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.

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

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.

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

 

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.

——-

  

            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.

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

 

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.

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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.

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

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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The Final Destination (1)

  

      قال الله تعالى: { وَاتَّقُوا يَوْمًا تُرْجَعُونَ فِيهِ إِلَى اللَّهِ ثُمَّ تُوَفَّى كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَا كَسَبَتْ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ} سورة البقرة 281.

God the Almighty says in Qur’an (English translation): { And beware of the Day when you shall be brought back to God. Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and they shall never be dealt with unjustly } (Surah 2, 281).

———

        عن البراء بن عازب رضي الله عنه قال: ( خَرَجْنَا مع النبيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم ‏في جِنَازَةِ رَجُلٍ من الأنصار ‏فانتهينا إلى القَبْر، ولَمَّا ‏يُلْحَدْ، فَجَلَسَ ‏رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم ‏وجلسنا حوله وكَأَنَّ على رُءُوسِنَا الطَّيْرَ، وفي يَدِهِ عُودٌ ‏ ‏يَنْكُتُ ‏في الأرض، فَرَفَعَ رأسه فقال: « اسْتَعِيذُوا بِاللَّهِ مِنْ عَذَابِ القَبْرِ- مَرَّتَيْنِ ‏أَوْ ثَلَاثًا»  ‏ثُمَّ قَالَ: « إِنَّ العَبْدَ المُؤْمِنَ إِذَا كَانَ فِي انْقِطَاعٍ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا، وَإِقْبَالٍ مِنَ الآخِرَةِ نَزَلَ إِلَيْهِ مَلَائِكَةٌ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ بِيضُ الْوُجُوهِ، كَأَنَّ وُجُوهَهُمُ الشَّمْسُ، مَعَهُمْ كَفَنٌ مِنْ أَكْفَانِ الجَنَّةِ، ‏وَحَنُوطٌ مِنْ حَنُوطِ ‏ ‏الجَنَّةِ، حَتَّى يَجْلِسُوا مِنْهُ مَدَّ الْبَصَرِ، ثُمَّ يَجِيءُ مَلَكُ المَوْتِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام حَتَّى يَجْلِسَ عِنْدَ رَأْسِهِ، فَيَقُولُ: أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الطَّيِّبَةُ اخْرُجِي إِلَى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٍ، قَالَ: فَتَخْرُجُ تَسِيلُ كَمَا تَسِيلُ القَطْرَةُ مِنْ فِي السِّقَاءِ، ‏فَيَأْخُذُهَا فَإِذَا أَخَذَهَا لَمْ يَدَعُوهَا فِي يَدِهِ طَرْفَةَ عَيْنٍ حَتَّى يَأْخُذُوهَا فَيَجْعَلُوهَا فِي ذَلِكَ الكَفَنِ، وَفِي ذَلِكَ الحَنُوطِ، ‏وَيَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا كَأَطْيَبِ نَفْحَةِ مِسْكٍ وُجِدَتْ عَلَى وَجْهِ الأَرْضِ، قَالَ: فَيَصْعَدُونَ بِهَا، فَلا يَمُرُّونَ -‏يَعْنِي بِهَا- عَلَى مَلَإٍ مِنَ المَلَائِكَةِ إِلَّا قَالُوا: مَا هَذَا الرُّوحُ الطَّيِّبُ؟ فَيَقُولُونَ: فُلانُ بْنُ فُلانٍ – بِأَحْسَنِ أَسْمَائِهِ الَّتِي كَانُوا يُسَمُّونَهُ بِهَا فِي الدُّنْيَا- حَتَّى يَنْتَهُوا بِهَا إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا فَيَسْتَفْتِحُونَ لَهُ فَيُفْتَحُ لَهُمْ فَيُشَيِّعُهُ مِنْ كُلِّ سَمَاءٍ مُقَرَّبُوهَا إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الَّتِي تَلِيهَا، حَتَّى يُنْتَهَى بِهِ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ السَّابِعَةِ، فَيَقُولُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: ‏اكْتُبُوا كِتَابَ عَبْدِي فِي عِلِّيِّينَ، وَأَعِيدُوهُ إِلَى الأَرْضِ فَإِنِّي مِنْهَا خَلَقْتُهُمْ وَفِيهَا أُعِيدُهُمْ وَمِنْهَا أُخْرِجُهُمْ تَارَةً أُخْرَى.

 قَالَ: فَتُعَادُ رُوحُهُ فِي جَسَدِهِ فَيَأْتِيهِ مَلَكَانِ فَيُجْلِسَانِهِ فَيَقُولَانِ لَهُ: مَنْ رَبُّكَ؟ فَيَقُولُ: ‏رَبِّيَ اللَّهُ، فَيَقُولَانِ لَهُ: مَا دِينُكَ؟ فَيَقُولُ: ‏دِينِيَ الْإِسْلَامُ، فَيَقُولَانِ لَهُ: مَا هَذَا الرَّجُلُ الَّذِي بُعِثَ فِيكُمْ؟ فَيَقُولُ: هُوَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم، ‏‏فَيَقُولَانِ لَهُ: وَمَا عِلْمُكَ؟ فَيَقُولُ: قَرَأْتُ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ، فَآمَنْتُ بِهِ وَصَدَّقْتُ، فَيُنَادِي مُنَادٍ فِي السَّمَاءِ: أَنْ صَدَقَ عَبْدِي فَأَفْرِشُوهُ مِنَ الجَنَّةِ، وَأَلْبِسُوهُ مِنَ الجَنَّةِ، وَافْتَحُوا لَهُ بَابًا إِلَى الجَنَّةِ، قَالَ: فَيَأْتِيهِ مِنْ رَوْحِهَا وَطِيبِهَا، وَيُفْسَحُ لَهُ فِي قَبْرِهِ مَدَّ بَصَرِهِ، قَالَ: وَيَأْتِيهِ رَجُلٌ حَسَنُ الوَجْهِ، حَسَنُ الثِّيَابِ، طَيِّبُ الرِّيحِ؛ فَيَقُولُ: أَبْشِرْ بِالَّذِي يَسُرُّكَ، هَذَا يَوْمُكَ الَّذِي كُنْتَ تُوعَدُ، فَيَقُولُ لَهُ: مَنْ أَنْتَ فَوَجْهُكَ الوَجْهُ يَجِيءُ بِالْخَيْرِ؟ فَيَقُولُ: أَنَا عَمَلُكَ الصَّالِحُ، فَيَقُولُ: رَبِّ أَقِمِ السَّاعَةَ حَتَّى أَرْجِعَ إِلَى أَهْلِي وَمَالِي») الحديث.  رواه أحمد وأبو داود والحاكم بإسناد صحيح.

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Narrated Al-Bara’ Ibn ‘Azib -may God be pleased with him- said: “We went out with Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- to attend the funeral of an Ansari man.  We reached the gravesite, and it was not completely dug yet.  Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- sat, and we sat around him, as if the birds were over our heads [sitting quietly and still].  The Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- had a stick in his hand with which he was poking the ground.  He raised his head and said twice or three times: ‘Seek refuge with God from the punishment of the grave.’

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- then said: ‘When the believing slave is reaching the end of his time in the worldly life and the beginning of his Hereafter, a group of angels, whose faces are white and bright as the sun, will descend to him from heaven.  They will carry with them a white shroud from Paradise, and fragrance for enshrouding from Paradise.  They will sit around him as far as the eyesight can see. Then, the Angel of Death -peace be upon him- will come until he sits by his head, and say: ‘O good and pure soul, depart (your body) to God’s forgiveness and pleasure.’  So the soul comes out flowing just as the water drop flows out from the tip of the water skin, and the Angel of Death will take hold of it.

When the Angel of Death has captured the soul, the other angels will not leave it with him for more than an instance, but will take the soul and wrap it in that shroud, and place it in that fragrance.  A most pleasant musk scent ever found on earth will emit from the soul, and the angels will take the soul up (to heaven).

They will not pass by any group of angels, except they will ask: ‘Whose is this blessed soul?’  They (the angels) will reply: ‘So and so person, the son of such and such person,’ calling him by the best names that he used to be called in the world.  They will go on until they will reach the heaven closest to the world and will ask permission for him to enter, and they will be given permission to enter.  The best residents of every heaven will then accompany him to the next heaven, until he is brought to the seventh heaven.  The Almighty God will say: ‘List my slave’s record in `Illiyyin (the Highest Register) and send him back to the earth, for I have created them from it, and into it I shall return them, and from it I shall resurrect them once again.’

The soul will be returned to his body, and two angels will come to him, sit him up and ask him: ‘Who is your Lord?’  He will reply: ‘God is my Lord.’  They will ask him: ‘What is your religion?’  He will reply: ‘My religion is Islam.’  They will ask him: ‘What do you say about this man (Prophet Muhammad) who was sent with the message to you?’  He will reply: ‘He is the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him.’  They will ask him: ‘And how do you know that?’  He will say: ‘I read the Holy Book of God (the Qur’an), and had faith and belief in it.’  Then, a caller (God) will call from heaven: ‘My slave has said the truth. Therefore, furnish him from Paradise, let him wear from (the clothes of) Paradise, and open a door for him to Paradise.’

So some of Paradise’s breeze and fragrance will reach him, and his grave will be expanded for him as far as his sight can see. Then, a man with a handsome face, fine clothes and a pleasant smell will come to him and say: ‘Receive the glad tidings with that which pleases you. This is the Day that you have been promised.’  He will ask him: ‘Who are you; for yours is the face that brings good news?’  He will reply: ‘I am your good deeds.’  He will say: ‘O my Lord! Hasten with the commencement of the Hour, so I can return to my family and my wealth.’’ ” The complete Hadith.   Related by Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Al-Hakim with an authentic (Sahih) narration.

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Trials and Tribulations

(keywords: Patience, Gratefulness, Ingratitude and Complaining) 

     قال الله تعالى: { أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُواْ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُم مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْاْ مِن قَبْلِكُم مَّسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَآءُ وَالضَّرَّآءُ وَزُلْزِلُواْ حَتَّى يَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَعَهُ مَتَى نَصْرُ اللَّهِ أَلاَ إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ} سورة البقرة 214.

      God -the Exalted- says: { Do you think that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you. They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, ‘When will the help of God come’.  Yes! Certainly, the help of God is near (to come)} (Surah 2, verse 214).

    عن 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 .

   Narrated Abu Yahya, 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.


 

God the Almighty created the humans and jinns to worship Him and obey His commands.  God -the Exalted- says in Qur’an:

{And I (God) did not create the jinns and humans except to worship Me (Alone)} (surah 51, verse 56).

Then those who obey God will have the reward of Paradise, and those who disobey God and reject His commands will have the punishment of Hell-Fire.  Therefore, this life is a test for humans and jinns; whether they believe or disbelieve, whether they obey or disobey the commands of God, and whether they show thanks and gratitude or impatience and ingratitude.


    

      This life is a test for people to see who among them believes and disbelieves, who obeys God’s commands and who disobeys, who refrains from sins and who commits sins and misdeeds.  The Son of Adam will then see the results of his actions on the Day of Judgment. 

But to distinguish between people and their categories, people will face and go through certain tests.  These tests could be problems or troubles in their health, wealth, relatives, income, food and drink, belief system, and the like. 

 

Thus, the test of the worldly life includes having problems, trials and tribulation that the son of Adam must go through in order to distinguish between the true believers and the hypocrites and disbelievers.  As the above verse mentions, in order to get the greatest Reward of Paradise the believer must pass a test.  Everyone must pass through this test, both past generation and present, both righteous and sinners, and both old and young.  These tests come in the form of problems, trials and tribulations.  The test may afflict the person in his health, wealth, family, life, or worse of all in his religion.

When the test afflicts the son of Adam, his reaction and responses are recorded.  Then the recompense is tended based on that.  For the believer who stands firm in the face of these calamities, bears them patiently, returns to God and seeks His help, the result is great reward and the promise of peace of heart and contentment in this life and Paradise in the Hereafter.  But for that who complains and shows impatience and ingratitude, the recompense is more misery in this life and punishment in the Hereafter.


 

        Many times we forget the real purpose of the worldly life and as soon as a problem befalls us, we tend to complain and show signs of impatience and ingratitude.  Some people go further and ask: Why this happened to me?  When a natural disaster strikes, some wonder: why us?

But how soon the son of Adam forgets his own actions and ignore the consequences of his bad deeds until it is too late.  God -the Exalted- states in Qur’an: {And whatever befalls you of disaster, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much} (Surah 42, verse 30). 

Ali Ibn Abi Talib said: “Hardships befall you in the world because of your sins.” 

    Instead of complaining and showing ingratitude, the believer must:

First, repent of all sins and ask God’s forgiveness. 

Second, the believer must remind himself of the real purpose of this life.  The believer must ponder upon the reason behind the trials and tribulations of this world, and that is to test his faith, his patience, and his firmness in religion.  These problems and troubles are a test for the believer, whether he stands firm and bear the problem patiently seeking God’s help, or does he waver and starts having doubts and worse deny the bounty of God. 

And third, the believer must surrender to God’s will and accept Pre-destiny, believing that God has judged it this way and the don of Adam must accept it, while in the meantime try his best to find a solution.


 

     The believer must remember that previous nations went through the same trials and tribulations and now they are being tended the reward or punishment of their actions (in their graves).  One day we will be considered a past generation and we too will see the results of our actions in the Hereafter after death.   

And just like when previous nations indulged in sins, they saw the effects of that in their worldly life, so will we unless we repent and avoid those sins.  Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- warned of such sins:

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ، قَالَ أَقْبَلَ عَلَيْنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ 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 والحاكم والبيهقي، بإسناد حسن.

   It was narrated that Abdul-Allah Ibn Omar said: “The Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- turned to us and said: ‘O group of the Muhajireen (the migrants), beware of being afflicted with five characteristics, and I seek refuge in God of them befalling you:

  1. Adultery  never appears among a group of 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.
  2. They do not cheat in weights and measures, but they will be stricken with famine, hardship in provision, and the oppression of their rulers.
  3. They do not withhold the Zakah (charity) of their wealth, but rain will be withheld from the sky, and were it not for the animals, no rain would fall on them.
  4.  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.
  5. 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, Al-Hakim, and Al-Beihaqi.

—-

     Then, the sensible person should reflect upon his action when afflicted with a problem or a calamity. 

The believer should remind himself of the real purpose of this life and the test he must pass through to attain Paradise.  The Muslim should always think of trials and tribulations as something that will absolve him of his sins and increase his reward.

Therefore instead of complaining and showing ingratitude, he should bear the problem patiently, turn to God and seek His help, and then surrender to Pre-destiny and accept God’s Judgment while trying his best to find a way out of his trouble.  We ask God to guide us to the Right Path, and make us die on Faith.  And God knows best.

 

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Families of the Righteous (Umm Sulaym and Anas Ibn Malik)

(Umm Sulaim, Umm Sulaym, Umm Suleim)

When the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his companions migrated to Medina, the Ansar tribe welcomed them with open arms and incredible hospitality.  Not only did they make the Muhajir migrants feel welcome, but the Ansar shared their homes and wealth with them. This happened to such an extent that Allah the Exalted praised their act of altruism in the Holy Qur’an: {And those who, before them, had homes (in Medina) and had adopted the Faith, love those who emigrate to them, and have no jealousy in their breasts for that which they have been given, and give them (the emigrants) preference over themselves, even though they were in need. And whosoever is saved from the covetousness of his soul, then it is those who will be the successful} (59:9).

One of the leading Ansari families in Medina that showed such warm welcome and utmost altruism was the family of Umm Sulaym, may Allah be pleased with her.  When the Prophet ﷺ arrived at Medina, Umm Sulaym went to him with her son Anas Ibn Malik in tow.  Umm Sulaym was among the first group to accept Islam in Medina, and when Abu Talha proposed to her, she made his acceptance of Islam as her only dowry.  Having this strong faith, she offered the Prophet ﷺ the most precious gift as seen in this authentic hadith:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him: “The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ immigrated to Medina when I was ten years old.  When he arrived at Medina, my mother Umm Sulaym took me to the Prophet ﷺ and said to him:

‘This is Anas, my young son.  I have brought him to serve you.’

So the Prophet ﷺ accepted her offer.”  (Related by Ibn Hajr Al-‘Asqalani in his book Al-Isaba fi Tamyiz As-Sahaba.)

What a great sacrifice by a mother! But she did it for the sake of Allah and in seeking His pleasure.  But ultimately, it was she who benefited most, for what greater blessing is there than being with the Prophet, listening to his blessed speech, and observing his noble action nearly all the time?

Umm Sulaym was also a great manifestation of patience and wisdom.  When her young son died, she did not wail and despair, but was calm and took matters into her hands to break the news to her husband Abu Talha in such a gentle and appealing way that the Prophet invoked Allah for her, as seen in the following hadith:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him: “A son of Abu Talha who was born of Umm Sulaym died. Umm Sulaym said to the members of her family: ‘Do not tell Abu Talha about his son until I do so.’  When Abu Talha came home, she presented supper to him, and he ate and drank water.  She then embellished herself as best like she did not do before, and he (Abu Talha) shared bed with her that night.  When she saw that he was full and had slept with her, she said: ‘O Abu Talha, if some people lent something to another family, and then they asked for its return, could the second family stop its return?’  He said: ‘No.’  She said: ‘Then seek the reward of the death of your son.’  He was angry, and said: ‘You did not inform me until I lay down with you and then you told me about my son.’  He went to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and informed him about what happened.  Thereupon the Messenger ﷺ said:

‘May Allah bless both of you in the night you spent together.’ ”

(Related by Bukhari and Muslim.)

Ubaya bin Rufa’a said: “Afterwards, I saw seven sons of that young boy. All of them had memorized the Qur’an.”

Umm Sulaym’s son, Anas Ibn Malik, benefited greatly from his association with the Prophet ﷺ, not only in terms of religious knowledge but also in worldly blessings.  Anas learned much while serving the Prophet ﷺ, and narrated over 2000 hadiths.  He is considered the third most prolific narrators of hadith (after Abu Hurayra and Ibn ‘Umar).  One of the greatest aspects he narrated of the Prophet ﷺ was his high morals and noble manners:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him: “I served the Messenger of Allah ﷺ for ten years, and he never said a word of displeasure to me (Uff), nor did he ever say to me concerning something I had done: ‘Why did you do that?’.  And he never said to me concerning something I had not done: ‘Why did you not do this?’. He had the best character. And I never touched silk or anything else that was softer than the palm of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.  And I never smelled any musk or perfume that had a better fragrance than the sweat of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.”  (Related by Al-Tirmidhi, also related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.)


Umm Sulaym
then asked the Prophet  to invoke Allah to grant blessings upon her son, and so he did.  And Anas saw the result of that supplication in his life:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him: “My mother, Umm Anas, took me to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, having dressed me in upper and lower garments made from her headdress, and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, this is my son Unais; I have brought him to you to serve you. Invoke Allah’s blessings upon him.’ Thereupon the Prophet ﷺ supplicated: ‘O Allah, make abundant his wealth and progeny.’  Anas said: ‘By Allah, my fortune is huge and my children and grandchildren are more than one hundred today.”  (Related by Muslim.)

So Umm Sulaym was the one who gained most from her offer.  Indeed, not only did she see her son prosper in wealth and progeny, but she herself gained a high status with Allah.  She continued to obey Allah and His Messenger ﷺ and do all in her power to serve the Prophet.  She was given the glad tidings of Paradise by the Prophet ﷺ himself:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet ﷺ said:

“I entered Paradise and heard the sound of footsteps.  I said: ‘Who is that?’  It was said: ‘This is Al-Gumaysa’ Bint Milhan, the mother of Anas Ibn Malik.”

(Related by Muslim.)

Such people demonstrated the reality of having a good opinion in Allah (husn al-dhan billah), knowing that what little sacrifice they offer will result in blessings in both worlds, and that Allah will never put any deed to waste. Allah says: Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – indeed, We will not allow to be lost the reward of any who did well in deeds. (Qur’an 18:30).

May Allah be pleased with them all.