Ramadan: The Month of Fasting and Divine Revelation

  

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

 

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

 

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

In Islam, one entire month has been designated for fasting and that is the month of Ramadan or the ninth month of the Hijri (lunar) calendar.  Muslims are obligated to fast this entire month and must make up for any day missed because of travelling or sickness.  The month of Ramadan is a blessed month and is given a great status in Islam.  Indeed, the good deeds in this month are multiplied manifolds and the reward is magnified as shown in the following authentic hadith:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Thus, when the Muslim fasts the month of Ramadan, s/he is actually exercising self-control and learning the strategies and techniques of overcoming the destructive desires of the Evil-Tempting Self, while giving way and dominance to the Righteous and Pious Self.  Fasting is a spiritual exercise that starts with learning how to resist the desire for food and drink, but extends to learning how to resist other desires, including sins.  The Muslim learns how to overcome his desire for food and drink for a short time, but at the same times practices how to resist other temptations and sins for a long time.

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

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

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

Leilatul-Qadr is a great night that occurs during the last ten days of the Month of Ramadan.  More specifically, this night occurs during the last seven odd nights of the Month of Ramadan (23, 25, 27, and 29).  Since the next day starts at sunset in Islam, the night of 23 actually occurs on 22nd at night.  The scholars said that Leilatul-Qadr changes from year to year; it may occur on 27th one year, but on 25th in another year and so forth.  The Muslim is advised to devote himself to the worship of God during every night of the last ten days of the Month of Ramadan so as not to miss the great reward of this blessed night. During the last ten nights of Ramadan, the Muslims should occupy himself with praying Taraweeh (the night prayers), with reciting the Qur’an, with Dhikr or glorifying God, and with Dua or making supplication to God.  Prophet Muhammad taught us what to say during this great night:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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The Entirely Merciful, The Especially Merciful

‏        قال الله عز وجل: { هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ هُوَ الرَّحْمَنُ الرَّحِيمُ * هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ * هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ } سورة الحشر 22–24

 God the Almighty says in Qur’an (English translation): {

  1. He is God, none has the right to be worshipped but He, Knower of the Invisible and the Visible. He is the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
  2. He is God, none has the right to be worshipped but He, the King, the Holy, the Peace, the Bestower of Faith and security, the Guardian, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to God! Exalted is God above whatever they associate with Him.
  3. He is God, the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner. To Him belong the Most Honorable Names. All that is in the Heavens and the Earth glorify Him. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise} (Surah 59, verses 22-24).

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Islam is the religion that recognizes and praises God as the Only One true God and rejects associating any partners in His worship.  Islam is the religion that admits God’s perfection and asserts His Most High characteristics and Most Honorable Names.  In Islam, God is the Only One worthy of worship, the Only One with Perfect qualities, the Only One free of any flaw or imperfection, and the Only One with the Ultimate Power and Reign.

The word ‘Islam’ in the Arabic language comes from the root ‘Aslama (أسْلَمَ)’ which means: to Submit, to Surrender and to Obey.  In religion, Islam mean: to Submit and Surrender to the Only One God, and to Obey God by following His orders and avoiding things He has forbidden (sins).  The beauty of Islam appears when the Muslim fully implements God’s rules and tries to spread peace and justice on Earth.  The Muslim submits to God’s will and tries his best to follow God’s commands.

Islam puts great emphasis on living by Good Morals and avoiding bad morals and sins.  As an example, the Holy Book (Qur’an) mentions the Most Honorable Names of God and describes some of God’s Perfect qualities.  The Muslims are asked to reflect on these qualities and try to implement them in their daily lives and interactions.

God describes Himself in many instances as the Most Merciful, the Most Forgiving, and the Most Compassionate.  In Qur’an, many stories that describe the great Mercy of God are mentioned.  The first story is the story of our father and Prophet Adam, who ate from the forbidden tree.  The Qur’an describes Adam’s feeling of regret and remorse after eating from the tree, and the great Mercy of God when He accepted Adam’s repentance and pardoned him.  Thus in this story, we can appreciate the following Honorable Name of God: The Most Merciful (Al-Rahman), the Most Forgiving (Al-Ghafoor), the Pardoner (Al-Afewwu), and the Acceptor of Repentance (Al-Tawwab).

The story of Noah is described in chronological order in Qur’an.  The struggle of Prophet Noah with his people and his efforts to show them guidance is explained.  Also mentioned is the way Noah’s people reacted to his message and how they showed disdain and contempt for his message, going as far as making fun of him.  Then we read about his occupation with building the ark and taking the few believers and a pair of each animal on it with him.  And finally, we recite the verses that talk about the wrath of God and the Great Flood and how it destroyed the people who made fun of Prophet Noah’s message.  Thus in this story, we can appreciate the following Honorable Name of God: the Most Powerful (Al-Qawee), the Exalted in Might (Al-Aziz), the Compeller (Al-Jabbar), the Prevailing (Al-Qahhar), and the Supreme (Al-Mutakabbir).  Indeed, when the people of Noah rejected the message of their prophet and made fun of it, they were punished and destroyed (may God keep us safe).

The Story of Prophet Job (Ayyoob) is mentioned in Qur’an in beautiful details.  The entreaty of Prophet Job and the events that led to it are described.  We read how Prophet Job had enjoyed health and wealth for some time, but then was afflicted and lost everything except his patient and indefatigable wife.  Prophet Job was tested with the loss of all of his wealth and with severe body diseases that left him powerless and prone to sickness and fatigue.  He endured all of that patiently, never complaining about his trials and tribulations but putting his trust in God.  Finally, when Satan tried to mislead his wife by asking her to seek Satan’s help, Prophet Job raised his hands and supplicated to his Lord.  God says in Qur’an, Chapter 21, verse 83:

{ And (remember) Ayyoob (Job), when he called to his Lord: “Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy.  So We responded to his call, and removed what distressed him. And We restored his family to him (that he had lost), and the like thereof along with them, as a mercy from Ourselves and a Reminder for all who worship Us}.

So God responded to Prophet Job’s call, and granted him double his health and wealth as a reward for his patience and as a sign of God’s great Mercy.

In this beautiful story, we appreciate the following Honorable Names of God: The All-Hearer (Al-Samee’), the All-Seer (Al-Baseer), the Responder to supplication (Al-Mujeeb), the Preserver (Al-Hafeedh), the Nourisher (Al-Muqeet), the Most Generous (Al-Kareem), the Compassionate (Al-Ra’oof), and the Most Kind (Al-Barr).

 

Another Quality of God is the Most Kind and Planner (Al-Lateef).  God plans what is best for His sincere slaves.  In Qur’an, the story of Prophet Joseph (Yoosuf) is described in detail.  The Qur’an describes the earliest sign of Joseph’s prophet-hood when he saw in a dream as if the sun, the moon and eleven planets are prostrating to him.  He told his father (Prophet Jacob) about his dream, so Prophet Jacob warned him not to tell his elder brothers.  Prophet Jacob loved his son Joseph dearly which made Joseph’s elder brothers feel jealous.  They planned and God planned.  They planned to abduct Joseph and throw him in the well, but God planned that the ruler of Egypt would eventually buy young Joseph and raise him.  Then a group of women of high class who were besotted with Prophet Joseph planned to entice him.  When he refused to give in, they planned to send him to prison.  But God planned what was better for Prophet Joseph, so he interpreted dreams until the king heard of him few years later and appointed him the new ruler of Egypt.

Thus, we learn that God has the Ultimate Knowledge and Wisdom.  God has the Ultimate Patience and Forbearance.  God has the Ultimate Mercy and kindness.  And God has the Ultimate Power and Reign.

The Most Honorable Names and qualities of God are mentioned in many places in the Qur’an.  The Most Honorable Names depict characteristics that are 100%.  For example, while a human can be 60% merciful, for God all characteristics are 100%.  So in many cases, the characteristic becomes a name with God.  Thus, God is the Peace, the Most Merciful, the Most Forgiving and so forth.

          Islam praises God as the Perfect One God with no flaw or any imperfection whatsoever.  Islam rejects any partners in His worship, any injustices attributed to God, any false accusation, or any imperfection whatsoever. 

Islam states that this world is a test to see who follows God’s command and acts righteous and who follows the path of misguidance and Satan.  This test includes trials and tribulations that man must pass through to get the result.  Thus, this world was created imperfect for the purpose of testing, and all humans must pass through this test.  The Hereafter or life after death, on the other hand, is a perfect world with Paradise for the pious and Hell for the disbelievers.

In Islam, the Muslim submits and surrenders to One and Only One God.  The Muslim worships Only One God and admits God’s Perfection and Ultimate Power.  The Muslim ponders upon God’s qualities and tries to implement them in his daily lives.  The Muslim shows mercy, forgiveness, kindness, compassion, and other good morals.  The Muslim tries to live by the moral code of Prophet Muhammad who was of a very high moral character.  The Muslim then expects reward from His Lord and Paradise.

          In the last verse above, God the Almighty says: { He is God, the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner.  To Him belong the Most Honorable Names.  All that is in the Heavens and the Earth glorify Him. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise}.

We can appreciate the great words of God, and sense the great meanings behind these words.  Indeed, He is God, and the Only One God worthy of worship.  He is the Creator, the inventor and the maker of Form.  The believer submits and surrenders before the One Creator and rejects paganistic theories.  God gives reference to His Most Honorable Names for humans to ponder upon, to reflect on their meanings, and to try to implement them.  Indeed, as God mentions, everything in the Heavens and Earth glorify His praises and attest to His Magnificence, Glory and Grandeur.  We may not see it or realize it fully now, but certainly we shall clearly see it in the Hereafter.  Indeed, God is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.

And God knows best.

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Repel Evil With Good

 

       قال الله عز وجل: { وَلاَ تَسْتَوِى الْحَسَنَةُ وَلاَ السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِى بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِىٌّ حَمِيمٌ * وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَآ إِلاَّ ذُو حَظِّ عَظِيمٍ } سورة فصلت 34-35.

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

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God the Almighty says in Qur’an (English translation): { The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better, then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, will become as though he was a close friend.  35. But none is granted it except those who are patient — and none is granted it except the owner of great fortune} (Surah 41, verse 34-35).

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

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

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

Ibn Abbas -may God be pleased with them- said: “ Repel evil with good: means they ward off the misdeed with a good deed.”

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Islam urges on good manners and forgiveness (‘afow), and promises great reward for them.  Good manners and forgiveness, apart from being a command of God and His Messenger -prayer and peace be upon him, create a united and loving family, community, society, and whole nation.  When every individual treats others like he himself wants to be treated, then the result is a family or community that is free of enmity (‘adaweh), hatred and disputes.  When family members and friends treat each with good manners and forgiveness, then the community becomes loving and united, and so the whole nation becomes loving and united.

Indeed, it is through nice manners and forgiveness that a Muslim wins others.  It is through good morals and forgiveness that others will come to naturally like him.  While bad manners and anger only serve to make others dislike you and lead them away from you!

Given the fact that no human is perfect and they all tend to behave in an unseemingly or impolite manner one time or another, the Muslim should then learn to forgive others.  He should find excuses for them.  He should think they acted that way because of sleeplessness, or she talked like that because she was tired or anxious, etc.  Muslims should learn to forgive each other, for it has a great reward, as mentioned in the above hadeeth, and moreover forgiveness fosters good relations and peace of mind and soul.

In the verse above, the Almighty God states that if you repel evil with good, { Then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, will become as though he was a close friend}.  Thus, if you treat the one who mistreated you with forgiveness and kindness, s/he will regret his/her bad behavior and will be ashamed of his action.  Furthermore, if you continue in your kindness and good manners, this will lead to reconciliation and good relationship, and may even lead to close friendship and companionship.

Finally, it is mentioned in the hadeeth that when it is the Day of Judgment, it would be called: ‘Let those who forgave others for the sake of God rise.’  They would get up and then be led to Paradise while other people are still undergoing hisab or accounting.  Then what a great reward there is in forgiveness (‘afow).  Know that when you give up your anger and forgive others’ mistakes or slips for the sake of God, then that wouldn’t be wasted, rather you would get a great reward in its place, both in this life and the Hereafter.  And God knows best.

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The Innumerous Blessings

‏        عن جابرِ بنِ عبد اللَّهِ رضي الله عنهما قال: ( خَرَجَ عَلَيْنَا النَّبِيُّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم، فَقَالَ: « خَرَجَ مِنْ عِنْدِي خَلِيلِي جِبْرِيلُ آنِفًا فَقَالَ: يَا محمَّد، وَالَّذِي بَعَثَكَ بِالْحَقِّ إِنَّ لِلَّهِ عَبْدًا مِنْ عَبِيدِهِ، عَبَدَ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى خَمْسَمِائَةِ سَنَةٍ عَلَى رَأْسِ جَبَلٍ فِي الْبَحْرِ عَرْضُهُ وَطُولُهُ ثَلَاثُونَ ذِرَاعًا فِي ثَلَاثِينَ ذِرَاعًا، وَالْبَحْرُ مُحِيطٌ بِهِ أَرْبَعَةَ آلَافِ فَرْسَخٍ مِنْ كُلِّ نَاحِيَةٍ، وَأَخْرَجَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى لَهُ عَيْنًا عَذْبَةً بِعَرْضِ الْأُصْبَعِ تَبِضُّ بِمَاءٍ عَذْبٍ فَتَسْتَنْقِعُ فِي أَسْفَلِ الْجَبَلِ، وَشَجَرَةَ رُمَّانٍ تُخْرِجُ لَهُ كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ رُمَّانَةً فَتُغَذِّيهِ يَوْمَهُ، فَإِذَا أَمْسَى نَزَلَ فَأَصَابَ مِنَ الْوَضُوءِ وَأَخَذَ تِلْكَ الرُّمَّانَةَ فَأَكَلَهَا ثُمَّ قَامَ لِصَلَاتِهِ، فَسَأَلَ رَبَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ عِنْدَ وَقْتِ الْأَجَلِ أَنْ يَقْبِضَهُ سَاجِدًا، وَأَنْ لَا يَجْعَلَ لِلْأَرْضِ وَلَا لِشَيْءٍ يُفْسِدُهُ عَلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا حَتَّى بَعَثَهُ وَهُوَ سَاجِدٌ، قَالَ: فَفَعَلَ، فَنَحْنُ نَمُرُّ عَلَيْهِ إِذَا هَبَطْنَا وَإِذَا عَرَجْنَا.

 فَنَجِدُ لَهُ فِي الْعِلْمِ أَنَّهُ يُبْعَثُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَيُوقَفُ بَيْنَ يَدَيِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فَيَقُولُ لَهُ الرَّبُّ: أَدْخِلُوا عَبْدِي الْجَنَّةَ بِرَحْمَتِي، فَيَقُولُ: رَبِّ بَلْ بِعَمَلِي، فَيَقُولُ الرَّبُّ: أَدْخِلُوا عَبْدِي الْجَنَّةَ بِرَحْمَتِي، فَيَقُولُ: يَا رَبِّ بَلْ بِعَمَلِي، فَيَقُولُ الرَّبُّ: أَدْخِلُوا عَبْدِي الْجَنَّةَ بِرَحْمَتِي، فَيَقُولُ: رَبِّ بَلْ بِعَمَلِي،  فَيَقُولُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ: قَايِسُوا عَبْدِي بِنِعْمَتِي عَلَيْهِ وَبِعَمَلِهِ.  فَتُوجَدُ نِعْمَةُ الْبَصَرِ قَدْ أَحَاطَتْ بِعِبَادَةِ خَمْسِ مِائَةِ سَنَةٍ وَبَقِيَتْ نِعْمَةُ الْجَسَدِ فَضْلًا عَلَيْهِ، فَيَقُولُ: أَدْخِلُوا عَبْدِي النَّارَ.

  قَالَ فَيُجَرُّ إِلَى النَّارِ فَيُنَادِي: رَبِّ بِرَحْمَتِكَ أَدْخِلْنِي الْجَنَّةَ، فَيَقُولُ: رُدُّوهُ فَيُوقَفُ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ، فَيَقُولُ: يَا عَبْدِي، مَنْ خَلَقَكَ وَلَمْ تَكُ شَيْئًا؟  فَيَقُولُ: أَنْتَ يَا رَبِّ،  فَيَقُولُ: كَانَ ذَلِكَ مِنْ قِبَلِكَ أَوْ بِرَحْمَتِي؟  فَيَقُولُ: بَلْ بِرَحْمَتِكَ.  فَيَقُولُ: مَنْ قَوَّاكَ لِعِبَادَةِ خَمْسِ مِائَةِ عَامٍ؟  فَيَقُولُ: أَنْتَ يَا رَبِّ،  فَيَقُولُ: مَنْ أَنْزَلَكَ فِي جَبَلٍ وَسَطَ اللُّجَّةِ وَأَخْرَجَ لَكَ الْمَاءَ الْعَذْبَ مِنَ الْمَاءِ الْمَالِحِ وَأَخْرَجَ لَكَ كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ رُمَّانَةً وَإِنَّمَا تَخْرُجُ مَرَّةً فِي السَّنَةِ، وَسَأَلْتَنِي أَنْ أَقْبِضَكَ سَاجِدًا فَفَعَلْتُ ذَلِكَ بِكَ؟  فَيَقُولُ: أَنْتَ يَا رَبِّ،  فَقَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: فَذَلِكَ بِرَحْمَتِي وَبِرَحْمَتِي أُدْخِلُكَ الْجَنَّةَ، أَدْخِلُوا عَبْدِيَ الْجَنَّةَ فَنِعْمَ الْعَبْدُ كُنْتَ يَا عَبْدِي، فَيُدْخِلُهُ اللَّهُ الْجَنَّةَ. قَالَ جِبْرِيلُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ: إِنَّمَا الْأَشْيَاءُ بِرَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى يَا محمَّد» .  رواه الحاكم.

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         Narrated Jabir Ibn Abdil-Allah -may God be pleased with them- said: “Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- came out to us and said:

‘My close companion Angel Gabriel just left me and he had said: `O Muhammad, by the One Who sent you with the true message, there is a slave of God, who worshipped the Almighty God for 500 years.  The slave was granted a shelter on top of a mountain whose length and width were thirty by thirty arm-lengths, and which was surrounded by the sea for four thousand leagues from all sides.  The Almighty God made a stream of fresh water with the width of a finger to flow through the mountain and collect at the mountain base for him.  The Almighty God also raised for him a pomegranate tree that grew one pomegranate every night from which the man would eat during the day.  Every evening, the man would go down, make ablution, and eat from that pomegranate, then stand up in prayer to his Lord.

The man supplicated his Lord -the Almighty- to take his soul while in prostration, and guard him against the earth and everything else until he would be resurrected in that state.

Angel Gabriel said: the Almighty God answered his supplication and granted his prayer.  So whenever we come down to the Earth or go up to the sky, we find this man (dead) but in a perpetual state of prostration to God.

          We find in the future knowledge that on the Day of Judgment, the Almighty God would say to the the angels: ‘Take this slave of Mine to Paradise with My Mercy.’   But the man would say: ‘O Lord, reward me with my good deeds.’  The Lord would say: ‘Take My Slave to Paradise with My Mercy.’  But the man would say: ‘O Lord, reward me with my good deeds.’  The Lord would say: ‘Take My Slave to Paradise with My Mercy.’   But the man would say: ‘O Lord, reward me with my good deeds.’

So the Almighty God would instruct the angels: ‘Measure his good deeds in comparison to My blessings on him.’  It would be found that 500 years of his worship would not even equal the blessings of the eyesight, and the bounty of the rest of his body would still remain in excess.

So God would say to the angels: ‘Take My slave to Hell-Fire.’  The man would be dragged toward Hell-Fire but he would plead: ‘O Lord, let me enter Paradise with Your Mercy.’   God would say: ‘Bring him back.’

The Almighty God would then say to him: ‘O My slave, Who created you from non-existence?’  The man would reply: ‘You have created me, O My Lord.’  God would say: ‘That was because of you or because of My Mercy?’  The man would reply: ‘Rather because of Your Mercy.’  God would say: ‘Who granted you the ability to worship for 500 years?’  The man would reply: ‘You, O My Lord.’  God would say: ‘Who placed you on the mountain surrounded by the ocean? Who created a stream of fresh water to flow in between the salty water? Who made a pomegranate to grow every night for you while it grows once a year?  And you supplicated Me to take your soul in a state of prostration, who did that?’  The man would reply: ‘‘You, O My Lord.’

The Almighty God would say: ‘Indeed, all of that happened with My Mercy, and with My Mercy you will enter Paradise.  Take My slave to Paradise.  Indeed, a righteous and good servant you were, O My slave.’  So God would let him enter Paradise.  Angel Gabriel -peace be upon him- said: O Muhammad, everything is by the Mercy of the Almighty God.` ’ ”  Related by Al-Haakim.

 

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Indeed, humans have been granted blessings in everything: in health, in wealth, in progeny, in food, in dwelling, and in everything.  Yet, man being ungrateful often dwells on the few problems he has and forgets the many blessings he enjoys. 

God says in Qur’an: { And God has given you of all that you asked for, and if you try to count the blessings of God, never will you be able to count them. Verily, man is indeed most unjust, ungrateful} (Surah 14, verse 34).  Man is unjust when he uses the blessings of God in a bad way or to do sins, and he is ungrateful when he does not thank God for the many blessings but only remembers the few problems he may have.

          The Muslim should thank God for every single blessing he has and should never take it for granted.  And in case a problem or a calamity strikes him, then instead of focusing on this one single problem the Muslim should think of the many other blessings that God has granted him and should thank God for them.

In another verse, God says: { And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: “If you thank Me, I will give you more; but if you are thankless, verily, My punishment is indeed severe”} (Surah 14, verse 7).  Thus, God promises increase and prosperity for those who thank Him and loss and punishment for those who are ungrateful.

          The Mercy of God is limitless and has no bound, but the Muslim is asked to take some effort and try to get the most of that mercy by obeying God’s commands, avoiding sins, and showing thankfulness and gratitude to God.  Indeed, the Muslim should thank God for every single blessing he has and never take it for granted, rather should know that these blessings are only possible because of the favor of God and His Great Mercy.  And God and His Messenger know best.

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The Miraculous Rock

 

عن عبدِ الله بنِ عمرَ بن الخطابِ رضيَ اللهُ عنهما، قَالَ: سمعتُ رسولَ الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، يقول: « انطَلَقَ ثَلاثَةُ نَفَرٍ مِمَّنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ حَتَّى آوَاهُمُ المَبيتُ إِلى غَارٍ فَدَخلُوهُ، فانْحَدرَتْ صَخْرَةٌ مِنَ الجَبَلِ فَسَدَّتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الغَارَ، فَقالُوا: إِنَّهُ لا يُنْجِيكُمْ مِنْ هذِهِ الصَّخْرَةِ إِلا أنْ تَدْعُوا اللهَ بصَالِحِ أعْمَالِكُمْ.
قَالَ رجلٌ مِنْهُمْ: اللَّهُمَّ كَانَ لِي أَبَوانِ شَيْخَانِ كبيرانِ، وكُنْتُ لا أغْبِقُ قَبْلَهُمَا أهْلًا ولا مالًا، فَنَأَى بِي طَلَب الشَّجَرِ يَوْمًا فلم أَرِحْ عَلَيْهمَا حَتَّى نَامَا، فَحَلَبْتُ لَهُمَا غَبُوقَهُمَا فَوَجَدْتُهُما نَائِمَينِ، فَكَرِهْتُ أنْ أُوقِظَهُمَا وَأَنْ أغْبِقَ قَبْلَهُمَا أهْلًا أو مالًا، فَلَبَثْتُ- والْقَدَحُ عَلَى يَدِي- أنتَظِرُ اسْتِيقَاظَهُما حَتَّى بَرِقَ الفَجْرُ والصِّبْيَةُ يَتَضَاغَوْنَ عِنْدَ قَدَميَّ، فاسْتَيْقَظَا فَشَرِبا غَبُوقَهُما. اللَّهُمَّ إنْ كُنْتُ فَعَلْتُ ذلِكَ ابِتِغَاء وَجْهِكَ فَفَرِّجْ عَنّا مَا نَحْنُ فِيهِ مِنْ هذِهِ الصَّخْرَةِ، فانْفَرَجَتْ شَيْئًا لا يَسْتَطيعُونَ الخُروجَ مِنْهُ.
قَالَ الآخر: اللَّهُمَّ إنَّهُ كانَتْ لِيَ ابْنَةُ عَمّ، كَانَتْ أَحَبَّ النّاسِ إليَّ- وفي رواية: كُنْتُ أُحِبُّها كأَشَدِّ مَا يُحِبُّ الرِّجَالُ النساءَ- فأَرَدْتُهَا عَلَى نَفْسِهَا فامْتَنَعَتْ منِّي حَتَّى أَلَمَّتْ بها سَنَةٌ مِنَ السِّنِينَ فَجَاءتْنِي فَأَعْطَيْتُهَا عِشْرِينَ وَمائةَ دينَارٍ عَلَى أنْ تُخَلِّيَ بَيْني وَبَيْنَ نَفْسِهَا فَفعَلَتْ، حَتَّى إِذَا قَدَرْتُ عَلَيْهَا- وفي رواية: فَلَمَّا قَعَدْتُ بَينَ رِجْلَيْهَا، قالتْ: اتَّقِ اللهَ وَلا تَفُضَّ الخَاتَمَ إلا بِحَقِّهِ، فَانصَرَفْتُ عَنْهَا وَهيَ أَحَبُّ النَّاسِ إليَّ وَتَرَكْتُ الذَّهَبَ الَّذِي أعْطَيتُها. اللَّهُمَّ إنْ كُنْتُ فَعَلْتُ ذلِكَ ابْتِغاءَ وَجْهِكَ فافْرُجْ عَنَّا مَا نَحْنُ فيهِ، فانْفَرَجَتِ الصَّخْرَةُ، غَيْرَ أَنَّهُمْ لا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ الخُرُوجَ مِنْهَا.
وَقَالَ الثَّالِثُ: اللَّهُمَّ اسْتَأْجَرْتُ أُجَرَاءَ وأَعْطَيْتُهُمْ أجْرَهُمْ غيرَ رَجُل واحدٍ تَرَكَ الَّذِي لَهُ وَذَهبَ، فَثمَّرْتُ أجْرَهُ حَتَّى كَثُرَتْ مِنهُ الأمْوَالُ، فَجَاءنِي بَعدَ حِينٍ، فَقالَ: يَا عبدَ اللهِ، أَدِّ إِلَيَّ أجْرِي، فَقُلْتُ: كُلُّ مَا تَرَى مِنْ أجْرِكَ: مِنَ الإبلِ وَالبَقَرِ والْغَنَمِ والرَّقيقِ، فقالَ: يَا عبدَ اللهِ، لا تَسْتَهْزِئْ بي! فَقُلْتُ: لا أسْتَهْزِئ بِكَ، فَأَخَذَهُ كُلَّهُ فاسْتَاقَهُ فَلَمْ يتْرُكْ مِنهُ شَيئًا. الَّلهُمَّ إنْ كُنتُ فَعَلْتُ ذلِكَ ابِتِغَاءَ وَجْهِكَ فافْرُجْ عَنَّا مَا نَحنُ فِيهِ، فانْفَرَجَتِ الصَّخْرَةُ فَخَرَجُوا يَمْشُونَ».  متفقٌ عليه.

 

 Narrated Abdul-Allah Ibn Omar Ibn Al-Khattab -may God be pleased with them- that he heard Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- say: “Three men amongst those before you set out on a journey till night came and they took shelter in a cave.  A big rock rolled down the mountain and blocked the entrance of the cave. They said: ‘Nothing will save you from this rock unless you invoke God with your righteous good deeds.’

Thereupon, one of them said: ‘O God, I had parents who were old, and I never provided my family or servants with milk before them.  One day, I went far away in search of grazing and could not come back until they had slept.  When I milked as usual and brought the drink I found them both asleep.  I hated to disturb them and also disliked to give milk to my family or servants before them.  So I waited for them to wake up with the bowl of milk in my hand and the children crying at my feet.  When it was dawn, my parents awoke and drank the milk.  O God, if I did so to seek Your Pleasure, then deliver us from the distress caused by the rock.’  So the rock moved slightly but they were unable to get out.

The second man said: ‘O God, I had a cousin whom I loved more than anyone else (in another version he said: as a man can love a woman). I wanted to have sexual relations with her but she refused.  Hard pressed in a year of famine, she approached me.  I gave her one hundred and twenty dinars on condition that she would yield herself to me.  She agreed and when we got together, she said: ‘Fear God and do not break the seal unlawfully.’  I moved away from her in spite of the fact that I loved her most; and I let her keep the gold I had given her. O God, if I did that to seek Your Pleasure, then deliver us from the distress in which we are.’  So the rock moved aside a bit further but they were still unable to get out.

The third man said: ‘O God, I hired some laborers and paid them their wages except one of them departed without taking his due.  I invested his money and it prospered greatly.  He came back to me after some time and said: ‘O slave of God, pay me my dues.’  I said: ‘All what you see of camels, cattle, goats and slaves is yours.’  He said: ‘O slave of God, do not mock at me.’  I assured him that I was not mocking at him, so he took everything, drove the herds away, and left nothing.  O God, if I did so seeking Your Pleasure, then deliver us from the distress in which we are.’ So the rock rolled away completely and they got out walking freely.”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

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          These are true stories that happened to those before us and were related to us both in Qur’an and Hadith, as a lesson to learn and a model to follow.  God says in Qur’an: { Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for people of understanding. It (the Quran) is not a forged statement but a confirmation of God’s existing Books (the Torah, the Gospel and other Scriptures of God); and a detailed explanation of everything, a guide and a Mercy for the people who believe} (Surah 12, verse 111).

In the above true story, we see three examples of righteous deeds done sincerely for the sake of God.  We see how God accepted these good deeds and not only rewarded the performers of these good deeds with deliverance and salvation, but also set their example as a lesson and a model for later generations.

The three good deeds relate to three great morals: Dutifulness to parents, Chastity and Honesty.  All three morals are experienced by most of us in our daily lives.  Some may succumb to temptation and may give in, but others stand strong in their conviction and try to follow their conscience and adhere to morality.

Indeed, how often do some of us show impatience with our parents or do not go out of our way to serve them; how often do some of us give in to the temptation of looking at unlawful women; and how often do we ignore honesty and integrity to advance our interests and desires.

But as the story above shows, dutifulness to parents, chastity and honesty are three morals that lead to eventual salvation and success, even if some may look at them with disdain.  On the other hand, disobedience to parents, shamelessness and dishonesty ultimately lead to loss and disgrace, even though some may consider them profitable in the short term.

Thus, the people of understanding always adhere to high standards and good morals during times of ease and hardship.  Then they can invoke God to deliver them from any distress or calamity that befalls them.  And God has promised salvation and success to those who follow His commands and those who adhere to the good morals He prescribed.

 

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The Repentant Man (True Story)

 

    وعن أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الخُدْرِيِّ رضي الله عنه أَنَّ نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم ‏قَالَ: « ‏كَانَ فِيمَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ رَجُلٌ قَتَلَ تِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ نَفْسًا فَسَأَلَ عَنْ أَعْلَمِ أَهْلِ الْأَرْضِ فَدُلَّ عَلَى رَاهِبٍ فَأَتَاهُ، فَقَالَ: إِنَّهُ قَتَلَ تِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ نَفْسًا فَهَلْ لَهُ مِنْ تَوْبَةٍ؟ فَقَالَ: لَا. فَقَتَلَهُ فَكَمَّلَ بِهِ مِائَةً، ثُمَّ سَأَلَ عَنْ أَعْلَمِ أَهْلِ الْأَرْضِ، فَدُلَّ عَلَى رَجُلٍ عَالِمٍ فَقَالَ: إِنَّهُ قَتَلَ مِائَةَ نَفْسٍ فَهَلْ لَهُ مِنْ تَوْبَةٍ؟ فَقَالَ: نَعَمْ، وَمَنْ يَحُولُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ التَّوْبَةِ، انْطَلِقْ إِلَى أَرْضِ كَذَا وَكَذَا فَإِنَّ بِهَا أُنَاسًا يَعْبُدُونَ اللَّهَ فَاعْبُدْ اللَّهَ مَعَهُمْ، وَلَا تَرْجِعْ إِلَى أَرْضِكَ فَإِنَّهَا أَرْضُ سَوْءٍ، فَانْطَلَقَ حَتَّى إِذَا نَصَفَ الطَّرِيقَ أَتَاهُ الْمَوْتُ ( وفي رواية أخرى:  فَأَدْرَكَهُ الْمَوْتُ فَنَاءَ بِصَدْرِهِ نَحْوَهَا)، فَاخْتَصَمَتْ فِيهِ مَلَائِكَةُ الرَّحْمَةِ وَمَلَائِكَةُ الْعَذَاب.ِ فَقَالَتْ مَلَائِكَةُ الرَّحْمَةِ: جَاءَ تَائِبًا مُقْبِلًا بِقَلْبِهِ إِلَى اللَّهِ، وَقَالَتْ مَلَائِكَةُ الْعَذَابِ: إِنَّهُ لَمْ يَعْمَلْ خَيْرًا قَطّ.ُ فَأَتَاهُمْ مَلَكٌ فِي صُورَةِ آدَمِيٍّ، فَجَعَلُوهُ بَيْنَهُمْ، فَقَالَ: قِيسُوا مَا بَيْنَ الْأَرْضَيْنِ، فَإِلَى أَيَّتِهِمَا كَانَ أَدْنَى فَهُوَ لَهُ. فَقَاسُوهُ فَوَجَدُوهُ أَدْنَى إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الَّتِي أَرَادَ، فَقَبَضَتْهُ مَلَائِكَةُ الرَّحْمَةِ».  متفقٌ عليه.

 

Narrated Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri may Allah be pleased with him- that the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said (English translation):

“There was among those before you a man who had killed ninety-nine souls. Then he asked about the most knowledgeable person on earth, and was directed to a monk. He went to him and said to him that he had killed ninety-nine souls, so was there any repentance for him? The monk replied: ‘No.’ So he killed him and completed with him one hundred.

  He then asked about the most knowledgeable person on earth, and was directed to a scholar. He asked the scholar that he had killed one hundred souls, so was there any repentance for him?

The scholar replied: ‘Yes, what stands between you and repentance. Go to so and so land, for there is a group of people who worship God there, so worship God with them. And do not return to your land, for it is an evil land.’ The man set out until he reached half of the way when death struck him.

The angels of mercy and the angels of punishment had a dispute about him. The angels of mercy said: ‘He came repentant, turning his heart to Almighty God.’ The angels of punishment said: ‘He had never done any good deed.’

An angel in the form of a human came to them and they appointed him a judge between them. He said: ‘Measure the distance between the two lands, and to whichever land he is closer, he belongs to it.’ They measured it and found him closer to the land he sought, so the angels of mercy took him.”

And In another narration: “So he was closer to the righteous village by one hand span, and so was considered from its dwellers.”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim.

  Qatadah said: “Al-Hasan said: ‘It was mentioned to us that when the angel of death came to him, he stuck out his chest toward the righteous village.’ ”


 

The Almighty God is the Most Merciful and Most Forgiving.  However, in order to get that mercy and forgiveness, the son of Adam is instructed to turn to God in repentance and seek His Guidance.  Just like in this world things do not come to us but we have to go and get them, the same is true in good deeds.  The son of Adam is instructed to seek guidance to find it.  The Muslim is instructed to do good deeds and avoid sins to obtain God’s pleasure and win His Paradise.

The Companion of the Prophet, Anas Ibn Malik -may Allah be pleased with him, reported that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “The Almighty God said: ‘When a slave of Mine draws near to Me a span, I draw near to him a cubit; and if he draws near to Me a cubit, I draw near to him a fathom. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.’ ”  Related by Al-Bukhari.

          Thus, we see the great mercy of God and His bounty, but the Muslim must do his part and turn back to God.  In the above true story, the sinful man killed 99 souls, but he felt remorse and regret for disobeying God.  He then embarked on his path back to God.  The man was instructed to leave his evil place and move to another town and worship God with its pious people.  When the man couldn’t reach his desired destination and was overtaken by death, he indicated his sincere repentance and showed his effort by sticking out his chest toward the other righteous town.  And that half span distance of sincerity and righteousness was the final judge between Doom-perdition and Salvation, and between Hell and Paradise.

Indeed, a small good gesture, a little good deed, a sincere righteous deed could be worth a great reward with God, but we should take the time and effort to do it.  Likewise, sometimes abstaining from a sin or resisting a temptation could lead to higher levels in Paradise, but we have to strengthen our resolve and overcome our weakness to succumb to it to gain the reward.  Indeed, the path of Guidance and virtue is clear and the path of evil and vice is clear.  And we have to be prudent which path to take and sensible of the consequences we may face.  We ask God to guide us and show us the Right Path.

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The People of the Garden (True Story)

 

 

قال الله تعالى: { إِنَّا بَلَوْنَاهُمْ كَمَا بَلَوْنَا أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ إِذْ أَقْسَمُوا لَيَصْرِمُنَّهَا مُصْبِحِينَ (17) وَلَا يَسْتَثْنُونَ (18) فَطَافَ عَلَيْهَا طَائِفٌ مِنْ رَبِّكَ وَهُمْ نَائِمُونَ (19) فَأَصْبَحَتْ كَالصَّرِيمِ (20) فَتَنَادَوْا مُصْبِحِينَ (21) أَنِ اغْدُوا عَلَى حَرْثِكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَارِمِينَ (22) فَانْطَلَقُوا وَهُمْ يَتَخَافَتُونَ (23) أَنْ لَا يَدْخُلَنَّهَا الْيَوْمَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِسْكِينٌ (24) وَغَدَوْا عَلَى حَرْدٍ قَادِرِينَ (25) فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهَا قَالُوا إِنَّا لَضَالُّونَ (26) بَلْ نَحْنُ مَحْرُومُونَ (27) قَالَ أَوْسَطُهُمْ أَلَمْ أَقُلْ لَكُمْ لَوْلَا تُسَبِّحُونَ (28) قَالُوا سُبْحَانَ رَبِّنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَالِمِينَ (29) فَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ يَتَلَاوَمُونَ (30) قَالُوا يَا وَيْلَنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا طَاغِينَ (31) عَسَى رَبُّنَا أَنْ يُبْدِلَنَا خَيْرًا مِنْهَا إِنَّا إِلَى رَبِّنَا رَاغِبُونَ (32) كَذَلِكَ الْعَذَابُ وَلَعَذَابُ الْآَخِرَةِ أَكْبَرُ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ } سورة القلم 17-33.

 

God the Almighty said in Qur’an: {

  1. Verily, We have tried them as We tried the People of the Garden, when they swore to cut the fruits of the garden [harvest] in the morning,
  2. Without saying: Insha Allah (If God will).
  3. So there came upon the garden an affliction [fire] from your Lord while they were asleep.
  4. So the garden became black by the morning, like a pitch dark night (in complete ruins).
  5. As soon the morning broke, they called out one to another,
  6. Saying: “Go early to your crop if you would cut the fruits.”
  7. So they departed, conversing in secret low tones (saying),
  8. “No poor man shall enter your garden today.”
  9. And they went in the morning with determination, thinking that they were capable and had power.
  10. But when they saw the garden, they said: “Verily, we have lost (our way),”
  11. (Then they said): “Nay! Indeed we have been deprived of (the fruits)!”
  12. The best among them said: “Did I not tell you: why do you not glorify God.”
  13. They said: “Glory to Our Lord! Verily, we have done wrong.”
  14. Then they turned, one against another, blaming each other.
  15. They said: “Woe to us! Verily, we have transgressed.
  16. We hope that our Lord will give us in exchange a better (garden) than this. Truly, we turn to our Lord (wishing for good that He may forgive our sins, and reward us in the Hereafter).”
  17. Such is the punishment (in this life), but truly, the punishment of the Hereafter is greater, if they but knew} (Surah 68, verses 17-33).

 

——————

The Great Scholar Ibn Katheer said in his Exegesis: “                                         

This is a parable that God made for the disbelievers of the tribe of Qureish, who met the great favor and blessing of God upon them of sending Prophet Muhammad to them with denial, rejection and opposition. Therefore God said:

(Verily, We have tried them): Meaning, tested them.

(As We tried the People of the Garden): This refers to a garden containing different types of fruits and vegetation.

(When they swore to cut the fruits of the garden in the morning):

Meaning, they vowed between themselves during the night that they would harvest the fruit of the garden in the early morning so that the poor and the beggars would not know what they were doing. In this way they would be able to keep its fruit for themselves and not give any of it in charity.

(Without (saying: “If God wills.”): Meaning in the vow they made. Therefore, God broke their vow. He then said,

(Then there passed over it an affliction from your Lord while they were asleep): Meaning, it was afflicted with some heavenly destruction.

(So by the morning it became black):  Ibn Abbas said, “Like the dark night.” Al-Thawri and As-Suddi both said, “Like the crop when it is harvested withered and dry.”

(As the morning broke, they called out one to another): Meaning, when it was early morning time they called each other so that they could go together to pick the harvest or cut it its fruits.

(Saying) “Go to your crop in the morning, if you would cut the fruits.”):  Meaning, if you want to cut your harvest fruit.’

(So they departed, and they were whispering): Meaning, they spoke privately about what they were doing so that no one could hear what they were saying. Then God, the All-Knower of secrets and private discussions, explained what they were saying in private. He said,

(So they departed, and they were whispering: “No poor person shall enter your garden”): Meaning, some of them said to others, “Do not allow any poor person to enter the garden today.”  God says:

(And they went in the morning with determination): Meaning, with strength and power, thinking they had power to do what they claimed and what they were desiring.

(But when they saw the garden, they said: “Verily, we have lost (our way).”): Meaning, when they arrived at it and came upon it, and it was in the condition which God changed from that luster, brilliance and abundance of fruit, to being black, gloomy and void of any benefit. They believed that they had taken a wrong way and this was not their garden. This was said by Ibn `Abbas and others.

Then they reconsidered and realized with certainty that it was actually the correct path. They said,

(Nay! Indeed we have been deprived (of the fruits)!): Meaning, `nay, this is it, but we have no portion and no share (of harvest).’

(The best among them said):  Ibn Abbas and others said, “This means the most just of them and the best of them.”

(Did I not tell you, `Why do you not glorify God’): Mujahid, As-Suddi and Ibn Jurayj all said that, this means “why do you not say, `If God wills”.

It has also been said that it means that the best of them said to them, “Did I not tell you, why don’t you glorify God and thank Him for what He has given you and favored you with”

(They said: “Glory to Our Lord! Verily, we have been wrongdoers.”) They became obedient when it was of no benefit to them, and they were remorseful and confessed when it was not of any use.

Then they said:

(“Verily, we have been wrongdoers.” So they turned to one another, blaming each other): Meaning, they started blaming each other for what they had resolved to do, preventing the poor people from receiving their right of the harvested fruit. Thus, their response to each other was only to confess their error and sin.

(They said: “Woe to us! Verily, we have transgressed”): Meaning, `we have transgressed, trespassed, violated and exceeded the bounds until what this happened to us.’

(We hope that our Lord will give us in exchange better than it. Truly, we hope in our Lord.): It has been said, “They were hoping for something better in exchange in this life.” It has also been said, “They were hoping for its reward in the abode of the Hereafter.” And God knows best.

Some of the Scholars mentioned that these people were from Yemen. Sa’eed Ibn Jubair said, “They were from a village that was called Darawan which was six miles from Sana’ (in Yemen). ”

It has also been said: “They were from the people of Ethiopia whose father had left them this garden, and they were from the People of the Book. Their father used to manage the garden in a good way. Whatever he reaped from it he would put it back into the garden as it needed, he would save some of it as food for his dependents for the year, and he would give away the excess in charity.  Then, when he died, and his children inherited the garden they said, `Verily, our father was foolish for giving some of this garden’s harvest to the poor. If we prevent them from it, then we will have more.’ So when they made up their minds to do this they were punished with what was contrary to their plan. God took away all of what they possessed of wealth, gain and charity. Nothing remained for them.” God then says:

(Such is the punishment):Meaning, such is the punishment of whoever opposes the command of God, is stingy with what God has given him and favored him with, withholds the right of the poor and needy, and responds to God’s blessings upon him with ungratefulness (or disbelief).

(But truly, the punishment of the Hereafter is greater if they but knew): Meaning, this is the punishment in this life, as you have heard, and the punishment of the Hereafter is even harder.

 

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The True Messenger

 

    عن أَنَسٍ رضي الله عنه قَالَ: ( بَلَغَ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ سَلاَمٍ مَقْدَمُ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم الْمَدِينَةَ فَأَتَاهُ، فَقَالَ: إِنِّي سَائِلُكَ عَنْ ثَلاَثٍ لاَ يَعْلَمُهُنَّ إِلاَّ نَبِيٌّ، ‏‏قَالَ مَا‏ أَوَّلُ أَشْرَاطِ السَّاعَةِ؟ وَمَا أَوَّلُ طَعَامٍ يَأْكُلُهُ أَهْلُ الْجَنَّةِ؟ وَمِنْ أَىِّ شَىْءٍ يَنْزِعُ الْوَلَدُ إِلَى أَبِيهِ وَمِنْ أَىِّ شَىْءٍ يَنْزِعُ إِلَى أَخْوَالِهِ؟ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: ‏«‏ خَبَّرَنِي بِهِنَّ آنِفًا جِبْرِيلُ‏‏».‏ قَالَ فَقَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ: ذَاكَ عَدُوُّ الْيَهُودِ مِنَ الْمَلاَئِكَةِ‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: «‏ أَمَّا أَوَّلُ أَشْرَاطِ السَّاعَةِ: فَنَارٌ تَحْشُرُ النَّاسَ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ إِلَى الْمَغْرِبِ‏.‏ وَأَمَّا أَوَّلُ طَعَامٍ يَأْكُلُهُ أَهْلُ الْجَنَّةِ: فَزِيَادَةُ كَبِدِ حُوتٍ‏.‏ وَأَمَّا الشَّبَهُ فِي الْوَلَدِ: فَإِنَّ الرَّجُلَ إِذَا غَشِيَ الْمَرْأَةَ فَسَبَقَهَا مَاؤُهُ كَانَ الشَّبَهُ لَهُ، وَإِذَا سَبَقَ مَاؤُهَا كَانَ الشَّبَهُ لَهَا»‏‏.‏ قَالَ: أَشْهَدُ أَنَّكَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ‏). رواه البخاري.

   Narrated Anas Ibn Malik -may Allah be pleased with him- said: “When Abdul-Allah Ibn Salam [A great Rabbi at the time of Prophet Muhammad] heard the arrival of Prophet Muhammad at Al-Medina, he went to him and said:

I am going to ask you about three matters which nobody knows except a true prophet:

  1. What is the first sign of the Hour (Last Day)?
  2. What will be the first meal taken by the people of Paradise?
  3. Why does a child resemble its father, and why does it resemble its maternal uncle?’

Prophet Muhammad said: ‘Angel Gabriel has told me of their answers earlier.’  Abdul-Allah Ibn Salam said: ‘He (i.e. Gabriel), amongst all the angels, is the enemy of the Jews.’

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him-said: ‘

  1. ‘The first sign of the Hour will be a fire that will drive people from the east to the west.
  2. The first meal of the people of Paradise will be the Extra-lobe (caudate lobe) of fish-liver.
  3. As for the resemblance of the child to its parents: If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife and gets discharge first, the child will resemble the father, and if the woman gets discharge first, the child will resemble her.’

 Upon hearing that, Abdul-Allah Ibn Salam said: ‘I testify that you are the true Messenger of Allah.’”

Related by Al-Bukhari with authentic narration.

Prophet Muhammad’s Letter to the Roman Emperor, Heraclius

   عن ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي أَبُو سُفْيَانَ، مِنْ فِيهِ إِلَى فِيَّ قَالَ: ( انْطَلَقْتُ فِي الْمُدَّةِ الَّتِي كَانَتْ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ قَالَ ـ فَبَيْنَا أَنَا بِالشَّأْمِ إِذْ جِيءَ بِكِتَابٍ مِنَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِلَى هِرَقْلَ قَالَ وَكَانَ دِحْيَةُ الْكَلْبِيُّ جَاءَ بِهِ فَدَفَعَهُ إِلَى عَظِيمِ بُصْرَى، فَدَفَعَهُ عَظِيمُ بُصْرَى إِلَى ـ هِرَقْلَ ـ قَالَ فَقَالَ هِرَقْلُ هَلْ هَا هُنَا أَحَدٌ مِنْ قَوْمِ هَذَا الرَّجُلِ الَّذِي يَزْعُمُ أَنَّهُ نَبِيٌّ فَقَالُوا نَعَمْ‏.‏ قَالَ فَدُعِيتُ فِي نَفَرٍ مِنْ قُرَيْشٍ فَدَخَلْنَا عَلَى هِرَقْلَ، فَأُجْلِسْنَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ.

 فَقَالَ أَيُّكُمْ أَقْرَبُ نَسَبًا مِنْ هَذَا الرَّجُلِ الَّذِي يَزْعُمُ أَنَّهُ نَبِيٌّ فَقَالَ أَبُو سُفْيَانَ فَقُلْتُ أَنَا‏.‏ فَأَجْلَسُونِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ، وَأَجْلَسُوا أَصْحَابِي خَلْفِي، ثُمَّ دَعَا بِتُرْجُمَانِهِ فَقَالَ قُلْ لَهُمْ إِنِّي سَائِلٌ هَذَا عَنْ هَذَا الرَّجُلِ الَّذِي يَزْعُمُ أَنَّهُ نَبِيٌّ، فَإِنْ كَذَبَنِي فَكَذِّبُوهُ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو سُفْيَانَ وَايْمُ اللَّهِ، لَوْلاَ أَنْ يُؤْثِرُوا عَلَىَّ الْكَذِبَ لَكَذَبْتُ‏.‏

  ثُمَّ قَالَ لِتُرْجُمَانِهِ سَلْهُ كَيْفَ حَسَبُهُ فِيكُمْ قَالَ قُلْتُ هُوَ فِينَا ذُو حَسَبٍ‏.‏ قَالَ فَهَلْ كَانَ مِنْ آبَائِهِ مَلِكٌ قَالَ قُلْتُ لاَ‏.‏ قَالَ فَهَلْ كُنْتُمْ تَتَّهِمُونَهُ بِالْكَذِبِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَقُولَ مَا قَالَ قُلْتُ لاَ‏.‏ قَالَ أَيَتَّبِعُهُ أَشْرَافُ النَّاسِ أَمْ ضُعَفَاؤُهُمْ قَالَ قُلْتُ بَلْ ضُعَفَاؤُهُمْ‏.‏ قَالَ يَزِيدُونَ أَوْ يَنْقُصُونَ قَالَ قُلْتُ لاَ بَلْ يَزِيدُونَ‏.‏ قَالَ هَلْ يَرْتَدُّ أَحَدٌ مِنْهُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِ، بَعْدَ أَنْ يَدْخُلَ فِيهِ، سَخْطَةً لَهُ قَالَ قُلْتُ لاَ‏.‏ قَالَ فَهَلْ قَاتَلْتُمُوهُ قَالَ قُلْتُ نَعَمْ‏.‏ قَالَ فَكَيْفَ كَانَ قِتَالُكُمْ إِيَّاهُ قَالَ قُلْتُ تَكُونُ الْحَرْبُ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَهُ سِجَالاً، يُصِيبُ مِنَّا وَنُصِيبُ مِنْهُ‏.‏ قَالَ فَهَلْ يَغْدِرُ قَالَ قُلْتُ لاَ وَنَحْنُ مِنْهُ فِي هَذِهِ الْمُدَّةِ لاَ نَدْرِي مَا هُوَ صَانِعٌ فِيهَا‏.‏ قَالَ وَاللَّهِ مَا أَمْكَنَنِي مِنْ كَلِمَةٍ أُدْخِلُ فِيهَا شَيْئًا غَيْرَ هَذِهِ‏.‏ قَالَ فَهَلْ قَالَ هَذَا الْقَوْلَ أَحَدٌ قَبْلَهُ قُلْتُ لاَ‏.

‏ ثُمَّ قَالَ لِتُرْجُمَانِهِ قُلْ لَهُ إِنِّي سَأَلْتُكَ عَنْ حَسَبِهِ فِيكُمْ، فَزَعَمْتَ أَنَّهُ فِيكُمْ ذُو حَسَبٍ، وَكَذَلِكَ الرُّسُلُ تُبْعَثُ فِي أَحْسَابِ قَوْمِهَا، وَسَأَلْتُكَ هَلْ كَانَ فِي آبَائِهِ مَلِكٌ فَزَعَمْتَ أَنْ لاَ فَقُلْتُ لَوْ كَانَ مِنْ آبَائِهِ مَلِكٌ قُلْتُ رَجُلٌ يَطْلُبُ مُلْكَ آبَائِهِ، وَسَأَلْتُكَ عَنْ أَتْبَاعِهِ أَضُعَفَاؤُهُمْ أَمْ أَشْرَافُهُمْ فَقُلْتَ بَلْ ضُعَفَاؤُهُمْ، وَهُمْ أَتْبَاعُ الرُّسُلِ، وَسَأَلْتُكَ هَلْ كُنْتُمْ تَتَّهِمُونَهُ بِالْكَذِبِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَقُولَ مَا قَالَ فَزَعَمْتَ أَنْ لاَ، فَعَرَفْتُ أَنَّهُ لَمْ يَكُنْ لِيَدَعَ الْكَذِبَ عَلَى النَّاسِ ثُمَّ يَذْهَبَ فَيَكْذِبَ عَلَى اللَّهِ، وَسَأَلْتُكَ هَلْ يَرْتَدُّ أَحَدٌ مِنْهُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِ بَعْدَ أَنْ يَدْخُلَ فِيهِ سَخْطَةً لَهُ فَزَعَمْتَ أَنْ لاَ، وَكَذَلِكَ الإِيمَانُ إِذَا خَالَطَ بَشَاشَةَ الْقُلُوبِ، وَسَأَلْتُكَ هَلْ يَزِيدُونَ أَمْ يَنْقُصُونَ فَزَعَمْتَ أَنَّهُمْ يَزِيدُونَ، وَكَذَلِكَ الإِيمَانُ حَتَّى يَتِمَّ، وَسَأَلْتُكَ هَلْ قَاتَلْتُمُوهُ فَزَعَمْتَ أَنَّكُمْ قَاتَلْتُمُوهُ فَتَكُونُ الْحَرْبُ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُ سِجَالاً، يَنَالُ مِنْكُمْ وَتَنَالُونَ مِنْهُ، وَكَذَلِكَ الرُّسُلُ تُبْتَلَى، ثُمَّ تَكُونُ لَهُمُ الْعَاقِبَةُ، وَسَأَلْتُكَ هَلْ يَغْدِرُ فَزَعَمْتَ أَنَّهُ لاَ يَغْدِرُ، وَكَذَلِكَ الرُّسُلُ لاَ تَغْدِرُ، وَسَأَلْتُكَ هَلْ قَالَ أَحَدٌ هَذَا الْقَوْلَ قَبْلَهُ فَزَعَمْتَ أَنْ لاَ، فَقُلْتُ لَوْ كَانَ قَالَ هَذَا الْقَوْلَ أَحَدٌ قَبْلَهُ قُلْتُ رَجُلٌ ائْتَمَّ بِقَوْلٍ قِيلَ قَبْلَهُ‏.

‏ قَالَ ثُمَّ قَالَ بِمَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ قَالَ قُلْتُ يَأْمُرُنَا بِالصَّلاَةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ وَالصِّلَةِ وَالْعَفَافِ‏.‏ قَالَ إِنْ يَكُ مَا تَقُولُ فِيهِ حَقًّا فَإِنَّهُ نَبِيٌّ، وَقَدْ كُنْتُ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّهُ خَارِجٌ، وَلَمْ أَكُ أَظُنُّهُ مِنْكُمْ، وَلَوْ أَنِّي أَعْلَمُ أَنِّي أَخْلُصُ إِلَيْهِ لأَحْبَبْتُ لِقَاءَهُ، وَلَوْ كُنْتُ عِنْدَهُ لَغَسَلْتُ عَنْ قَدَمَيْهِ، وَلَيَبْلُغَنَّ مُلْكُهُ مَا تَحْتَ قَدَمَىَّ‏.‏

 قَالَ ثُمَّ دَعَا بِكِتَابِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَرَأَهُ، فَإِذَا فِيهِ ‏”‏ بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ مِنْ مُحَمَّدٍ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ، إِلَى هِرَقْلَ عَظِيمِ الرُّومِ، سَلاَمٌ عَلَى مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الْهُدَى، أَمَّا بَعْدُ، فَإِنِّي أَدْعُوكَ بِدِعَايَةِ الإِسْلاَمِ، أَسْلِمْ تَسْلَمْ، وَأَسْلِمْ يُؤْتِكَ اللَّهُ أَجْرَكَ مَرَّتَيْنِ، فَإِنْ تَوَلَّيْتَ فَإِنَّ عَلَيْكَ إِثْمَ الأَرِيسِيِّينَ، وَ‏{‏يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا إِلَى كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاءٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَنْ لاَ نَعْبُدَ إِلاَّ اللَّهَ‏}‏ إِلَى قَوْلِهِ ‏{‏اشْهَدُوا بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ}‏‏”‏‏.‏ فَلَمَّا فَرَغَ مِنْ قِرَاءَةِ الْكِتَابِ ارْتَفَعَتِ الأَصْوَاتُ عِنْدَهُ، وَكَثُرَ اللَّغَطُ، وَأُمِرَ بِنَا فَأُخْرِجْنَا قَالَ فَقُلْتُ لأَصْحَابِي حِينَ خَرَجْنَا لَقَدْ أَمِرَ أَمْرُ ابْنِ أَبِي كَبْشَةَ، أَنَّهُ لَيَخَافُهُ مَلِكُ بَنِي الأَصْفَرِ فَمَا زِلْتُ مُوقِنًا بِأَمْرِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنَّهُ سَيَظْهَرُ حَتَّى أَدْخَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَىَّ الإِسْلاَمَ‏.

قَالَ الزُّهْرِيُّ فَدَعَا هِرَقْلُ عُظَمَاءَ الرُّومِ فَجَمَعَهُمْ فِي دَارٍ لَهُ فَقَالَ يَا مَعْشَرَ الرُّومِ، هَلْ لَكُمْ فِي الْفَلاَحِ وَالرَّشَدِ آخِرَ الأَبَدِ، وَأَنْ يَثْبُتَ لَكُمْ مُلْكُكُمْ قَالَ فَحَاصُوا حَيْصَةَ حُمُرِ الْوَحْشِ إِلَى الأَبْوَابِ، فَوَجَدُوهَا قَدْ غُلِقَتْ، فَقَالَ عَلَىَّ بِهِمْ‏.‏ فَدَعَا بِهِمْ فَقَالَ إِنِّي إِنَّمَا اخْتَبَرْتُ شِدَّتَكُمْ عَلَى دِينِكُمْ، فَقَدْ رَأَيْتُ مِنْكُمُ الَّذِي أَحْبَبْتُ‏.‏ فَسَجَدُوا لَهُ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ)‏.  رواه البخاري.

   Narrated Ibn Abbas -may Allah be pleased with them- said (English translation): “

Abu Sufyan narrated to me personally, saying: “I set out during the Truce that had been concluded between me and Prophet Muhammad.  While I was in Al-Sham (Levant), a letter sent by the Prophet (ﷺ) was brought to Heraclius.  Dihya Al-Kalbi had brought and given it to the governor of Busra, and the latter forwarded it to Heraclius.  Heraclius said: ‘Can you find anyone from the tribe of this man who claims to be a prophet?’ The people replied: ‘Yes.’

So I along with some men from of the tribe of Qureish were called, and we went to see Heraclius.  We went, and we were asked to sit in front of him.

Heraclius said: ‘Who amongst you is the nearest relative to the man who claims to be a prophet?’   I replied that I was [Abu Sufyan was the leader of Qureish and was the cousin of Prophet Muhammad].  So they made me sit in front of him and made my companions sit behind me. Then he called upon his translator and said (to him): ‘Tell them ( i.e. Abu Sufyan’s companions) that I am going to ask him (i.e. Abu Sufyan) regarding that man who claims to be a prophet. So, if he tells me a lie, they should contradict him.’  By Allah, had I not been afraid that my companions would consider me a liar, I would have told lies.

Heraclius then said to his translator: ‘Ask him: What is his (i.e. the Prophet’s) family status amongst you?’  I replied: ‘He belongs to a noble family amongst us.’  Heraclius said: ‘Was any of his ancestors a king?’  I replied: ‘No.’  He said: ‘Did you ever accuse him of telling lies before his saying what he has said?’  I replied: ‘No.’  He said: ‘Do the nobles follow him or the poor people?’  I replied: ‘It is the poor who followed him.’  He asked: ‘Is the number of his follower increasing or decreasing?’  I replied: ‘They are increasing.’  He asked: ‘Does anyone renounce his religion (i.e. Islam) after embracing it, being displeased with it?’  I replied: ‘No.’   He asked: ‘Did you fight him?’  I replied: ‘Yes.’  He asked: ‘How was your fighting with him?’  I replied: ‘The fighting between us was undecided and victory was shared by him and us by turns, sometimes he wins and sometimes we win.’   He asked: ‘Did he ever betray?’  I replied: ‘No, and now we are away from him in this truce and we do not know what he will do in it.   Abu Sufyan added: ‘By Allah, I was not able to insert in my speech a word (against him) except that.’ Heraclius asked: ‘Did anybody else (amongst you) ever claimed the same (i.e. Islam) before him?’  I replied: ‘No.

                   Then Heraclius told his translator to tell me (i.e. Abu Sufyan): ‘I asked you about his family status amongst you, and you told me that he comes from a noble family amongst you.  Verily, all Apostles come from the noblest family among their people.  Then I asked you whether any of his ancestors was a king, and you denied that.  Thereupon I thought that had one of his forefathers been a king, I would have said that he (i.e. Muhammad) was seeking to rule the kingdom of his forefathers.  Then I asked you regarding his followers, whether they were the noble or the poor among the people, and you said that they were only the poor (who follow him).  In fact, such are the followers of the Apostles.  Then I asked you whether you have ever accused him of telling lies before saying what he said, and your reply was in the negative.  Therefore, I knew that a man who did not tell a lie to people, could never tell a lie about God.  Then I asked you whether anyone of his followers had renounced his religion (i.e. Islam) after embracing it, being displeased with it, and you denied that.  And such is Faith when it mixes with the cheerfulness of the hearts.  Then I asked you whether his followers were increasing or decreasing.  You claimed that they were increasing.  That is the way of true faith till it is complete.  Then I asked you whether you had ever fought him, and you claimed that you had fought him and the battle between you and him was undecided and the victory was shared by you and him in turns; sometimes he wins and sometimes you do.  Such is the case with true Messengers; they are tested but the final victory is for them.  Then I asked you whether he had ever betrayed; you claimed that he had never betrayed; and indeed true Messengers never betray.  Then I asked you whether anyone had said this statement before him; and you denied that.  Thereupon I thought if somebody had said that statement before him, then I would have said that he was but a man copying some sayings said before him.’

Abu Sufyan said: “Heraclius then asked: ‘What does Muhammad order you to do?’  I replied: ‘’He orders us to pray to God, to pay charity, to keep good relationship with the Kith and kin, and to be chaste.’  Heraclius said: ‘If whatever you have said is true, then he is a true Prophet.  I have known that a true prophet was going to appear, but I never thought that he would be from amongst you.  If I were certain that I can reach him, I would like to meet him and if I were with him, I would wash his feet.  Surely, his kingdom will expand to what is under my feet.’

Then Heraclius asked for the letter of the Messenger of God (Muhammad) and read it wherein was written:

‘In the Name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.  This letter is from Muhammad, Messenger of God, to Heraclius, the sovereign of Byzantine

Peace be upon him who follows the Right Path.  Then, I call you to embrace Islam. Embrace Islam and you will attain salvation, embrace Islam and God will give you a double reward.  But if you reject this message, you will be responsible for the sins of all the people of your kingdom.  God says: {O the people of the Scripture, come to a word common to you and us that we worship None but God, that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides God. Then, if they turn away, say: “Bear witness that we are Muslims”} (3.64).’

When Heraclius finished reading the letter, people’s voices grew louder near him and there was a great hue and cry, and we were ordered to go out.”  Abu Sufyan added: “While coming out, I said to my companions: “The situation of Ibn Abi Kabsha (i.e. Muhammad) has become strong; even the king of Banu Al- Asfar is afraid of him.”  So I continued to believe that the Messenger of God (Muhammad) would be victorious, till God guided me to embrace Islam.”

Az-Zuhri said: “Heraclius then invited all the chiefs of the Byzantines and had them assembled in his house and said: ‘O group of Byzantines, do you wish to have a permanent success and guidance and that your kingdom should remain with you?’  Upon hearing that invitation, they rushed towards the gate like zebras, but they found them closed.  On seeing their reaction, Heraclius said: ‘Bring them back to me.’  He then addressed them and said: ‘I just wanted to test the strength of your adherence to your religion. Now I have observed of you that which I like.’ Then the people fell in prostration before him and became pleased with him.”  Related by Al-Bukhari with authentic narration.

 

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Prophet Muhammad’s Forgiveness of the Man who Killed his Beloved Uncle, Hamza

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

     Narrated Abu Hurairah -may Allah be pleased with him- that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “Charity does not decrease wealth.  God only increases the honor of the slave who forgives (others).  And no one humbles himself for the sake God, except the Almighty God would raise him.”  Related by Muslim and Al-Tirmidhi.

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Prophet Muhammad’s grandfather, Abdul-Muttalib was one the dignitaries of the tribe of Qureish and one of the most noble in lineage (being a direct descendant of Prophet Ismail son of Prophet Abraham).  Abdul-Muttalib had re-dug the Well of Zamzam in Makkah, and used to feed the pilgrims to Makkah, therefore he received the highest honor and respect.  Abdul-Muttalib was the chief of the clan of Bani Hashim (the tribe of Qureish had many clans, each clan had its chief), and had ten sons (and it was said 12) and six daughters.  Abdul-Muttalib’s tenth child was Abdul-Allah and the most beloved to him.  Abdul-Allah married Aminah and they had a son named Muhammad.  Abdul-Allah died early (25), so Abdul-Muttalib took care of his grandson. Aminah had told her father-in-law that when she gave birth to Muhammad she saw as if a bright light has come out of her and illuminated Al-Sham.  A couple of monks said the same to Abdul-Muttalib, so he said: ‘This son of mine will reach a great status.’  Then Aminah died (at 20) when Prophet Muhammad was six.  When Abdul-Muttalib died (Prophet Muhammad was 8), he asked his eldest live son, Abu Talib, to take care of him.  A couple of knowledgeable people said the same to Abu Talib, so he looked after his nephew with great care.

Thus, Prophet Muhammad had ten uncles (or 12), of whom only four were alive when he was sent with the Divine Message of Islam.  Two of his Uncles embraced Islam: Hamza and Al-Abbas (both were only a couple of years older than him), and two Uncles died as disbelievers: Abu Talib and Abu Lahab.  All three uncles loved him dearly and did everything in their power to protect him, except Abu Lahab who used to abuse him and harm him until God promised Abu Lahab severe punishment in Qur’an.

Prophet Muhammad’s eldest live Uncle Abu Talib used to protect him from Qureish when the Prophet called people to worship one God.  Qureish used to worship idols beside God, and opposed the Prophet’s message.  They tried to persecute him, but Abu Talib stood in their way and defended his nephew.  Abu Talib used to love Prophet Muhammad more than his own sons!  It is related that he used to keep food for him, keep his bed close to his, and even would ask his sons to take Prophet Muhammad’s place for fear Qureish may cause him some harm at night.

When Abu Talib died, Qureish found an opportunity to harm Prophet Muhammad.  They used to harm him both verbally and physically, and yet the Prophet continued to invite them to worship one God, and would endure their persecution patiently.  Once, one of the chiefs of Qureish, Abu Jahl, passed by the Prophet at the Mount of Safa near the Great Mosque in Makkah, and abused him calling him bad names.  The Prophet endured that silently, but a woman who used to live close by heard that.  When the Prophet’s uncle Hamza Ibn Abdil-Muttalib passed by her, she told him of what she saw.  Hamza became angry for his nephew and went to the chief who was sitting among his people.  Hamza hit Abu Jahl hard on the face with a bow that was in his hand, then declared his Islam.

After that Hamza, uncle of the Prophet, always used to protect the Prophet and fight with him.  Then during the Battle of Uhud, Hamza was killed by a slave by the name of Wahshi.  Wahshi’s master, Jubair Ibn Mut’im, had promised Wahshi freedom if he killed Hamza.  Hamza was very brave and no one could get close to him in battle, so Wahshi used a spear to kill Hamza.  Qureish then mutilated the body of Hamza.  When the Prophet saw Hamza’s mutilated body (with his ears and nose cut off, his abdomen slashed, and his liver taken out), he was greatly saddened.  Later, after the Conquest of Makkah Wahshi ran away for fear of retaliation.  But when he heard of the Prophet’s great mercy, he presented himself to him.  Here Wahshi relates his story:

    عن جَعْفَرِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ أُمَيَّةَ الضَّمْرِيِّ، قَالَ: ( خَرَجْتُ مَعَ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَدِيِّ بْنِ الْخِيَارِ، فَلَمَّا قَدِمْنَا حِمْصَ قَالَ لِي عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ: هَلْ لَكَ فِي وَحْشِيٍّ نَسْأَلُهُ عَنْ قَتْلِ حَمْزَةَ؟ قُلْتُ: نَعَمْ‏.‏ وَكَانَ وَحْشِيٌّ يَسْكُنُ حِمْصَ، فَسَأَلْنَا عَنْهُ فَقِيلَ لَنَا: هُوَ ذَاكَ فِي ظِلِّ قَصْرِهِ، كَأَنَّهُ حَمِيتٌ‏.‏ قَالَ فَجِئْنَا حَتَّى وَقَفْنَا عَلَيْهِ بِيَسِيرٍ، فَسَلَّمْنَا، فَرَدَّ السَّلاَمَ، قَالَ وَعُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ مُعْتَجِرٌ بِعِمَامَتِهِ، مَا يَرَى وَحْشِيٌّ إِلاَّ عَيْنَيْهِ وَرِجْلَيْهِ، فَقَالَ عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ: يَا وَحْشِيُّ أَتَعْرِفُنِي؟  قَالَ فَنَظَرَ إِلَيْهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ: لاَ وَاللَّهِ، إِلاَّ أَنِّي أَعْلَمُ أَنَّ عَدِيَّ بْنَ الْخِيَارِ تَزَوَّجَ امْرَأَةً يُقَالُ لَهَا أُمُّ قِتَالٍ بِنْتُ أَبِي الْعِيصِ، فَوَلَدَتْ لَهُ غُلاَمًا بِمَكَّةَ، فَكُنْتُ أَسْتَرْضِعُ لَهُ، فَحَمَلْتُ ذَلِكَ الْغُلاَمَ مَعَ أُمِّهِ، فَنَاوَلْتُهَا إِيَّاهُ، فَلَكَأَنِّي نَظَرْتُ إِلَى قَدَمَيْكَ‏.‏ قَالَ فَكَشَفَ عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ عَنْ وَجْهِهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ: أَلاَ تُخْبِرُنَا بِقَتْلِ حَمْزَةَ؟ قَالَ نَعَمْ، إِنَّ حَمْزَةَ قَتَلَ طُعَيْمَةَ بْنَ عَدِيِّ بْنِ الْخِيَارِ بِبَدْرٍ، فَقَالَ لِي مَوْلاَىَ جُبَيْرُ بْنُ مُطْعِمٍ إِنْ قَتَلْتَ حَمْزَةَ بِعَمِّي فَأَنْتَ حُرٌّ، قَالَ فَلَمَّا أَنْ خَرَجَ النَّاسُ عَامَ عَيْنَيْنِ ـ وَعَيْنَيْنِ جَبَلٌ بِحِيَالِ أُحُدٍ، بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهُ وَادٍ ـ خَرَجْتُ مَعَ النَّاسِ إِلَى الْقِتَالِ، فَلَمَّا اصْطَفُّوا لِلْقِتَالِ خَرَجَ سِبَاعٌ فَقَالَ: هَلْ مِنْ مُبَارِزٍ؟ قَالَ فَخَرَجَ إِلَيْهِ حَمْزَةُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبِ فَقَالَ: يَا سِبَاعُ يَا ابْنَ أُمِّ أَنْمَارٍ مُقَطِّعَةِ الْبُظُورِ، أَتُحَادُّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ صلى الله عليه وسلم؟ قَالَ ثُمَّ شَدَّ عَلَيْهِ فَكَانَ كَأَمْسِ الذَّاهِبِ ـ قَالَ ـ وَكَمَنْتُ لِحَمْزَةَ تَحْتَ صَخْرَةٍ فَلَمَّا دَنَا مِنِّي رَمَيْتُهُ بِحَرْبَتِي، فَأَضَعُهَا فِي ثُنَّتِهِ حَتَّى خَرَجَتْ مِنْ بَيْنِ وَرِكَيْهِ ـ قَالَ ـ فَكَانَ ذَاكَ الْعَهْدَ بِهِ، فَلَمَّا رَجَعَ النَّاسُ رَجَعْتُ مَعَهُمْ فَأَقَمْتُ بِمَكَّةَ، حَتَّى فَشَا فِيهَا الإِسْلاَمُ، ثُمَّ خَرَجْتُ إِلَى الطَّائِفِ، فَأَرْسَلُوا إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم رَسُولاً، فَقِيلَ لِي إِنَّهُ لاَ يَهِيجُ الرُّسُلَ، قَالَ فَخَرَجْتُ مَعَهُمْ حَتَّى قَدِمْتُ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَلَمَّا رَآنِي قَالَ: ‏”‏ آنْتَ وَحْشِيٌّ؟‏”‏‏، قُلْتُ: نَعَمْ‏.‏ قَالَ: ‏”‏ أَنْتَ قَتَلْتَ حَمْزَةَ؟‏”،‏ قُلْتُ: قَدْ كَانَ مِنَ الأَمْرِ مَا بَلَغَكَ‏.‏ قَالَ: ‏”‏ فَهَلْ تَسْتَطِيعُ أَنْ تُغَيِّبَ وَجْهَكَ عَنِّي‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ: فَخَرَجْتُ).  رواه البخاري.

                       Narrated Ja’far Ibn Amr Ibn Umayya Al-Damri said (English translation): “I went out on a journey with Ubaidul-Allah Ibn Adi Ibn Al-Khiyar. When we reached Hims (a town in Syria), Ubaidul-Allah Ibn Adi said to me: ‘Would you like to see Wahshi so that we may ask him about the killing of Hamza?’ I replied: ‘Yes.’ Wahshi used to live in Hims. We inquired about him and somebody said to us: ‘He is there in the shade of his palace, as if he were a full water skin [to indicate that he was heavyset].’ So we went up to him, and when we were at a short distance from him, we greeted him and he greeted us in return.

Ubaidul-Allah was masking his face with his turban so that only his eyes and feet could be seen.  Ubaidul-Allah said: ‘O Wahshi! Do you know me?’  Wahshi looked at him and then said: ‘No, by Allah! But I know that Adi Ibn Al-Khiyar married a woman called Umm Qital, the daughter of Abu Al-Ees, and she delivered a boy for him at Makkah, and I looked for a wet nurse for that child. Once I carried that child along with his mother and then I handed him over to her, and your feet resemble the feet of that child.’ [This indicates the astuteness and sharpness of Wahshi for the man in front of him was indeed that child].

Then Ubaidul-Allah uncovered his face and said to Wahshi: ‘Will you tell us (the story of) the killing of Hamza?’  Wahshi replied: ‘Yes. Hamza killed Tu’eima Ibn Adi Ibn Al-Khiyar at Badr [who challenged the Muslims during the Battle of Badr], so my master, Jubair Ibn Mut’im said to me: ‘If you kill Hamza in revenge for my uncle, then you will be set free.’

When the people set out (the next year for the battle of Uhud) in the year of ‘Ainain (Ainain is a mountain near the mountain of Uhud), I went out with the people for the battle. When the army aligned for the fight, Siba’ came out and said: ‘Is there anyone to accept my challenge to a duel?’ Hamza Ibn Abdil-Muttalib came out and said: ‘O Siba’, O son of Umm Anmar, the one who circumcises other ladies! Do you challenge Allah and His Messenger?’  Then Hamza charged and killed him, causing him to be non-extant like the bygone yesterday.  I hid myself under a rock, and when Hamza came near me, I threw my spear at him, driving it into his umbilicus so that it came out through his back, causing him to die.

When all the people returned to Makkah, I too returned with them (and my master set me free). I stayed there till Islam spread to it.  So I left for Al-Ta’if, and when the people of Al-Ta’if sent their messengers to Prophet Muhammad, I was told that the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- did not harm the messengers; so I too went out with them till I reached Prophet Muhammad and declared my Islam.

When Prophet Muhammad saw me, he said: ‘Are you Wahshi?’ I said: ‘Yes.’  He said: ‘Was it you who killed Hamza?’ I replied: ‘What you have been told did take place (and I told him the whole story).’  He (forgave me but) said: ‘Can you hide your face from me?’  So I left.”    Related by Al-Bukhari.

 

Thus, we see the great forgiveness of Prophet Muhammad.  Though he felt great pain and sadness for the murder and mutilation of his beloved uncle, Hamza, and though he had the power to punish Wahshi who had killed Hamza, Prophet Muhammad showed his great moral character and forgave Wahshi when he came to him repentant and declaring Islam.  But because of the painful reminder of his uncle’s death every time he saw Wahshi, he asked him not to show his face.  Therefore, Wahshi used to sit behind the Prophet till his death, but he was forgiven.

There is a great lesson for us in this story, and that is instead of harboring hatred and malice, instead of seeking retaliation and revenge, we need to learn to forgive and spread justice and peace.  And just as we would like others to forgive us when we do them some wrong, we should learn to forgive others as well. And God knows best.

 

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