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.”

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    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).

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     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.

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.
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 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.

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 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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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

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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.

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    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.

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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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