Honesty and Integrity: Essential components of Success

One of the essential components of success is honesty.  Indeed, real success cannot be achieved without honesty and integrity.  Honesty means being true and straight in word, action, character and conduct.  Honesty means to choose what is morally right and stick to it both in public and in private.

Honesty includes many other morals like truthfulness, sincerity, and justice.  An honest person is the person who sticks to the truth and acts with justice in all situations, regardless of external pressures and temptations.  An honest person enjoys the internal strength and faith that sustain him during times of conflict and enable him to choose what is right even if it brings him temporary loss. An honest person always chooses truth over falsehood, justice over injustice, and good over evil.  These traits of truthfulness and honesty will in turn lead him to success and the fulfillment of his goals sooner or later.

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            Dishonesty, on the other hand, includes a number of immoral traits like lying, deceit, betrayal, and hypocrisy.  A dishonest person is someone who betrays his principles and morals in favor of monetary or worldly gain.  A dishonest person is someone who may distort the truth or act in a sly or crooked way to achieve his purpose, without any sense of wrong-doing or guilt.  A dishonest person lacks conscience and moral principles that sustain him during times of difficulty.  At the slightest difficulty, he or she is ready to compromise his principles to achieve his purposes.  Despite any immediate material gain that may be in sight, the path of dishonesty and lies is a dead end that will eventually lead to nowhere but to loss and failure.


 

         Thus, honesty is a reflection of inner faith, and the one who lacks honesty lacks true faith, as is mentioned in the following hadith:

عن أنس رضي الله عنه قال: مَا خَطَبَنَا رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم إلا قال: « ‏ لَا إِيمَانَ لِمَنْ لَا أَمَانَةَ لَهُ، وَلَا دِينَ لِمَنْ لَا عَهْدَ لَهُ» .  رواه أحمد والبزار والطبراني وابن حبان. ـ

   Narrated Anas -may God be pleased with him- said: “The Messenger -prayer and peace be upon him- did not give us a sermon except he said: ‘Whoever does not keep the trust lacks in faith, and whoever does not keep his pledge lacks in religion.’ ”  Related by Ahmad, Al-Bazzar, Al-Tabarani, and Ibn Hibban.


 

    God has set certain standards and morals when He created the Earth.  God referred to that as the Balance or the Scale of Justice.  God says:

    قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: { وَالسَّمَاءَ رَفَعَهَا وَوَضَعَ الْمِيزَانَ * أَلَّا تَطْغَوْا فِي الْمِيزَانِ * وَأَقِيمُوا الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا تُخْسِرُوا الْمِيزَانَ} سورة الرحمن 7-9.  ـ

  God -the Exalted- says: {

  1. And the heaven He has raised high, and He has set up the Balance.
  2. In order that you may not transgress (due) balance.

     9. And observe the weight with equity and do not make the balance deficient} (Chapter 55, verses 7-9).

   The human is instructed to follow those morals and abide by those standards. Man must not transgress and tip the balance to one side; otherwise, it will lead to chaos and failure. Keeping a fair balance is the key to success and prosperity.  These are God’s rules and commandments.

    Indeed, whoever keeps the Balance and acts with honesty and truthfulness will achieve success because that is the only path that leads to it. Those who choose dishonesty and lying to achieve success will never get it even if they may seem to get it temporarily at first.


 

The concept of Good and Evil started with the creation of Adam and Satan.  Adam chose honesty and the truth, while Satan chose dishonesty, pride and lying.  Thus, we see Adam becoming successful while Satan being banished to Hell-Fire.

It is this ancient and sacred tenet of Good and Evil and their consequences that apply to honesty and dishonesty as well.  Whoever chooses honesty and integrity has a high chance of achieving success, while whoever selects dishonesty and lies guarantees himself loss and failure, even if he may seem to succeed at first.

Indeed, just like Good will prevail and triumph at the end while evil will eventually decline and be defeated, likewise honesty leads to success and good results while dishonesty leads to loss and evil consequences.


 

          God the Almighty has commanded us to stick to honesty in all matters, and made it obligatory on us.  God says:

    قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: {إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَنْ تُؤَدُّوا الْأَمَانَاتِ إِلَى أَهْلِهَا وَإِذَا حَكَمْتُمْ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ أَنْ تَحْكُمُوا بِالْعَدْلِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ نِعِمَّا يَعِظُكُمْ بِهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ سَمِيعًا بَصِيرًا} النساء 58. ـ

  God -the Exalted- says: {Verily, God commands you to render trusts to whom they are due; and that when you judge between people to judge with justice. Indeed, how excellent is that which God instructs you. Verily, God is ever All-Hearer, All-Seer} (Surah 4, verse 58).

Al-Qurtubi said in the interpretation of the verse: “It is most likely that this verse encompasses all people, so it includes the rulers and what they are entrusted with of distributing the wealth, paying back for injustices, and ruling with justice, and this was the opinion of Al-Tabari.

The verse also includes the lesser people in keeping the trusts and being careful when giving testimony, like a man judging in a calamity, etc. Also the five daily prayers, the obligatory charity, and the rest of acts of worship are a trust of God the Exalted.”


 

If we consider the wisdom behind the obligation of honesty, we find that the main reason is that it leads to trust and peace among people.  When we have honesty, then people can trust us.  And when people have honesty, then they can trust each other, and this will lead to a peaceful and secure society, which will lead to a successful and prosperous society.

   Therefore, honesty is a major ingredient of a peaceful and successful society.  Honesty is essential for creating trust among society.  Honesty was obligated for the general good and the benefit of society.  Honesty creates a society whose members care about each and make sure not to bring harm to others.  Honesty creates a community whose members make sure not to cheat, not to take what is not theirs, not to take more than necessary or their due, and not to be dishonest or unjust in any dealings with anyone. This will lead to a successful, peaceful and prosperous society.

Dishonesty, on the other hand, leads to mistrust and insecurity.  Dishonesty creates a selfish society where everyone is only concerned with his/her own gains and loots.  Dishonesty creates an unequal society with some members taking the rights of weak members, exploiting them, and mistreating them in different ways.  Dishonesty is a gate for injustice and bad morals.  Dishonesty leads to evil and mischief in the land.  Dishonesty leads to an insecure, oppressed society.


 

     And just like man is in constant struggle with Good and Evil, such a conflict also exists with honesty and dishonesty.  The believer chooses Good over Evil and honesty over dishonesty.  But man is prone to slips, falls, temptations and desires.  And just like Satan entices the son of Adam to do Evil and enjoy the temporary pleasures, Satan also tempts the son of Adam and promises him great wealth if he dealt with dishonesty.

Thus, the believer must beware of the temptations of the Satan and of the Self in times of trials and difficulty and never give in.  The believer must rather stick to his ideals and hold fast on to his principles, never giving them up.  The believer must keep his moral values, rather should improve on them with time.


 

       Furthermore, we have been forewarned that honesty will become more and more difficult as time passes and dishonesty will become widespread until many people will get used to it and think nothing of it.  But that would only lead to their loss and failure.  The Prophet -prayer and peace be upon- said that when the Day of Judgment draws near, honesty would be lifted and many people would be dishonest such that trustworthy people would be so scarce that people would say such a tribe has only one trustworthy person. 

     In the following narration, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, provided us details about that:

عن حُذيْفَة بنِ الْيمانِ رضي اللَّه عنه قال: حَدَّثَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّه صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم حَدِيثَيْنِ رَأَيْتُ أَحَدَهُمَا وَأَنَا أَنْتَظِرُ الْآخَرَ، حَدَّثَنَا « أَنَّ الْأَمَانَةَ نَزَلَتْ فِي جَذْرِ قُلُوبِ الرِّجَالِ، ثُمَّ عَلِمُوا مِنْ الْقُرْآنِ ثُمَّ عَلِمُوا مِنْ السُّنَّةِ»، وَحَدَّثَنَا عَنْ رَفْعِهَا قَالَ: « يَنَامُ الرَّجُلُ النَّوْمَةَ، فَتُقْبَضُ الْأَمَانَةُ مِنْ قَلْبِهِ، فَيَظَلُّ أَثَرُهَا مِثْلَ أَثَرِ الْوَكْتِ، ثُمَّ يَنَامُ النَّوْمَةَ فَتُقْبَضُ فَيَبْقَى أَثَرُهَا مِثْلَ الْمَجْلِ، كَجَمْرٍ دَحْرَجْتَهُ عَلَى رِجْلِكَ فَنَفِط،َ فَتَرَاهُ مُنْتَبِرًا وَلَيْسَ فِيهِ شَيْءٌ، فَيُصْبِحُ النَّاسُ يَتَبَايَعُونَ، فَلَا يَكَادُ أَحَدٌ يُؤَدِّي الْأَمَانَةَ، فَيُقَالُ: إِنَّ فِي بَنِي فُلَانٍ رَجُلًا أَمِينًا، وَيُقَالُ لِلرَّجُلِ: مَا أَعْقَلَهُ وَمَا أَظْرَفَهُ وَمَا أَجْلَدَهُ، وَمَا فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ حَبَّةِ خَرْدَلٍ مِنْ إِيمَانٍ» .  متفقٌ عليه. ـ

      Narrated Hudhayfa Ibn Al-Yamaan -may Allah be pleased with him- said: “The Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- narrated to us two hadiths, one of which I have seen (happening) and I am waiting for the other. He told us:

‘Honesty descended in the innermost (root) of the hearts of men (in the beginning). Then the Qur’an was revealed and they learnt it (honesty) from the Qur’an and they learnt it from the Sunnah (tradition).’  He also told us about the removal of honesty. He said:

‘A man would go to sleep whereupon honesty would be taken away from his heart, leaving a trace of a faint mark. He would again sleep and the remainder of honesty would be taken away from his heart leaving a trace of a blister, as if you rolled down an ember on your foot and it formed a vesicle. You would see a swelling but there is nothing in it.

So there would come a day when people would deal in business with each other but there would hardly be any trustworthy persons among them. (And there would be so much lack of honest persons) till it would be said: There is in such and such a tribe one person who is honest.  And they would also admire a person saying: How prudent he is, how good mannered and how strong he is, while indeed he would not have belief as little as a mustard seed in his heart.’ ” Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

     We are seeing signs of that these days.  Honesty is not valued any more, rather many people have resorted to deceit, lying and cheating to achieve their goals.  Dishonesty is not frowned upon or looked with disapproval any more, rather it is considered to be a winning card by some and even necessary for success by others.  But that is not true, for the same arguments are used to find excuses for doing Evil.  The truth is that Good and Honesty are the only path to achieving success and fulfilling one’s goals no matter the circumstances.

       Then the believer must be steadfast in these times and hold tightly to Good and Honesty even if only few choose to do so.  The believer must try to avoid Evil and dishonesty in any shape or form, and rather stick to Good and Honesty and believe that it is the only way to success and true happiness.  And God knows best.

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Contentment and Satisfaction (Qana’ah)

(Keywords: Contentment, Satisfaction, Happiness, Pleasure, Peace, Contentedness, serenity, Thankfulness, Appreciation, Gratefulness, Cheerfulness)

 

قال الله عز وجل: {وَآتَاكُم مِّن كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لاَ تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ الإنْسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ} سورة إبراهيم 34. ـ

God -the Exalted- says: { And God gave you of all that you asked for, and if you (try to) count the blessings of God, never will you be able to count them. Verily, man is indeed an extreme wrongdoer, ungrateful } (Surah 14, verse 34).

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عن عُبَيد اللَّه بِن مِحْصَنٍ الأَنْصارِيِّ الخَطْمِيِّ رضي اللَّه عنه قال: قال رسولُ اللَّه صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « منْ أَصبح مِنكُمْ آمِناً في سِرْبِهِ، مُعَافىً في جَسَدِه، عِندهُ قُوتُ يَومِهِ، فَكَأَنَّمَا حِيزَتْ لَهُ الدُّنْيَا بِحذافِيرِها» .  رواه الترمذي. ـ

Narrated Ubaid-Allah Ibn Mihsan Al-Ansari Al-Khatmi -may God be pleased with him- that the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “Whoever comes upon the morning healthy in his body, safe in his flock, and has the sustenance of his day, then it is as if he has attained the whole worldly life.” Related by Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Hibban.

وعن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « ‏انْظُرُوا إِلَى مَنْ هُوَ أَسْفَلَ مِنْكُمْ وَلَا تَنْظُرُوا إِلَى مَنْ هُوَ فَوْقَكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ أَجْدَرُ أَنْ لَا تَزْدَرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ» . رواه مسلم والترمذي وابن ماجه وأحمد. ـ

Narrated Abu Hurairah -may God be pleased with him- that the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “Look at those who are below you (in worldly status), and do not look at those who are above you, for it is worthier not to scorn the blessing of God upon you.”  Related by Imam Muslim, Al-Tirmithi, Ibn Majah, and Imam Ahmad.

وَعَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاس وأنس بن مالك رَضِي الله عنْهُم أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « لَوْ أَنَّ لابْنِ آدَمَ وَادِياً مِنْ ذَهَبٍ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُ وَادِيانِ، وَلَنْ يَمْلأَ فَاهُ إِلاَّ التُّرَابُ، وَيَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَى مَنْ تَابَ» . مُتَّفَقٌ عَليْهِ. ـ

Narrated Ibn Abbas and Anas Ibn Malik -may God be pleased with them- that the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “If the son of Adam has a valley of gold, he would have wished to have two valleys.  Nothing fills out the inside of the son of Adam except for the dust (when he dies).  And God accepts the repentance of anyone who repents.”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim.



 

God -the Most Generous- reminds us of His many blessings upon us.  Indeed, God has granted us from every blessing we can think of.  God, the Exalted, granted us health, wealth, food, shelter, family, and most important the religion of Islam.  And yet some people feel discontent and dissatisfied with their lot and share in life. 

We can see two groups of people:

1) The first group are happy and content with what they have, while

2) The second group are always sad and never satisfied with they have.  The question then is what is the difference between the two groups?

The difference between the two groups simply lies in the word Contentment or Qana’ah.  The point of reference (miqyas) is different for both groups.  That is, their model of happiness is different.  As for the first group, their point of reference or model of happiness is set toward people below them.  They never look at people above them in worldly status.  They are content with what they have.  Yes, they do ask God for more, but then they are happy with what He grants them.  In other words, they look for more with God, and they don’t look at richer people.

While the point of reference (miqyas) or model of happiness for the second group is the richest or most powerful man in the world.  For them, happiness is associated with more worldly possession, more wealth, and more power.  So they always compare themselves to those above them in worldly status.  Therefore, they are never satisfied; they always look up, they always want more.

Then as for the first group, they live this life in a condition of inner comfort and happiness.  They are satisfied with what they have, and they appreciate these blessings and thank God for what He has given them; they enjoy contentment.

As for the second group, they live this life in a condition of continuous frustration, complaining, displeasure, and dissatisfaction until they die.  They are never happy, but always want more, always look up to other people but can’t seem to get it all, so they end up feeling sad, depressed and deprived.  They don’t appreciate the many blessings God has bestowed upon them, so they end up being ungrateful; not appreciating or thanking God for His blessing upon them.  They suffer perpetual discontentment.

 


 

Know that the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- has already set the point of reference (miqyas) or model of happiness for his nation, both in word and by his own action.  Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said that if anyone wakes up in the morning healthy, safe and having the food of that day, then it is as if he has the whole world!  This is the point of reference or model of happiness.  It is not having food for a month, or living in a palace, or amassing great wealth, it is simply having health, safety and food of that day.  This is the reference point set by the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him.  And the Prophet gave us a practical and most beautiful example of contentment or qana’ah by enjoying whatever he had, even if it was one date, and thanking God fully for it.

Another point of reference set by the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- is: don’t look at people above you in worldly status.  This will only create greediness and endless yearning which will result in sadness and jealousy.  Rather, be content with what you have and appreciate the blessings you have by considering those below you in worldly status.

Indeed, we are warned not to look down upon the blessings of God upon us.  And we are asked to appreciate and count those blessings by just looking at the people who don’t have them.  Consider the people who are sick, while you are healthy.  Consider the people who don’t have a full meal, while you do.  Consider the people who don’t have a place to live in, while you have a house.  Consider the people who don’t have money and have to beg, while you have enough money, and so forth.  Consider each blessing and thank God for it.


 

Contentment is prescribed for both the poor and the rich.  Every Muslim should feel content with the blessings God has granted him.  The Muslim can ask God for more, but he should not look to those who own more than him.  The scholars said that the poor person who feels content is actually rich, while the rich who looks upon others with greed is actually poor.

The only thing a Muslim is asked to look up to is religious matters.  In religion, the Muslim should never be satisfied but should always seek a higher status with God and should always consider those who are more righteous or those who do more good deeds than him.


 

Then, know that Islam has sat two points of reference (miqyas) when it comes to happiness and contentment.  First, if you wake up in the morning healthy, safe and have the food of that day, then know that you are a rich person.  And second, don’t compare yourself to people above you in worldly status, but look at people below you and appreciate and thank God for the many blessings He granted you.  Don’t look at other people’s wealth, but ask God from His bounty.  Know that contentment leads to happiness in both lives.  In this life, contentment leads to a worry-free, happy life, and in the Hereafter contentment leads to the pleasure of the Lord and His Paradise.  And God knows best.

 

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The Universe: the Heavens and the Earth

(Keywords: Universe, Heavens, Skies, Space, Earth, Planets, Stars, Creation,  Thankfulness,  Gratefulness, Gratitude, Reflection, Contemplation, introspection, and meditation)

 

Day after day scientists and explorers find new planets, stars and galaxies.  Year after year as scientists send spaceships into untouched areas, new and unique features and aspects of Space are discovered.  And time and time again as more and more secrets and mysteries are revealed, scientists and explores conclude how wide the Universe is and how limited their knowledge of its intricate, precise and complex systems is.

 

      قال الله عز وجل: { لَخَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَكْبَرُ مِنْ خَلْقِ النَّاسِ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ} سورة غافر، 57 . ـ

       God the Exalted says: {  Indeed the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of mankind, yet most of mankind know not} Surah 40, verse 57.

       In the verse above, God the Exalted draws our attention to two sides of a spectrum of sizes; one gigantic and one minuscule, one super-large and one super- tiny, one far and distant and the other one close and nearby, and one out of reach and imagination in outer space and the other within reach and physical boundaries.  The two sides of the spectrum mentioned are the Extraterrestrial Skies and the Human Body.

  The Almighty God instructs the humans to reflect on those two creations of His, namely the Skies and the human body, and ponder upon their intricate and complex designs, their exact and accurate precision, their wonderful and amazing mechanism, and the many secrets and numerous mysteries that lie within.  Then God reminds us that it is He Who created all of that and everything is under His command.  God the Exalted says:

قال الله عز وجل: { ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ لَّا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَأَنَّىٰ تُؤْفَكُونَ} سورة غافر، 62. ـ

       God the Exalted says: { That is God, your Lord, the Creator of all things, none has the right to be worshiped but He, so why then do you turn away (from His worship)} Surah 40, verse 57.

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Indeed, we see the signs of God’s creation everywhere we look.  We see the Greatness and Majesty of God anywhere we look in the Universe.

     Consider any part of the great universe and you see a sign of the Almighty God.  Consider the skies; consider the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars.  Consider the earth, the mountains, the oceans, and the trees. Consider the people, the animals, the insects, and the birds.  Who created all of them and who takes care of all them?  It is only God -the Exalted.  

Then ponder and reflect upon your body and its wonderful and intricate design.  Consider the upright body shape, the body systems, the body organs and limbs, and the body tissues.  Reflect on the precise way the body functions, upon the complex way the body systems do their tasks, and reflect upon the amazing way the body systems work in unison to produce maximum effects. Ponder upon the different types of cells, consider the blood vessels and the nerves, consider the amazing organs like the heart and brain, and consider the defense or immune system and its tiny components.

Then consider who provides for that body and who sustains it.  Who provides people with food, health, wealth and everything?  Who cures the body when it gets sick, who allows the injuries and the broken bone to heal and get well, and who allows the sick organ to get well again.  Consider who provides money to the poor so they can survive, who grants sustenance to the needy so they can live, and who provides for people so they can enjoy this life?  When people are in need, whom do they pray?  When they are in distress, whom do they ask for help?  It is only God.  Thus now we realize some of the Greatness and Majesty of the King of kings.

 


 

 

Reflection upon the creation of the Great Creator, God, is the characteristics of the true believer.

      Indeed, everywhere the believer looks, he sees the amazing creation of the Great Lord, God.  When the believer looks at the sky, he wonders at its hugeness, its smoothness, its height, and its existence without support.  When he looks at the earth, he wonders at its mountains and valleys, its seas and oceans, its gardens and deserts, and its trees and fruits.  When he considers people, he sees an amazing creation; their body make, their coloring, their nature, their mind, their language, and their features.  When he considers animals, he is amazed by their variety; birds of all types, insects of all types, and different animals.

Indeed, in all of that is a strong sign for the believer that there is a Great Lord, God, Who created all of this.  And that all of this was created for a purpose, so that the believer would testify to the Majesty and Greatness of the King of kings, God, to submit to this Great Lord in worship, and to purify his intention so that every deed is done for the sake of God alone. God the Exalted says:

     قال الله عز وجل: { اللَّهُ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ قَرَارًا وَالسَّمَاءَ بِنَاءً وَصَوَّرَكُمْ فَأَحْسَنَ صُوَرَكُمْ وَرَزَقَكُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ (64) هُوَ الْحَيُّ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَادْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ} سورة غافر، 64-65. ـ

       God the Exalted says: {

64. It is God Who has made for you the earth as a dwelling place and the sky as a canopy, Who has given you shape and perfected your form, and Who has provided you with good things. That is God, your Lord, then blessed be God, the Lord of the worlds.

65. God is the Ever Living; none has the right to be worshiped but He, so call upon, being sincere to Him in religion. All praise and thanks be to God, the Lord of the worlds} Surah 40, verse 64-65.


 

Reflection upon God’s creation makes the believer realize the great bounties God -the Exalted- bestowed upon mankind.  God has created a sky to shade them, clouds to rain water on them, trees to bear fruits for them, seas and rivers to store water for them, mines that keep fuel and minerals for them, and numerous other bounties.  God -the Exalted- also granted the son of Adam a mind to use these bounties and live in this life.  So the believer must appreciate these bounties and thank God for them.

Reflection upon God’s creation makes the Muslim realize that there is another purpose behind this life.  Indeed, the real purpose of this life is to worship God and to please Him.  The Muslim lives this life with this real purpose in mind, while in the meantime he fulfills his worldly needs.

Reflection upon the great and wonderful creation of God is a great worship and an enlightening means, like it was mentioned about Abu Ad-Darda’ -may God be pleased with him- who said: “Reflection upon God’s creation one night equals the worship of one year!”

And it was narrated that the wife of Abu Dhurr -may God be pleased with them- was asked about his best worshipping.  She replied: “He used to sit in the corner of the house and reflect upon the creation of God.”

 ——————

 

The believer should constantly glorify and praise God -the Exalted.  The question is then: how does the believer ‘glorify’ and ‘praise’ God?  First of all, the believer should try to understand some of the Greatness and Mightiness of God.  It is not enough to glorify and praise God with the tongue, rather the believer should also mean that by his heart.  The believer should glorify and praise God with his heart by realizing some of the Greatness of God.  That comes through pondering and reflecting upon God’s creation. Once the believer reflects upon the great creation of God, then his tongue and heart would mention and glorify his Great Lord, God.


  

Then, the believer should consider and reflect upon the great creation of God, and know that there is a purpose for everything.  Indeed, everything was created by the Great Lord, God.  These creations didn’t come by chance or randomly, they didn’t create themselves, rather the Great Creator, God, created every one of them.

The believer should then glorify God, attest to His Greatness and Majesty, and thank God for each bounty.  The believer should also ponder upon the real purpose of this life and that is to worship God and please Him.  The believer should reflect upon his death and prepare for the Hereafter.

When the believer considers those wonderful creations of God; thanks Him for it; and ponders upon life and death, then his faith or Iman increases, his awareness of the reality of life becomes apparent, and his reward is multiplied.  And God knows best.

 

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Suicide and Wishing for Death

(Keywords: Killing oneself, Self-immolation, Self destruction, Self-murder, Suicide, hopelessness, Total Desperation, Depression, loss of hope, loss of trust, ending one’s life, wishing to end life, committing suicide)

     قال الله عز وجل:{ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُمْ رَحِيمًا } النساء 29. ـ

       God the Almighty says: { And do not kill yourselves. Verily, God is Most Merciful to you} (Surah 4, verse 29).

    عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه أن رسولَ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « لا يَتَمَنَّ أَحَدُكُمُ المَوْتَ، إِمَّا مُحْسِناً فَلَعَلَّهُ يَزْدَادُ، وَإِمَّا مُسِيئاً فَلَعَلَّهُ يَسْتَعْتِبُ» .  رواه البخاري ومسلم. ـ

     Narrated Abu Hurairah -may God be pleased with him- that the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- said: None of you should wish for death: if he is righteous, he may increase his good deeds; and if he is an evil-doer, he may abandon the evil deeds and repent.”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

    وعن سهل بن عبد الله التستري، قال: ( لا يتمنى الموت إلا ثلاث: رجل جاهل بما بعد الموت، أو رجل يفر من أقدار الله تعالى عليه، أو مشتاق محب للقاء الله عز وجل). ـ

   Sahl Ibn Abdul-Allah Al-Tusturi said: “No one longs for death except three persons: A man who is ignorant of what comes after death, a man who runs away from fate, or a man who loves and wishes to meet God -the Exalted.”

———–

God the Exalted has pre-determined and pre-set the creatures’ times of birth and death 500 years before He created them, and recorded it in Al-Law Al-Mahfooth (the Preserved Slate).  Thus, the believer has faith in that and submits to God’s Judgment.

    God -the Creator- is the Most Knowledgeable, the Most Just and the Most Wise, and He does things with the Utmost degree of knowledge, wisdom, and mercy.  While the son of Adam is hasty (ajool), ignorant (jahool) and ungrateful (kanood).  As soon a problem afflicts him, then the son of Adam wishes for death.  As soon as a calamity befalls him, man wishes he were dead.  And as soon as a major problem or death occurs to one of his loved ones, then he wishes to die.

      But the human must stop thinking of death as a quick way to get rid of worldly problems, or escape the inevitable or fate.  Indeed, death itself is not easy.  Starting with the agonies of death (sakarat Al-moat), then the ascent or descent of the soul to heaven or downward to the pit, then the questioning of the two angels Munkar and Nakeer, then the questioning of every single deed in the grave, then the opening of a window either to Paradise or to Hell, and finally the most horrific day, the Day of Judgment.  May God save us.

     A) Suicide or Killing oneself:

       The soul of the human is Not owned by him, rather it belongs to God Who created it.  The soul is not a personal property of the person with which he does what he wishes, rather the soul is from God and Only He controls it.  Thus, the son of Adam is Not allowed to kill himself or cause it harm.  Killing the self is considered a transgression and violation of the limits of God.

The son of Adam is instructed to worship God and do all that bring benefit to himself while avoiding everything that harm him in anyway, including killing himself.

Suicide in religion is considered a major sin for which severe punishment is promised.  Suicide signals the distrust of the slave toward his God.  Suicide shows the loss of hope in God’s Mercy.  Suicide indicates the lack of belief in God’s forgiveness. Thus, suicide represents the weakest level of faith.

       In the verse above, God draws our attention and urges the human to remember the Great Mercy of God and His boundless Forgiveness when s/he starts thinking of suicide.  Indeed, the problems of the whole world pale beside the Great Mercy of God and His limitless Forgiveness.  But attempting suicide signals the loss of hope in such great mercy and forgiveness, and that in itself is a great sin, for those are the Divine characteristics of God by which He described Himself.  Denying those characteristics or disbelieving them is a great sin.  Acting upon that denial, and attempting suicide is even a greater sin and is therefore promised great punishment, as the following hadith shows:

    عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه، عن النَّبِي صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « مَنْ تَرَدَّى مِنْ جَبَلٍ فَقَتَلَ نَفْسَهُ، فَهْوَ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ يَتَرَدَّى فِيهِ خَالِدًا مُخَلَّدًا فِيهَا أَبَدًا.  وَمَنْ تَحَسَّى سَمًّا فَقَتَلَ نَفْسَهُ، فَسَمُّهُ فِي يَدِهِ يَتَحَسَّاهُ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدًا مُخَلَّدًا فِيهَا أَبَدًا.  وَمَنْ قَتَلَ نَفْسَهُ بِحَدِيدَةٍ، فَحَدِيدَتُهُ فِي يَدِهِ يَجَأُ بِهَا فِي بَطْنِهِ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدًا مُخَلَّدًا فِيهَا أَبَدًا» .  رواه البخاري ومسلم. ـ

   Narrated Abu Hurairah -may God be pleased with him- that the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself, will be in Hell-Fire falling down in it and abiding therein perpetually forever.

Whoever drinks poison and kills himself with it, will be carrying his poison in his hand and drinking it in Hell-fire wherein he will abide eternally forever.

And whoever kills himself with an iron weapon, will be carrying that weapon in his hand and stabbing his abdomen with it in Hell-fire wherein he will abide eternally forever.”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Thus, the person who kills himself is promised punishment in the same manner he killed himself, but it will be in Hell-Fire.  Then how ironic and what a greater damage and harm can suicide be!  While the person thinks he will get rid of problems, s/he is putting himself in a lot greater peril.  Hell-Fire is not a simple problem of this world, rather its heat is greater and its horrors are numerous.  Thus, the wise must think before attempting such an act, trying to escape one’s troubles to fall into greater trouble is not worth it.  It is like moving out of the frying pan into the fire.

However,  the scholars said that the believer will eventually be forgiven and will go to Paradise.  Thus, the great mercy of God will encompass all believers eventually, but he may be punished in Hell first.  Rather than go through all of that, the believer must have trust in God’s Great Mercy and Forgiveness from the beginning.

==============================================================

   B) Wishing for Death:

Not only is the believer instructed to avoid killing himself or committing suicide, but he is also instructed to avoid wishing for death.

It is the nature of the human to like ease and enjoy blessings, thus when problems and troubles afflict him, he longs for death.  But as explained above, death is not as easy escape from the trials and tribulations of the world, rather there is a life after death.  Indeed, the real life only starts after death and then everyone will get the reward or punishment of his/her actions, as stated in the following verse:

     قال الله عز وجل:{ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ثُمَّ إِلَيْنَا تُرْجَعُونَ * وَالَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَنُبَوِّئَنَّهُمْ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ غُرَفًا تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا نِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ * الَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ} العنكبوت 57-59. ـ

قال ابن كثير رحمه الله: ( أي أينما كنتم يدرككم الموت، فكونوا في طاعة الله وحيث أمركم الله، فهو خير لكم، فإن الموت لا بد منه ولا محيد عنه، ثم إلى الله المرجع والمآب، فَمَنْ كان مطيعا له جازاه أفضل الجزاء ووافاه أتمَّ الثواب). ـ

       God -the Exalted- says: { Everyone shall taste death, then unto Us you shall be returned.

  1. And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, to them We shall surely give lofty dwellings in Paradise, beneath which rivers flow, to live therein forever. Excellent is the reward for the workers.

  2. Those who are patient, and put their trust in their Lord} (Surah 29, verses 57-59).

Ibn Katheer -may God have mercy on him- said: “The verse means that wherever you are, death will come to you, so always obey God and follow His command, for this is better for you. Death is inevitable and there is no escape from it, and then the return will be to God.  So whoever obeyed Him, God will recompense him with the best reward.”

The Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- also instructed us Not to wish for death, as stated in the following hadith:

Narrated Abu Hurairah -may God be pleased with him- that the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “None of you should wish for death: if he is righteous, he may increase his good deeds; and if he is an evil-doer, he may abandon the evil deeds and repent.”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

The scholars mentioned five reasons for the prohibition to wish for death:

First, as mentioned in the hadith longer life can give the Muslim a chance and opportunity to repent of his sins and do more good deeds.

Second, the time of death is pre-determined and set in Al-Loah Al-Mahfooz.  That time never changes, so wishing for death is not going to affect it.

Third, death is a distressful event and a horrifying experience.  It is the hardest experience in this life.  The Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “Do not wish for death, for the horror of the experience of death is severe.” (Ahmad).  Thus, the believer should not wish for it when he may not be ready.

Fourth, wishing for death due to a problem or a calamity is a sign of impatience and displeasure with destiny or Qadr.  The believer should show patience and ask God to solve the problem for him instead of asking for death.

And Fifth, the believer accepts and is pleased with God’s Judgment.  So the believer doesn’t question his time of death, nor wants to change it.  Rather the believer likes and prefers what God has written and chosen for him.


The scholars mentioned three exceptions when a person can wish for death: First, when he fears for his religion that he may lose faith or be tested in his faith. Second, during fighting. And third, to wish to die in a holy place like Omar Ibn Al-Khattab wished to die in Al-Medinah. But even then, he should not ask for death directly, as explained in the following hadith:

عَنْ أَنَسٍ رضى الله عنه قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: « لاَ يَتَمَنَّيَنَّ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمُ الْمَوْتَ لِضُرٍّ نَزَلَ بِهِ، فَإِنْ كَانَ لاَ بُدَّ مُتَمَنِّيًا لِلْمَوْتِ فَلْيَقُلِ: اللَّهُمَّ أَحْيِنِي مَا كَانَتِ الْحَيَاةُ خَيْرًا لِي، وَتَوَفَّنِي إِذَا كَانَتِ الْوَفَاةُ خَيْرًا لِي» .‏ مُتَّفَقٌ عَلَيْهِ. ـ

Narrated Anas -may God be pleased with him- that the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “None of you should wish for death because of some harm that befalls him.  If he cannot help but wish for it, then he let him say: ‘O God, let me live as long as life is better for me, and take my life if death is better for me.’ ” Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.


The Wise believer rather prepares for death and hopes and asks God’s forgiveness and mercy.  Some righteous Muslim was seen after his death, and he was asked about death. So he said: it was full of horrors but God had mercy on me.

The wise believer prepares for the questioning of the two angels Munkar and Nakeer, for those who do sins start to become doubtful then.

The wise believer prepares answers for the questioning in the grave, for he will be asked to account for all of his deed in the grave.  The Muslim would be asked about the obligatory deeds; did he perform them, and he would be asked about sins; why he did them.

The wise believer fears the punishment in the grave.  There are many hadiths that mention the punishment of the grave for those who miss any of the five daily prayers, for those who don’t clean themselves well after bathroom, for those who backbite or spread slander, for those who miss fasting, for those who don’t pay Zakah, for those who harm others and for those who do major sins.  The wise Muslim prepares for this great event with fear of his sin, repentance and hope in God’s forgiveness and mercy.

The believer accepts destiny and shows patience when a problem befalls him.  The true believer doesn’t show impatience and displeasure by wishing for death; rather he is patient and asks God to solve the problem for him.  Moreover, the true believer is always pleased with God’s Judgment and decision; he submits and surrenders to God, the Most Knowledgeable and Wise, in everything including the time of death.

The worldly life is a test, it is a Not a place of bliss and permanence.  Rather this life is a temporary place where you take your test, and then move on to get your results.

Death is nothing but the time of your results.  So before you get your results, try to do well on your test.  Before wishing your results too soon, first try to work hard to get an excellent result.  Before rushing to see your result, try to be patient and prepare for the test.  And finally, before you get your result, be ready to meet God in the best form and condition.  Then death would not be feared any more, rather welcomed whenever it is destined to come.

Finally, Abu Hurairah -may God be pleased with him- related that two men (sahabah) died at the time of the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him.  One of them died as a martyr (shaheed), while the second died a natural death one year later. Talhah saw both men in a dream and saw the second man who died a year later has entered Paradise before the martyr!  Talhah mentioned that to the Prophet, so he said: did he not fast one more Ramadan, did he not pray one year more. (Imam Ahmad)  And in another narration, he said: The difference between them is like the distance between the heaven and earth!


 

Conditioning or Learned Response:

Suicide attempt is usually the result of many previous suicide ideations.  These suicide ideations are usually a case of conditioning where the person accompanies any big problem he has or any unbearable stress he experiences with wishing for death.  Thus, a vicious cycle starts where the more and bigger the problems he has, the more he wishes for death and finally does attempts suicide.

But as mentioned above, suicide is Not the solution of problems but a cause for greater problems and torment.

         The believer must stop himself from wishing for death every time a problem or a difficulty afflicts him;  he should overcome that defeated train of thought and instead try to find other means to cope with the problem. 

Instead of feeling despair and hopelessness, the believer should have hope in God and trust Him. 

 Instead of giving up and surrendering to hard circumstances, the believer should actively seek practical solutions for his problem and ask for advice.

  Instead of feeling isolated and abandoned, s/he should seek advice and support from family and friends. 

And finally, if nothing else works then the s/he should move to another place and start afresh, for new starts may prove successful. 

 

God the Almighty says:

     قال الله عز وجل: { وَمَن يُهَاجِرْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يَجِدْ فِي الْأَرْضِ مُرَاغَمًا كَثِيرًا وَسَعَةً ۚ وَمَن يَخْرُجْ مِن بَيْتِهِ مُهَاجِرًا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ يُدْرِكْهُ الْمَوْتُ فَقَدْ وَقَعَ أَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا} سورة النساء، 100. ـ

       God the Exalted says: { He who emigrates (from his home) for the sake of God, will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by.  And whoever leaves his home as an emigrant to God and His Messenger and then death overtakes him – his reward has
already become incumbent upon God.  And God is Oft-Forgiving and Most Merciful
} Surah 4, verse 100.

    Then the wise believer must take this opportunity to work harder.  The wise believer endures problems patiently and asks God to solve them instead of hoping for death.  The true believer accepts pre-destiny (qada’) and doesn’t ask for death, rather he knows that his moment of death is pre-determined and decided, and he just prepares for that moment rather than wishing for it.

Know that this world is an opportunity to get supplies for the Hereafter.  This world is an opportunity to get higher degrees in Paradise.  This world is an opportunity to get close to God and gain His Pleasure and reward.  It is only in this world that deeds are done, after death all deeds are stopped except by others. Indeed, dead Muslims wish to pray even one prayer or say even one glorification (tasbeeh), while the live believer still can perform many good deeds.  Thus, wishing to meet God -the Exalted- is good and noble, but wishing to stop one’s good deeds through death is not.  Rather, the Muslim who loves meeting God should strive harder to present many good deeds before meeting his Lord.  And God knows best.

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The Five Daily Prayers (Salah, Salawat Khams, Namaz)

(Keywords: The Prayer, the Obligatory Prayer, the Five Daily Prayers, the Second Pillar, importance of the Prayer, Significance of the Five Daily Prayers, Status of the Prayer, Purpose of the Five Daily Prayers, Attention in the Prayer, the parts of the prayer, Khushoo’, Khushu’, Secrets of the Prayer, Salah, Salawat Khams, Fard Prayer)

 

 

قال الله عز وجل: { قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ. الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ}، { وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَى صَلَوَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ}  سورة المؤمنون 1-2، 9. ـ

       God -the Exalted- says: {Successful indeed are the believers. Those who are during their prayer humbly submissive}, {And those who maintain their (five daily obligatory) prayers} (Surah 23, verse 1-2, 9).

قال الله عز وجل: { إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَابًا مَوْقُوتًا}  سورة النساء 103.  ـ

     God – the Exalted- also says: { Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of fixed times} (surah 4, verse 103).

————

 

God -the Exalted- describes the obligation of the five daily prayers during their specific times in the verse above.  The Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- mentioned that there are five pillars of Islam; the second pillar or rukn is the Prayer, that is the Five daily prayers, as narrated in the following hadith:

عن عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ قَالَ: إِنِّي سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ: « إِنَّ الإِسْلاَمَ بُنِيَ عَلَى خَمْسٍ شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ، وَإِقَامِ الصَّلاَةِ، وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ، وَصِيَامِ رَمَضَانَ، وَحَجِّ الْبَيْتِ» .  رواه البخاري ومسلم.  ـ

         Narrated Abdul-Allah Ibn Omar that he heard Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- say: “Verily, Islam is founded on five pillars (principles): Testimony that there is none worthy of worship except God, establishing the Five Daily Prayers, Giving Zakah (obligatory charity), Fasting the month of Ramadan, and Pilgrimage to Makkah.”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Thus, the Prayer is the most important pillar of Islam after the Testimony, and other deeds are accounted for and judged based on the completion and perfection of the Prayer.

     Islam has put great emphasis on the five daily prayers and explained the importance and need of these five prayers for the Muslim in his daily life.  The five daily prayers have been accorded such great significance because they are a fresh and constant reminder for the Muslim of his Lord and the soon-to-come Hereafter.  Indeed, the Five daily prayers are spaced throughout the day so that the Muslim is always in remembrance of his Lord.

The Five daily prayers are a great blessing and honor for the Muslim.  This nation has been favored with this great worship, only five times a day, but it is equal in reward to fifty prayers. 

The Five Daily Prayers are prescribed five times a day, but their reward and benefit encompass the whole day and night. 

And while some angels are always standing, some always kneeling, and some always prostrating, the Prayer combines all of those forms of worship. 

Moreover, the prayer includes all limbs used to worship God; the tongue, the face, hands and feet, and most importantly the heart.   

And last but not least, the Prayer has all  forms of Dhikr like Qur’an, glorification, praise, thanking God, prayer upon the Prophet, and Du’a or supplication.

      Thus, one simple act is a treasure of reward, and a mine of things that bring the slave closer to his Lord if he fulfilled the Five Daily Prayer as should be.

 


 

There are five general areas where some Muslims are careless about the Prayer:

1) Carelessness about Ablution (Taharah and Wudu’):

    The Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said that Muslims of this nation would be recognized on the Day of Judgment by the light in their faces.  That light comes from wudu’ or ablution.  Whoever performs wudu’ fully, then his light would show on his face and limbs, as mentioned in the following hadith:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رضي الله عنه:  ( أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَتَى الْمَقْبُرَةَ فَقَالَ: « السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ دَارَ قَوْمٍ مُؤْمِنِينَ وَإِنَّا إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ بِكُمْ لَاحِقُونَ، وَدِدْتُ أَنَّا قَدْ رَأَيْنَا إِخْوَانَنَا»، قَالُوا: أَوَلَسْنَا إِخْوَانَكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ، قَالَ: « أَنْتُمْ أَصْحَابِي، وَإِخْوَانُنَا الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَأْتُوا بَعْدُ»، فَقَالُوا: كَيْفَ تَعْرِفُ مَنْ لَمْ يَأْتِ بَعْدُ مِنْ أُمَّتِكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ؟ فَقَالَ: « أَرَأَيْتَ لَوْ أَنَّ رَجُلًا لَهُ خَيْلٌ غُرٌّ مُحَجَّلَةٌ بَيْنَ ظَهْرَيْ خَيْلٍ دُهْمٍ بُهْمٍ أَلَا يَعْرِفُ خَيْلَهُ؟» قَالُوا: بَلَى يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، قَالَ: « فَإِنَّهُمْ يَأْتُونَ غُرًّا مُحَجَّلِينَ مِنْ الْوُضُوءِ وَأَنَا فَرَطُهُمْ عَلَى الْحَوْضِ، أَلَا لَيُذَادَنَّ رِجَالٌ عَنْ حَوْضِي كَمَا يُذَادُ الْبَعِيرُ الضَّالُّ؛ أُنَادِيهِمْ: أَلَا هَلُمَّ. فَيُقَالُ: إِنَّهُمْ قَدْ بَدَّلُوا بَعْدَكَ. فَأَقُولُ: سُحْقًا سُحْقًا») .  رواه مسلم وابن ماجه ومالك.   ـ

       English translation:

Narrated Abu Hurairah -may God be pleased with him- said: “The Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- once went to the graveyard and said: ‘Peace be upon you, O abode of the believing people and we -if God so wills- shall join you soon. I would love to see our brothers.’  The Companions asked: ‘Are we not your brothers, O Messenger of God?’

He said: ‘You are my Companions, but our brothers are those who have not come into the world yet.’  The Companions asked: ‘O Messenger of God, how would you recognize those of your nation who are not born yet?’ 

Prophet Muhammad replied: ‘If a man has white-footed horses with white foreheads among totally black horses, will he not recognize his own horses?’  They said: ‘Certainly, O Messenger of God.’  Prophet Muhammad said: ‘Then they (my followers) would come (on the Day of Judgment) with bright faces and radiant white hands and feet owing to ablution.’

He continued: ‘I will reach the Hawd (Cistern or watering place) ahead of them.  Beware, some people would be driven away from my Hawd (Cistern) just as the stray camel is driven away. I would call out to them: Come, come. But it would be said (to me): ‘They changed after you were gone, and they kept turning on their heels!’  So I would say: Be off with you, be off with you.’ ”  Related by Muslim, Ibn Majah, and Malik.

 

Some Muslims perform wudu’ in half a minute, not caring to wash all limbs fully.  This is considered incomplete ablution, and it renders the prayer incomplete too.  The Muslim should pay equal attention to his wudu’ and should spend time washing every organ and thinking that sins are being washed away too as mentioned in the hadith.

 


 

2) Carelessness about the Prayer Time:

The greatest reward of the prayer is attained when it is performed at its earlier time.  The later one gets, the more Satan tries to delay it.

قال الله عز وجل: { فَوَيْلٌ لِلْمُصَلِّينَ. الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنْ صَلَاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ}  سورة الماعون 4-5.  ـ

عن سعد بن أبي وقاص، قال: ( سألت النبيّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم عن {الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنْ صَلاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ} قال: هم الذين يؤخِّرون الصلاة عن وقتها). رواه البزار.  ـ

     God the Exalted says: {So woe (Wail) to those performers of prayer (hypocrites). Those who are heedless of their prayer} (surah 107, verse 4-5).

Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas reported that he asked the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- about this verse, so he replied: “They are the ones who delay the prayers beyond their appointed times.” Related by Al-Bazzar.

In another hadith, the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- described the one who misses the Asr (late afternoon) prayer as someone who has suffered a great loss in his family and money as a physical representation and comparison for the loss of this great obligation and the subsequent loss of its great reward.

وعن ابن عمر رضي الله عنه عن النبي صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال : « من فاتته العصر فكأنما وتر أهله وماله».  رواه الشيخان.   ـ

Narrated Ibn Omar -may Allah be pleased with them- that the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “For the one who misses the Asr prayer, it is as if he has lost his relatives and money.”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim.

 

Thus, the Muslim must be careful about the timing of the prayer, and should perform it as soon as possible.  The Muslim should be extra careful about Fajr (Dawn) prayer and may need to use two alarms to wake up and pray on time.


 

3) Carelessness about the Great Obligation and Important Status of the Prayer:

عَنْ حُرَيْثِ بْنِ قَبِيصَةَ، قَالَ: ( قَدِمْتُ الْمَدِينَةَ، فَقُلْتُ: اللَّهُمَّ يَسِّرْ لِي جَلِيسًا صَالِحًا‏.‏ قَالَ فَجَلَسْتُ إِلَى أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ فَقُلْتُ: إِنِّي سَأَلْتُ اللَّهَ أَنْ يَرْزُقَنِي جَلِيسًا صَالِحًا فَحَدِّثْنِي بِحَدِيثٍ سَمِعْتَهُ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لَعَلَّ اللَّهَ أَنْ يَنْفَعَنِي بِهِ، فَقَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ: « إِنَّ أَوَّلَ مَا يُحَاسَبُ بِهِ الْعَبْدُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْ عَمَلِهِ صَلاَتُهُ؛ فَإِنْ صَلُحَتْ فَقَدْ أَفْلَحَ وَأَنْجَحَ، وَإِنْ فَسَدَتْ فَقَدْ خَابَ وَخَسِرَ، فَإِنِ انْتَقَصَ مِنْ فَرِيضَتِهِ شَيْءٌ، قَالَ الرَّبُّ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: انْظُرُوا هَلْ لِعَبْدِي مِنْ تَطَوُّعٍ، فَيُكَمَّلَ بِهَا مَا انْتَقَصَ مِنَ الْفَرِيضَةِ، ثُمَّ يَكُونُ سَائِرُ عَمَلِهِ عَلَى ذَلِكَ») . رواه الترمذي، والحديث رواه أبو داود والنسائي وابن ماجة وأحمد بإسناد صحيح.   ـ

فَإِنْ صَلُحَتْ: قَالَ ابن الْمَلَكِ: صَلَاحُهَا بِأَدَائِهَا صَحِيحَةً- يعني في قيامها وركوعها وسجودها وخشوعها وطمأنينتها، ومن ذلك المحافظة على طهورها، والمحافظة عليها في أوقاتها.   ـ

وَإِنْ فَسَدَتْ): بِأَنْ لَمْ تُؤَدَّ، أَوْ أُدِّيَتْ غَيْرَ صَحِيحَةٍ، أَوْ غَيْرَ مَقْبُولَةٍ.   ـ)

        Narrated Huraith Ibn Qabieesah said:

“I went to Al-Madinah and prayed: ‘O God, bless me with a righteous companion today.’  Then I sat with Abu Hurairah and said to him: ‘I prayed God to bless me with a righteous companion today, so tell me a Hadith that you heard directly from the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- so that God may make it of benefit to me.’ 

Abu Hurairah -may God be pleased with him- said: “I heard the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- say:

The first of man’s deeds for which he will be called to account for, on the Day of Judgment is his prayer (the five daily prayers).  If it is complete, then he has succeeded and passed.  But if it is incomplete, then he has failed and lost.  And if his obligatory prayer has some deficit, the Lord says: ‘See if My slave has any voluntary prayer.’ And it makes up for the deficit. Then the rest of his deeds will be reckoned similarly.’   Related by Al-Tirmidhi, also related by Abu Dawood, Al-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah and Ahmad with authentic narration.

‘If it was complete’: The scholar Ibn Al-Malik said: “The prayer is considered complete when it is performed in a right manner, which is done by perfecting its kneeling, its prostration, its presence and tranquility, its ablution, and its specific timing.”

‘If it was incomplete’: The prayer is considered incomplete if it is missed, or not performed well, or not accepted.

As mentioned in the hadith above, after the Muslim dies the first thing and the Most important thing that is considered is the Prayer.  If the Five Daily Prayers are complete, then other things are considered lightly.  But if the Prayer is incomplete or missing, the the reckoning and accounting for deeds will be hard.

Indeed, a prayer that is performed carelessly or missed altogether can be a cause for punishment and torment.  This punishment can manifest as problems and calamities in this life, and as torment in the Fire in the Hereafter.

Thus the Muslim must understand the great responsibility of performing the Five Daily Prayers on time and as best as possible.  The Muslim should consider the Prayer as a trust, a bond between him and His Lord.  And the Muslim will be asked about this trust as soon as he dies.


 

4) Carelessness about the Proper and Correct Manner of Performing the Prayer:

عنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم دَخَلَ الْمَسْجِدَ، فَدَخَلَ رَجُلٌ فَصَلَّى ثُمَّ جَاءَ فَسَلَّمَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم، فَرَدَّ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمَ فَقَالَ: « ارْجِعْ فَصَلِّ فَإِنَّكَ لَمْ تُصَلِّ»،‏ فَصَلَّى، ثُمَّ جَاءَ فَسَلَّمَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ: «‏ ارْجِعْ فَصَلِّ فَإِنَّكَ لَمْ تُصَلِّ»‏‏.‏ ثَلاَثًا‏.‏ فَقَالَ: وَالَّذِي بَعَثَكَ بِالْحَقِّ فَمَا أُحْسِنُ غَيْرَهُ فَعَلِّمْنِي‏،‏ قَالَ: « ‏إِذَا قُمْتَ إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ فَكَبِّرْ، ثُمَّ اقْرَأْ مَا تَيَسَّرَ مَعَكَ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ، ثُمَّ ارْكَعْ حَتَّى تَطْمَئِنَّ رَاكِعًا، ثُمَّ ارْفَعْ حَتَّى تَعْتَدِلَ قَائِمًا، ثُمَّ اسْجُدْ حَتَّى تَطْمَئِنَّ سَاجِدًا، ثُمَّ ارْفَعْ حَتَّى تَطْمَئِنَّ جَالِسًا، ثُمَّ اسْجُدْ حَتَّى تَطْمَئِنَّ سَاجِدًا، ثُمَّ افْعَلْ ذَلِكَ فِي صَلاَتِكَ كُلِّهَا». رواه البخاري ومسلم.   ـ

       Narrated Abu Hurairah said: “Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- once entered the mosque.  A man came in, offered the prayer and then went to the Prophet and greeted him.  Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- returned the greeting and said to him: ‘Go back and pray again, for you have not prayed.’ 

The man went back and prayed in the same way as before, and then returned and greeted the Prophet who said: ‘Go back and pray, for you have not prayed.’ This happened thrice. 

After the third time, the man said: ‘By the One Who sent you with the Truth (God), I do not know a better way of performing the prayer. Then teach me how to pray.’  Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

When you stand for the Prayer, start with Takbir (saying Allahu Akbar) and then recite from the Holy Qur’an what you know by heart.  Then kneel till you feel at rest (calmly with no hurry). Then raise your head and stand up straight. Then prostrate till you feel at rest in prostration. Then sit down till you feel at rest.  Then prostrate again till you feel at rest in prostration.  And do the same in all your prayers.’” Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

 

      As the hadith explains the Prayer has certain conditions that must be met before it is considered complete.  One of these conditions is to perform each part of the Prayer with calmness, tranquility, and enough time.  The Prayer must not be rushed or performed hastily with no time or tranquility in each part. 

The Muslim should ponder upon this great worship and pray with the utmost level of reverence and respect.  Let’s consider ourselves how we prepare before we go in the presence of a king or a president; how we dress up, how we are on our best behavior, then what about the attending the King of kings, the Almighty God.


 

5) Carelessness about Paying Attention during the Prayer (khushoo’):

God -the Exalted- pays attention to the slave during the prayer as long he pays attention to his Lord, but as soon as the slave looks away, God the Exalted- looks away too.

The Muslim should stop worldly thoughts during the prayer and try to focus on the Great deed he is involved in.  Indeed, the Five Daily Prayers have such great reward that had the Muslim fully understood it, he would have abandoned everything else!  God described the true believers as those who do not let worldly matters distract them from the Prayer:

قال الله عز وجل: { رِجَالٌ لَا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ يَخَافُونَ يَوْمًا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِيهِ الْقُلُوبُ وَالْأَبْصَارُ * لِيَجْزِيَهُمُ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنَ مَا عَمِلُوا وَيَزِيدَهُمْ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ وَاللَّهُ يَرْزُقُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ}، سورة النور 37-38.   ـ

       God -the Exalted- says: { Men whom neither trade nor business diverts from the remembrance of God, nor from performance of the Prayer, nor from giving of Zakah. They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be overturned (i.e., the Day of Judgment).     

38. That God may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His grace.  And God provides without measure to whom He wills} (Surah 34, verses 37-38).

Indeed, the Five Daily Prayers are a time-out from our busy worlds, and a chance to remember the real world or the Hereafter.  When we get too involved in worldly affairs and start getting preoccupied with the complexities of the worldly life, the Five Daily Prayers remind us of the world to come and bring our attention back to religion.

When we are overcome with the problems and troubles of the world, the Five Daily Prayers act as a soothing medicine that soon makes us forget those troubles and focus on more important things to come.

When we are sad, depressed and overwhelmed by the trials and tribulations of the world, the Five Daily Prayers offer us a direct means of communication with our Lord, and a chance to supplicate God to grant us relief, find us solutions for our problems and deliver us from our difficulties.

Therefore, Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- used to say to Bilal: “O Bilal, call for the Prayer, and give us comfort with it.” (Abu Dawood and Ahmad).  So the Five Daily Prayers offer an anti-dote for the anxieties, concerns, burdens and difficulties of the worldly life, and instead provide a peaceful, relaxing and blissful time with the Lord.

 

Yet despite all of that, some are careless about this great worship.  Some perform the Five Daily Prayers only because it is an obligation, with no attention, no reverence, no care, and no love.  Some may neglect the Five Daily Prayers, by delaying it, missing it, or forgetting altogether about it.  But according to the hadith, the Five Daily Prayers are either a source of comfort and reward, or a source punishment.  For those who fulfill the obligation of the prayer and perform it with devotion and reverence, the Prayer is a source of comfort and a great reward.  But for those who neglect the prayer, then it is a source of punishment, both in this world and the Hereafter.


 

 

       Then, these are some general areas where some Muslims are negligent and careless about the Prayer.  The Muslim must pay special attention to five areas: 1) Wudu’ or ablution, 2) Praying on time, 3) Understanding the great importance of the Five Daily Prayers, 4) Understanding the proper and correct manner of performing the Prayer, and 5) Praying with full attention and devotion (khushoo’) to God.  

Know that the five daily prayers are the second most important pillar of Islam and are equal to 50 prayers in reward.  Know that when the Muslim dies, the measure of his success is the Prayer, if it is complete then everything else will be easy, but if the prayer is deficient or missing, then everything is considered the same.  And God and His Messenger know best.

 

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Thankfulness and Gratefulness (Shukr)

(Keywords: Thankfulness,  Gratefulness, Gratitude, Thanksgiving, Ungratefulness, Thanklessness, Ingratitude, Blessings, favors,  Shukr,  Thanking God,  Gratefulness for God, Pride, Concept of Thankfulness)

 

  قال الله عز وجل: { وَسَنَجْزِي الشَّاكِرِينَ} آل عمران 145. ـ

    God the Exalted says: { And We shall reward the thankful} (Surah 3, verse 145).

   وَعَنْ أبي يَحْيَى صُهَيْبِ بْنِ سِنَانٍ رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: «عَجَباً لأمْرِ المُؤْمِنِ إِنَّ أَمْرَهُ كُلَّهُ لَهُ خَيْرٌ، وَلَيْسَ ذَلِكَ لأِحَدٍ إِلاَّ لِلْمُؤْمِن: إِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ سَرَّاءُ شَكَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْراً لَهُ، وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ ضَرَّاءُ صَبَرَ فَكَانَ خيْراً لَهُ» .  رواه مسلم. ـ

    Narrated Suheib Ibn Sinan -may God be pleased with him- that the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “How wonderful is the case of a believer, for there is good in every affair of his, and this is not the case with anyone else except for the believer.  When a good thing happens to him, he thanks God and that is good for him; and when a trouble befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him.”  Related by Imam Muslim.
——————-

 

Thankfulness and Gratefulness to God are great treasures for the believer.  As human creatures, we see God’s blessings in everything we have in our daily life.  We see God’s blessings in our eye-sight, in our sense of smell, in our hearing, in our hands and our feet, and in every single part of our bodies.  We see God’s blessings in our food, in our drink, in our house, in our cars, in our clothes.  We see God’s blessings in our health, in our comfort, in our security, in our money, in our provision, in our children, and in Everything.

        Imagine losing the eyes for one day, even one hour, how would we feel?  Imagine losing food for one meal, how would we feel?  Imagine getting sick for one hour, how would we feel?  Imagine losing home for one day, how would we feel?   Indeed, we would feel very sad and regret what we lost.

        We tend to take these blessings for granted and forget to thank God for them.  Many are just happy to have good health, comfortable living, and just forget about feeling grateful and thank God.  Therefore, God said:

  قال الله عز وجل: { وَقَلِيلٌ مِنْ عِبَادِيَ الشَّكُورُ } سبأ 13. ـ

       God -the Exalted- also says: {But few of My slaves are thankful} (Chapter 34, verse 13).

As Muslims we must thank God for every single blessing that He bestowed upon us.  Every single blessing needs thanking God for it.  We must realize that these blessings are not due to our effort and hard work, rather they are a grant by God, and so they need to be thanked for.  Take for example, our health.  We tend to forget we are healthy until we get sick.  Only then do we realize the value of health.  And only then do we return to God and ask for health.

The question then is: why should we not thank God for health when we are healthy and well.  Why do we have to wait until we lose it and then think of the blessing we have lost!


 

     It is in human nature that s/he is ungrateful or thankless, as mentioned in the coming verse.  Man likes to enjoy blessings, but forgets about thanking God for them, thus being ungrateful.  And when man is faced with a problem, his self immediately leads him to ungrateful thoughts and he starts complaining and protesting, forgetting all the other blessings he still enjoys.  God the Exalted says in Qur’an:

    قال الله عز وجل: { إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لِرَبِّهِ لَكَنُودٌ * وَإِنَّهُ عَلَى ذَلِكَ لَشَهِيدٌ * وَإِنَّهُ لِحُبِّ الْخَيْرِ لَشَدِيدٌ} سورة العاديات 6-8. ـ

    God -the Exalted- says: { Verily, man to his Lord is ungrateful.  And verily to that he is a witness.  And verily he is intense in the love of wealth} (Surah 100, verses 6-8).

      It is in human nature that he likes to enjoy blessings or good things, but forgets about thanking God; the One Who granted him all those things.

It is in human nature that when he is given 100 good things and then denied 1 time, he only remembers the one time he is denied while forgetting the other 99 times he is given!

It is in man’s nature that when he is given good things for 100 years and then denied 1 year, he is thankless and ungrateful and only remembers the 1 year while forgetting the other 99 good years!

And it is in human’s nature that when he gets sick for a short while, he is thankless and ungrateful while forgetting that he was healthy most of the time.

 

People are like that because they love good things excessively.  They only want good things and never want any bad thing.  But this life is a test to see how people act and react in the time of ease and difficulty, in the time of health and sickness, and in the time of security and fear.  Then on the Day of Judgment, people would be either rewarded or punished based on their action; whether they believed or disbelieved, whether they showed gratitude and thanked God for His blessings or were ungrateful and were thankless, and whether they were patient or impatient.


 

   There are two groups of people with regards to Gratefulness and thankfulness: 1) Ungrateful and thankless, and 2) Grateful and thankful to God.

The first group are ungrateful, thankless and do not admit God’s favors upon them.  When they have blessings, they just enjoy them with no care about thanking God.  But when they don’t have a blessing or lose the blessing, they complain, protest, and blame others.  And that leads them to impatience, dissatisfaction, and finally to pride and denial.

While the second group are grateful and are always thankful even when times are hard.  When they lose a blessing, they take time to think about the problem.  They think about the many other blessings they have, and rationalize their loss.  Maybe they lost the blessing because of their sins, or maybe it was a test, or maybe it is better in the long run.

It is related that Ikrimah said: “No calamity (problem) afflicts a slave except as a result of a sin, which God wouldn’t have forgiven him or raised him except with this problem.”  So in the face of difficulties, the believers show patience and thank God instead!  And that leads to acceptance of destiny (Qadr) and the pleasure of God -the Exalted, so God grants them much more.

When the first group get sick, they feel ungrateful and impatient.  They start complaining: ‘Why and how did this happen to me?’ They forget all the good times when they enjoyed good health.  They forget that other people have much worse diseases than them.  They forget their own bad deeds, and only remember their current discomfort.  

While the other grateful group think about it and have patience.  Maybe this sickness is test, or maybe it was a result of their sins, or maybe God wanted to raise their level.  Narrated Jabir Ibn Abdul-God -may God be pleased with them- that he heard the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- say: “No Muslim male or female, or believer (Mu’min) male or female get sick except God the Almighty will expiate and pardon his sins .” (Ahmad).  They remember the many times they were healthy, and they remember the other very sick people.  So they pray God to cure them, and Thank Him it wasn’t worse than that.

—-

So we see that for every problem or difficulty, a Muslim can either be angry and ungrateful, or accepts it and be thankful to God for all of His blessings.  The first one has no reward; rather he has committed a sin and a major heart sin at that.  While the second one gets rewarded many-fold and attains a high rank.  And if his patience and thanking God are sincere, then God -the Exalted- will take away his adversity and replace it with abundance and plenty by His Grace and bounty.


 

      Some rewards and benefits of thankfulness include:

   1) Keeping and Multiplying the Blessing:

            Thanking God for the blessing makes that blessing continue.  Not only that, but thanking God for it makes the blessing increase.  Like God -the Exalted- mentioned in the Qur’an:

قال الله عز وجل: { وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِنْ كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ} إبراهيم 7. ـ

      God -the Exalted- also says: {And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: “If you thank Me, I will surely increase you (in favor); but if you are thankless, verily, My punishment is indeed severe”} (surah 14, verse 7).

Thus, while thanking God for the blessing leads to its continuity and increase, ungratefulness and not thanking God for the blessing exposes it to decrease and loss as mentioned in the verse above.

  2) The Thankful Believers are among the First to Enter Paradise: 

        One of the great rewards of thanking God during times of plenty and adversity is that the person would be among the first group to enter Paradise, as mentioned in the following hadith:

    وعن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما عن رسول الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « أول من يدعى إلى الجنة يوم القيامة الذين يحمدون الله في السراء والضراء». رواه الحاكم. ـ

        Narrated Ibn Abbas -may God be pleased with them- that the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “The First group of people to be called to Paradise on the Day of Judgment are those who always thank God; during ease and during hardship.”  Related by Al-Hakim.


 

  One very important fact about thanking is that we should thank by both speech and action.  So we thank God by saying: Praise be to God (Al-hamdu lillah), and by feeling grateful to God in our hearts. 

But action is important too, and we thank God in our actions by avoiding using these blessings in wrong ways or in forbidden things.  If God has given us eyes, then we thank Him for it, and avoid looking at forbidden things like shameless photos.  If God has given us hearing, then we thank Him for it and avoid listening to forbidden things like backbiting.  If God has given us wealth, then we thank Him and avoid spending it in forbidden ways.  And if we did wrong then we immediately repent and promise God not to do it again.  This is the only way for these blessings to continue, that is thanking God for these blessings by speech and action.


 

Finally, we would never ever be able to thank God -the Exalted- fully, but at least we must thank Him as much as we can.  Thanking God only when we get something we like is not true thanking!  We must thank God all the time, when we get the thing we like and when we don’t!   Those who thank God all the time, when they are happy and when they are sad, will have a great reward.  On the Day of Judgment: They will be called by name to enter Paradise first!

So we must learn to thank God all the time, we should feel grateful to God for the many blessings he bestowed upon us.  And when we go to sleep at night, we should try to think of few blessings that God bestowed upon us on that day, and thank Him for it.

It is related that Prophet Moses asked God the Exalted: ‘My God, I can’t thank You fully because my first thanking needs another thanking!’  God the Almighty said: ‘O Moses, your knowledge that you could never thank Me fully but you are trying is thanking enough.’


 

Then, Gratefulness and thanking God for His blessings are obligatory for every believer.  Gratefulness and thankfulness to God have a great reward and are characteristics of the successful ones in this life and the Hereafter.  On the other hand, ungratefulness and thanklessness have severe punishment and are characteristics of the people of loss in both lives.  Thus, we should stop our ungrateful selves from complaining and blaming, and instead should take time to think about the problem or difficulty.  When facing a problem or a calamity, we should suppress the immediate urge to feel ungrateful and angry, rather we should think of the other blessings God has bestowed upon us, we should think of the previous times when God granted us plenty, and we should think that this problem could have been much worse as with some other people. Then we should accept it and thank God -the Exalted- in every condition.

We should strive to be among the thankful, and the praisers who thank God all the time, during easy times and during hard times.  We should thank God to get His great reward, to prolong the blessing, and to get even more!  And God knows best.

=========================

Forgiveness: A Divine Character !

(Keywords: Forgiveness, Pardoning others, forgiving others, forbearance, Showing Kindness, Showing Mercy, Good Morals, Overlooking others’ faults, forgiving others’ mistakes, Concept of Forgiveness)

 

قال الله عز وجل: { إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ} البقرة 173. ـ

       God the Exalted- says: { Truly, God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful} (surah 2, verse 173).

————–

 

        God -the Exalted- often describes Himself as: Oft-Forgiving and Most Merciful, as stated in the verse above.  Indeed, God’s forgiveness and mercy know no bound.  God generously and continuously forgives the son of Adam even when s/he continues to be negligent, to do misdeeds, to fall into sins, and to be careless about other prohibited deeds.  But God by His Utmost Mercy and Favor, forgives the sons of Adam once they turn to Him and ask His forgiveness.

 

     So forgiveness is a Divine character and a mercy that God has bestowed upon His creatures.  As human beings favoured with a perceptive mind, we need to think about forgiveness, ponder upon it, and try to implement forgiveness ourselves in our daily lives and interactions.  Indeed, if God shows great Mercy and forgiveness toward His salves, then we as slaves of God should do that and treat others with forgiveness and mercy, too.

  In the another verse, God commands us to forgive people, and overlook their mistakes.

قال الله عز وجل:{ خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْجَاهِلِينَ} الأعراف 199. ـ

God the Exalted says: { Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant} (surah 7, verse 199).


 

          There are many reasons for the high status of forgiveness, including:

  1)  Forgiveness is the basis of a good and strong relationship:

      As humans, we are not perfect and are prone to make errors and mistakes.   Therefore, we may mistreat others intentionally or unintentionally, we may offend others knowingly or unknowingly, and we may hurt others consciously or unconsciously.   While we are instructed to avoid causing anybody any harm, as humans we err and may end up causing harm. 

But while the offender should feel remorse and regret for his action, we need to show forgiveness and mercy on our side.  Only then can we have a healthy relationship and a solid platform to build friendship.  Thus, forgiveness and mercy are two essential components of any good relationship.

     —

  2)  Forgiveness teaches self-control and discipline, and results in higher honor:

 

     Some people may consider forgiveness as a sign of weakness.  But far from being a weakness, forgiveness is a sign of strength and honor, as only the person who has full control of his self and ego can forgive.  The proud and arrogant person lacks the ability, power, and discipline to overlook and forgive. 

Therefore, the Prophet explained that forgiveness actually increases the person in honor, just like charity increases the blessings of the money, even if people may think the opposite, as stated in the following hadith:

    عن أبي هُريرة رضيَ اللَّهُ عنه أَنَّ رسولَ اللَّه صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « مَا نَقَصَتْ صَدَقَةٌ مِنْ مَالٍ، وَمَا زَادَ اللَّهُ عَبْداً بِعَفْوٍ إِلاَّ عِزّاً، وَمَا تَوَاضَعَ أَحَدٌ للَّهِ إِلاَّ رَفَعَهُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وجلَّ» .  رواه مسلم والترمذي . ـ

      Narrated Abu Hurairah -may God be pleased with him- that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

Charity does not decreases wealth.  God increases the slave for a forgiveness but in honor.  And no one behaves modestly for the sake God, except God -the Almighty- would raise him.”  Related by Imam Muslim and Al-Tirmidhi.


 

Thus, Forgiveness is a sign of strength, honor and generosity, as explained by the Companion and Scholar Abu Ad-Darda’:

   وسئل أبو الدرداء رضي اللَّه عنه: عن أعز الناس؟ قال: الذي يعفو إذا قدر، فاعفوا يعزكم الله.

    Abu Ad-Darda’ -may God be pleased with him- was asked: “Who is the most honorable among people?”  He replied: “The one who forgives when he is able to punish. So forgive others, God would make you honorable.”


 

3)  Forgiveness purifies the heart of ill-feelings like malice and vengeance:

 

        Furthermore, forgiveness relieves the heart of much vexation and heartache that can cause sadness, anxiety, hatred, malice and other ill-feelings.  Moreover, forgiveness can result in the other party choosing the same path and asking for reconciliation, which puts an end to disputes and enmity. 

The Almighty God gave us an example of that: the story of Abu Sufyan Ibn Herb.

     Abu Sufyan Ibn Herb was the leader of Qureish and had taken every opportunity to fight against Prophet Muhammad and cause him harm.  But during the Conquest of Makkah, the Prophet showed him great mercy and forgave him.  After that, Abu Sufyan became one of his followers and one of his staunchest allies.  And about this forgiveness, God states:

    قال الله سبحانه وتعالى {وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ} فصلت 34.  

     God -the Exalted- says: {The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better, and thereupon he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend} (Surah 41, verse 34).


 

4)  Forgiveness has a great reward:

God has promised great reward for those who forgive others.  Whoever forgives people, God will forgive him.   Whoever pardons people, God will pardon him.  And whoever shows mercy to others, the Almighty God will show him mercy, as mentioned in the following hadith:

 

    عن عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص رضي الله عنهما أنَّ رسولَ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « الرَّاحِمُونَ يَرْحَمُهُمُ الرَّحْمَنُ، ارْحَمُوا مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ» .  رواه أبو داود والترمذي.

     Narrated Abdul-Allah Ibn Amr Ibn ‘Aas -may God be pleased with them- that the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

The merciful ones will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful.  Be merciful to those on earth, the One in heaven will be merciful to you.”  Related by Abu Dawood and Al-Tirmidhi.

Thus, whoever overlooks people’s mistakes, God will overlook his mistakes.  Whoever pardons others, God will pardon him.  Whoever accepts people’s excuses, God will accept his excuse.  And whoever forgives others, God will forgive him. 

 


 

5)  Forgiveness has a special reward on the Day of Judgment: 

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: « إِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ الْقِيَامَةِ أَمَرَ اللَّهُ مُنَادِيًا يُنَادِي: أَلَا لِيَقُمْ مَنْ كَانَ لَهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ أَجْرٌ، فَلَا يَقُومُ إِلَّا مَنْ عَفَا فِي الدُّنْيَا، فَذَلِكَ قَوْلُهُ تعالى {فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ} (الشورى 40) ». أخرجه ابن مردويه، والبيهقي عن أنس في شعب الإيمان.   

    Narated Ibn Abbas -may God be pleased with them- that the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

When it is the Day of Judgment, God would command an angel to proclaim: ‘Let those who have any reward due with God rise.’  None would rise except those who forgave others in the world.  And that is the interpretation of the Verse: { But whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with God} (Surah 42, verse 40).”  Related by Ibn Merdaweih and Al-Beihaqi.

Thus, whoever forgives others in this life, will be called out to enter Paradise among the first group to enter Paradise, and will be distinguished with great reward on that most horrific and scary Day when people are experiencing varying levels of anxiety and distress.


Thus, Forgiveness is constantly needed in our daily interactions and everyday lives. 

Forgiveness is needed in many situations: with family members, with friends, in work, as well as in many other situations.

   A) Forgiveness toward Family Members. 

       The best example is the husband and his wife.  The couple can have many disputes and conflicts if they don’t learn to forgive each other.  A husband wishes for a perfect match, and a wife wishes for a perfect match, but that’s rarely the case as both are imperfect.  However, they need to learn this fact and need to learn to forgive each other.  The husband and his wife must learn to overlook the other’s shortcomings and forgive his or her mistakes and presumed injustices.  The same applies to other family members; they need to show forgiveness toward each other, and find excuses for each other’s mistakes.  It is through forgiveness and mercy that relationships are fostered and strengthened.

B) Forgiveness toward Friends. 

         Relationship with friends can be close at times, but it can be distant and difficult at other times.  They might get angry at something the friend said or did and so decide not to talk to them again.  However, we should show forgiveness toward our friends and overlook their mistakes.  We should try to find excuses for their mistakes and then forgive them.  Indeed, it is through forgiveness and mercy that friendship are fostered and strengthened.

C) Forgiveness in work. 

      We may find somebody less accomplished or weaker or less bright in work.  A boss would like to fire that man, while others will tend to condemn such a person.  However, if he is doing what he can then we need to forgive that person and realize that not all people are equal.  Likewise, when we see the poor, we shouldn’t condemn them and think the worst of them.  Rather we should forgive them, be kind to them and show them mercy.  We should remember that whoever forgives others, God will forgive him.  Maybe one day we would need that forgiveness when we may make a mistake.  As we would like others to understand our situation and pardon us, others expect that of us as well.


 

    Know that when we choose forgiveness and mercy as a way of life and as a character to implement in our houses, neighborhood, communities, in work, with family members, with friends and co-workers, and with society in general, then the community will be strong and loving, and the individual would be happy and lead a peaceful happy life.

Then, We should choose forgiveness and mercy as a way of life, and as a character to implement in all of our dealings.  We should learn to forgive people, accept their excuses and realize that no human is perfect.  We should realize that those who forgive people, will be forgiven by the Most Forgiving God, and that those who find excuses for people’s weakness and forgive them, will be helped by the Most Perfect God.  Finally, we must realize that happiness and peace lie in forgiveness, strong and healthy relationships start with forgiveness, and that forgiveness has a great reward; indeed God and His Messenger commanded us with forgiveness for these reasons.  And God knows best.

 

=================================================

 

 

“And They Repel Evil With Good”

(Keywords: Forgiveness, Pardoning others, forgiving others, forbearance, Showing Kindness, Showing Mercy, Good Morals, Overlooking others’ faults, forgiving others’ mistakes, Concept of Forgiveness)

 

       قال الله عز وجل: { وَالَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا ابْتِغَاءَ وَجْهِ رَبِّهِمْ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنْفَقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً وَيَدْرَءُونَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ السَّيِّئَةَ أُولَئِكَ لَهُمْ عُقْبَى الدَّارِ (22) جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ يَدْخُلُونَهَا وَمَنْ صَلَحَ مِنْ آَبَائِهِمْ وَأَزْوَاجِهِمْ وَذُرِّيَّاتِهِمْ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ يَدْخُلُونَ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ كُلِّ بَابٍ (23) سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِمَا صَبَرْتُمْ فَنِعْمَ عُقْبَى الدَّارِ} الرعد 22-24.

    God the Exalted- says: {

22. And those who are patient, seeking the countenance of their Lord, and establish prayer and spend from what We have provided for them secretly and publicly,

 and repel evil with good, for such there will the good consequence of [this] home.

23. Gardens of perpetual residence; in which they will enter with whoever were righteous among their fathers, their spouses and their descendants. And the angels will enter upon them from every gate, [saying],

24. “Peace be upon you for what you patiently endured. And excellent indeed is the final home!” } (Surah 13, verse 22-24).


 

Interpretation of the Verse:

 

   قال ابن كثير في تفسير الآية: (أي يدفعون القبيح بالحسن، فإذا آذاهم أحد قابلوه بالجميل صبرا واحتمالا وصفحا وعفوا).  ـ

Ibn Katheer said: “ ‘Repel evil with good’ means they fend off evil with good conduct.  If anybody caused them harms, they respond with kindness out of patience, forbearing, pardon, and forgiveness.

وعن الحسن في قوله تعالى {وَيَدْرَءُونَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ السَّيِّئَةَ} الرعد 22، قال: ( إذا حُرِمُوا أَعطوا، وإذا ظُلِمُوا عَفَوْا، وإذا قُطِعُوا وصلوا).  ـ

   Al-Hasan said: “ ‘Repel evil with good’ means: When they are denied, they give. When they are treated unjustly, they forgive. And when their relations are severed, they maintain it.”

      وقال ابن زيد: ( يدفعون الشر بالخير، لا يكافئون الشر بالشر، ولكن يدفعونه بالخير).  ـ

    Ibn Zaid said: “‘Repel evil with good’ means: They ward off the evil act with a good act; they don’t repay the evil act with an evil act, rather they ward it off with a good act.”

وعن سعيد بن جبير، قال: (“ويدرؤون”: يعني يدفعون، “بالحسنة السيئة”: يعني يردون معروفاً على من يسيء إليه، “أولئك لهم عقبى الدار”: يعني دار الجنة).  ـ

Sa’eed Ibn Jubair said: “ Repel evil with good: means they repay those who mistreat them with a good act.  For such there will the good consequence of [this] home: means the dwelling of Paradise.”


 

Thus, one of the characteristics of the People of Paradise is that they repel evil with good.  When someone treats the true believer with a bad word, then he only responds with a good word.  So not only does he show forgiveness and pardons the offender, he goes one step further and shows his high morals by overlooking the negative remark and instead responding with a good word and polite manner.  Therefore, God has promised them perpetual or eternal gardens in Paradise.

 

=========================

What is Taqwa?

(Keywords: Taqwa or Piety, Meaning of Taqwa, Meaning of Piety, Concept of Piety, Concept of Taqwa, Righteousness, God-fearing, Fear of God, Obedience to God)

 

     قال الله تعالى: { يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ} الحجرات 13. ـ

   قال القرطبي: ( زجرهم عن التفاخر بالأنساب، والتكاثر بالأموال، والازدراء بالفقراء، فإن المدار على التقوى. أي الجميع من آدم وحواء، إنما الفضل بالتقوى… والتقوى معناه مراعاة حدود الله تعالى أمرا ونهيا، والاتصاف بما أمرك أن تتصف به، والتنزه عما نهاك عنه). ـ

 

God, the Exalted, says: { O mankind, indeed We have created you from a male and a female [Adam and Eve], and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another.  Verily, the most honorable of you in the sight of God is the most pious of you. Verily, God is All-Knowing, All-Aware} (Surah 49, verse 13).

The Scholar Al-Qurtubi said concerning this verse: “The Almighty God forbade people to boast of their lineage, of their wealth, or of having contempt for the poor, because the real point of distinction between them is piety (Taqwa).  That is, all humans are the descendants of Adam and Eve, but they are distinguished from one another by piety (Taqwa)…   Piety (Taqwa) means to abide by the commandments of God by doing what He has ordered and refraining from What He has forbidden, and striving to have the good characteristics which God commanded and get rid of the bad characteristics which God prohibited.”

——

 

    عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال: ( سُئِلَ رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم عَنْ أكْثَرِ ما يُدْخِلُ النَّاسَ الجَنَّةَ، فقال: « تَقْوَى اللهِ وحُسْنُ الخُلُق»، وسُئِلَ عنْ أَكْثَرِ ما يُدْخِلُ النَّاسَ النَّارَ، فقال: « الفَمُ والفَرْجُ») .  رواه الترمذي وابن حبان والبيهقي. ـ

  قال الطيبي: ( قوله “تقوى الله”: إشارة إلى حسن المعاملة مع الخالق؛ بأن يأتي جميع ما أمره به وينتهي عن ما نهى عنه، “وحسن الخُلُق”: إشارة إلى حسن المعاملة مع الخلق وهاتان الخصلتان موجبتان لدخول الجنة، ونقيضهما لدخول النار فأوقع الفم والفرج مقابلا لهما). ـ

        Narrated Abu Hurairah -may God be pleased with him- said: “The Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- was asked about that which most often leads people to Paradise, he replied: ‘Piety (Taqwa) and good moral character.’  And he was asked about that which most often leads people to Hell-fire, he replied: ‘The tongue and the private parts.’ ”  Related by Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Hibban, and Al-Beihaqi.

     Al-Tayyibi said: “ Piety (Taqwa): refers to good behavior toward the Creator, by obeying all of His commands and refraining from all things He has forbidden. While ‘good moral character’ refers to good behavior toward the creatures.  And these two characteristics obligate Paradise, while their counterparts, i.e. the evil use of the mouth and private parts, obligate Hell-Fire.”


 

        God the Exalted states in the verse above that the Most Honorable people in His sight are the Most Pious; and not the richest and the noblest as is the tradition and belief with people.  Rather, it is the level of piety (Taqwa) and righteousness that distinguishes between people before God.  Their level of piety is what makes them reach the highest ranks with their Lord.  Likewise, Prophet Muhammad was asked about the good deed that most often leads people to Paradise, and he replied that it is: Taqwa (piety). 

Then what is Taqwa?

 

Taqwa (Piety) in Arabic language comes from the word waqa وَقَى, which means to guard against; to protect; to preserve; to safeguard, to shield, to take shelter, and to keep.

So Taqwa means: to fear God and avoid His displeasure, by obeying His commands and keeping away from things He has forbidden (sins).

The simple meaning of Taqwa (Piety) can be summarized in two things:

1) Fulfilling obligatory deeds (wajibat): like the five daily prayers, giving alms, fasting Ramadan, Hajj, dutifulness to parents, respecting the neighbor, and the like.  And

2) Avoiding all sins: like lying, backbiting, stealing, cheating, harming others, adultery, and other sins.


 

              A major part of the obedience of God involves following His commands and avoiding sins.  True obedience to God is attained when all of His commands are followed and all sins are avoided – this level is called Piety (Taqwa), as mentioned in the following verse:  

     قال الله تعالى: {يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ} آل عمران 102. ـ

  قال عبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه: ( أن يُطاع فلا يُعْصَى، وأن يُذْكَر فلا يُنْسَى، وأن يُشْكَر فلا يُكْفَر). ـ

     God the Exalted says: {O you who believe, fear God as is His due, and die not except as (true) Muslims} (Surah 3, verse 102).

Abdul-Allah Ibn Mas’ood -may God be pleased with him- said concerning this verse: “ ‘Fear God as His due’: That He should be obeyed and not disobeyed, remembered all the time and not forgotten, and thanked and not shown ungratefulness.”

      Thus, the more the slave obeys God and strives his best to follow His commands, the more pious that person is.  The more the slave is observant of God’s rules, the higher his level of piety.  The more the believer fears God’s punishment, hopes for His reward and acts upon that, the more righteous and pious he is.  And the more righteous and pious the slave is, the higher his rank and degree with God.  After Faith (Iman) and Ihsan, Taqwa (Piety) has the greatest level in Islam.  Through Taqwa (piety), the Muslim attains the great levels in Paradise.


 

         But adhering to God’s commands and abstaining from sins are not so simple and easy for the son of Adam because of two formidable opponents.  The two opponents include Satan and the evil-inclined Self.  Satan continues to whisper to the son of Adam and tries to mislead him until the son of Adam gives in and disobeys God. And the evil-inclined Self adorns for the son of Adam sins and promises him forbidden pleasures until he falls and commits a sin.

    However,  God has clearly revealed His commands and mentioned the reward for doing them, and has clearly explained sins and traits to avoid and has stated their punishment both in this life and in Hell-Fire.  Thus, the son of Adam has been warned time and time again to follow God’s commands and avoid things He has forbidden. 

     The believer who has piety fully understands and realizes the implications and consequences of following God’s command or disobeying Him.  The pious slave fears God and is apprehensive of His severe Punishment in this life and torment in the afterlife, so he avoids sins even if both Satan and the Self call him to commit them.  At the same time, the pious slave fully understands the great reward of obeying God’s commands and the high rank he can attain by doing so, so the slave with piety strives his best to follow every command of God and fulfill it as best as he can.

    It is this sense of adherence to God’s commands and the self struggle against sins and bad deeds that constitutes Piety.   Piety can be defined: first by the slave’s belief and awareness of God’s great reward and severe punishment; and second by how closely the slave follows through his conviction with action and good deeds.  As mentioned above, not every one is able to achieve this feat.  Thus,  people have different levels of piety, and their varying levels of piety accord them varying ranks with God.  The believers who strive the most and have the highest level of piety, enjoy the highest rank with God.     


 

  Among the companions of Prophet Muhammad (Sahabah), many were noted for their high levels of Taqwa or piety.  Indeed, the sahabah were different in their status due to their levels of Taqwa.  Abu-bakr Al-siddeeq and Omar Ibn Al-Khattab had the greatest respect for the obligations and the sins.  They did their utmost to perform those wajibat and avoid sins, and so they were the best of the nation of Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him.  Therefore, Taqwa (Piety) is the indication of the greatest worshiper with God , and it is not necessarily Nawafil (voluntary deeds).

    People generally believe that the Muslim who does the most ibadeh or voluntary deeds is the greatest worshiper.  But that is not so, rather the Muslim who performs Wajibat (obligatory deeds) and avoids sins to the best degree is the greatest worshiper according to Qur’an and hadeeth.  Ibn Abbas -may God be pleased with them- was asked: ‘Who is better: A Muslim who worships all the time but does some sins, or A Muslim who only performs wajibat but does no sins?’  Ibn Abbas replied: ‘The latter, I don’t make anything equal to avoiding sins.’


 

       Having Taqwa (Piety) by doing all wajibat (obligations) and avoiding all sins brings happiness in both lives, in this Life and in the Hereafter.  Indeed, it is mentioned in the hadeeth that if people truly have Taqwa (Piety) then it would suffice them.  That is, they would never be sad or anxious afterwards!

    قال الله تعالى: {وَمَنْ يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ مَخْرَجًا * وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ} الطلاق 2-3. ـ

  قال ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما: ( ينجيه من كل كرب في الدنيا والآخرة).   وقال أبو العالية: (مخرجا من كل شدة). ـ

 

      God the Exalted says: { And whoever has Piety to God, He will make for him a way out (of difficulty).  And He will provide for him from where he does not expect} (Surah 65, verses 2-3).

Ibn Abbas said concerning this verse: “God will deliver him from every difficulty in this world and the Hereafter.”

Abu Al-‘Aliyah said: “God will make for him a way out of every hardship.”

     Indeed, this is a glad tidings for those who have Piety (Taqwa) and strive to follow all commands of God by doing obligations (wajibat) and avoiding all sins that: they would lead a happy, content life in this world when other people feel worry and sadness, that they would be safe and secure on the Day of Judgment when other people are sweating and afraid, and that they would attain the Pleasure of God and enjoy high levels in Jannah or Paradise.

Having Taqwa (piety) by doing Wajibat and avoiding all sins is a way to solve problems.  Indeed, God mentions in the verse above that whoever has Taqwa (piety) of God, then the Almighty God would find him a way out of his difficulties, God would make things easy for him, and in addition would multiply his reward and let him enter Paradise.  


 

       But Human nature being what it is; prone to mistakes, slips, falls, and misdeeds, then having full Piety (Taqwa) is not easy to attain. 

    But we are asked to try and do our best.  The Muslim should consider the Self as an unruly horse trying to get away.  If you let the Self have its way, then it will go free and harm you on the way, but if you harness it and lead it cautiously then you may pass through safely.   

The Muslim should call the Self gently to good deeds and make himself always busy with the remembrance of God (Dhikr).  He should do his best to avoid sins and instead do something useful and permissible.  Anytime, he slips or commits a misdeed, then he should immediately feel regret and remorse, repent to God promising not to do it again, and ask His forgiveness.  Indeed, if he continues doing that, then he will be like the one who did no sins, and thus he will, by the grace of God the Exalted attain the level of Piety (Taqwa).

——

     Then, know that Taqwa (piety) can be defined as striving to follow God’s commands by doing all obligatory deeds (wajibat) and avoiding all sins, fearing His severe punishment and hoping for His great reward.  Piety is the best worship; the Muslim attains higher levels in Paradise through Piety (Taqwa) than through (voluntary deeds (Nawafil).  And know that Taqwa (Piety) is the basis for success and happiness in this life and in the Hereafter.  Indeed, if Muslims realized that fact and adhered to it, God would grant them a happy, content life in this world and high degrees in Paradise.  And God knows best.

Sharing Wealth and Giving to Others

(Keywords: Obligatory charity, Sharing with others, alms giving, generosity, Miserliness, Stinginess, Reward of actions)

 

         Following is a true story of three men who were favored with certain blessings.  Then they were tested whether they shared the blessings with a poor man.  Two of them withheld from giving to the poor and denied God’s favor, so they were punished and lost their entire wealth.  The third man gave to the poor generously, attributing the blessing to God, so he was rewarded and was blessed in his wealth.

عن أَبَي هُرَيْرَةَ رضى الله عنه أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ: «  إِنَّ ثَلاَثَةً فِي بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَبْرَصَ وَأَقْرَعَ وَأَعْمَى بَدَا لِلَّهِ أَنْ يَبْتَلِيَهُمْ، فَبَعَثَ إِلَيْهِمْ مَلَكًا. ـ

فَأَتَى الأَبْرَصَ‏،‏ فَقَالَ: أَىُّ شَىْءٍ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْكَ؟ قَالَ: لَوْنٌ حَسَنٌ وَجِلْدٌ حَسَنٌ، قَدْ قَذِرَنِي النَّاسُ‏.‏ قَالَ فَمَسَحَهُ، فَذَهَبَ عَنْهُ، فَأُعْطِيَ لَوْنًا حَسَنًا وَجِلْدًا حَسَنًا‏.‏ فَقَالَ: أَىُّ الْمَالِ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْكَ؟ قَالَ: الإِبِلُ ـ أَوْ قَالَ الْبَقَرُ هُوَ شَكَّ فِي ذَلِكَ، إِنَّ الأَبْرَصَ وَالأَقْرَعَ، قَالَ أَحَدُهُمَا الإِبِلُ، وَقَالَ الآخَرُ الْبَقَرُ ـ فَأُعْطِيَ نَاقَةً عُشَرَاءَ‏.‏ فَقَالَ: يُبَارَكُ لَكَ فِيهَا‏.‏

وَأَتَى الأَقْرَعَ، فَقَالَ: أَىُّ شَىْءٍ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْكَ؟ قَالَ: شَعَرٌ حَسَنٌ وَيَذْهَبُ عَنِّي هَذَا، قَدْ قَذِرَنِي النَّاسُ‏.‏ قَالَ فَمَسَحَهُ فَذَهَبَ، وَأُعْطِيَ شَعَرًا حَسَنًا‏.‏ قَالَ: فَأَىُّ الْمَالِ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْكَ؟ قَالَ: الْبَقَرُ‏.‏ قَالَ فَأَعْطَاهُ بَقَرَةً حَامِلاً، وَقَالَ: يُبَارَكُ لَكَ فِيهَا‏.‏

وَأَتَى الأَعْمَى، فَقَالَ: أَىُّ شَىْءٍ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْكَ؟ قَالَ: يَرُدُّ اللَّهُ إِلَىَّ بَصَرِي، فَأُبْصِرُ بِهِ النَّاسَ‏.‏ قَالَ فَمَسَحَهُ، فَرَدَّ اللَّهُ إِلَيْهِ بَصَرَهُ‏.‏ قَالَ: فَأَىُّ الْمَالِ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْكَ؟ قَالَ: الْغَنَمُ‏.‏ فَأَعْطَاهُ شَاةً وَالِدًا.   فَأُنْتِجَ هَذَانِ، وَوَلَّدَ هَذَا، فَكَانَ لِهَذَا وَادٍ مِنْ إِبِلٍ، وَلِهَذَا وَادٍ مِنْ بَقَرٍ، وَلِهَذَا وَادٍ مِنَ الْغَنَمِ‏.‏

ثُمَّ إِنَّهُ أَتَى الأَبْرَصَ فِي صُورَتِهِ وَهَيْئَتِهِ، فَقَالَ: رَجُلٌ مِسْكِينٌ، تَقَطَّعَتْ بِيَ الْحِبَالُ فِي سَفَرِي، فَلاَ بَلاَغَ الْيَوْمَ إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ ثُمَّ بِكَ، أَسْأَلُكَ بِالَّذِي أَعْطَاكَ اللَّوْنَ الْحَسَنَ وَالْجِلْدَ الْحَسَنَ وَالْمَالَ بَعِيرًا أَتَبَلَّغُ عَلَيْهِ فِي سَفَرِي‏.‏ فَقَالَ لَهُ: إِنَّ الْحُقُوقَ كَثِيرَةٌ‏.‏ فَقَالَ لَهُ: كَأَنِّي أَعْرِفُكَ، أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَبْرَصَ يَقْذَرُكَ النَّاسُ فَقِيرًا فَأَعْطَاكَ اللَّهُ؟ فَقَالَ: لَقَدْ وَرِثْتُ لِكَابِرٍ عَنْ كَابِرٍ‏.‏ فَقَالَ: إِنْ كُنْتَ كَاذِبًا فَصَيَّرَكَ اللَّهُ إِلَى مَا كُنْتَ. ـ

وَأَتَى الأَقْرَعَ فِي صُورَتِهِ وَهَيْئَتِهِ، فَقَالَ لَهُ مِثْلَ مَا قَالَ لِهَذَا، فَرَدَّ عَلَيْهِ مِثْلَ مَا رَدَّ عَلَيْهِ هَذَا، فَقَالَ: إِنْ كُنْتَ كَاذِبًا فَصَيَّرَكَ اللَّهُ إِلَى مَا كُنْتَ‏.ـ

‏ وَأَتَى الأَعْمَى فِي صُورَتِهِ، فَقَالَ: رَجُلٌ مِسْكِينٌ وَابْنُ سَبِيلٍ وَتَقَطَّعَتْ بِيَ الْحِبَالُ فِي سَفَرِي، فَلاَ بَلاَغَ الْيَوْمَ إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ، ثُمَّ بِكَ أَسْأَلُكَ بِالَّذِي رَدَّ عَلَيْكَ بَصَرَكَ شَاةً أَتَبَلَّغُ بِهَا فِي سَفَرِي‏.‏ فَقَالَ: قَدْ كُنْتُ أَعْمَى فَرَدَّ اللَّهُ بَصَرِي، وَفَقِيرًا فَقَدْ أَغْنَانِي، فَخُذْ مَا شِئْتَ، فَوَاللَّهِ لاَ أَجْهَدُكَ الْيَوْمَ بِشَىْءٍ أَخَذْتَهُ لِلَّهِ‏.‏ فَقَالَ: أَمْسِكْ مَالَكَ، فَإِنَّمَا ابْتُلِيتُمْ، فَقَدْ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْكَ وَسَخِطَ عَلَى صَاحِبَيْكَ». رواه البخاري ومسلم.ـ

True Story:

Narrated Abu Hurairah -may God be pleased with him- that he heard Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- say:

There were three men among the Children of Israel, one leper, one bald and one blind.  God wanted to test them.  He therefore, sent to them an angel.

The angel came to the leper and asked him: ‘What thing do you like most?’  He replied: ‘Good color and fine skin, for people have a strong aversion to me.’  The angel wiped him and his illness was cured, and he was given a good color and beautiful skin.  The angel asked him: ‘What kind of property do you like best?’  He replied: ‘Camels (or cows -The narrator was in doubt, for either the leper or the bald-headed man demanded camels and the other demanded cows).’  So the leper was given a pregnant she-camel, and the angel said to him: ‘May God bless you in it.’

The angel then went to the bald-headed man and said: ‘What thing do you like most?’  He said: ‘I like good hair and wish to be cured of this disease, for people have a strong aversion to me.’  The angel wiped him and his illness was cured, and he was given good hair.  The angel asked him: “What kind of property do you like best?’ He replied: ‘Cows.’  The angel gave him a pregnant cow and said: ‘May God bless you in it.’

The angel then went to the blind man and asked: ‘What thing do you like most?’  He said: ‘I like that God may restore my eyesight so that I may see people.’  The angel wiped him and God restored to him eyesight.  The angel asked him: ‘What kind of property do you like best?’  He replied: ‘Sheep.’  The angel gave him a pregnant sheep.

Afterwards, all the three pregnant animals gave birth to young ones, and multiplied and brought forth so much that the first man had a valley full of camels, the second man had a valley full of cows, and the third man had a valley full of sheep.

 

Then the angel, disguised in the shape and appearance of a leper, went to the leper and said: ‘I am a poor man, who has lost all means of livelihood while on a journey. So none will satisfy my need except God and then you. In the Name of Him Who has given you such nice color, beautiful skin and so much property, I ask you to give me a camel so that I may reach my destination.’  The man replied: ‘I have many obligations (so I cannot give you).’  The angel said: ‘I think I know you; were you not a leper to whom people had a strong aversion? Were you not a poor man, and then God gave you (all of this property)?’  He replied: ‘I rather inherited this property from my forefathers.’  The angel said: ‘If you are telling a lie, then may God return you to your former condition.’

The angel then, disguised in the shape and appearance of a bald man, went to the bald man and said to him the same as he told the first one, and the bald-headed man answered the same as the first one did. The angel said: ‘If you are telling a lie, then may God return you to your former condition.’

Then the angel, disguised in the shape of a blind man, went to the blind man and said: ‘I am a poor man and a traveler, who has lost all means of livelihood while on a journey.  I have nobody to help me except God, and after Him you.  I ask you in the Name of Him Who has given you back your eyesight to give me a sheep, so that I may reach my destination.’  The man said: ‘No doubt, I was blind and God gave me back my eyesight; I was poor and God made me rich, so take anything you wish from my property.  By God, I will not stop you from taking anything (you need) of my property which you may take for God’s sake.’  

The angel replied: ‘Keep your property, for the three of you have been tested, so God is pleased with you but displeased with your two companions.’ ”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Thus, the first two men, the leper and the bald, not only denied God’s favor and attributed it to their own, but also refused to share their wealth with the poor and needy.  The result was that God was displeased with them, and they were punished, so they lost all of those blessings and were returned to their former condition of sickness and poverty.

But the third and blind man, admitted God’s favor on him and truly thanked God for the blessing by sharing it with the poor.  Not only that, but he generously offered the poor man to take as much as he wanted.  The result was that he attained God’s pleasure so that his blessing was continued, and he was blessed in it.


 

 

   قال الله عز وجل: { الَّذِينَ يَبْخَلُونَ وَيَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبُخْلِ وَيَكْتُمُونَ مَا آَتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُهِينًا} سورة النساء 37. ـ

             God -the Exalted- says: { Those who are stingy and encourage people to be stingy, and hide what God has bestowed upon them of His bounties. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a disgraceful torment} (Surah 4, verse 37).

  قال ابن كثير في تفسيره: ( يقول تعالى ذامًّا الذين يبخلون بأموالهم أن ينفقوها فيما أمرهم الله به -من بر الوالدين، والإحسان إلى الأقارب واليتامى والمساكين، والجار ذي القربى، والجار الجُنُب، والصاحب بالجنب، وابن السبيل، وما ملكت أيمانكم من الأرقاء- ولا يدفعون حق الله فيها، ويأمرون الناس بالبخل أيضا. وقد قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “وأي داء أَدْوَأ من البخل؟”. وقال: “إياكم والشّحَ، فإنه أهلك من كان قبلكم، أمرهم بالقطيعةِ فقطعوا، وأمرهم بالفجور فَفَجَرُوا”. رواه أبو داود. ـ

وقوله { وَيَكْتُمُونَ مَا آتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ}: فالبخيل جَحُود لنعمة الله عليه لا تظهر عليه ولا تبين، لا في أكله ولا في ملبسه، ولا في إعطائه وبذله، ولهذا توعَّدهم بقوله {وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُهِينًا}، والكفر هو الستر والتغطية، فالبخيل يستر نعمة الله عليه ويكتمها ويجحدها، فهو كافر لنعم الله عليه). ـ

The Scholar Ibn Katheer said in his Exegesis: “The Almighty God chastises the stingy; those who do not spend their money on what God has obligated upon them, such as spending on the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor, the relative who is also a neighbor, the companion during travel, the needy wayfarer, and the slaves and servants. These stingy people do not give God’s share of their wealth; moreover, they ask others to be stingy as well.

Therefore, Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “What illness is more severe than miserliness!

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- also said: “Beware of stinginess for it destroyed those before you; it incited them to sever relations with their relatives so they did so, and it incited them to commit sins and they did so.” (Related by Abu Dawood)

Furthermore, These stingy people, {hide what God has bestowed upon them of His bounties}: So the miser is ungrateful for God’s blessings upon him, and the effects of these blessings do not appear on him, neither in his food, nor clothes, nor in his spending or giving to others.

Therefore, the Almighty God has promised the miserly: {And We have prepared for the disbelievers a disgraceful torment}.  Kufr or disbelief means to conceal something, and the miser conceals God’s favors upon him, covers them and denies them. So the miser is ungrateful for the blessings that God has favored him with.” End quote.

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              The Almighty God has dispraised the miserly and the stingy; those who are tight-fisted and do not share their wealth with their relatives, the poor and needy.  Indeed, that wealth is only a blessing of God upon them, and a favor that can be taken away any moment.

        The believers are urged to recognize God’s blessings upon them and be thankful to God for them.  Being thankful includes two things: First, thanking God for His blessings and recognizing His favor; and second sharing that wealth with the relatives, the poor and needy. 

     God has obligated giving away a portion of one’s wealth and money to the poor and needy.  Whoever withholds that portion and keeps it to himself, then he is described as stingy.  Such a person is promised severe consequences both in this life with decrease or loss of his wealth and in the Hereafter with severe torment.

Thus, giving to the poor and needy is an obligation, not an option.  Giving to the needy and poor is a shield that protects one’s wealth and ensures its continuity.  Sharing wealth with the relatives, the poor and needy brings about stability and more blessings.  Withholding the poor’s share of the wealth, on the other hand, brings about doom, adversity and calamity.

Indeed, as the following Hadith shows, withholding the poor’s share can result in the loss of the blessings:

عن عبد الله بن عمر رضي الله عنهما قال: قالَ رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « إنَّ للهِ أَقْوَاماً اخْتَصَّهُمْ بِالنِّعَمِ لِمَنَافِعِ العِبَادِ، يُقِرُّهُمْ فِيها ما بَذَلُوها، فَإذَا مَنَعُوها نَزَعَها مِنْهُم فَحَوَّلَها إلَى غَيْرِهِمْ» .  رواه ابن أبي الدنيا والطبراني. ـ

Narrated Abdul-Allah Ibn Omar -may Allah be pleased with them- that the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him said:

There are for God groups of people whom He favors with blessings for people’s needs. He establishes these blessings with them as long as they fulfill people’s needs. However if they withheld them from people, then He removes these blessings away from them, and gives them to other people (who would do so).”  Related by Ibn Abi Ad-Dunya and Al-Tabarani with Sahih or authentic narration.


 

             Then, the believer should always recognize and admit God’s favors on him and attribute those blessings to their real giver, God.  The believer should thank God for these blessings.  And second, the believer should pay the poor’s due of his wealth by sharing it with the poor and needy.  Thanking God for the blessing and sharing it with the poor and needy result in God’s pleasure and ensure its continuity and increase.  On the other hand, denying the favor of God, attributing the blessing to one’s own effort and fortune, and withholding it and being stingy with it result in God’s displeasure and may lead to decrease and loss.   The above true story is a proof of that.  And God knows best.

 

 

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Generosity of Prophet Muhammad

(Keywords: The Prophet’s Generosity, Kindness and Compassion, Muhammad’s Generosity, Muhammad’s Kindness and Compassion, Generosity in Islam, Kindness and Compassion in Islam, Prophet Muhammad’s Morals, Reward of Generosity)

 

   قال الله عز وجل: { وَلَسَوْفَ يُعْطِيكَ رَبُّكَ فَتَرْضَى * أَلَمْ يَجِدْكَ يَتِيمًا فَآَوَى * وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَى * وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَى * فَأَمَّا الْيَتِيمَ فَلَا تَقْهَرْ * وَأَمَّا السَّائِلَ فَلَا تَنْهَرْ * وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ} سورة الضحى 5-11. ـ

    God -the Exalted- says: { And verily your Lord will give you, and you shall be satisfied.

  1. Did He not find you (O Muhammad) an orphan and gave you refuge?
  2. And He found you lost and guided you;
  3. And He found you poor and made you self-sufficient.
  4. Then as for the orphan, do not oppress him;
  5. And as for the beggar, do not repulse him;
  6. And as for the favor of your Lord, proclaim it} (Surah 93, verses 5-11).

     قال الله عز وجل: { وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَى خُلُقٍ عَظِيم} سورة القلم 4. ـ

     Allah -the Exalted- says: {And Verily, you (O, Muhammad) are of a high moral character} (Surah 68, verse 4).

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             Almighty God enumerates to His Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad, His many blessings on him.  God reminds him that it was God Who moved Prophet Muhammad from the state of insecurity to the state of security, from the state of no parents to the state of kin’s support, from the state of no shelter to the state of shelter and home, from the state of lack of knowledge to the state of guidance, from the state of a righteous slave to the state of a Prophet and Messenger of God, from the state of lack of wealth to the state of self-sufficiency, and from the state of persecution and fear to the state of rule, stability and security.

Then God instructs His Prophet and Messenger to recognize these blessings, appreciate them, and reciprocate them with other people.  God instructs His Prophet to treat the orphan and weak with kindness and compassion, to treat the poor and needy with support and generosity, and to admit and report God’s favors upon him.

In the second verse, Almighty God describes the high Moral code of Prophet Muhammad, and how Prophet Muhammad had the best moral characteristics.  A praise from God is a praise indeed.

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                  There is a difference between having knowledge of something, and really experiencing it.  When we read the biography of Prophet Muhammad, we find that he experienced the hardships of losing his parents at a young age, he experienced the hardship of lack of food until he tied a stone over his stomach, of lack of sufficient knowledge to deal with his people’s lawlessness and worship of idols, and later the hardship of persecution and aggression toward the Divine Message God sent him with.  All of that created in the Prophet a great sense of compassion and kindness that distinguished him among all men.  Not only that, but that same great degree of mercy, kindness and great moral character endeared him to his friends and foes alike so that they became loyal followers and adherent disciples.

     Here is a very brief account of Prophet Muhammad’s early life and some of the hardships he experienced.

       Prophet Muhammad’s parents, Abdullah and Aminah, used to live in Makkah.  Both belonged to the noblest families of the tribe of Qureish.  Prophet Muhammad’s father was the youngest son of Abdul-Muttalib Ibn Hisham who was one of the most honorable chiefs of the tribe of Qureish. 

Abdul-Muttalib, Muhammad’s grandfather, was distinguished with both noble lineage and high social status.  As for his noble lineage, Abdul-Muttalib was a direct descendant of Prophet Ismael son of Prophet Abraham.  And as for his high social status, it was due in part to his re-discovery of the Well of Zamzam near the ka’bah in Makkah. 

When Prophet Abraham left Hajar and baby Ismael in the deserted valley of Makkah, they ran out of water.  So Hajar went looking for water, running seven times back and forth between the two hills of Safa and Marwa.  Baby Ismael cried for water and hit the ground with his feet.  God sent an angel and water sprang forth from that same spot baby Ismael hit the ground.  When Hajar came back and saw the water flowing from that spot, she surrounded it with stones, so it became a well.  Soon an Arab tribe joined her and started living in the valley, as mentioned in the following authentic hadith:

     عن ابْنٍ عَبَّاسٍ رضى الله عنهما قَالَ: قال النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم: «‏ يَرْحَمُ اللَّهُ أُمَّ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، لَوْ تَرَكَتْ زَمْزَمَ ـ أَوْ قَالَ لَوْ لَمْ تَغْرِفْ مِنَ الْمَاءِ ـ لَكَانَتْ عَيْنًا مَعِينًا، وَأَقْبَلَ جُرْهُمُ فَقَالُوا: أَتَأْذَنِينَ أَنْ نَنْزِلَ عِنْدَكِ؟ قَالَتْ: نَعَمْ وَلاَ حَقَّ لَكُمْ فِي الْمَاءِ‏،‏ قَالُوا: نَعَمْ»‏‏.‏  رواه البخاري. ـ

Narrated Ibn Abbas -may God be pleased with them- that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

May God have mercy on the mother of Ishmael!  If she had left the water of Zamzam (fountain) as it was, (without constructing a basin for keeping the water), (or said, “If she had not taken handfuls of its water”), it would have been a flowing stream. Jurhum (an Arab tribe) came and asked her: ‘May we settle at your dwelling?’ She said: ‘Yes, but you have no right to possess the water.’ They agreed.”  Related by Al-Bukhari.

      The opening of the Well of Zamzam was obliterated with time, though the water remained intact within.  Abdul-Muttalib Ibn Hisham, Muhammad’s grandfather, saw the location of the well in a dream.  When he woke up he re-dug it, thus gaining the privilege of providing water to people and pilgrims, and attaining social recognition.

Prophet Muhammad’s mother was Aminah daughter of Wahb Ibn Abdi Munaf.  Aminah’s father was the chief of Bani Zahrah, a clan of Qureish.  Thus, Aminah too enjoyed a noble lineage and high social status.

When the Prophet’s mother, Aminah, became pregnant with him she saw in a dream as if a light came out of her and illuminated the palaces of Al-Sham (the Levant).  Aminah told her father-in-law Abdul-Muttalib about the dream, and he concluded that his grandson was going to be someone of importance.

Aminah’s husband, Abdullah went on a business journey to Al-Sham (now Syria), but became sick on the way back and died near Al-Medinah before his son’s birth.  Abdullah Ibn Abdil-Muttalib was around 25 when he died.  When Muhammad was born, his mother and his grandfather took care of him.

   When Muhammad was near six years old, his mother Aminah took him to visit his uncles in Al-Medinah.  She took his nanny Umm Ayman with her.  On the way back, Aminah died near Al-Medinah; she was around 20 years old.  Thus, Muhammad became an orphan at age six, having lost his father before birth and his mother at six.  Muhammad’s nanny Umm Ayman then took him back to Makkah to his grandfather Abdul-Muttalib Ibn Hisham.

Since Abdullah was his youngest and most beloved son, Abdul-Muttalib took great care of his grandson and would allow him to sit with him when no one else was allowed close.  But Abdul-Muttalib died when Muhammad was eight years old.  Just before his death, Abdul-Muttalib asked his son Abu Talib and Muhammad’s uncle to take care of him.

Abu Talib had six children and wasn’t wealthy, but he gave a great example of altruism in taking care of his nephew, Muhammad.  First, Abu Talib used to take special care of young Muhammad until he grew up.  And second Abu Talib always supported Muhammad and protected him when Qureish tried to stop his message and did everything in its power to harm him and his followers, even though he didn’t embrace Islam.

When Prophet Muhammad was around twenty-four years old, Khadeejah Ibn Khuwailid, a rich lady from Qureish who enjoyed both high lineage and social status, heard of Muhammad’s honesty and integrity and decided to send him to Al-Sham on a business journey.  Khadeejah, who was around forty, sent with him her male servant, Mayserah.  They came back with double the profit, and Khadeejah who was a much sought-after rich lady was impressed with him. Her servant Mayserah confirmed her conviction by describing the high noble character of Muhammad.  She then sent to him asking what he thought of marriage, to which Muhammad agreed and both were married.

Muhammd and Khadeejah had six children, 3 sons and 3 daughters (Al-Qasim, Al-Tahir, Al-Tayyeb, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthoom, and Fatimah).  The three sons died at a young age, and all daughters died in their twenties during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad, except for Fatimah who died six months after his death.  Khadeejah proved to be the perfect ideal wife, providing moral, emotional, and financial support.  She always stood with her husband, even when his people later opposed and persecuted him.

When Muhammad was forty years old, he saw Angel Gabriel in his original form, filling the horizon with his 600 wings for the first time.  Muhammad was overcome with dread and rushed home asking his wife to wrap him in warm clothes.  After he calmed down, she asked him what happened.  When he told her about the angel, she took him to her cousin, Waraqah Ibn Nofal who had knowledge of the Scriptures. Waraqah Ibn Nofal asked Muhammad to describe what he saw, and when he did, Waraqah told them that was the same angel that came to Prophet Moses, and that Muhammad was the promised next and last Prophet.  Once Khadeejah realized the truth of the Divine message that came to Prophet Muhammad, she was the first one of this nation to embrace Islam after her husband, and the first to encourage and support her husband.

After Prophet Muhammad started receiving the Divine Message from God through Angel Gabriel, the Prophet was instructed to spread the message of Islam among people.  The tribe of Qureish were pagans and used to worship idols of stones, wood and trees that they carved and named.  So when Prophet Muhammad called them to worship One God, they rejected his call.  But little by little, many tribesmen and women started embracing Islam recognizing its true message, and rejected worshipping idols.

But the pagan chiefs of Qureish started a campaign against the Muslims and started persecuting anyone who accepted Islam.  They harmed the Prophet and his followers with every means and at every opportunity.  Finally, they boycotted the Muslims and banned selling or distributing any food to them.  The boycott lasted for three years, and the Muslims didn’t have any food to eat so they started eating tree leaves and grass to stay alive.  At the end of the three years, the boycott was ended, but Abu Talib became sick and died.  Soon after, Khadeejah died too.  Three years later, Prophet Muhammad migrated to Al-Medinah where he enjoyed some level of security and self-sufficiency.

Then God reminds Prophet Muhammad of His favor upon him when He moved him from a state of insecurity to a state of security, from a state of lack of wealth and food to a state of self-sufficiency, and from a state of lack of knowledge to a state of guidance and prophet-hood.

Thus, after learning from these hard experiences, Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- was the best of people in moral character, as stated by his followers and foes.  Prophet Muhammad was the most generous of people, the kindest, the most merciful, the most compassionate, the most forbearing, and the most patient of people.

Here are some instances that show Prophet Muhammad’s Generosity:

1)

 ‏    عَن ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رضي اللَّه عنهما ‏قَالَ: ( كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَجْوَدَ النَّاسِ، وَكَانَ أَجْوَدُ مَا يَكُونُ فِي رَمَضَانَ حِينَ يَلْقَاهُ ‏جِبْرِيلُ، وَكَانَ يَلْقَاهُ فِي كُلِّ لَيْلَةٍ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ فَيُدَارِسُهُ الْقُرْآنَ، فَلَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ ‏صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَجْوَدُ بِالْخَيْرِ مِنْ الرِّيحِ الْمُرْسَلَةِ). ‏رواه البخاري.  ‏

Narrated Ibn Abbas -may God be pleased with them- said:Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- was the most generous of all people.  And he used to become more generous in Ramadan when Angel Gabriel met him. Angel Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Qur’an with him.  The Messenger of God then used to be more generous than the fast wind.”  Related by Al-Bukhari.

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 2)

    عن أَنسٍ رضي اللَّه عنه قال: ( ما سُئِلَ رسُولُ اللَّه صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم عَلَى الإِسْلامِ شَيئاً إِلا أَعْطاه، وَلَقَدَ جَاءَه رَجُلٌ فَأَعطَاه غَنَماً بَينَ جَبَلَينِ، فَرَجَعَ إِلى قَومِهِ فَقَالَ: يَا قَوْمِ أَسْلِمُوا فَإِنَّ محمَّداً يُعْطِي عَطَاءَ مَنْ لا يَخْشَى الفَقْرَ.  وَإِنْ كَانَ الرَّجُلُ لَيُسْلِمُ مَا يُرِيدُ إِلاَّ الدُّنْيَا، فَمَا يَلْبَثُ إِلاَّ يَسِيراً حَتَّى يَكُونَ الإِسْلامُ أَحَبَّ إِلَيه منَ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا عَلَيْهَا) .  رواه مسلم. ـ

   Narrated Anas -may God be pleased with him- said: “The Messenger of God, Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him, never withheld anything he was asked for the sake of Islam.

And there came to him a man, so Prophet Muhammad gave him a large flock (of sheep and goats) spread between two mountains.  The man went back to his people and said: ‘O My people, embrace Islam, for Muhammad gives so much charity as if he has no fear of want.’  Indeed, the man would embrace Islam for the sake of worldly possession, but soon afterwards Islam would become dearer to him than the world and everything on it.”  Related by Imam Muslim.

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 3)

  عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رضى الله عنه قَالَ: ( دَخَلْتُ مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَوَجَدَ لَبَنًا فِي قَدَحٍ فَقَالَ: «‏‏ أَبَا هِرٍّ، الْحَقْ أَهْلَ الصُّفَّةِ فَادْعُهُمْ إِلَىَّ‏»، قَالَ فَأَتَيْتُهُمْ فَدَعَوْتُهُمْ، فَأَقْبَلُوا فَاسْتَأْذَنُوا فَأُذِنَ لَهُمْ، فَدَخَلُوا‏).  ‏رواه البخاري. ـ

   Narrated Abu Huraira -may God be pleased with him- said:I entered (the house) along with Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him. There he found milk in a basin. He said: ‘O Abu Hirr, go and call the people of Suffa to me.’  I went to them and invited them. They came and asked permission to enter, and when it was given, they entered.”  Related by Al-Bukhari.

Thus,  as soon as the Prophet found any food and drink, he would share it with the poor and needy.  He would share even the little he had with the poor, and God would bless it and make it enough for all.

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 4)

       وعن سهل بن سعد رضي الله عنه: ( أن امرأة جاءت إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ببردة منسوجة فقالت‏:‏ نسجتها لأكسوكها، فأخذها النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم محتاجاً إليها، فخرج إلينا وإنها إزاره، فقال فلان: اكسونيها ما أحسنها‏!‏ فقال‏:‏ «‏ نعم»، فجلس النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فى المجلس ثم رجع فطواها ثم أرسل به إليه‏، فقال له القوم‏:‏ ما أحسنتَ‏، لبسها النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم محتاجاً إليها ثم سألته وعلمت أنه لا يرد سائلاً، فقال‏:‏ إنى والله ما سألته لألبسها وإنما سألته لتكون كفني، قال سهل‏:‏ فكانت كفنه)‏.‏  ‏رواه البخاري. ـ

 Narrated Sahl bin Sa’d -May God be pleased with him- said: “A woman brought a woven piece of cloth to the Messenger of God, Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him, and said to him: ‘I have woven this sheet with my own hands for you to wear.’  Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- accepted it as he was in need of it.  He later came out wearing it as a lower garment. Someone said: ‘How nice it is! Kindly give it to me.’ The Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him-said: ‘Very well.’  He remained in our company for some time, then he went back, folded it and sent it to the man.

The people said (to that man): ‘You did not do well. Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- wore it and he was in need of it, and you asked him for it when you are well aware that he never refuses a request.”  The man said: ‘I swear by God that I did not ask it for wearing, but I asked him for it so that it might be my shroud after my death.’  Sahl (the narrator of this Hadith) said: And in fact it was used as his shroud.”  Related by Al-Bukhari.
——

 5)

 عَنْ أَنَسٍ رضى الله عنه قَالَ: ( أُتِيَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِمَالٍ مِنَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ فَقَالَ: «‏‏ انْثُرُوهُ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ»،‏ وَكَانَ أَكْثَرَ مَالٍ أُتِيَ بِهِ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم، فَخَرَجَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ، وَلَمْ يَلْتَفِتْ إِلَيْهِ، فَلَمَّا قَضَى الصَّلاَةَ جَاءَ فَجَلَسَ إِلَيْهِ، فَمَا كَانَ يَرَى أَحَدًا إِلاَّ أَعْطَاهُ. ـ

فَمَا قَامَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَثَمَّ مِنْهَا دِرْهَمٌ)‏.  ‏رواه البخاري. ـ

          Narrated Anas -may God be pleased with him- said: “Some goods came to the Messenger of God, Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him, from Bahrain.  Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- ordered the people to spread them in the mosque, and it was the biggest amount of goods the Messenger of God had ever received.  Prophet Muhammad left for prayer and did not even look at it. After finishing the prayer, he sat by those goods and gave from those to everybody he saw.

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- did not get up till the last coin was distributed.” Related by Al-Bukhari.

——

 6)

     ذكر علي بن برهان الدين الحلبي في سيرته عن غزوة حنين: ( وعند وصوله – صلى الله عليه وسلم- إلى الجعرانة أحصي السبي فكان ستة آلاف رأس، والإبل أربعة وعشرين ألفا، والغنم أكثر من أربعين ألفا، وأربعة آلاف أوقية فضة. ـ

فأعطى للمؤلفة، أي من أسلم من أهل مكة، فكان أولهم أبا سفيان بن حرب رضي الله عنه أعطاه أربعين أوقية ومائة من الإبل، وقال: ابني يزيد، ويقال له يزيد الخير فأعطاه كذلك، وقال: ابني معاوية فأعطاه كذلك، فأخذ أبو سفيان رضي الله عنه ثلاثمائة من الإبل ومائة وعشرين أوقية من الفضة. وقال: بأبي أنا وأمي يا رسول الله، لأنت كريم في الحرب وفي السلم، أي وفي لفظ: لقد حاربتك فنعم المحارب كنت، وقد سالمتك فنعم المسالم أنت، هذا غاية الكرم جزاك الله خيرا. ـ

وأعطى حكيم بن حزام رضي الله عنه مائة من الإبل ثم سأله مائة أخرى، فأعطاه إياها، أي وفي الامتاع: وسأله حكيم بن حزام مائة من الإبل فأعطاه، ثم سأله مائة فأعطاه ثم سأله مائة فأعطاه، وقال له: «يا حكيم هذا المال خضر حلو من أخذه بسخاوة نفس بورك له فيه، ومن أخذه باشراف نفس لم يبارك له فيه، وكان كالذي يأكل ولا يشبع، واليد العليا خير من اليد السفلى» فأخذ حكيم المائة الأولى وترك ما عداها، أي وقال: يا رسول الله والذي بعثك بالحق نبيا لا أرزأ أحد بعدك شيئا حتى أفارق الدنيا.  وأعطى الأقرع بن حابس مائة من الإبل. وأعطى عيينة مثله). السيرة الحلبية. ـ

           Ali Ibn Burhanuddin Al-Halabi describes the Battle of Hunayn in his book:When Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- reached a place called Al-Ju’ranah (after the battle), the war booty was counted and it consisted of 6000 captives, 24,000 camels, more than 40,000 sheep and 4000 ounces of silver.

Prophet Muhammad distributed his share among the new Muslims of Makkah.  The first one to receive his gift was Abu Sufyan Ibn Herb, the leader of the tribe of Qureish; Prophet Muhammad gave him 40 ounces of silver and 100 camels.  Abu Sufyan said: ‘What about my son, Yazeed (also called Yazeed Al-Kheir)?’  So Prophet Muhammad gave him another 40 ounces of silver and 100 camels.  Abu Sufyan again asked: ‘What about my youngest son, Mu’awiyah?’  So Prophet Muhammad gave him another 40 ounces of silver and 100 camels.  In total, Abu Sufyan was given 300 camels and 120 ounces of silver.  On receiving that gift, Abu Sufyan exclaimed: ‘May my parents be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of God!  Indeed, you have been generous both during war and peace.’ 

And in another narration, Abu Sufyan said: ‘Indeed, I have fought you and found you a noble warrior, and I have made peace with you and found you a noble peacemaker. This is indeed the utmost of generosity, may God reward you.’

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- then gave Hakeem Ibn Hizam 100 camels.  Hakeem asked for more, so the Prophet added another 100 camels.

And it is related in the book of Al-Imta’ that Hakeem Ibn Hizam asked Prophet Muhammad for 100 camels, so the Prophet gave it to him.  Hakeem asked him for another 100 camels, so the Prophet gave it him.  Then Hakeem asked him for a third 100 camels, and the Prophet gave it to him and then said: ‘O Hakeem, this wealth is pleasant and sweet. Whoever takes it without being greedy, he will be blessed in it; but whoever takes it with avarice and greed, he will not be blessed in it. Then he is like one who goes on eating but his hunger is not satisfied. And the upper hand is better than the lower hand.’  So Hakeem only took the first 100 camels and left the rest, and said: ‘O Messenger of God, by the One Who sent you with the Truth (God), I shall never accept anything from anybody after you till I leave this world.’ [Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- then gave Al-Aqra’ Ibn Habis 100 camels, and gave ‘Uyeinah Ibn Husein another 100 camels.”  Thus related in the book Al-Seerah Al-Halabiyah.

 

 After the Conquest of Makkah, the pagans of the city of Ta’if (the tribes of Hawazin, Thaqeef, Banu Sa’d and Banu Jashm) decided to attack the Muslims in Makkah.  They appointed the chief of the tribe of Hawazin, Malik Ibn Awf, as their leader.  Prophet Muhammad heard about their advancing troops and left the city of Makkah to meet them. The two armies met at the Valley of Hunayn (south east of Makkah) and engaged in a fierce battle.  The Muslims were ambushed at first and met with an onslaught of arrows and stones, which made many run for their lives.  But the Prophet stood firm and little by little, people gathered around him and finally the Muslims were victorious.

The leader of the opposition, Malik Ibn Awf, had ordered his people to bring all their cattle and family members to the battlefield as a boost to their morale.  But when they were defeated, the Muslims captured all of that as war booty.  By the end of the battle, the Muslims had captured 6000 captives, 24,000 camels, 40,000 sheep and 4000 ounces of silver.  One fifth of that belonged to the Prophet, and the rest was to be distributed on those who participated.

The generosity of Prophet Muhammad appears in the fact that he gave away all of his share and kept nothing to himself.  His share was hundreds of cattle heads, and had he cared for worldly possessions and wealth he would have kept some of the war booty.  But Prophet Muhammad generously distributed all of his own share among the new Muslims and gave freely until they accepted Islam sincerely, marveling at his unique generosity.  As one leader of Qureish put it, that kind of generosity only indicated a true Prophet of God:

    روى الواقدي في مغازيه: ( ويقال إن صفوان طاف مع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، والنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يتصفح الغنائم إذ مر بشعب مما أفاء الله عليه، وفيه غنم وإبل ورعاؤها مملوء فأعجب صفوان، وجعل ينظر إليه فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: أعجبك يا أبا وهب هذا الشعب؟ قال: نعم، قال: هو لك وما فيه. فقال صفوان: أشهد ما طابت بهذا نفس أحد قط إلا نبي وأشهد أنك رسول الله). ـ

         Al-Waqidi mentioned in the Book of Battles: “It is related that Safwan Ibn Umayyah accompanied Prophet Muhammad while he was inspecting the war booty.  They came across a mountain pass, that was in the Prophet’s share, filled with camels and sheep and their shepherds. Safwan stared at it, admiring what he saw.  Prophet Muhammad asked him: ‘Do you like this mountain pass, O Aba Wahb?’  He replied: ‘Yes.’  Prophet Muhammad said: ‘Then it is and whatever in it is yours.’  Safwan said: ‘I bear witness that none whosoever can give this much except a true a prophet, and I bear witness that you are the true Messenger of God.’”

           Not only that, but after the booty was distributed, a group of the tribe of Hawazin embraced Islam and came to ask the Prophet to release the 6000 captives.  A wet nurse from this tribe (Haleemah Al-Sa’diyyah) had nursed Prophet Muhammad when he was young, so the tribe appealed to the Prophet’s compassion and to this foster relationship.  Again, Prophet Muhammad showed his great generosity and compassion and released all 6000 captives.

Finally, the Prophet promised amnesty to the leader of the enemy, Malik Ibn Awf, who had run away and took refuge with the tribe of Thaqeef.  Prophet Muhammad promised him one hundred camels and the return of his family who were captured during the battle.  Malik Ibn Awf embraced Islam and went to the Prophet.  Prophet Muhammad forgave him all, returned his family to him, gave him the hundred camels and re-appointed him leader of his tribe.

 

Thus, these incidents truly depict Prophet Muhammad’s great generosity, kindness and compassion.  These true stories show the highest level of altruism and sacrifice, of generosity and magnanimity where Prophet Muhammad gave preference to other people over himself, even when he was in need.  These episodes show how the Prophet of God was devoid of greed and selfishness, but instead cared about his people and their well-being.  God the Almighty knew that of him and thus praised Prophet Muhammad in Qur’an with the best description:

   قال الله عز وجل: { لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ} التوبة 128. ـ

    God the Exalted says: {Verily, there has come to you a Messenger from among yourselves (Muhammad). It grieves him what you suffer.  He is concerned over you, and to the believers he is kind and merciful} (Surah 9, verse 128).

 

        Then, we should take the Messenger of God as an ideal to emulate, and an example to follow.  Indeed, his morals and manners were of the highest level, and shown equally to all, that both friends and foes were amazed by it.  The Muslim should strive to have a semblance of that morality and should endeavor to treat others with a like attitude and manner.  The Muslim should be distinguished with the highest level of generosity, kindness, mercy, compassion, and other morals.  The reward of these acts of generosity and kindness will be tended not only in this world with peace and blessings, but also on the Day of Judgment by the Most Merciful God, and their reward will be the highest levels in Paradise.  And God knows best.

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Ramadan and Qur’an

(Keywords: Ramadan, the Month of fasting, the Blessings of Ramadan, Wisdom behind fasting, Benefits of fasting, Benefits of Ramadan, Patience and Endurance, Close relationship between Ramadan and Qur’an,  Qur’an during Ramadan)  

     قال الله عز وجل: { شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ} سورة البقرة 185.

 

God the Almighty says in Qur’an (English translation): { The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an (the Holy Book), a guidance for mankind and clear proofs of guidance and distinguishing criterion (between right and wrong).  Then whoever of you sights (the new moon of) the month (of Ramadan), let him fast the month; but whoever is ill or on a journey – then (let him fast) an equal number of other days.  God intends for you ease and never intends hardship for you, and wants for you to complete the days of the month and to glorify Him for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him} (Surah 2, verse 185).

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Fasting has been prescribed in most Divine religions as a test to distinguish the faithful from the weak, and the believers from others.  Indeed, abstaining from food and drink for a big portion of the day is not an easy feat and such an act requires great patience and endurance to accomplish.  Eating and drinking are instincts that most living organisms are equipped with to survive.  Holding back this instinct and resisting the urge to eat and drink for the sake of God is a great act of worship that only the faithful can accomplish.

In Islam, one entire month has been designated for fasting and that is the month of Ramadan or the ninth month of the Hijri (lunar) calendar.  Muslims are obligated to fast this entire month, each day from dawn to sunset, and must make up for any day missed because of travelling or sickness. 

The month of Ramadan is a blessed month and is given a great status in Islam.  Indeed, the good deeds in this month are multiplied manifolds and the reward is magnified as shown in the following authentic hadith:

       عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم  : ( كل عمل ابن آدم يضاعف: الحسنة بعشر أمثالها إلى سبعمائة ضعف. قال الله تعالى: “إلا الصوم، فإنه لي وأنا أجزي به؛ يدع شهوته وطعامه من أجلي”.  للصائم فرحتان: فرحة عند فطره، وفرحة عند لقاء ربه. ولَخَلُوف فم الصائم أطيب عند الله من ريح المسك. والصوم جُنَّة. وإذا كان يوم صوم أحدكم فلا يرفث ولا يصخب، فإن سابَّه أحد أو قاتله، فليقل: إني امرؤ صائم). متفق عليه. ـ

        Narrated Abu Hurairah -may God be pleased with him- that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

Every good deed of the son of Adam is multiplied for him: the good deed will be multiplied ten times to seven hundred time.  God the Almighty said: ‘With the exception of fasting, which is done for Me and I will reward for it accordingly, for indeed the son of Adam abandons his (sexual) desire and food for My sake.’

          The Messenger of God said: “Verily, there are two joyous moments for the fasting person: one when he breaks his fast, and the other when he will meet his Lord (in the Hereafter).  Verily, the altered smell emanating from the mouth of the fasting person is better in the sight of God than the fragrance of musk.

          Fasting is a shield (with which a servant protects himself from Hell-Fire).  And when one of you is fasting, then he should avoid shameless and loud idle talks. Thus if someone called him bad names or fought with him, then he should say: ‘I am fasting.’  ”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.


 

One of the great wisdom of this month is spiritual training and exercise.  The Muslim is instructed to overcome his unruly and demanding Self by controlling its desire for food, drink and sexual desires.  Then when the self comes under control, it would be easier for the person to control the self in the face of other desires and sins.  God the Almighty referred to this beautiful meaning in Qur’an:

    قال الله عز وجل: { يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ } سورة البقرة 183. ـ

     God the Almighty says: {O you who believe, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become pious} (Surah 2, verse183).

          Thus, when the Muslim fasts the month of Ramadan, s/he is actually exercising self-control and learning the strategies and techniques of overcoming the mortal desires of the Evil-Tempting Self, while giving way and dominance to the Righteous and Pious Self. 

       Fasting is a spiritual exercise that starts with learning how to resist the desire for food and drink during the day, but extends to learning how to resist other desires, including sins.  The Muslim learns how to overcome his desire for food and drink for a short time, but at the same times practices how to resist other temptations and sins for a long time.

          Furthermore, God the Almighty has distinguished the Month of Ramadan with a great Night that is equal to 1000 months, Leilatul Qadr.  Indeed, the worship of this one night or Leilatul-Qadr is equal to the worship of 1000 months or 83 years.  God the Almighty says in Qur’an:

قال الله عز وجل: { لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ (3) تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ مِنْ كُلِّ أَمْرٍ (4) سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّى مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ} سورة القدر 3-5. ـ

God the Almighty says: { Leilatul Qadr (the night of Decree) is better than a thousand months (of worshiping; i.e., 83 years and 4 months).  The angels and the Spirit (Angel Gabriel) descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter.  Peace, it is until the appearance of dawn} (Surah 97, verses 3-5).

Leilatul-Qadr is a great night that occurs during the last ten days of the Month of Ramadan.  More specifically, this night occurs during the last seven odd nights of the Month of Ramadan (23, 25, 27, and 29).  Since the next day starts at sunset in Islam, the night of 23 actually occurs on 22nd at night.  The scholars said that Leilatul-Qadr changes from year to year; it may occur on 27th one year, but on 25th in another year and so forth. 

The Muslim is advised to devote himself to the worship of God during every night of the last ten days of the Month of Ramadan so as not to miss the great reward of this blessed night.  During the last ten nights of Ramadan, the Muslims should occupy himself with praying Taraweeh (the night prayers), with reciting the Qur’an, with Dhikr or glorifying God, and with Du’a or making supplication to God.  Prophet Muhammad taught us what to say during this great night:

  عن عائِشَةَ رضي اللَّه عنها، قَالَت: ( قُلْتُ: يا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، أَرَأَيْتَ إِن عَلِمْتُ أَيَّ لَيْلَةٍ لَيْلَةُ القَدْرِ ما أَقُولُ فيها؟ قال: « قُولي: اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ العفْوَ فاعْفُ عنِّي»).  رواهُ التِرْمذيُّ والنسائي وابن ماجه وأحمد. ـ

     Narrated ‘Aishah -may God be pleased with her- said: “I asked: ‘O Messenger of God, if I find the Night of Al-Qadr what should I say?’  He replied: ‘Say: O God, verily, You are the Oft-Pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.’ ” Related by Al-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah and Ahmad.

Thus, we can appreciate the great status and honor of the Month of Ramadan in Islam.  At the same time, the Muslim is warned that missing this great reward amounts to a great loss and regret that can only be fully realized after death when the human will regret every minute of the world in which s/he did not remember and mention God. The Muslim is then instructed to take heed and devote every free minute of this great month in the worship of God and His obedience.


 

The Month of Ramadan has been distinguished with another great merit, and that is the Qur’an.  As mentioned in the verse above, the Holy Book or Qur’an was revealed during the Month of Ramadan.

Thus, there is a close relationship between the Month of Ramadan and the Holy Book (Qur’an).  Qur’an was sent down from Al-Lowh Al-Mahfoodh (the Great Sacred Book with God) to the Sky of the world during the Month of Ramadan.  Later each verse was revealed to Prophet Muhammad at its specific occasion.  Angel Gabriel is the Messenger that was sent with Revelation to all prophets, including Prophet Muhammad- peace be upon them.

     Islam has put great emphasis on the recitation of Qur’an during the Month of Ramadan.  So much so that Angel Gabriel used to both recite what was so far revealed of the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad and listen to his recitation as well every night during the Month of Ramadan, as mentioned in the following authentic hadith:

 عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ: ( كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَجْوَدَ النَّاسِ، وَأَجْوَدُ مَا يَكُونُ فِي رَمَضَانَ حِينَ يَلْقَاهُ جِبْرِيلُ، وَكَانَ جِبْرِيلُ ـ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ ـ يَلْقَاهُ فِي كُلِّ لَيْلَةٍ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ، فَيُدَارِسُهُ الْقُرْآنَ فَلَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَجْوَدُ بِالْخَيْرِ مِنَ الرِّيحِ الْمُرْسَلَةِ)‏.‏ رواهُ البخاري ومسلم. ـ

          Narrated Ibn Abbas -may God be pleased with them- said: “Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- was the most generous of all people, and he would become more generous during the Month of Ramadan when Angel Gabriel met him.  Angel Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Quran with him.  During this period, Prophet Muhammad was more generous than the rain-bearing wind.”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Many righteous and well-known scholars used to leave other works and devote their time to Qur’an during the blessed Month of Ramadan.  It is related that both Imam Abu Haneefah and Imam Al-Shafi’i used to recite the whole Qur’an 60 times during this month.  Imam Al-Bukhari, the well-known hadith narrator, in Ramadan used to finish the whole Qur’an once during the day, and once every three nights during Taraweeh at night.  Finally, it is related that Othman Ibn Affan, the Third Guided Caliph, stood up in prayer at night and recited the whole Qur’an in one Rak’ah.

Then the Muslim should reflect on the merits of the great Month of Ramadan, and ponder upon its close association with the Divine Revelation (Qur’an).  The Muslim should give both fasting and the recitation of Qur’an a great emphasis during this great month.  Indeed, the reward of reciting every letter of the Qur’an is multiplied ten times in regular times, then what about reciting the Qur’an during this great month.  Indeed, the reward of reciting the Qur’an during the Month of Ramadan is multiplied manifolds, and its benefits are gained with more ease and greater depth during these great days.

Not only do fasting and the recitation of Qur’an have great reward, but both would intercede for the slave on the Day of Judgment at the time of accounting for deeds (hisab) when the slave would be in distress and in most need of good deeds, as mentioned in the following authentic hadith:

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو بن العاص رضي الله عنهما، عنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قالَ: « الصِّيَامُ وَالْقُرْآنُ يَشْفَعَانِ لِلْعَبْدِ، يَقُولُ الصِّيَامُ: أَيْ رَبِّ، إِنِّي مَنَعْتُهُ الطَّعَامَ وَالشَّهَوَاتِ بِالنَّهَارِ فَشَفِّعْنِي فِيهِ. وَيَقُولُ الْقُرْآن : رَبِّ، إِنِّي مَنَعْتُهُ النَّوْمَ بِاللَّيْلِ فَشَفِّعْنِي فِيهِ، فَيُشَفَّعَانِ». رواه أحمد والطبراني والحاكم، وصححه. ـ

      Narrated Abdil-Allah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-Aas -may God be pleased with them- that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “Fasting and Quran will intercede for the slave (on the Day of Judgment).  Fasting will say: ‘O my Lord, I kept him from food and desires during the day, so let me intercede for him.’  And the Quran will say: ‘O my Lord, I kept him from sleeping during the night, so let me intercede for him.’   Thus, both will be allowed to intercede for him [to enter Paradise].”  Related by Ahmad, Al-Tabarni and Al-Hakim.

 

The strength and increase of faith gained during this month should sustain the Muslim for the remainder of the year and urge him to continue to do good until Ramadan of the next year.  Indeed, some of the predecessor righteous people used to pray God to accept their fasting Ramadan of the same year for 6 months, and then pray God to let them fast the next Ramadan for the next 6 months.  Indeed, the reward of fasting and the recitation of Qur’an are great, but their reward is even greater and their gain more significant during the blessed great Month of Ramadan.  And God knows best.

 

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The Pious Shepard (Fear of God)

(Keywords: Fear of God, Piety, Righteousness, pious people, righteous people,  benefits of piety, stories of pious people, generosity, saliheen, Obedience to God)

 

    عن نافع قال: ( خرج ابن عمر في بعض نواحي المدينة ومعه أصحاب له ووضعوا سفرة له، فمر بهم راعي غنم، فسلم، فقال ابن عمر: هلم يا راعي هلم فأصب من هذه السفرة، فقال له: إني صائم، فقال ابن عمر: أتصوم في مثل هذا اليوم الحار شديد سمومه، وأنت في هذه الجبال ترعى هذا الغنم؟ فقال له: أي والله أبادر أيامي الخالية، فقال له ابن عمر -وهو يريد يختبر ورعه: فهل لك أن تبيعنا شاة من غنمك هذه فنعطيك ثمنها ونعطيك من لحمها فتفطر عليه؟ فقال: إنها ليست لي بغنم إنها غنم سيدي، فقال له ابن عمر: فما عسى سيدك فاعلا إذا فقدها فقلت أكلها الذئب؟ فولى الراعي عنه وهو رافع إصبعه إلى السماء وهو يقول: أين الله؟  فجعل ابن عمر يردد قول الراعي وهو يقول: قال الراعي فأين الله. فلما قدم المدينة بعث إلى مولاه فاشترى منه الغنم والراعي، فأعتق الراعي ووهب منه الغنم [أي أهداه]). ـ

 

     It is related that Nafi’ said: “Ibn Omar once went out on a journey to the outskirts of Al-Medina with some of his companions.  They laid down their food to eat.  A sheep shepherd passed by them and made salaam.  Ibn Omar invited him and said: ‘Come on, O Shepherd, and eat from this food.’  The shepherd replied: ‘I am fasting.’  Ibn Omar asked: ‘Do you fast in such a hot windy day, while you are in the midst of these mountains herding these sheep?’  The shepherd replied: ‘Yes by God, I am taking advantage of my free days.’

  So Ibn Omar asked, trying to test his righteousness: ‘Can you sell one of your sheep to us? We will pay you for it, and give you from its meat so that you can you break your fast later.’  The shepherd replied: ‘The sheep is not mine, it belongs to my master.’     

Ibn Omar asked the shepherd: ‘What could your master do if he missed one of the sheep and you told him that it was eaten by a wolf?’ 

The shepherd left, pointing his finger to the sky and asking: ‘Then where is God?’   Ibn Omar kept repeating the phrase of the shepherd saying: ‘The shepherd said: Then where is God.’ 

When Ibn Omar went back to Al-Medina, he sent for the shepherd’s owner and bought off the sheep and shepherd.  He then freed the shepherd and gifted the sheep to him.”

 

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The Faithful Woman (Umm Sulaim)

(Keywords: True patience, true endurance, wisdom and good sense, children’s death, pious women, righteous women, wise women, Umm Suleim, Umm Sulaim, Anas Ibn Malik, Al-Rumaisa, Abu Talha, Paradise, Obedience to God)

    عن أنس ‏قال: ( ‏مَاتَ ابْنٌ ‏لِأَبِي طَلْحَةَ ‏مِنْ ‏أُمِّ سُلَيْمٍ، فقالت لأَهْلِها: لا تُحَدِّثُوا أبا طَلْحَةَ ‏بِابْنِهِ حَتَّى أَكُونَ أنا أُحَدِّثُهُ، قال: فَجَاءَ فَقَرَّبَتْ إِلَيْهِ عَشَاءً فَأَكَلَ وَشَرِبَ فقالَ: ثُمَّ تَصَنَّعَتْ لَهُ أَحْسَنَ مَا كَانَ ‏تَصَنَّعُ قَبْلَ ذَلِكَ فَوَقَعَ بِهَا، فَلَمَّا رَأَتْ أَنَّهُ قَدْ شَبِعَ وَأَصَابَ مِنْهَا قالت: يا ‏أَبا طَلْحَةَ ‏أَرَأَيْتَ لَوْ أَنَّ قَوْمًا أَعَارُوا عَارِيَتَهُمْ أَهْلَ بَيْتٍ فَطَلَبُوا عَارِيَتَهُمْ أَلَهُمْ أَنْ يَمْنَعُوهُمْ؟ قال: لا، قالتْ: فَاحْتَسِبْ ابْنَكَ، قال فغضِبَ وقال: تَرَكْتِنِي حَتَّى تَلَطَّخْتُ ثُمَّ أَخْبَرْتِنِي بِابْنِي، فانْطَلَقَ حتى أتى رسولَ اللَّهِ ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم ‏‏فَأَخْبَرَهُ بِمَا كانَ، فقال رسولُ اللَّهِ ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « ‏‏بَارَكَ اللَّهُ لَكُمَا فِي غَابِرِ لَيْلَتِكُمَا»)الحديث.  رواه البخاري ومسلم.

 وفي رواية عن أنس ‏قال: (‏ اشْتَكَى ابْنٌ لأبي طَلْحَةَ ‏فَخَرَجَ ‏أبو طلحة ‏إلى المسجدِ فَتُوُفِّيَ الغلامُ، فَهَيَّأَتْ أُمُّ سُلَيْمٍ المَيِّتَ وقالت لأهلها: لا يُخْبِرَنَّ أَحَدٌ منكم ‏‏أبا طلحة ‏بوفاة ابنه، فرجع إلى أهله ومعه ناسٌ من أهل المسجد من أصحابه، قال: ما فعل الغلام؟ قالت: خَيْرٌ مِمَّا كان، فَقَرَّبَتْ إليهم عشاءهم فَتَعَشَّوْا وخرج القومُ، وقامت المرأةُ إلى ما تقوم إليه المرأةُ فلما كان آخرُ الليل قالت: يا ‏أبا طلحة، أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى آلِ فُلَانٍ اسْتَعَارُوا ‏عَارِيَةً ‏ ‏فَتَمَتَّعُوا بِهَا فَلَمَّا طُلِبَتْ كَأَنَّهُمْ كَرِهُوا ذَاكَ؟ قال: ما أَنْصَفُوا، قالت: فَإِنَّ ابْنَكَ كَانَ ‏عَارِيَةً ‏مِنَ اللهِ تبارك وتعالى وإنَّ اللَّهَ قَبَضَهُ، ‏فَاسْتَرْجَعَ وحَمِدَ اللهَ، فلما أصبح غَدَا على رسولِ الله ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم فلما رَآهُ قال: « بَارَكَ اللَّهُ لَكُمَا فِي لَيْلَتِكُمَا». فَحَمَلَتْ ‏بِعَبْدِ اللَّهِ). الحديث.  رواه  أحمد. ـ

 قال عباية بن رفاعة: ( فلقد رأيت لذلك الغلام سبع بنين كلهم قد ختم القرآن). ـ

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Narrated Anas -Ibn Malik may God be pleased with him- said:

A son of Abu Talha who was born of Umm Sulaim died.  Umm Sulaim [The deceased child’s mother] said to the members of her family: ‘Do not inform Abu Talha about his son until I do so.’

Abu Talha came home.  She presented supper to him, and he ate and drank (water).  She then bedecked herself best like she did not do before, and he (Abu Talha) slept with her (shared bed with her). 

When she saw that he was full and had slept with her, she said: ‘O Abu Talha, if some people borrow something from another family and then they asked for its return, could they resist its return?’  He said: ‘No.’ She said: ‘Then seek the reward of the death of your son.’  He was annoyed, and said: ‘You did not inform me until I had slept with you and then you told me about my son.’

Abu Talha went to Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- and informed him about what happened.  Thereupon Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him-said: ‘May God bless you both in the night you spent together. ”The complete hadeeth.  Related by Al-Bukhari, and Imam Muslim.

And in another narration by Imam Ahmad: Narrated Anas -Ibn Malik may God be pleased with him- said:

A son of Abu Talha became ill.  Abu Talha went to the Mosque and the young boy died.  Umm Sulaim prepared the dead boy (washed and shrouded him) and said to her family: ‘Let none of you tell Abu Talha about the death of his son.’

Abu Talha came back home with some friends from the mosque.  He asked: ‘How is the young boy?’  She replied: ‘He is better than before.’  She presented their supper to them, they ate and then the group of people left.  She embellished herself like women do.  At the end of the night she said: ‘O Abu Talha, haven’t you seen the family of so and so who had borrowed something and enjoyed it, but when they were asked for the return of the loaned item they hated it?’  He replied: ‘They were not just.’  She said: ‘Then your son was a loan from God -the Exalted, and God has taken him.’  Abu Talha said: Inna li Allah wa inna ileihi raji’oon (To God we belong, and to Him we shall return), and he praised God.

When it was morning, Abu Talha went to Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- (and told him).  Upon seeing him the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said: ‘May God bless both of you in your night.’  (As a result of blessing) Umm Sulaim became pregnant with Abdul-Allah.”

 

Obayah Ibn Rufa’ah said: “Afterwards I saw seven sons of that young boy, all of them had memorized the Qur’an.”

 


 

‏ أُمُّ سُلَيْم: هي الرميصاء امرأة أبي طلحة وأم أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنهم. وكانت قد رضيت بالزواج بأبي طلحة بشرط أن يسلم. فحملت فولدت غلاما صبيحا فكان أبو طلحة يحبه حبا شديدا، وهو أبو عمير. ـ

قال الإمام انووي: ( وفي هذا الحديث مناقب لأم سليم رضي الله عنها من عظيم صبرها، وحسن رضاها بقضاء الله تعالى، وجزالة عقلها في إخفائها موته على أبيه في أول الليل ليبيت مستريحا بلا حزن، ثم عشته وتعشت، ثم تصنعت له، وعرضت له بإصابته فأصابها .  وفيه استعمال المعاريض عند الحاجة وشرط المعاريض المباحة ألا يضيع بها حق أحد والله أعلم .  ثم دعا صلى الله عليه وسلم لهما بالبركة في ليلتهما، فاستجاب الله تعالى ذلك الدعاء، وحملت بعبد الله بن أبي طلحة، وجاء من أولاد عبد الله إسحاق وإخوته التسعة صالحين علماء رضي الله عنهم). ـ

 

Umm Sulaim:  

Her Name is Al-Rumaisa’ (and it is said Al-Ghumaisa’), and she is the wife of Abu Talha and the mother of Anas Ibn Malik -may God be pleased with them. 

When Abu Talha proposed to her she accepted his proposal with the condition that he would embrace Islam, and he did so.  She became pregnant and gave birth to a bright boy, whom Abu Talha used to love very much, and whose name was Abu Omair (but who later died in childhood).

The Scholar Al-Nawawi said:

“This hadeeth shows the virtues of Umm Sulaim -may God be pleased with her. 

It shows Umm Sulaim’s great patience and her acceptance of the destiny of God -the Exalted.

It also shows her wisdom and great sense in hiding their son’s death from his father at the beginning of the night so that he could spend the night without worry.  She then presented supper to him, ate her supper, and then bedecked herself and invited him, so he slept with her.

The hadeeth also shows that it is permissible to use pun [when she said ‘He is better than before’ which meant he was dead], on the condition that it does not violate the right of any Muslim.

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- then prayed God to bless their night together.  So God accepted the supplication of the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him, and Umm Sulaim became pregnant and then gave birth to Abdul-Allah Ibn Talha, who then fathered ten righteous and scholarly sons including Abdul-Allah Ibn Is-haq).”

 

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The Dutiful and Devoted Wife

(Keywords: Success in Marriage, Happy marriage, contentment and satisfaction, faithful wife, devoted wife, wife’s duties, wife’s role, pious women, righteous women, Paradise, Obedience to God)

 

        عن عبد الرحمن بن عوف رضي الله عنه، قال: قال رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « إِذا صَلَّتِ المَرْأَةُ خَمْسَهَا، وصَامَتْ شَهْرَها، وحَفِظَتْ فَرْجَهَا، وأَطَاعَتْ زَوْجَها، قِيلَ لَها: ادْخُلِي الجَنَّةَ مِنْ أَيَّ أَبْوَابِ الجَنَّةِ شِئْتِ» .  رواه أحمد والطبراني. ـ

   Narrated Abdul-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf -may God be pleased with him- that that God’s Messenger -prayer and peace be upon him- said:  

If the woman prayed her five daily prayers, fasted her month (of Ramadan), guarded her private parts, and obeyed her husband, it would be said to her: Enter Paradise from whichever door of Paradise you wish.”  Related by Ahmad and Al-Teberani.

 


  

    وعن أسماءَ بنتِ يزيدَ الأنصاريةِ: ( أنها أتَتِ النبيَّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم وهو بينَ أصحابِهِ فقالت: بأبي أنت وأمي، إنِّي وَافِدَةُ النساء إليك، واعلم – نفسي لك الفداء- أنه ما من امرأةٍ كائنةٍ في شرقٍ ولا غربٍ سمِعَتْ بمَخْرَجي هذا إلا وهي على مثلِ رأيي: إن الله بعثكَ بالحقِّ إلى الرجالِ والنساءِ، فآمنَّا بِكَ وبإلهك الذي أرسَلك، وإنا معشرَ النساءِ محصوراتٌ مقصوراتٌ، قواعدُ بُيُوتِكم، ومَقْضَى شَهَوَاتِكًم، وحاملاتُ أولادِكم، وإنَّكم معاشرَ الرجالِ فُضِّلْتُمْ علينا بالجمعةِ والجماعاتِ، وعيادةِ المرضى، وشهودِ الجنائزِ، والحجَّ بعدَ الحجِّ، وأفضلَ من ذلك الجهادِ في سبيل الله، وإنِّ الرجلَ منكم إذا خَرَجَ حاجّاً أو معتمَراً أو مرابطاً، حَفِظْنا لكم أموالَكُم، وغَزَلْنا لكم أثوابَكُم، وربَّيْنا لكم أولادَكم، فما نشارِكُكم في الأجْرِ يا رسولَ الله؟  فالتفتَ النبيُّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم إلى أصحابِهِ بوَجْهِهِ كله ثم قال: « هل سَمِعْتُم مقالَةَ امرأةٍ قَطُّ أحسنَ من مُساءلتِها في أمرِ دينِها من هذه؟» فقالوا: يا رسولَ الله، ما ظَنَنَّا أن امرأةً تَهْتَدِي إلى مثلِ هذا. فالتفتَ النبيُّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم إليها ثم قال لها: « انْصَرِفِي أيتُها المرأةُ وأعْلِمي من خلفَكِ من النساء أن حُسْنَ تَبَعُّلِ إحداكُنَّ لزوجِها، وطلبَها مَرْضَاتَهُ، واتِّباعَها موافقتَهُ، يَعْدِلُ ذلكَ كلَّهُ». فأدبرت المرأةُ وهي تُهَلِّلُ وتُكَبِّرُ استبشاراً) . رواه البزار والطبراني والبيهقي في شعب الإيمان واللفظ له. ـ

 

Narrated Asma’ Bint Yezeed Al-Ansariyyeh that she went to Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- while he was among his companions and said:

O Messenger of God, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you.  I have come to you, may I be sacrificed for you, on behalf of all Muslim women, whether in the east or west.  Verily, God has sent you as a messenger with the truth to both men and women.  So we have believed in you (as a true messenger) and in God Who has sent you.  And we, the womenfolk, are confined, restricted, and keep in your homes. We are your source of physical pleasure, and bear your children.  While you, the group of men, have been favored over us with attending the Friday prayer and the congregational prayer (in the mosques), visiting the sick, attending funerals, performing Hajj (pilgrimage) repeatedly, and with what is better than that: fighting in the path of God.  And when a man among you goes out for Hajj, or Umrah, or fighting, we, the womenfolk, look after your property, weave your clothing, and raise your children.  Shall we not share in your reward, O Messenger of God?

The Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- turned to his Companions fully and said: “Have you ever heard a better statement by a woman asking about the matters of her faith than this one?”  The companions replied: “O Messenger of God, we would not have thought that a woman would be guided to such as this.”

Then the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- turned to her and said:

Go back O lady, and inform the other women, that indeed a woman’s perfect treatment and obedience of her husband, her seeking his pleasure, and her doing what he likes is the equivalent (in reward) to all of that.”

Asma’ left exclaiming La ilaha illa Allah and glorifying God, hoping and rejoicing in the reward.  Related by Al-Bazzar, Al-Tabarani, and Al-Beihaqi in his book “Shu’ab Al-Iman”.

 

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Most Honorable Names of God (Al-Asma’ Al-Husna)

(Keywords: Perfection of God, Oneness of God, Monotheism, Names of God, Obedience to God)

      عن أبي هريرة رضي اللَّه عنه قال: قال رسولُ اللَّه صَلّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وسَلَّم: « إِنَّ لِلَّهِ تَعَالَى تِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ اسْمًا مِائَةً غَيْرَ وَاحِدٍ، مَنْ ‏أَحْصَاهَا ‏دَخَلَ الْجَنَّة؛َ هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الرَّحْمَنُ، الرَّحِيمُ، الْمَلِكُ، الْقُدُّوسُ، السَّلَامُ، الْمُؤْمِنُ، الْمُهَيْمِنُ، الْعَزِيزُ، الْجَبَّارُ، الْمُتَكَبِّرُ، الْخَالِقُ، الْبَارِئُ، الْمُصَوِّرُ، الْغَفَّارُ، الْقَهَّارُ، الْوَهَّابُ، الرَّزَّاقُ، الْفَتَّاحُ، الْعَلِيمُ، الْقَابِضُ، الْبَاسِطُ، الْخَافِضُ، الرَّافِعُ، الْمُعِزُّ، الْمُذِلُّ، السَّمِيعُ، الْبَصِيرُ، الْحَكَمُ، الْعَدْلُ، اللَّطِيفُ، الْخَبِيرُ، الْحَلِيمُ، الْعَظِيمُ، الْغَفُورُ، الشَّكُورُ، الْعَلِيُّ، الْكَبِيرُ، الْحَفِيظُ، الْمُقِيتُ، الْحَسِيبُ، الْجَلِيلُ، الْكَرِيمُ ،الرَّقِيبُ، الْمُجِيبُ، الْوَاسِعُ، الْحَكِيمُ، الْوَدُودُ، الْمَجِيدُ، الْبَاعِثُ، الشَّهِيدُ، الْحَقُّ، الْوَكِيلُ، الْقَوِيُّ، الْمَتِينُ، الْوَلِيُّ، الْحَمِيدُ، الْمُحْصِي، الْمُبْدِئُ، الْمُعِيدُ، الْمُحْيِي، الْمُمِيتُ، الْحَيُّ، الْقَيُّومُ، الْوَاجِدُ، الْمَاجِدُ، الْوَاحِدُ، الصَّمَدُ، الْقَادِرُ، الْمُقْتَدِرُ، الْمُقَدِّمُ، الْمُؤَخِّرُ، الْأَوَّلُ، الْآخِرُ، الظَّاهِرُ، الْبَاطِنُ، الْوَالِيَ،‏ ‏الْمُتَعَالِي، ‏الْبَرُّ، التَّوَّابُ، الْمُنْتَقِمُ ،الْعَفُوُّ، الرَّءُوفُ، مَالِكُ الْمُلْكِ، ذُو الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ، الْمُقْسِطُ، الْجَامِعُ، الْغَنِيُّ، الْمُغْنِي، الْمَانِعُ، الضَّارُّ، النَّافِعُ، النُّورُ، الْهَادِي، الْبَدِيعُ، الْبَاقِي، الْوَارِثُ، الرَّشِيدُ، الصَّبُورُ» .  رواه الترمذي وابن ماجه وابن حبان والحاكم والبيهقي. ـ

 

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           Narrated Abu-Hurairah -may Allah be pleased with him- that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

God has ninety-nine Names, one-hundred less one; whoever memorized them (and learned them) by heart will enter Paradise.

He is Allah, beside Whom none has the right to be worshiped but He,

the Entirely Merciful (Al-Rahman), the Especially Merciful (Al-Raheem),

the King (Al-Melik), the Holy and Pure (Al-Quddos),

the Peace and Perfection (As-Salaam),

the Bestower of faith and security (Al-Mu’min),

the Watcher and Guardian (Al-Muheimin),

the Exalted in Might (Al-Aziz),

the Compeller and Irresistible (Al-Jabbar),

the Superior and Supreme (Al-Mutakabbir),

the Creator (Al-Khaliq), the Inventor (Al-Bari’), the Bestower of Forms (Al-Musawwir).

The Oft-Forgiving (Al-Ghaffar),

the Prevailing (Al-Qahaar),

the Bestower (Al-Wahhab), the Provider (Al-Razzaq),

the Opener or the Judge (Al-Fattah),

the All Knower (Al-‘Aleem),

the Withholder (Al-Qabid), the Expander (Al-Basit),

the Abaser (Al-Khafid), the Exalter (Al-Rafi’),

the Bestower of Honor (Al-Mu’iz), the Humiliator (Al-Muthil),

the Hearer of All (Al-Samee’), the Seer of All (Al-Baseer).

The Judge (Al-Hakam), the Just (Al-‘Adl),

the Most Kind and Gentle (Al-Lateef),

the All-Aware (Al-Khabeer),

the Forbearing (Al-Haleem),

the Magnificent (Al-Azeem),

the Forgiving (Al-Ghafoor),

the Appreciative (Ash-Shakoor),

the Most High (Al-‘lee), the Most Grand (Al-Kabeer),

the Preserver (Al-Hafeeth), the Nourisher (Al-Muqeet),

the Reckoner (Al-Haseeb).

The Majestc (Al-Jaleel),

the Generous (Al-Kareem),

the Watchful (Al-Raqeeb),

the Responder (Al-Mujeeb),

the All-Encompassing (Al-Wasi’),

the All-Wise (Al-Hakeem),

the Loving One (Al-Wadood),

the All-Glorious (Al-Majeed),

the Resurrector (Al-Ba’ith),

the Witness (Ash-Shaheed).

The Truth (Al-Haqq),

the Trustee (Al-Wakeel),

the Possessor of Strength (Al-Qawee), the Owner of Power (Al-Mateen),

the Protector (Al-Walee),

the Praiseworthy (Al-Hameed),

the Accounter (Al-Muhsee),

the Initiator (Al-Mubdi’), the Restorer (Al-Mu’eed),

the Giver of Life (Al-Muhyee), the Bringer of Death (Al-Mumeet).

The Ever-Living (Al-Heyy),

the Sustainer of All (Al-Qayyom),

the Self-Sufficient and Finder (Al-Wajid),

the Glorious (Al-Majid),

the One and Only (Al-Wahid),

the Eternal Refuge (As-Samed),

the All Able (Al-Qadir), the All Powerful (Al-Muqtadir),

the Expeditor (Al-Muqaddim), the Delayer (Al-Mu’akhir).

The First (Al-Awwal), the Last (Al-‘Akhir),

the Manifest (Al-Dhahir), the Hidden (Al-Batin),

the Governor (Al-Waali),

the Most Exalted (Al-Muta’ali),

the Most Kind (Al-Barr),

the Granter and Accepter of Repentance (Al-Tawwab),

the Avenger (Al-Muntaqim).

The Pardoner (Al-‘Afaww),

the Compassionate (Al-Ra’oof),

the Owner of Kingdom (Malikul-Mulk),

the Possessor of Majesty and Honor (Thul-Jalali Wel Ikram),

the All Just (Al-Muqsit),

the Gatherer (Al-Jami’),

the All Rich (Al-Ghanee), the Enricher (Al-Mughnee),

the Preventer of Harm (Al-Mani’), the Afflicter (Al-Darr).

The Benefactor (Al-Nafi’),

the Light (Al-Noor), the Guide (Al-Hadi),

the Originator (Al-Badee’), the Everlasting (Al-Baqi),

the Ultimate Inheritor (Al-Warith), 

the Teacher and Guide (Al-Rasheed), and the Patient (As-Saboor).

Related by At-Tirmithi (his narration), Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, Al-Haakim, and Al-Beihaqi.

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God, the Most Merciful and Most Forgiving

(Keywords: Mercy of God, Perfection of God, Repentance, Asking God for forgiveness, benefits of repentance, human’s weakness, regret and remorse, redemption, salvation, Paradise, Obedience to God)

 

قال الله عز وجل: { فَقُلْتُ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّارًا * يُرْسِلِ السَّمَاءَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِدْرَارًا * وَيُمْدِدْكُمْ بِأَمْوَالٍ وَبَنِينَ وَيَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ وَيَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ أَنْهَارًا } سورة نوح 10-12. ـ

قال الشعبي: خرج عمر يستسقي فلم يزد على الاستغفار حتى رجع، فأمطروا فقالوا: ما رأيناك استسقيت؟ فقال: لقد طلبت المطر بمجاديح السماء التي يستنزل بها المطر؛ ثم قرأ: {اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّاراً. يُرْسِلِ السَّمَاءَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِدْرَاراً}.
وقال ابن صبيح: ( شكا رجل إلى الحسن الجدوبة فقال له: استغفر الله. وشكا آخر إليه الفقر فقال له: استغفر الله. وقال له آخر. ادع الله أن يرزقني ولدا؛ فقال له: استغفر الله. وشكا إليه آخر جفاف بستانه؛ فقال له: استغفر الله. فقلنا له في ذلك؟ فقال: ما قلت من عندي شيئا؛ إن الله تعالى يقول في سورة “نوح”: {اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّاراً. يُرْسِلِ السَّمَاءَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِدْرَاراً}). ـ

Allah -the Exalted- says: { “I said (to them): ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord (make istighfar). Verily, He is Oft Forgiving.
11. He will send rain to you in abundance. 12. And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.’ ”} (Surah 71, verses 10-12).

Al-Sha’bi said: “Omar went out to pray for rain, and he did no more than make istighfar (ask Allah for forgiveness) before returning. Then it rained.
The companions asked him: ‘We did not see you asking for rain.’  He replied: ‘I sought rain with the real key by means of which rain is sought (Majadeeb Al-sama’; i.e., istighfar ).’ Then he recited the verse: {“Ask forgiveness of your Lord (make istighfar), verily, He is Oft Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance.”}.”


Ibn Sabeeh said: “A man complained to al-Hasan about drought, and he said to him: ‘Make istighfar (ask Allah for forgiveness).’
Another man complained to him about poverty and he said to him: ‘Make istighfar (ask Allah for forgiveness).’
Another man said to him: ‘Pray Allah to grant me a child.’ Al-Hasan said: ‘Make istighfar (ask Allah for forgiveness).’
And a third man complained to him about his dry farm. Al-Hasan said to him: ‘Make istighfar (ask Allah for forgiveness).’
So we asked Al-Hasan about that, and he said: ‘This is not my personal opinion; God -the Exalted- says in Surah Nooh: {‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord (make istighfar), verily, He is Oft Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance. And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.’}’ ”.


 

وعن أبي ذر رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « يقول الله تعالى: يا ابن آدم، إنك ما دعوتني ورجوتني فإني أغفر لك على ما كان منك ولا أبالي، ولو أتيتني بقراب الأرض خطيئة أتيتك بقرابها مغفرة ما لم تشرك بي شيئا، وإن أخطأت حتى تبلغ خطاياك عَنَان السماء ثم استغفرتني، غفرت لك» . رواه الترمذي وابن ماجه وأحمد.  ـ

It is also related that Abu Dhurr narrated that the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

“God -the Exalted- has said: ‘O son of Adam, as long as you call upon Me and hope in Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done and I shall not mind.

O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with an earthful of sins, I shall grant you an earthful of pardon if you have not associated anything as partners with Me.

O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask My forgiveness, I shall forgive you.‘ ” Related by Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Ahmad.


 

عن أنس رضي الله عنه أن النبيَّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « كُلُّ ابْنِ آدَمَ خَطَّاءٌ، وخَيْرُ الخَطَّائِينَ التَّوَابُونَ» . رواه الترمذي وابن ماجه والحاكم. ـ

Narrated Anas -may Allah be pleased with him- that the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “Every son of Adam is a sinner, and the best of sinners are those who repent.” Related by Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Al-Hakim.


 

وعن عبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه عن النبيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « التَّائِبُ مِنَ الذَّنْبِ كَمَنْ لا ذَنْبَ لَهُ» . رواه ابن ماجه والطبراني. ـ

Narrated Abdul-Allah Ibn Mas’ood -may Allah be pleased with him- that the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “The one who repents of his sin is like the one with no sin.” Related by Ibn Majah and Al-Tabarani.


وعن عبد الله بن عباس رضي الله عنهما قال: قال رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « مَنْ لَزِمَ الاسْتِغْفَارَ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَهُ مِنْ كُلِّ ضِيقٍ مَخْرَجاً، ومِنْ كُلِّ هَمٍّ فَرَجاً، وَرَزَقَهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لا يَحْتَسِبُ» . رواه أبو داود والنسائي وابن ماجه والحاكم والبيهقي. ـ

Narrated Abdul-Allah Ibn Abbas -may Allah be pleased with them- that the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

Whoever maintains istighfar (asking Allah’s forgiveness) always, God will find for him a way out of every trouble, and relief out of every anxiety, and will provide for him from whence he does not expect.”

Related by Abu-dawood, Al-Nasa’ee, Ibn Majah, Al-Hakim, and Al-Beihaqi.

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Mother of All Evils (True Story)

 (Keywords: Harmful Effects of alcohol, harmful effects of wine, alcohol addiction, consequences of alcoholism, misguidance, major sins, mortal sins, alcohol in Islam, wine in Islam, Obedience to God)

 

     عن ابْنَ عُمَرَ قال: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: « لَعَنَ اللَّهُ الْخَمْرَ وَشَارِبَهَا وَسَاقِيَهَا وَبَائِعَهَا وَمُبْتَاعَهَا وَعَاصِرَهَا وَمُعْتَصِرَهَا وَحَامِلَهَا وَالْمَحْمُولَةَ إِلَيْهِ».  رواه أبو داود بإسناد صحيح.‏

Narrated Ibn Omar that the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

God has cursed wine, its drinker, its server, its seller, its buyer, its presser, the one for whom it is pressed, the one who conveys it, and the one to whom it is conveyed.”  Related by Abu Dawood with an authentic narration.

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            عَنْ أَبِي بَكْرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ الْحَارِثِ، عنْ أَبِيهِ، قالَ: سَمِعْتُ عُثْمَانَ [بن عفان] رضى الله عنه يَقُولُ: ( اجْتَنِبُوا الْخَمْرَ فَإِنَّهَا أُمُّ الْخَبَائِثِ، إِنَّهُ كَانَ رَجُلٌ مِمَّنْ خَلاَ قَبْلَكُمْ تَعَبَّدَ، فَعَلِقَتْهُ امْرَأَةٌ غَوِيَّةٌ فَأَرْسَلَتْ إِلَيْهِ جَارِيَتَهَا فَقَالَتْ لَهُ: إِنَّا نَدْعُوكَ لِلشَّهَادَةِ، فَانْطَلَقَ مَعَ جَارِيَتِهَا فَطَفِقَتْ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ بَابًا أَغْلَقَتْهُ دُونَهُ، حَتَّى أَفْضَى إِلَى امْرَأَةٍ وَضِيئَةٍ عِنْدَهَا غُلاَمٌ وَبَاطِيَةُ خَمْرٍ، فَقَالَتْ: إِنِّي وَاللَّهِ مَا دَعَوْتُكَ لِلشَّهَادَةِ، وَلَكِنْ دَعَوْتُكَ لِتَقَعَ عَلَىَّ، أَوْ تَشْرَبَ مِنْ هَذِهِ الْخَمْرَةِ كَأْسًا، أَوْ تَقْتُلَ هَذَا الْغُلاَمَ ‏.‏ قَالَ: فَاسْقِينِي مِنْ هَذَا الْخَمْرِ كَأْسًا فَسَقَتْهُ كَأْسًا.‏ قَالَ: زِيدُونِي، فَلَمْ يَرِمْ حَتَّى وَقَعَ عَلَيْهَا وَقَتَلَ النَّفْسَ، فَاجْتَنِبُوا الْخَمْرَ فَإِنَّهَا وَاللَّهِ لاَ يَجْتَمِعُ الإِيمَانُ وَإِدْمَانُ الْخَمْرِ إِلاَّ لَيُوشِكُ أَنْ يُخْرِجَ أَحَدُهُمَا صَاحِبَهُ). رواه النسائي بإسناد صحيح.‏

 

          Narrated Abu Bakr Ibn Abdil-Rahman Ibn Al-Harith that his father that he heard Othman Ibn Affan, may God be pleased with him, say:

Avoid wine (alcohol) for it is the Mother of All Evils. There was a man among those who came before you who devoted himself to worshiping God.

  An immoral woman fell in love with him, so she sent her female servant to him, and said: ‘We are calling you to bear witness.’  He answered the call and set out with the female servant (until they reached her home).  Every time he entered a door, she would lock it behind him until he reached a beautiful woman who had with her a boy and a vessel of wine.

  The woman said to him: ‘By God I did not call you to bear witness, but called you to have intercourse with me, or to drink a glass of this wine, or to kill this boy.’  He said: ‘Pour me a glass of this wine.’  So she poured him a glass of the wine. He drank it and then said: ‘Give me more.’  And soon he had intercourse with her and killed the boy.  

So avoid wine (alcohol), for by God faith and addiction to alcohol cannot coexist but, one of them will soon expel the other.”  Related by Al-Nasa’i with an authentic narration.

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The Righteous and Pious (Ibrahim Ibn Adham)

    عن إبراهيم بن بشار خادم إبراهيم بن أدهم، قال: ( قلت: يا أبا إسحاق كيف كان أوائل أمرك؟ قال: كان أبي من أهل بلخ، وكان من ملوك خراسان، وحبب إلينا الصيد، فخرجت راكبا فرسي وكلبي معي، فبينما أنا كذلك، ثار أرنب أو ثعلب، فحركت فرسي فسمعت نداء من ورائي: ليس لذا خلقتَ ولا بذا أمرتَ، فوقفت أنظر يمنة ويسرة فلم أر أحدا، فقلت: لعن الله إبليس، ثم حركت فرسي فأسمع نداء أجهر من ذلك: يا إبراهيم ليس لذا خلقت ولا بذا أمرت، فوقفت أنظر يمنة ويسرة فلا أرى أحدا، فقلت: لعن الله إبليس، ثم حركت فرسي فأسمع نداء من قربوس سرجي: يا إبراهيم ما لذا خلقت ولا بذا أمرت، فوقفت فقلت: أنبَهْتَ، أنبهت، جاءني نذير من رب العالمين، والله لا عصيت الله بعد يومي هذا ما عصمني ربي.  فرجعت إلى أهلي، ثم جئت إلى أحد رعاة أبي فأخذت منه جبة وكساء وألقيت ثيابي إليه). ـ

     Narrated Ibrahim Ibn Bashaar -the attendant of Ibrahim Ibn Adham- said: “I asked Ibrahim Ibn Adham: ‘O Abu Is-Haq, what was the beginning of your becoming righteous?’  Ibrahim Ibn Adham replied:

‘My father was one of the inhabitants of the city of Balakh [a city in today’s Afghanistan], and he was one of the kings of the country of Khurasan.  We liked hunting. 

Once, I set out on my horse with my dog.  While I was riding, a rabbit or a fox, so I led my horse towards it.  I heard someone calling from behind me: `You were not created for this, and you were not commanded with this.`  I stopped and looked right and left but saw no one, so I said: ‘May God curse Satan.’ 

I then spurred my horse on, and I heard someone calling again but louder: `O Ibrahim, you were not created for this, and you were not commanded with this.`  I stopped and looked right and left but saw no one, so I said: ‘May God curse Satan.’ 

I then spurred my horse on, and I heard someone calling from my saddlebow: `O Ibrahim, you were not created for this, and you were not commanded with this.`  So I said: ‘You have given me a warning, you have given me a warning.  A harbinger (a warning sign) has come to me from the Lord of the Worlds.  I swear by God, I will not disobey God after this day of mine as long as God protects me.’ ”


 

   قيل لإبراهيم بن أدهم: ما بالنا ندعو فلا يستجاب لنا وقد قال تعالى: {أدعوني استجب لكم}؟ قال: لأن قلوبكم ميتة، قيل: وما الذي أماتها؟ قال: ثمان خصال؛ 1) عرفتم حق الله ولم تقوموا بحقه، 2) وقرأتم القرآن ولم تعملوا بحدوده، 3) وقلتم نحب رسول الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم ولم تعملوا بسنته، 4) وقلتم نخشى الموت ولم تستعدوا له، 5) وقال تعالى {إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ فَاتَّخِذُوهُ عَدُوّاً} ]فاطر 6[ فواطأتموه على المعاصي، 6) وقلتم نخاف النار وأرهقتم أبدانكم فيها، 7) وقلتم نحب الجنة ولم تعملوا لها، 8) وإذا قمتم من فرشكم رميتم عيوبكم وراء ظهوركم وافترشتم عيوب الناس أمامكم فأسخطتم ربكم، فكيف يستجيب لكم؟

 

  It is related that Ibrahim Ibn Adham was once asked: “Why do not our supplications (Du’a) get answered, even though God -the Exalted- says: {And your Lord says: “Call upon Me, I will answer you.”} (Surah 40, verse 60).  Ibrahim Ibn Adham replied:

“Your supplication (Du’a) is not answered because your hearts are spiritually dead.”  He was asked: “And what caused their death?”  He replied: “Eight things:

1) You know the rights of God upon you, but you do not fulfill them.

2) You recite the Qur’an, but you do not act upon its commands.

3) You claim to love the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him, but you do not follow his way.

4) You claim to fear death, but you do not prepare for it.

5) God says: {Indeed Satan is your enemy, so take him as your enemy} (Surah 35, verse 6), but you obey him by committing sins.

6) You claim to fear Hell-fire, but you have exposed your bodies to it.

7) You claim to love Paradise, but you do not work for it.

8) And when you get up from your beds in the morning, you ignore your own faults, and rather get involved with other peoples’ faults. Thus you have angered your Lord, so how would He answer your supplications?’ ”

 

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The Broken and False Promises

(Keywords: The Fallen Monk, Barsisa the Monk,The ploy of Satan, Man and Satan, the Misleading of Satan, Deception and trickery of Satan)

      God -the Exalted- relates to us in Qur’an the true story of the fallen and misled monk. The purpose is for us to take heed and beware of Satan and his misleading ways, and his scheming and plotting.

God the Almighty says:

        قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: { كَمَثَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِذْ قَالَ لِلْإِنْسَانِ اكْفُرْ فَلَمَّا كَفَرَ قَالَ إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِنْكَ إِنِّي أَخَافُ اللَّهَ رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ فَكَانَ عَاقِبَتَهُمَا أَنَّهُمَا فِي النَّارِ خَالِدَيْنِ فِيهَا وَذَلِكَ جَزَاءُ الظَّالِمِينَ} سورة الحشر 16-17. ـ

قال ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما في تفسير الآية: ـ 

)

 كان راهب من بني إسرائيل [برصيصا الراهب] يعبد الله فيحسن عبادته، وكان يؤتى من كل أرض فيسأل عن الفقه وكان عالما، وإن ثلاثة إخوة كانت لهم أخت حسنة من أحسن الناس، وإنهم أرادوا أن يسافروا فكبر عليهم أن يخلفوها ضائعة، فجعلوا يأتمرون ما يفعلون بها فقال أحدهم: أدلكم على من تتركونها عنده؟ قالوا: من هو؟ قال: راهب بني إسرائيل؛ إن ماتت قام عليها، وإن عاشت حفظها حتى ترجعوا إليه.   فعمدوا إليه فقالوا: إنا نريد السفر، ولا نجد أحدا أوثق في أنفسنا ولا أحفظ لما ولي منك لما جعل عندك، فإن رأيت أن نجعل أختنا عندك فإنها ضائعة شديدة الوجع، فإن ماتت فقم عليها وإن عاشت فأصلح إليها حتى نرجع، فقال: أكفيكم إن شاء الله.    فانطلقوا فقام عليها فداواها حتى برأت، وعاد إليها حسنها، فاطلع إليها فوجدها متصنعة، فلم يزل به الشيطان يزين له أن يقع عليها حتى وقع عليها، فحملت. ثم ندمه الشيطان فزين له قتلها؛ قال: إن لم تقتلها افتضحت وعرف شبهك في الولد فلم يكن لك معذرة. فلم يزل به حتى قتلها.    فلما قدم إخوتها سألوه: ما فعلت؟ قال: ماتت فدفنتها، قالوا: قد أحسنت.  ثم جعلوا يرون في المنام ويُخبرون أن الراهب هو قتلها، وأنها تحت شجرة كذا وكذا، فعمدوا إلى الشجرة فوجدوها تحتها قد قتلت.   فعمدوا إليه فأخذوه، فقال له الشيطان: أنا زينت لك الزنا وقتلها بعد الزنا، فهل لك أن أنجيك؟ قال: نعم، قال: أفتطيعني؟ قال: نعم، قال: فاسجد لي سجدة واحدة، فسجد له ثم قُتل، فذلك قوله {كمثل الشيطان إذ قال للإنسان اكفر فلما كفر قال إني بريء منك} الآية).  رواه الطبري في تفسيره. ـ

——————

Ibn Abbas -may God be pleased with him- said concerning the interpretation of the above verse:

“There was a monk among the Children of Israel [The Monk Barsisa] who had devoted himself to worshiping God as best as he could.  He was a scholar so people would come from every land to ask him about religious rulings or jurisprudence.

At that time, there were three brothers who had the most beautiful sister [but who was sick], and they wanted to travel.  They found it hard to leave their sick sister behind without care, so they held a counsel about what they should do.  One of the brothers said: ‘Should I tell you about someone with whom you should leave her?’  They asked: ‘Who?’  He said: ‘The monk of the Children of Israel [the Monk Barsisa], for he would arrange her burial if she died, and would take care of her if she lived until you return.’

They went to the monk and said: ‘We want to travel, and we find no one that we trust more, nor more preserving to the trust left with him than you.  So if you could take care of her, for she is sick and in a lot of pain.  If she dies arrange her burial, and if she lives then take care of her until we return.’  The monk said: ‘I will take care of it, God willing.’

They left, and the monk took care of her.  He treated her until she was cured and regained her beauty.  He saw her once adorned, and Satan continued to tempt him and entice him to sleep with her and commit adultery (zina) with her, until he did so. She got pregnant.  Then Satan made him feel remorse and tempted him to kill her.  Satan whispered to him: ‘If you don’t kill her, you will be exposed, and you will not have no excuse, for your likeness will be recognized in the child.’  Satan continued to tempt the monk until he killed her.

When her brothers came back, they asked the monk: ‘What happened to our sister?’ The monk replied: ‘She died, so I buried her.’  They said: ‘You did well.’

Afterwards, the brothers would see in their dreams like someone informing them that the monk had killed her and that she was buried under so and so tree. They went to the specific tree, dug her body from under it, and found out that she had been killed.

The brothers went to the monk and took him away.  Satan came to him and said: ‘I am the one who enticed you to commit adultery (zina), and to kill her afterwards. Do you want me to save you?’ He replied: ‘Yes.’ Satan asked: ‘Would you obey me?’ The monk replied: ‘Yes.’ Satan said to him: ‘Then prostrate to me just once.’ The monk prostrated to him, and then he was killed.

And that is the interpretation of God’s statement: {(Their allies deceived them) like Satan when he says to the man: “Disbelieve.” But when the man disbelieves, Satan says: “Indeed, I declare my innocence of you, for I fear God, the Lord of the Worlds!” So the end of both will be that they will be in the Fire, abiding eternally therein. Such is the recompense of the Unjust (the polytheist, wrong-doers, and disbelievers)} Surah 59, verses16-17. Related by Al-Tabari in his Exegeses.

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            The Almighty God gives us an example of the ploys and plotting of Satan and how he misleads and tempts the son of Adam. Satan starts to tempt the son of Adam by promising him endless pleasures and limitless joys if he does one small sin. Once the son of Adam commits the first sin, Satan then draws him sweetly and entices him to a second greater sin, and keeps setting a trap after another until the son of Adam is ruined and only realizes his mistakes in prison and worse in death and Hell-fire.

 


 

There are three moral lessons that can be learned from the above true story:

First Moral Lesson:

            Satan is the sworn and most bitter enemy of the son of Adam, and tries everything in his power to mislead the human and make him a disbeliever.

      Satan’s enmity against man goes back to his being banished, expelled and disfigured when he disobeyed God by refusing to prostrate to Adam. God cursed Satan for his arrogance and pride and promised him Hell-Fire. Satan asked for a reprieve until the Day of Judgment and he was granted that reprieve. Then Satan made a promise to try to mislead the humans and take as many of them as possible with him to Hell-Fire.

Thus, the enmity of Satan is ancient and deep-rooted, and Satan spares no ploy or strategy but to mislead the son of Adam and make him disbelieve so that he would end up in Hell-fire. But God warned the humans to beware of the traps and ploys of Satan, and gave us many examples where Satan succeeded in misleading people until they died as disbelievers and thus ended in Hell-Fire.

The Muslim is instructed to take Satan an enemy and treat him as such. The Muslim is warned to be wary of Satan and avoid his tricks and traps. God the Almighty says in Qur’an:

{Verily, Satan is an enemy to you, so take him as an enemy. He only invites his followers that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire} Surah 35, verse 6.


 

Second Moral Lesson:

The Muslim is instructed to be cautious and defensive against this fifth column or enemy from within. Satan is not only a bitter foe, but he also employs the human Self to reach his goal.

    Satan often uses humans’ natural instincts and desires to set traps for them and make them fall into sin and disbelief so that they would join him in Hell-Fire. Thus, the Muslim should avoid slippery and dangerous situations that may lead him astray.

    The Muslim is instructed to avoid exposing himself to dangers and shaky grounds that give Satan greater access to him. The Muslim should avoid putting himself in situations where the Self takes control, giving free reign to his desires and lusts and thus weakening his defenses and allowing Satan an easier access.

    Some of these slippery situations include associating with the unjust and rich for little by little Satan would employ the person’s natural desire and love of wealth to make him one of the unjust; associating with the aberrant, radical and deviant for gradually Satan would use the natural inclination to power and control to make the person one of them; associating with an unlawful woman or man for step by step Satan would entice the person and promise her/him endless pleasures and enjoyment until the person commits adultery and falls into sin; and similar situations.

وعن ميمون بن مهران، قال: ( ثلاثةٌ لا تَبْلُوَنَّ نفسَك بهن: لا تَدْخُلَنَّ على سُلطَانٍ وإن قلتَ آمُرُهُ بطاعَةٍ، ولا تَدْخُلَنَّ على امْرَأَةٍ وإن قلتَ أُعَلِّمُهَا كِتَابَ اللَّه، ولا تُصْغِيَنَّ سَمْعَك لذي هَوًى فإنك لا تَدْري ما تَعَلَّقَ قلبُك منه). ـ

    It is related that the Scholar Meimoon Ibn Mahran said: “Avoid afflicting yourself with three things: Do not go to see a king, even if you had the intention of advising him to obey God. Do not go to see a woman, if you had the intention of teaching her the Book of God. And do not listen to an innovator in religion, for you do not know what of his speech will attach to your heart.

   The true story of the monk describes how Satan misled the monk through association with an unlawful woman. Although the girl was very sick at first, Satan used her to entice the monk until he committed adultery, then used the monk’s sense of guilt against him and made him kill her, and finally used the monk’s survival instinct and desire to live to make him prostrate to Satan.

The monk obeyed Satan in all three instances, and thus became a disbeliever. God then warned us that the end of both Satan and this monk is eternal damnation and Hell. The Muslim then should be wary of this enemy from within, and should supplicate God and ask His assistance and support in dealing with invisible foe.


 

Third Moral Lesson:

The Muslim is commanded to be modest and humble, for modesty and humbleness are the characteristics of the believers.

The Muslim is warned to avoid conceit and self-admiration, for they lead to pride and arrogance when the person starts considering himself better than others. Having contempt for others and feeling superior to them are signs of pride and arrogance. Pride and arrogance are characteristics of Satan and the people of Hell-Fire. Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- described the people of Paradise as the modest and humble believing people of the world, while he described the people of Hell-fire as the proud and arrogant people of the world.

عن أبي سعيدٍ الخُدريِّ رضيَ اللَّهُ عنه عن النبيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « احْتَجَّتِ الجَنَّةُ والنَّارُ، فَقَالَتِ النَّارُ: فِيَّ الجَبَّارُونَ والمُتَكَبِّرُونَ، وقَالَتِ الجنَّة: فِيَّ ضُعَفَاءُ النَّاسِ ومَسَاكِينُهُمْ. فَقَضَى اللَّه بيْنَهُمَا: إِنَّكِ الجَنَّةُ رَحْمَتي أَرْحَمُ بِكِ مَنْ أَشَاءُ، وإِنَّكِ النَّارُ عذَابي أُعَذِّبُ بِكِ مَنْ أَشَاءُ، ولِكِلَيْكُما عَلَيَّ مِلْؤُها» .  رواهُ مسلم ورواه البخاري عن أبي هريرة . ـ

     Narrated Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri -may God be pleased with him- that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

Paradise and Hell-fire argued. Hell-fire said: ‘I was favored with the proud and the arrogant.’ Paradise said: ‘What is the matter with me that only the weak, the lowly, and the humble of people enter me?’ So God said to Paradise: ‘Verily, you are only My Mercy, I bestow mercy with you upon whomever I wish among My slaves.’ And He said to Hell-fire: ‘Verily, you are only My punishment, I punish with you whomever I wish. And every one of you shall have its full.’ ” Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

   Thus, the Muslim is instructed to be modest even if he had a greater share of wealth, health, intellect or knowledge, for that is a blessing of God that he must thank Him for.

The Muslim should never show any conceit or self-admiration for that may lead to pride or arrogance, which in turn makes him have a sense of superiority for a blessing that only God has granted him.

Whatever man or woman shows pride or arrogance then s/he has shown ingratitude and exposed him/herself to punishment in this world and the Hereafter. But for those who show modesty, humbleness and thanks then their blessings would not only last but also increase.

******************************

    Then in summary, we can learn three important moral lessons from the above true story.

First, Satan is man’s worst enemy and the human must treat him as such by opposing him and being wary of him.

Second, the human should not put himself in slippery and dangerous situations that may give Satan power over him through Self desires and lusts. Rather, the human should be defensive and should use caution to avoid the traps of Satan whose goal is to take as many people to Hell-Fire with him as he could mislead.

And third, the Muslim should show modesty and humbleness even when is favored with greater blessings, for these are the characteristics of the people of Paradise. The Muslim should avoid conceit and self-admiration which may lead to pride and arrogance which are the characteristics of Satan and the people of Hell-Fire. The Muslim should attribute the blessing to God, be grateful to Him and thank Him for it, for that’s how he ensures the continuation of the blessing and its increase. And God knows best.

==================================

The Pious Man and the Tree

(Keywords: The ploy of Satan, Adam and Satan, Misleading of Satan, Deception and trickery of Satan)

عن الحسن، قال : ( كانت شجرة تعبد من دون الله، فجاء إليها رجل فقال: لقطعن هذه الشجرة، فجاء ليقطعها غضبا لله، فلقيه إبليس في صورة إنسان، فقال: ما تريد؟ قال: أريد أن أقطع هذه الشجرة التي تعبد من دون الله، قال: إذا أنت لم تعبدها فما يضرك من عبدها، قال: لأقطعنها، فقال له الشيطان: هل لك فيما هو خير لك؛ لا تقطعها ولك ديناران كل يوم إذا أصبحت عند وسادتك، قال: فمن أين لي ذلك؟ قال: أنا لك فرجع فأصبح فوجد دينارين عند وسادته، ثم أصبح بعد ذلك فلم يجد شيئا فقام غضبا ليقطعها، فتمثل له الشيطان في صورته، وقال: ما تريد؟ قال: أريد قطع هذه الشجرة التي تعبد من دون الله تعالى، قال: كذبت مالك إلى ذلك من سبيل، فذهب ليقطعها فضرب به الأرض وخنقه حتى كاد يقتله، قال: أتدري من أنا، أنا الشيطان جئت أول مرة غضبا لله، فلم يكن لي عليك سبيل فخدعتك بالدينارين فتركتها، فلما جئت غضبا للدينارين سلطت عليك). ـ

 

Narrated Al-Hasan Al-Basri said: “There was once a group of people who took up a tree as an idol to worship. A pious man heard about that and decided to cut the tree for the sake of God and to please Him.

When he was about to cut the tree, Satan came to him in the form of a man and asked him: ‘What are you planning to do?’ The man replied: ‘I want to cut this tree because people are worshiping it instead of God.’

Satan said: ‘What harm does that cause you if you are not the one who is worshiping it?’ The pious man said: ‘Indeed, I shall cut it.’ Satan said to him: ‘Could I suggest something better; do not cut it and you shall have two Dinars every day at your bedside every morning.’ The pious man asked: ‘Who shall give it to me?’ Satan said: ‘I shall give it to you.’

When the next morning came, the man found two Dinars at his bedside. But later, when he woke up he did not find anything. The man became angry and went to cut the tree.

Once again Satan came to him in the form of a man and asked him: ‘What are you planning to do?’ The man said: ‘I want to cut this tree because people are worshiping it instead of God- the Exalted.’ Satan said: ‘You lie, for you shall have no access to it.’ When the man went forward to cut it, Satan wrestled him to the ground and strangled him almost killing him.

Satan then asked the man: ‘Do you know who I am? I am Satan. When you first came to cut the tree, it was purely for the sake of God, and I had no power over you. So I tricked you with the two Dinars, and you abandoned cutting it. But when you came the second time, it was for the sake of the money and I was able to overpower you.’ ”

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The Day of Judgment

(Keywords: Accounting for deeds, Yome Al-Qiyamah, Day of Resurrection, Last Day, the Day of Recompense)

 

In Islam, the Day of Judgment is considered the Greatest and Most Eventful Day the son of Adam would ever experience.  The Day of Judgment is described as a very long day during which all creatures would be assembled for the accounting of deeds before God, the Creator and Lord of the Universe.  On the Day of Judgment, every person would be asked about his/her deeds and actions in the world.

God has described the Day of Judgment as the Day of Recompense (Yome Ad-Deen); the day when every soul shall be either rewarded for its goods deeds or punished for its misdeeds and sins.  In Qur’an, the Day of Judgment has been described with different names to demonstrate its different conditions and horrific events.  The Almighty God has descried the Day of Judgment as:

– The Last Day (Al-Yome Al-‘Akhir): The Day of Judgment constitutes the boundary between this life and the Hereafter.

– The Day of Resurrection (Yome Al-Ba’th): On the Day of Judgment, God would resurrect all people and make them come alive again.  God mentioned in Qur’an that as He created all creatures, and He is capable of restoring all of them on the Day of Judgment.

– The Promised Day (Al-Yome Al-Mo’wood), the Undoubtful Day (La Reiba feeh), and the Approaching Day (‘Azifah): The Day of Judgment is inevitable and has been promised by all prophets and messengers of God.

– The Day of Distress, the Distressful Day (Aseeb), the Hard Day (Aseer), and the Barren Day (Aqeem): People would feel a lot of distress on that day because of the long wait, its many fretful events, and because people wouldn’t know their final end either in Paradise or Hell.

– The Day of Striking Calamity (Waqi’ah), the Day of Great Catastrophe (Tammah Kubra), the Day of the Blast (Sakhah), and the Overwhelming Day (Ghashiyah): On that day, the disbelievers and sinners would suffer great distress and torment.

– The Day of Regret (Yome Al-Hasrah): On that day, everyone would feel great remorse and regret for any disobedience of the Lord of the Universe.

– The Day of Inevitable Reality (Haqqah), and the Day of Truth (Haqq): On that day, people would see the truth as never before as they would be able to see the angels, Paradise and Hellfire.

– The Day of Gathering (Yome Al-Jam’), the Day Coming out (Khurooj), the Day of Meeting (Talaq), and the Day of Calling Out (Tanad): All creatures would be resurrected, would be gathered and then called out for individual accounting on that day.

– The Day of Reckoning (Hisab) and the Day of Sorting out (Fasl): On that day, every person shall account for his good and bad deeds, and people would be divided in groups (the righteous together, the sinners together, and the disbelievers together). And,

– The Day of Eternity (Khulood), and the Day of Eternal Abode (Qarar): On that day, the son of Adam will find his/her final destination and eternal abode or home.

 

          Just by looking at the different names of the Day of Judgment, we can appreciate the sense of horror and dread one may feel that day.  But the Almighty God has promised relief and ease for the believers, the pious and the righteous; those who worship Him alone and obey His commands.  But for those who disobeyed God, then the Day of Judgment is a day of regret and loss.

          The Almighty God gives us a live representation of the Day of Judgment in Qur’an.  In this live depiction of the end of the Day of Judgment, we can see the condition of two groups: the people of Paradise and the people of Hell-Fire.  The live image also describes their state, their statements and their final thoughts before they are led away to their final abode and destination.

          قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: { وَنُفِخَ فِي الصُّورِ فَصَعِقَ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا مَنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ ثُمَّ نُفِخَ فِيهِ أُخْرَى فَإِذَا هُمْ قِيَامٌ يَنْظُرُونَ (68) وَأَشْرَقَتِ الْأَرْضُ بِنُورِ رَبِّهَا وَوُضِعَ الْكِتَابُ وَجِيءَ بِالنَّبِيِّينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْحَقِّ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ (69) وَوُفِّيَتْ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَا عَمِلَتْ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَفْعَلُونَ (70) وَسِيقَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِلَى جَهَنَّمَ زُمَرًا حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءُوهَا فُتِحَتْ أَبْوَابُهَا وَقَالَ لَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ رُسُلٌ مِنْكُمْ يَتْلُونَ عَلَيْكُمْ آَيَاتِ رَبِّكُمْ وَيُنْذِرُونَكُمْ لِقَاءَ يَوْمِكُمْ هَذَا قَالُوا بَلَى وَلَكِنْ حَقَّتْ كَلِمَةُ الْعَذَابِ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ (71) قِيلَ ادْخُلُوا أَبْوَابَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا فَبِئْسَ مَثْوَى الْمُتَكَبِّرِينَ (72) وَسِيقَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا رَبَّهُمْ إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ زُمَرًا حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءُوهَا وَفُتِحَتْ أَبْوَابُهَا وَقَالَ لَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ طِبْتُمْ فَادْخُلُوهَا خَالِدِينَ (73) وَقَالُوا الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي صَدَقَنَا وَعْدَهُ وَأَوْرَثَنَا الْأَرْضَ نَتَبَوَّأُ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ حَيْثُ نَشَاءُ فَنِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ (74) وَتَرَى الْمَلَائِكَةَ حَافِّينَ مِنْ حَوْلِ الْعَرْشِ يُسَبِّحُونَ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْحَقِّ وَقِيلَ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ } سورة الزمر 68-75.

English Translation:

God the Almighty says in Qur’an: { And the Trumpet (horn) will be blown, and all in the heavens and earth will fall dead except whom God wills. Then it will be blown a second time and behold, they will be standing, looking on.

69. And the earth will shine with the light of its Lord (when He will come to judge among them), the Record (of deeds) will be placed (open) and the Prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward, and it will be judged between them with truth, and they will not be wronged.

  1. And every soul will be fully compensated for what it did; and God is most knowing of what they do.

  1. Then those who disbelieved will be driven to Hell in groups, till, when they reach it, its gates will be opened and its keepers will say, “Did not the Messengers come to you from amongst yourselves, reciting to you the Verses of your Lord and warning you of the Meeting of this Day of yours?” They will say: “Yes, but the Word [i.e., decree] of torment has been justified against the disbelievers!”

  2. It will be said (to them): “Enter you the gates of Hell, to abide eternally therein. And (indeed) what an evil abode for the arrogant!”

  1. But those who feared their Lord will be led to Paradise in groups, till, when they reach it, its gates will be opened and its keepers will say: “Peace be upon you; you have done well; so enter you Paradise to abide eternally therein.”

  2. And they (people of Paradise) will say: “All praises and thanks be to God Who has fulfilled His Promise to us and has made us inherit (this) land so we can dwell in Paradise where we will. And what an excellent reward for the (pious) workers!”

  1. And you will see the angels surrounding the Throne (of God) from all round, glorifying the praises of their Lord. And it will be judged between all the creatures with truth, and it will be said: All praises and thanks be to God, the Lord of the Universe} (Surah 39, verses 68-75).

 

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A Man from Paradise

(Keywords: Purifying Inner Self, Getting rid of Vices, Mending the Self, Islah Al-Batin)

    عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه قال: ( كنا جلوسا مع رسول الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم فقال: « يَطلُعُ الآن عليكم رجلٌ من أهل الجنة»، فطلع رجل من الأنصار تنظُفُ لحيتُه من وضوئه، قد علق نعليه بيده الشمال،  فلما كان الغد قال النبي صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم مثل ذلك، فطلع ذلك الرجل مثل المرة الأولى، فلما كان اليوم الثالث قال النبي صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم مثل مقالته أيضا، فطلع ذلك الرجل على مثل حاله الأول،  فلما قام النبي صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم تبعه عبد الله بن عمرو فقال: إني لاحيتُ (أي خاصمت) أبي، فأقسمت أني لا أدخل عليه ثلاثا، فإن رأيت أن تؤويني إليك حتى تمضي فعلت، قال: نعم، قال أنس: فكان عبد الله يحدث أنه بات معه تلك الثلاث الليالي فلم يره يقوم من الليل شيئا، غير أنه إذا تعارَّ (أي استيقظ) تقلَّب على فراشه ذكر الله عز وجل، وكبر حتى صلاة الفجر. ـ

قال عبد الله : غير أني لم أسمعه يقول إلا خيرا، فلما مضت الثلاث الليالي وكدت أن أحتقر عمله، قلت: يا عبد الله لم يكن بيني وبين أبي غضب ولا هجرة، ولكن سمعت رسول الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول لك ثلاث مرات: « يَطلُعُ عليكم الآن رجلٌ من أهل الجنة»، فطلعت أنت الثلاث المرات فأردت أن آوي إليك فأنظر ما عملك فأقتدي بك، فلم أرك عملتَ كبيرَ عملٍ، فما الذي بلغ بك ما قال رسول الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم؟  قال: ما هو إلا ما رأيت. فلما وليت دعاني، فقال: ما هو إلا ما رأيت غير أني لا أجد في نفسي لأحد من المسلمين غِشا، ولا أحسُد أحدا على خير أعطاه الله إياه، فقال عبد الله : هذه التي بلغت بك) .  رواه أحمد بإسناد على شرط البخاري ومسلم والنسائي وأبو يعلى والبزار وسمى الرجل المبهم سعدا. ـ

زاد النسائي في رواية له والبيهقي والأصبهاني فقال عبد الله : (هذه التي بلغت بك، وهي التي لا نُطِيق ) . ـ

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Narrated Anas Ibn Malik -may God be pleased with him- said: “While we were sitting with the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him, he said: ‘A man from the people of Paradise will come out to you now.’  So a man from the tribe of Al-Ansaar came out, whose beard was dripping from his ablution, and he had hung his shoes in his left hand.

When the following morning came, Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said the same thing, so the same man came out like the first time.

On the third day, Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said the same thing again, and the same man came out in the same condition.

When the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- left, Abdul-Allah Ibn Amr followed the Ansaari man and said to him: ‘I have quarreled with my father and I have sworn to avoid him for three days, so if you could let me stay with you until they pass.’  He replied: ‘Yes.’

Anas said: Abdul-Allah Ibn Amr related that he slept those three nights in the Ansaari man’s house, and he did not see him praying any voluntary prayers at night.  However, whenever he woke up, he would roll over on his bed and mention God -the Almighty- and say Allahu akbar (God is the Greatest) until the dawn prayer.

Abdul-Allah Ibn Amr said: ‘But I only heard him speaking good.  And when the three nights had passed and I almost scorned his deed, I said to him: O Abdul-Allah, there was not any quarrel or abandonment between my father and me, but I heard the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- saying three times about you: `A man from the people of Paradise will come out to you now,`  and you came out on the three times.  So I wanted to stay with you to find about your deed, and do likewise.  But I haven’t seen you doing any great deed, so what made you reach what the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- had mentioned.’  He replied: ‘I have nothing except what you saw.’  As I was leaving, he called me back and said: ‘I have nothing except what you saw, but I do not find within myself any deceitfulness for any of the Muslims, and I do not feel jealous toward anyone for any good that God has granted him.’

So Abdul-Allah Ibn Amr said: ‘This is what made you reach that degree.’ ”  And in another narration: “Abdul-Allah said: ‘This is what made you reach that degree, and it is what we cannot bear doing.’ ”   Related by Imam Ahmad with a narration based on Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim, and Al-Nasa’ee, Al-Beihaqi, Abu Ya’la, Al-Asbahani, and Al-Bazzar (Who named the obscure man: Sa’ad).

—-

          Islam places great emphasis on righteousness and piety.  The Muslim is commanded to obey God, by doing what God has obligated and staying away from what God has forbidden.  Thus, the Muslim is instructed to do all obligatory deeds (wajibat) and refrain from sins and misdeeds.

But beside paying attention to outer deeds and action, Islam has placed great emphasis on purifying the inner self as well.  So while it is important to engage in worship and avoid all sins with the limbs, it is equally important to work on the inner heart and try to adorn the self with good traits like modesty, generosity, forgiveness and the like, and to rid the inner self of vices like pride, jealousy, cheating, etc.

The Muslim does not attain full Faith (Iman) until he mends both his outer and inner self.  The Muslim should be concerned with his outer action by trying to obey God in all of his action, but the Muslim should also be concerned with his inner self and try to adorn it with good traits and try to rid the inner self of vices.

Once the Muslim mends his inner and outer self, then he would attain full Faith (Iman) and will get higher grades in Paradise.  Therefore, Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- pointed to the same man as being ‘a man from Paradise’ for three consecutive days. 

And when Abdul-Allah Ibn Amr stayed with the same man for three days, he couldn’t detect any extra worship or many good voluntary deeds.  But when Abdul-Allah asked him directly, the man denied anything at first, but as Abdul-Allah was leaving, he casually enlightened about the real reason. 

The man said that he doesn’t find in himself any ill-feelings for others.  In other words, he had purified his inner self.  So not only did he obey God outwardly, but he also mended his inner self, so it was adorned with modesty (as seen from his denial of being good), generosity (as seen from his welcoming Abdul-Allah as a guest for three days), and piety (as seen from his avoidance of sins). 

Furthermore, the man had purified his inner self of vices so he stated that he didn’t have any ill-feelings for others.  Abdul-Allah Ibn Amr got the message and exclaimed: Then that was why the Messenger of Allah declared you to be a man from Paradise for three consecutive days.

Then, the Muslim is advised to try to obey God by doing good deeds and avoid sins, but also by trying to mend his inner self by adorning it with good traits and ridding it of vices.  And God and His Messenger know best.

 

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The Best Nation

 (Keywords: Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil, Approving and Supporting Public Good, Disapproving and Discouraging Public Evil, Spread of Evil, Widespread Sins)

قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: {كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ} سورة آل عمران 110. ـ

  قال ابن كثير في تفسيره: ( {كنتم خير أمة أخرجت للناس تأمرون بالمعروف وتنهون عن المنكر وتؤمنون بالله} فمن اتصف من هذه الأمة بهذه الصفات دخل معهم في هذا الثناء عليهم والمدح لهم ، كما قال قتادة: بلغنا أن عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه في حجَّة حجَّها رأى من الناس سرعة، فقرأ هذه الآية: {كنتم خير أمة أخرجت للناس} ثم قال: من سره أن يكون من تلك الأمة فليؤد شرط الله فيها. رواه ابن جرير . ـ
ومن لم يتصف بذلك أشبه أهل الكتاب الذين ذمهم الله بقوله: {كانوا لا يتناهون عن منكر فعلوه لبئس ما كانوا يفعلون} [المائدة، 79]). انتهى. ـ

English Translation:

God the Almighty says in Qur’an: {You are the best nation ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Good and forbid Evil, and you believe in God} (Surah 3, verse 110).

Ibn Katheer said in his Exegesis: “{You are the best nation ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Good and forbid Evil, and you believe in God}. Therefore, whoever among this nation acquires these qualities, will be included in this praise.

The scholar Qatadah said: ‘We were told that Omar Ibn Al-Khattab while performing Hajj once, saw some people rushing, so he recited this verse and then said: `Whoever likes to be among the mentioned nation, then let him fulfill the condition that God has set in it.`’  Related by Ibn Jarir.

But those from this nation who do not acquire these qualities will be just like the People of the Scriptures whom God criticized in His verse: {They used not to forbid one another from the evil which they committed} (Surah 5, verse 79).”

 

The Almighty God has described this nation as the best nation among all nations, and then stated three reasons for that favor.  The nation of Prophet Muhammad is the last nation, but most favored one.  The three reasons for that favor mentioned in the verse are: First, they are firm believers in God as One and the Only God worthy of worship alone with no partners or equal, and they are firm believers in His Divine Message which He sent to His messengers and Prophets, including the last Prophet, Muhammad.  Second, they do righteous and enjoin good.  And third, they refrain from evil and sins and prohibit them.

It was God’s great mercy upon this nation that He made it the last but the greatest in reward.  Not only that, but this nation has been favored with many attributes that previous nations haven’t been favored with.  The message of Prophet Muhammad is general to all mankind, while other prophets were sent to specific people; the reward of a good deed is multiplied ten times while the sin is considered one misdeed for this nation; the knowledge granted to this nation encompasses all previous Scriptures, such that Islam explains everything so clearly and logically that no confusion or doubt remain; the gate of Repentance has been left open for this nation till the soul reaches the throat; this nation constitutes two thirds of the people of Paradise; and last but not least Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- would intercede for this great nation on the Day of Judgment.  Prophet Muhammad alluded to this favor in the following hadith:

 

       عن ‏حَكِيمِ بْنِ مُعَاوِيَةَ عن ‏أَبِيهِ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قَالَ: « أَنْتُمْ تُوَفُّون سَبْعِينَ أُمَّةً، أَنْتُمْ خَيْرُهَا، وَأَنْتُمْ أَكْرَمُ عَلَى اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَل».  رواه الترمذي وابن ماجه والحاكم وأحمد وإسناده حسن. ـ

Narrated Hakeem Ibn Mu’awiyah, narrated his father that the Messenger of God (Muhammad) -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “You are the final of seventy nations, you are the best and most honored among them to God.”  Related by At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Al-Hakim, and Ahmad.  (Hasan).

           However, the distinction of being the best nation comes with certain conditions and terms, chief among them are the three conditions mentioned in the verse.  Muslims would be favored if: 1) they truly believe in God and His Messengers, and act righteous by 2) enjoining good and doing it and 3) forbidding evil and sins and staying away from them.  Only if they fulfill these conditions, would they be considered the best nation.  But if they do not, then they are just like other creatures of God.  God -the Exalted- said in another verse:

قال الله عز وجل: وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ نَحْنُ أَبْنَاءُ اللَّهِ وَأَحِبَّاؤُهُ قُلْ فَلِمَ يُعَذِّبُكُم بِذُنُوبِكُم بَلْ أَنتُم بَشَرٌ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقَ يَغْفِرُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشَاءُ وَلِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ} سورة المائدة، 18. ـ

   God the Almighty says in Qur’an: { The Jews and the Christians say: ‘We are the children of God and His loved ones.’ Say: ‘Why then does He punish you for your sins then! Nay, you are but human beings of those He has created; He forgives whom He wills and He punishes whom He wills. And to God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them; and to Him is the final return (of all)} (Surah 5, verse 18).

   Ibn Katheer said: “Meaning, if you were truly God’s children and loved ones as you claim, then why did He prepare the Fire because of your disbelief, lies and false claims.

{Nay, you are but human beings, of those He has created}, God states: You are just like the rest of the children of Adam, and God is the Lord of all His creation.

{He forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills}:  God does what He wills, there is none who can escape His judgment, and He is swift in reckoning.

{And to God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them}: Therefore, everything is God’s property and under His power and control.

{And to Him is the return}: In the end, the return will be to God and He will judge between His servants as He will, and He is the Most Just Who is never wrong in His judgment). End Quote.

The same rule applies to this nation, if they believe in God and act righteous then they are favored and would be considered the best nation; but if they stray away from religion, stop acting righteous by accepting public sins then that favor is no longer in place, and they may be punished.

          Islam emphasizes enjoining good and forbidding evil as an important check and curb for the practice of sins individually and the spread of evil and sins in society.  The concept of Public Shame is an important concept that helps keep society in check and saves it from straying from morality.  Furthermore, the concept of Public Shame saves society from accepting degradation and loss of principles and ideals that continually erode with time.  As every generation passes on, some of its principles and ideals are lost as the new generation adopts new and oftentimes more bold and immoral practices and traditions.

          Therefore, Islam has prescribed the concept of enjoining good and forbidding evil in order to develop a sense of self-righteousness in the individual himself, and develop abhorrence and intolerance of public evil.  This in turn would create a society of moral and righteous people who not only care about their own family’s well-being, but also about the well-being of their neighbors and the whole society.  The end result is a peaceful and loving society that adheres to religious values and is characterized by morality and a high code of ethics.

           On the other hand, when people see evil and think nothing of it; when evil spreads among a community and people say nothing about it; and when most people get engaged in that evil with no objection or censure, then that community is at risk of some of punishment in one form or another.

Indeed, God the Almighty gives us many examples of some past communities that engaged in public sins and were therefore destroyed.  God the Almighty says in Qur’an:

  قال الله عز وجل: { الْحَاقَّةُ (1) مَا الْحَاقَّةُ (2) وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْحَاقَّةُ (3) كَذَّبَتْ ثَمُودُ وَعَادٌ بِالْقَارِعَةِ (4) فَأَمَّا ثَمُودُ فَأُهْلِكُوا بِالطَّاغِيَةِ (5) وَأَمَّا عَادٌ فَأُهْلِكُوا بِرِيحٍ صَرْصَرٍ عَاتِيَةٍ (6) سَخَّرَهَا عَلَيْهِمْ سَبْعَ لَيَالٍ وَثَمَانِيَةَ أَيَّامٍ حُسُومًا فَتَرَى الْقَوْمَ فِيهَا صَرْعَى كَأَنَّهُمْ أَعْجَازُ نَخْلٍ خَاوِيَةٍ (7) فَهَلْ تَرَى لَهُمْ مِنْ بَاقِيَةٍ (8) وَجَاءَ فِرْعَوْنُ وَمَنْ قَبْلَهُ وَالْمُؤْتَفِكَاتُ بِالْخَاطِئَةِ (9) فَعَصَوْا رَسُولَ رَبِّهِمْ فَأَخَذَهُمْ أَخْذَةً رَابِيَةً (10) إِنَّا لَمَّا طَغَى الْمَاءُ حَمَلْنَاكُمْ فِي الْجَارِيَةِ (11) لِنَجْعَلَهَا لَكُمْ تَذْكِرَةً وَتَعِيَهَا أُذُنٌ وَاعِيَةٌ } سورة الحاقة 1-12. ـ

 God the Almighty says in Qur’an: { 1. The Inevitable Reality (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)!  2. What is the Inevitable Reality? 3. And what will make you know what the Inevitable Reality is?

  1. The People of Thamood and Aad denied the striking Hour (i.e., Resurrection).
  2. As for Thamood, they were destroyed by the awful blast!
  3. And as for Aad, they were destroyed by a furious violent wind;
  4. Which God imposed on them for seven nights and eight days in succession, so you could see men lying overthrown (destroyed), as if they were hollow trunks of date-palms.
  5. Do you see any remnants of them?
  6. And there came Pharaoh, those before him, and the overturned Cities (i.e., the towns of the people of Lout (Lot), all committed sin.
  1. They disobeyed the messenger of their Lord, so He punished them with a strong punishment.
  2. Verily, when the water rose beyond its limits (Noah Flood), We carried you (mankind) in the floating (ship that was constructed by Noah).
  3. That We might make it for you a reminder and [that] a heedful ear would take heed} (Surah 69, verses 1-12).

    Then, Muslims are commanded to enjoin good and act upon it; and forbid evil and sins and refrain from it to avoid a similar fate like of those before us.  Not only that, but we have been warned time and again that when sins become widespread and Public Shame is lost, then punishment descends in one form or another.  Prophet Muhammad warned us of the consequences of five sins if they become widespread:

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ، قَالَ: أَقْبَلَ عَلَيْنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ: «‏ يَا مَعْشَرَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ خَمْسٌ إِذَا ابْتُلِيتُمْ بِهِنَّ وَأَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ أَنْ تُدْرِكُوهُنَّ: لَمْ تَظْهَرِ الْفَاحِشَةُ فِي قَوْمٍ قَطُّ حَتَّى يُعْلِنُوا بِهَا إِلاَّ فَشَا فِيهِمُ الطَّاعُونُ وَالأَوْجَاعُ الَّتِي لَمْ تَكُنْ مَضَتْ فِي أَسْلاَفِهِمُ الَّذِينَ مَضَوْا،‏ وَلَمْ يَنْقُصُوا الْمِكْيَالَ وَالْمِيزَانَ إِلاَّ أُخِذُوا بِالسِّنِينَ وَشِدَّةِ الْمَؤُنَةِ وَجَوْرِ السُّلْطَانِ عَلَيْهِمْ،‏ وَلَمْ يَمْنَعُوا زَكَاةَ أَمْوَالِهِمْ إِلاَّ مُنِعُوا الْقَطْرَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَلَوْلاَ الْبَهَائِمُ لَمْ يُمْطَرُوا، وَلَمْ يَنْقُضُوا عَهْدَ اللَّهِ وَعَهْدَ رَسُولِهِ إِلاَّ سَلَّطَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ عَدُوًّا مِنْ غَيْرِهِمْ فَأَخَذُوا بَعْضَ مَا فِي أَيْدِيهِمْ،‏ وَمَا لَمْ تَحْكُمْ أَئِمَّتُهُمْ بِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَيَتَخَيَّرُوا مِمَّا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ إِلاَّ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ بَأْسَهُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ».  رواه ابن ماجه. ـ

     Narrated Abdul-Allah Ibn Omar said: “Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- once turned to us and said: ‘O Group of the Migrants (Muhajireen), there are five things with which you will be tested, and I seek refuge with God lest you live to see them:

Immorality never appears among a people to such an extent that they commit it openly, but plagues and diseases that were never known among their predecessors will spread among them.

They do not cheat in weights and measures but they will be stricken with famine, severe calamity and the oppression of their rulers.

They do not withhold the obligatory charity (Zakah) of their wealth, but rain will be withheld from the sky, and were it not for the animals, no rain would fall on them.

They do not break their covenant with God and His Messenger, but God will enable their enemies to overpower them and take some of what is in their hands. 

And unless their leaders rule according to the Book of God and seek all good from that which God has revealed, God will cause them to fight one another.’ ”  Related by Ibn Majah.

Finally, Prophet Muhammad taught us to enjoin good and forbid evil, he taught us to encourage good and support it, and he taught us to abhor evil and try to prevent it.  He described enjoining good and liking it in public, and forbidding evil and disliking it in public as a sign of inner faith:

    عن أبي سعيد الخدري رضي الله عنه قال: سمعتُ رسولَ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: « مَنْ رَأَى مِنْكُم مُنْكراً فَلْيغيِّرْهُ بِيَدهِ، فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ، فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبقَلبهِ وَذَلَكَ أَضْعَفُ الإِيمَانِ» .  رواه مسلم والترمذي وابن ماجه والنسائي. ـ

        Narrated Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri -may God be pleased with him- said: “I heard Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- say: ‘Whoever amongst you witnesses an evil, then let him change it with his hand. If he is unable, then let him change it with his tongue. And if he is unable then let him change it with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith.’”

And in another narration: “There is no faith beyond that, not even the weight of a mustard seed.”  Related by Muslim, Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and An-Nasa’i.

Furthermore, we have been warned of the severe consequences of accepting sins and thinking nothing of it, or seeing sins and doing nothing about it:

        وعن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت: ( دخلَ عَلَيَّ النَّبِيُّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم، فعرفتُ في وجهه أن قد حضره شيءٌ، فتوضأ وما كلم أحداً، فلصقتُ بالحجرة أستمعُ ما يقول، فقعدَ على المنبرِ فحَمِدَ اللهَ وأَثْنَى عليهِ، وقال: « يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَقُولُ لكم: مُرُوا بِالمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَوْا عَنِ المُنْكَرِ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ تَدْعُوا فَلَا أُجِيبُ لَكُمْ، وَتَسْأَلُونِي فَلَا أُعْطِيكُم،ْ وَتَسْتَنْصِرُونِي فَلَا أَنْصُرُكُمْ» ، فما زاد عليهن حتى نزل) .  رواه ابن ماجه وابن حبان. ـ

   Narrated Aishah -may God be pleased with her- said: “The Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- once came inside the house, and it was evident from his face that he was concerned about something.  He performed ablution (wudu’) without talking to anybody and then went to the mosque. I stood close to the wall to carefully listen to what he was going to say.  The Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- sat at the pulpit, praised and extolled God, and then said:

‘O People, God says to you: Enjoin others to do good and forbid others from evil; otherwise a time will come when you pray but I will not answer you, ask Me for your needs but I will not grant them to you; and seek My assistance against your enemies, but I will not assist you.’   The Prophet prayer and peace be upon him- did not add anything further but came down from the pulpit.’ ”  Related by Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban.

 

   Once the Muslim adheres to these three conditions; namely the firm belief in God and His Messengers, enjoining good and acting on it, and forbidding evil and staying away from it, then s/he would be included in the highly praised, favored last nation, and his reward would be multiplied many-folds.  Furthermore, he would be among the first to enter Paradise as Prophet Muhammad mentioned:

‏   وعن ‏أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رضي الله عنه‏ ‏قال: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « نَحْنُ الْآخِرُونَ الأَوَّلُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، وَنَحْنُ أَوَّلُ مَنْ يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ».  متفق عليه. ـ

    Narrated Abu Hurairah -may God be pleased with him- that the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him-said: “We (Muslims) are the last (to come), but (will be) the foremost on the Day of Judgment, and will be the first people to enter Paradise.”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim.

 

Then, the sensible should know that this nation is the best nation and most favored one among all nations, but there are certain conditions that must be met.  Chief among these conditions are: 1) the firm belief in God as the Only God worthy of worship and the firm belief in his prophets and messengers, and acting righteous by 2) enjoining good and doing it and 3) forbidding evil and sins and refraining from them.  Only if the Muslim fulfills these conditions, he would be considered among the best nation.  But if the Muslim community does not adhere to these conditions, then it is just like other creatures of God, whom He either punishes or forgives.  We ask God for His Guidance, Forgiveness and Mercy.

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