayaat. The Qur’aan speaks of Tawheed, and contains promises of reward, threats of punishment, rules and regulations, reports, stories, etiquette and good morals, and its effects on the heart are various. Some soorahs fill the heart with fear more than others, as is indicated by the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), “

(Soorat) Hood and its sisters made me grey before my time.” (al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 2/679).

According to another report: “

Hood and al-Waaqi’ah and al-Mursalaat and ‘amma yatasaa’aloon and Idha’l-shamsu kuwwirat” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 3297; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 955).

The Prophet’s hair turned grey because of what these soorahs contain of the realities of faith and great responsibilities, which filled his heart and had a visible effect on his hair and body. “

So stand (ask Allaah to make) you firm and straight (on the religion of Islamic Monotheism) as you are commanded and those (your companions) who turn in repentance (unto Allaah) with you…” [Hood 11:112 –interpretation of the meaning].

The Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited the Qur’aan and pondered its meaning and were moved by it. Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) was a gentle, soft-hearted man, and when he led the people in prayer and recited the words of Allaah, he could not stop himself from weeping. ‘Umar became ill after reciting the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning):

“Verily, the Torment of your Lord will surely come to pass, – there is none that can avert it” [al-Toor 52:7-8]. (This report and its isnaad are in Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 7/406).

His sobs could be heard from the back of the congregation when he recited Allaah’s words about Ya’qoob (peace be upon him) (interpretation of the meaning): “

He said, ‘I only complain of my grief and my sorrow to Allaah…’” [Yoosuf 12:86]. (Manaaqib ‘Umar by Ibn al-Jawzi, 167).

‘Uthmaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:

“If our hearts were pure and clean, we would never have enough of the Word of Allaah.” He was killed unjustly as a martyr and his blood fell on his mus-haf – the reports from the Sahaabah concerning this are many.

Ayyoob said: “

I heard Sa’eed (ibn Jubayr) reciting this aayah twenty-odd times: “And be afraid of the Day when you shall be brought back to Allaah…” [al-Baqarah 2:281 – interpretation of the meaning]. (Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’, 4/324).

This was the last aayah to be revealed of the Qur’aan, and the ending of it is (interpretation of the meaning): “…

Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly.” [al-Baqarah 2:281].

Ibraaheem ibn Bashshaar said: “The aayah which ‘Ali ibn Fudayl was reading when he died was (interpretation of the meaning): ‘

If you could but see when they will be held over the (Hell) Fire! They will say:

“Would that we were but sent back (to the world)!…”’ [al-An’aam 6:27].

When he reached that point, he died, and I was one of those who prayed for him [at his funeral], may Allaah have mercy on him.” (Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’, 4/446).

Even when they prostrated as required when reading Qur’aan (sajadaat al-tilaawah – prostrations required when reciting certain aayaat of the Qur’aan), they reacted in different ways.

One of them was the man – may Allaah have mercy on him – who, when he read the aayah (interpretation of the meaning), “

And they fall down on their faces weeping and it adds to their humility” [al-Isra’ 17:109],

prostrated as required, then he rebuked himself by saying: “

This is the prostration, but where is the weeping?”

Among the features of the Qur’aan which are most deserving of contemplation are the examples and parables which Allaah sets forth and urges us to ponder and think about. He tells us (interpretation of the meanings): “ …

Allaah sets forth parables for mankind in order that they may remember” [Ibraaheem 14:25]

and,

“… Such are the parables which We put forward to mankind that they may reflect.” [al-Hashr 59:21].

One of the salaf once read one of these parables of Allaah and could not grasp the meaning, so he began to weep. He was asked, “What makes you weep?” He said: “Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘

And these similitudes We put forward for mankind, but none will understand them except those who have knowledge (of Allaah and His Signs, etc.)’ [al-‘Ankaboot 29:43],

and I do not understand the parable. I am not one who has knowledge, and I am weeping for all the time I have wasted and not gained knowledge.”

Allaah sets forth many parables for us in the Qur’aan, such as the following (interpretation of the meanings):

the one who kindled a fire [al-Baqarah 2:17], the one who shouts to the (flock of sheep) that hears nothing [al-Baqarah 2:171],

the likeness of a grain (of corn) that grows seven ears [al-Baqarah 2:261],

the dog who lolls his tongue out [al-A’raaf 7:176],

the donkey who carries huge burdens of books (but learns nothing from them) [al-Jumu’ah 62:5],

the fly (which none but Allaah can create, even if they join together for that purpose) [al-Hajj 22:73],

the spider (which builds a house for itself, but it is the frailest of houses) [al-‘Ankaboot 29:41],

the blind and the deaf and the seer and the hearer [Hood 11:24],

the ashes on which the wind blows furiously on a stormy day [Ibraaheem 14:18],

the goodly tree [Ibraaheem 14:24],

the evil tree [Ibraaheem 14:26],

the water which is sent down from the sky [al-An’aam 6:99],

the niche within which is a lamp [al-Noor 24:35],

the slave under the possession of another who has no power of any sort [al-Nahl 16:75],

the (slave) man belonging to many partners [al-Zumar 39:29],

and many others.

The point here is that we should refer to these aayat and pay special attention to them, pondering their meanings.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) summed up what the Muslim has to do to remedy the hardness of his heart with the Qur’aan. He said: “

There are two main things you have to do. The first is to move your heart from dwelling on the things of this world and move it to dwell on the Hereafter, then focus all your heart on the Qur’aan and ponder its meanings and why it was revealed. Try to understand something from every aayah and apply it to the disease of your heart. These aayaat were revealed (to treat) the disease of the heart, so you will be healed, by the permission of Allaah.”

Trying to feel an awareness of the might of Allaah, learning His names and attributes, pondering their meanings, trying to understand them and to establish these feelings in the heart so that they may have an effect on one’s actions. The heart is the controller of the faculties, which are like soldiers and followers; if it is sound, they will be sound, and if it is corrupt, they will be corrupt.

The texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah which speak of the greatness and might of Allaah are many. When the Muslim reads them, he is shaken and becomes humble before the Most High, the Most Great, the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, and his fear and submission to the Lord of the first and the last increases. Many of His names and attributes are mentioned in the Qur’aan. He is the Most Great (al-‘Azeem), the Watcher over His creatures (al-Muhaymin), the Compeller (al-Jabbaar), the Majestic (al- Mutakabbir), the Most Strong (al-Qawi), the Subduer (al-Qahhaar), the Great (al-Kabeer), the Most Exalted (al-Muta’aal). He is the Living Who does not die, although jinn and men die. He is the One Who has irresistable power over His slaves.

The thunder glorifies and praises Him, and so do the angels because of His awe. He is All-Mighty, All-Able of retribution. He is the Self-Sustaining who does not sleep. He has full knowledge of all things. He knows the fraud of the eyes, and all that the breasts conceal.

He has described His vast knowledge in the following terms (interpretation of the meaning):

“And with Him are the keys of the ghayb (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in (or on) the earth and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but He knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry but is written in a Clear Record.” [al-An’aam 6:59].

One of the aspects of His greatness about which He has told us is (interpretation of the meaning): “…

And on the Day of Resurrection the whole of the earth will be grasped by His Hand and the heavens will be rolled up in His Right Hand…” [al-Zumar 39:67].

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Allaah will seize the earth on the Day of Resurrection and will roll up the heavens in His right hand, then He will say, ‘I am the King, where are the kings of the earth?” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 6947).

The heart trembles when one reads the story of Moosa and how he said (interpretation of the meaning): “

‘O my Lord! Show me (Yourself), that I may look upon You.’ Allaah said, ‘You cannot see Me, but look upon the mountain, if it stands still in its place, then you shall see Me.’ So when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He made it collapse to dust, and Moosa fell down unconscious…” [al-A’raaf 7:143].

When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained this aayah, he said,

“Like this,” and gestured with his thumb on the highest knuckle of his little finger, then he said, “and the mountain trembled and collapsed.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 3074; Ahmad, 3/125, 209.

Ibn Katheer quoted its isnaads in his Tafseer, 3/466. Ibn al-Qayyim said: Its isnaad is saheeh according to the conditions of Muslim. Al-Albaani quoted it and classed it as saheeh in Takhreej al-Sunnah by Ibn Abi ‘Aasim, hadeeth 480).

Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, has “a veil of light, and if He lifted it, the glory of His countenance would burn all of His creation as far as he could see.” (Reported by Muslim, no. 197).

Another aspect of Allaah’s might was described by His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “

When Allaah settles a matter in heaven, the angels beat their wings in humility and submission to His words, (with a sound) like a chain (beating) on a rock. When they settle down, they say, ‘What did your Lord say?’ They say, ‘What He says is the Truth, and He is the Most High, the Most Great.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 7043).

There are many such texts, which indicate that feeling the greatness of Allaah by pondering the meaning of these texts and others is one of the best ways of dealing with the problem of weak faith. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) described the greatness of Allaah in the most beautiful way:

“He is controlling the affairs of all the kingdoms. He commands and prohibits, creates and gives provision, and gives death and gives life. He raises and lowers people’s status, alternates night and day, gives days (good and not so good) to men by turns, and causes nations to rise and fall, so that one nation vanishes and another emerges. His command and decree are carried out throughout the heavens and on earth, above it and below it, in the oceans and in the air. He has knowledge of all things and knows the number of all things. He hears all voices, and does not mistake one for another; He hears them all, in all the different languages and with all their varied requests and pleas. No voice distracts Him from hearing another, He does not confuse their requests, and He never tires of hearing the pleas of those in need. He sees all that is visible, even the walk of a black ant across a solid rock in the darkest night. The unseen is visible to Him, and secrets are known to Him… ‘Whosoever is in the heavens and on earth begs of Him (its needs from Him). Every day He has a matter to bring forth (such as giving honour to some, disgrace to some, life to some, death to some, etc.)!’ [al-Rahmaan 55:29 – interpretation of the meaning].

He forgives sins, eases worries, relieves distress, helps the defeated person back on his feet, makes the poor rich, guides the one who is astray and confused, fulfils the needs of the desperate, feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, conceals faults, and calms fears. He raises the status of some and lowers the status of others… Even if all the inhabitants of heaven and earth, the first and the last of them, mankind and jinn alike, were to be as pious as the most pious among them, this would not increase His sovereignty in the slightest; if they all, the first and the last of them, mankind and jinn alike, were to be as rebellious as the most rebellious among them, this would not decrease His sovereignty in the slightest. If everything in heaven and on earth, the first and the last of them, mankind and jinn, living and dead, animate and inanimate, were to stand in one place and ask of Him, and He were to give them everything that they asked for, this would not decrease what He has by even an atom’s weight… He is the First, before Whom there is nothing, and the Last, after Whom there is nothing, may He be blessed and exalted. He is the Most deserving of being remembered, the Most deserving of being worshipped, the Most deserving of being thanked. He is the Most Compassionate of kings, the Most Generous of those who are asked… He is the King Who has no partner or associate, the One who has no rival, the Self-Sufficient Master, Who has no son, the Most High, and there is none like unto Him. “Everything will perish save His face” [al-Qasas 28:88 – interpretation of the meaning],

and everything will vanish except His sovereignty… He will not be obeyed except by His permission, and He will not be disobeyed except with His knowledge. He is obeyed, so He shows His appreciation, and He is disobeyed, so he forgives. Every punishment on His part is justice, and every blessing from Him is a favour. He is the closest of witnesses and the nearest of protectors. He seizes people by their forelocks, records their deeds and decrees the appointed time for all things. Hearts conceal nothing from Him, for secrets are known to Him. His gift is a word and His punishment is a word: ‘Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, “Be!” – and it is.’ [Yaa-Seen 36:82 – interpretation of the meaning].” (Adapted from al-Waabil al-Sayib, p. 125)

b. Seeking Islamic knowledge, which is knowledge that leads one to fear Allaah and which increases one’s faith in Him, may He be glorified. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “…

It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allaah…” [Faatir 35:28].

Those who have knowledge and those who do not are not equal in faith. How can one who knows the details of sharee’ah, the meaning and implications of the Shahaadatayn, the things that will happen after death – such as the torment of the grave, the horrors of the final gathering, the stages of the Day of Resurrection, the delights of Paradise and the punishments of Hell, the wisdom of sharee’ah in prescribing halaal and haraam, the details of the Prophet’s seerah, and other kinds of knowledge…, How can one who knows all this be equal in faith with one who is ignorant of the religion and its rulings and what Islam says about matters of the Unseen.

All the latter knows about his religion is mere imitation, and the little knowledge he has is of poor quality. “…Say:

Are those who know equal to those who do not know? …”[al-Zumar 39:9 – interpretation of the meaning].

Regular attendance at gatherings of dhikr (remembrance of Allaah). This leads to an increase in faith for a number of reasons, such as the mentioning of Allaah, the descent of mercy and tranquillity, the angels surrounding the people present, and Allaah mentioning them to the chiefs (angels) on high, showing His pride in them to the angels and forgiving their sins.

This was mentioned in saheeh ahaadeeth, for example, when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“No people sit together remembering Allaah, but the angels surround them, mercy envelops them, tranquillity descends upon them, and Allaah mentions them to those who are in His presence.” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 2700).

Sahl ibn al-Hanzaliyyah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘No people gather together to remember (Allaah) and then disperse, but it will be said to them: “Get up, you are forgiven.”’” (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5507).

Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “

When he spoke of remembering Allaah (dhikr), he meant doing it regularly and persistently, by doing acts that are obligatory or encouraged, such as reciting Qur’aan, reading hadeeth, and studying with other people.” (Fath al-Baari, 11/209).

Another indication that gatherings of dhikr increase one’s eemaan is the report narrated by Imaam Muslim in his Saheeh from Hanzalah al-Usaydi, who said:

“I met Abu Bakr, and he asked me, ‘How are you, O Hanzalah?’ I said, ‘Hanzalah has become a munaafiq (hypocrite).’ He said, ‘Subhaan-Allaah! What are you saying?’ I said, ‘We sit with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he tells us about Hell and Paradise until it is as if we can see them, then when we leave the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), we get involved with our wives and children and earning a living, and we forget a lot.’ Abu Bakr said, ‘I feel the same way.’ So Abu Bakr and I went to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and I said, ‘Hanzalah has become a hypocrite, O Messenger of Allaah.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Why is that?’ I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, we sit with you and you tell us about Hell and Paradise until it is as if we can see them, then when we leave you, we get involved with our wives and children and earning a living, and we forget a lot.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him said, ‘By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if you continued to be as you are when you are with me, and to make dhikr, the angels would shake your hands in your beds and on the road. But, O Hanzalah, there is a time for this and a time for that’ – and he said this three times.” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 2750).

The Sahaabah, may Allaah be pleased with them, were keen to sit together for the purpose of dhikr, which they used to call eemaan (faith or belief). Mu’aadh (may Allaah be pleased with him) said to a man: “

Let us sit and believe for a while.” (Its isnaad is saheeh; Arba’ Masaa’il fi’l-Eemaan, revised by al-Albaani, p. 72).

c. Doing a lot of righteous deeds and filling one’s time with them.

This is one of the best ways of dealing with weak faith, and is clearly very effective in strengthening faith.

Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq (may Allaah be pleased with him) set the best example of this, when the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked his Sahaabah:

“Who among you got up fasting this morning?” Abu Bakr said, “I did.” He asked, “Who among you has attended a funeral today?” Abu Bakr said, “I have.” He asked, “Who among you has fed a needy person today?” Abu Bakr said, “I have.” He asked, “Who among you has visited a sick person today?” Abu Bakr said, “I have.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “No man does all of that but he will enter Paradise.” (Reported byMuslim, Kitaab Fadaa’il al-Sahaabah, Baab 1, Hadeeth 12).

This story demonstrates that Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq (may Allaah be pleased with him) was keen to make the most of every opportunity and to do a variety of acts of worship. Because this was an unexpected question on the part of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), this indicates that Abu Bakr’s days were filled with acts of obedience and worship.

The salaf (may Allaah have mercy on them) reached the highest levels in their efforts to do righteous deeds and fill their time in this manner. An example of this is what was said about a group of the salaf among whom was Hammaad ibn Salamah.

Imaam ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Mahdi said:

“If it were said to Hammaad ibn Salamah, ‘You will die tomorrow,’ he would not be able to do more good deeds (than he was already doing).” (Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’, 7/447).

The Muslim should pay attention to the following when doing good deeds: He should hasten to do good deeds, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings): “

And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth…” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:133]

and,

“Race one with another in hastening towards Forgiveness from your Lord (Allaah), and towards Paradise, the width whereof is as the width of heaven and earth…” [al-Hadeed 57:21].

The meaning of these aayaat motived the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and stirred them to action. Imaam Muslim (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported in his Saheeh from Anas ibn Maalik that at the Battle of Badr, when the mushrikeen approached, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,

“Get up to Paradise the width of the heavens and the earth!” ‘Umayr ibn al-Himaam al-Ansaari said, “O Messenger of Allaah, Paradise the width of the heavens and the earth?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “That’s great!” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “What makes you say, ‘That’s great!’?” He said, “Nothing, by Allaah, O Messenger of Allaah, except that I hope I will be one of its people.” He said, “You will be one of its people.” He took some dates out of his pocket and started to eat them, then he said, “If I live to finish eating these dates it will be too long.” He threw aside the dates then fought them until he was killed. (Saheeh Muslim, 1901).

Long before that, Moosa had hastened to meet his Lord, and said,

“…I hastened to You, O my Lord, that You might be pleased.” [Ta-Ha 20:84 – interpretation of the meaning].

Allaah praised Zakariyah and his wife by saying (interpretation of the meaning):

“…Verily, they used to hasten on to do good deeds, and they used to call on Us with hope and fear, and used to humble themselves before Us.” [al-Anbiya’ 21:90].

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “

Deliberation in all things,” but according to another report, he added, “except in deeds that pertain to the Hereafter [i.e., good deeds].” (Reported by Abu Dawood in his Sunan, 5/175; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3009).

Continuing to do good deeds, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, transmitting the words of his Lord in a hadeeth qudsi: “… ‘

My slave keeps drawing nearer to me with naafil (supererogatory) deeds until I love him.’” (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, 6137).

The phrase maa yazaalu (“keeps [drawing near]”) gives the impression of continuity. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Continue doing Hajj and ‘Umrah.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 810; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 1200).

This is an important principle when it comes to strengthening one’s eemaan and not neglecting oneself to the point of stagnation. A small deed that is continuous is better than a big deed that is not done regularly. Continuity in righteous deeds strengthens eemaan. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was asked: “

Which deed is most beloved to Allaah?” He said, “The one that is continuous, even if it is little.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 11/194).

When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did something, he kept it up.” (Reported by Muslim, Kitaab Salaat al-Musaafir, Baab 18, Hadeeth 141).

d. Striving one’s utmost to do good deeds.

Dealing with a hard heart should not be the matter of a temporary solution, where eemaan strengthens for a period of time then becomes weak again; rather, it should be an ongoing effort, which can only be achieved by striving one’s utmost in worship. Allaah has mentioned the efforts of His slaves in their worship in several places in the Qur’aan, such as (interpretation of the meanings):

“Only those believe in Our aayaat (signs, etc.) who, when they are reminded of them, fall down prostrate, and glorify the Praises of their Lord, and they are not proud. Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (charity, in Allaah’s Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them.” [al-Sajdah 32:15-16]

and:

“They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Lord and praying, with fear and hope]. And in the hours before dawn, they were (found) asking (Allaah) for forgiveness, and in their properties there was the right of the beggar and the mahroom (the poor who does not ask from others).” [al-Dhaariyaat 51:17-19].

Reading about how the salaf achieved the qualities of true worshippers is something that fills one with admiration and makes one try to follow their example.

For example, they used to complete the recitation of one-seventh of the Qur’aan every day; they used to pray at night (qiyaam al-layl) even when they were fighting on military campaigns; they used to remember Allaah and pray tahajjud even in prison, standing on their feet with tears streaming down their cheeks, thinking about the creation of heaven and earth. One of them would lie down next to his wife until she slept, just as a mother lies down next to her child to get him to sleep, then he would slip away from the bed to pray qiyaam al-layl.

They divided their nights between themselves and their wives, and their days between fasting, studying, teaching, attending funerals, visiting the sick and attending to people’s needs. In some cases, years passed and they never missed the takbeerat al-ihraam (beginning of the prayer) with the imaam; they would wait for prayer after prayer. One of them would check on his brother’s children after his brother died, spending on them for years. In this way their faith would increase.

e. Not exhausting oneself (avoiding “burnout”).

Doing acts of worship continually or striving one’s utmost does not mean that we have to fall into the trap of becoming bored and fed up. The idea is that we should not give up striving in worship when we have the energy and inclination, and when we feel tired, we should just do as much as we can.

All of these ideas are indicated in the ahaadeeth, such as when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “

Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection…” (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, 39).

According to another report, he said:

“Be moderate, and you will reach what you want.” (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, 6099. Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) entitled the chapter Baab ma yukrah min al-Tashdeed fi’l-‘Ibaadah (Chapter on what is disliked of extremism in worship)).

Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:

“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered (the mosque) and saw a rope strung between two pillars. He said, ‘What is this rope for?’ They said, ‘This rope belongs to Zaynab, when she feels tired, she holds on to it.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘No, untie it. Let one of you pray so long as he has the energy, and when he feels tired, let him sit down.’” (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, 1099).

When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) learnt that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas was staying up to pray (qiyaam al-layl) the whole night, and fasting for days on end, he told him not to do that, and explained why: “If you do that, your eyes will become weak (because of staying up late too often), and you will feel exhausted.” The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do what you can of (good) deeds, for Allaah will never get tired although you get tired. The most beloved deed to Allaah is the one that is continuous, even if it is little.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 3/38).

f. Making up for what one has missed.

‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“If a person sleeps and misses the part of the Qur’aan that he was supposed to read at night, or a part of it, and then reads it between Salaat al-Fajr and Salaat al-Zuhr, it will be recorded for him as if he read it at night.” (Reported by al-Nisaa’i and others, al-Mujtaba, 2/68; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1228). ‘

Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), if he prayed a prayer, he would always do it. If he missed praying at night because sleep or pain overwhelmed him, he would pray twelve rak’ahs during the day.” (Reported by Ahmad, 6/95).

When Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with her) saw him praying two rak’ahs after ‘Asr and asked him why, he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told her: “

O daughter of Abu Umayyah, you asked about the two rak’ahs (I prayed) after ‘Asr. Some people came to me from ‘Abd al-Qays, and distracted me from praying the two rak’ahs after Zuhr, so these two rak’ahs are what I prayed just now.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 3/105).

If he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not pray four rak’ahs before Zuhr, he would pray them afterwards. (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no 426; Saheeh Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 727).

If he missed the four rak’ahs before Zuhr, he would pray them after Zuhr. (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4759).

These ahaadeeth indicate that one should make up sunan rawaatib (Sunnah acts that are done regularly) when one misses them.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) made more than three points about the Prophet’s fasting in Sha’baan, the first of which was that he used to fast three days in every month, but maybe he had been distracted from this fasting for several months, so he put them together to make up for what he had missed before the obligatory fast (i.e., Ramadaan) came. (Tahdheeb Sunan Abi Dawood, 3/318).

He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to remain in retreat (I’tikaaf) during the last ten days of Ramadaan, but when he missed it one year because of travelling, the following year he spent twenty days in I’tikaaf. (Fath al-Baari, 4/285).

g. Hoping that one’s deeds will be accepted whilst fearing that they may not.

After striving one’s utmost in deeds of worship and obedience, one should fear that they may be rejected. ‘

Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said:

“I asked the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about this aayah (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And those who give that (their charity) which they give with their hearts full of fear (whether it has been accepted or not)…’ [al-Mu’minoon 23:60] – were they those who drink alcohol and steal? He said, ‘No, O daughter of al-Siddeeq. They are those who fast and pray and give charity whilst fearing that these deeds will not be accepted from them. “It is these who race for the good deeds” [al-Mu’minoon 23:61 – interpretation of the meaning].’” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 3175; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 1/162).

Abu’l-Darda’ (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “

To be certain that Allaah would accept just one prayer from me would be dearer to me than the world and everything in it, for Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘Verily, Allaah accepts only from those who are al-muttaqoon (the pious).’ [al-Maa’idah 5:27].” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 3/67).

Among the attributes of the believer is looking down on one’s own self when it comes to fulfilling one’s duties towards Allaah (i.e., always thinking that one has not done enough or done them properly).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“If a man were to be dragged on his face from the day he was born until the day he died of old age in order to earn the pleasure of Allaah, he would think that was too little on the Day of Resurrection. (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, al-Musnad, 4/184; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5249).

Whoever knows Allaah and knows himself will see clearly that whatever good deeds he may accomplish will not be enough, even if he brought the good deeds of all of the two races (men and jinn), but Allaah, may He be glorified, accepts them by His grace and mercy, and rewards for them by His grace and mercy.

h. Doing a variety of acts of worship.

It is a part of the mercy and wisdom of Allaah that He has given us a variety of acts of worship to do, some of which are physical, such as salaah, some financial, such as zakaah, and some combine both physical and financial aspects, such as Hajj. Some of them are spoken, such as dhikr and du’aa’.

One type of worship may be divided into fard (obligatory) and sunnah mustahabbah (encouraged), both of which also vary. For example ,the (sunnah) prayers number 12 rak’ahs, some of which are lower in status, such as the four rak’ahs before ‘Asr and Salaat al-Duhaa, and some are higher in status, such as Salaat al-Layl (praying at night).

There are also different ways of doing these prayers, such as praying them two by two (as a series of two-rak’ah prayers), or four by four. Witr could be five or seven or nine rak’ahs, ending with one tashahhud.

Whoever tries to do acts of worship will find a great variety in numbers, times, ways, types and rulings. Perhaps the wisdom behind this is so that no one will get bored; instead his interest will constantly be renewed.

People are not all the same, and they do not have the same motivation all the time or the same abilities. Some people may enjoy some kinds of worship more than others.

Glory be to the One Who has made gates of Paradise according to different types of worship, as is stated in the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah. According to this hadeeth, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “

Whoever spends on a pair for the sake of Allaah will be called from the gates of Paradise, ‘O slave of Allaah, this is good.’ Whoever is one of the people of prayer will be called from the gate of prayer. Whoever is one of the people of jihaad will be called from the gate of jihaad. Whoever is one of the people of fasting will be called from the gate of al-Rayyaan. Whoever is one of the people of charity will be called from the gate of charity.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, no. 1798).

What is meant here is those who do a lot of different types of naafil (supererogatory) deeds. As far as fard deeds are concerned, there is no option – they must be done by all. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “

The father is the middle gate of Paradise” (reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 1900; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7145), meaning honouring and respecting one’s parents.

This variety is of benefit in dealing with weakness of faith by doing more of the acts of worship to which one has an inclination, as well as continuing to do obligatory acts which Allaah has commanded us to do. Thus when the Muslim refers to the texts which speak about acts of worship, he will find unique types of worship which will have a beautiful effect on his soul, an effect which can be found nowhere else.

Two examples of this are as follows:

Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are three whom Allaah loves and three whom Allaah hates. As for the three whom Allaah loves, (they are) a man who meets a group of the enemy, so he keeps fighting them until he is killed or he penetrates (the enemy lines) for his companions to follow; people whose journey at night becomes so long that they long to touch the ground, so they make camp, but one of them stays aside and prays until he wakes them up to resume their journey; and a man who has a neighbour who disturbs him but he bears the annoyance with patience until they are separated by the death or departure of one of them. (Musnad Ahmad, 5/151; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3074).

A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) complaining that his heart was hard. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him, “Would you like your heart to become soft and to get what you want? Show mercy to the orphan, pat his head, feed him from your own food, and your heart will become soft and you will get what you want.” (Hadeeth reported by al-Tabaraani; there are also corroborating reports. See al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 2/533).

This has direct relevance to the topic of dealing with weak faith.

i. Fearing a bad end, because this will motivate the Muslim to worship Allaah and will renew the faith in his heart.

There are many causes of a bad end, including weakness of faith and indulging in sin. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) mentioned examples of this, such as:

“The one who kills himself with a piece of iron will have the piece of iron in his hand, stabbing himself with it in the fire of Hell, for ever and ever, without end. Whoever drinks poison and kills himself will be sipping it – drinking it and swallowing it slowly – in the fire of Hell, for ever and ever, without end. Whoever throws himself down from a mountain and kills himself, will be throwing himself down in the fire of Hell, for ever and ever, without end.” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 109).

Some such events happened during the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), such as the man who was with the Muslim army, fighting in a manner unlike anyone else (i.e., recklessly). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “

He is one of the people of Hell.” One of the Muslim men followed him to see why. The man was wounded severely and he wanted to hasten his death, so he put his sword against his chest and leaned on it, killing himself. (The story is in Saheeh al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 7/471).

The stories of how people met with a bad end are many, and the scholars have explained a number of them. For example, Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his book al-Da’ wa’l-Dawa’ that one of them was told, when he was dying, to say “La ilaaha ill-Allaah,” and he said, “I cannot say it.” Another was told to say La ilaaha ill-Allaah, and he started humming a song. A businessman whose trade had made him forget the remembrance of Allaah was told, when death was imminent, to say La ilaaha ill-Allaah, and he started to say, “’This is a good piece, this fits you, this is a bargain” and so on, until he died. (Tareeq al-Hijratayn, p. 308).

It was reported that when one of the soldiers of the king al-Naasir was dying, his son started telling him to say La ilaaha ill-Allaah, but he said, ‘“Al-Naasir is my master’.” His son kept saying the same thing, and his father kept repeating “Al-Naasir is my master, al-Naasir is my master,” then he died.

Another was told to say La ilaaha ill-Allaah, but instead he said, “Such and such a house, repair this and that in it; such-and-such a garden, do this and that in it.”

One of those who deal in interest was told to say La ilaaha ill-Allaah when he was dying, but he started to say, “’Ten for eleven’,” repeating it until he died. (Al-Da’ wa’l-Dawa’, pp. 170, 289).

Some of them turned black, or turned away from the Qiblah. Ibn al-Jawzi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “I heard one of those in whom I thought there was a lot of good saying on the night of his death, “‘My Lord is treating me unjustly’ – exalted be Allaah above what he said!” He accused Allaah of being unjust on his deathbed.” Then Ibn al-Jawzi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “I remained depressed and in despair of finding something that would help me when I face that day (my own death).” (Sayd al-Khawaatir, 137).

Subhaan-Allaah, how often have people seen this, but they do not know about what really happened to those who were about to die; they do not know the half of it.” (al-Da’ wal-Dawa’, 171)

j. Remember death often.

The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “

Remember often the destroyer of pleasure, meaning death.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2307; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1210).

Remembering death deters one from sin and softens the hard heart. No one remembers death at the time of hardship but he will feel ease, and no one remembers death at the time of ease but he will feel constricted. One of the things that remind a person of death most is visiting graveyards, so the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us to visit them. He said,

“I used to forbid you to visit graves, but now (go and) visit them, for this softens the heart, makes the eyes weep and reminds one of the Hereafter, and do not speak in an obscene manner.” (Reported by al-Haakim, 1/376; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4584).

The Muslim is even permitted to visit the graves of kuffaar in order to derive a lesson from this. The evidence for this is the report in al-Saheeh which says that he visited his mother’s grave and wept, making those around him weep too. He said, “

I asked my Lord for permission to ask for forgiveness for her, and He did not allow me to do so, then I asked Him for permission to visit her grave, and He granted me permission, so visit graves, for they remind one of death.” (Reported by Muslim, 3/65).

Visiting graves is one of the best means of softening the heart. The visitor benefits from remembering death, and the dead benefit from the du’aa’s offered for them. An example of this reported in the Sunnah is when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “

Peace be upon you, O dwellers of this place, believers and Muslims. May Allaah have mercy upon those of us who have gone on before and those who will follow later. In sha Allaah we will join you soon.” (Reported by Muslim, no. 974).

The one who wants to visit graves should observe the correct etiquette and have the proper presence of mind when approaching them. The purpose of his visit should be to earn the pleasure of Allaah and to reform his corrupt heart, and also to learn a lesson from those who are under the ground, cut off from their families and loved ones. He should think about the condition of his brothers who have passed away, how they achieved their worldly ambitions and gathered wealth, but then were cut off from all of that and their wealth is no longer of any avail to them. The earth has wiped out the beauty of their faces, their bodies have disintegrated in the grave, their wives have become widows and their children have become orphans.

Let him remember the error of being deceived by material means and of relying on good health, youth and the inclination towards leisure, for he will inevitably share their fate. Let him think of the state of the deceased, how his legs are destroyed, his eyes have become liquid, the worms have eaten his tongue, and the earth has consumed his teeth. (Adapted from al-Tadhkirah by al-Qurtubi, p. 16ff).

[Poetry omitted]

Whoever remembers death frequently will benefit in three ways: he will hasten to repent, he will become content, and he will be active in worship.

Whoever forgets death will be punished in three ways: he will delay repentance, he will no longer be content with what is sufficient, and he will be lazy in worship.

One of the effective ways of reminding oneself about death is to see those who are about to die, for seeing the dead, witnessing the death throes and thinking about how a person looks after he has died will put an end to empty pleasure and keep one awake at night, and will motivate one to do good works and to strive harder.

Al-Hasan al-Basri once went to visit a sick person and found him in the throes of death, so he saw the distress and anguish that had befallen him. He went back to his family with a different colour from when he had left them (i.e., he was visibly shaken by what he had seen). They said to him, “Come and eat, may Allaah have mercy on you”, He said, .”O my family, go ahead, eat and drink. I have seen death, and I shall never stop working hard until I meet it”. (Al-Tadhkirah, 17).

One way of increasing awareness of death is to attend funerals, carrying the deceased on one’s shoulders, going to the graveyard, participating in the burial and throwing earth into the grave. This reminds one of the Hereafter, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

Visit the sick and attend funerals; this will remind you of the Hereafter.. (Reported by Ahmad, 3/48; Saheeh al-Jaami., 4109).

In addition to that, attending funerals brings a great reward, as was stated by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):

“Whoever attends a funeral from the house [of the deceased] {according to one report: whoever attends the funeral of a Muslim out of faith and in hope of reward} until he prays for the deceased, will have one qeeraat, and whoever attends until the person is buried will have two qeeraats of reward”.

It was said, .O Messenger of Allaah, what are the two qeeraats?. He said, .Like two great mountains.. {According to another report: .Each qeeraat is like [Mount] Uhud..}. (Reported by the two shaykhs and others. The above is compiled from a number of reports. Ahkaam al-Janaa.iz by al-Albaani, p.67).

The salaf (may Allaah have mercy on them) used to think of death when they advised a person who was committing a sin. One of the salaf (may Allaah have mercy on him), when there was a man in his presence gossiping about another, warned him by saying, .Remember the cotton which they will put on your eyes,. i.e., when shrouding him for burial.

k. Remembering the different levels of status in the Hereafter.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

“If his mind is clear, he will have insight, which is a light in the heart, with which he will see the promise and the threat, Paradise and Hell, and what Allaah has prepared in each for His friends and His enemies, respectively. He will see, in his mind’s eye, the people coming forth from their graves, hastening towards the call of Truth; the angels coming down from heaven and surrounding them, and Allaah coming to His Throne which is set up for judgement; the earth filled with His light and the Book being set forth; the Prophets and martyrs being brought; the scale being set up and the records flying into their owner.s hands; the disputants being brought together; every creditor hanging on to his opponent; the appearance of the hawd (cistern) and the bringing near of its cups; intense thirst, but only a few being allowed to drink; the setting up of the bridge and the jostling of the people to cross over it; the sharing out of lights because the bridge to be crossed is very dark; the Fire of Hell, parts of it consuming other parts beneath the bridge; the huge numbers of those who fall into the Fire, many times more than the numbers of those who are saved. When his mind’s eye is opened to all of this, one of the stages of the Hereafter will dwell in his heart, so he will see that the Hereafter will abide forever whereas as this world is just a transient, passing thing. (Madaarij al-Saalikeen, 1/123).

The Qur’aan frequently describes scenes of the Last Day, in Soorahs such as Qaaf, al-Waaqi.ah, al-Qiyaamah, al-Mursalaat, al-Naba., al-Mutaffifeen and al-Takweer.

The books of hadeeth also mention this, in chapters such as those on al-qiyaamah (resurrection), al-riqaaq (reports that soften the heart), al-Jannah (Paradise), and al-Naar (Hell).

It is also important to read the books of scholars on this subject, such as Haadi al-Arwaah by Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Nihaayah fi’l-Fitan wa’l- Malaahim by Ibn Katheer, al-Tadhkirah fi Ahwaal al-Mawtaa wa Umoor al-Aakhirah by al-Qurtubi, al-Qiyaamah al-Kubraa and al-Jannah wa’l-Naar by .Umar al-Ashqar, and others.

The point here is that one of the things that increase faith is knowledge about the events of the Day of Judgement, such as the resurrection and bringing forth from the graves, the gathering, intercession, the reckoning, reward and punishment, the scales, the cistern, the siraat (bridge over Hell), and the place of eternal abode, Paradise or Hell.

l. Interacting with the signs of Allaah that exist in the Universe.

Al-Bukhaari, Muslim and others report that when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw a cloud or noticed a wind, this would be visible in his face.

‘Aa.ishah said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I see that when the people see a cloud they are happy, because they hope it will bring rain, but I see that when you see a cloud, it is clear from your face that you do not like it’. He said, ‘O .Aa.ishah, how can I be sure that there is no punishment in it, for some people were punished by the wind, and some people saw their punishment but said, ‘This is a cloud bringing us rain!’ [al-Ahqaaf 46:24 . interpretation of the meaning].. (Reported by Muslim, 899).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to be alarmed when he saw an eclipse, as is reported in Saheeh al-Bukhaari from Abu Moosa (may Allaah be pleased with him):

‘The sun was eclipsed, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up in alarm, fearing that it was the Hour’. (Fath al-Baari, 2/545).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us, in the event of an eclipse, to hasten to pray. He told us that both solar and lunar eclipses are among the signs with which Allaah instills fear in His slaves. There is no doubt that the heart.s interaction with these phenomena and its alarmed reaction renew faith in the heart, and remind one of Allaah.s punishment, wrath, might and power. .Aa.ishah said:

‘The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) took my hand then pointed to the moon and said, ‘O .Aa.ishah, seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of this, for this is the darkening (night) as it comes with its darkness. [al-Falaq 113:3 interpretation of the meaning]…. (Reported by Ahmad, 6/237; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah).

Another example is being affected and moved when passing by places which were struck by the punishment of Allaah, or passing the graves of wrongdoers.

Ibn .Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to his Companions, when they reached al-Hijr [??],

‘Do not enter upon these places which were punished by Allaah, unless you do so weeping. If you do not weep, then do not enter them, lest what befell them befall you also.. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, no. 423).

Yet people nowadays go to such places as tourists and take pictures there. Go figure!

Dhikr (remembrance of Allaah) is a very important method of dealing with weak faith. It brings cleansing and healing to the heart that is suffering disease, and it is the very spirit of righteous deeds. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

O you who believe! Remember Allaah with much remembrance. [al-Ahzaab 33:41].

Allaah promises success to those who remember Him much (interpretation of the meaning):

and remember the Name of Allaah much, so that you may be successful.. [al-Anfaal 8:45].

The remembrance of Allaah is greater than everything else, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

(and the remembering (praising, etc.) of (you by) Allaah (in front of the angels) is greater indeed [than your remembering Allaah in prayers etc.] [al-.Ankaboot 29:45].

This was the advice of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to the man who thought that the duties of Islam weretoo much; he told him:

Keep your tongue wet with the remembrance of Allaah.. (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 3375; he said, this is a hasan ghareeb hadeeth, See also Saheeh al-Kalim,3).

m. Dhikr pleases al-Rahmaan (the Most Merciful) and keeps away the Shaytaan.

It dispels worry and distress, and brings provision and opens the door to knowledge. It plants the seedlings of Paradise and helps one to avoid the evils of the tongue. It offers consolation to the poor who do not have the means to give charity; Allaah has compensated them with dhikr, which takes the place of physical and financial acts of worship. Neglecting dhikr and not remembering Allaah cause hardness in the heart.

[poetry omitted]

So the person who wishes to remedy his weakness of faith must increase his remembrance of Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

And remember your Lord when you forget.. [al-Kahf 18:24].

Allaah explains the effect that dhikr has the heart (interpretation of the meaning):

Verily, in the remembrance of Allaah do hearts find rest.. [al-Ra.d 13:28].

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, concerning the remedy of dhikr: “In the heart there is hardness which can only be softened by remembrance of Allaah, may He be exalted. So the slave must treat the hardness of his heart with the remembrance of Allaah, may He be exalted.

A man said to al-Hasan al-Basri (may Allaah have mercy on him),

‘O Abu Sa.eed, I am complaining to you of the hardness of my heart.. He said, ‘Soften it with dhikr.. The more forgetful the heart is, the harder it becomes, but if a person remembers Allaah, that hardness softens as copper melts in the fire. Nothing can soften the hardness of the heart like the remembrance of Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted. Dhikr is healing and medicine for the heart. Forgetfulness is a disease, the cure for which is remembrance of Allaah.

Makhool said:

Remembrance of Allaah is a cure and remembrance of people is a disease… (Al-Waabil al-Sayib wa Raafi. al-Kalim al-Tayyib, 142).

By means of dhikr, the slave can overcome the Shaytaan, just as the Shaytaan overcomes those who are neglectful and forgetful. One of the salaf said:

When dhikr becomes well-established in the heart, if the Shaytaan gets too close, a person can defeat him. Then the shayateen gather around him (the shaytaan who tried to get close to the heart of the believer) and say, ‘What is wrong with this one?’ and it is said, ‘He was harmed by a human!’ (Madaarij al-Saalikeen, 2/424).

Most of the people who are harmed by the shayaateen are neglectful people who do not protect themselves with awraad and adhkaar (du’aas and prayers), so it is easy for the shayaateen to overwhelm them.

For some of those who complain of weakness of faith, it is difficult for them to do some of the things that can cure it, such as praying qiyaam al-layl or observing naafil acts of worship. It is appropriate for them to begin with this kind of treatment (i.e., dhikr) and be eager to do it. They should learn some general adhkar which they can recite continually, such as ‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah la shareeka lah, lahu’l-mulk wa lahu’lhamd, wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer (There is no god but Allaah, He has no partner; to Him be the sovereignty and the praise, and He is Able to do all things),’ and ‘Subhaan Allaahi wa bi-hamdih, wa subhaan Allaah il-‘Azeem (Praise and glory be to Allaah, and glory be to Allaah the Almighty),’ and ‘La hawla wa la quwwata illa billaah (There is no strength and no power except in Allaah),’ and so on.

They should also memorize the du’aa.s which according to the Sunnah should be recited at certain times or in certain places, such as in the morning and evening, when going to sleep, when waking up, when seeing visions and dreams, when eating, when going to the bathroom, when travelling, when rain falls, when hearing the adhaan, when going to the mosque, when making a decision (istikhaarah), when stricken with calamity, when visiting graveyards, when there is wind, when seeing the new moon, when getting into or onto a means of transportation, when greeting someone, when sneezing, when one hears the cock crow or the donkey bray or the dog bark, when a gathering comes to an end, when seeing someone who is afflicted with suffering, and so on.

No doubt whoever perseveres with this will see a direct effect on his heart. (Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah wrote a very useful book on the topic of adhkaar, entitled Al-Kalim al-Tayyib, which has been abridged by al-Albaani under the title Saheeh al-Kalim al-Tayyib).

n. Confiding in Allaah and humbling oneself before Him.

The more the slave humbles himself before Allaah, the closer he becomes to Him. Thus the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

The closest the slave can be to Allaah is when he is prostrating to Him, so make lots of du.aa. then.. (Reported by Muslim, 482).

Prostration is the position of humility, quite unlike any other posture or position. When the slave puts his forehead ‘the highest part of his body’ on the ground, he becomes as close as he can be to his Lord.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) spoke in the most eloquent terms expressing humility before Allaah and the contrition of the one who repents to Him:

“Oh how sweet are the words of the one who speaks thus:

‘I ask You by Your power and my humility to show mercy to me. I ask You by Your strength and my weakness, by Your independence of me and my dependence upon You. Here is my lying, sinful forelock in Your hands. Your slaves other than me are so many, and I have no refuge or sanctuary from You except with You. I ask You in the manner of the poor and wretched, I pray to You in the manner of one who humbly submits, I call on You in the manner of one who is fearful and blind, one whose neck is totally bowed to You, whose eyes shed tears for you, whose heart is humbled before You’.

When the slave comes whispering words such as these, his faith multiplies exponentially in his heart”.

o. Showing one’s need for Allaah also strengthens faith.

Allaah has told us howmuch we need and depend on Him. He tells us (interpretation of the meaning):

‘O mankind! It is you who stand in need of Allaah, but Allaah is Rich (Free of all wants and needs), Worthy of all praise.. [Faatir 35:15]

p. Not hoping for a long life.

This is a very important facet of renewing faith. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

“The greatest thing we learn from these aayaat (interpretation of the meanings),

‘Tell Me, if We do let them enjoy for years, and afterwards comes to them that (punishment) which they had been promised! All that with which they used to enjoy shall not avail them’ [al-Shu.ara. 26:205-207] and ‘(it will be) as if they had not stayed (in the life of this world) but an hour of a day’ [Yoonus 10:45] .

is that the whole length of this world should not make a man hope for a long life or say, ‘I will live, I will live’. One of the salaf said to a man, ‘Lead us in Zuhr (prayer)’. The man said, ‘I will lead you in Zuhr prayer but I cannot lead you in ‘Asr prayer’. He said, ‘It is as if you hope to live until the time of ‘Asr; we seek refuge with Allaah from hoping for a long life”.

q. Thinking of the insignificance of this world until the heart is detached from it.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing)” [Aal .Imraan 3:185].

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

‘The food of the son of Adam is set forth as a metaphor of this life; see what comes out of the son of Adam even though salt and spices were added to it, he knows how it is going to end up’. (Reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, 1/198; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 382).

Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be please with him) said:

‘I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say, ‘This world is cursed and what is in it is cursed, except the remembrance of Allaah and what is connected to it, and knowledge, and teaching’. (Reported by Ibn Maajah, no. 4112; Saheeh al-Targheeb wa.l-Tarheeb, no. 71)

r. Respecting the limits set by Allaah.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

‘Thus it is. And whosoever honours the Symbols of Allaah, then it is truly from the piety of the heart’. [al-Hajj 22:32].

The limits set by Allaah are the rights that Allaah has over us. They may be with regard to people, places or times. With regard to people, for example, there is paying proper respect to the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him); with regard to places, for example, there is respect for the Haram [in Makkah]; with respect to times, for example, there is the month of Ramadaan.

“And whoever honours the sacred things of Allaah, that is better for him with his Lord” [al-Hajj 22:30 . interpretation of the meaning].

Another way in which one may respect the limits set by Allaah is not to think of minor sins (saghaa.ir) as insignificant.

‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas.ood reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

‘Beware of sins that are seen as insignificant, for they will keep accumulating until they destroy a man’.

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained this by comparing them to people who stop to camp in the wilderness and decide to build a fire, so one man goes out and brings back a stick, and another man brings a stick, until they have gathered enough, then they light a fire and cook whatever they throw onto it. (Reported by Ahmad, 1/402; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 389).

[Poetry omitted]

Ibn al-Jawzi said in Sayd al-Khaatir: ‘Many people are too easy-going in matters which they think are not serious but which in fact destroy the bases of faith, such as looking at haraam things, or, as some students do, borrowing text-books and not returning them’.

One of the salaf said: ‘I took the matter of a small morsel too lightly and I ate it; now forty years later I am still slipping backwards’. He said this because of his modesty, may Allaah have mercy on him.

s. Al-wala. wa’l-bara. (friendship/loyalty versus enmity/disavowal), i.e., friendship and loyalty towards the believers, enmity towards and disavowal of the disbelievers.

When the heart is attached to the enemies of Allaah, faith grows very weak and the principles of faith recede, but if one devotes one’s loyalty towards Allaah, then one will befriend and support the believing slaves of Allaah and hate and oppose His enemies, and then faith will be revived.

Modesty also has an active role to play in renewing faith and cleansing the heart of arrogance, because modesty in speech and appearance is indicative of modesty in the heart towards Allaah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

‘Modesty (in appearance) is a part of eemaan.. (Reported by Ibn Maajah 4118; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 341. What is meant is modesty in appearance and dress; see al-Nihaayah by Ibn al-Atheer, 1/110).

He also said:

‘Whoever refrains from dressing (in fancy, expensive clothes) out of humility towards Allaah, even though he is able to do so, Allaah will call him on the Day of Resurrection at the head of His creation and will give him the choice of whatever garment of faith he wishes to wear’. (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2481; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 718).

‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf (may Allaah be pleased with him) could not be distinguished from his slave.

There are deeds of the heart which are important for renewing eemaan, such as loving Allaah, fearing Him, putting one.s hope in Him, thinking of Him in positive terms and putting one’s trust in Him, accepting His decree, giving thanks to Him, being sincere towards Him and having certain faith in Him, trusting in Him, repenting to Him, and other deeds of the heart.

There are certain stages which the slave must follow in order to complete the treatment (of weak faith), such as being righteous, returning to Allaah, remembering Allaah, adhering to the Qur’aan and Sunnah, being humble, living simply (zuhd), fearing Allaah, feeling that Allaah is always watching.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) has discussed all these stages in detail in his book Madaarij al-Saalikeen.

Self-evaluation also plays an important role in renewing faith. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

‘O you who believe! Fear Allaah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow, and fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is All-Aware of what you do.. [al-Hashr 59:18].

‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: ‘Take account of yourselves before you are called to account’.

Al-Hasan said: ‘You will not meet a believer except he is evaluating himself’.

Maymoon ibn Mahraan said: ‘The pious person is harder on himself than a stingy partner’.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: ‘Doom comes about because of neglecting to evaluate one.s self and because of just following one’s whims’.

So the Muslim must take the time to be alone and evaluate himself and check how he is doing, and what he has sent forward for the Day of Judgement.

t. Du’aa., calling on Allaah, is one of the most efficient means which the slave must employ, as the Prophet ) peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

‘Faith wears out in the heart of any one of you as clothes wear out, so ask Allaah to renew the faith in your hearts’.

O Allaah, we ask You by Your beautiful Names and sublime Attributes to renew the faith in our hearts. O Allaah, make faith appear beautiful to us and adorn our hearts with it, and make kufr, sin and disobedience abhorrent to us. Make us of those who are rightly guided. Glorified be the Lord of Might above what they ascribe to Him. Peace be upon the Messengers and praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Written by Shaykh Mohammad Shaleh al-Munajjid

Do’ful Eemaan [Weakness of Faith] – Part 1


Introduction
Praise be to Allaah, we praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own souls and from our evil deeds. Whomever Allaah guides, none can lead astray, and whomever Allaah leaves astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah alone, with no partner or associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
“O you who believe! Fear Allaah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims), with complete submission to Allaah.” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:102 – interpretation of the meaning].
“
O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam) and from him He created his wife (Hawwa), and from them both he created many men and women, and fear Allaah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allaah is Ever an All-Watcher over you.” [al-Nisa’ 4:1 – interpretation of the meaning].
“
O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allaah and His Messenger, he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e., he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter Paradise).” [al-Ahzaab 33:70-71 –interpretation of the meaning].
The phenomenon of weak faith has become very widespread among Muslims, and many people complain about the hardness of their hearts. So often we hear the words, “I feel hardness in my heart,” “I do not find any joy in worship,” “I feel that my faith has hit rock bottom,” “Reading Qur’aan does not move me,” “I fall into sin so easily.” The  effects of this affliction can be seen in many people, and this problem is the cause of every disaster and adversity.

The issue of people’s hearts is an important and sensitive issue. The heart is called qalb in Arabic because it changes so quickly and frequently (taqallub . alteration, variation, ups and downs). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: .
The heart (qalb) takes its name from its constant changes (taqallub). The likeness of the heart is that of a feather at the root of a tree, being turned over and over by the wind.. (Reported by Ahmad, 4/408; Saheeh al-Jaami., 2364). 
According to another report: .
The likeness of the heart is that of a feather in an empty plot of land, being blown over and over by the wind.. (Reported by Ibn Abi .Aasim in Kitaab al-Sunnah. No. 227. Its isnaad is saheeh, see Zilaal al-Jannah fi Takhreej al-Sunnah by al-Albaani, 1/102).
Man’s heart changes constantly, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) described: .
The heart of the son of Adam changes more quickly than a pan of rapidly boiling water.. (Ibid., no. 226. Its isnaad is saheeh: Zilaal al-Jannah, 1/102), 
According to another report: .
It changes more than a pot of rapidly boiling water.. (Reported by Ahmad, 6/4; Saheeh al-Jaami., no. 5147).
Allaah is the One Who turns hearts around and controls them. .Abd-Allaah ibn .Amr ibn al-.Aas reported that he heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say:
The hearts of the children of Adam are as one between the fingers of the Most Merciful, and He turns them in whatever way He wills.. Then he said: .O Allaah, Controller of the hearts, direct our hearts to obey You.. (Reported by Muslim, no. 2654).
Allaah tells us that:
.. Allaah comes in between a person and his heart (i.e., He prevents an evil person from deciding anything).. [al-Anfaal 8:24 . interpretation of the meaning]
..no one will be saved on the Day of Resurrection .except him who brings to Allaah a clean heart [free from shirk and hypocrisy].. [al-Shu.ara. 26:89 . interpretation of the meaning]
..those whose hearts are hardened. [al-Hajj 22:53 interpretation of the meaning] are doomed and the promise of Paradise is for those .who feared the Most Beneficent (Allaah) in the Unseen, (i.e., in the worldly life, before seeing and meeting Him), and brought a heart turned in repentance (to Him).. [Qaaf 50:33 . interpretation of the meaning].
So the believer must check his heart, find out the nature and cause of the problem, and start treating it straight away, before it overwhelms him and destroys him. The matter is of the utmost seriousness, for Allaah has warned us against the heart that is hardened, closed, sick, blind and sealed.
There follows a discussion of the symptoms of weak faith, what causes it and how it may be treated. I ask Allaah to benefit me and my Muslim brothers through this work, and to richly reward all those who have played a part in producing this book, for He is the One Whom we ask to soften our hearts and guide us. He is our Protector, He is sufficient for us and He is the Best Disposer of affairs.
Symptoms of weak faith
There are a number of symptoms of the sickness of weak faith, including the following:
1. Falling into sin and committing haraam deeds: there are some sinners who commit a sin and persist in it, and some who commit many kinds of sin.
When a person commits many sins, sin becomes a habit which he gets used to, and then he no longer feels that it is abhorrent. He gradually reaches a stage where he commits the sin openly, and thus becomes one of those referred to in the hadeeth: “
All of my ummah will be fine except for those who commit sin openly, an example of which is a man who does something at night, and when morning comes and Allaah has concealed his sin, he says, ‘O So-and-so, I did such and such yesterday.’ His Lord had covered his sin all night, but he has uncovered what Allaah had concealed.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath 10/486).
2. Feeling that one’s heart is hard and rough. A man may feel that his heart has turned to stone which nothing can penetrate or reach. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “
Then, after that, your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness…” [al-Baqarah 2:74]. 
The person whose heart is hard will not be moved by reminders of death or by seeing deceased persons or funerals. He may even carry a dead person to his grave and throw earth into the grave, but when he walks between the graves it is as if he is merely walking between rocks.
3. Not doing acts of worship properly. His mind wanders and he fails to concentrate properly when praying, reading Qur’aan, making du’aa’, etc. He does not think about what he is saying, and he recites the words as the matter of boring habit, if he does these regularly at all.
If he has the habit of praying a certain du’aa’ at certain times, according to the sunnah, he does not think about the meaning of what he is saying, and Allaah “does not accept the du’aa’ of one whose heart is heedless of Him.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 3479; al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 594).
4. Laziness and carelessness in performing acts of worship. If he does them at all, they are just empty movements, devoid of any real feeling. Allaah has described the hypocrites thus (interpretation of the meaning):
“…
and when they stand up for prayer, they stand up with laziness…” [al-Nisa’ 4:142]. 
This also includes neglecting to make the most of special occasions and times for worship. This indicates that a person has no interest in earning reward, so he may delay going for Hajj although he is able to do so, or fail to go for jihaad when he has the strength to do so, or fail to attend prayers in congregation, or even Salat al-Jumu’ah.
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“People will keep holding back from being in the first row (of congregational prayers), until Allaah throws them into the Fire.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 679; Saheeh al-Targheeb, no. 510). 
This kind of person does not feel any remorse or guilt if he sleeps and misses one of the obligatory prayers, or a sunnah prayer that is strongly encouraged, or a wird [regular du’aa’ and dhikr]. He does not want to make it up later, and he deliberately omits doing anything that is sunnah or fard kifaayah (a duty which, if carried out by some of the people, is no longer obligatory on all, but if no-one does it, all are held accountable). So he may not attend Eid prayers (although some scholars say that they are obligatory), or offer the prayers to be said at the time of lunar and solar eclipses, or attend funerals. He does not care about reward at all, which is the opposite of the ideal described by Allaah in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning): “…
they used to hasten on to do good deeds, and they used to call on Us with hope and fear, and used to humble themselves before Us.” [al-Anbiya’ 21:90]
Another example of laziness in performing acts of worship is the neglect of sunnah actions which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) performed regularly, and praying at night (qiyaam al-layl), setting out early to go to the mosque, and other naafil prayers, such as duhaa, never even occur to him, let alone the two-rak’ahs of tawbah (repentance) and istikhaarah.
Tightness in the chest, mood swings and depression, which weigh a man down and make him quick to complain about the slightest thing. He easily gets upset with the people around him, and no longer has any tolerance.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) described faith when he said, “
Eemaan is patience and tolerance” (Al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, no. 554, 2/86),
and he described,
the believer as being “one who makes friends and with whom others feel comfortable. There is no goodness in one who does not make friends and with whom others do not feel comfortable.” (Al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, no. 427).
5. Not being moved by the aayaat of the Qur’aan, by its promises of Paradise or its warnings of Hell, by its commands and prohibitions, or by its descriptions of the Day of Resurrection.
The one who is weak in faith gets bored when he hears the Qur’aan being recited, and cannot continue reading it. Whenever he opens the mus-haf, he soon closes it again.
Not focusing on Allaah when remembering Him (dhikr) or making du’aa’, so dhikr becomes difficult for him, and when he raises his hands to make du’aa’, he quickly lowers them again. Allaah has described the hypocrites (interpretation of the meaning):
“…..and they do not remember Allaah but little.” [al-Nisa’ 4:142]
6. Not feeling angry when the limits set by Allaah are violated, because the flame of zeal has been extinguished in his heart, so he no longer takes action to stop evil, or enjoins evildoers to do good, or denounces wrongdoing. He never gets angry for the sake of Allaah. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) described this heart ravaged by weakness in the saheeh hadeeth: “
The heart will be subjected to trial after trial, and there will appear a black stain on any heart that is affected, which will spread until the heart is completely black and sealed, as it were, so that it will not recognize any good deed or denounce any evil, except whatever suits its own desires.” (Reported by Muslim, no. 144). 
7. Love of good and hatred of evil have disappeared from a heart like this; all things are equal to such a person, and he has no motive to enjoin good or forbid evil. He may hear of some evil that is being done on earth, and may accept it; in this case he carries the same burden of sin as one who witnesses evil and approves of it, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in the saheeh hadeeth:
“If sin is committed on earth, the one who witnesses it and hates it [one time he said, ‘denounces it’] will be like one who knew nothing of it. Whoever does not witness it but approves of it will be like one who witnesses it.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 4345; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 689). 
This approval, which is an action of the heart, makes him like one who witnessed the sin.
8. Love of fame and prominence, which may take many forms, including the following: Desire for leadership without understanding the serious responsibility involved.
This is what the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned us against when he said,
“You will be very keen to be leaders, but you will regret it on the Day of Resurrection, for although it seems easy in the beginning, it becomes a hardship later on [literally: the breastfeeding is a luxury but weaning is miserable].” (The meaning is that at the beginning, leadership brings wealth, power and enjoyment, but later it brings the risk of being assassinated or deposed, and one will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection). (Reported by al-Bukhaari, no. 6729). 
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also said:
“If you wish, I could tell you about leadership and what it is. Firstly, it is blame; secondly, it is regret; and thirdly, it is punishment on the Day of Resurrection – except for one who is just.” (Reported by al- Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, 18/72; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1420).
If it were the case that a man wanted to carry out duties and responsibilities, where there is no one better for the job than him, with the intention of doing his best and being sincere and just, as Yusuf (peace be upon him) did, then we could say that this is fair enough. But in most cases it is the matter of a strong desire to lead and put oneself forward although there is a better person, denying the opportunity of leadership to those who are qualified and wanting to be the only one to issue instructions and prohibitions.
8. Loving to sit at the head of gatherings, to monopolize the discussion, to make others listen to one’s words, and to have power. The head of a gathering is the “slaughterhouse” about which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned us when he said, “
Beware of these slaughterhouses.” (Reported by al-Bayhaqi, 2/439; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 120).
Loving to have people stand up when one comes into the room, because this makes the one whose heart is diseased feel great. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “
Whoever feels happy to have the slaves of Allaah stand up for him, let him occupy his house in Hellfire.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 977; see also Silsilah al-Saheeh, 357). 
Once when Mu’aawiyah went out to see Ibn al-Zubayr and Ibn ‘Aamir, Ibn ‘Aamir stood up whilst Ibn al-Zubayr remained sitting  (according to one report: and he [Ibn al-Zubayr] was wiser and more stable in character). Mu’aawiyah said to Ibn ‘Aamir, “Sit down, for I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say, ‘
Whoever likes to have men stand up for him, let him take his place in Hellfire.’” (Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 5229, and by al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 977; al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 357). 
This kind of person will get angry if the sunnah is followed and people start from the right (and not with him, when passing out refreshments, etc.);
when such a person enters a gathering, he will not be happy until someone gets up and gives him his seat, even though the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade this when he said, “No man should make another get up from his place so that he can sit in it.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 11/62).
9. Stinginess and miserliness. Allaah praised the Ansaar in His Book by saying (interpretation of the meaning): “…
and [they] gave them [the muhaajiroon] preference over themselves, even though they were in need of that…” [al-Hashr 59:9]. 
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained that the successful are those who avoid miserliness, and that weakness of faith generates stinginess: “
Stinginess and faith never exist together in the heart of the believer.” (Reported by al-Nisaa’i, al-Mujtaba, 6/13; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2678). 
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also described the serious nature of stinginess and its consequences:
“Beware of stinginess, for those who came before you were destroyed because of stinginess. It commanded them to be miserly, so they were miserly; it commanded them to cut family ties, so they cut them; and it commanded them to be immoral, so they were immoral. (Reported by Abu Dawood, 2/324; Saheeh al-Jaami, no. 2678). 
When it comes to miserliness, the person whose faith is weak can hardly give anything for the sake of Allaah, even when there is an honest appeal and it is quite obvious that his brothers in Islam are suffering the impact of poverty and are stricken by disaster. There is no more eloquent statement on the matter of miserliness than the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning): “
Behold! You are those who are called to spend in the Cause of Allaah, yet among you are some who are niggardly. And whoever is niggardly, it is only at the expense of his own self. But Allaah is Rich (Free of all wants), and you (mankind) are poor. And if you turn away (from Islam and the obedience of Allaah), He will exchange for you some other people, and they will not be your likes.” [Muhammad 47:38].
9. Not practising what one preaches. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful is it with Allaah that you say that which you do not do.” [al-Saff 61:2-3]. 
No doubt this is a kind of hypocrisy, and the person whose deeds do not match his words is blameworthy before Allaah and despicable in the eyes of his fellow man. The people of Hellfire will soon discover the reality of the one who enjoins good but does not do it, and forbids evil, but does it himself.
Malicious enjoyment of the failures, losses or disasters suffered by one’s brothers in Islam, when the blessings that they had enjoyed are taken away, or when the thing that made another person appear more distinguished than him is gone.
10. Looking at matters in black-or-white terms of whether they are sinful or not, and taking the matter of makrooh lightly.
Some people, when they want to do something, do not ask about what good deeds they could do, instead they ask, “Will this be counted as a sin, or is it ‘only’ makrooh?” This way of thinking leads them into the trap of issues that
are not clear-cut and deeds that are makrooh, and eventually ensnares them in haraam deeds. The person who thinks like this has nothing to stop him from committing makrooh or doubtful deeds so long as they are not actually haraam. This is exactly what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was talking about what he said,
“Whoever falls into doubtful matters falls into haraam, like a shepherd who grazes his flock around a place where he is not allowed – he will soon enter it…” (Reported by al-Bukhaari and Muslim; this version narrated by Muslim, no. 1599).
When some people ask for a fatwa about something and are told that it is haraam, they ask, “Is it very haraam or not? How much sin is involved?” People like this have no interest in avoiding bad deeds; indeed, they are prepared to commit the first level of haraam and they take small sins
lightly, with the results that they they have the guts to transgress even further and violate the limits set by Allaah. For this reason the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“I will certainly recognize people who will come on the Day of Resurrection bringing good deeds as great as the white mountain of Tuhaamah, and Allaah, may He be glorified, will make it like dust in the air.” Thawbaan said, “O Messenger of Allaah, describe them to us and explain this so that we will not unwittingly be among them.” He said, “They are your brothers and they look like you. They pray at night as you do, but if they had the opportunity to violate the limits set by Allaah, they would do so.” (Reported by Ibn Maajah, no. 4245. He said in al-Zawaa’id: its isnaad is saheeh and its men are thiqaat. See also Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5028).
So you will find such a person committing haraam deeds without any hesitation or reservation, which makes him worse than the one who does so after pausing and hesitating. Both are in danger, but the former is worse than the latter. This kind of person takes sins lightly as a result of his weakness of faith, and does not think that he has done anything wrong. For this reason, Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) described the attitude of the believer and of the hypocrite as follows: “
The believer sees his sins as if he were sitting beneath a mountain which he fears will fall on him, whilst the sinner sees his sins as if it were a fly passing his nose and he says such-and-such to it” – i.e., he shoos it away with his hand. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 11/102; See also Taghleeq al-Ta’leeq, 5/136, publ. by al-Maktab al-Islami).
11.Thinking little of good deeds, and having no interest in doing small hasanaat. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught us to pay attention to small acts of goodness.
Imaam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported from Abu Juray al-Hujaymi who said, “I came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, we are a desert people. Teach us something by which Allaah, may He be blessed and exalted, will benefit us.’ He said, Do not look down on any act of goodness, even if it is just emptying your bucket into the vessel of one who wants to drink, or speaking to your brother with a cheerful expression.’” (Musnad Ahmad, 5/63; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 1352).
If someone comes wanting to drink from the well, and you lift up your bucket and empty it for him, this is a  good deed; even though it appears insignificant, you should not think little of it. The same applies to greeting your brother with a cheerful expression, and cleaning dirt and garbage from the mosque, even if it is as small as a straw. This deed may be the cause of your sins being forgiven, for Allaah will appreciate good deeds of this nature and will forgive sins because of them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: .
A man passed a branch of a tree lying in the road and said, .By Allaah, I want to remove this out of the way of the Muslims so that it will not hurt them,. and he was admitted to Paradise.. (Reported byMuslim, no. 1914).
There is something wrong with the person who thinks little of simple acts of
goodness. It is sufficient punishment for this attitude that he is denied the great advantage described by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):
.Whoever removes something harmful from the path of the Muslims, one hasanah will be recorded for him, and whoever has a hasanah accepted, will enter Paradise.. (Reported by al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, no. 593; see also al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 5/387).
Mu’aadh was walking with another man, and he picked up a stone from the road. The man asked him, .What is this?. He said, .I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say, .
Whoever removes a stone from the road, one hasanah will be recorded for him, and whoever has a hasanah, will enter Paradise… (al-Mu.jam al-Kabeer by al-Tabaraani, 20/101; al-Silsilat al-Saheeh, 5/387).
12. Lack of concern about the Muslims’ affairs and lack of any involvement whether it be by making du’aa., giving charity or helping them.
Such a person has a cool attitude towards the oppression, suppression and disasters suffered by his Muslim brothers in other parts of the world, and is content merely with his own safety. This is the result of weak faith, because the believer is the opposite of that. The Prophet (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him) said:
The believer.s position in relation to his fellow believers is like that of the head to the body; the believer feels the pain of his fellow believers as the body reacts to the pain suffered by the head.. (Musnad Ahmad, 5/340; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 1137).
13. Breaking the ties of brotherhood between two who used to be close. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
No two people are friends for the sake of Allaah or in Islam, but they will be split apart by the first sin (according to another report: they will only be split apart by the first sin) committed by either of them.. (al-Bukhaari, al-Adab al-Mufrad, no. 401; Ahmad, al-Musnad, 2/68; see also al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 637).
This indicates the bad effects which may impact upon and even destroy
the bonds of brotherhood. This alienation which a man may feel between himself and his brother is a result of the lowering of faith caused by committing a sin, because Allaah causes him to lose his standing in the eyes of His slaves, and so he is in the miserable position of having no respect and misses out on the fellowship of the believers and the protection of Allaah, for Allaah protects those who believe.
14. Not feeling any responsibility to work for Islam and spread this religion, which is unlike the attitude of the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who as soon as they entered this religion felt this responsibility straight away, for example, al-Tufayl ibn ‘Amr (may Allaah be pleased with him), who became Muslim and went to call his people to Islam straight away. He was only a new Muslim but he felt that he had to go back and call his people to Islam, and he went and did this, yet nowadays many people wait for a long time after they become committed to Islam before they reach the stage of calling others to Allaah, may He be glorified.
The Companions of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), as a result of entering Islam, used to feel enmity towards the kuffaar, and they would disavow themselves of them and draw a clear line. When Thamaamah ibn Athaal (may Allaah be pleased with him), the chief of the people of al-Yamaamah, was taken prisoner, he was held in the mosque, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told him about Islam. Then Allaah caused the light of Islam to shine in his heart, and he became Muslim. He went for ‘Umrah, and when he reached
Makkah, he told the kuffaar of Quraysh, “Not one grain of wheat will reach you from al-Yamaamah except with the permission of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 8/78).
This declaration of opposition to the kuffaar, imposition of economic sanctions and offer of all resources at his disposal to serve the cause of da’wah all took place immediately, because strong faith demands action.
Fear and panic when disaster strikes or problems arise. So you will see such a person shaking and losing his equilibrium, with no focus, staring wild-eyed and having no idea what to do when faced with calamity. He is ruled by his fears and can see no way out; he cannot face reality with a strong and steady heart. All of this is the result of weak faith, for if his faith was strong he would be steadfast and he would face the worst disasters with calmness and strength.
15. Excessive arguing and disputing. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in a saheeh hadeeth: “
No people will go astray after having being guided except that they become argumentative.” (Reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad, 5/252; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5633).
Arguing with no proof and for no good reason leads one far away from
the Straight Path, and most of people’s futile arguments nowadays are conducted without knowledge or guidance or (reference to) a Book giving light (i.e., the Qur’aan). We have sufficient motive to avoid futile arguments in the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):
“I guarantee a house in the outskirts of Paradise to the one who forsakes argument even when he is in the right.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, 5/150; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1464).
16. Attachment to this world and rejoicing in it. A person may be so attached to this world that he feels pain if he misses out on some share of it, such as money, power, authority, or housing. He feels that he is unfairly treated because he has not got what others have. He feels more stress when he sees a brother in Islam who has something of this world that he does not have, so he envies him (hasad) and wishes that he will lose
that blessing. This goes against eemaan, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “
Eeman and hasad do not exist together in the heart of the true slave.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, 5/150; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1464).
He talks and thinks in a purely rational manner, devoid of the characteristics of faith. There is hardly any trace of a reference to the Qur’aan and Sunnah, or the words of the salaf (the early generations of Islam – may Allaah have mercy on them), in the way such a person speaks.
17. Going to extremes in the way one cares for oneself, in food, drink, clothing, housing and means of transportation. So you see these people showing excessive interest in luxuries, trying to be sophisticated, buying only the finest clothes, spending extravagant amounts on their choice of housing and spending too much time and money on such unnecessary adornments whilst their Muslim brothers are in the greatest need of that money. This carries on until they sink into the soft life of luxury which is forbidden, as is reported in the hadeeth of Mu’aadh ibn Jabal (may Allaah be pleased with him): when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent him to Yemen, he advised him: “
Beware of luxury, for the slaves of Allaah do not live a life of luxury.” (Reported by Abu Na’eem in al-Hilyah, 5/155; Silsilat al-Saheehah, 353. A similar version was also reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad, 5/243).
Continue to Part-2:  Causes of weak faith

The Keys to Humility


Many of us, Islamic blog writers, students of knowledge, activists, khatibs, or any of the groups of people in between who’s Islamic activities are public affairs, find ourselves in a difficult situation. We know the importance of humility and know that it is constantly under attack.

From khutbah compliments, to blog comments, to proving a young brother or sister’s incorrect point of view to be incorrect and helping them understand a point of fiqh or arabic or ‘Aqidah – true humility is the part of our castles..

We take the steps towards being humble, and then…recognize to ourselves that we have taken these steps, thus causing us to become proud of ourselves. It is a vicious cycle. More knowledge, more wisdom…
more to lose in the battle for humility. And on top of this, how do we keep our “humility” from turning into a destruction of our self-confidence and sense of self worth?

Where is the balance? How do we keep from shows of self-demeaning: “brother, if you know me you’d know I was a pile of………” types of extreme responses to compliments.

How do we protect ourselves? How do we truly remove the pride from our hearts? Is hearing the Hadith about pride really sufficient? Is that enough fuel for us to do the job?

1. Remember why humility is important. 

The Prophet said: “No one who has an atom’s worth of pride in his/her heart will enter Jannah.”

Humility makes us beloved to Allah (SWT) and makes us kind with people. It allows us to enter Jannah. It allows us to live out our deen well, because not having an inflated opinion of ourselves allows us to accept mistakes, and move forward to correct them.

2. The classic advice of: “There are people who are more qualified than you” is good, but not comprehensive. 

We will discuss the good first – For anyone who has studied some arabic, quran, tajwid, or fiqh, you can rest assured, unless perhaps you are one of the few mujtahid-level ‘ulama alive today, that there are thousands of people out there, if not millions, who know more than you do. They are far more qualified in the deen, and many of them are younger than you. There are people more dedicated than you, more active than you, and smarter than you.

This should not dissuade us, but should bring us back to Earth.

Remember, Musa was not the least bit discouraged by his conversation with Al-Khidr. Rather, he went forward after this lesson, to build his nation into a great Ummah for the sake of Allah (swt) and establish the Shari’ah.

However, this by itself is not comprehensive. Because as many people as there might be who are more qualified than you, there will also be many who are less qualified. They will hear your khutbahs, speeches, articles, advices, and see your Islamic work and benefit. They will look up to you, ask you questions, and you will try to help them. You will teach tajwid, Quran, and many other things.

Thus, point 2 is not sufficient for us, and will still keep us in the vicious battle for our humility.

3. The comprehensive answer, often overlooked in this discussion, is simpler than we think, but easier said then done.

The answer, the key to humility – is an acknowledgment, a true, deep acknowledgment, that any accomplishment that you have ever made in your entire life of any kind, is NOTHING more than a grace and mercy of Allah (SWT) that you really have not done much to deserve.

Everything you have done, you could only do because He let you.

Everything you have gained, you only gained because He gave you.

When a beggar receives 10 dollars from a rich man, he does not go to the rich man and pretend that he has earned this money. Nor does he go into the streets haughtily and pretend that he himself is rich. His clothes, his hair, his countenance, testify to his true state.

Similarily, when we, the fuqara (the poor), have received such a charity from Allah, the Rich, of life, knowledge, deen, and rizq – our hearts and our actions testify to our true state as beggars. We thank Allah (SWT) that he hid that from the people such that people cannot see that we are just beggars. But on the Day of Judgement, that state will be easily seen if we do not rectify it.

So brothers and sisters, the key to humility is not found only in looking above you to examples of people who are better. Rather, it is looking to your Lord,and recognizing your state when placed before him.

It is in recognizing that the differences of human beings before Allah, are like a 4 yr old and a 4 yr and 1 month old arguing about who is older and thus, better.

All of this talk of humility comes down to this relationship with Allah (swt) at the end, and realizing what His Rububiyyah (Lordship) over you, really means.

Be humble with Allah (SWT) – that this Infinitely Knowledgeable Lord is always watching you, and humility with people will come. But if you try to be humble with people as the end and means, brushing off compliments and making false statements to try and seem humble, we will lose ourselves in our insincerity.

4. Lastly – do not let humility become a lack of self-confidence of source of self-degradation. 

Allah says:
“Wa la qad karramnaa bani Adam” – Verily, Indeed we have honored the Children of Adam”

Bani Adam is a mukarram creation. It is honored. Allah fashioned Adam Himself and blew the Spirit into Adam. We are honored by Allah with Islam and as human being. Do not brush off this honor, nor seek honor in anything else except Islam.

Recognize the balance in the first verse ever revealed:
“Read in the Name of Your Lord who created; created Mankind from a clinging piece of flesh” (96:1) and “He who taught Man by the Pen. Taught Man that which he did not know.”

See how Allah shows us an honor that we were created by Allah, our Lord, Himself! How special we should feel that we were fashioned by Allah personally. How honored that He (SWT) taught us and our father Adam what he did not even teach any other creation?

Then how Allah balances this with “a clinging piece of flesh” showing us the lowly origin of our creation.

So let us seek our humility not through external gestures, but through a relationship with Allah. Let us keep balance in our humility, that we remember we are honored, but that before Allah we are dust. And let us pray that Allah makes us better than what the people think we are.

The Prophet’s Methods for Correcting People’s Mistakes – Last Part-4


15 – Provoking public opinion against the one who has made the mistake

This method is only to be used in very limited circumstances, when a great deal of thought has been given to the matter, to avoid any negative escalation of the situation. There follows an example of how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used this method:

Abu Hurayrah said: “A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and complained to him about his neighbour. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Go and put up with him.’ The man came back two or three times, then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Go and put your belongings out in the street.’ So he went and put his belongings out in the street. People started to ask him what was going on, so he told them, and the people started to curse (the neighbour), saying, ‘May Allaah do such-and-such to him.’ Then the neighbour came to him and said, ‘Put your stuff back, you will not see anything else from me that you dislike.’” (Reported by Abu Dawood, Kitaab al-Adab, Baab fi Haqq al-Jiwaar, no. 5153; Saheeh Abi Dawood, 4292).

This method has an opposite counterpart which is used in other circumstances to protect people from the public’s harm, as will be explained below:

16 – Avoiding helping the Shaytaan against the one who is making a mistake

‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab reported that at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), there was a man called ‘Abd-Allaah whose nickname was Himaar (donkey), who used to make the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) laugh. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had him whipped for drinking – he was brought to him one day and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave orders that he should be whipped. One of the men present said, “O Allaah, curse him! How often has he been brought [to be punished because of drinking]!” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Do not curse him, for by Allaah, all I know of him is that he loves Allaah and His Messenger.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 6780).

Abu Hurayrah said: “A drunkard was brought to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he ordered that he should be beaten, so some of us hit him with our hands, others with shoes and garments. When he went away, a man said, ‘May Allaah put him to shame!’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Do not be a help to the Shaytaan against your brother.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 6781).

Abu Hurayrah also said: “A man who had been drinking was brought to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he said, ‘Beat him.’ Some of us hit him with our hands, others with shoes and clothes. When he went away, some of the people said, ‘May Allaah put you to shame!’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Do not speak like this. Do not help the Shaytaan against him.’” (Al-Bukhaari, Fath, 6777)

According to another report: “Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to his Companions, ‘Rebuke him.’ So they turned to him and said, ‘You did not think of Allaah, you did not fear Allaah, you did not feel ashamed before the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ Then they let him go, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Say, “O Allaah, forgive him, O Allaah, have mercy on him”’ and some of them added similar sentiments.” (Abu Dawood, Kitaab al-Hudood, Baab al-Hadd fi’l-Khamr, no. 4478, 4/620. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, no. 3759).

According to another report: “When he went away, some of the people said, ‘May Allaah put you to shame!’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Do not speak like this, do not help the Shaytaan against him. Say “May Allaah have mercy on you.”’” (Reported by Ahmad, 2/300. Ahmad Shaakir said, its isnaad is saheeh. Al-Musnad, ed. by Ahmad Shaakir, no. 7973).

What we learn from all of these reports is that if the Muslim falls into sin, he is still basically a Muslim and still basically loves Allaah and His Messenger, and this should not be denied. It is not permitted to pray against him in a manner that helps the Shaytaan against him; rather we should pray for him and ask Allaah to guide him, forgive him and have mercy on him.

17 – Asking the person to stop doing the wrong action

It is very important to make the person stop the wrong deed so that it does not get any worse and so that there is no delay in the denunciation of evil.

‘Umar reported that he said, “No, by my father.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Stop! Whoever swears by something other than Allaah, is guilty of shirk.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 1/47. Ahmad Shaakir said, its isnaad is saheeh. No. 329)

Abu Dawood reported in his Sunan that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Busr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said, “A man came stepping over the necks on the people (in the mosque) one Friday, whilst the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was delivering the khutbah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Sit down! You are causing a disturbance.’”

Al-Tirmidhi reported that Ibn ‘Umar said: “A man burped in the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He said, ‘Keep your burps away from us! The ones who fill their stomachs most in this world, will be the ones who remain hungry longest on the Day of Resurrection. (Abu ‘Eesa said, this is a ghareeb hasan hadeeth with this isnaad. Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 2478; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 343.)

These ahaadeeth show a direct request to the person who is making the mistake to stop what he is doing.

18 – Explaining to the person who is making a mistake how to put things right

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did this in a number of ways, including the following:

– Drawing an individual’s attention to his mistake so that he could put it right himself.

An example of this is the report narrated by Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said that he was with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and “the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered and saw a man sitting in the middle of the mosque, clasping his fingers together and talking to himself. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gestured towards him, but he did not notice. So he turned to Abu Sa’eed and said, ‘If one of you is praying, he should not clasp his fingers together, because this clasping comes from the Shaytaan, and you are in a state of prayer so long as you are still in the mosque, until you go out.’” (Reported by Ahmad in his Musnad, 3/54. Al-Haythami said in al-Majma’ (2/25): its isnaad is hasan).

– Asking the person to do something again, correctly, if this is possible.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that a man entered the mosque whilst the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was sitting in a far corner. He prayed, then he came and greeted him with salaam. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Wa ‘alayka al-salaam, go back and pray, because you have not prayed.” So he went back and prayed, then he came back and greeted the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who said, “Wa ‘alayka al-salaam, go back and pray, because you have not prayed.” On the second occasion, or subsequently, the man said, “Teach me, O Messenger of Allaah.” He said, “When you stand up to pray, do wudoo’ properly, then face the qiblah and say Takbeer (‘Allaahu akbar’). Then recite whatever is easy for you of Qur’aan, then bow until you are at ease in rukoo’, then stand up until your back is completely straight. Then prostrate until you are at ease in sujood, then sit up until you are at ease in your sitting, then prostrate again until you are at ease in your sujood, then sit up again until you are at ease in your sitting. Do this in all your prayers.” (Reported by all; this version reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 6251).

We should note that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pay attention to the actions of the people around him so that he could teach them. According to a report narrated by al-Nisaa’i: “A man entered the mosque and prayed, whilst the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was watching him and we did not realize. When he finished, he turned and greeted the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who told him, ‘Go back and pray, for you have not prayed’…” (2/193 Saheeh Sunan al-Nisaa’i, no. 1008).

Among the qualities of the educator is that he should be aware of the actions of those who are with him.

  1. It is a part of educational wisdom to ask a person who has made a mistake to re-do his action, so that he can notice his mistake and put it right himself, especially when it is an obvious mistake that does not befit him. He may have done it out of forgetfulness, so this will remind him.
  2. If the person who has made a mistake does not realize it, it must be pointed out and explained to him.
  3. Giving information to a person who is interested and has asked about it himself is more effective and is more likely to be remembered than handing it out to someone who has not made any such enquiries.

The methods of teaching are many, and the educator can choose whichever are best suited in any given circumstances.

Another example of asking a person to repeat his action correctly is given by Muslim (may Allaah have mercy on him) in his Saheeh, where he reports that Jaabir said: “‘Umar ibn al-Khattab told me that a man did wudoo’, but missed an area on his foot the size of a fingernail. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw him and said, ‘Go back and do your wudoo’ properly.’ So he went and did it again, then he prayed.” (Saheeh Muslim, 243).

A third example was narrated by al-Tirmidhi (may Allaah have mercy on him) in his Sunan from Kildah ibn Hanbal, who said that Safwaan ibn Umayyah sent him with some milk, yoghurt and daghaabees [an edible plant] to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was at the top of the valley. He said, “I entered upon him, and I did not greet him with salaam or ask permission to enter, so the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Go out and say “Al-salaamu ‘alaykum, may I enter?”’” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2710. Al-Tirmidhi said, a ghareeb hasan hadeeth. The hadeeth is also in Saheeh Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 2180).

– Asking the person who has made the mistake to correct it as much as he can.

Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on it) reported from Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “No man should be alone with a woman unless he is a mahram (close blood relative to whom marriage is permanently forbidden).” A man stood up and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, my wife has gone out for Hajj and I have signed up for such-and-such a military campaign.” He said, “Go back and do Hajj with your wife.” (al-Fath, 5233).

– Putting right the consequences of the mistake

Al-Nisaa’i (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported in his Sunanfrom ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr that a man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, “I have come to pledge allegiance to you and to make hijrah (migration) to you. I have left my parents weeping.” He said, “Go back to them and make them smile as you made them weep.” (Al-Majmaa 7/143. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan al-Nisaa’i, no. 3881).

– Offering kafaarah (expiation) for the mistake

If some mistakes cannot be corrected or reversed, then there are other ways offered by Islam for wiping out their effects. One of these ways is kafaaraat or acts of expiation, of which there are many types, such as kafaarat al-yameen (expiation for swearing an unfulfilled oath), and expiation for zihaar (a jaahili form of divorce in which one says to one’s wife “You are to me as my mother’s back”), manslaughter, having intercourse during the day in Ramadaan, and so on.

19 – Denouncing only the mistake whilst accepting the rest

It may be the case that not all of what a person says or does is wrong, so it is wise to limit our denunciation only to that which is wrong, and not to generalize by condemning everything that is said or done as being wrong. This is indicated in the report narrated by al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) in his Saheeh from al-Rubay’ bint Mu’awwadh ibn ‘Afraa’, who said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came and entered, and sat down on my bed the way you sat down. Some young girls of ours began beating on the daff (hand-drum) and singing songs eulogizing those of our forefathers who had been killed at Badr. Then one of them said, ‘Among us there is a Prophet who knows the future.’ He [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] said: ‘Do not say that; say what you were saying before.’” (Fath, 5147). According to a report narrated by al-Tirmidhi: “… The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to her: ‘Do not say this; say what you were saying before.’” (Abu ‘Eesa said: this is a saheeh hasan hadeeth. Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Shaakir edn., 1090). According to a report narrated by Ibn Maajah, he said: “Do not say this; no one knows the future except Allaah.” (Sunan Ibn Maajah, ‘Abd al-Baaqi edn., no. 1879. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah, no. 1539).

There is no doubt that this kind of treatment makes the person feel that the one who is striving to point out mistakes and correct them is fair and just, and this makes him more likely to accept his advice. This is in contrast to some of those who want to denounce errors, but get so angry with the mistake committed that they go to extremes in their denunciation and condemn everything done and said by the one who has made the mistake, good and bad alike. This makes the person reject what they say and refuse to follow their advice.

In some cases, the mistake consists not of the words themselves, but the occasion or context in which they are uttered. For example, when somebody dies, one person may say, “Al-Faatihah,” and everyone present will recite it. They believe that there is nothing wrong with this because what they are reciting is Qur’aan, not words of kufr. It has to be explained to them that what is wrong with this action is thinking that we should recite al-Faatihahon such occasions as an act of worship without any shar’i evidence for doing so, which is the essence of bid’ah. This is what Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) pointed out to a man who sneezed beside him and said, “Al-hamdu Lillaahi wa’l-salaam ‘ala Rasool- Illaah (Praise be to Allaah and peace be upon the Messenger of Allaah).” Ibn ‘Umar said, “I could say ‘Al-hamdu Lillaahi wa’l-salaam ‘ala Rasool- Illaah’, but this is not how the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught us. He taught us to say ‘Al-hamdu Lillaahi ‘ala kulli haal (Praise be to Allaah whatever the circumstances).” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 2738).

20 – Restoring rights and preserving positions

Muslim reported that ‘Awf ibn Maalik said: “A man of Humayr killed one of the enemy and wanted to take his possessions as booty, but Khaalid ibn al-Waleed, who was in charge of the campaign, prevented him from doing so. ‘Awf ibn Maalik came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and told him about it. He asked Khaalid, ‘What stopped you from giving him his booty?’ Khaalid said, ‘I thought it was too much, O Messenger of Allaah.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Give it to him.’ Then Khaalid passed by ‘Awf, who pulled his cloak and said, ‘Did I not do what I told you I would do with regard to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)?’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) heard him and got angry, and said, ‘Do not give it to him, O Khaalid! Do not give it to him, O Khaalid! Why do you not leave my commanders alone? The likeness of you and them is that of a man who is asked to take care of camels or sheep, so he takes care of them, then when it is time for them to drink, he takes them to a trough and they start to drink, and they drink the clean water and leave the dregs behind. You take the clean water and leave the dregs for them [the commanders].’” (Muslim bi Sharh al-Nawawi, 12/64)

Imaam Ahmad transmitted a more complete version of this report from ‘Awf ibn Maalik al-Ashja’i, who said: “We went out on a military campaign on the border of Syria, and Khaalid ibn al-Waleed was appointed as our commander. A man belonging to Humayr came and joined our band, and he had nothing but a sword, no other weapon. One of the Muslims slaughtered a camel and that man kept trying to snatch something until he managed to grab a piece of skin the shape of a shield. He spread it on the ground and cured it until it was dry, then he made a handle for it, like a shield. We met with the enemy, who were a mixed group of Romans and Arabs from (the tribe of) Qudaa’ah. They fought us fiercely. Among them was a Roman on a palomino horse with a golden-coloured saddle and a gold-plated belt, and a sword of similar material. He started attacking and challenging the people, and that Madadi man kept dodging around the Roman until he approached him from behind and struck the horse’s hamstring with his sword. The Roman fell off, and the man followed that with a blow from his sword that killed him. When Allaah granted them victory, the man came asking about the booty, and the people bore witness that he had killed [that Roman], so Khaalid gave him some of the booty and withheld the rest. When he came back to ‘Awf’s band, he told him about it, and ‘Awf said, ‘Go back to him and let him give you the rest.’ So he went back, but [Khaalid] refused to give it to him. ‘Awf went to Khaalid and said, ‘Do you not know that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ruled that the booty should go to the one who kills?’ He said, ‘Of course.’ He said, ‘So what is stopping you from giving him his booty?’ He said, ‘I thought it was too much to give to him.’ ‘Awf said, ‘When I see the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) I am going to tell him about this.’ When he came to Madeenah, ‘Awf sent the man and he complained to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called Khaalid, whilst ‘Awf was sitting there, and said: ‘O Khaalid, what stopped you from giving this man his spoils of war?’ He said, ‘I thought it was too much for him, O Messenger of Allaah.’ [The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] said, ‘Give it to him.’ [Khaalid] passed by ‘Awf, and ‘Awf pulled on his cloak and said, ‘Wasn’t it enough for you what I told you about the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)?’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) heard him and got angry, and said, ‘Do not give it to him, O Khaalid. Why do you not leave my commanders alone? The likeness of you and them is that of a man who is asked to take care of camels or sheep, so he takes care of them, then when it is time for them to drink, he takes them to a trough and they start to drink, and they drink the clean water and leave the dregs behind. You take the clean water and leave the dregs for them [the commanders].’”

We may note here that when Khaalid made a mistake in his decision (ijtihaad) to withhold the large amount of booty from the killer, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded that the matter should be put right by giving the booty to its rightful owner, but he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) got angry when he heard ‘Awf (may Allaah be pleased with him) making insinuations about Khaalid and poking fun at him by saying, “Did I not do what I told you I would do with regard to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)?” and pulling on Khaalid’s cloak when he walked past him, so he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Do not give it to him, O Khaalid.” This was for the purpose of reinstating and reinforcing the position of the commander and leader, because upholding the leader’s position in front of the people serves an obvious purpose.

But the following question may arise: If the killer had the right to the booty, how could he deny it to him? Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) answered this query with two possible outcomes:

Either he gave the booty to the man later on, and he delayed it as a punishment to him and to ‘Awf for saying what they said to Khaalid (may Allaah be pleased with him) and showing disrespect to the commander and the one who had appointed him; or the one who had the right to take it gave it up willingly and donated it for the Muslims, and the point of this was to make Khaalid (may Allaah be pleased with him) feel better for the purpose of upholding the position of leaders. (Al-Fath al-Rabbaani, 14/8 4)

Further evidence concerning restoration of the position of the person who has been wronged comes in the report narrated in the Musnadof Imaam Ahmad from Abu Tufayl ‘Aamir ibn Waathilah, that a man passed by a group of people and greeted them with salaam, and they returned the greeting, but when he had gone, one of them said, “By Allaah, I hate this man for the sake of Allaah.” The others present said, “What a bad thing to say! By Allaah, we are going to tell him. Get up, O So-and-So – one of the people present – and tell him.” So their messenger caught up with him and told him what had been said. The man went to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, I passed by a group of Muslims among whom was So-and-So. I greeted them with salaam and they returned the greeting, and when I had left, one of them caught up with me and told me that So-and-So had said, ‘By Allaah, I hate this man for the sake of Allaah.’ Call him and ask him why he hates me.” So the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called him and asked him about what the man had said. He admitted it and said, “I did say that, O Messenger of Allaah.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Why do you hate him?” He said, “I am his neighbour and I know him very well. By Allaah, I have never seen him pray any prayer except the prescribed prayer which everyone, good and bad alike, prays.” The man said, “Ask him, O Messenger of Allaah, has he ever seen me delaying any prayer, or not doing wudoo’ properly, or not doing rukoo’ and sujood properly?” He said, “No,” then he said, “By Allaah, I have never seen him fast at all except this month which everyone, good and bad alike, fasts.” He said, “O Messenger of Allaah, has he ever seen me breaking my fast during [that month], or doing anything to invalidate my fast?” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked him, and he said, “No,” then he said, “By Allaah, I have never seen him giving to any needy person or spending any of his wealth for the sake of Allaah except for this charity [zakaah] which everyone, good and bad alike, gives.” He said, “Ask him, O Messenger of Allaah, have I ever withheld any part of the zakaah or kept it back from the one who asked for it?” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked him and he said, “No.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “I don’t know, maybe he is better than you.”

Immediately following this report in al-Musnad, it says the following: “Ya’qoob told us, my father told us from Ibn Shihaab, that he was told that a man at the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) passed by a group of people. He did not mention Abu al-Tufayl. Abu ‘Abd-Allaah said: I heard that Ibraaheem ibn Sa’d reported this hadeeth from his memory and said concerning Abu al-Tufayl that his son Ya’qoob narrated from his father, but he did not mention Abu al-Tufayl. I think he is mistaken, and the report of Ya’qoob is saheeh, And Allaah knows best.” (Al-Musnad, 5/455. Al-Haythami said: the men of Ahmad are thiqaat. Athbaat al-Majma’, 1/291).

It is very important to maintain a person’s position after he has repented from his mistake and set matters straight, so that he will remain on the right path and live a normal life among people. It was reported in the story of the Makhzoomi woman who had her hand cut off (for stealing), which was reported by ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), that “she repented properly later on, and she got married and used to come to me and I would tell the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon her) what she needed.” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 1688).

21 – Addressing both parties in cases where the blame is shared

In many cases, the blame is shared and the person who makes a mistake may himself have been wronged, but the blame is not to be shared equally. In this case both parties must be addressed and advised. There follows an example:

‘Abd-Allaah ibn Abi Awfaa said: “‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf complained about Khaalid ibn al-Waleed to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Do not upset any of those who were present at Badr, for even if you were to spend gold equal to the size of Uhud, your deeds would not equal theirs.’ He said, ‘They insulted me first, and I responded.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Do not upset Khaalid, for he is one of the swords of Allaah sent against the kuffaar.’” (Al-Haythami said: the men of al-Tabaraani are thiqaat. Al-Majma’, 9/349. See also al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer by al-Tabaraani, hadeeth no. 3801).

22 – Asking the person to forgive the one who wronged him

Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Arabs used to serve one another when they were travelling, and Abu Bakr and ‘Umar had a man with them who was serving them. They fell asleep then woke up, and he had not prepared any food for them. One of them said to the other, ‘This man sleeps too much.’ (This is in Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Daar al-Sha’b edn. According to the version quoted by al-Albaani in al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 2608, …). They woke him up and said, ‘Go to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and tell him that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar send their salaams to you and are asking for food.’ He (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) said: ‘Send my salaams to them and tell them that they have already eaten.’ They got worried, so they came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, we sent word to you asking for food, and you told us that we had already eaten? What have we eaten?’ He said, ‘The flesh of your brother. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, I can see his flesh between your teeth” – meaning the flesh of the one about whom they had backbitten.’ They said, ‘Ask for forgiveness for us.’ He said, ‘Let him ask for forgiveness for you.’” (Al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 2608. It was attributed to al-Kharaa’iti in Masaawa’ al-Akhlaaq and to al-Diya’ in al-Mukhtaarah. Ibn Katheer mentioned it in his tafseer of Soorat al-Hujuraat, 7/363, Dar al-Sha’b edn.)

23 – Reminding a person of the good qualities of the one whom he has wronged, so that he will regret what he has done and will apologize

This is what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did in the situation that arose between Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with them. Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported in his Saheeh, Kitaab al-Tafseer, that Abu’l-Darda’ said: “There was a dispute between Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. Abu Bakr made ‘Umar angry, so he went away angry, and Abu Bakr followed him, asking him to seek forgiveness for him, but he did not do that, and he shut his door in his face. Abu Bakr turned around and went to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and we were sitting with him. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘This companion of yours has gotten involved in a dispute.’ Then ‘Umar regretted what he had done, so he came, gave the greeting of salaam, and sat down by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He told the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) what had happened. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) got angry, and Abu Bakr started to say, ‘By Allaah, O Messenger of Allaah, I am more wrong.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Are you going to leave my companion alone? Are you going to leave my companion alone? I have told the people: I am the Messenger of Allaah to all of you, and you (all) said, “You are a liar,” but Abu Bakr said, “You are telling the truth.”’” (Fath 4640).

Al-Bukhaari also narrated this story in Kitaab al-Manaaqib (the Book of Virtues) in his Saheeh, from Abu’l-Darda’, who said: “I was sitting with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when Abu Bakr came along, holding the hem of his garment up in such a way that his knees could be seen. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Your companion has gotten involved in a dispute.’ [Abu Bakr] gave the greeting of salaam, then said: ‘There is something between me and the son of al-Khattaab. I upset him, then I regretted it, and I asked him to forgive me, but he refused, so I have come to you.’ He said, ‘May Allaah forgive you, O Abu Bakr,’ three times. Then ‘Umar regretted (what he had done), so he came to Abu Bakr’s house, asking, ‘Is Abu Bakr there?’ They said, ‘No.’ So he came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and signs of anger were so visible on the Prophet’s face that Abu Bakr felt sorry. He knelt down and said. ‘O Messenger of Allaah, by Allaah, I was more wrong,’ twice. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Allaah sent me to all of you, and you (all) said, “He is a liar,” but Abu Bakr said, “He is telling the truth”, and helped me with his self and with his wealth. Are you going to leave my Companion alone?’ He said this twice, and Abu Bakr was never hurt after that.” (Fath, no. 3661).

24 – Intervening to calm people down and put a stop to the fitnah (discord) between those who are making mistakes

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did this on a number of occasions when fighting was about to break out among the Muslims, so he intervened, as was reported in the incident of the slander (al-ifk) against ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her). She said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up that day and asked for someone to deal with ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Ubayy for him, whilst he was on the minbar. He said, ‘O Muslims! Who will deal with a man who I have heard is attacking me with regard to my family? By Allaah, I know nothing about my family but good, and they have mentioned a man about whom I know nothing but good, and he has never entered upon my family except with me.’ Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh, the brother of Bani ‘Abd al-Ashhal, stood up and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I will deal with him for you. If he is from Aws, I will strike his neck [cut his head off], and if he is from among our brothers of Khazraj, tell us what to do, and we will do it.’ Then a man of Khazraj stood up; Umm Hassaan was his cousin from the same clan, and he was Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaadah the leader of Khazraj. Before that he was known to be a righteous man, but on this occasion a spirit of tribalism took hold of him, and he said to Sa’d [ibn Mu’aadh], ‘You are lying! By Allaah, you will not kill him and you will not be able to kill him. If he were one of your people, you would not like him to be killed!’ Usayd ibn Hudayr, the cousin of Sa’d, stood up and said to Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaadah: ‘You are lying! By Allaah, we will kill him! You are a hypocrite defending the hypocrites!’ The two parties of Aws and Khazraj got so angry that they nearly began to fight whilst the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was standing on the minbar. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) kept smoothing things over until they calmed down.” (Agreed upon. Fath, 4141)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went to Bani ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf to reconcile between them, and stayed there for that purpose until the time for one of the congregational prayers came, as is reported in al-Saheehayn and in a report narrated by al-Nisaa’i. Sahl ibn Sa’d al-Saa’idi (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “A dispute arose between two parties among the Ansaar, to the point that they were throwing stones at one another. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went to reconcile between them, and the time for prayer came, so Bilaal called the Adhaan and waited for the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), but he did not come. So he made the iqaamah (call immediately preceding congregational prayer) and Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him) led the prayer…” (Al-Mujtabaa, Kitaab Aadaab al-Qadaah, 8/243). According to a report narrated by Ahmad, Sahl ibn Sa’d al-Saa’idi said: “Someone came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: ‘Bani ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf are fighting and throwing stones at one another.’ So the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went out to them to reconcile between them…” (Al-Musnad, 5/338)

25 – Showing one’s anger about a mistake

When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw or heard about a mistake, he would show his anger, especially if it had to do with matters of belief (‘aqeedah). This includes indulging in disputes about al-qadar (divine decree) and the Qur’aan. In Sunan Ibn Maajah there is a report from ‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb from his father from his grandfather, who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out to his companions, who were disputing about al-qadar, and it was as if a pomegranate seed had burst on his face, i.e., his face was red with anger. He said, ‘Is this what you were commanded to do? Is this what you were created for? Are you using some parts of the Qur’aan to contradict others? The nations before you were destroyed by this!’ ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said: ‘I never felt happy about missing any gathering with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), but I was happy about missing that gathering.’” (Reported by Ibn Maajah, no. 85. He said in al-Zawaa’id: this is a saheeh isnaad and its men are thiqaat. It says in Saheeh Ibn Maajah: hasan saheeh. No. 69).

According to Ibn Abi ‘Aasim in Kitaab al-Sunnah: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out to his Companions, and they were disputing about al-qadar, one quoting one aayah and another quoting another aayah. It was as if a pomegranate seed had been thrown in his face [because it was red with anger]. He said, ‘Is this what you were created for? Is this what you were ordered to do? Do not use parts of Allaah’s book against other parts. Look at what you are commanded to do, and do it, and what you are forbidden to do, avoid it.’” (Al-Sunnah by Ibn Abi ‘Aasim, edited by al-Albaani, no. 406. He said: its isnaad is hasan).

Another example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) becoming angry at the denial of one of the basic principles was what happened in the case of ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), with regard to sources. Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported in his Musnad from Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) with a book which he had got from some of the People of the Book. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) got angry. He said, “Are you confused about it, O son of al-Khattaab? By the One in Whose hand is my soul, I have brought you [the Message] pure and white, so do not ask them about anything, lest they tell you something true and you reject it, or they tell you something false and you accept it. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if Moosa (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) were alive, he could not but follow me.” (Musnad Ahmad, 3/387. Classed by al-Albaani as hasan because of corroborating reports in al-Irwa’, no. 1589).

The hadeeth was also narrated by al-Daarimi, may Allaah have mercy on him, from Jaabir, who said that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) with a copy of the Tawraat (Torah), and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, this is a copy of the Tawraat.” [The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] did not say anything. [‘Umar] began to read it, and the face of the Messenger of Allaah changed [i.e., he was angry]. Abu Bakr said, “May your mother lose you! Do you not see the expression of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)?” ‘Umar looked at the face of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, “I seek refuge with Allaah from the anger of Allaah and the anger of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). We are content with Allaah as our Lord, with Islam as our religion and with Muhammad as our Prophet.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, if Moosa were to appear among you and you followed him and left me, you would go astray from the straight path. If he had lived until the time of my Prophethood, he would have followed me.” (Sunan al-Daarimi, no. 441, al-Muqaddimah, Baab maa yutaqqaa min Tafseer Hadeeth al-Nabi (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wa Qawli ghayrihi ‘inda Qawlihi (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The editor, ‘Abd-Allaah Haashim Yamaani, said: it was also narrated by Ahmad with a hasan isnaad, and by Ibn Hibbaan with a saheeh isnaad).

Among the corroborating reports is the hadeeth of Abu’l-Darda’, who said: “‘Umar brought some pages of the Tawraat to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, (these are) some pages of the Tawraat which I took from a brother of mine from Bani Zurayq.’ The face of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) changed, and ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Zayd – the one who was shown the Adhaan in a dream – said: ‘Have you gone mad? Do you not see [the expression] on the face of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)?’ ‘Umar said: ‘We are content with Allaah as our Lord, with Islam as our religion, with Muhammad as our Prophet and with the Qur’aan as our guide. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) relaxed and said: ‘By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, if Moosa were among you, and you followed him and left me, you would go far astray. You are my share among the nations and I am your share among the Prophets.’” (Al Haythami said in al-Majma’: It was reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, and it includes Abu ‘Aamir al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad al-Asadi, and I have not seen anyone giving his biography, but the rest of its men are mawthooq. Al-Majma’ 1/174).

We may note from these reports that the educator (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) had support from the other people present when they noticed how his expression changed and took their stance based on what they saw. There is no doubt that this combination of events had a great impact on the person who was being reprimanded.

The process went through the following stages:

Firstly, the anger that welled up in the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so that his expression changed even before he spoke.

Secondly, [Abu Bakr] al-Siddeeq and ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Zayd noticed this and pointed it out to ‘Umar.

Thirdly, ‘Umar realized his mistake and hastened to put it right and to apologize for what he had done, seeking refuge with Allaah from the anger of Allaah and the anger of His Messenger, and reaffirming the basic principle of being content with Allaah, His Messenger and His Religion.

Fourthly, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) relaxed and calmed down when ‘Umar retracted and realized his mistake.

Fifthly, the Prophet’s comment confirmed and reinforced this basic principle by reaffirming the obligation to follow the way of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and warning against taking any other source of guidance.

Another example of the Prophet’s anger when he saw something objectionable was reported in Saheeh al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) from Anas ibn Maalik, who said that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw some spittle in the mosque in the direction of the qiblah, he was so upset that it was clearly visible on his face. He wiped it with his hand and said, “When one of you gets up to pray, he is talking to his Lord, or his Lord is between him and the qiblah, so he should not spit in the direction of the qiblah, but to his left or under his feet.” Then he took the edge of his garment, spat on it and rubbed part of it against another part and said, “or he can do this.” (Fath, 405).

An example of the Prophet’s anger when he heard a mistake that led to wrongdoing was also reported by al-Bukhaari, from Abu Mas’ood al-Ansaari, who said: “A man came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I am going to go late to the prayer tomorrow because of so-and-so, who makes the prayer too long for us.’ I never saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) more angry in his rebuking than on that day, when he said, ‘O people! Some of you are putting others off. When any of you leads the people in prayer, let him keep it short, for among them are the elderly, the weak and those with pressing needs.’” (Fath, 7159).

Another example is for the mufti to show anger towards the person who is asking questions when he starts to nit-pick in a ridiculous fashion. Zayd ibn Khaalid al-Juhani (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “A Bedouin came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and asked him about lost property that he finds. He said, ‘Announce it for a year. Remember the description of its container and the string with which it is tied, and if someone comes and claims it, and describes it correctly, give it to him, otherwise, utilize it.’ He said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, what about a lost sheep?’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘It is for you, for your brother (i.e., its owner), or for the wolf.’ He said, ‘What about a lost camel?’ The face of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) became red (with anger), and he said, ‘You have nothing to do with it. It has its feet, and access to water, and can eat trees.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 2436).

The educator may show anger in proportion to the mistake at the time when the mistake is made, or when he sees or hears it, in such a way that the anger may be seen in his face or recognized from his tone of voice. This is a sign that his heart is alert to wrongdoing and will not keep silent about it, so that the others present will feel afraid of making the same mistake. Speaking out when you are angry can have a greater impact than remaining silent and waiting until things have cooled down, because then the impact of your comments will be lost.

On the other hand, it may be wise to delay commenting on a regrettable incident or seriously mistaken words until all the people have been called together or until a time when they meet, because of the seriousness of what is involved or because there are not enough people around to understand and convey the information to others. There is nothing wrong with addressing an individual immediately and delaying general discussion of the matter until later. According to Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Abu Humayd al-Saa’idi reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) appointed someone (to collect the zakaah). When he had finished his work, he came and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, this is for you, and this is what was given to me as a gift.” He said, “Why don’t you sit in your parents’ house and see whether anyone brings you a gift or not?” In the evening, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up after the prayer, pronounced the Shahaadah and praised Allaah as He deserves to be praised, then he said, “What is wrong with an employee whom we appoint, then he comes to us and says, ‘This is for you and this is what I was given as a gift”? Why does he not sit in his parents’ house and see whether anyone brings him a gift or not? By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, no one of you unlawfully withholds something from us, except he will come on the Day of Judgement carrying it around his neck: if it is a camel, he will bring it bellowing, if it is a cow he will bring it mooing, and if it is a sheep he will bring it bleating. I have conveyed (the message).” Abu Humayd added, “Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) raised his arm so high that we could see his armpit.” (Fath, 6636)

26 – Turning away from the one who has made a mistake, and avoiding argument with him, in the hope that he may come back to the right way

Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported that ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to him and Faatimah’s (peace be upon her, the daughter of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) one night and said to them, “Are you not coming to pray?” ‘Ali said, “O Messenger of Allaah, our souls are in the hand of Allaah. If He wants to bring us back to life (from sleep), He will do so!” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went away when ‘Ali said that to him, and he did not respond to it at all, but ‘Ali heard him as he was walking away, slapping his thigh and saying, “ ‘… But, man is ever more quarrelsome than anything.’ [al-Kahf 18:54 – interpretation of the meaning].” (The words of ‘Ali could be understood in different ways. See al-Fath, 7347).

27 – Rebuking the one who has made a mistake

This is what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did with Haatib (may Allaah be pleased with him) when he heard that he had sent word to the kuffaar of Quraysh, informing them of the Muslims’ intention to head for Makkah to conquer it. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked him, “What made you do that, O Haatib?” He said, “I believe in Allaah and His Messenger and I never changed, but I wanted to make some gesture towards them through which Allaah might protect my family and my wealth. All your other companions have someone there through whom Allaah will protect their families and their wealth.” [The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] said: “He has spoken the truth, so do not say anything but good to him.” ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said, “But he has betrayed Allaah and Messenger and the believers! Let me strike his neck [cut off his head]!” [The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ] said: “How do you know? Maybe Allaah looked at the people of Badr and said, ‘Do what you like, for Paradiseis guaranteed for you.’” Tears welled up in ‘Umar’s eyes and he said, “Allaah and His Messenger know best.” (Fath, 6259)

There are a number of important educational points we learn from this story:

1 – The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) rebuked the Sahaabi who had make a serious mistake by asking him, “What made you do that?”

2 – Enquiring as to the reason that motivated him to make the mistake undoubtedly has an effect on the way in which he is treated.

3 – Those who have an excellent track record are not immune from committing major sins.

4 – The educator must be open-minded in dealing with his companions’ mistakes so that they continue progressing on the straight path. The aim is to reform them, not alienate them.

5 – The educator must appreciate the moments of human weakness that may overcome some of those who are with him, and he should not be shocked by a serious mistake on the part of one who is advanced or senior.

6 – Defending one who deserves to be defended even though he has made a mistake.

7 – If a person who makes a mistake has a great deal of good works to his credit, this should be taken into account when evaluating the level of his mistake and dealing with it.

28 – Blaming the person who has made a mistake

An obvious mistake cannot be ignored; blame must be directed at the person who has made the mistake, and he must be rebuked from the outset, so that he will realize that he has made a mistake. Al-Bukhaari narrated in his Saheeh that ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “I had a she-camel from my share of the booty of Badr, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had given me another she-camel from the khums. When I wanted to marry Faatimah, the daughter of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), I made an appointment with a goldsmith from Banu Qaynuqaa’ to go with me to Idhkhur. I wanted to sell him the two gold bracelets and use the money for my waleemah(wedding celebration). Whilst I was gathering together the saddles, sacks, ropes and other gear, my camels were sitting beside a room belonging to one of the Ansaar. After collecting the things I had to collect, I came back and found my camels with their backs cut open, their sides stabbed and their livers removed. I could hardly bear to look at this scene. I said, ‘Who did this?’ They said, ‘Hamzah ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib. He is in that house drinking with one of the Ansaar.’ I went to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and Zayd ibn Haarithah was with him. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) knew something was wrong from my expression. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘What is the matter with you?’ I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I have never seen anything like today! Hamzah attacked my two she-camels and cut their backs open and stabbed them in their sides. He is in a house, drinking.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called for his cloak and put it on, then he went walking, and Zayd ibn Haarithah and I followed him, until he reached the house where Hamzah was. He asked permission to enter, and they gave permission. They were drinking, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) started to hurl blame at Hamzah for what he had done, but then he noticed that Hamzah was drunk and red-eyed. Hamzah looked at the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He looked up at his knees, then at his navel, then at his face, then he said, ‘You are no more than a slave to my father.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) realized that he was drunk, so he turned on his heels and we went out with him.” (Fath, no. 3091). This happened before drinking alcohol was forbidden.

29 – Shunning the one who has made a mistake

Imaam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported that Humayd said: “Al-Waleed came to me and a friend of mine and said, ‘Come with me, for you are younger than me and you know more about hadeeth.’ He took us to Bishr ibn ‘Aasim. Abu’l-‘Aaliyah said to him: ‘Will you tell these two your hadeeth?’ He said, ‘ ‘Uqbah ibn Maalik told us, Abu’l-Nadr al-Laythi said, Bahz, who was one of his group, said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent an expedition to attack some people. A man drifted away from the people, and one of the (Muslim) expedition followed him with his sword unsheathed. The man who had wandered off said, “I am a Muslim,” but the Muslim paid no attention to him, and struck him and killed him. Word of this reached the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he spoke out angrily against it. News of this reached the killer, and whilst the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was delivering a speech, the killer said, “O Messenger of Allaah, by Allaah he only said that to protect himself.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) turned away from him and the people around him, and continued with his speech. The man said again, “O Messenger of Allaah, he only said that to protect himself.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) again turned away from him and the people around him, and continued with his speech. The man did not put up with that; a third time he said, “O Messenger of Allaah, by Allaah he only said that to protect himself.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) turned to him, and it was clear from his expression how upset he was. He said, “Allaah scorns the one who kills a believer” three times.’” (al-Musnad, 5/289. See also al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 2/309)

Al-Nisaa’i (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri that a man came from Najraan to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), wearing a ring of gold. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) turned away from him and said, “You have come to me with an ember from the Fire of Hell in your hand.” (Al-Mujtaba, 8/170; Saheeh Sunan al-Nisaa’i, 4793). Ahmad reported a more detailed version of this from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri: a man came from Najraan to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wearing a ring of gold. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) turned away from him and did not ask him about anything. The man went back to his wife and told her about it. She said, “There has to be a reason for that. Go back to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).” So he went back, and threw away his ring and the garment he was wearing. When he asked permission to enter, it was given to him. He greeted the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who returned the greeting. He said, “O Messenger of Allaah, you turned away from me when I came before.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “You came to me with a coal from the fire of Hell in your hand.” He said, “O Messenger of Allaah, I came with a lot of coals.” He had brought some suits of clothing from Bahrain. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “What you have brought is not going to help us in any way (with regard to the Hereafter). It is no more use than the rocks of al-Harrah, but they are luxuries of this world.” The man said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, explain this to your Companions, so that they do not think you were angry with me for some reason.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up and explained this, and said that the problem had been with his gold ring.” (al-Musnad, 3/14).

According to a report narrated by Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) from ‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb from his father from his grandfather, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw one of his Companions wearing a ring of gold, and turned away from him. The Sahaabi threw it away and put on a ring of iron, and [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] said, “This is evil, this is the jewellery of the people of Hell,” so he threw it away and put on a ring of silver, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said nothing. (al-Musnad, 163. Al-Musnad edited by Ahmad Shaakir, no. 6518. He said its isnaad is saheeh).

30 – Boycotting the one who has made a mistake

This is one of the effective methods used by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) especially when a very serious mistake was made, because of the far-reaching effect that a boycott has on the person concerned. An example of this is what happened to Ka’b ibn Maalik and his two companions who stayed behind from the campaign of Tabook. After the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had ascertained that they had no valid excuse, and they had admitted it, as Ka’b said:

“The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade the Muslims to speak to any of the three of us who had stayed behind. So the people avoided us and their attitude towards us changed so that even the earth I was walking on looked different to what I had known. We stayed like that for fifty days. As for my two companions, they resigned themselves and stayed in their homes, weeping, but I was the youngest and the most determined, so I used to go out and attend the prayers with the Muslims and go around in the market places, and no one would speak to me. I would come to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) whilst he was in a gathering after prayer, and greet him with salaam, asking myself whether he had moved his lips in response or not. I would pray near him, stealing glances at him. When I would turn to pray, he would turn towards me, and when I would turn towards him, he would turn away from me. When the people’s harshness had gone on too long for me, I went away and climbed over the wall of the garden of Abu Qutaadah, who was my cousin [son of my paternal uncle] and the dearest of people to me. I greeted him with salaam, but by Allaah he did not answer me. I said, ‘O Abu Qutaadah, I ask you by Allaah, do you not know that I love Allaah and His Messenger?’ He remained silent, so I repeated what I had said, pleading with him, but he remained silent. I repeated it again, pleading with him, and he said, ‘Allaah and His Messenger know best.’ My eyes filled with tears and I turned away and went and climbed back over the wall…

When fifty nights had passed since the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had forbidden anyone to talk to us, after I had prayed Fajr on the morning of the fiftieth day, and I was on the roof of our house, whilst I was sitting as Allaah has described, with my own self straitened to me and the earth, vast as it is, straitened to me [cf. Al-Tawbah 9:118], I heard the sound of someone shouting from the mountain of Sal’ at the top of his voice: ‘O Ka’b ibn Maalik, rejoice!’” (Fath, 4418).

We learn many great lessons from this story, which should not be ignored in any way. We read about some of them in the scholars’ commentaries on this story, as in Zaad al-Ma’aad and Fath al-Baari.

Another indication that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used this method was narrated by al-Tirmidhi from ‘Aa’ishah, who said: “No behaviour was more hateful to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) than lying. If a man told lies in the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), he would remain upset about it until he knew that he had repented from that.” (Abu ‘Eesa said: this is a hasan hadeeth. Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 1973).

According to a report narrated by Ahmad: “ … he would remain upset with him…” (al-Musnad, 6/152)

According to another report: “If it happened that one of the members of his household told a lie, he would keep turning away from him until he repented.” (Reported by al-Haakim. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4675).

It is clear from the reports mentioned above that turning away from the person who is making a mistake until he gives it up is an effective educational method, but in order for it to be effective, the person who is forsaking and turning away from the other must have some status in the eyes of the latter, otherwise it will not have a positive effect, and may even give the person something to be happy about.

31 – Praying against someone who stubbornly persists in making a mistake

Muslim (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported that a man ate with his left hand in the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He said, “Eat with your right hand!” The man said, “I cannot” He said, “May you never be able to!” Nothing was stopping him except pride, and he never raised it to his mouth after that. (No. 2021).

According to a report narrated by Ahmad: “Iyaas ibn Salamah ibn al-Akwa’ reported that his father told him: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) telling a man called Bisr ibn Raa’i al-‘Eer, whom he saw eating with his left hand, to eat with his right hand. He said, ‘I cannot.’ He said, ‘May you never be able to!’ And his right hand never reached his mouth after that.” (4/54)

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “This hadeeth shows that it is permissible to pray against the one who goes against a shar’i ruling for no good reason. It also demonstrates enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil in all matters, even in the matter of eating.” (Sharh Saheeh Muslim, 13/192).

We may also note here that the du’aa’ against him was not for something that would help the Shaytaan against him, it was for something that was more like a rebuke or telling-off.

32 – Turning a blind eye to some mistakes and being content to just hint about them, out of respect to the person who is making the mistake

“And (remember) when the Prophet disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives (Hafsah), so when she told it (to another, i.e., ‘Aa’ishah), and Allaah made it known to him, he informed part thereof and left a part. Then when he told her (Hafsah) thereof, she said: ‘Who told you this?’ He said, ‘The All-Knower, the All-Aware (Allaah) has told me.’” [al-Tahreem 66:3 – interpretation of the meaning]

Al-Qaasimi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Mahaasin al-Ta’weel:

‘And remember when the Prophet’ refers to Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). ‘To one of his wives’ refers to Hafsah. ‘A matter in confidence’ means that she was not allowed to disclose it, or what he forbade for himself although Allaah had allowed it. ‘When she told it’ means that she told the secret to her companion (‘Aa’ishah). ‘Allaah made it known to him’ means that Allaah told him what Hafsah had told ‘Aa’ishah. ‘He informed part thereof’ means that he told her part of what she had divulged as a rebuke; ‘and left a part’ means that he did not say some of it, out of respect to her.”

It is noted in al-Ikleel: “The aayah indicates that there is nothing wrong with speaking in a secretive way to one whom you trust such as a spouse or friend, and that he or she is obliged to keep the secret. The aayah also indicates good treatment of wives, gentleness when rebuking and refraining from seeking out every fault.” (Mahaasin al-Ta’weel, 16/222)

Al-Hasan said: “No noble person will pick on every little fault.” Sufyaan said: “Turning a blind eye is the action of noble people.”

33 – Helping a Muslim to correct his mistake

Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Whilst we were sitting with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), a man came to him and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I am doomed!’ He said, ‘What is the matter with you?’ He said, ‘I had intercourse with my wife whilst I was fasting.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Are you able to set a slave free?’ He said, ‘No.’ He asked, ‘Can you fast for two consecutive months?’ He said, ‘No.’ he said, ‘Can you feed sixty poor persons?’ He said, ‘No.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said nothing more about the matter for a while, and whilst we were sitting there like that, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was brought a large vessel full of dates. He said, ‘Where is the one who was asking just now?’ The man said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take this and give it in charity.’ The man said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, is there anyone poorer between al-Harratayn [i.e., in Madeenah] than my family?’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) smiled so broadly that his eyeteeth could be seen, then he said, ‘Feed it to your family.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, no. 1936).

According to a report narrated by Ahmad from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), whilst the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was sitting in the shade of a large tree, a man came to him and said, “I am burnt, O Messenger of Allaah!” He said, “What is the matter with you?” He said, “I had intercourse with my wife whilst I was fasting.” ‘Aa’ishah said: this was in Ramadaan. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him, “Sit down.” So he sat down at the edge of the group of people. Then a man brought a donkey on which was a vessel of dates, and said, “This is my sadaqah (charity), O Messenger of Allaah.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Where is the burnt one who was here just now?” The man said, “Here I am, O Messenger of Allaah.” He said, “Take this and give it in charity.” He said, “To whom should I give it except myself? By the One Who sent you with the truth, I do not have anything for myself and my children.” He said, “Then take it,” so he took it. (al-Musnad, 6/276)

34 – Meeting with the person who has made the mistake to talk it over

In Saheeh al-Bukhaariit is reported that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said: “My father married me to a woman from a good family. He used to come and check on his daughter in law, and ask her about her husband. She would say, ‘What a good man he is. He has never slept in our bed or disturbed us since we got married.’ When this had gone on for a long time, he mentioned it to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who said, ‘Let me meet with him.’ So I met with him after that, and he said, ‘How often do you fast?’ I said, ‘Every day.’ He said, ‘How often do you complete the Qur’aan?’ I said, ‘Every night.’ He said, ‘Fast three days of every month, and complete the Qur’aan once a month.’ I said, ‘I can do more than that.’ He said, ‘Fast three days every week.’ I said, ‘I can do more than that.’ He said, ‘Don’t fast for two days, then fast for one day.’ I said, ‘I can do more than that.’ He said, ‘Observe the best kind of fast, the fast of Dawood, fasting one day then not fasting the next, and complete the Qur’aan once every seven days.’ I wish that I had accepted the dispensation of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), because when I became old and weak I started to read one seventh of the Qur’aan to my family during the day, and whatever I read during the day makes it easier to complete it at night. If I want to help myself, I do not fast for a number of days, then I count the number of days I did not fast and fast the same number of days. I do not want to give up something that I promised the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) I would do before he died.” Abu ‘Abd-Allaah said: “Some of them said in three, and in five, and most of them said in seven.” (al-Fath, 5052)

A report narrated by Ahmad describes the matter more clearly and contains important lessons: ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said: “My father married me to a woman from Quraysh. When she entered upon me I did not approach her because I was so enthusiastic about worshipping Allaah by fasting and praying. ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas came to his daughter in law and asked her, ‘How do you find your husband?’ She said, ‘He is the best of men, or he is like the best of husbands among men. He has never disturbed us and he has never slept in our bed.’ So he came to me and told me off. (Ibn al-Atheer said: … according to another hadeeth, ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas said: ‘So my father came to me and told me off.’ Al-Nihaayah 3/200). He said, ‘I married you to a woman from a good family of Quraysh, and you are neglecting her (i.e., not treating her as a wife) and you are doing such and such.’ Then he went to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and complained about me. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent for me and I came to him. He said to me, ‘Do you fast during the day?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Do you pray (qiyaam) at night?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘But I fast and I break my fast, I pray and I sleep, and I touch women [my wives]. Whoever turns away from my Sunnah has nothing to do with me.’ He said, ‘Read the Qur’aan once a month.’ I said, ‘I can do more than that.’ He said, ‘Read it once every ten days.’ I said, ‘I can do more than that.’ One of them – either Husayn or Mugheerah – said, ‘Read it every three days.’ He [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] said: ‘Fast three days of every month.’ I said, ‘I can do more than that.’ He kept increasing the number until he said, ‘Fast one day and do not fast the next day. This is the best of fasts, the fast of my brother Dawood.’ Husayn said in his narration of the hadeeth: then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Every worshipper has a time when he is motivated and keen, and after every such time comes a time of slackening, where he either follows the Sunnah or follows bid’ah. The one whose slackening follows Sunnah is guided, but the one whose slackening follows bid’ah is doomed.’” Mujaahid said: “When ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr grew old and weak, he would fast for several days at a time, so that he could grow stronger, then he would break his fast for a similar number of days. He would read his portion of the Qur’aan in like manner, sometimes reading more, sometimes reading less, so that he would finish the entire Qur’aan in seven days or in three days. After that he would say, ‘I wish that I had accepted the dispensation of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), for it would be better for me than what I chose for myself, or I left him saying that I would do something and I would hate to do something else.’” (Al-Musnad, 2/158. Ahmad Shaakir said: its isnaad is saheeh. Tahqeeq al-Musnad, no. 6477).

Among the things we learn from this story are:

  1. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) understood the cause of the problem, which was that [‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr] was exhausting himself in worship to the point that he did not have time to take care of his duties towards his wife, so he was falling short.
  2. The principle of paying due attention to everyone who has rights over one applies to anyone who is preoccupied with matters of worship, such as a student who is giving so many lessons, or a daa’iyah who is so busy with his da’wah that his wife complains of mistreatment. This can lead to a loss of balance in carrying out different acts of worship and dividing one’s time among all those who are making rightful claims on it. So there is nothing wrong with the teacher reducing the number of lessons he gives, or the daa’iyah reducing his activities so as to allow himself enough time to take care of his home, wife and children, and give them their rights as regards guidance, companionship and education.35 – Speaking bluntly to a person about the mistake he is making

    Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported that Abu Dharr said: “There was an argument between me and another man. His mother was a non-Arab, and I said something insulting about her. He mentioned this to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who asked me, ‘Did you trade insults with so-and-so?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Did you say something insulting about his mother?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘You are a man who still has something of jaahiliyyah in you.’ I said, ‘I said what I said because I am getting old.’ He said, ‘Yes, but they are your brothers. Allaah has given you power over them, but whoever is given power over someone, let him feed him as he feeds himself, clothe him as he clothes himself, and not give him more work to do than he is able. If he does give him too much work, let him help him.’” (Fath, 6050)

    In Saheeh Muslim it is reported that Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “I had an argument with one of my brothers. His mother was non-Arab, and I said something insulting to him about his mother. He complained about me to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) met me, he said, ‘O Abu Dharr, you are a man who still has something of jaahiliyyah in him.’ I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, whoever insults a person, people will insult his father and mother.’ He said, ‘O Abu Dharr, you are a man who still has something of jaahiliyyah in him. They are your brothers, and Allaah has given you power over them, so feed them as you feed yourself and clothe them as you clothe yourself. Do not give them more work than they can do, and if you give them too much to do, then help them.’” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 1661).

    [It appears that the man’s mother was a slave. Translator]

    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) spoke in this straightforward and open manner to Abu Dharr because he knew he would accept it. Such a blunt approach can be a useful method that saves times and energy, and gets the point across in the easiest manner, but it should only be done when it is appropraite to the situation and the people involved.

    This direct approach may be better not used if it will lead to something worse or if it means that a greater interest will not be achieved, for example if the person making the mistake is in a position of power and authority and would not accept such frank comments, or if a direct approach would cause too much embarrassment to the person who is doing wrong. It should also not be used if the person is extra sensitive and is likely to react badly. Undoubtedly a direct approach will be too much for a person to take if it is made in a spirit of confrontation and with the aim of causing embarrassment and showing him up at the time when his critic appears superior. Similarly it is essential to be cautious about using “indirect” methods whose multiple negative effects may outweigh the benefits of a direct approach, because they may make the wrongdoer think that the one who is advising him thinks he is stupid or that he is playing about, or because they may offend him because he thinks he is making snide remarks. This way of pointing out what is right may not be effective, because what is being said may not be clear to the person addressed, so he will keep on making the mistake. Generally speaking, people differ when it comes to accepting advice, and the right approach will differ in each case, but a good attitude in discussing mistakes and guiding people will also have the greatest effect in achieving the desired goal.36 – Persuading a person that he is making a mistake

    Engaging in a discussion with a wrongdoer with the aim of convincing him may lead to the removal of the blinkers over his eyes and bringing him back to the Straight Path. An example of this is the report narrated by al-Tabaraani (may Allaah have mercy on him) in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer from Abu Umaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him), who said that a young man came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, give me permission to commit zinaa (fornication or adultery).” The people shouted [at him] and [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] said, “Stop it!’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Let him calm down. Come here.” He came and sat in front of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who said to him, “Would you like it for your mother?” He said, “No.” He said, “Likewise, people do not like it for their mothers. Would you like it for your daughter?” He said, “No.” He said, “Likewise, people do not like it for their daughters. Would you like it for your sister?” He said, “No.” He said, “Likewise, people do not like it for their sisters. Would you like it for your (paternal) aunt?” He said, “No.” He said, “Likewise, people do not like it for their (paternal) aunts. Would you like it for your (maternal) aunt?” He said, “No.” He said, “Likewise, people do not like it for their (maternal) aunts.” Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) put his hand on his chest and said, “O Allaah, forgive his sins, purify his heart and make him chaste.” (Al-Tabaraani, al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, 7679 and 7759. Additional material is included between square brackets).

    37 – Making a person understand that his flimsy excuse is not acceptable

    Some people who make mistakes try to offer made-up, unacceptable excuses, especially when they are caught red-handed. Indeed, some of them may appear to be stammering when they give their flimsy excuses, especially those who are not good at lying because they are basically good at heart. How should the educator act when he comes across a situation like this? The following story demonstrates the brilliant attitude of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when dealing with one of hisCompanions in a situation of this nature. The story also shows us how the educator should persistently follow up until the person gives up his wrong attitude.

    Khuwwaat ibn Jubayr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “We made camp with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) at Mar al-Zahraan (a place near Makkah). I came out of my tent and saw some women talking amongst themselves. I liked them, so I went back, got out my trunk and took out a hillah (a suit of clothes). I put it on and came and sat with them. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out and said, ‘O Abu ‘Abd-Allaah!!” (i.e., he was reprimanding him for sitting with those non-mahrem women). When I saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), I got scared and started stammering (trying to come up with an excuse). I said, “O Messenger of Allaah, my camel got lost and I am looking for a rope to restrain it” (i.e., he came up with a false excuse to justify what he had done). He left, and I followed him. He threw his cloak at me and went in among some araak trees – and it is as if I can see the whiteness of his back against the greenness of the araak trees. He answered the call of nature and did wudoo’, and turned (to me) with the water dripping from his beard onto his chest, and said: “O Abu ‘Abd-Allaah, what happened to your lost camel?” Then we continued on our journey, and whenever he caught up with me, he would say, “Assalaamu aleika Abu ‘Abd-Allaah. What happened to that lost camel?” When I realized this, I hastened on to Madeenah and avoided the mosque and gatherings where the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was present. When this had gone on for a long time, I tried to go to the mosque when no one else was around. I went to the mosque and started to pray, but the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out of one of his apartments and started to pray two short rak’ahs. I made my prayer long, hoping that he would go away and leave me. He said, ‘Make it as long as you like, O Abu ‘Abd-Allaah, for I am not leaving until you finish.’ I said to myself, ‘By Allaah, I should apologize to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and make him happy.’ When I had finished, he said, ‘Al-salaamu ‘alayka, O Abu ‘Abd-Allaah. What happened to your lost camel?’ I said, ‘By the One Who sent you with the truth, that camel has never gotten lost since the time I became a Muslim.’ He said, ‘May Allaah have mercy on you’ three times, then he never mentioned it again.” (Al-Haythami said: al-Tabaraani reported it with two isnaads. The men of one of them are all saheeh apart from al-Jarraah ibn Mukhallad, who is thiqah. Al-Majma’, 9/401. Upon referring to al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer by al-Tabaraani, 4/203, it becomes clear that the report from Zayd ibn Aslam is talking about Khuwwaat ibn Jubayr, who said, ‘We made camp …’ In the biography of Khuwwaat (may Allaah be pleased with him) in al-Tahdheeb it says: Zayd ibn Aslam reported mursal from him. In al-Isaabah it says that Khuwwaat died in 40 or 42 AH, and in al-Siyar it says that Zayd ibn Aslam died in 136 AH; on this basis there is a break in the isnaad).

    This is a brilliant study in training and the use of wise strategies to achieve the desired result. We may also learn the following points from this story:

    1. A person who has committed a sin will feel shy of a respected leader when he catches him out.
    2. The way the educator looks at and questions a person – even though it may be very brief – will have a great impact on him.
    3. Not discussing a false excuse at the time of hearing it – even though it is clearly made up – and turning away from the person may be enough to make him realize that his excuse is not acceptable, which will motivate him to repent and apologize. This is what we understand from the phrase “he left.”
    4. The good educator is the one who makes the person who has made a mistake feel too shy of him, so that he tries to hide away from him, but at the same time, his need for him makes him want to come to him. Then the latter takes precedence over the former.
    5. The change of attitude towards the wrongdoer is based – in this case – on the wrongdoer’s admission that he was wrong and his giving up the thing he had done.

If the educator or leader is held in high esteem by his companions, then if he rebukes one of them or tells him that he has made a mistake, this will have an effect on him. The leader should pay attention to the interests of others when rebuking one of his companions, so that all may benefit from it. However, this should not mean that he should ignore any negative effect on that particular individual. That can be dealt with and its effects limited in many ways, even though a third party, as al-Mugheerah did when he asked ‘Umar to be a mediator whilst at the same time explaining the situation and affirming how highly the leader thinks of the follower.

38 – Paying attention to things that are inherent in human nature

An example of this is the jealousy of women, especially in the case of co-wives, some of whom may make mistakes that, if they were made by anyone else under normal circumstances, would be treated quite differently. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pay special attention to the issue of jealousy among his wives and the mistakes that were made by them as a result, and the patience, justice and fairness with which he handled the matter are plain to see. An example of this is the report narrated by al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) in his Saheeh from Anas, who said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was with one of his wives when another of the Mothers of the Believers sent a big vessel full of food to him. The wife in whose house the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was struck the hand of the servant, and the vessel fell and broke in two. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) picked up the pieces and put them together, then he gathered up the food that had been in the vessel and said, ‘Your mother is jealous.’ Then he asked the servant to wait until he was given the vessel belonging to the wife in whose house he was, and he sent the whole vessel to the wife whose vessel had been broken, and kept the broken vessel in the house of the one who had broken it.” (Fath, 5225)

According to a report narrated by al-Nisaa’i (Kitaab ‘Ishrat al-Nisaa’), Umm Salamah brought some food in a vessel belonging to her to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions, then ‘Aa’ishah came wrapped in a garment, carrying a stone, which she threw and broke the vessel. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) put the two halves back together and said, “Eat, your mother is jealous” twice, then he took ‘Aa’ishah’s vessel and sent it to Umm Salamah, and gave Umm Salamah’s vessel to ‘Aa’ishah.

According to a report narrated by al-Daarimi (Kitaab al-Buyoo’, Baab man kasara shay’an fa ‘alayhi mithluhu) from Anas, he said: “One of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent him a vessel in which was some thareed [a dish of sopped bread, meat and broth], when he was in the house of one of his other wives, who struck the vessel and broke it. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) started to pick up the thareed and put it back into the vessel, saying, ‘Eat, your mother is jealous…’”

Women’s jealousy is an inherent part of their nature, that may cause them to do bad things and prevent them from seeing the consequences of their actions. It was said that when a woman is jealous, she cannot see the bottom of a valley from its top.

Conclusion

Following this exploration of the Sunnah and the methods which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used in dealing with people’s mistakes, we should conclude by mentioning the following points:

  1. Correcting mistakes is obligatory and very important. It is part of naseehah (giving sincere advice) and forbidding what is evil, but it should be remembered that Islam is not only about forbidding what is evil; we are also commanded to enjoin what is good.
  2. Education and training are not merely the matter of correcting mistakes; they also involve teaching and showing the basic principles of religion and the rules of sharee’ah, and using various methods to establish these concepts firmly in people’s minds and hearts, by example, by exhorting them, by telling stories, by discussing incidents, etc. From this it is clear that some parents and teachers are falling short by confining their efforts only to addressing mistakes without paying due attention to teaching the basics or dealing with mistakes before they happen by instilling that which will protect people from committing mistakes in the first place, or at least reduce their impact.
  3. It is clear from the incidents and stories mentioned above that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used different approaches in dealing with different mistakes. This is because circumstances and personalities vary. Whoever understands this and wants to follow suit must compare the situation he is dealing with, with these examples to find the one that most closely resembles it, so that he can determine the most appropriate approach to use.

We ask Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, to guide us and protect us, to make us openers of good and closers of evil, and to guide others through us, for He is the All-Hearing, the Ever-Near, Who answers prayers. He is the Best of supporters and the Best of helpers, and He is the Guide to the Straight Path. May Allaah bless the Unlettered Prophet and all his family and companions. Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds.

 

The Prophet’s Methods for Correcting People’s Mistakes Part-3


The Prophet’s methods of dealing with people’s mistakes

1- Hastening to deal with people’s mistakes and not putting it off

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to hasten to deal with people’s mistakes, especially when it was not right for him to delay doing so at the moment when this was needed. His task was to explain the truth to people, teach them to do good, and warn them off from doing evil. So he hastened to correct people on many occasions, as is seen in the stories of the man who was not doing his salaah properly, the Makhzoomi woman, Ibn al-Latbiyyah, Usaamah, the three who wanted to go to extremes in worship, and others. These stories will be related in the course of this discussion, in sha Allaah.

Not hastening to deal with mistakes goes against the interests of Islam and misses out on the opportunity to strike while the iron is hot, as it were.

2 – Dealing with mistakes by explaining the ruling (hukm)

Jarhad (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) passed by him when his thigh was uncovered. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Cover your thigh, for it is part of the ‘awrah.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 2796. Al-Tirmidhi said, this is a hasan hadeeth).

3 – Referring people back to Islam when they make mistakes, and pointing out to them the principle that they are breaking

When someone is indulging in a mistake, the Islamic principle is far from their minds and is lost in the clamour of the moment. In such cases reiterating the Islamic principle and announcing it loudly can be an effective way of stopping the person in his tracks and making him wake up from the stupor that has overtaken him. When we look at what happened between the Muhaajiroon and Ansaar, because of the flames of fitnah stirred up by the munaafiqoon, we will see an example of how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used this tactic. Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported in his Saheehthat Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “We went out on a military campaign with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and some of the muhaajiroon went with him too, and they were very many. Among the muhaajiroon was a man who was very playful (a joker). He shoved an Ansaari (in jest), and the Ansaari got very angry with him and called others to support him, saying, ‘O Ansaar!’ The Muhaajir called out, ‘O Muhaajireen!’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out and said, ‘What is this call of the people of Jaahiliyyah all about?’ Then he said, ‘What is the matter with him?’ He was told about how the Muhaajir had shoved the Ansaari in jest. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Let it be, for it (tribalism) is evil.’” (al-Fath, 3518). According to a report narrated by Muslim, he said: “Let a man help his brother whether he is an wrongdoer or the victim of wrongdoing. If he is a wrongdoer, he should stop him, and if he is the victim of wrongdoing, he should come to his aid.” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 2584).

4 – Correcting misconceptions that are due to something not being clear in people’s minds

In Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Humayd ibn Abi Humayd al-Taweel reports that he heard Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) saying: “Three people came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), asking about how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) worshipped. When they were told about it, they thought that it was little. They said, “Who are we, compared to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? All his sins, past and future, have been forgiven.” (They thought that the one who does not know that his sins have been forgiven needed to go to extremes in worship and do far more than the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), in the hope that their sins might be forgiven). One of them said, “As for me, I will pray every night from now on.” Another said, “As for me, I will fast for the rest of my life and will never break my fast.” The third said, “As for me, I will have nothing to do with women and I will never marry.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to them and said, “Are you the people who said such-and-such? By Allaah, I am the one who fears Allaah more than anyone, but I fast and I break my fast, I pray and I rest, and I get married.”

Muslim reported from Anas that a group of the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about what he did in secret. One of them (those Sahaabah) said, “I will never marry women.” Another said, “I will never eat meat.” Another said, “I will never sleep on a bed.” [The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] praised and thanked Allaah, then he said, “What is the matter with some people who say such-and-such? But as for me, I pray and I sleep, I fast and I break my fast, and I marry women. Whoever turns away from my Sunnah has nothing to do with me.” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 1041).

Here we may note the following points:

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to them and addressed them directly; when he wanted to teach all the people, he did not refer to them by name or expose them, he merely said, “What is the matter with some people…?” In this way he was gentle with them and covered up for them whilst at the same time acting in the common interest by teaching everybody.

  • The hadeeth describes finding out about the action of good people and seeking to emulate them. Investigating such things is the sign of a sound mind and efforts to improve oneself.
  • This report indicates that when it comes to useful matters of religion, if it is not possible to learn them from men, it is permissible to learn them from women.
  • There is nothing wrong with a person talking about his deeds so long as there is no element of showing off and it is for the benefit of others.
  • We also learn that going to extremes in worship may cause a person to get bored, which in turn could lead him to stop worshipping altogether; the best of things are those that are moderate. (see al-Fath, 9/104).
  • Mistakes generally come about as a result of misconceptions; if the ideas are put right, mistakes will decrease. It is clear from the hadeeth that the reason why those Sahaabah adopted those concepts of extreme worship and monasticism was that they thought they had to go beyond the Prophet’s actions in worship in order to attain salvation, because he had been told that all his sins were forgiven, but they did not have this advantage. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) set them straight, and told them that even though he was forgiven, he was the most fearing of Allaah among mankind, and he commanded them to follow his Sunnah in worship.

A similar thing happened to another Sahaabi, whose name was Kahmas al-Hilaali (may Allaah be pleased with him), who narrated his story: “I became Muslim and came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and told him that I had become Muslim. I stayed away for a year, during which I became very skinny, and when I came back, he looked me up and down. I said, ‘Do you not know me?’ he said, ‘Who are you?’ I said, ‘I am Kahmas al-Hilaali.’ He said, ‘What happened to you?’ I said, ‘After I saw you, I never spent a day without fasting, and I never slept at night.’ He said, ‘Who told you to torture yourself? Fast the month of patience [i.e., Ramadaan], and one day of every month besides that.’ I said, ‘Let me do more.’ He said, ‘Fast the month of patience and two days of every month besides that.’ I said, ‘Let me do more, I am able for it.’ He said, ‘Fast the month of patience and three days of every month besides that.’” (Musnad al-Tayaalisi. Reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, 19/194, no. 435. Also in al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 2623).

Some misconceptions may be based on how one judges people and regards them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was very keen to correct this and put people straight in this regard. In Saheeh al-Bukhaari, there is a report from Sahl ibn Sa’d al-Saa’idi who said: “A man passed by the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who asked a man sitting by him, ‘What do you think of this man?’ He said, ‘He is one of the noblest of the people. By Allaah, if he proposes marriage he deserves to be accepted and if he intercedes he deserves to have his intercession accepted.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said nothing. Then another man passed by and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked the man with him, ‘What do you think of him?’ The man said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, he is one of the poor Muslims. If he proposes marriage he does not deserve to be accepted, if he intercedes he does not deserve to have his intercession accepted, and if he speaks he does not deserve to be heard. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘This man is better than an earth full of men like the other man.’” (al-Fath, 6447).

According to a report narrated by Ibn Maajah: a man passed by the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said (to his Companions), “What do you think of this man?” They said, “We think that he is one of the noblest of people. If he proposes marriage he deserves to be accepted, if he intercedes he deserves to have his intercession accepted, and if he speaks he deserves to be heard.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said nothing. Another man passed by and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked, “What do you think of this man?” They said, “By Allaah, O Messenger of Allaah, he is one of the poor Muslims. If he proposes marriage he does not deserve to be accepted, if he intercedes, he does not deserve to have his intercession accepted, and if he speaks he does not deserve to be heard.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “This man is better than an earth full of men like the other one.” (Sunan Ibn Maajah, ‘Abd al-Baaqi edn., no. 4120)

5 – Dealing with mistakes by repeatedly reminding people to fear Allaah

Jundub ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Bajali reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent a group of Muslims to fight some mushrikeen, and they met in battle. One of the mushrikeen was ambushing individual Muslims and killing them. One of the Muslims wanted to catch him out and kill him. [Jundub said:] “We used to think that that man was Usaamah ibn Zayd. When he raised his sword, the mushrik said ‘La ilaaha ill-Allaah,’ but he [Usaamah] killed him. A messenger came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and reported to him about what had happened in the battle. When he told him about what had happened to the mushrik who said Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent for Usaamah and asked him, ‘Why did you kill him?’ He said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, he had caused much grief to the Muslims, he killed So-and-so and So-and-so,’ – and he named a number of people – ‘I attacked him and when he saw the sword he said Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘And then you killed him?’ Usaamah said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘What will you do when Laa illaha ill-Allaah comes on the Day of Resurrection?’ He said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, pray for forgiveness for me.’” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) simply said, “What will you do when Laa ilaaha ill-Allaahcomes on the Day of Resurrection?”; he did not say any more than that. (Reported by Muslim, ‘Abd al-Baaqi edn., no. 97).

According to a report narrated by Usaamah ibn Zayd, he said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent us out on a military campaign and we reached al-Haraqaat near Juhaynah in the morning. [During the battle] I caught a man and he said, ‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah,’ but I stabbed him. Then I felt bad about that, and I mentioned it to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘He said Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah and you killed him?’ I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, he only said it because he was afraid of my weapon.’ He said, ‘How can you know what is in his heart? How can you be sure whether he was sincere or not?’ He kept repeating this until I wished that I had not become Muslim until that day [because embracing Islam wipes out all sins that came before – Translator].” (Reported by Muslim, no. 69)

One issue that may be included under the heading of reminders is reminding people about the power of Allaah. An example of this follows:

Muslim (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported that Abu Mas’ood al-Badri said: “I was beating a slave of mine with a whip, and I heard a voice behind me saying, ‘Listen Abu Mas’ood!’ but I did not pay any attention to the voice because I was so angry. When the voice got nearer to me, I realized that it was the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he was saying, ‘Listen Abu Mas’ood, listen Abu Mas’ood!’ I dropped the whip from my hand (according to another report: the whip fell from my hand out of respect for him). He said, ‘Listen Abu Mas’ood, Allaah has more power over you than you have over this slave.’ I said, ‘I will never hit a slave again.’” According to another report he said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, he is free for the sake of Allaah.’ He said, ‘If you did not do this, the Fire of Hell would blow in your face, or the Fire would touch you.’”

According to another report also narrated by Muslim, “the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Certainly Allaah has more power over you than you have over him.’ So he freed him.” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 1659)

Abu Mas’ood al-Ansaari said: “I was beating a slave of mine when I heard someone saying from behind me, ‘Listen, Abu Mas’ood, listen, Abu Mas’ood.’ I turned around and saw that it was the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He said, ‘Allaah has more power over you than you have over him.’… I never beat any slave of mine after that.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 1948. Abu ‘Eesa said, this is a hasan saheeh hadeeth).

6 – Showing compassion to the one who is making a mistake

This applies in the case of those who deserve compassion, who feel remorse and show that they have repented, as is sometimes the case when people come to ask questions and find out, as in the following story:

Ibn ‘Abbaas reported that a man who had divorced his wife by zihaar and then had intercourse with her came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, I divorced my wife by zihaar then I had intercourse with her before I offered kafaarah (expiation).” He said, “What made you do that, may Allaah have mercy on you?” He said, “I saw her anklets in the moonlight.” He said, “Then do not go near her until you have done that which Allaah commanded you to do.” (Abu ‘Eesa said, this is a hasan ghareeb saheeh hadeeth. Saheeh Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 1199)

Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Whilst we were sitting with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), a man came to him and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I am doomed!’ He said, ‘What is the matter with you?’ He said, ‘I had intercourse with my wife whilst I was fasting.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Are you able to set a slave free?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Can you fast for two consecutive months?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Do you have the wherewithal to feed sixty poor persons?’ He said, ‘No.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said nothing more about the matter for a while, and whilst we were sitting there like that, a large basket full of dates was brought to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He said, ‘Where is the one who was asking?’ The man said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take this and give it in charity.’ The man said, ‘Who is poorer than me, O Messenger of Allaah? By Allaah, there is no family in Madeenah poorer than mine.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) smiled until his eyeteeth were visible, then he said, ‘Feed your family with it.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 1936).

This person who had made a mistake and came to ask about it was not joking or taking the matter lightly. He felt remorseful and guilty, as is clear from his saying “I am doomed.” For this reason, he deserved pity and compassion. The report narrated by Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) makes the man’s state even clearer:

Abu Hurayrah reported that a Bedouin came, hitting his cheeks and tearing out his hair, and saying, “I am sure that I am doomed!” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him, “What makes you doomed?” He said, “I had intercourse with my wife during Ramadaan.” He said, “Can you free a slave?’ He said, “No.” He said, “Can you fast for two consecutive months?” He said, “No.” He said, “Can you feed sixty poor persons?” He said, “No,” and mentioned how poor he was. A large basket containing fifteen saa’of dates was brought to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Where is that man? … Feed the poor with this.” He said, “O Messenger of Allaah, there is no one in Madeenah who is poorer than my family.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) smiled until his eyeteeth were visible and said, “Feed your family.” (Al-Musnad, 2/516. Al-Fath al-Rabaani, 10/89)


7- Not hastening to tell someone he is wrong

Something happened to ‘Umar which he himself told about: “I heard Hishaam ibn Hakeem ibn Hizaam reciting Soorat al-Furqaan during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). I listened to his recitation, and he was reciting it differently to the way that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite it. I nearly interrupted his prayer, but I waited until he had said the salaam, then I grabbed him by his cloak and said, ‘Who taught you to recite this soorah I heard you reciting?’ He said, ‘The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught me to recite it.’ I said, ‘You are lying! The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught me to recite it differently.’ I took him to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘I heard him reciting Soorat al-Furqaan differently than the way you taught me to recite it.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Let him go. Recite, O Hishaam.’ He recited it as I had heard him recite it. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘This is how it was revealed.’ Then he said, ‘Recite, O ‘Umar.’ So I recited it as he had taught me. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘This is how it was revealed. This Qur’an was revealed with seven ways of recitation, so recite it in the way that is easiest for you.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 4992).

Among the educational methods we learn from this story are the following:

  • Telling each one to recite in front of the other and approving their recitation was more effective in confirming that both were correct and neither was wrong.
  • When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told ‘Umar to let go of Hishaam, this was preparing both parties to listen in a calm manner. This was an indication that ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) had been too hasty.
  • A person who is seeking knowledge should not be too hasty to condemn any opinion that differs from that with which he is familiar; he should first be sure of what he is saying, because that opinion may turn out to be a valid scholarly opinion.

 

Another relevant point is that one should not hasten to punish someone who makes a mistake, as we see in the following story:

Al-Nisaa’i (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported from ‘Abbaad ibn Sharhabeel (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: “I came with my (paternal) uncles to Madeenah, and we entered one of the gardens of the city. I rubbed some of the wheat, and the owner of the garden came and took my cloak and hit me. I came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asking for his help. He sent for that man and they brought him to him. He said to him, ‘What made you do that?’ He said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, he went into my garden and took some of my wheat and rubbed it.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘You did not teach him if it was the matter of him not knowing, and you did not feed him if it was the matter of him being hungry. Give him back his cloak.’ And the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ordered that I should be given a wasq or half a wasq ( measure of wheat).” (Al-Nisaa’i, al-Mujtabaa, Kitaab Aadaab al-Qudaat, Baab al-Isti’daa’; Saheeh Sunan al-Nisaa’i, no. 4999).

From this story we learn that we should find out the circumstances of the one who is making a mistake or acting in an aggressive manner, so that we may know the right way to deal with him.

We may also note that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not punish the owner of the garden, because he was in the right, but he had handled the matter wrong. He pointed out to him that the way he had dealt with someone who knew not better was inappropriate in such circumstances, then he taught him how to handle the matter properly, and told him to give back the garment he had taken from the hungry man.

8 – Remaining calm when dealing with people’s mistakes

– especially when being too harsh could make matters worse and do more harm than good. We can learn this from looking at how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) dealt with the mistake made by the Bedouin who urinated in the mosque, as was reported by Anas ibn Maalik, who said: “Whilst we were in the mosque with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), a Bedouin came and stood urinating in the mosque. The Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Stop it! Stop it!’ But the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Do not interrupt him; leave him alone.’ So they left him until he had finished urinating, then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called him and said to him, ‘In these mosques it is not right to do anything like urinating or defecating; they are only for remembering Allaah, praying and reading Qur’aan,’ or words to that effect. Then he commanded a man who was there to bring a bucket of water and throw it over the (urine), and he did so.” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 285).

The principle which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) followed in dealing with this mistake was to treat the man gently, not to be harsh with him. Al-Bukhaari reported from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him): “A Bedouin urinated in the mosque, and the people got up to sort him out. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to them, ‘Leave him alone, and throw a bucket of water over it. You have been sent to make things easy for people, not to make things hard.’” (Fath, 6128).

The Sahaabah, may Allaah be pleased with them, were very keen to denounce the bad thing they had seen and to keep their mosque clean and pure, as is indicated in the various reports of this hadeeth, which describe them as shouting at him, getting up to sort him out, rebuking him and hastening to deal with him, or telling him to “Stop it!” (Jaami’ al-Usool, 7/83-87). But the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was thinking of the likely consequences of the two options – stopping him or leaving him alone. If they tried to stop him, forcing a man to suppress his urination could do him harm, and if he was unable to stop but moved away because he was afraid of them, the impurity would be spread over a wider area of the mosque and on the man’s body and clothing. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had the farsightedness to see that leaving the man alone until he had finished urinating was the lesser of two evils, especially since the man had already started doing it, and it was a problem that they would be able to do something about by cleaning it afterwards. So he told his companions to leave him alone and not to interrupt him. He told them to leave him alone because this was in the better interests of all and would ward off a worse evil by putting up with the lesser evil.

It was also reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked the man the reason for his action. Al-Tabaraani reported in al-Kabeer that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “A Bedouin came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and pledged allegiance to him in the mosque. Then he went away and started to urinate. The people wanted to stop him, but the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Do not stop a man when he is urinating.’ Then he asked him, ‘Are you not a Muslim?’ He said, ‘Of course.’ He said, ‘What made you urinate in our mosque?’ He said, ‘By the One Who sent you with the truth, I thought it was just like any other place so I urinated in it.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called for a bucket of water and poured it over the urine.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, no. 11552, vol. 11, p.220. Al-Haythami said in al-Majma’: its men are the men of saheeh, 2/10).

This wise manner of dealing with the problem had a far-reaching effect on the Bedouin, as is clear from his reaction. Ibn Maajah reported that Abu Hurayrah said: “A Bedouin entered the mosque where the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was sitting, and said, ‘O Allaah, forgive me and Muhammad, and do not forgive anyone else.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) smiled and said, ‘You are narrowing something vast.’ Then (the Bedouin) went away to the furthest part of the mosque, opened his legs, and began to urinate. After he had learnt better, the Bedouin said, ‘He got up, may my mother and my father be sacrificed for him, he did not rebuke me or insult me. He just said, “We do not urinate in this mosque; it was only built for the remembrance of Allaah and for prayer.” Then he called for a bucket of water and poured it over the urine.’” (Sunan Ibn Maajah, ‘Abd al-Baaqi edn., 529; Saheeh Ibn Maajah, 428).

Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) mentioned in his commentary a number of things we learn from the hadeeth about the Bedouin, among which are the following:

  • we should be gentle when dealing with one who is ignorant and teach him what he needs to know without rebuking him, so long as he is not acting out of stubbornness, especially if he is one who needs to be won over.
  • The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was kind and dealt nicely with him.
  • The idea of taking precautions against impurity (najaasah) was well-established in the minds of the Sahaabah, which is why they hastened to denounce it in the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) without first asking his permission. The idea of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil was also well-established in their minds.
  • We should also hasten to remove anything objectionable when there is nothing to stop us from doing so, because when the man had finished urinating, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) issued instructions that the place should be cleaned with water.

9 – Explaining the seriousness of the mistake

Ibn ‘Umar, Muhammad ibn Ka’b, Zayd ibn Aslam and Qutaadah reported (the following is compiled from their reports) that during the campaign of Tabook, a man said, “We have never seen anyone who loves food and tells lies more than our reciters, or anyone who is more cowardly on the battlefield” – referring to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his Companions. ‘Awf ibn Maalik said, ‘You are lying! You are a hypocrite, and I am going to tell the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ ‘Awf went to the Messenger of Allaah to tell him, but found that Qur’aan had already been revealed concerning it. That man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who was riding his camel, and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, we were only talking idly and joking, just to pass time on the journey.” Ibn ‘Umar said, “It is as if I can see him hanging onto the reins of the Prophet’s camel, with the stones hitting his feet, saying, “We were only talking idly and joking,” whilst the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was reciting (interpretation of the meaning), ‘Say: Was it at Allaah and His aayaat (signs) and His Messenger that you were mocking?’ [al-Tawbah 9:65], no more, no less.”

Ibn Jareer reported that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “During the campaign of Tabook a man said in a gathering, ‘We have never seen anyone who loves food and tells lies more than our reciters, or anyone who is more cowardly on the battlefield.’ A man who was present said, ‘You are lying! You are a hypocrite, and I am going to tell the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),’ and Qur’aan was revealed.” ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar said, “I saw him hanging on to the reins of the Prophet’s camel, kicking up the stones and saying, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, we were only talking idly and joking,’ and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was saying (interpretation of the meaning), “Say: Was it at Allaah and His aayaat (signs) and His Messenger that you were mocking?” [al-Tawbah 9:65]. (Tafseer ibn Jareer al-Tabari, 14/333, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, first edn., 1412. Its men are the men of saheeh, except Hishaam ibn Sa’d, from whom Muslim did not report except as a corroborating report, as in al-Meezaan. It was also reported by al-Tabari with his isnaad, and there is a corroborating report with a hasan isnaad recorded by Ibn Haatim from the hadeeth of Ka’b ibn Maalik. Saheeh al-Musnad min Asbaab al-Nuzool, p.71).

10 – Explaining the harmful effects of the mistake

Abu Tha’labah al-Khashani said: “Whenever the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) broke his journey in a place, the people would disperse in the valleys and mountains. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Your dispersing in these valleys and mountains is from Shaytaan.’ After that he never stopped anywhere but they all stayed close together, so much so that if a cloak was spread over them, it would cover them all.” (Reported by Abu Dawood (may Allaah have mercy on him), in his Sunan, 2286; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood, no. 2288). According to another report: “… until you would say that if you were to spread a cloth over them, it would cover them.” (Ahmad, al-Fath al-Rabbaani, 14/44).

Here we may note the Prophet’s concern for his Companions, which was the leader’s concern for his troops. The army’s dispersing when they made camp was a trick of the Shaytaan to make the Muslims scared and to lead the enemy to attack them. (See ‘Awn al-Ma’bood, 7/292). Dispersing in this manner would make it hard for one part of the army to come to the aid of another part. (See Daleel al-Faaliheen, 6/130).

We may also note that the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) obeyed him in whatever instructions they received from him.

Another example of how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained how serious and dangerous a mistake was is to be seen in the hadeeth of al-Nu’maan ibn Basheer, according to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Straighten your rows (for prayer), or Allaah will make you divided.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari in his Saheeh, Fath, no. 717).

Muslim reported in his Saheeh from Sammaak ibn Harb, who said: “I heard al-Nu’maan ibn Basheer saying, ‘The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to straighten our rows strictly, until he realized that we had got the message. One day he came out and was about to say takbeer when he noticed a man whose chest was sticking out. He said, “O slaves of Allaah, straighten your rows, or Allaah will make you divided.”’” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 436).

Al-Nisaa’i reported from Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Make your rows firm and close together, and make your necks in a straight line, for by the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, I see the shayaateen (devils) coming among your ranks as if they are small black sheep.” (al-Mujtabaa, 2/92. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan al-Nisaa’i, no. 785).

Explaining bad effects and negative consequences is very important when it comes to convincing people that they are making a mistake. The consequences may affect the person himself, or they may spread to other people. An example of the former is the report narrated by Abu Dawood (may Allaah have mercy on him) in his Sunan from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both), in which a man cursed the wind. Muslim said that a man’s cloak was snatched away by the wind at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he cursed the wind. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Do not curse it, for it only does as it is commanded, and if a person curses something that does not deserve to be cursed, his curse will come back upon him.” (Abu Dawood, no. 4908; Saheeh Abi Dawood, no. 4102). An example of the latter was narrated by al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) in his Saheeh from ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Abi Bakrah from his father, who said: “A man praised another man in the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).” According to a report narrated by Muslim: a man said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, there is no one other than the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) who is better than him in such-and-such.’ (Saheeh Muslim, no. 3000). [The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] said to him, ‘Woe to you! You have cut your companion’s throat! You have cut your companion’s throat!’ several times, then he said, ‘If any one of you insists on praising his brother, let him say, “I think so-and-so is such-and-such, and Allaah knows the exact truth, and I do not confirm anyone’s good conduct before Allaah, but I think him to be such-and-such,” if he knows that this is the case.’” (2662, Kitaab al-Shahaadaat). According to a report narrated by al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, Mihjan al-Aslami (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “… until when we were in the mosque, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw a man praying, prostrating and bowing. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me, ‘Who is this?’ I started to praise him and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, this is so-and-so, and he is such-and-such.’ (According to another report also in al-Adab al-Mufrad, he said, ‘This is so-and-so and he is one of the best people in Madeenah in prayer.’) He said, ‘Be quiet, lest he hear you and you destroy him.’” (Saheeh al-Adab al-Mufrad, 137; al-Albaani said, it is hasan).

Al-Bukhaari reported that Abu Moosa (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) heard a man praising another man and going to extremes in that. He said, ‘You have destroyed him’ or ‘You have broken the man’s back.’” (Fath 2663).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained that exaggeration when praising someone is a mistake which can have bad consequences. It may make the person who is praised feel proud, so that his heart is filled with arrogance and self-admiration, and he rests on his laurels or starts to show off because he enjoys the praise so much. This in turn may lead to his utimate doom, which is what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) meant when he said, “You have destroyed him,” or “You have cut the man’s throat,” or “You have broken the man’s back.”

Moreover, if a person goes to extremes in praising someone, and says something he is not certain of, or affirms something he could not possibly know, or maybe even tells lies or says something to please the person he is praising, this will be a disaster, especially if the person he is praising is an oppressor or wrongdoer. (See al-Fath, 10/478).

Generally speaking, it is not forbidden to praise people. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) praised some people in their presence. An important explanation of this topic is to be found in Saheeh Muslim, where there is a chapter entitled Baab al-Nahy ‘an al-Madh idhaa kaana feehi ifraat wa kheefa minhu fitnatan ‘ala’l-mamdooh (Chapter: Prohibition of praising others if it is exaggerated or if there is the danger of fitnah for the one who is praised). (Kitaab al-Zuhd wa’l-Raqaa’iq, Saheeh Muslim).

The person who sees himself as falling short will not be damaged by praise, and if he is praised he will not become arrogant, because he knows his own true nature. Some of the salaf said: “If a man is praised to his face, let him say: ‘O Allaah, forgive me for what they do not know, do not hold me responsible for what they say, and make me better than what they think.” (Fath, 10/478).

11 – Practical teaching of the one who is making a mistake

In many cases practical teaching is more effective than theoretical teaching. This is what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did. Jubayr ibn Nufayr reported from his father that he came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who called for water, then said, “Do wudoo’, O Abu Jubayr.” Abu Jubayr started with his mouth, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Do not start with your mouth, O Abu Jubayr, for the kaafir starts with his mouth.” Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called for water, and washed his hands until they were clean, then he rinsed his mouth and nose three times, washed his face three times, washed his right arm up to the elbow three times, and his left arm three times, wiped his head and washed his feet. (Reported by al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan, 1/46; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 2820).

We may note here that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) deliberately put this Sahaabi off from doing an incorrect action by telling him that the kaafir starts with his mouth; the meaning may be that the kaafir does not wash his hands before putting them in the vessel (I was told this by Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez Ibn Baaz when I asked him about the interpretation of this hadeeth), and that this is not hygienic. And Allaah knows best.

12 – Offering a sound alternative

‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood said, “When we prayed with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), we used to say, “Peace be upon Allaah from His slaves, peace be upon so-and-so.” (According to a report narrated by al-Nisaa’i, he said, “Pecae be upon Jibreel, peace be upon Mikaa’eel.” Al-Mujtabaa: Kitaab al-Tatbeeq, Baab Kayfa al-Tashahhud al-Awwal. See also Saheeh Sunan al-Nisaa’i, no. 1119). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Do not say, ‘Peace be upon Allaah,’ for Allaah is ‘The Peace’ (al-Salaam). But you should say, ‘Al-Tahiyyaatu Lillaahi wa’l-salawaatu wa’l-tayyibaat, al-salaamu ‘alayka ayyuha’l-Nabiyyu wa rahmat-Allaahi wa barakaatuhu, wa’l-salaamu ‘alaynaa wa ‘alaa ‘ibaad-Illaah il-saaliheen.’ If you say this, it will include every slave of Allaah in heaven or between heaven and earth. [Then say:] ‘I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.’ Then choose whichever du’aa’ you like, and recite it.” (al-Bukhaari, Fath, 835).

Another report that deals with this topic was narrated by Anas (may Allaah be please with him), who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw some sputum in the direction of the qiblah and this upset him so much that his anger could be seen on his face. He stood up and removed it with his hand, then said, “When any one of you stands up to pray, he is talking to his Lord. His Lord is between him and the qiblah, so no one of you should spit in the direction of the qiblah; he should spit to his left or under his feet.” Then he took the edge of his cloak, spat on it and rubbed part of it against another part and said, “Or do like this.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 405).

Another example was reported by Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: “Bilaal came to the Prophet with some good-quality dates, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked him, ‘Where is this from?’ Bilaal said, ‘We had some poor-quality dates, and I sold two measures of those for one measure of these so that we could give them to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ When he heard that, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Oh, oh! The essence of ribaa, the essence of ribaa! Do not do that. If you want to buy, sell your dates for something else, then buy it.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 2312). According to another report, one day a slave belonging to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) brought him some fresh dates, but the Prophet’s dates were dry, so the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Where did you get these dates from?’ He said, ‘We bought a measure of these for two measures of our dates.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Do not do this, because it is not right. Sell your dates first, then buy whatever dates you want.’ (Musnad Ahmad, 3/67).

But in the case of some da’iyahs and people who seek to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, we notice that there is a shortcoming in their methods when they denounce some of the mistakes that people make. They only point out the mistakes and denounce them as haraam, without offering an alternative or explaining what must be done if one makes a mistake. It is known that the method of Islam is to offer alternatives to make up for any benefits that may have been gained through the haraam practice. When zinaa (fornication, adultery) was forbidden, marriage was allowed and prescribed; when ribaa (usury, interest) was forbidden, trading was allowed; when pork, dead meat and the flesh of every creature that has fangs or talons were forbidden, the meat of properly-slaughtered cattle and other animals was allowed, and so on. If a person does fall into error, Islam shows him the way out, through repentance and expiation, as is explained in the texts on kafaaraat (acts of expiation). So those who seek to call others to Islam must follow the sharee’ah in offering alternatives and finding acceptable ways out. (Another example of offering an alternative is to quote saheeh ahaadeeth which will replace da’eef and fabricated ahaadeeth).

It is worth pointing out here that offering alternatives is something that depends on what is possible. Sometimes a mistake may be something that has to be stopped, but there is no realistic alternative, either because the general situation is bad and people are far removed from the sharee’ah of Allaah, or because the one who is seeking to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil cannot remember what the alternative is – all he wants to do is denounce the mistake and change it, even if he has no alternative to offer. This happens a great deal in the case of financial dealings and investment organizations, which emerged in kaafir societies and were brought, complete with all their Islamically unacceptable features, to Muslim societies; the Muslims have shortcomings and weaknesses that prevent them from creating Islamic alternatives and applying them everywhere. So those shortcomings and weaknesses remain, even though the divine methodology contains alternatives and ways out that could alleviate the Muslims’ hardships, and there are some who know this and some who do not.

13 – Guiding people to that which will prevent them from making mistakes

Abu Umaamah ibn Sahl ibn Haneef reported that his father told him that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went out, and they travelled with him in the direction of Makkah, until they reached the ravine of al-Khazzaar near al-Juhfah. Sahl ibn Haneef did ghusl, and he was a white man with a handsome body and beautiful skin. ‘Aamir ibn Rabee’ah, the brother of Banu ‘Adiyy ibn Ka’b looked at him whilst he was doing ghusl and said, ‘I have never seen anything like what I have seen today, not even the skin of the virgin who is hidden away!’ [referring to the whiteness of his skin]. Sahl fell to the ground (he had an epileptic fit). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came and it was said to him, ‘Do you want to see Sahl? By Allaah, he cannot raise his head or wake up.’ He asked, ‘Whose fault is this?’ They said, ‘ ‘Aamir ibn Rabee’ah looked at him.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called ‘Aamir and rebuked him angrily, and said, ‘Why would any one of you kill his brother? If any one of you sees that his brother has something he likes, let him pray for blessing for him.’ Then he said to him, ‘Wash yourself to help him’. So he washed his face, his hands up to the elbows, his knees, the sides of his feet and inside his izaar (lower garment) in a vessel. Then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Pour that water over him.’ So he poured the water over his head and back from behind, tilting the vessel, and Sahl went with the people and there was nothing wrong with him.” (Al-Musnad, 3/486. Al-Haythami said, the men of Ahmad are the men of saheeh. Al-Majma’, 5/107)

According to a report narrated by Maalik (may Allaah have mercy on him), Muhammad ibn Abi Umaamah ibn Sahl ibn Haneef said that he heard his father saying: “Abu Sahl ibn Haneef did ghusl in al-Kharraar and took off the garment he was wearing. ‘Aamir ibn Rabee’ah was looking at him, and Sahl was a white man with beautiful skin. ‘Aamir ibn Rabee’ah said to him, ‘I have never seen anything like what I have seen today, not even the skin of the virgin!’. Sahl fell ill on the spot and became seriously ill. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came and was told, ‘Sahl has fallen ill, and cannot go with you, O Messenger of Allaah.’ Sahl told him what had happened with ‘Aamir, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Why would any one of you kill his brother? You should have asked for blessing for him. The (evil) eye is real. Do wudoo’ to help him.” So ‘Aamir did wudoo’, and Sahl went with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and there was nothing wrong with him. (Al-Muwatta’, hadeeth no. 1972).

What we learn from this story is:

  • The teacher (i.e., the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) got angry with the one who caused harm to his Muslim brother.
  • He explained the harmful effects of the mistake and that it could lead to death.
  • He pointed the way to that which would prevent harm befalling a Muslim.

14 – Not confronting people directly with their mistakes and addressing the issue in general terms may be sufficient

Anas ibn Maalik said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘What is the matter with some people who raise their gaze to the heavens whilst they are praying?’ He spoke so harshly about them that he said, ‘They should stop doing that, or else Allaah will take away their sight.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, hadeeth no. 750).

When ‘Aa’ishah wanted to buy a slave-woman whose name was Bareerah, her owners refused to sell her except with the condition that she would still be connected to them. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) found out about this, he stood up to address the people, praised and thanked Allaah, then said, “What is wrong with men who impose conditions which are not mentioned in the Book of Allaah? There is no condition that is not mentioned in the Book of Allaah but it is invalid, even if there were one hundred such conditions. The decree of Allaah is more true, the conditions laid down by Allaah are more binding, and wala’ (connection, loyalty, allegiance) is to the one who sets the slave free.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) in numerous places in his Saheeh. See Fath, 5636).

‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did something and made it permissible, but some people felt that they were above doing that. News of this reached the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so he addressed the people. He praised and thanked Allaah, then he said, ‘What is the matter with people who think themselves above doing the things that I do? By Allaah, I know more about Allaah than they do, and I fear Him more than they do.’” (Fath, 6101).

Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw sputum in the qiblah of the mosque, so he turned to the people and said, “What is wrong with one of you that he stands facing his Lord and spits in front of Him? Would any of you like someone to face him and spit in his face? If any one of you wants to spit, let him spit towards his left, under his feet, and if he cannot do this, let him do this” – and al-Qaasim described how he spat on his garment and rubbed one part of it against another part. (Saheeh Muslim, no. 550).

Al-Nisaa’i reported in his Sunan that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed Salaat al-Subh and recited Soorat al-Room, but got mixed up in his recitation. When he had finished praying, he said, “What is the matter with people who pray with us but do not purify themselves properly? Such people are the ones who make us get mixed up when we recite Qur’aan.” (Sunan al-Nisaa’i, al-Mujtabaa, 2/156. Its men are thiqaat, but al-Haafiz said about ‘Abd al-Malik ibn ‘Umayr that he was thiqah but his memory changed and he may have fabricated reports).

Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported that Abu Rawh al-Kalaa’i said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) led us in prayer and recited Soorat al-Room, but he got mixed up in part of the recitation. He said, ‘The Shaytaan made us get mixed up in our recitation, because of some people who come to the prayer without wudoo’. When you come to pray, do wudoo’ properly.’”

He also reported from Shu’bah from ‘Abd al-Malik ibn ‘Umayr, who said: “I heard Shabeeb Abu Rawh narrating from a man from among the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed Salaat al-Subh and recited Soorat al-Room, and got mixed up, and he narrated (the same hadeeth).” (It was also reported from Zaa’idah and Sufyaan from ‘Abd al-Malik. Al-Musnad, 3/473).

There are many examples, all of which indicate that the identity of the person who has made the mistake need not be exposed. This indirect approach and avoiding a direct confrontation has a number of benefits, including the following:

  1. It avoids a negative reaction on the part of the person who has made the mistake, and prevents him from being tempted by the Shaytaan to avenge himself or defend himself.
  2. It is more acceptable to people and is more effective.
  3. It conceals the person’s mistake in front of other people.
  4. It increases the status of the educator and makes the advisor more beloved.

It must be pointed out that this method of using hints to convey a ruling to a person who has made a mistake, without exposing him and causing him embarrassment, is only to be used when what he has done is not known to the majority of people. If most of the people do know what he has done, and he knows that they know, then this method would be more in the nature of a rebuke and scolding, and exposing him in the most hurtful manner. The one who has made a mistake would most likely rather be confronted directly than be dealt with in this manner. Among the factors that can make a difference are: who is giving the advice, in the presence of whom the advice is being given, and whether the advice is given in a provocative and aggressive manner, or in a kindly and gentle manner.

Indirect methods of teaching people may be of benefit to the one who has made the mistake and to others, if they are used wisely.

continue to Part-4 :

15 – Provoking public opinion against the one who has made the mistake

The Prophet’s Methods for Correcting People’s Mistakes Part-2


Points to be noted when dealing with mistakes

Before we embark on our discussion we should note some issues and considerations that we should bear in mind before and when dealing with and correcting the mistakes of others.

Sincerity towards Allaah

When correcting the mistakes of others, it is essential that one’s intention be to earn the pleasure of Allaah, not to demonstrate one’s superiority or to vent one’s anger or to impress others.

Al-Tirmidhi (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported from Shufayy al-Asbahi that he entered Madeenah and saw a man with people gathered around him. He asked, “Who is this?” They said, “Abu Hurayrah.” [Shufayy said:] “So I approached him and sat down in front of him. He was speaking to the people, and when he finished and they had gone away, I said to him, ‘I ask you by Allaah, to narrate to me a hadeeth that you heard from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and understood fully.’ Abu Hurayrah said, ‘I will do that, I will tell you a hadeeth I heard from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and understood fully.’ Then Abu Hurayrah began to gasp, and remained in this condition until he recovered, then he said, ‘I will tell you a hadeeth that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told me in this house when there was no one else present except me and him.’ Then Abu Hurayrah began to gasp again, then he recovered and wiped his face, and said, ‘I will tell you a hadeeth that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told me in this house when there was no one else present except me and him.’ Then he gasped, then he recovered and wiped his face and said, ‘I will tell you a hadeeth that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told me in this house when there was no one else present except me and him.’ Then Abu Hurayrah began to gasp severely, and his head fell forward, and I supported him with my shoulder for a long time, then he recovered, and said: ‘The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told me: ‘When the Day of Judgement comes, Allaah will come down to judge between the people. And every nation will be kneeling in submission. The first people to be called forth will be a man who had learned the Qur’aan by heart, a man who was killed for the sake of Allaah and a man who had a lot of wealth. Allaah will say to the reader, ‘Did I not teach you that which I had revealed to My Messenger?’ He will say, ‘Of course, My Lord.’ Allaah will say, ‘What did you do with what you were taught?’ He will say, ‘I stayed up at night and during the day (to recite it).’ Allaah will say, ‘You have lied,’ and the angels will say, ‘You have lied.’ Allaah will say, ‘You only wanted it to be said that so-and-so is a reader, and it was said.’ The one who had a lot of wealth will be brought and Allaah will say to him, ‘Did I not give generously to you so that you were not in need of anyone?’ He will say, ‘Of course, O Lord.’ Allaah will say, ‘What did you do with what I gave you?’ He will say, ‘I used to give it to my relatives and in charity.’ Allaah will say, ‘You have lied,’ and the angels will say, ‘You have lied.’ Allaah will say, ‘You only wanted it to be said that so-and-so is generous, and it was said. Then the one who was killed for the sake of Allaah will be brought and Allaah will say to him, ‘What were you killed for?’ He will say, ‘I was commanded to fight in jihaad for Your sake so I fought until I was killed.’ Allaah will say, ‘You have lied,’ and the angels will say, ‘You have lied.’ Allaah will say, ‘You only want it to be said that so-and-so was courageous, and it was said.’ Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) struck my knees and said, ‘O Abu Hurayrah, these three are the first people for whom the Fire will be heated on the Day of Resurrection.’” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 2382, Shaakir edn. Abu ‘Eesa said: this is a ghareeb hasan hadeeth).

If the intention of the person giving advice is sincere, he will earn reward and his advice will be accepted and acted upon, by the permission of Allaah.

– Making mistakes is part of human nature.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Every son of Adam makes mistakes, and the best of those who make mistakes are those who repent.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2499, and by Ibn Maajah, who narrated this version – al-Sunan, ed. by ‘Abd al-Baqi, no. 4251)

Bearing this fact clearly in mind will put things into their proper perspective, so the educator should not expect people to be perfect or infallible or judge them according to what he thinks they should be, and then consider them to have failed if they make a big mistake or err repeatedly. He should deal with them in a realistic manner, based on

his knowledge of human nature which is subject to ignorance, negligence, shortcomings, whims and desires and forgetfulness.

Understanding this fact will also prevent an educator from being greatly shocked by the kind of sudden mistake that could lead him to react in an inappropriate fashion. This will remind the da’iyah and educator who is striving to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil that he too is a human being who could also make the same mistake, so he should deal with him on a footing of compassion rather than harshness, because the basic aim is to reform, not to punish.

But this does not mean that we should leave people who are making mistakes alone, or find excuses for those who are committing sins on the basis that they are only human or that they are just youngsters, or that the modern age is full of temptations and so on. We must denounce the actions and call the people to account, but at the same time we must evaluate their actions according to Islam.

– Saying that someone is wrong should be based on shar’i evidence and proper understanding, not on ignorance and that fact that one happens not to like it. Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir reported that Jaabir prayed wearing only an izar (lower garment wrapped around the waist) tied at the back [the reason for this is that they did not have trousers, and they would wear their izar tied at the back because this was more concealing when they did rukoo’ and sujood. Fath al-Baari, al-Salafiyyah edn., 1/467], and his other clothes were on a clothes hook. Someone said to him, ‘Are you praying in one garment?’ He said, ‘I only did it so that some foolish person like you would see me. Who among us had two garments at the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)?’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 352). Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “What is meant by ‘foolish’ here is ‘ignorant’… The purpose was to explain that it is permissible to pray wearing only one garment, although wearing two garments is preferable. It is as if he was saying, ‘I did it on purpose to show that it is permissible, so that one who does not know could follow me in that or he could rebuke me so that I could teach him that it is permissible.’ The reason why his answer was so harsh was so that he could teach them not to rebuke the scholars and to urge them to look into shar’i matters themselves.” (al-Fath, 1/467)

– The more serious a mistake is, the more effort should be made to correct it.

Efforts to correct mistakes that have to do with ‘aqeedah should be greater than those to correct mistakes that have to do with etiquette, for example. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was intensely concerned about dealing with and correcting mistakes that had to do with shirk in all its forms, because this was the most important matter. Examples of this follow:

Al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah said: “There was an eclipse of the sun on the day that [the Prophet’s infant son] Ibraaheem died, and the people said, ‘This eclipse is because of the death of Ibraaheem.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘The sun and the moon are two of the signs of Allaah, they do not become eclipsed for the death or life of anyone. If you see them (eclipsed) then call on Allaah and pray to Him until the eclipse is over.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 1061).

Abu Waaqid al-Laythi reported that when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went out to Hunayn, he passed by a tree belonging to the mushrikeen that was called Dhaat Anwaat, on which they used to hang their weapons. They said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, make for us a Dhaat Anwaat like they have.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Subhaan-Allaah! This is like what the people of Moosa said, “Make for us a god as they have gods.” By the One in Whose hand is my soul, you will follow the ways of the people who came before you.’” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2180. He said, This is a saheeh hasan hadeeth).

According to another report narrated by Abu Waaqid, they went out from Makkah with the Messenger of Allaah to Hunayn. He said: “The kuffaar had a lotus-tree to which they were devoted and on which they used to hang their weapons; it was called Dhaat Anwaat. We passed by a big, green lotus-tree, and we said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, make this a Dhaat Anwat for us.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘By the One in Whose hand is my soul, you have said what the people of Moosa said to him, “Make for us a god as they have gods,” and he said, “Verily, you are a people who know not.” It is the same thing, and you will follow the ways of the people who came before you, step by step.’” (Reported by Ahmad, al-Sunan, 5/218).

Zayd ibn Khaalid al-Juhani said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) led us in Subh (Fajr) prayer at al-Hudaybiyah just after it had rained in the night. When he finished, he turned to the people and said, ‘Do you know what your Lord says?” They said, ‘Allaah and His Messenger know best.’ He said, ‘This morning one of My slaves became a believer in Me, and one a disbeliever. As for the one who said, we have been given rain by the Grace and Mercy of Allaah, he is a believer in Me and a disbeliever in the stars; and as for him who said, we have been given rain by such-and-such a star, he is a disbeliever in Me and a believer in the stars.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, no. 846).

Ibn ‘Abbaas reported that a man said, “O Messenger of Allaah, whatever Allaah and you will.” He said, “Are you making me equal to Allaah? [Say instead:] What Allaah alone wills.” (Reported by Ahmad, al-Musnad, 1/283).

Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) reported that he caught up with ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab who was with a group of people and was swearing by his father. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called them and told them that Allaah had forbidden them to swear by their forefathers; the one who wanted to swear an oath should swear by Allaah or else keep quiet. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 6108)

Note: Imaam Ahmad reported in his Musnad: Wakee’ told us that al-A’mash told us from Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaydah who said: “I was with Ibn ‘Umar in a circle and he heard a man in another circle saying, ‘No, by my father.’ So Ibn ‘Umar threw pebbles at him and said, ‘This is how ‘Umar used to swear, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade him to do this and said that it was shirk.’” (al-Fath al-Rabbaani, 14/164).

Abu Shurayh Haani’ ibn Yazeed said: “A delegation of people came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he heard them calling one of them Abd al-Hajar (“slave of the stone”). He asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘ ‘Abd al-Hajar.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘No, you are ‘Abd-Allaah (slave of Allaah).’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, no. 813. Al-Albaani said in Saheeh al-Adab al-Mufrad that it is saheeh, no. 623).

– Taking into account the position of the person who is striving to correct the mistake

Some people’s advice may be more readily accepted than others’ because they have a status that others do not, or because, unlike others, they have authority over the person who has made the mistake, for example, a father with his child or a teacher with his student or a government official with the one whom he is inspecting. One who is older is not like one who is younger, a relative is not like a stranger, a person with authority is not like one with no authority. Understanding these differences will make the reformer put things into perspective and evaluate them properly, so that his rebuke or correction will not lead to a greater evil. The position of the one who is rebuking and the esteem in which he is held by the one who has made the mistake are very important in judging how strong the rebuke should be and deciding how harsh or gentle the tone should be. From this we learn two things:

Firstly, that the person to whom Allaah has given status or authority should use that to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, and to teach people. He should understand that he has a great responsibility because people will accept more from him than from other people – usually – so he can do more than others can.

Secondly, the person who seeks to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil should not misjudge the situation and put himself in a higher position than is in fact the case and behave as if he has qualities that he does not have, because this will only put people off.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made the most of the position of respect that Allaah had given him when he was rebuking and teaching people. He did things that would not have been appropriate if they were done by anyone else, examples of which follow:

Ya’eesh ibn Tihfah al-Ghiffaari reported that his father said: “I was a guest of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), one of the poor to whom he played host. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out to check on his guests during the night, and saw me lying on my stomach. He kicked me and said, ‘Don’t lie like this; this is the kind of lying that Allaah hates.’” According to another report: “He kicked him and woke him up, and said, ‘This is how the people of Hell lie.’” (Reported by Ahmad, al-Fath al-Rabbaani, 14/244-245. Also reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2798, Shaakir edn.; by Abu Dawood in Kitaab al-Adab in his Sunan, no. 5040, al-Da’’aas edn. The hadeeth is also in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2270-2271).

This method of rebuking was appropriate for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) because of his position and status, but it is not appropriate for ordinary people. It is not alright for any person who wants to rebuke another for sleeping on his stomach to kick him whilst he is asleep and wake him up, and then expect him to accept this advice and thank him for it. The same applies to hitting a person who is making a mistake or throwing something like pebbles or whatever at him. Although some of the salaf did that, it was because of their particular status. Some stories of this nature follow:

Al-Daarimi (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported from Sulaymaan ibn Yassaar that a man called Sabeegh came to Madeenah and started to ask about the ambiguous texts of the Qur’aan. ‘Umar sent for him, and he had prepared some date palm branches for him (to hit him with). [‘Umar] asked him, “Who are you?’ He said, “I am the slave of Allaah, Sabeegh.” ‘Umar took hold of one of the palm branches and hit him, saying, “I am the slave of Allaah, ‘Umar.” He kept hitting him until his head began to bleed, and he said, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, enough! [The ideas that] were in my head have gone!” (Sunan al-Daarimi, ed. by ‘Abd-Allaah Haashim Yamaani, 1/51, no. 146).

Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported that Ibn Abi Layla said: “Hudhayfah was in al-Madaa’in and asked for a drink, and a grandee gave him a vessel of silver. He threw it at him and said, ‘I would not have thrown it, but I told him not to do it and he didn’t stop. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade us from wearing silk and brocade, and from drinking from vessels of gold and silver. He said, ‘These are for them in this world and for you in the Hereafter.’” (al-Fath, no. 5632).

According to a report narrated by Ahmad, describing the same incident, ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Abi Laylaa said: “I went out with Hudhayfah to one of these areas, and he asked for something to drink. A grandee brought him a vessel of silver and he (Hudhayfah) threw it in his face. We said, ‘Be quiet, be quiet, if we ask why he did it, he might not tell us.’ So we were quiet, and a little while later he said, ‘Do you know why I threw it in his face?’ We said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘I had told him not to do it. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Do not drink from vessels of gold,” and Mu’aadh said, “Do not drink from vessels of gold or silver, and do not wear silk or brocade; these are for them in this world and for you in the Hereafter.”’” (al-Musnad, 5/396)

Al-Bukhaari narrated that Seereen asked Anas to write him a contract of manumission, as he had plenty of money, but Anas refused. Seereen went to ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), who told Anas to write the document, and Anas still refused, so ‘Umar hit him with a whip whilst reciting the words (interpretation of the meaning): “… give them [slaves seeking emancipation] such writing [of a document of manumission], if you know that they are good and trustworthy…” [al-Noor 24:33], so he wrote the document for him. (Al-Fath, 5/184).

Al-Nisaa’i reported from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri that he was praying when a son of Marwaan came in front of him, so he checked him, and when he did not go back, he hit him. The boy went out crying, and went to Marwaan and told him what had happened. Marwaan asked Abu Sa’eed, “Why did you hit the son of your brother?” He said, “I did not hit him, I hit the Shaytaan. I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: ‘If any one of you is praying and someone wants to pass in front of him, let him stop him as much as he can, and if he refuses then fight him, for he is a devil.’” (al-Mujtaba min Sunan al-Nisaa’i, 8/61; Saheeh Sunan al-Nisaa’i, no. 4518)

Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported from Abu’l-Nadr that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri was suffering from a sore leg, and his brother came in and saw him lying with one leg crossed over the other, so he hit him on the sore leg, making it hurt even more. He said, “You hurt my leg! Didn’t you know it is sore?” He said, “Of course I knew.” He said, “What made you do that?” He said, “Did you not hear that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade us to sit like this?” (al-Musnad, 3/42)

Maalik reported from Abu’l-Zubayr al-Makki that a man proposed marriage to another man’s sister, and he [the brother] told him that she had committed zinaa. News of this reached ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab, so he hit him or nearly hit him, and said, “Why did you tell him?” (Muwatta’ Maalik, no. 1553, report of Abu Mus’ab al-Zuhri, ed. by Bashshaar Ma’roof and Mahmood Khaleel. Mu’sasat al-Risaalah).

Muslim reported in his Saheeh from Abu Ishaaq who said: “I was with al-Aswad ibn Yazeed in the Great Mosque, and al-Sha’bi was with us. Al-Sha’bi told us about what Faatimah bint Qays had said about the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) not providing housing or an income for her. Al-Aswad took a handful of pebbles and threw them at him, saying, ‘Woe to you! You talk about something like this? ‘Umar said that we should not leave the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) for the words of a woman who we cannot be sure has remembered things properly or not. Women have the right to accommodation and an income. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… and turn them not out of their homes, not shall they (themselves) leave, except in case they are guilty of some open illegal sexual intercourse…” [al-Talaaq 65:1].’” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 1480).

Abu Dawood reported, with an isnaad in which two men are maqbool, that two men entered from the doors of Kindah, when Abu Mas’ood al-Ansaari was sitting in a circle. The two men said, “Is there any man who will judge between us?” A man in the circle said, “I will.” Abu Mas’ood took a handful of pebbles and threw them at him, saying, “Shut up! It is disliked to hasten to judgement.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, Kitaab al-Aqdiyah, Bab fi talab al-qada’ wa al-tasarru’ ilayhi)

We should also note that the Prophet’s rebuking of some of his closest Companions was, on occasions, harsher than his rebuking of a bedouin, for example, or a stranger. All of this has to do with wisdom and proper evaluation in rebuking.

– Making a distinction between one who errs out of ignorance and one who errs despite his knowledge

One of the stories that illustrate this clearly is what happened to Mu’aawiyah ibn al-Hakam al-Salami when he came to Madeenah from the desert, and he did not know that it is forbidden to speak during the salaah. He said: “Whilst I was praying behind the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), a man sneezed, so I said ‘Yarhamuk Allaah (may Allaah have mercy on you).’ The people glared at me, so I said, ‘May my mother lose me! What is wrong with you that you are looking at me?’ They began to slap their thighs with their hands, and when I saw that they were indicating that I should be quiet, I stopped talking (i.e., I nearly wanted to answer them back, but I controlled myself and kept quiet). When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had finished praying – may my father and mother be sacrificed for him, I have never seen a better teacher than him before or since – he did not rebuke me or hit me or put me to shame. He just said, ‘This prayer should contain nothing of the speech of men; it is only tasbeeh and takbeer and recitation of the Qur’aan.’” (Saheeh Muslim, ‘Abd al-Baaqi edn., no. 537).

The ignorant person needs to be taught; the one who has doubts needs to have things explained to him; the negligent person needs to be reminded; and the one who wilfully persists in error needs to be warned. It is not right to treat one who knows about a ruling and one who is ignorant of it in the same manner when rebuking them. Treating one who does not know too harshly will only put him off and make him refuse to follow your advice, unlike teaching him with wisdom and gentleness, because an ignorant person simply does not realize that he is making a mistake. It is as if he is saying to the one who is rebuking him: “Why don’t you teach me before you launch an attack on me?”

The one who is making a mistake without realizing it may think that he is right, so we should take this into account and deal with him tactfully. Imaam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported in al-Musnad from al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ate some food, then got up to pray. He had already done wudoo’ before that, but I brought some water for him to do wudoo’, He rebuffed me and said, ‘Go away!’ I felt upset, by Allaah. He prayed, and I complained to ‘Umar about what had happened. He said, ‘O Prophet of Allaah, al-Mugheerah feels hurt by your rebuff, and he is worried that you may be angry with him for some reason.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘I see only good in him, but he brought me water to do wudoo’ after I had eaten some food, and if I had done wudoo’ then, the people would have followed suit [i.e., they would have thought that they had to do wudoo’ every time they had eaten something].’” (al-Musnad, 4/253)

We should note here that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) pointed out the mistakes of these great Sahaabah, it did not have a negative impact on them or put them off; rather, it had a positive effect on them, and having been corrected in this manner by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), they would remain anxious and worried, watching their behaviour and feeling concerned until they could be sure that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was pleased with them.

We may also note from this story that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) pointed out al-Mugheerah’s mistake, he was not angry with al-Mugheerah himself; he did this out of mercy to the people and to explain things clearly to them, so that they would not impose something on themselves that was not waajib and that would cause them a great deal of hardship.

– Making a distinction between mistakes stemming from an honest effort to find out what is right (ijtihaad), and mistakes done deliberately, out of negligence or because of shortcomings

There is no doubt that in the first case, a person is not to be blamed; indeed he will earn one reward even if he is mistaken, so long as his intention was sincere and he tried to reach the right conclusion, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If a ruler judges and strives to make the right decision, and his decision is correct, he will have two rewards, and if his decision is wrong, he will still have one reward.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 1326, Shaakir edn. Abu ‘Eesa al-Tirmidhi said it is a ghareeb hasan hadeeth in this version. )

This is a different case from one who errs deliberately or because of shortcomings. In the first instance, the person should be taught and advised; in the second, he should be warned and rebuked.

The ijtihaad which may be excused should be done on the part of one who is qualified, not one who gives fatwas without knowledge and without taking circumstances into account. This is why the Prophet severely denounced the people who made the mistake in the case of the man with the head wound. Abu Dawood narrated in his Sunan from Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: “We went out on a journey, and one of the men with us was struck in the head with a stone and started bleeding. Then he slept and when he woke up he needed to do ghusl (he was in state of janaabah or impurity). He asked his companions, ‘Do you think I could get away with doing tayammum?’ They said, ‘We don’t think you have any excuse because water is available.’ So he did ghusl, and he died. When we came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he was told about this, he said, ‘They have killed him, may Allaah kill them! Why did they not ask if they did not know? The cure of the one who does not know is to ask…’” (Sunan Abi Dawood, Kitaab al-Tahaarah, Baab al-majrooh yatayammam; al-Albaani classed it as hasan in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 325, and indicated that the extra material added at the end of the hadeeth is da’eef)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that judges are of three types, one will be in Paradiseand the other two in Hell. The type that will be in Paradiseis a man who knows the truth and judges accordingly. A man who knows the truth but judges unjustly will be in Hell, and a man who judges between people without proper knowledge will also be in Hell. (Sunan Abi Dawood, no. 3573; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Irwa’, 2164). The third type is not regarded as having any excuse.

Another factor in gauging the degree of rebuking is paying attention to the environment in which the mistake occurred, such as whether it was an environment in which the Sunnah is followed or bid’ah is widespread, or how prevalent evil is, or whether there are ignorant or overly lenient people, whose opinions are widely followed, issuing fatwas to say that it is permissible.

– A good intention on the part of the one who makes the mistake does not mean that he should not be rebuked

‘Amr ibn Yahya said: “I heard my father narrating from his father who said: ‘We were at the door of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood before the early morning prayer. When he came out we walked with him to the mosque. Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari came up to us and said, “Did Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan come out to you yet?” We said, “No.” He sat down with us until [Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan] came out. When he came out, we all stood up to greet him, and Abu Moosa said to him: “O Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan, earlier I saw in the mosque something that I have never seen before, but it seems good, al-hamdu Lillaah.” He said, “And what was it?” He said, “if you live, you will see it. I saw people in the mosque sitting in circles waiting for the prayer. In every circle there was a man, and they had pebbles in their hands. He would say, ‘Say Allaahu akbar one hundred times,’ and they would say Allaahu akbar one hundred times; then he would say, ‘Say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah one hundred times,’ and they would say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah one hundred times; then he would say, ‘Say Subhaan Allaah one hundred times,’ and they would say Subhaan Allaah one hundred times.’ He asked, ‘What did you say to them?’ He said, ‘I did not say anything to them; I was waiting to see what your opinion would be and what you would tell me to do.’ He said, ‘Why did you not tell them to count their bad deeds and guarantee them that nothing of their good deeds would be wasted?’ Then he left, and we went with him, until he reached one of those circles. He stood over them and said, ‘What is this I see you doing?’ They said, ‘O Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan, these are pebbles we are using to count our takbeer, tahleel and tasbeeh.’ He said, ‘Count your bad deeds, and I guarantee that nothing of your good deeds will be wasted. Woe to you, O ummah of Muhammad, how quickly you are getting destroyed! The Companions of your Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) are still alive, his garment is not yet worn out and his vessels are not yet broken. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, either you are following a way that is more guided than that of Muhammad or you have opened the door of misguidance!’ They said, ‘By Allaah, O Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan, we only wanted to do good.’ He said, ‘How many of those who wanted to do good failed to achieve it! The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us that people recite Qur’aan and it does not go any further than their throats. By Allaah, I do not know, maybe most of them are people like you.’ Then he turned away from them.

‘Amr ibn Salamah said, ‘I saw most of the members of those circles fighting alongside the Khawaarij on the day of Nahrawaan.’” (Reported by al-Daarimi, al-Sunan, no. 210, ed. by ‘Abd-Allaah Haashim al-Yamaani. Al-Albaani classed its isnaad as saheeh in al-Silsilat al-Saheehah under hadeeth no. 2005. See Majma’ al-Zawaa’id by al-Haythami, 1/181).

– Being fair and not being biased when correcting those who make mistakes

Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings):

“And whenever you give your word (i.e., judge between men or give evidence), say the truth…” [al-An’aam 6:152]

“… and when you judge between men, you [should] judge with justice…” [al-Nisa’ 4:58]

The fact that Usaamah ibn Zayd was the beloved of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the son of his beloved [Zayd] did not stop the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) from rebuking him most sternly when he tried to intercede regarding one of the punishments (hudood) prescribed by Allaah. ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) reported that Quraysh were concerned about a woman who stole at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), at the time of the Conquest of Makkah. They said, ‘Who will speak to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about her? Who will dare to do this other than Usaamah ibn Zayd, the beloved of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)?’ She was brought to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and Usaamah ibn Zayd spoke to him concerning her. The face of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) changed colour and he said: ‘Are you interceding concerning one of the punishments prescribed by Allaah?’ Usaamah said to him, ‘Pray for forgiveness for me, O Messenger of Allaah.’ When evening came, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up and addressed the people. He praised Allaah as He deserves to be praised, then he said: ‘The people who came before you were destroyed because if one of their nobles stole, they would let him go, but if one of the weak among them stole, they would carry out the punishment on him. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if Faatimah the daughter of Muhammad were to steal, I would cut off her hand.’ Then he ordered that the woman who had stolen should have her hand cut off.” (The hadeeth was reported by al-Bukhaari and Muslim; this version was narrated by Muslim, no. 1688).

According to a report narrated by al-Nisaa’i from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), she said: “A woman borrowed some jewellery, claiming that she wanted to lend it to someone else, but she sold it and kept the money. She was brought to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Her family went to Usaamah ibn Zayd, who spoke to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) concerning her. The face of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) changed colour whilst Usaamah was speaking, then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him: ‘Are you interceding concerning one of the punishments prescribed by Allaah?’ Usaamah said, ‘Pray for forgiveness for me, O Messenger of Allaah.’ In the evening, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up, praised Allaah as He deserves to be praised, then said, ‘The people who came before you were destroyed because if one of their nobles stole, they would let him go, but if one of the weak among them stole, they would carry out the punishment on him. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if Faatimah the daughter of Muhammad were to steal, I would cut off her hand.’ Then he ordered that the woman’s hand should be cut off.” (Sunan al-Nisaa’i, al-Mujtabaa, Dar al-Fikr edn., 8/73. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan al-Nisaa’i, no. 4548).

The Prophet’s attitude towards Usaamah (may Allaah be pleased with him) indicates that he was fair and just, and that Islam came before love of people in his view. A person may put up with the personal faults of whoever he wishes, but he has no right to be tolerant or biased towards those whose mistakes transgress the limits set by Islam.

Sometimes, when a relative or friend makes a mistake, a person does not rebuke him as he would a person whom he does not know, so one may see unIslamic bias or discrimination in his dealings because of this, and a person may turn a blind eye to his friend’s mistake while harshly criticizing another person.

[An Arab poet once said:]

“If you are happy with a person, you do not see his mistakes, but if you are angry with him, you see them all.”

This may also be reflected in the way in which actions are interpreted. An action on the part of a person one loves will be taken one way, and the same deed on the part of another person will be taken quite differently.

All of the above applies only when circumstances are the same, otherwise there could be different considerations as we will see below.

– Being careful lest correcting one mistake leads to a bigger mistake

It is a well-established fact that Islam allows the lesser of two evils in order to repel a greater evil. So a da’iyah may keep quiet about one mistake lest saying something lead to a more serious mistake.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) kept quiet about the munaafiqeen and did not execute them, even though their kufr was well-established. He bore their insults with patience, lest people say, “Muhammad is killing his companions,” especially since their true nature was not known to everyone. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not destroy the Ka’bah in order to rebuild it on the foundations laid by Ibraaheem, out of consideration towards Quraysh who were still new in Islam and too close to their recent jaahiliyyah. He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) feared that it might be too much for them, so he left it as it was, with part missing, and the door set high up and closed to the masses, even though this contains an element of zulm (wrongdoing or oppression).

Before this, Allaah had told the Muslims not to insult the gods of the mushrikeen, even though this is a form of worship, because this could lead to people insulting Allaah, which is the worst of evil.

A dai’yah may keep quiet about a wrong action, or defer rebuking, or change his approach, if he thinks that by doing so he will avoid a greater evil or mistake. This is not considered to be shortcoming or negligence so long as his intention is sincere and he does not fear anyone except Allaah, and it was only concern for the best interests of Islam, not cowardice, that stopped him from saying anything.

We may note that what causes a greater evil when rebuking for one mistake is zealousness which is not checked or controlled.

– Understanding the human nature from which the mistake sprang

There are some mistakes which can never be fully eradicated, because they have to do with the way Allaah has created people. It is possible to reduce them a little, but going to extremes in dealing with them will lead to a disaster. Such is the case of women. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Woman was created from a rib, and she will not behave consistently towards you. If you enjoy her company, then enjoy it despite her crookedness. If you try to straighten her you will break her, and her breaking is her divorce.” (Reported by Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), no. 1468).

According to another report: “Be kind to women, for they were created from a rib, and the most crooked part of the rib is the top. If you try to straighten it, you will break it, and if you leave it alone, it will stay crooked. So be kind to women.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari from Abu Hurayrah. Al-Fath, no. 5186).

Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The words ‘treat women kindly’ indicate that you should try to put them right gently, because if you go to extremes in trying to straighten them you will break them, and if you leave them they will remain crooked… What we learn from this is that we should not leave them crooked if they go beyond the natural expected shortcomings and commit sins or neglect duties. What is meant is that we can leave them crooked with regard to permissible matters. We also learn from the hadeeth that a gentle approach wins people over and opens their hearts. It also tells us to deal with women by being easy going with them, and to bear their crookedness with patience. Whoever insists on putting them right will not benefit from them, and as a man cannot do without a woman to enjoy the pleasure of living with her and to be his support in life, it is as if he said: you cannot enjoy her company unless you put up with her.” (Fath, 9/954).

– Making a distinction between mistakes that transgress the limits of Islam and mistakes that only affect other people

If Islam is dearer to us than our own selves, we must defend it and protect it and get angry for its sake more than we get angry for our own sakes and defend our own selves. It is a sign of not having religious feelings if we see a man getting angry for his own sake if someone insults him, but not getting angry for the sake of Allaah’s religion if anybody insults it; at most, we may see him feebly defending it in an embarrassed manner.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) often used to forgive those who made mistakes in their interactions with him, especially the hard-hearted Bedouin, in order to soften their hearts. Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported in his Saheeh that Anas ibn Maalik said: “I was walking with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he was wearing a Najraani cloak with a stiff collar. A Bedouin accosted him, grabbing his cloak in such a manner that the collar left a mark on the Prophet’s neck, and said, ‘O Muhammad! Give me some of the wealth of Allaah that you have!’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) turned to him and smiled, then ordered that he should be given something.” (al-Fath, 5809).

But if the mistake had to do with some issue of religion, then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would become angry for the sake of Allaah. Examples of this will be given below.

There are some other matters which should also be borne in mind when dealing with people’s mistakes, such as:

– Making a distinction between major mistakes and minor mistakes, just as Islam makes a distinction between major sins (kabaa’ir) and minor sins (saghaa’ir).

– Making a distinction between a person who has a track record of many good deeds, which will more or less cancel out the significance of his mistake, and a sinner who transgresses against himself (by doing evil deeds). People may put up with actions on the part of the one with the good track record that they will not put up with on the part of others. This is what happened to al-Siddeeq (Abu Bakr), as the following story illustrates: Asma’ bint Abi Bakr said: “We went out with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) as pilgrims, and when we reached al-‘Arj, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stopped to rest, and we stopped with him. ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) sat beside the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and I sat beside my father. The riding beast shared by Abu Bakr and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was with a slave belonging to Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr sat down, waiting for him to catch up, and when he caught up, the camel was not with him. Abu Bakr said, ‘Where is the camel?’ The slave answered, ‘I lost it yesterday.’ Abu Bakr said, ‘One camel, you lost it?’ and started to hit him. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) smiled and said, ‘Look at what this muhrim (person in a state of ihraam for Hajj) is doing.’” Ibn Abi Rizmah said, ‘The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not do any more than saying, ‘Look at what this muhrim is doing,’ and smiling.” (Reported by Abu Dawood in his SunanKitaab al-Manaasik, Baab al-Muhrim yu’addib ghulaamahu. Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood, no. 1602)

– Making a distinction between the one who makes mistakes repeatedly and the one who is making a mistake for the first time

– Making a distinction between the one who frequently makes mistakes and the one who rarely does so.

– Making a distinction between the one who makes mistakes openly and blatantly, and one who tries to cover up his mistakes

– Paying attention to cases where a person’s adherence to Islam may not be strong and his heart needs to be opened to the religion, so we should not be too harsh with him

– Taking into account a person’s situation as regards status and authority

The considerations that we have mentioned above do not contradict the fairness and justice referred to earlier.

– Rebuking a youngster who makes a mistake should be done in a manner appropriate to the child’s age.

Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported that al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali took one of the dates that had been given in charity, and put it in his mouth. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in Persian, “Kikh, kikh, do you not know that we do not eat the sadaqah (things given in charity)?” (Fath, 3072).

Al-Tabaraani (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported from Zaynab bint Abi Salamah that she entered upon the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) whilst he was performing ghusl. She said, “he took a handful of water and threw it in my face, saying, ‘Go away, foolish girl!’” (al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, 24/281. Al-Haythami said, its isnaad is hasan, al-Majma’, 1/269)

From this it is clear that a child’s tender years do not mean that his mistakes should not be corrected; indeed, correcting his mistakes is giving him the best upbringing, as it will be imprinted in his memory and will benefit him in the future. The first hadeeth shows how a child is taught to fear Allaah and restrain himself, and the second hadeeth shows how he is taught good manners, how to seek permission to enter, and to refrain from looking at the ‘awrah (that which should be covered) of others.

Another brilliant example of correcting children is the story of the young boy ‘Umar ibn Abi Salamah. Al-Bukhaari reported that he said: “I was a young boy under the care of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and my hand used to wander all over the plate (at mealtimes). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me: ‘O young boy! Say Bismillah, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is directly in front of you.’ This remained my way of eating from that time on.” (al-Fath, no. 5376)

We may note that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) advised that young boy who made the mistake of letting his hand go everywhere in the food, his words were short, brief and clear, which made it easy for the child to remember and understand; the effect on the boy’s heart lasted for a lifetime, as he said, “This remained my way of eating from that time on.”

– Exercising caution when advising non-mahram women, so that the advice is not taken wrongly, and so that fitnah (temptation, trouble) is avoided. No young man should use the excuse of speaking to young women in order to correct their mistakes or teach them. How often has this led to disasters! When it comes to correcting women, a large role should be given to ahl al-hisbah (“religious police”) and older people who could help them in this regard. The person who is seeking to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil must act in accordance with what he thinks will be the outcome of his rebuking. If he thinks that it is likely to be of benefit, he should speak up, otherwise he should refrain from speaking to ignorant women who may make false accusations against him whilst still persisting in their wrongdoing. The state of the society at large and the status of the one who is seeking to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil play a fundamental role in the success of his efforts to rebuke, convey the message or establish evidence. The following story illustrates this:

The freed slave of Abu Raham, whose name was ‘Ubayd, reported that Abu Hurayrah met a woman who was wearing perfume, heading for the mosque. He said, “O female slave of al-Jabbaar (the Compeller), where are you going?” She said, “To the mosque.” He said, “And you have put on perfume for this?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saying, “If any woman puts on perfume and then goes out to the mosque, Allaah will not accept her prayers until she does ghusl.” (Reported by Ibn Maajah, no. 4002; see also Saheeh Ibn Maajah, 2/367).

According to Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah: A woman passed by Abu Hurayrah and her perfume was overwhelming. He said to her, “Where are you going, O female slave of al-Jabbaar?” She said, “To the mosque.” He said, “Are you wearing perfume?” She said, “Yes.” He said, ‘Go back and do ghusl, for I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saying that Allaah does not accept the prayer of any woman who goes out to the mosque with overwhelming perfume, until she goes back and does ghusl.” (Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah, no. 1682. In his footnote, al-Albaani said, it is a hasan hadeeth. See also al-Musnad, 2/246. Ahmad Shaakir classed it as saheeh with this isnaad in his footnote to al-Musnad, no. 7350)

– Not occupying oneself with putting the symptoms right whilst neglecting to deal with the cause of the mistake

– Not exaggerating about the mistake

– Not going to extremes to prove the mistake happened or trying to force an admission of guilt from the one who made the mistake

– Allowing enough time for correcting the mistake, especially in the case of one who has been accustomed to doing it for a long time, whilst still following up the matter and continuing to advise and correct

– Not making the one who makes the mistake feel like an enemy, because the aim is to win people over, not score points against them

Now we will move on to our discussion of the methods used by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when dealing with the mistakes of people, as recorded in the saheeh ahaadeeth narrated by the scholars.

continue to Part-3

 

(FAQ) Act of Innovation (Bid’ah) by Muhammad Shaalih al Munajjid


The difference between setting an appointed time for lessons and setting an appointed time for qiyaam al-layl


We hope that you can advise us. Is setting an appointed time each week for giving religious lectures or holding study circles a form of reprehensible bid’ah (innovation), on the grounds that that seeking knowledge is a form of worship? The Messenger  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not set appointed times for this act of worship. Following on from that, if a group of brothers agree to meet in the mosque on a particular night each month to perform qiyaam al-layl, is that bid’ah? Please quote the evidence (daleel) (concerning that).

Praise be to Allaah.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked this question, and he replied as follows:

Setting aside a regular day for giving lectures or holding a study circle is not a reprehensible bid’ah. Rather it is permissible, as it is permissible to set aside a day in schools and institutes to study fiqh, tafseer, etc. Undoubtedly seeking Islamic knowledge is a form of worship but setting aside a particular day for it is something which is dictated by our circumstances. It is in our interests to set aside a specific day for that so that people will not be put in a difficult position. Seeking knowledge is not an act of worship which is linked to a specific time, rather it is to be done at times which are convenient. But if a special day is set aside and is regarded as being solely for seeking knowledge, then this is bid’ah.

With regard to a group agreeing to meet on a specific night for qiyaam al-layl, this is bid’ah, because it is not prescribed for a group to perform qiyaam al-layl together. But if this is done occasionally and unintentionally, as happened in the case of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him), this is OK.

From Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad Saalih ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, prepared by Fahd ibn Naasir al-Sulaymaan, p. 208

13642

Offering gifts to some women on Christmas


There is a common practice here in the west, that at christmas time some non-muslims, young and old, get together and gather all of their names, put them in a hat and have all of the names mixed up, then each person choses the name of another person who they will give a gift to on christmas day.

This is called chris kringle.

This basic idea was taken on by a group of sisters last year and now they want to take this practise on this year also for the end of eid.  All that the practice consists of, is each sister randomly assigned another sister for whom she must buy a gift of a set value ($20

Some of the sisters invloved beleive that this practsie is tashabu of the kufar, is this correct?

Praise be to Allaah.

What some sisters have said to you, that this action is something that is not permitted, is correct, because it involves imitating the kuffaar in two ways.

Firstly it involves celebrating this festival, which is something that is haraam according to sharee’ah, including offering gifts on this festival.

Secondly, it involves imitating the kaafirs in these customs on the day of their celebration of that innovated festival.

In Islam we have only Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adhaa. Any other festivals that have been innovated besides these two amount to nothing, especially if they are the religious festivals of other religions or groups that are beyond the pale of Islam.

Please see Question no. 947

This matter opens the door to bid’ah, and it comes under the general meaning of the words of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), “Whoever innovates anything in this matter of ours that is not part of it will have it rejected.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, al-Sulh 2499; Muslim, 1718). And Allaah knows best.

 

Ruling on uttering the intention (niyyah) in acts of worship


Should a Muslim utter the intention (niyyah) when he starts to do an act of worship, such as saying, “I intend to do wudoo’”, “I intend to pray”, “I intend to fast” and so on?

Praise be to Allaah.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah was asked about the intention when starting to do an act of worship such as praying etc., do we need to utter it verbally, such as saying, “I intend to pray, I intend to fast”?

He replied:

Praise be to Allaah.

The intention of purifying oneself by doing wudoo’ ghusl or tayammum, of praying, fasting, paying zakaah, offering kafaarah (expiation) and other acts of worship does not need to be uttered verbally, according to the consensus of the imaams of Islam. Rather the place of intention is the heart, according to the consensus among them. If a person utters something by mistake that goes against what is in his heart, then what counts is what he intended, not what he said.

No one has mentioned any difference of opinion concerning this matter, except that some of the later followers of al-Shaafa’i expressed approval of that, but some of the leaders of this madhhab said that this was wrong. But in the dispute among the scholars as to whether it is mustahabb to utter one’s intention, there are two points of view. Some of the companions of Abu Haneefah, al-Shaafa’i and Ahmad said that it is mustahabb to utter the intention so as to make it stronger.

Some of the companions of Maalik, Ahmad and others said that it is not mustahabb to utter it, because that is a bid’ah (innovation). It was not narrated that the Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or his Sahaabah did it or that he commanded anyone among his ummah to utter the intention. That is not known from any of the Muslims. If that had been prescribed then the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions would not have neglected it, as it has to do with worship which the ummah does every day and night.

This is the more correct view. Indeed, uttering the intention is a of irrational thinking and falling short in religious commitment. In terms of falling short in religious commitment, that is because it is bid’ah (an innovation). In terms of irrational thinking, that is because it is like a person who wants to eat some food saying, “I intend to put my hand in this vessel, take out a morsel of food, put it in my mouth and chew it, then swallow it, and eat until I have had my fill.” This is sheer foolishness and ignorance.

Intention is connected to knowledge. If a person knows what he is doing then he has obviously made an intention. It cannot be imagined, if he knows what he wants to do, that he has not formed an intention. The imaams are agreed that speaking the intention out loud and repeating it is not prescribed in Islam, rather the person who has made this a habit should be disciplined and told not to worship Allaah by following bid’ah and not to disturb others by raising his voice. And Allaah knows best.

Al-Fataawa al-Kubra, 1/214, 215


Does saying something that is bid’ah make one an innovator


If a scholar says something that is bid’ah or he agrees with those who follow bid’ah concerning a particular innovation, is he one of them?

Praise be to Allaah.

This question was put to Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him), who said:

The question may be examined from two angles:

If a scholar says something which is bid’ah or follows the path of bid’ah with regard to a particular issue, is he counted as being one of them?

The answer is no, he is not counted as being one of them and is not to be described as such. If he agrees with them on one particular issue then he has agreed with them on that issue, but it is not correct to say that he is one of them in absolute terms.

For example, there may be someone who follows the madhhab of Ahmad (i.e., Hanbali) but with regard to a particular issue he follows the view of Imaam Maalik – is he to be counted as a Maaliki? No.

Similarly, if a faqeeh follows the madhhab of Abu Haneefah (i.e., Hanafi) but with regard to a particular issue he follows the madhhab of al-Shaafa’i, do we say that he is a Shaafa’i? No.

So if we see a scholar who is known to be sincere following something that is the view of the people of bid’ah, it is not correct for us to say that he is one of them or is following their way. Rather we should say that because we know that they are following the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and that they are sincere in advising people, if they err with regard to this issue, that error stems from ijtihaad, and the mujtahid in this ummah will have two rewards if he reaches the right conclusion, and if he makes a mistake then he will have one reward.

Whoever rejects the whole truth (to which that person is calling people) because of one mistaken word is misguided, especially if the thing that he thinks is a mistake is not actually a mistake. Some people, if anyone disagrees with them, say that he is mistaken. They may describe him as being mistaken or misguided, or even as being a kaafir – Allaah forbid. This is an extremely bad way of judging people. The one who regards people as being kaafirs for any reason or for any sin, is following a way that is even harsher than the way of the Khawaarij, because the Khawaarij used to regard the one who committed a major sin as being a kaafir, not just the one who committed any sin. So if there is anyone who regards the Muslims as kaafirs for any sin, then he is misguided and is going against the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and is more extreme than the Khawaarij whom ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib fought against. The Muslims differed as to whether they were to be regarded as kaafirs. Some described them as kaafirs (disbelievers) and some described them as evildoers and extreme wrongdoers. Does not Allaah say (interpretation of the meaning):

“If you avoid the great sins which you are forbidden to do, We shall expiate from you your (small) sins, and admit you to a Noble Entrance (i.e. Paradise)”
[al-Nisaa’ 4:31]

By avoiding major sins, a person may be forgiven for minor sins, so long as he does not persist in those minor sins. But if he persists in them, then the scholars said that persisting in a minor sin makes that a major sin. No doubt the view of those who label people as kaafirs because of their sins is misguided, and the one who says that the Muslims should be regarded as kaafirs because of their sins should note that the Messenger SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever calls his brother a kaafir – when that is not the case – it will come back on him.” This is what the Messenger said, so even if that person is not regarded as a kaafir in this world, he may become a kaafir in the sight of Allaah.

Al-Liqaa’ al-Shahri, 15

14103Time of du’aa’ when breaking fast


The fasting person will have his prayer answered when he breaks his fast, so when should he make du’aa’ – before, during or after breaking the fast? Are there any du’aa’s which were narrated from the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or that you can recommend for this time?

Praise be to Allaah.

This question was put to Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him), who said:

“Du’aa’ should be made before iftaar (breaking the fast), at Maghrib, because this combines weakness and humility, and because he is still fasting. All of these are means of having one’s du’aa’ answered.  After breaking the fast, one is relaxed and happy, and may become negligent. But there is a hadeeth from the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) which, if it is saheeh, shows that the du’aa’ may be made after breaking the fast. It said: ‘Thirst has gone, the veins are moist, and the reward is assured, if Allaah wills.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood, 2066). This can only mean after breaking the fast. Similarly it was narrated that some of the Sahaabah said: “ O Allaah, for You I have fasted and with Your provision I have broken my fast.”

So you may pray to Allaah and say whatever du’aa’ you think is suitable.

Reference: al-Liqaa’ al-Shahri, 8

7505Salaat al-Naariyah


“Allahumma salli salaatan kaamilatan wasallim salaaman taamman ‘ala sayyidina muhammadin alladhi(allathi in some prose) tan’hil bihi il uq’ad، watatafarrij bih il karb،wataq’dhi bih il hawaa’ij، wa tanaal bih ir raghaa’ib، wa hasan al khawaayitam wa yastasq il ghamaam bi wajhih il kareem wa ‘ala ‘aalihi wa sah’bihi fee kulli lamhatin wa nafs”

The above recitation is called salaat un naaria in india and recited 4444 times whenever a calamity falls in a house  by bringing many students and the chief of a madhrasaa.

1.  What is the meaning of the above words and is there any shirk in the wordings?

2. People say if there is no shirk we can continue reciting because it is not harmful because it is a type of dhikr and it reminds them of allah and that we are doing some kind of additional dhikr to  bring us closer to allah and to removesome museebath.

3. What is the ruling on maulid recitation، is there any harm in reciting it periodically by calling some students of madhrasaa or imam of masjid.

Praise be to Allaah.

[The translation of these words is as follows:

“O Allaah, send perfect blessings and complete peace upon our master Muhammad by virtue of whom [as some of them say] all obstacles are removed, distress is relieved, needs are met, desires are fulfilled and a good end may be achieved and by virtue of whose noble face clouds may be sent, and [send blessings and peace] upon his family and companions with every breath and glance.”]

Answer:

Praise be to Allaah.

1.     The words of this innovated prayer are clear enough, but there is nothing wrong with explaining them further.

“obstacles are removed” means, a way out is found from whatever obstacles and difficult matters one is faced with.

The phrase may also mean “by virtue of whom anger is calmed.”

“distress is relieved” means anxiety and grief are taken away.

“needs are met” means one gets what one is trying to achieve.

“desires are fulfilled and a good end may be achieved” means his wishes are fulfilled whether that is in this world or in the Hereafter, one of which is that one meets a good end.

“by virtue of whose noble face clouds may be sent” means that he is asked to pray to Allaah to send rain.

2.     What some people have told you – that this prayer does not involve shirk and that it is permissible for you to continue to recite it – is wrong. This so-called prayer includes things which clearly go against Islam, such as the following:

(i)                It is supposed to be said at times of calamity. This is a contrived reason for an innovated act of worship.

(ii)              It is supposed to be recited a set number of times, 4444 times. This is a contrived amount for an innovated act of worship.

(iii)            It is supposed to be recited in a communal fashion. This is a contrived method for an innovated act of worship

(iv)            It contains phrases which go against Islam, which constitute shirk and which are an exaggeration about the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). It attributes to him actions which cannot be attributed to anyone other than Allaah, such as meeting people’s needs, relieving distress, fulfilling their desires and granting a good end. Allaah commanded His Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):

“Say: ‘It is not in my power to cause you harm, or to bring you to the Right Path’”

[al-Jinn 72:21 – interpretation of the meaning]

(v)              It ignores what is taught in the sharee’ah, and makes up a contrived prayer and supplication. This implies that one is accusing the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) of failing to explain everything that the people need, and that one is trying to fill gaps in the sharee’ah.

The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever innovates anything in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not a part of it, will have it rejected”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2550; Muslim, 1718).

According to a report narrated by Muslim (1718), he said: “Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected.”

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “This hadeeth represents one of the most important basic principles of Islam. It is like a yardstick for measuring the outward appearance of actions, just as the hadeeth ‘Actions are but by intentions’ is a yardstick for measuring the inward nature of actions. Just as actions which are not done for the sake of Allaah bring no reward to the one who does them, so too actions which are not done in accordance with the command of Allaah and His Messenger are rejected and thrown back at the one who does them. Everyone who innovates something in the religion for which Allaah and His Messenger have not granted permission, that action has nothing to do with the religion.”(Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hukam, 1/180)

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “This hadeeth is one of the most important basic principles of Islam and is one of the most comprehensive sayings of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). It is a clear rejection of bid’ah and innovations. The second report adds a further idea, which is that some people may persist in doing some innovated action (bid’ah) for which there is a precedent, and when the first report – ‘Whoever innovates anything…’ – is quoted as proof, such a person may say, ‘But I did not innovate anything. Then the second report – ‘Whoever does any action…’ – may be quoted, which clearly states that all innovated actions are rejected, whether the one who does them invented them or they were previously invented. This hadeeth is one of those which should be memorized and used in denouncing evil actions, and it should be propagated widely.”(Sharh Muslim, 12/16)

3.     With regard to celebrating the Mawlid (birthday of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)), doing this is bid’ah. If it was good, those who love the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) more than we do would have done it before us, i.e., the Sahaabah, may Allaah be pleased with them. Most of what is recited on this occasion are weak or fabricated reports of the life of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and it involves exaggeration about our Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). There follow the comments of the scholars:

(a)     Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about the one who completes the reading of the Qur’aan each year on the night of the birthday of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) – is that mustahabb or not?

He replied:

“Praise be to Allaah. For the people to come together to eat on the two Eids and the days of Tashreeq is Sunnah. This is one of the symbols of Islam which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) set out for the Muslims. Helping the poor by giving them food during Ramadaan is also one of the ways of Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever gives a fasting person food to break his fast will have a reward like his.’ Giving poor Qur’aan-readers that which will help them to devote their time to the Qur’aan is a righteous deed at any time, and whoever helps them in this manner will have a share in the reward.

But taking as special occasions days which are not prescribed in Islam – such as one of the nights of Rabee’ al-Awwal which is called Laylat al-Mawlid (the night of the Prophet’s birthday), or some of the nights of Rajab, or the eighteenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah, or the first Friday of Rajab, or the eighth of Shawwaal, which the ignorant call ‘Eid al-Abraar (the Feast of the Righteous)’ – these are bid’ahs which the salaf did not regard as mustahabb and they did not do these things. And Allaah knows best.”(al-Fataawa al-Kubraa, 4/415)

(b)    Ibn al-Haaj said:

“Some of them commit actions at this time which go against this meaning. When the month of Rabee’ al-Awwal begins, they hasten to indulge in idle entertainment, playing the daff (hand-drum) and reed flute, and other things as mentioned above.

Whoever wants to weep, let him weep for himself and for Islam, and how it and its people and those who follow the Sunnah have become alienated. If they simply wanted to sing songs and entertain themselves, I wish that they would limit themselves to that. But some of them try to follow proper etiquette, so they start the Mawlid with the recitation of Qur’aan. So they look for the one who can recite in the most melodious fashion and provoke enjoyment, and he reads ten aayahs. There are several things wrong with this:

v      the way in which the reciter reads in this manner which is condemned in sharee’ah, with a quavering tone like that of a singer. This has been discussed above.

v      This involves a lack of proper respect towards the Book of Allaah.

v      They read Qur’aan briefly before turning to what they really desire, which is to listen to the entertainment of the tambourine and reed-flute, and the singing and quavering tones of the singers, etc.

v      They show outwardly something different from that which is in their hearts. This is the essence of hypocrisy, whereby a person makes an outward display of something when deep inside he really means something else – this is wrong except in cases specifically exempted by sharee’ah. They start with Qur’aan recitation when the thoughts of some of them are really focused on the singing.

v      Some of them cut the recitation short, because they are thinking too much of the pleasure of that which comes after it, as mentioned above.

v      If the Qur’aan reading goes on for a long time, some of the audience begin to show signs of boredom, and they do not settle down until the entertainment they like begins. This is not what is meant by the description which Allaah gives of the humble believers, because they love to hear the words of the Lord, as He says in praise of them (interpretation of the meaning):

‘And when they listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger (Muhammad), you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of the truth they have recognized. They say: “Our Lord! We believe; so write us down among the witnesses”’[al-Maa’idah 5:83]

This is how Allaah describes those who listen to His words. But some of these people do the opposite of that. After listening to the word of their Lord, they get up to dance and celebrate and enjoy themselves in unseemly ways. “Truly, to Allaah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return” [al-Baqarah 2:156 – interpretation of the meaning. This phrase is an expression of grief and sorrow] for the lack of shame for committing sins. They do the deeds of the Shaytaan and seek reward from the Lord of the Worlds, claiming that they are doing acts of worship and goodness. Would that only the lowest of people did that, but now this problem has become widespread and you see those who claim to have some knowledge and good deeds doing that, and even some of those who claim to be shaykhs, i.e., those who have followers. All of them are included in what is said above.

It is strange that they have been deceived by this trick of the accursed Shaytaan. Do you not see that a wine-drinker, when the wine first starts to take effect, he begins to move his head non-stop. When the effect becomes stronger, he loses his shame and dignity before those who are with him, and what he wants to conceal will be exposed to his companions. Look at this singer, may Allaah have mercy on you and us. When he starts to sing, you will see people who have dignity and respect, who appear decent and are followed by people of knowledge, falling silent when he starts to sing. Then they start to move their heads a little, exactly like wine-drinkers, as described above. Then when they really start to enjoy the entertainment, they lose their shyness and dignity, exactly like the wine-drinkers, so they get up and start to dance and shout and weep in a show of fake humility. They move in and out and raise their arms and heads towards the heavens as if receiving divine inspiration. They start to foam at the mouth and may even rend their garments and play with their beards.

This is obviously something to be denounced, because the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade wasting money, and rending one’s garments is obviously included in that.

Secondly, this obviously goes beyond the limits of common sense, because they act like crazy people most of the time.”(al-Madkhal, 2/5-7)

(c)     The Standing Committee said:

“Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is not permitted because it is an invented bid’ah (innovation) which was not done by the Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or by his rightly-guided successors (al-khulafa’ al-raashideen), or by the scholars of the best three generations [i.e., the first three generations of Islam].”

(Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 3/2)

(d)    Shaykh Ibn Baaz was asked: is it permissible for the Muslims to hold celebrations in the mosque to commemorate the life of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) on the night of 12 Rabee’ al-Awwal, to celebrate the Mawlid or birthday of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), without taking that day off as an “Eid”? We are having some disputes concerning this. Some say that it is a bid’ah hasanah (“a good innovation”) and some say that it is not a good innovation.

He replied:

“The Muslims should not celebrate the birthday of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), whether on the night of 12 Rabee’ al-Awwal or on any other date, just as they should not celebrate the birthday of anyone other than the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), because celebrating birthdays is an innovation which has been introduced into the religion.  The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not celebrate his birthday during his lifetime, and he is the one who conveyed the religion and laws from Allaah. He did not enjoin that, and it was not done by his rightly guided successors or by any of his Companions or those who followed them in goodness during the best three generations. So it is known to be an innovation, and the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever innovates anything in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not a part of it, will have it rejected’ (Saheeh – agreed upon). According to a report narrated by Muslim, which al-Bukhaari narrated in a mu’allaq majzoom report: “Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected.”

Celebrating the Mawlid is not in accordance with the command of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), rather it is something which the people innovated and introduced into their religion during later centuries, so it is to be rejected. The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say in his khutbah (sermon) on Fridays: ‘The best of speech is the Book of Allaah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The most evil of things are those which are newly-invented, and every innovation is a going-astray.’ This was narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh. It was also narrated by al-Nasaa’i with a jayyid isnaad, adding the words, ‘and every going-astray leads to Hell.’

Instead of celebrating the birthday of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), we should study his seerah (biography) and the history of his life during the jaahiliyyah and Islam, in schools, mosques and elsewhere. That includes describing the circumstances of his birth and death, with no need to innovate celebrations which are not prescribed by Allaah or His Messenger, and for which there is no evidence in sharee’ah.

Allaah is the Source of Strength. We ask Allaah to grant guidance and strength to all the Muslims and to help them to follow the Sunnah and avoid bid’ah.”

(Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 4/289)

And Allaah knows best.

10843

Detailed discussion of bid’ah and shirk


can we call people who do shirk and bid’ah muslims?

Praise be to Allaah.

This question involves two issues, bid’ah (innovation) and shirk (polytheism, association of others with Allaah).

A.  A- Bid’ah.

This issue may be divided into three topics:

Definition of bid’ah

Categories of bid’ah

Rulings on one who commits bid’ah – does that make him a kaafir or not?

1.    Definition of bid’ah.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “According to sharee’ah, the definition is ‘Worshipping Allaah in ways that Allaah has not prescribed.’ If you wish you may say, ‘Worshipping Allaah in ways that are not those of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or his rightly guided successors (al-khulafaa’ al-raashidoon).’”

The first definition is taken from the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“Or have they partners with Allaah (false gods) who have instituted for them a religion which Allaah has not ordained?” [al-Shooraa 42:21]

The second definition is taken from the hadeeth of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who said:

“I urge you to adhere to my way (Sunnah) and the way of the rightly-guided successors (al-khulafa’ al-raashidoon) who come after me. Hold fast to it and bite onto it with your eyeteeth [i.e., cling firmly to it], and beware of newly-invented matters.”

So everyone who worships Allaah in a manner that Allaah has not prescribed or in a manner that is not in accordance with the way of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or his rightly-guided successors (al-khulafa’ al-raashidoon), is an innovator, whether that innovated worship has to do with the names and attributes of Allaah, or to do with His rulings and laws.

With regard to ordinary matters of habit and custom, these are not called bid’ah (innovation) in Islam, even though they may be described as such in linguistic terms. But they are not innovations in the religious sense, and these are not the things that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was warning us against.

And there is no such thing in Islam as bid’ah hasanah (good innovation).”

(Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, vol. 2, p. 291)

2. Categories of bid’ah

Bid’ah may be divided into two categories:

A.      bid’ah which constitutes kufr

B.       bid’ah which does not constitute kufr

If you ask, what is the definition of bid’ah which constitutes kufr and that which does not constitute kufr?

The answer is:

Shaykh Haafiz al-Hukami (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The kind of bid’ah which constitutes kufr is when one denies a matter on which there is scholarly consensus, which widely-known, and which no Muslim can have any excuse for not knowing, such as denying something that is obligatory, making something obligatory that is not obligatory, or making something haraam halaal, or making something halaal haraam; or believing some notion about Allaah, His Messenger and His Book when they are far above that, whether in terms of denial of affirmation  – because that means disbelieving in the Qur’aan and in the message with which Allaah sent His Messenger  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

Examples include the bid’ah of the Jahamiyyah, who denied the attributes of Allaah; or the notion that the Qur’aan was created; or the notion that some of the attributes of Allaah were created; or the bid’ah of the Qadariyyah  who denied the knowledge and actions of Allaah; or the bid’ah of the Mujassimah who likened Allaah to His creation… etc.

The second category, bid’ah which does not constitute kufr, is defined as that which does not imply rejection of the Qur’aan or of anything with which Allaah sent His Messengers.

Examples include the Marwaani bid’ahs (which were denounced by the greatest Sahaabah who did not approve of them, although they did not denounce them as kaafirs or refuse to give them bay’ah because of that), such as delaying some of the prayers until the end of the due times, doing the Eid khutbah before the Eid prayer, delivering the khutbah whilst sitting down on Fridays, etc.

(Ma’aarij al-Qubool, 2/503-504)

3- The ruling on one who commits bid’ah – is he regarded as a kaafir or not?

The answer is that it depends.

If the bid’ah constitutes kufr, then the person is one of the following two types:

Either it is known that his intention is to destroy the foundations of Islam and make the Muslims doubt it. Such a person is definitely a kaafir; indeed, he is a stranger to Islam and is one of the enemies of the faith.

Or he is deceived and confused; he cannot be denounced as a kaafir until proof is established against him, fair and square.

If the bid’ah does not constitute kufr, then he should not be denounced as a kaafir. Rather, he remains a Muslim, but he has done a gravely evil action.

If you ask, how should we deal with those who commit bid’ah?

The answer is:

Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “In both cases, we have to call these people – who claim to be Muslim but who commit acts of bid’ah which may constitute kufr or may be less than that – to the truth, by explaining the truth without being hostile or condemning what they are doing. But once we know that they are too arrogant to accept the truth – for Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning), ‘And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides Allaah, lest they insult Allaah wrongfully without knowledge.’ [al-An’aam 6:108] – if we find out that they are stubborn and arrogant, then we should point out their falsehood, because then pointing out their falsehood becomes an obligation upon us.

With regard to boycotting them, that depends upon the bid’ah. If it is a bid’ah which constitutes kufr, then it is obligatory to boycott the person who does it. If it is of a lesser degree than that, then it is essential to examine the situation further. If something may be achieved by boycotting the person, then we do it; if no purpose will be served by it, or if it will only make him more disobedient and arrogant, then we should avoid doing that, because whatever serves no purpose, it is better not to do it. And also in principle it is haraam to boycott a believer, because the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘It is not permissible for a man to forsake [not speak to] his brother for more than three [days].’”

(Adapted from Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, vol. 2, p. 293)

B. Shirk, its types and the definition of each

Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen said:

Shirk is of two types, major shirk which puts a person beyond the pale of Islam, and lessershirk.”

The first type, major shirk, is “Every type of shirk which the Lawgiver described as such and which puts a person beyond the pale of his religion” – such as devoting any kind of act of worship which should be for Allaah to someone other than Allaah, such as praying to anyone other than Allaah, fasting for anyone other than Allaah or offering a sacrifice to anyone other than Allaah. It is also a form of major shirk to offer supplication (du’aa’) to anyone other than Allaah, such as calling upon the occupant of a grave or calling upon one who is absent to help one in some way in which no one is able to help except Allaah.

The second type is minor shirk, which means every kind of speech or action that Islam describes as shirk, but it does not put a person beyond the pale of Islam – such as swearing an oath by something other than Allaah, because the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that whoever swears an oath by something other than Allaah is guilty of kufr or shirk.”

The one who swears an oath by something other than Allaah but does not believe that anyone other than Allaah has the same greatness as Allah, is a mushrik who is guilty of lesser shirk, regardless of whether the one by whom he swore is venerated by people or not. It is not permissible to swear by the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), or by the president, or by the Ka’bah, or by Jibreel, because this is shirk, but it is minorshirk which does not put a person beyond the pale of Islam.

Another type of minor shirk is showing off, which means that a person does something so that people will see it, not for the sake of Allaah.

The ways in which showing off may cancel out acts of worship are either of the following:

The first is when it is applies to an act of worship from the outset, i.e., the person is not doing that action for any reason other than showing off. In this case, the action is invalid and is rejected, because of the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah which was attributed to the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), which says that Allaah said, “I am so self-sufficient that I am in no need of having an associate. Thus he who does an action for someone else’s sake as well as Mine will have that action renounced by Me to him whom he associated with Me.”

(Narrated by Muslim, Kitaab al-Zuhd, no. 2985)

The second is when the showing off happens later on during the act of worship, i.e., the action is originally for Allaah, then showing off creeps into it. This may be one of two cases:

The first is when the person resists it – this does not harm him.

For example, a man has prayed a rak’ah, then some people come along during his second rak’ah and it occurs to him to make the rukoo’ or sujood longer, or makes himself weep, and so on. If he resists that, it does not harm him, because he is striving against this idea. But if he goes along with that, then every action which stemmed from showing off is invalid, such as if he made his standing or prostration long, or he made himself weep – all of those actions will be cancelled out. But does this invalidation extend to the entire act of worship or not?

We say that either of the following must apply:

Either the end of his act of worship was connected to the beginning (with no pause); so if the end of it is invalidated then all of it is invalidated.

This is the case with the prayer – the last part of it cannot be invalidated without the first part also being invalidated, so the whole prayer is invalid.

Or if the beginning of the action is separate from the end of it, then the first part is valid but the latter part is not. Whatever came before the showing off is valid, and what came after it is not valid.

An example of that is a man who has a hundred riyals, and gives fifty of them in charity for the sake of Allaah with a sound intention, then he gives fifty in charity for the purpose of showing off. The first fifty are accepted, and the second fifty are not accepted, because the latter is separate from the former.”

Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Rasaa’il Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, and al-Qawl al-Mufeed Sharh Kitaab al-Tawheed, vol. 1, p. 114, 1st edition

9055

Celebrations commemorating some of the scholars


What is the ruling on celebrations held in commemoration of one hundred days or forty days since the death of one of the scholars?

Praise be to Allaah.

Among the innovated matters that have appeared in some Muslim societies are celebrations to commemorate some of the dead, especially the scholars. These celebrations take place on the anniversary of the death of the person who is being commemorated, and they may take place a year or more after his death.

These celebrations vary from one person to another. If he was one of the common people or one of those who was thought to have knowledge even though he was ignorant, on the fortieth day after his death, his family commemorate his death, calling it “al-arba’een” (forty). They bring people together in a special tent or in the house of the deceased, and they bring Qur’aan-readers to recite Qur’aan, and they prepare a meal like a wedding feast, and they adorn the place with lights and comfortable furnishings. They go to great expense, and their purpose in doing this is to show off. No doubt this is haraam, because it involves wasting the money of the deceased for no legitimate purpose. It beings no benefit to the deceased himself and results in loss for his family. This is the case if there is no one among the heirs who is too young to be in charge of the money, so what do you think if there is someone like that among them! They may even finance that by means of a loan which involves riba(interest) – we seek refuge with Allaah from His Wrath. (al-Ibdaa’, p. 228)

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:  “One of the things that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught was to offer condolences to the family of the bereaved, but it is not part of his teachings to gather together to mourn and read Qur’aan for him (the deceased), whether that is at the grave or elsewhere. All of that is bid’ah and a reprehensible innovation.” (Zaad al-Ma’aad, 1/527)

‘Ali Mahfooz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “What people do nowadays of offering food to the people who come to offer their condolences, and going to great expense on the nights of mourning, and subsequent occasions such as Friday nights and the forty-day anniversary of the death (al-arba’een), all of that is reprehensible bid’ah which goes against the practice of the Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the righteous salaf after him.” (al-Ibdaa’, p. 230).

This celebration or commemoration is an innovation and a bid’ah, which was not narrated from the Messenger  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) or the righteous salaf (may Allaah have mercy on them). The Sunnah in this case is to make food for the family of the deceased and to send it to them, not for them to have to make food and invite people to come and eat it. When news of the death of Ja’far ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him) came, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Make food for the family of Ja’far, because there has come to them that which will preoccupy them.” (Narrated by Ahmad in his Musnad, 1/205. Also narrated by Abu Dawood in his Sunan, 3/497, Kitaab al-Janaa’iz, hadeeth no. 3132. Also narrated by al-Tirmidhi in his Sunan, 2/234, Abwaab al-Janaa’iz, hadeeth no. 1003; he said it is a hasan hadeeth. Also narrated by Ibn Maajah in his Sunan, 1/514, Kitaab al-Janaa’iz, hadeeth no 1610. Also narrated by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak, 1/372, Kitaab al-Janaa’iz; he said, it is a hadeeth whose isnaad is saheeh although they (al-Bukhaari and Muslim) did not narrate it, and al-Dhahabi agreed with him in his Talkhees).

Jareer ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Bajali said: “We used to consider gathering with the family of the deceased and making food to be a form of wailing.” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah in his Sunan, 1/514, Kitaab al-Janaa’iz, hadeeth no. 1612. Al-Busayri said in Zawaa’id Ibn Maajah (2/35): “This is a saheeh isnaad; the men of the first isnaad are according to the conditions of al-Bukhaari, and the men of the second isnaad are according to the conditions of Muslim.”)

But if the person whose death is being commemorated was one of the scholars, on the anniversary of his death, one or two years later, then they hold special celebrations. A group of researchers agree to write about his life and character, or his method of writing, and everything that has to do with him, then they present that research on that day, and publish his books, or the most important and most famous of them, and they are distributed in the marketplaces to keep his memory alive, or so they say, and to make known the efforts he made to spread and publish knowledge and so on.

If he was a king, ruler or president, this occasion is celebrated and the most senior of those who are present speak of his legacy and work in government, and some books about him may be published on this occasion. Some people may go to his grave and recite wird over it, or recite al-Faatihah for his soul, All of that is bid’ah for which Allaah has not revealed any authority.

There is nothing inherently wrong with publishing the books of a scholar, or writing his biography or writing about his methodology, or printing his books. These things should be done if he deserves that. But that should not be done specifically at a certain time, or be accompanied by celebrations, festivals and speeches etc. The same applies to kings and rulers.

Celebrations held to commemorate the death of scholars, rulers and some common folk are an innovation, and that is sufficient to condemn them.

There was no one who had more knowledge than the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and there was no one whose way of calling others to Islam was better. No one had a nobler status or a higher rank than he did  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), for he is the best of all creation. But despite that the Sahaabah did not commemorate his death, even though no person has ever been more dearly loved than the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was loved by the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) or the Taabi’een or the righteous salaf (may Allaah have mercy on them). If there had been any good in doing so, they would have done it before us.

Respecting the scholars is not done by holding celebrations in their memory; it is done by striving to benefit from the things they have written, by publishing and reading and commenting etc.

This applies if they are deserving of that, by virtue of their having lived according to the way of the righteous salaf, and kept away from the way of the deviant sects or the influence of the west, etc.

The memory and narrations of the scholars of the righteous salaf and those who came after them, and the knowledge that they presented to the people, have been preserved. The scholar may have died and departed from this world, but his knowledge remains and is passed down by the people from one generation to the next.

Because of the benefit that people gain from their knowledge, they pray for mercy for them and pray that they may be rewarded. This is the greatest way in which their memory can be kept alive.

But organizing celebrations in their memory, or seeking blessing by visiting the places where they lived and taught, and their relics, or circumambulating their graves – all of that is bid’ah, some of which may even reach the degree of shirk. We seek refuge with Allaah from that.

If these scholars, whose memories are celebrated and from whom people seek blessing by visiting the places where they lived and taught, were alive, they would denounce these things that are being done.

But some people have been misled by their own whims and desires and by the Shaytaan, and by those who advocate bid’ah for worldly purposes or to gain leadership over the people. So they have slipped in the maze of bid’ah from which there is no escape apart from returning to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and adhering to them, and to that on which the scholars of this ummah are agreed, and giving up all newly-invented innovations which are evil in and of themselves and which lead to even greater evils and disasters.

We ask Allaah to guide us and them to the Straight Path, the path of those with whom Allaah is pleased, the Prophets, the Siddeeqeen, the martyrs and the righteous. May He keep us far away from the path of those with whom He is angry and those who have gone astray, for He is Able to do all things.

Al-Bida’ al-Hawliyyah li Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Ahmad al-Tuwayjri, p. 350 

12364

The bid’ah of superstition about getting married in Shawwaal


Is what people say about avoiding getting married in Shawwaal correct?

Praise be to Allaah.

Ibn al-Mundhir said: “Shawwaal is one of the well known names of months, the name of the month which follows Ramadaan and is the first of the months of Hajj.”

It was said that it was called after the drying up of the camels’ milk (tashweel), when it becomes scanty. This is what happens to the camels when the heat becomes intense and there are no longer any dates on the palm trees… The Arabs were superstitious about getting married at that time, and they would say that the bride would keep away from her groom like the female camel when she has been impregnated and lifted (shaalat) her tail. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) declared their superstition to be false. ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married me in Shawwaal and consummated the marriage with me in Shawwaal, and which of his wives was more favoured by him than me?”

(Narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad, 6/54; this version narrated by him. Also narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh, 2/1039, Kitaab al-Nikaah, hadeeth no. 1423. Also narrated al-Tirmidhi in hisSunan, 2/277, Abwaab al-Nikaah, hadeeth no. 1099; he said it is a saheeh hasan hadeeth. Also narrated by al-Nasaa’i in his Sunan, 6/70, Kitaab al-NikaahBaab al-Tazweej fi Shawwaal. Also narrated by Ibn Maajah in his Sunan, 1/641, Kitaab al-Nikaah, hadeeth no. 1990. (Lisaan al-‘Arab, 11/277, heading Shawwaal).

The reason why the Arabs of the Jaahiliyyah were so superstitious about marrying during Shawwaal was that they believed that a woman would keep away from her husband like the she-camel that has lifted (shawwalat) its tail after being impregnated keeps away from the he-camel.

Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The fact that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) consummated his marriage with ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) during Shawwaal was a refutation of the notions that some people held, that it was disliked to consummate a marriage between the two Eids, lest that lead to separation of the spouses. But that was a false notion.” (al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah, 3/253)

Being superstitious about getting married in Shawwaal is the matter of falsehood, because superstition in general is part of the “evil omen” (tiyarah) that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade when he said, “There is no contagion and no evil omen.” (Sharh Saheeh Muslim li’l-Nawawi, 14/219, 218). And he  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)

Said, “Tiyarah (believing in evil omens) is shirk.”

(Narrated by Imaam Ahmad in his Musnad, 1/440. Also narrated by Abu Dawood in his Sunan, 4/230, Kitaab al-Tibb, hadeeth no. 3910). Also narrated by al-Tirmidhi in his Sunan, 3/84, 85,Abwaab al-Siyar, hadeeth no. 1663; he said, it is a saheeh hasan hadeeth. Also narrated by Ibn Maajah in his Sunan, 2/1170, Kitaab al-Tibb, hadeeth no. 3538. Also narrated by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak, 1/17, 18, Kitaab al-Eemaan; he said it is a hadeeth whose isnaad issaheeh and its narrators are thiqah, although they [al-Bukhaari and Muslim] did not narrate it; al-Dhahabi agreed with him in his Talkhees).

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his commentary on the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her): “This indicates that it is mustahabb to get married and to consummate the marriage in Shawwaal. Our companions [fellow-scholars] have stated that this is mustahabb, quoting this hadeeth as evidence for that.”

By saying this, ‘Aa’ishah was aiming to refute the ignorant belief of the Jaahiliyyah, and what some of the common folk still believe today, that it is makrooh to get married or to consummate the marriage in Shawwaal. This is false and there is no basis for this belief. It is one of the leftovers of the Jaahiliyyah, when they used to be superstitious about that because of the connations of the name of Shawwaal which related to the drying up of the camel’s milk and the lifting of its tail…”

(Sharh Saheeh Muslim li’l-Nawawi, 9/209)

al-Bida’ al-Hawliyyah by Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Ahmad al-Tuwayjri, p. 348-349

12366

The bid’ah of Eid al-Abraar (the “festival of the righteous”)


What is the ruling on Eid al-Abraar which is celebrated in Shawwaal every year?

Praise be to Allaah.

One of the innovated things that happen in Shawwaal is the bid’ah (innovation) of “Eid al-Abraar” (the “festival of the righteous”), which is on the eighth day of Shawwaal.

After the people have completed the fast of Ramadaan, and they broke their fast on the first day of Shawwaal – the day of Eid al-Fitr – they start to fast the first six days of Shawwaal, and on the eighth day they celebrate an “eid” which they call Eid al-Abraar.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “With regard to celebrating occasions which are not prescribed in sharee’ah – such as some nights in Rabee’ al-Awwal which are called ‘Mawlid’, or some nights in Rajab, or the eighteenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah, or the first Friday in Rajab, or the eighth of Shawwaal which the ignorant call Eid al-Abraar – these are innovations which were not approved of by the salaf and they did not do these things. And Allaah knows best.” (Majmoo’ Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, 25/298)

He also said: “With regard to the eighth of Shawwaal, it is not an Eid, neither for the righteous nor for the evil. It is not permissible for anyone to take it as an Eid or to do any of the things connected with celebrations on that day.” (al-Ikhtiyaaraat al-Fiqhiyyah, p. 199)

The celebrations of this “eid” take place in one of the famous mosques, where men and women mix freely, shake hands with one another and utter words of Jaahiliyyah when they shake hands.  Then after that they go and make some foods especially for this occasion.” (al-Sunan wa’l-Mubtada’aat by al-Shuqayri, p. 166)

Al-Bida’ al-Hawliyyah by Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Ahmad al-Tuwayjri, p. 350

8596

False belief that reading Qur’aan remains suspended if the reward for reading is not given to the deceased


I have heard that when we finish reading one entire Qur’an  we are supposed to say a dua so that the reward of the recitaion reaches deceased Muslims .And if we dont do this then the Qur’an is left ‘hanging ‘ between the earth and sky and the reward for its recitation is reduced .’Baksh ‘ is the word in Urdu for this, I don’t know what it is in English or Arabic . Does this have any truth in it?

Praise be to Allaah.

This is not correct at all; in fact it is one of the innovations (bid’ah) of which we must beware .

Shaykh Sa’d al-Humayd  

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“To Him ascend (all) the goodly words, and the righteous deeds exalt it” [Faatir 35:10] 

So our reading Qur’aan, if it is done for the sake of Allaah and from a pious heart, is accepted and ascends to Allaah, It is not detained between the heavens and the earth. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Verily, Allaah accepts only from those who are Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)” [al-Maa’idah 5:27]

Part of being pious is avoiding bid’ah and shunning false beliefs which are based on ignorance. The commonly held belief that the reward for reading Qur’aan reaches the dead cannot be taken as definitive. The evidence (daleel) of sharee’ah does not indicate that, so giving the reward for reading Qur’aan to the deceased is not an action that is prescribed by sharee’ah. And Allaah is the Source of strength.

9485Attending a feast for a child’s birthday and eating that food


Muslims in this region are celebrating naming ceremony for babies and doing maulid or salatun naaria and the give food to the guests.  some of us say that we will not come to eat that food because the whole gathering is a bid’a but we participate in that gathering so that the people dont get offended.  but the people who r conducting this celebration  r saying we hav made food only for the guest and has no relevance to maulid. and also they force us to eat.  is it allowed to eat if they force us and they asking daleel bas to why we r refusing to eat. pls explain with proof in hadeeth that what we r doing is correct or not as we r not able to give concrete evidence

Praise be to Allaah.

Celebrating birthdays is an innovation in the religion of Allaah, and it is not permissible to do this. It is not permissible to eat the food that has been prepared for this occasion. Their claim that the food for the birthday celebration is for the guests does not make it excusable to eat it. Hospitality is subject to its own rulings, and matters are judged according to the intentions behind them. It is very clear that the food is being prepared for this innovated occasion, and eating this food is one of the things that helps them to persist in doing this. It is a kind of co-operation in sin and transgression. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Help you one another in Al Birr and At Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression” [al-Maa’idah 5:2]

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Kareem al-Khudayr

With regard to al-salaah al-naariyah, this is one of the innovated Sufi prayers; it is not permissible to attend those gatherings or to take part in them.

11739

Dividing the religion into basic matters (usool) and minor issues (furoo’)


Is it correct to regard the basic matters (usool) of religion as purely theoretical, and the minor issues (furoo’) as purely practical?

Praise be to Allaah.

The basic matters (usool) of religion are not purely theoretical, and there is no separation between belief and practice in Islam. There is nothing in the Qur’aan or the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to suggest that the basic matters have to do only with beliefs and that the minor issues have to do only with practice. This separation originated with the Mu’tazilah, who are the ones who separated the basic matters and minor principles in this manner.

Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah al-Ghunaymaan

11086

Fasting on the day of the Mi’raaj and the day of Shab-e-baraath


Is the following bid’ah?

1. praying more than 8 rak’ats in taraweeh?

2. fasting on the supposed day of mi’raj( for one who believes that that day is the day of mi’raj and for one who is sure that there is no specific date mentioned in hadeeth but he fasts on that day for the sake of Allah?)

3. fasting on the supposed day of shab’e baraath?

4. is it not bid’ah if some says that they are fasting it as a nafil fasting on the day of shab’e baraath?

some muslim brothers say that the extra prayers we pray after 8 rakat in taraweeh and the fasting on various days such as shabe baraath and mi’raj and meelad un nabi are not bid’ah, because these form of worship is taught to us by prophet(saw) and what is wrong in praying or fasting on any day (other than forbidden days and times).what is the ruling?

4.praying salat tasbeeh nafil? (100 times surat al ikhlas in every rakat)

Praise be to Allaah.

1 – Praying more than 8 rak’ahs in Taraaweeh is not considered to be bid’ah, on the condition that one does not single out certain nights for increasing the number, such as the last ten nights. The number of raka’hs during the last ten nights should be the same as the number during the other nights. The last ten nights should be characterized by making the rak’ahs longer.

2 – Fasting on the day which one believes to be the day of the Mi’raaj is not permissible, and comes under the heading of bid’ah. Even if a person is not sure, but he fasts this day for the sake of being on the safe side, it is as if he is saying, ‘If it is really the day of the Mi’raaj, then I will have fasted it, and if it is not, it will still be a good action that I have done, and if I will not be rewarded for it then I will not be punished.’ This attitude means that a person is committing bid’ah, and he is a sinner who deserves to be punished. But if his fast is not because it is the day of the Mi’raaj, but is rather because it is his habit to fast alternate days, or to fast Mondays and Thursdays, and that happens to coincide with the day known as the day of the Mi’raaj, there is nothing wrong with him fasting it with that intention, i.e., the intention of fasting on Monday or Thursday, or a day on which he usually fasts.

3 – What we have said about fasting on the day of the Mi’raaj also applies to fasting on the day of Shab-e-baraath. If any Muslim says that fasting on the day of the Mi’raaj or on the day of Shab-e-baraath is not bid’ah because the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught us these acts of worship, so what is wrong with fasting any day apart from the days on which it is haraam to fast? Our response to that is:

If the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught us these acts of worship, then where is the evidence (daleel) for singling out the day of the Mi’raaj or any other day for fasting? If there were any evidence that it is prescribed to fast on these two days, no one would be able to say that fasting on these days is bid’ah. But what is apparent is that those who say this mean that fasting is an act of worship in general terms, so that if he fasts he has done an act of worship for which he will be rewarded, so long as it is not on one of the days when fasting is not allowed, such as on Eid. This would be correct if the person who is fasting did not single out a day which he believes is a day of virtue, such as the day of the Mi’raaj or the day of Shab-e-baraath. What makes this the matter of bid’ah is the fact that one is singling out these days. If there was any virtue in fasting these two days, the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would have fasted them, and he would have urged us to fast them. It is known that the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah were more keen to do good than we are; if they had known that there was any virtue in fasting these two days, they would have fasted them. Since we find no reports to that effect from them, we know that this is an innovated bid’ah, and the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does an action that is not a part of this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected,” i.e., it will be thrown back on the one who does it. Fasting these two days is an action which we find no report of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) enjoining, so it is to be rejected.

4 – The “salat tasbeeh nafil” is to be regarded in the same way as the matter discussed above, in the fullest sense. Acts of worship that have no evidence (daleel) to support them are to be rejected. It has not been proven in the Book of Allaah or in the Sunnah of His Chosen Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that there is any prayer in which “Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad” is to be recited 100 times, so doing that is an innovated bid’ah for which the one who does it will be punished. And Allaah knows best.

Shaykh Sa’d al-Humayd

8907Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan (the middle of Sha’baan) should not be singled out for worship


I read in a book that fasting on the middle of Sha’baan is a kind of bid’ah, but in another book I read that one of the days on which it is mustahabb to fast is the middle of Sha’baan… what is the definitive ruling on this?

Praise be to Allaah.

There is no saheeh marfoo’ report that speaks of the virtue of the middle of Sha’baan that may be followed, not even  in the chapters on al-Fadaa’il (chapters on virtues in books of hadeeth etc.). Some maqtoo’ reports (reports whose isnaads do not go back further than the Taabi’een) have been narrated from some of the Taabi’een, and there are some ahaadeeth, the best of which are mawdoo’ (fabricated) or da’eef jiddan (very weak). These reports became very well known in some countries which were overwhelmed by ignorance; these reports suggest that people’s lifespans are written on that day or that it is decided on that day who is to die in the coming year. On this basis, it is not prescribed to spend this night in prayer or to fast on this day, or to single it out for certain acts of worship. One should not be deceived by the large numbers of ignorant people who do these things. And Allaah knows best.

Shaykh Ibn Jibreen.

If a person wants to pray qiyaam on this night as he does on other nights – without doing anything extra or singling this night out for anything – then that is OK. The same applies if he fasts the day of the fifteenth of Sha’baan because it happens to be one of the ayyaam al-beed, along with the fourteenth and thirteenth of the month, or because it happens to be a Monday or Thursday. If the fifteenth (of Sha’baan) coincides with a Monday or Thursday, there is nothing wrong with that (fasting on that day), so long as he is not seeking extra reward that has not been proven (in the saheeh texts). And Allaah knows best.

10070

Celebrating innovated festivals


What is the shar’i ruling on celebrating festivals such as the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), children’s birthdays, Mother’s Day, Tree Week and national holidays?

Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly: ‘Eid (festival) is the name given to something which returns (ya’ood), and is used to describe gatherings which happen repeatedly, on a yearly, monthly or weekly basis, etc. So an ‘eid includes a number of things, such as a day which comes regularly, e.g., ‘Eid al-Fitr and Friday; gatherings on that day; and actions such as acts of worship and customs which are done on that day.

Secondly: any of these things which are intended as rituals or acts of worship aimed at drawing closer to Allaah or glorifying Him in order to earn reward, or which involve imitating the people of Jaahiliyyah or any other groups of kaafirs, is a prohibited bid’ah, an innovation which comes under the general meaning of the hadeeth: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it, will have it rejected.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim).

Examples of that include Mawlid al-Nabi (the Prophet’s birthday), Mother’s Day and national holidays, because in the first case there are innovated acts of worship which Allaah has not prescribed, and because it involves imitation of the Christians and other kaafirs. And in the second and third cases there is imitation of the kuffaar. But in cases where the intention is to organize work to serve the interests of the ummah and to put its affairs straight, or to organize programs of study, or to bring employees together for work purposes etc., which in and of themselves do not involve acts of worship and glorification, then these are a kind of benign innovation which do not come under the meaning of the hadeeth, “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not a part of it will have it rejected.” So there is nothing wrong with such things, indeed they are allowed by sharee’ah.

And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions, and grant them peace.

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 3/59

11999

Saying “ ‘Ali karrama Allaah wajhahu (Ali, may Allaah honour his face)”


 How correct is it to say, “ ‘Ali karrama Allaah wajhahu (Ali, may Allaah honour his face)”?

Praise be to Allaah.

There is no basis for saying this specifically for ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him). It is an example of the exaggeration of the Shi’a.

May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions, and grant them peace.

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 3/69

12010

Celebrating a child’s twenty-first birthday


Here in South Africa, when a young man or young woman reaches the age of twenty-one, people celebrate it, read Qur’aan and cook various kinds of food. They gather together and give a key to the young person who has reached the age of 21. Are these things permitted inIslam?

Praise be to Allaah.

What you have mentioned about celebrating and reciting Qur’aan when a young man or woman reaches the age of twenty-one has no basis in sharee’ah. It is bid’ah and a kind of imitating the Christians around you. It was proven in the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does an action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected.” (Narrated by Muslim and by Ahmad in al-Musnad). And Abu Dawood narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”

And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions, and grant them peace.

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 3/58

10888

Does saying “Innahu ‘ala raj’ihi la qaadir (Verily, (Allaah) is Able to bring him back)” help to bring back something that has been lost?


If a person loses something, and says “Innahu ‘ala raj’ihi la qaadir (Verily, (Allaah) is Able to bring him back)” [al-Taariq 86:6 – interpretation of the meaning] 200 times, will that bring back what he has lost, or not?

Praise be to Allaah.

This is not reported in the Book of Allaah or in the saheeh Sunnah of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). It is not one of the usual means of finding things that have been lost. It comes under the heading of using the Qur’aan for purposes other than that for which it was revealed. It also involves specifying a certain number, which is something that is a tawqeefi matter (i.e., it can only be known through revelation) and cannot be known through ijtihaad or reason. Using this method is bid’ah (reprehensible innovation), and it was reported that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (i.e., Islam) that is not a part of it, will have it rejected.”(Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim).

And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions, and grant them peace.

11669

Going to visit places and mosques in which the Prophet prayed


I see some people when they visit Madeenah, going to the seven mosques in addition to al-Masjid al-Nabawi (the Prophet’s Mosque) and Masjid Quba’. In al-Taa’if they make sure that they visit Masjid ‘Addaas, and they want to visit mosques in Makkah in order to pray there. What is the ruling on this?

Praise be to Allaah.

Travelling to visit al-Masjid al-Nabawi is an action which is prescribed in sharee’ah as indicated by the hadeeth of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “No journey should be made to visit mosques except for  three: this mosque of mine [in Madeenah], al-Masjid al-Haraam [in Makkah] and al-Masjid al-Aqsa [in al-Quds/Jerusalem]. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim; this version narrated by Muslim). Prayer in (al-Masjid al-Nabawi) is better than a thousand prayers anywhere else, apart from al-Masjid al-Haraam.

Other places which it is prescribed to visit without travelling expressly for that purpose are the grave of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), the graves of his two companions [Abu Bakr and ‘Umar], the graves of the people of al-Baqee’ [the cemetery of Madeenah], the graves of the martyrs of Uhud, and finally, the mosque of Quba’.

With regard to visiting those graves, this is implied in the general meaning of the hadeeth of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “I used to forbid you to visit graves but now visit them.”

Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “It is also mustahabb (recommended) to visit the graves of the people of al-Baqee’ and the martyrs of Uhud, to pray for them and ask for forgiveness for them, because the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do this, but this is prescribed for all the Muslim graves.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 17/470)

The evidence for visiting the Mosque of Quba’ is the hadeeth narrated in al-Saheehayn from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: “The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to come to Quba’ riding and walking.” According to another report: “and he would pray two rak’ahs there.” (narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim). The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also said, “Whoever purifies himself in his house then comes to the mosque of Quba’ and prays there, he will have a reward like that for ‘Umrah.” (Narrated by Ahmad, al-Nasaa’i, Ibn Maajah and al-Haakim. Al-Haakim classed it as saheeh and al-Dhahabi agreed with him. Also classed as saheeh by al-Albaani inSaheeh al-Jaami’, 6154)

With regard to visiting other mosques and historical sites and claiming that they are “places which a person should visit”, there is no basis for doing this, and they should not be visited for the following reasons:

1-                  There is no shar’i evidence to suggest that these mosques should be singled out for visits, as there is in the case of Masjid Quba’. As is well known, acts of worship should be based on following (the Sunnah), not on innovations.

2-                  The Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) were the most keen of all people to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). None of them are known to have visited those mosques and historical sites. If this were a good thing they would have been the first ones to do it.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthmaan, ‘Ali and all the predecessors of the Muhaajiroon and Ansaar used to travel from Madeenah to Makkah to perform Hajj and ‘Umrah, or for other purposes, and none of them said that he was keen to pray in the places where the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had prayed. It is known that if this had been mustahabb in their view, they would have been the first ones to do it, for they had more knowledge of the Sunnah and followed it more closely than anyone else.” (Iqtidaa’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, 2/748).

3-                  Visits to these places should be disallowed as a preventative measure. This is indicated by the actions of the righteous salaf, above all the rightly-guided khaleefah ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him). It was narrated that al-Ma’roor ibn Suwayd (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “We went out with ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab and we came across a mosque on our route. The people rushed to pray in that mosque, and ‘Umar said, ‘What is the matter with them?’ They said, ‘This is a mosque in which the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed.’ ‘Umar said: ‘O people, those who came before you were destroyed because they followed such (practices) until they made them places of worship. Whoever happens to be there at the time of prayer, let him pray there, and whoever is not there at the time of prayer, let him continue his journey.’” (Narrated by Ibn Waddah in his book al-Bida’ wa’l-Nahiy ‘anhaa; classed as saheeh by Ibn Taymiyah in al-Majmoo’, 1/281).

Shaykh al-Islam (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, commenting on this story, “The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had not singled out that place for prayer; he prayed there only because he happened to be staying there. Hence ‘Umar thought that imitating him outwardly without having the same reason for doing so did not count as following the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Singling out that place for prayer was like the innovations of the People of the Book which had led to their doom, so he forbade the Muslims to imitate them in this manner. The one who did that was imitating the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in outward appearances, but he was imitating the Jews and Christians in his intention, which is the action of the heart. The action of the heart is what counts, because following in one’s intention is more serious than following in outward appearances.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 1/281)

In another example, it is narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) heard that some people were visiting the tree under which the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had accepted the bay’ah of people, so he commanded that it should be cut down.” (Narrated by Ibn Waddaah in his book al-Bida’ wa’l-Nahiy ‘anhaa, and by Ibn Abi Shaybah in al-Musannaf, 2/375. Its isnaad was classed as saheeh by Ibn Hajar inFath al-Baari, 7/448.Al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: the men of its isnaad are thiqaat).

Ibn Waddaah al-Qurtubi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Maalik ibn Anas and other scholars of Madeenah regarded it as makrooh to go to those mosques and historical sites connected to the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), apart from Quba’ and Uhud.” (al-Bida’ wa’l-Nahiy ‘anhaa, p. 43). What is meant by Uhud is visiting the graves of the martyrs of Uhud.

Shaykh al-Islam (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Hence the scholars of the salaf among the people of Madeenah and elsewhere did not regard it as mustahabb to set out to visit any places in and around Madeenah after the Mosque of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), apart from the mosque of Quba’, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not specify any mosque to be visited apart from that.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 17/469).

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, after mentioning the places which it is prescribed to visit in Madeenah: “With regard to the seven mosques, Masjid al-Qiblatayn (the Mosque of the Two Qiblahs), and other places which some authors who wrote about the rituals of Hajj include among the places to be visited, there is no basis for doing that, and there is no evidence for doing so. What is prescribed for the believer at all times is to follow [the Sunnah], not to innovate.” (Fataawa Islamiyyah, 2/313)

The prominent scholar Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah preserve him) said: “There are no places in Madeenah to be visited apart from these: al-Masjid al-Nabawi, the grave of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), al-Baqee’, the martyrs of Uhud, and the Mosque of Quba’. As for other sites, there is no basis for visiting them.” (Fiqh al-‘Ibaadaat, p. 405)

Some may think that as long as one does not believe that these places hold any special virtue, that justifies visiting them or other historical places. This idea is unacceptable, for the following reasons:

Firstly: the righteous salaf (may Allaah have mercy on them) forbade going to these places in absolute terms, without going into detail.

Secondly: going to these places and singling them out to visit because they are in the vicinity of Madeenah which witnessed the dawn of the Islamic call or because some battles happened there, proves that one believes in their virtue. If one did not hold such a belief, there would be no motive for visiting these places.

Thirdly: if we accept, for the sake of argument, that a person does not believe in their virtue, visiting them is still a means that may lead to that and to doing things that are not prescribed. Taking preventative measures is one of the things prescribed by sharee’ah, as is well known. Al-‘Allaamah Ibn al-Qayyim – may Allaah have mercy on him – gave ninety-nine examples illustrating this principle, and after giving the ninety-ninth example he said: “Taking preventative means is one-quarter of responsibility, for there are commands and prohibitions. The commands are of two types, one of which is the end in itself and the other is the means to that end. And prohibitions are of two types, the thing that is prohibited because it is evil in and of itself, and the means that lead to that evil. So preventing the means that lead to that which is haraam is one quarter of the religion.” (I’laam al-Muwaqqi’een, 3/143)

Fourthly: It gives wrong ideas to ignorant people; when they see many people visiting those mosques and historical sites, they will think that this is an action which is prescribed in Islam.

Fifthly: Going to extremes in that matter and calling for visits to historical sites such as Mount Uhud and Jabal al-Noor for leisure purposes is one of the means that lead to shirk. The Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas issued a fatwa (No. 5303) stating that it is not allowed to climb up to the Cave of Hiraa’ for that reason. And Allaah is the One Whose help we seek.

Al-Da’wah magazine, issue #1754, p. 55

12032Celebrating completing the Qur’aan (khatm al-Qur’aan)


Some women, when they finish learning the Qur’aan by heart from their shaykhah, organize a simple celebration in which they read from the end of  the Mus-haf and immediately add something from the beginning (al-Faatihah and five aayaat of al-Baqarah) so that their reading will not cease. What is the ruling on that?

Praise be to Allaah.

Praise be to Allaah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allaah.

Celebrating the completion of memorizing the Qur’aan is not Sunnah, because nothing of that nature was narrated from the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from any of his Sahaabah. Doing this on the grounds that it is part of religion is bid’ah. But people do it as a customary expression of joy for the blessing of having memorized Qur’aan, like celebrations for the return of one who has been away, or for finding work, or for moving to a new home. If the celebration for completing the Qur’aan is of this nature, then there is nothing wrong with it. If a passage from the Qur’aan is recited, from the beginning or the end, without having to recite a specific soorah or recite in a particular way such as joining the end to the beginning, then this is fine, because reciting from Qur’aan is the best thing that can be done in a gathering and it is a reminder for those who are present. With regard to making du’aa’ when completing the recitation of the Qur’aan, it was reported with a saheeh isnaad from Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that when he completed the Qur’aan, he would gather his family together and make du’aa’ with them. If the reader makes du’aa’ when he completes the Qur’aan, and those who are present say “Ameen” to his du’aa’, this is fine.

With regard to calling the teacher “shaykhah” , there is nothing wrong with this. Now you know, may Allaah bless you, that there is no reason not to have the celebration you have described. There is no need to read from the end of the Mus-haf and then join it to the beginning. Doing something in this manner requires evidence (daleel), because reading Qur’aan is an act of worship, and acts of worship must be done only in the manner in which the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did them, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Indeed in the Messenger of Allaah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allaah and the Last Day, and remembers Allaah much” [al-Ahzaab 33:21]

 Written by Shaykh ‘Abd-Al-Rahmaan al-Barraak

There is a hadeeth about the person who stops for a rest immediately carrying on, which was narrated by al-Tirmidhi (may Allaah have mercy on him) from Ibn ‘Abbaas. According to this hadeeth, a man said, “O Messenger of Allaah, which deed is most beloved to Allaah? He said, “Al-haal al-murtahil.” The man said, ‘What is al-haal al-murtahil?” He said, “The one who starts from the beginning of the Qur’aan until he reaches the end, and when he stops for a rest, he immediately carries on.”

But this hadeeth is da’eef (weak), as al-Tirmidhi (may Allaah have mercy on him) says after he quotes it: this is a ghareeb (strange) hadeeth which we only know from Ibn ‘Abbaas with this isnaad, and this isnaad is not strong.

Hence Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-I’laam (p.289, part2), after he mentioned this hadeeth: Some of them understood from this that when a person has finished reading the whole Qur’aan, he should then read al-Faatihah and three verses of Soorat al-Baqarah, because he stopped when he completed it, and he continued when he started again. But none of the Sahaabah or Taabi’een did this, and none of the imaams regarded it as mustahabb (encouraged). What is referred to in the hadeeth is when a person returns from one military campaign and immediately joins another, or every time he completes one good deed, he starts another which he  completes as he did the first one. But what some readers do is not what was meant in the hadeeth at all. And Allaah is the source of strength.


7277What is the definition of bid’ah? What is the ruling on doing more rak’ahs in Taraaweeh?


can you kindly define and provide examples of bid’ah ? This is a issue that is very confusing. Is it a bid’ah to pray more than 8 Rak’ahs for taraweeh since our Prophet never performed it ?

Praise be to Allaah.

The root of the word bid’ah in Arabic means initiating something without any precedent. For example, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“The Originator of the heavens and the earth…” [al-Baqarah 2:117]

In the terminology of sharee’ah, bid’ah means something that has been introduced into the religion of Allaah that has no general or specific basis to support it.

For example, the innovated adhkaar (dhikr) such as saying the name of Allaah on its own (“Allaah…Allaah… Allaah”) or the pronoun (“Hu… Hu… Hu…”, meaning “He… He… He…”). This is a new thing that has been innovated in the religion, intended as worship of Allaah, but there is no evidence for this, either specific or general… so it is bid’ah.

With regard to praying more than 8 rak’ahs in Taraweeh, the Sunnah as reported in the saheeh ahaadeeth, and as the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did regularly, is to pray eleven rak’ahs at night. He used to pray eight rak’ahs (saying Tasleem after each two rak’ahs in most cases), ending with two rak’ahs of shaf’ and one rak’ah of witr.

He sometimes prayed thirteen rak’ahs, as was narrated in the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah and Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both). Doing more than this is permitted, but it is not Sunnah. What indicates that it is permissible is the saheeh hadeeth in which the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Night prayer is two by two” – meaning two rak’ahs by two rak’ahs; he did not limit it to a set number. And Allaah knows best.

7051

Gathering to eat and celebrate on the last day of Sha’baan


Some families get together on the last night of Sha’baan and make food, and some of their elders recite poems for this occasion. What is the ruling on this getting together to eat?

Praise be to Allaah.

We put this question to Sahykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, may Allaah preserve him, who replied as follows:

I think that this is closer to bid’ah (innovation), and it should be disallowed rather than permitted, because it is being taken as an “Eid” (regular celebration). If it happened only once, then it is OK.

Our response is: we do not allow it.

And Allaah knows best.

1505

They get together and each person reads one juz’; will this be considered as a khutmah (complete reading of the Qur’aan) for all of them?


There are people who sit together to read the Qur’aan quietly. Each individual reads one juz’ (part) of the Qur’aan, claiming that the entire Qur’aan will have been read in this gathering. Is this permissible or is it counted as being bid’ah (innovation)?

Praise be to Allaah.

In my opinion the action mentioned is not permissible, and I do not recall anything of this kind being reported from the Salaf. A person will only be rewarded for what he himself reads or listens to in order to benefit from it. But if another person reads and he does not listen, the reward for that will go to the person who read it. These people are not considered to have completed the whole Qur’aan; but if each person has read a juz’ he will be rewarded for that. But they should not do this; either one person should read and the others listen, or each person should read by himself without making a connection between his reading and that of the others.

Al-Lu’lu’ al-Makeen min Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Jibreen, p. 50

6745

Sufi formulas and bid’ah


In your ‘Innovations’ sections, you say it’s bidah to recite, say a 100 times or something, suras hoping for reward. After reading a Sufi book by Hakim Moinuddin Chishti called ‘Sufi Healing”, I saw that it justified using such formulas by saying that the formulas and other things had been inspired by Allah through dreams or etc. to certain Muslims who were very close to Allah. Would this make it a part of Shariah? How can we know that they are being truthful? Is this acceptable in Islam?

Praise be to Allaah.

1. Allaah described His awliyaa’ (close friends) as having two characteristics: Eemaan (faith) and Taqwa (piety, awareness of Allaah). Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“No doubt! Verily, the Awliyaa’ of Allaah [i.e., those who believe in the Oneness of Allaah and fear Allaah much and love Allaah much], nor fear shall be upon them nor shall they grieve, – those who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah) and used to fear Allaah much” [Yoonus 10:62-63]

2. The true awliyaa’ of Allaah do not go against what the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) brought. The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned against innovated matters in religion, because Allaah has perfected His religion and completed His favour upon His slaves. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” [al-Maa’idah 5:3].

The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e., Islam] that is not a part of it, will have it rejected.”

3. Therefore one can distinguish between the walee (close friend) of Allaah and the walee of the Shaytaan, by looking at the person’s character, behaviour and religious commitment – does he pray regularly in jamaa’ah in the mosque, for example? Does he avoid wrongfully consuming people’s property? Does he avoid going against Islam by either adding or taking away anything? And so on…

4. It is not permissible for a Muslim to innovate any dhikr to recite regularly or to tell others to do so – such as awraad/wird, ma’thooraat or du’aas. The adhkaar that were reported in the saheeh Sunnah are sufficient for this, otherwise a person is an innovator or one who calls others to bid’ah. The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e., Islam] that is not a part of it, will have it rejected.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhaari, 2550; Muslim, 1718). According to a report narrated by Muslim: “Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (i.e., Islam) will have it rejected.”

Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

“This hadeeth represents one of the most important principles in Islam. It is like a scale against which the external appearances of deeds are measured, just as the hadeeth “Actions are but by intention” is the scale against which the inner motivations of actions are measured. Just as every deed which is not done for the sake of Allaah will bring no reward for the one who does it, so also every deed which is not in accordance with the way of Allaah and His Messenger will be rejected and thrown back at the one who does it. Anyone who innovates new things in the religion and does things for which Allaah and His Messenger have not granted permission, this is not a part of the religion at all.” (Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hukam, 1/180).

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

“This hadeeth is one of the most important basic principles of Islam, and it is one of the most concise and comprehensive sayings of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). It clearly states that innovations and newly invented matters will be rejected. The second report adds another idea, which is that some of those who follow the innovations of others may become stubborn when they are presented with the evidence of the first report which says, “Whoever innovates something…” They may say, “I am not innovating anything”. But he may in this case be presented with the evidence of the second report, which says, “Whoever does any action…” This clearly shows that all innovated actions will be rejected, whether the one who does them innovates them himself or is following someone else who innovated it… This hadeeth is one that should be learned by heart and used to denounce evil actions and be spread as evidence so that all people may use it.” (Sharh Muslim, 12/16).

5. Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

“No doubt adhkaar and du’aa’s are among the best forms of worship, and worship is one of the matters in which there is no room for personal opinions – we have to follow what the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did and taught, not our own whims and desires or innovations. The du’aa’s and adhkaar of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) are the best that anyone could find. The one who follows this way will be safe and sound, and the benefits and positive results that he will gain are beyond description. Any other du’aa’s and adhkaar may be haraam or they may be makrooh; they may involve shirk even though most people do not realize that – the details of this would take too long to explain here.

No one has the right to teach the people any kinds of du’aa’s or adhkaar apart from those that are mentioned in the Sunnah, or to make it a kind of regular worship which he expects the people to do regularly as they do the five daily prayers – this is the innovation in religion which Allaah does not allow… As for adopting a wird or regularly reciting a dhikr that is not prescribed in sharee’ah, this is one of the things that is not allowed. The du’aa’s and adhkaar prescribed by sharee’ah are the best that anyone could ever hope to find, and no one ignores them in favour of newly-invented, innovated adhkaar except one who is ignorant, negligent or a wrongdoer.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 22/510-511).

And Allaah knows best.

4039

Ruling on reciting the Qur’aan collectively


What is the ruling on reciting the Qur’aan collectively in the mosque?

Praise be to Allaah.

The question is somewhat vague. If what is meant is that they recite it all together, in unison, pausing and stopping at the same time, then this is not prescribed in Islam and at the very least it is makrooh (disliked), because it is not reported that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or his Companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) did any such thing. But if this is done for the purpose of teaching, we hope that there is nothing wrong with it. If what is meant is that the people gather to recite Qur’aan in order to memorize and learn it, and each one recites whilst the others listen, or each one reads to himself – not in unison with the others – then this is permissible because it was reported that the Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No group of people gathers in one of the houses of Allaah to recite the Book of Allaah and study it together, but tranquillity descends upon them, the angels surround them, mercy comes down upon them, and Allaah mentions them to those who are with Him.” (Reported by Muslim).

Fataawaa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (from the Fatwas of the Standing Committee).

2915

What is the ruling on hanging up aayaat for protection?


IS it proper to hang Quranic verses from the wall to
1. protect one from evil things
2. beautify the room with divine words
3. with the intention that it will gain me rewards
May allah rewad u.

Praise be to Allaah.

The ruling on placing the Mus-haf (copy of the Qur’aan) in cars to ward off the evil eye and for protection from danger is a bid’ah. The Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) never carried the Mus-haf to ward off danger or the evil eye. If it is bid’ah, then we should remember that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Every bid’ah is a going-astray and every going-astray will lead to Hell.” (Telephone conversation with Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen) (al-Bida’ wa’l-Muhdathaat wa maa laa aslun lahu, p. 259).

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was also asked the following question: “Some people hang up aayaat of the Qur’aan and ahaadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in the rooms of their homes or in restaurants or offices. In some hospitals and doctors’ offices they hang the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “And when I am ill, it is He Who cures me” [al-Shu’ara’ 26:80], and so on. Is this considered to be the use of amulets which is forbidden in sharee’ah, knowing that the intention behind it is to seek blessings and ward off the shayaateen, or to remind the forgetful and warn the negligent? Is it like using amulets to put the Mus-haf in one’s car in order to seek blessings?”

His Eminence replied as follows:

“If the intention is as described, to remind people and teach them something beneficial, then there is no harm in that. But if they believe that it is a protection against the shayaateen or jinn, then I know of no basis for this. By the same token, there is no basis for putting the Mus-haf in one’s car to protect it, and doing so is not allowed, but if a person puts it in his car so that he can read it sometimes or so that some of his passengers can read it, then this is good and there is nothing wrong with it. And Allaah is the Source of strength.

(Fatawa Islamiyyah, 4/29). (Shaykh Ibn Baaz may Allah have mercy on him)

3927Ruling on Reciting the Names of Allaah in certain combinations


Number of people tell me if you say so-and-so X amount of times then you will get such and such reward e.g. reciting the 99 names of Allah in certain combnations and quantities will do certain things .

Praise be to Allaah.

This question was answered for us by Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Munayyi’, who said:

“This is not permissible, and if he believes in it, it is bid’ah.”

Every dhikr that involves reciting a certain number of times, or in a certain place, or at a certain time, or in a certain manner, that is not prescribed in sharee’ah, is bid’ah. With regard to the Most Beautiful Names of Allaah, the way to use these in worship is to call upon Allaah by these Names, as He says (interpretation of the meaning), “And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allaah, so call on Him by them…” [al-A’raaf 7:180]. Merely reciting them in certain combinations is not a prescribed form of worship. And Allaah knows best.


 

3466
Ruling on reading Qur’aan collectively


What is the ruling on reading Qur’aan collectively in the mosque?

Praise be to Allaah.

The question is somewhat vague, but if what is meant is that they read it together in unison, pausing and stopping at the same places, then this is not prescribed by Islam and at the very least is makrooh (disliked) because it is not reported that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or his Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) did such a thing. If, however, it is done for the purpose of learning, then there should be nothing wrong with it. If what is meant is that they gather to read Qur’an in order to learn it and memorize it, and one of them reads whilst the others listen, or each one reads to himself quietly, and not in unison with the others, then this is allowed because it is proven that the Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No people gather together in one of the houses of Allaah and read the Book of Allaah, studying it together, but tranquillity descends upon them, the angels surround them and mercy covers them, and Allaah mentions them to those who are with Him.” (Reported by Muslim).

Al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah: Fataawa Islamiyah, part 4.

3219Does Islam tell us to recite al-Faatihah one hundred times when asking Allaah for something?


Assalamu-Alaikum,

I am looking for a reference to performing Al Fatiha 100 times asking Allah (swt) for a big blessing. Does anyone know of a Hadith mentioning this?

Assalamu-Alaikum

Praise be to Allaah.

There is no saheeh evidence (daleel) to indicate that we should recite al-Faatihah one hundred times when asking Allaah for anything, so it is not permissible to do this. You must follow the Sunnah and call on Allaah by His names and attributes, as he says (interpretation of the meaning): “And (all) the Most beautiful Names belong to Allaah, so call on Him by them…” [al-A’raaf 7:180]. As regards Soorat al-Faatihah, it is the greatest soorah of the Qur’aan, so recite it whenever you wish, without specifying a certain number of times or a certain way of reciting it that has no basis in Islam. May Allaah help us and you to do all good.

2260Kissing the Mus-haf, kissing one’s fingers and swaying whilst reciting Qur’an


My questions relate to Bida’a. At the Mosque I attend I see brothers performing actions which I think are Bida’a but require confirmation with sources. I would like to try correct these practices, Inshallah with Hickma, if there are incorrect.

1. Blowing on fingers and wiping eyes with thumbs after making Dua’a.

2. Always ending Dua’a with Al-Fatiha.

3. Kissing the Qu’ran when picking it up and before putting it down.

4. Swaying while sitting in Salat or reading Qu’ran.

Praise be to Allaah.

Any act of worship must be based on evidence (daleel) from the Qur’aan or saheeh Sunnah. One of the principles of this religion is that Allaah cannot be worshipped except in the ways that He has prescribed, and He cannot be worshipped in innovated ways (bid’ah). The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e., Islam] that is not part of it, will have it rejected,” i.e., his deed will be unacceptable to Allaah. There is no evidence in either the Qur’aan or Sunnah for ending du’aas with al-Faatihah. Similarly, there is no evidence for blowing onto one’s fingers and wiping the eyes with them after making du’aa’. Al-Shuqayri (may Allaah have mercy on him) mentioned the bid’ah of kissing the thumbnails and wiping the eyes with them after making du’aa’ following salaah, or bunching the fingertips together and touching them to the eyes after prayer, and reciting certain things whilst doing so; he said that these are silly innovations. (Al-Sunan wa’l-Mubtada’aat, p. 71). With regard to the question of kissing the Mus-haf (copy of the Arabic text of the Qur’aan), the Fatwa Standing Committee (al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Iftaa) answered a question on this matter with the following fatwa: “We know of no basis for kissing the Qur’aan.” In another response to a similar question, they said: “We know of no evidence that prescribes kissing the Qur’aan, which was revealed to be recited, respected, understood and acted upon.” (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, no. 4172)

In Al-Aadaab al-Shar’iyyah (2/273, Al-Risaalah edition), Ibn Muflih says:

“It was reported that he (Imaam Ahmad) did not give an opinion [??] on this matter (kissing the Qur’aan) and touching it to one’s forehead and eyes.”

Al-Qaadi said in al-Jaami’ al-Kabeer: “He did not give an opinion on that, although it contains an element of respect and honour, because in the case of deeds intended to draw closer to Allaah, if there is no comparable precedent in the Sunnah, then it is better not to do it. Do you not remember when ‘Umar saw the Black Stone, he said: ‘You cannot do any harm or any good. If it were not for the fact that the Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) kissed you, I would not kiss you.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1597; Muslim, 1270).

As for swaying when reciting Qur’aan or praying, this is habit of the Jews in their worship, so the Muslim should not do it deliberately. (See Bida’ al-Qurra’ by Bakr Abu Zayd, p. 57). One of the ways of wisdom (hikmah) in da’wah and combatting wrongdoing, to which you refer in your question, is to ask people for the evidence for what they are doing, because it is not permissible to worship in ways for which there is no evidence, as we have pointed out above. The burden of proof rests on the person who is doing the deed, not on the one who is seeking to correct him. May Allaah give us and you the strength to do good. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.

2237
Reading Soorat Yaa-Seen in congregation on Friday nights


Is it forbidden in Islam to read the Sura Yaseen on Friday nights in a congregational manner in the mosque?

Praise be to Allaah.

Reading the Qur’aan brings a great reward. Allaah will multiply the reward for every letter of every aayah in any soorah that is read, as the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever reads one letter of the Book of Allaah will have one hasanah(reward) for doing so, and every hasanah will be multiplied by 10. I do not say that ‘Alif, laam, meem’ is one letter, but ‘Alif’ is a letter, ‘laam’ is a letter and ‘meem’ is a letter.’” (Reported and classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi, 2835).

He  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also said: “Read the Qur’aan, for it will come on the Day of Resurrection interceding for its companions (i.e., those who read it)…” (Reported by Muslim, 1337)

This reward will only be for the one who reads it sincerely, following the Sunnah. But the one who innovates in his readings (whether it be in the way he reads, the position he adopts when reading, the number of times he reads or the times when he reads) will not earn the reward, rather his deeds will be rejected and thrown back at him, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (i.e., Islam) will have it rejected.” (Reported by Muslim, 3242). According to another report, he said: “Whoever does something that is not a part of this matter of ours, will have it rejected.” (Reported by Muslim, 3243)

Because a specific time – Friday night – is being allocated and the reading is being done in congregation although no saheeh evidence to that effect has been reported from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), this action is bid’ah and is not prescribed or allowed by sharee’ah. It should therefore be avoided. We ask Allaah to guide us all to the truth and help us to follow the Sunnah. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.

1196
Is Muhammad  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) created from light? What is wrong with celebrating his birthday?


In our locality there are people who hold celebrations of the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) every year. They think that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is not like the rest of mankind, but that he is light from the Light of Allaah Himself, that he is present and watching in every place, and that he himself attends every gathering held to celebrate his birthday, he hears what the people say about him, and he is there with them. For that reason they stand up and say in unison: “Yaa Nabi-Allaah, yaa Rasool-Allaah, yaa Habeeb-Allaah, salaam ‘alayka (O Prophet of Allaah, O Messenger of Allaah, O Beloved of Allaah, peace be upon you).” They call out to him as if he were present and ask for his help and support. What is the Islamic ruling on this? Is it correct or not? Is it sunnah, bid’ah, or what?

Praise be to Allaah alone, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger and his family and companions.

Celebrating the birthday of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is an innovation (bid’ah) which goes against the guidance of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and of the Rightly Guided Khaleefahs (al-khulafaa’ al-raashidoon) and the Sahaabah, may Allaah be pleased with them. It is proven that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does anything that is not part of this matter of ours (i.e., Islam), will have it rejected.” (For more details, please see Question #249).

Believing that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is not like the rest of humanity, and that he is light from the Light of Allaah Himself is not a correct belief, because it contradicts the Qur’aan. Allaah has stated that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is human, and has explained what makes the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) different from the rest of mankind. He said (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘I am only a man like you. It has been inspired to me that your God is One God (Allaah). So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.” [al-Kahf 18:110]

Mankind, human beings, are created, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him He created his wife (Hawwa/Eve), and from them both He created many men and women…” [al-Nisaa’ 4:1]

“O mankind, if you are in doubt about the Resurrection, then verily! We have created you from dust, then from a nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge)…” [al-Hajj 22:5]

“O Prophet! Verily, We have sent you as witness, and a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner, – and as one who invites to Allaah by His leave, and as a lamp spreading light.” [al-Ahzaab 33:45-46]

In contrast, Allaah is the First, and He has no beginning, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“He is the First (nothing is before Him) and the Last (nothing is after Him), the Most High (nothing is above Him), and the Most Near (nothing is nearer than Him). And He is the All-Knower of every thing.” [al-Hadeed 57:3]

Allaah called His Prophet “light” and a “lamp spreading light” because of the guidance and light with which Allaah sent him, with which Allaah guides all those who answer his call (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“… Indeed, there has come to you a light (Prophet Muhammad  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) and a plain Book (this Qur’aan).” [al-Maa’idah 5:15]

Saying that he is present and watching in every place, that he is himself present at every gathering to celebrate his birthday, and that he hears what the people present are saying, is all false. There is no basis for this in either the Qur’aan or the Sunnah.

Calling on him and seeking his help and support is a form of major shirk which is not permitted, whether one is calling on the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or on any other created being, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“… so invoke not anyone along with Allaah.” [al-Junn 72:18]

“And whoever invokes (or worships) besides Allaah, any other god of whom he has no proof, then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely! Al-kaafiroon (the disbelievers) will not be successful.” [al-Mu’minoon 23:117]

(Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 3/4)

The Muslim should follow, not innovate. He should believe in Allaah alone, call on Him alone and seek His help alone. He should not call on or seek the help of anyone else. The consequences of shirk are devastating, as it will wipe out all a person’s good deeds and lead to his doom in Hell. Bid’ah is a serious matter, which will cause a person’s deeds to be thrown back at him, not accepted. The Muslim should love, respect, honour and obey the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and give his words precedence over the words of any other human being, but it is not permitted to exaggerate about him, or to raise his status above that which has been bestowed upon him by Allaah, or to call on him instead of Allaah, because this is a violation of the rights of Allaah, and involves directing acts of worship to someone other than Allaah, when they should only be directed towards Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted. We ask Allaah to help us to do that which will please Him and to avoid that which will earn His wrath, and to help us to love Him and His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad. And Allaah knows best.

249
Mawlid al-Nabi (the Prophet’s birthday)


Why some people accept and some unaccept the celebration of the prophet (  )? What is your opinion?

Praise be to Allaah.

There is nothing in the Qur’aan to say that we should celebrate the Mawlid or birthday of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The Prophet himself (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not do this or command anyone to do it, either during his lifetime or after his death. Indeed, he told them not to exaggerate about him as the Christians had exaggerated about Jesus (upon whom be peace). He said: “Do not exaggerate about me as the Christians exaggerated about the son of Maryam. I am only a slave, so say, ‘The slave of Allaah and His Messenger.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari). What has been reported is that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made the day of his birth a day of worship, which is different to celebration. He was asked about fasting on Mondays, and he said: “That is the day on which I was born and the day on which I was entrusted with the Mission or when I was first given Revelation.” (Reported by Muslim, al-Nisaa’i and Abu Dawood).

Moreover, we know that the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) were the people who loved the Prophet most. Was it reported that Abu Bakr, who was the closest of people to him and the one who loved him the most, celebrated the birthday of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? Was it reported that ‘Umar, who ruled for twelve years, or ‘Uthmaan, did this? Was it reported that ‘Ali, his relative and foster son, did this? Was it reported that any of the Sahaabah did this? No, by Allaah! Is it because they were not aware of its importance, or did they not truly love the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? No one would say such a thing except one who has gone astray and is leading others astray.

Did any of the imaams – Abu Haneefah, Maalik, al-Shaafi’i, Ahmad, al-Hasan al-Basri, Ibn Seereen – do this or command others to do it or say that it was good? By Allaah, no! It was not even mentioned during the first and best three centuries. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in a saheeh hadeeth: “The best of mankind are my generation (or my century), then those who come after them, then those who come after them. Then there will come a people who will not care if their testimony comes before their oath or vice versa (i.e., they will not take such matter seriously).” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Muslim and al-Tirmidhi). The celebration of the Prophet’s birthday appeared many centuries later, when many of the features of true religion had vanished and bid’ah had become widespread.

Thus this celebration became a sign of one’s love for the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? But can it be possible that the Sahaabah, the imaams and the people of the best three centuries were unaware of it, and it was only those who came later who were aware of its importance?! What the Qur’aan tells us is that love of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is demonstrated by following the guidance he brought. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘If you (really) love Allaah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Say: ‘Obey Allaah and the Messenger.’ But if they turn away, then Allaah does not like the disbelievers.” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:31-32]

The first aayah explains that love is just a claim, but the proof of sincerity is following what the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) brought. The second aayah reaffirms the importance and necessity of obeying Allaah and His Messenger. Hence Allaah ended the aayah with a very stern warning in which those who refuse to obey are described as kaafirs, and Allah does not love the disbelievers. We ask Allaah to keep us safe from that. The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us of the danger of not obeying him, and the danger of adding to what he brought. The celebration of Mawlid or his birthday is indeed an addition to what he brought – as all the scholars agree. He said: “The best of speech is the Book of Allaah, and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The most evil of things are those which are newly-invented (in religion), and every innovation is a going astray.” (Reported by Muslim and al-Nisaa’i).

We ask Allaah to protect us from bid’ah and to bless us by helping us to follow. Allaah knows best. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.

2209
Is saying “Sadaqa Allaahu al-‘Azeem” after reciting from Qur’an bid’ah?


Is saying Sadaqaallahu Al Azim after reciting or quoting from the Qur’an an innovation, and if it is, how was it introduced?

Praise be to Allaah.

Many people have the habit of ending a recitation from the Qur’aan with the words “Sadaqa Allaahu al-‘Azeem (Almighty Allaah has spoken the truth),” but this has no basis in Islam because the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not do it, nor was it the custom of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them), and it was unknown among the Taabi’een (the generation after the Sahaabah). This custom arose in later times because some reciters would say these words, on the basis of the aayah: “Say: Allaah has spoken the truth” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:95 – interpretation of the meaning], and people liked this. But this istihsaan (being liked) should be rejected, because if this was really something good, the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), the Sahaabah and the Taabi’een – the salaf or first and best generations of the ummah – would not have neglected to do it.

The aayah “Say: Allaah has spoken the truth” (Aal ‘Imraan 3:95 – interpretation of the meaning) does not mean that these words should be said at the end of any reading or recitation. If that were the case, He would have said, “When you finish reading, say ‘Allaah has spoken the truth,’” just as He said (interpretation of the meaning): “So when you want to recite the Qur’aan, seek refuge with Allaah from Shaytaan (Satan), the outcast (the cursed one).” [al-Nahl 16:98]

The aayah which the innovators use to support their practice of saying “Sadaqa Allaah” after reciting Qur’aan was actually revealed in the context of confirming what was said about how all food had been lawful to Bani Isra’eel except what Isra’eel had made unlawful for himself. Allaah said (interpretation of the meaning): “… Say (O Muhammad): ‘Bring here the Tawraat (Torah) and recite it, if you are truthful.’ Then, after that, whosoever shall invent a lie against Allaah, such shall indeed be the zaalimoon (disbelievers). Say (O Muhammad), ‘Allaah has spoken the truth; follow the religion of Ibraaheem (Islamic monotheism, i.e., he used to worship Allaah alone), and he was not of al-mushrikeen (polytheists).” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:93-95]

If this aayah meant that these words should be said after reciting from the Qur’aan, the first one to know and do this would have been the Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Because this is not the case, we know that this is not what was meant.

In conclusion, therefore, saying “Sadaqa Allaahu al-‘Azeem” after reciting Qur’aan is an innovation, and the Muslim should not say it.

But believing that Allaah has spoken the truth is obligatory, and whoever disbelieves or doubts the truth of what Allaah has said is a kaafir who is outside of the pale of Islam. We seek refuge with Allaah from that.

If a person says “Allaah has spoken the truth” on certain occasions, such as when something He has foretold comes to pass, affirming the truth of what He has said, then this is permissible, because something similar has been reported in the Sunnah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was giving a speech, and al-Hasan and al-Husayn came along, so he came down from the minbar, picked them up and put them in from of him, then he said: “Indeed Allaah has spoken the truth: ‘Your wealth and your children are only a trial…’ [al-Taghaabun 64:15 – interpretation of the meaning].”

(Izaalat al-sitaar ‘an al-jawaab al-mukhtaar by Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 79-80).

205
There is no such thing as bid’ah hasanah in Islam


Bismillahir rahmaanir raheem,

as salaamu ‘alaykum,

I have read a number of refutations written by the ash’areeyah/soofiyah regarding the concept “bid’ah hasanah” – they justify this concept by the narration in Bukhaaree’s saheeh when the sahabi said “Rabbanaa lakal hamd hamdan katheeran tayyiban mubaarakan fih” when coming out of rukoo’ and rasulullah (  ) approved. They say Ibn Hajr was of this opinion and supported this view. Also they quote Ibn Hajr as condemning Ibn Taymiyyah as “a slave who is leading others astray.” Any comments on this?

Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be upon his truthful Prophet.

Firstly, how can there be any such thing as bid’ah hasanah (“good innovation”) when the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Every bid’ah is a going astray and every going astray is in Hell-fire”.  So, if anyone says that there is such a thing as bid’ah hasanah, he can only be insisting on going against the Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

Secondly, saying “al-hamdu Lillaah… (praise be to Allaah…) when coming out of rukoo’ is a well-known phrase of dhikr which is proven in sound ahaadeeth reported from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). All that this Sahaabi did was to come up with a new phrase expressing praise to Allaah. How can this be used as evidence to support innovations in worship and dhikr that have no basis in the sources of Islam?

Thirdly, what this Sahaabi did cannot be taken as evidence in and of itself. It was not even considered to have been a correct action until after the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had approved it, and not before. So we say to them (the supporters of bid’ah hasanah): the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is no longer with us and we have no way of knowing whether the Revelation approves of your innovations or not.

Fourthly, if we accept the use of this report as evidence, it is still no more than an isolated incident which cannot be generalized, whereas the hadeeth “every bid’ah is a going astray” is clearly a general statement. It is a well-known principle among the ‘ulamaa’ (scholars) that what is stated clearly takes precedence over what is merely implied.

Fifthly, how can we know what is good or not with our limited minds alone and without the input of Revelation? Is there not the possibility of differences of opinion? What one person sees as good will be seen differently by another, so what would the standard be? Whose reasoning could we rely on or refer to? Would this not be confusion, even anarchy itself?

Sixthly (which confirms the third point made above), when the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) approved of an act of worship or a dhikr (remembrance of Allaah) on the part of one of his Sahaabah, it would thus become a part of sharee’ah and hence be regarded as a sunnah hasanah. But with the death of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the ceasing of Revelation, how can we know whether innovated acts of worship or dhikr are correct or would be approved? We have no way of knowing, so we should limit ourselves only to the forms of worship that have been narrated in sound reports.

The great scholar al-Haafiz ibn Hijr (may Allaah have mercy on him) narrated many comments by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah in Fath al-Baari; he agreed with some and disagreed with others. This is the business of the scholars: they discuss and debate with one another, with the aim of reaching the truth – which may lie with the one who is disagreeing or with the one whose opinion is being criticized. As for the unpleasant comment quoted in the question, from what we know of Ibn Hijr (may Allaah have mercy on him) and his good manners, fear of Allaah, awareness of the value of knowledge and respect for the scholars, we are sure that this comment is a fabrication. May Allaah forgive all the scholars and reward them for their efforts and concern.


864
Bid’ah Hasanah (“Good Innovations”)


As Salaam Alaikum Wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatu

I have a question in the area of what is and isn’t Bidaa. Over and over again I hear people terming certain actions as Bidaa. I am however confused. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t there a hadith by Prophet Muhammed (SAW) that says that anyone who introduces a new helpful hadith will be rewarded. If this is true, then why are all new inovations frowned upon. Jazak Allah Khul Khayer.

Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly, we should know what “bid’ah” means according to Islamic teaching.

It is defined as: any invented way in religion that is aimed at worshipping or drawing closer to Allaah. This means anything that is not referred to specifically in Sharee’ah, and for which there is no evidence (daleel) in the Qur’aan or Sunnah, and which was not known at the time of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his Companions. At the same time, it is quite obvious that this definition of religious inventions or innovations, which are condemned, does not include worldly inventions [such as cars and washing machines, etc. – Translator].

If your confusion has to do with an apparent contradiction between the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah and the hadeeth narrated by Jareer ibn ‘Abdullaah, then let us examine these two reports and find out what they mean:

Jareer ibn ‘Abdullaah al-Bajali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever starts a good thing and is followed by others, will have his own reward and a reward equal to that of those who follow him, without it detracting from their reward in any way. Whoever starts a bad thing and is followed by others, will bear the burden of his own sin and a burden equal to that of those who follow him, without it detracting from their burden in any way.'” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2675. He said, This is a saheeh hasan hadeeth)

There is a story behind this hadeeth, which will explain what “whoever starts a good thing” means. Imaam Muslim reported this story from Jareer ibn ‘Abdullaah, who also narrated the hadeeth itself. He said: “Some people from the Bedouin came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), wearing woollen garments. He saw that they were in bad shape and in desperate need, so he urged the people to give them charity. They people were very slow to respond, and it could be seen in his face (that he was upset). Then a man of the Ansaar brought a package of silver, then another came, and another and another, and his face was filled with joy. The Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever starts a good thing in Islam, and others do likewise after him, there will be written for him a reward like that of those who followed him, without it detracting in the least from their reward. Whoever starts a bad thing in Islam, and others do likewise after him, there will be written for him a burden of sin like that of those whofollowed him, without it detracting in the least from their burden.'” (Reported by Muslim, no. 1017)

Further explanation may be found in a report recorded by al-Nisaa’i, also from Jareer ibn ‘Abdullah, may Allaah be pleased with him, who said: “We were with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) early one day, when some people who werealmost naked (not dressed properly) and barefoot, with their swords by their sides, came to him. Most, if not all of them, were of (the tribe of) Mudar. The Messenger’s face changed when he saw how poor they were (i.e., he became upset). He went into (his house), then he came out and ordered Bilaal to give the call to prayer. He led the people in prayer, then he addressed them, saying: ‘O people, “be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him He created his wife, and from them both he created many men and women, and fear Allaah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cutthe relations of) the wombs (kinship)” [al-Nisaa’ 4:1].

Fear Allaah, and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow…” [al-Hashr 59:18].

Let a man give charity from his dinars, his dirhams, his clothing, his wheat or his dates – even if it is only half a date.’ A man from the Ansaar brought a package which he could hardlycarry in his hand, then another and another came, until there were two piles, of food and clothing, and I saw the face of the Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) beaming with joy. The Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever starts a good thing in Islam will have his own reward and a reward equal to that of those who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward, and whoever starts a bad thing in Islam will have to bear the burden of his own sin and a burden equal to that of those who followed him, without it detracting in the least from their burden. (Reported by al-Nisaa’i in al-Mujtaba: Kitaab al-Zakaat, Bab al-Tahreed ‘ala al-Sadaqah).

From the context of the story, it is clear that what is meant by the words “whoever starts a good thing (sunnah hasanah) in Islam” means: Whoever revives a part of the Sunnah of theProphet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), or teaches it to others, or commands others to follow it, or acts according to it so that others see him or hear about it and follow his example. This is also indicated by the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, who said: “A man came to the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he urged the people to give him charity. A man said: ‘I have such-and-such,’ and there was no person left in the gathering who did not give something in charity to him, whether it was a large amount or a little. The Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever starts something good, and others follow his lead, will have a complete reward and a reward like that of those who followed him, without it detracting in the least from their reward. Whoever starts something bad, and others follow his lead, will bear a complete burden of sin, and a burden like that of those who followed him, without it detracting in the least from their burden. (Reported by Ibn Maaajah in al-Sunan, no. 204)

It should be clear from the above, with no room for doubt, that the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was not allowing innovation in matters of deen (religion), nor was he opening the door to what some people call “bid’ah hasanah,” for the followingreasons:

The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stated repeatedly that: “Every newly-invented thing is a bid’ah (innovation), every bid’ah is a going astray, and every going astray will be in the Fire.” (Reported by al-Nisaa’i in al-Sunan, Salaat al-‘Eedayn, Baab kayfa al-Khutbah). Reports with the same meaning were narrated via Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) by Ahmad, via al-‘Irbaad ibn Saariyah by Abu Dawud and via Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) by Ibn Maajah.

The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say, when beginning a khutbah (sermon): “… The best of speech is the Book of Allaah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The worst of things are those which are newly-invented, and every innovation is a going astray…” (reported by Muslim, no. 867)

If every bid’ah is a going astray, how can some people then say that there is such a thing in Islam as “bid’ah hasanah”? By Allaah, this is an obvious contradiction of the statement and warning of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stated that whoever innovates something new in the deen (religion) will have his deed rejected, and Allaah will not accept it, as is stated in the hadeeth narrated by ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), who said: “The Messenger of Allaah  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours that is not a part of it will have it rejected.'” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath al-Baari, no. 2697). How can anybody then say that bid’ah is acceptable and it is permitted to follow it?

When a person innovates something and adds to the deen something that does not belong to it, he is implying a number of bad things, each worse than the last, for example:

That the religion is lacking, that Allaah did not complete and perfect it, and that there is room for improvement. This clearly contradicts the statement in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning): “… This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…” [al-Maa’idah 5:3]

That the religion remained imperfect from the time of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) until the time when this innovator came along and completed it with his own ideas.

That the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was “guilty” of either of two things: either he was ignorant of this “good innovation,” or he knew about it but concealed it, thus letting his ummah down by not conveying it.

That the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), his Companions and the righteous salaf (early generations) missed out on the reward of this “good innovation” – until this innovator came along and earned it for himself, despite the fact that he should say to himself, “If it was truly good, they would have been the first to do it.”

Opening the door to bid’ah leads to changing the deen (religion) and opens the way for personal whims and opinions, because every innovator implies that what he is introducing is something good, so whose opinion are we supposed to follow, and which of them should we take as a leader?

Following bid’ah leads to the cancelling out of sunnah practices and the ways of the salaf. Real life bears witness that whenever a bid’ah is followed, a sunnah practice dies out; the reverse is also true.

We ask Allaah to save us from the misguidance of personal whims and from all trials whether they are open or secret. And Allaah knows best.


Reading Quran for a Deceased Person


Is setting a date to meet and read the entire Qur’aan for a deceased person and to pray for him, and doing this every year a bid‘ah.?

Praise be to Allaah.

There is no indication in either the Qur’aan or the Sunnah that would prescribe the actions described in the question. Based on this fact, these actions are bid‘ah(a reprehensible innovation) which is not permitted; we should avoid it and warn others not to do it. The Messenger of Allaah  (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) used to say in his khutbahs (sermons): “The truest of speech is the Book of Allaah, the best guidance is that ofMuhammad and the worst of things are those which are newly invented. Every newly-invented thing is a bid‘ah, every bid‘ah is a going astray, and every going astray will end in the Fire of Hell.” (Reported by al-Nisaa’i, may Allaah have mercy on him, in al-Sunan, Kitaab salaat al-‘eidayn, no. 1560).

It is permissible to pray for the deceased, without arranging a formal gathering, and without setting a specific date for doing so. We ask Allaah to help us and you to do that which He loves and which will please Him. Allaah knows best.


Reciting verses of the Qur’aan a specific number of times and with a specific intention


Assalam o Alaikum

I want to ask that , Is it right if somebody recite some Quranic aya for a specific purpose like for example If I read the one of the name of Allah for 99 times and after I make a Dua that May Allah fulfill my that wish. And its just begging from Allah with no shirk.

Please answer me

Jazakallah

Allaah has said (interpretation of the meaning):

“Unto Allaah belong the beautiful names. Pray to (and ask of) Him using them.”

As part of the prayer to Allaah using His names, we call on him by saying, “O Merciful, have mercy on me; O Forgiver, forgive my sins; O Provider, provide for me,” etc.

However, to read a specific verse a certain number of times (whether 99 times or whatever else) without any valid documented evidence is a bida’ah (an unacceptable act of innovation in religious practices) that is not permissible. Such acts invent a way to worship Allaah which was not revealed or taught by Islam. The Prophet  (peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever innovates in our religion a new act (of worship) then his act is rejected” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Fath al-Baari No. 2697.)

The best guidance is that of the Prophet  . There is no allowance for innovation in the religion of Allaah. Is it possible for us to discover new things in our religion that the Prophet didn’t know? Indeed, it is incumbent upon us to read the Koran in the way the Prophet read it, we need to pray in the way he prayed, and glorify Allaah’s name in the way the Prophet  has been validly reported to have done.

Only Allaah is the one who provides success, and He is the one who guides to the right path.